Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Kimba, South Australia, may rejoin the discussion on hosting a federal nuclear waste dump

poster-flinders-rangesFight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 30 Nov 16  TheNational Radioactive Waste Management Facility project team was invited to Kimba, South Australia, last week by the local group Working for Kimba’s Future.
The team discussed with locals the possibility of Kimba rejoining the process to nominate a site to host the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.
The team will visit Kimba again on December 6, 7 and 8.

Paul Waldon There always a politician behind something like this, you just have to look and you will find.
Steve Dale Kimba is close to the proposed Iron Road project. I’ve seen Jacobs name associated with that project. Cape Hardy port could be used for exporting ore and importing waste. Maybe the Flinders location was used as a distraction for the Federal election to take some of the heat off the local member.
Charlotte Alyce Jane Markwick Wouldn’t surprise me, they’re so calculating and dishonest 
Annette Ellen Skipworth Port hardy is located 60 kilometre north of port lincoln and there is a proposed rail line to the mine about 40 kilometres from the proposed nuclear dump site
 Steve Dale Any national dump in South Australia will be pushed into becoming an international dump – no nuclear dumps in South Australia.
Noel Wauchope Steve Dale The federal dump doesn’t have to be expanded to an international one. It would work to get the idea psychologically accepted that South Australia is THE PLACE for another dump, a global nuclear dump – heck a global nuclear hub – nuclear submarines the full nuclear chain etc.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/#

November 30, 2016 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Liberal and Labor quietly pass law to protect uranium industry from legal challenges

Tweedle-NuclearMajor parties push a losing uranium sector to India at great risk http://www.smh.com.au/comment/major-parties-push-a-losing-uranium-sector-to-india-at-great-risk-20161128-gszld4.html  Dave Sweeney , 29 Nov 16 

With little fuss or fanfare, Australia’s two major parties have this week agreed to fly under the radioactive radar and pass an innocuous enough sounding law with some very far reaching implications.

The Indian Civil Nuclear Transfers Act exists to provide “certainty to Australian uranium producers” who want to sell the controversial product to India.

In 2015 a detailed investigation by Parliament’s treaties committee found there were serious and unresolved nuclear safety, security and governance issues with the proposed sales plan. It also found a high level of legal uncertainty. Continue reading

November 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Tiny outback town divided over plan for federal nuclear waste dump

a-cat-CANOne misapprehension in this otherwise excellent article.

The writer assumes that the nuclear waste intended for this  Federal waste dump is “low level”  “medical waste”.  But that is not the real purpose of the dump.  “Medical radioactive waste?” – a  ridiculous idea! The vast majority of medical wastes are very short-lived – radioactivity having decayed in  a matter of hours or  few days. So these wastes are best disposed of near the point of use. (in fact, they are best produced near the point of use, in  anon nuclear cyclotron). No point in trucking them thousands of miles across the continent.
The real purpose of the Hawker area waste dump is to dispose of the nuclear reactor waste that was generated by the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, sent to France and UK for processing, and contracted to return to Australia. The Australian government classes it as “intermediate level”, but France classes it as high level.
The Australian government is lying about the nuclear waste dump – using the false medical argument to make it look healthy and respectable. But that is a fig leaf on the toxic nuclear industry.

Residents of Hawker say it has been incredibly confusing that the proposed intermediate-level facility in their community is being discussed at the same time as plans for future high-level nuclear storage elsewhere.

Despite the government saying that many of the jobs and development opportunities near Hawker will benefit the indigenous people at Yappala, McKenzie says they will continue fighting the proposal to the end.

poster-flinders-rangesAustralian nuclear waste dump divides tiny outback town
“This land is our past, present and future and we don’t want a nuclear waste dump on it.”,
Aljazeera, by , 29 Nov 16 

 Hawker, South Australia – The towering mountains of the Flinders Ranges stand imposingly against the hundreds-of-kilometres-long stretch of flat, desolate country.

While the mountains are named after the British explorer who trekked them in the early 19th century, the indigenous Adnyamathanha people have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years.

This arid and remote part of South Australia has become the unlikely centre of a heated public debate after it was named the preferred site for the country’s first nuclear waste dump. Continue reading

November 30, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

The mirage of South Australia as world’s nuclear waste dump

As a basis for investing billions of dollars in an infrastructure project, it’s not so appealing. There’s a long and sorry history of roads and bridges to nowhere in particular, built on the basis of optimistic projections about the demand they would generate.

Typically, these projects involve massive cost overruns. But, as Bent Flyvbjerg shows in his book Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition, it’s the failure of the projected demand to materialise that’s the most important reason these projects are financial disaster.

The scale of megaprojects makes it difficult to apply standard techniques of benefit-cost analysis in the past. But the big problem, illustrated by the TV series Utopia is that such projects capture the imagination of political (and sometimes business) leaders who choose to dismiss the dreary complaints of economists, and like the Hollywood hero, dream big dreams.

New Matilda’s resident pro-nuke activist, Geoff Russell, illustrates the kind of magical thinking that is going on here. In the comments thread following a lengthy tirade against the ‘citizen’s jury’ that rejected the project, he states ‘I have no idea if the waste business case stacked up’. He has made similar comments about his ignorance of the economics of nuclear power in the past. Continue reading

November 30, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South East Asia a disappointment for the nuclear industry

market-disappointedThe limited role for nuclear can be explained by the high upfront capital costs, limited access to financing, and uneven and tepid public support in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Public opposition has been especially evident in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.”Kiriyenko--tsar

former Rosatom head Sergey Kirienko’s team has been excellent at drawing up and signing nonbinding nuclear agreements … Actually building nuclear plants seems to be beyond them.

Vietnam’s amazing nuclear journey – why it ended, what it means for South East Asia, Energy Post, November 29, 2016 by  On November 10, Vietnam took the historic decision to scrap its nuclear power program, after many decades of nuclear preparations, up to a ground-breaking ceremony at the first proposed nuclear site in the country in 2014………

On November 22, Vietnam’s National Assembly voted in support of a government decision to cancel plans to build nuclear power plants. An immense amount of resources have been wasted on the nuclear program over several decades. Nuclear vendor countries will have to look elsewhere for business. They will continue to try their luck in southeast Asia but they are wasting their time: not a single power reactor is in operation or being built in the region and none will be built in the foreseeable future……

Nuclear power in South East Asia – or not

A 2015 International Energy Agency report anticipates that nuclear power will account for just 1% of electricity generation in south-east Asia by 2040.

The report states:  “All countries in Southeast Asia that are interested in deploying nuclear power face significant challenges. These include sourcing the necessary capital on favourable terms, creation of legal and regulatory frameworks, compliance with international norms and regulations, sourcing and training of skilled technical staff and regulators, and ensuring public support. … The limited role for nuclear can be explained by the high upfront capital costs, limited access to financing, and uneven and tepid public support in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Public opposition has been especially evident in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.”

A June 2016 media article began: “Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear-energy agency, is bullish on the outlook of its business in Southeast Asia after the speedy development of a project in Vietnam and a range of agreements with every country in the region except Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei.”

Nikolay Drozdov, director of Rosatom’s  international business department, said Rosatom is focusing a lot of attention on south-east Asia, reflected by the decision to establish a regional headquarters in Singapore.

Russia has nuclear cooperation agreements with seven countries in south-east Asia ‒ Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. But not one of those seven countries ‒ or any other country in south-east Asia ‒ has nuclear power plants (the only exception is the Bataan reactor in the Philippines, built but never operated) and not one is likely to in the foreseeable future. Nor are other nuclear vendors likely to succeed where Russia is failing.

Drozdov said that after the (stalled) nuclear power project in Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia would likely be the next countries in the region to develop nuclear power.2 But Indonesia’s situation is much the same as Vietnam’s  ‒ decades of wasted efforts with little to show for it (and the same could be said about Thailand).

Malaysia’s consideration of nuclear power is preliminary. Why would Russia be making such efforts in southeast Asia given that nuclear power prospects in the region are so dim? The answer may lie with domestic Russian politics. Given Rosatom’s astonishing industry in lining up non-binding nuclear agreements with over 20 countries ‒ ‘paper power plants’ as Vladimir Slivyak calls them ‒ we can only assume that such agreements are looked on favorably by the Russian government.

Slivyak writes: “These  ‘orders’ are not contracts specifying delivery dates, costs and a clear timescale for loan repayments (in most cases the money lent by Russia for power plant construction comes with a repayment date). Eighty to ninety per cent of these reported arrangements are agreements in principle that are vague on details, and in the overwhelming majority of cases the contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. … So it is clear that [former Rosatom head Sergey] Kirienko’s team has been excellent at drawing up and signing nonbinding nuclear agreements … Actually building nuclear plants seems to be beyond them.” http://energypost.eu/vietnam-dumps-nuclear-power-economic-reasons-rest-south-east-asia-may-follow/

November 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Deplorable situation of France’s nuclear power

plants-downFrench nuclear power in ‘worst situation ever’, says former EDF director
In the week Britain exports electricity to France for first time in four years, Gérard Magnin says renewable power will match Hinkley Point C on cost,
Guardian, , 29 Nov 16, The French nuclear industry is in its “worst situation ever” because of a spate of plant closures in France and the complexities it faces with the UK’s Hinkley Point C power station, according to a former Électricité de France director.

Gérard Magnin, who called Hinkley “very risky” when he resigned as a board member over the project in July, told the Guardian that with more than a dozen French reactors closed over safety checks and routine maintenance, circumstances for the state-owned EDF had deteriorated since he stepped down.

The closures have seen Britain this week exporting electricity to France for the first time in four years. An industry report on Tuesday also warned that the offline reactors could lead to a “tense situation” for energy supply in France, in the event of a cold snap this winter.

The situation is likely to be exacerbated by damage during Storm Angusto the main cable that carries electricity back and forth between the UK and France. It is believed a boat dropping anchor during the storm may have been responsible but National Grid is investigating the cause and working to repair the Interconnexion France-Angleterre, which is buried in the seabed and heavily armoured.

The operator said that four of the eight cables in the interconnector had been damaged, reducing its capacity from 2,000MW to 1,000MW until February next year. It added that due to the French reactor closures, it had already factored in a reduction in energy supplies from France this winter.

Magnin said that instead of backing new nuclear, the UK and France should capitalise on falling wind and solar power costs and help individuals and communities to build and run their own renewable energy projects. He founded an association of cities switching to green energy, joined the EDF board in 2014, and is now director of a renewable energy co-op in France.

“The most surprising [thing] for me is the attitude of the UK government which accepts the higher cost of electricity … in a time where the costs of renewables is decreasing dramatically,” he said. “In 10 years [when Hinkley Point C is due to be completed], the cost of renewables will have fallen again a lot.”

Of the Hinkley C design, known as the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), Magnin said: “A lot of people in EDF have known for a long time the EPR has no future – too sophisticated, too expensive – but they assume their commitments and try to save the face of France.”

The UK’s business department conceded in September that by the time Hinkley is operational the price of electricity guaranteed to EDF will be above the comparable costs for large-scale solar and onshore windfarms. Officials argued that using renewables instead would cost more in grid upgrades and balancing the intermittent nature of wind and solar……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/29/french-nuclear-power-worst-situation-ever-former-edf-director

November 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No real action from Federal govt in its new “response plan” on the Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef: Australia’s ‘response plan’ draft contains no new action or funding
‘Confidential’ draft acknowledges coral bleaching but does not make any attempt to address climate change, Guardian, 
 30 Nov 16 The Australian government’s official “response plan” to the worst ever bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef commits it to no new action, pledges no new money and does not make any attempt to address climate change, according to a draft seen by the Guardian.

The Northern Great Barrier Reef Response Plan, marked “draft” and “confidential”, begins by describing the bleaching event as “the worst ever coral bleaching” and attributes its cause to climate change.

It says: “In the aftermath of the bleaching event it is more important than ever to building [sic] the resilience of the reef.” But the recommendations appear to contain no new money for action to help build resilience.

It says the plan will be “nested under the Reef 2050 plan”, which is a document the federal and Queensland governments created to convince Unesco not to include the Great Barrier Reef on its “world heritage in danger” list.

On Thursday the government needs to report to the Unesco world heritage committee on the implementation of the Reef 2050 plan, as well as how it has been funded.

But, in June, the Guardian revealed Australia would also need to report on how it is responding to this year’s bleaching event.

At the time, Tim Badman, the director of the IUCN’s world heritage program, which advises the committee on the state of its natural world heritage properties, told the Guardian: “We would expect that that report from Australia is going to cover all the significant things that have happened since June 2015 and whether there are changes in the picture of the management or the response that is needed … The bleaching event is a new issue to be considered.”

It is not known whether this plan is what the government intends to present to Unesco in response to that requirement.

It was revealed this week the bleaching appeared to kill about 67% of coral in the northern third of the reef. Across the entire reef, early estimates suggested about 22% of coral had died but scientists now say that figure is likely to be higher.

But the government’s plan for dealing with the bleaching, at least in its draft from October, appeared unable to point to any significant new action……..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/30/great-barrier-reef-australias-response-plan-draft-contains-no-new-action-or-funding

November 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Trans Pacific Partnership is dead – killed not by Trump but by mass opposition

logo-anti-TPPThe TPP wasn’t killed by Donald Trump – our protests worked https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/28/tpp-protests-mass-opposition-worked-trump-presidency We the people can create change by standing together. This is crucial to remember for the next four years, Guardian,  and , 28 Nov 16,

The real story is that an unprecedented, international uprising of people from across the political spectrum took on some of the most powerful institutions in the world, and won. Continue reading

November 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian solar power technology sold to China, by CSIRO

Solar-Farm-CanberraCSIRO sells concentrated solar power technology to China, The Age, Marcus Strom , 28 Nov 16  The CSIRO on Tuesday will sign a technology licensing agreement with a Chinese solar company that could reap millions of dollars in royalties for the national science and industry organisation. The deal with Beijing-based Thermal Focus will allow the company to bid for business in the burgeoning Chinese market for concentrated solar power using Australian-designed technology.

China aims to build infrastructure that produces 1.4 gigawatts of concentrated solar power by 2018, increasing this to 5GW by 2020.

“To put that into perspective, Australia has 50GW capacity in all its power stations,” said Wes Stein, CSIRO’s chief energy research scientist. John Grimes, of the Australian Solar Council, said: “This is a significant commercial opportunity, perhaps worth hundreds of millions.” CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall said: “This partnership takes our climate mitigation focus to a global stage.”

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Greg Hunt said: “Australia is a leader in clean energy technology and this partnership is an important step in realising this advantage.”

The partnership will be signed at the Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference at the Australian National University.  Phil Hearne

Concentrated solar power, or solar thermal, uses mirrors to focus the sun’s energy into a collector. At collected temperatures of 560 degrees, that energy is then stored in molten nitrate salts in large thermal tanks. This can then generate superheated steam to drive turbines for electricity generation for weeks.

CSIRO’s patented technology uses smaller mirrors of about five square metres, known as heliostats, and field-control software to direct the solar energy. The technology was pioneered at the CSIRO’s energy centre in Newcastle. The solar thermal team has grown to more than 30 scientists and engineers.

Mr Stein said: “The big difference with photovoltaic cells is that our technology has storage embedded at a lower cost than batteries.”

A CSIRO spokesman said the licensing agreement covered a technology transfer payment with recurring royalties for the number of heliostats installed……

John Grimes at the Australian Solar Council said: “CSP with storage is the missing link in China’s renewable energy market.” Mr Grimes said what gave this deal credibility was that the Chinese had delivered on their plans in renewables. “Already China has installed 120GW of solar photovoltaic cells,” he said. “It really is a world leader in this field.” Its commitment was partly due to a combination of environmental concerns, cost effectiveness and air-quality pressures in cities, Mr Grimes said.

There are no commercial plants operating concentrated solar thermal technology in Australia. He said this was because government leadership in Australia had been lacking.

However, there are some companies working towards this: Vast SolarSolarReserve and SolarStor, which is backed by former Liberal leader John Hewson.

SolarStor plans to build a concentrated thermal plant near Port Augusta, South Australia, as does US firm SolarReserve.

The solar deal comes a day after an interim report by a Senate committee recommended all Australian coal mines close by 2030.

The retirement of coal-fired power stations report committee is chaired by Greens senator Larissa Waters. Its final report will be handed down on February 1.  http://www.theage.com.au/technology/sci-tech/csiro-sells-concentrated-solar-power-technology-to-china-20161128-gsz8gh.html

November 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, solar | Leave a comment

Western Australian town to host large renewable energy grid

solar-wind-hybrid-windlab-qldKalbarri to host what could be Australia’s largest renewable energy grid http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/kalbarri-to-host-what-could-be-australias-largest-renewable-energy-grid-20161128-gsz4n5.html A $10 million renewable energy-powered microgrid which has the potential to be the largest in the country will be developed in Western Australia’s Midwest.

The coastal town of Kalbarri is currently supplied by a 140 kilometre long rural feeder line, which experiences outages due to environmental factors.

The microgrid will combine wind and solar power with a large-scale battery and Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the project will be closely looked at to see how the technology could benefit other towns in WA.

“This is a game changer for regional communities who rely on power from a long feeder line, which is subject to environmental factors that can cause outages,” Dr Nahan said.

“The project, which has the potential to be Australia’s biggest renewable microgrid, will consider all generation options and take into account the community’s desire for a renewable solution.””

Western Power will seek expressions of interest from next month with construction expected to begin in 2017.

November 30, 2016 Posted by | solar, Western Australia, wind | Leave a comment

South Pacific island ditches fossil fuels to run entirely on solar power

sunTa’u island in American Samoa will rely on solar panels and Tesla batteries as it does away with diesel generators, Guardian Eleanor Ainge Roy, 28 Nov 16, A remote tropical island has catapulted itself headlong into the future by ditching diesel and powering all homes and businesses with the scorching South Pacificsun.

Using more than 5,000 solar panels and 60 Tesla power packs the tiny island of Ta’u in American Samoa is now entirely self-sufficient for its electricity supply – though the process of converting has been tough and pitted with delays……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/28/south-pacific-island-ditches-fossil-fuels-to-run-entirely-on-solar-power

November 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment