Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s nuclear history – scandals and successes

text-from-the-archivesAustralia has a secret and scandalous nuclear history. But at the same time, Australia has a fine history of successes by the nuclear free movement. Aboriginals have been at the forefront, but not alone, as Australia also has a proud record of environmental and anti nuclear activism.

Australia history

From the archives. Each week, this site will be reposting items from the past. Lest we forget:

U.S. military bases made Australia a nuclear target

Australia feared nuclear attack over US ties: archives ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Emma Rodgers 1 Jan 2011, Malcolm Fraser’s cabinet was warned in 1980 that boosting its military ties with the US could put Australia at risk of a nuclear attack and expose it to involvement it in American operations contrary to its national interest, secret cabinet documents show. Continue reading

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Christina themes, history | Leave a comment

Dangers of ionising radiation shown in fruit fly experiments in the 1920s

text-from-the-archivesdna-damage-cancer-caused-by-ionizing-radiation-identifiedMiningawareness, 8 Dec 14 The fruit fly experiments showed that it was dangerous in the 1920s! They were damning enough. It showed that it took multiple generations for the genetic damage to show up, because it was often recessive! But, they knew it was dangerous for people from the advent of x-rays and radium a couple of decades prior.

They did human nuclear experiments too. In the 1950s or 60s scientists started worrying about what if radiation impacted intelligence more than fertility so that there was a prolific, dumb population. Is this why no one wonders this anymore? They also worried about radiation damaged DNA of nuclear workers merging into the general population.

Why do few wonder anything intelligent anymore? Corrupt academia or damaged DNA, damaged intelligence? Ravens have more sense than the pro-nuclear lobby. Ravens look before they cross the road.

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

No, Mr Turnbull, coal is NOT our future: renewables with energy storage, are here

Map Turnbull climateWhy Coal Is Not Our Future, Skeptical Science  15 December 2016 by Riduna

Coal Problems

Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has repeatedly asserted that coal will remain in use for electricity generation for ‘many, many decades to come’. He argues that moving to renewable energy would reduce production and use of coal resulting in unacceptable loss of mining and transport jobs, particularly in rural areas. However, the threat of larger job losses did not stop his predecessor from withdrawing subsidies for the car industry, resulting in its closure nationwide – action supported by the present Prime Minister.

Recently, Energy Minister Friedenberg asked Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Finkel, to prepare a Discussion Paper on electricity security during the transition to renewable energy. The Paper, presented to the Prime Minister and Premiers on 9 December, 2016 recommended that an energy intensity scheme be applied to the electricity generating sector. This would see the highest emitters leave electricity generation and promote orderly replacement of coal by gas and, increasingly, renewable energy generators.

The Paper reported that existing policies lacked clarity and certainty for investors and would not achieve Australia’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, given under the Paris Agreement. Even before recipients of the paper had time to consider it, the Prime Minister rejected its main conclusions.

In declaring coal Australia’s present and future energy source, Turnbull has chosen to ignore the dangers of coal production and use to public health or, more accurately, public death. Clear evidence shows that coal mining in Australia not only causes respiratory problems through inhalation of airborne particles but that this results in the incurable ‘black lung disease resulting in a slow and painful death. Its combustion in power stations results in emissions which increase the incidence and severity of health problems among populations living up to 100 km away.

As the Prime Minister knows, coal has to compete with renewable clean energy sources, particularly solar and wind. It’s a no brainer of course. Continue reading

December 16, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | 1 Comment

Japanese government setting up financial (taxpayer) support for British nuclear power

text-my-money-2flag-japanTokyo eyes ¥1 trillion in financial support for Japanese firms pursuing U.K. nuclear plants government is considering offering financial assistance through state-affiliated banks for projects won by Japanese companies for nuclear power plant construction in Britain, sources said Thursday.

Under study is a plan for the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Development Bank of Japan to invest in and provide loans to local companies that build and operate nuclear power stations, the sources said.

 The Japanese government hopes to establish a framework for financial assistance totaling about ¥1 trillion within 2017 also by asking major Japanese and British private financial institutions to participate in the scheme, according to the sources.

Visiting British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond told reporters in Tokyo on Thursday that Britain is holding talks with the Japanese government, Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. on a financial support framework for nuclear power plant construction projects in his country.

On the same day, Hammond met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to exchange opinions about nuclear plant construction.

British Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Greg Clark plans to visit Japan as early as next week and hold meetings with officials of Hitachi, Toshiba and the JBIC.

Under the envisaged scheme, the Japanese government expects to offer financial assistance to Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd., a unit of Hitachi, and NuGeneration Ltd., which is under the wing of Toshiba.

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

Solar energy park is seeking co-operative venture with sheep farming!

solar and sheep
ACT solar farm announces new tender ….. for sheep, REneweconomy By  on 16 December 2016

The owners of the Mugga Lane Solar Park in the ACT are looking for one more addition to their almost complete 13MW power station – and it’s not battery storage.

Maoneng Group, who started building the solar farm in March after winning a tender in the ACT government’s first large-scale renewables reverse auction, has this week launched its own, rather unusual, tender – for a flock of sheep.  The company is seeking expressions of interest for a farmer or community group to graze 100-150 head of sheep within the Mugga Lane Solar Park – an area of around 46 hectares at the intersection of Mugga Lane and Monaro Highway in the ACT.

“Applicants must maintain the livestock inclusive of drenching, crutching, shearing, veterinarian costs and portable pens,” the tender says, adding that “weathers or non-lambing ewes are preferred.”

The owners of the solar park, which began generating power in mid-November, will provide and maintain fencing, two water troughs and a small holding paddock with all-weather accessibility.

Maoneng’s Shaun Curran said the deal, which would be a quid pro quo “cost neutral” affair, would provide a local farmer or community group with free and secure grazing, while for the Solar Farm, it would provide free lawn mowing and reduce the site’s fire risk…….

Curran also noted that sheep, while preferred, were possibly not the only livestock option.

“There was a large mob of kangaroos on site when it was first being developed,” he said. “So they could work too. They’re similar to sheep; not too destructive. They don’t want to rub up against the panels.”……

December 16, 2016 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Comments on Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)’ s “Black System” report

electricity-interconnectorDennis Matthews, December 2016 BLACK SYSTEM, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, 28 SEPTEMBER 2016.
3rd Preliminary Report, December 2016 Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)


The “Black System” referred to by AEMO is what is more commonly known as the South Australian state-wide blackout. AEMO also refers to it as “the event”. The AEMO report contains considerable technical jargon and use of acronyms. Constant referral to a list of terms and abbreviations at the beginning of the report is necessary.

AEMO Executive Summary

According to the executive summary, the SA blackout was “initiated by the loss of three transmission lines involving a sequence of faults in quick succession”. These electricity transmission lines are the high voltage power lines that feed into the low voltage distribution system that services homes and many small to medium businesses.

The damaged transmission lines were in the mid-north of SA.

The sequence of faults led to many wind turbine electricity generators in the mid-north initially trying to continue to generate. Within 7 seconds, these initial attempts to “ride through” the problems caused by transmission line damage were followed by wind turbines deliberately shutting down (tripping), or decreasing their output, in order to protect them from serious damage. This caused a decrease of power generation by about 460 megawatts (MW). Prior to the transmission line damage, the total generated grid power available to SA was about 1830 MW. Domestic, off-grid, solar photovoltaic power was about 50 MW.

Although it seems reasonable that wind turbines should have an ability to shut down to protect against serious damage, according to the report “AEMO was not aware of the protective feature of these generating units”. Consequently, AEMO had not taken steps to replace the lost power in such a situation.

The loss of about 460 MW of generating capacity resulted in an attempt to import extra power through the Heywood, high voltage, alternating current (AC), connector with Victoria. Such connectors between states are essential for the operating of an electricity market. Without interconnectors there would be no National Electricity Market (NEM). Continue reading

December 16, 2016 Posted by | energy, South Australia | 1 Comment


BubbleBurst-1Documents released by Friends of the Earth today reveal that:

  • Taiwan will not pay SA to accept high-level nuclear waste if that requires investing in waste storage and disposal infrastructure.
  • Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia unless and until a repository is built and operating.
  • Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia in the face of widespread public opposition.

Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “Taiwan’s power utility Taipower states clearly and repeatedly that Taiwan will not pay for nuclear waste storage and disposal infrastructure in SA. Yet foreign investment in that infrastructure is central to the state Labor Government’s plans. Preliminary and exploratory studies could cost up to $2.4 billion and Premier Jay Weatherill must now come clean on whether he intends to gamble billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on this project.”

Taipower’s statements are directly at odds with statements made by Martin Hamilton-Smith. Opposition treasury spokesman Rob Lucas is quoted in this morning’s Advertiser saying that Hamilton-Smith “stands condemned for misleading everyone” about Taiwan’s views.

Dr Green continued: “Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia unless and until a repository is built and operating. Yet the Final Report of the Royal Commission clearly states that unless nuclear waste is imported prior to the establishment of a repository, the project would not be profitable.” [See p.300 of the Royal Commission’s Final Report.]

“Taiwan will not send nuclear waste to Australia in the face of widespread public opposition. A clear majority of South Australians oppose the nuclear waste dump plan. A statewide consultation process found 53% opposition compared to just 31% support. A recent poll commissioned by the Sunday Mail found just 35% support. Two-thirds of the Citizen Jurors rejected the dump plan ‘under any circumstances’. The Premier himself has acknowledged the ‘overwhelming opposition of Aboriginal people’.

“It is unlikely that any country would send nuclear waste to SA in the face of widespread public opposition and overwhelming opposition from Aboriginal people. It is unlikely that any country would pay for waste storage and disposal infrastructure in SA. It is unlikely that any country would send waste to SA in the absence of a built, operating repository. The Labor Government’s plan fails on all three counts.

“South Australians opposed to the dump will be spoilt for choice at the March 2018 election with the Liberal Party, the Nick Xenophon Team and the SA Greens all opposed to the Labor Government’s plan to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump. The Premier should have the good sense to swallow his pride and to dump the dump before he puts the Labor Party in an unwinnable position leading up to the state election,” Dr Green concluded.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Taiwan rejects claim that it would help South Australia to set up a nuclear waste dump

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankruptOne of the major criticisms of the SA nuclear proposal by the SA Liberals and green groups has been the risk of spending state taxpayer money up front with no certainty of future revenue.

Opposition treasury spokesman Rob Lucas said Mr Hamilton-Smith “stands condemned for misleading everyone” about Taiwan’s views

Taiwanese energy firm rejects Martin Hamilton-Smith’s claim it would help set up SA nuclear waste dump Daniel Wills, State political editor, The Advertiser 14 Dec 2016

TAIWAN’S state-owned energy company has bluntly rejected Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith’s claim the country would consider paying to help set up a nuclear waste dump in SA, saying in a letter that it “hereby declares this is a false information”.

Just days after Premier Jay Weatherill’s citizens’ jury last month overwhelmingly dumped on plans for nuclear storage in SA, amid concerns about trust, Mr Hamilton-Smith insisted he had met with Taiwanese officials who expressed a “clear message” of interest in investment.

“There’s clearly a demand and our neighbours may be in a position to put hundreds of millions, if not billions, into infrastructure and then paying to dump waste on an ongoing basis,” he said.

However, correspondence from state-owned power company Taipower and the country’s Atomic Energy Council to government party MP Su Chih-Feng rejects Mr Hamilton-Smith’s claim.

While they note there was a meeting with Mr Hamilton-Smith on November 10, Taipower says his spin of the events in Adelaide three days later was “a false information”.

The translation from Mandarin to English was done by a Taiwanese NGO and provided to The Advertiser by antinuclear activists Friends of the Earth Australia. It states Taipower was interested in using a dump which had been established, but not paying to help set one up. Continue reading

December 16, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics international, South Australia | Leave a comment

British PM Theresa May keen to promote nuclear power, to quietly subsidise it

may-theresaany UK financing would be “off balance sheet” to avoid inflating public debts.

The UK’s willingness to consider government involvement reflects a change in thinking since Theresa May replaced David Cameron

Public finance sought for Welsh nuclear plant Hitachi in talks over state funding for Wylfa in Anglesey , 16 Dec 16 by:  and  in London, 

Hitachi is in talks with the Japanese and UK governments about potential state financing for the multibillion-pound nuclear power station it is planning to build in Wales.

Government equity, loans and credit guarantees are among the options being explored by the Japanese conglomerate and officials in London and Tokyo, according to people briefed on the matter.

Any UK public finance for the power plant at Wylfa in Anglesey would represent a major change in policy; the British government has for years resisted the idea of exposing taxpayers’ money to the heavy expense and high risks involved in building nuclear reactors. Continue reading

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

Japanese tax-payers to provide huge subsidy for Britain’s Wylfa Newydd nuclear project

Tax - payersflag-japanJapan to pay 1 TRILLION yen to build Wales’ new nuclear power station Wylfa Newydd
Hitachi is closing in on a deal with the Japanese Government
WalesOnLine, BY, 15 DEC 2016 

A trillion yen (£6.79bn) funding package looks set to be agreed between the Japanese Government and Hitachi to help fund Wylfa Newydd.

Sources say that negotiators are closing in on the deal which would be one of biggest steps forward for the new nuclear power station project on Anglesey, which will cost around £10bn to develop.

  It is reported it would be financed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, a public financial institution and state-owned Development Bank of Japan……..

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

The impact of indigenous high school protest against uranium mining

antnuke-relevantflag-canadaHow a high school student helped block Quebec’s uranium industry Financial Post, Damon van der Linde, Dec. 15, 2016, MISTISSINI, Que. — Hunting grouse on a snowy road that cuts through the forest north of his home in the Cree community of Mistissini, Justice Debassige reflects on why, as a 17-year-old high school student in 2012, he started a petition against a uranium exploration project 215 kilometres away.

“I read research on how it damages the land and the water, so that was what drew me in,” he said, while searching for birds down the road towards the now-shuttered site owned by Boucherville, Que.-based Strateco Resources Inc. “It’s something to really think about when we’re out here.”

Debassige said he couldn’t have imagined at the time that his petition would be the catalyst for a complete moratorium against exploration of the radioactive mineral across Quebec, Continue reading

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

Scientists to preserve climate data: fear that Trump will destroy it

trump-burning-booksScientists backing up climate data over fears it could be erased under Donald Trump, ABC News 14 Dec 16  Scientists in the United States are making copies of federal climate and environmental data over fears it could be erased under Donald Trump’s administration.

The mass action — being coordinated by the University of Pennsylvania’s Program in the Environmental Humanities (PPEH Lab) — has been dubbed a “data rescue” and has brought together academics from across the country and in neighbouring Canada.

It aims to safeguard data “vulnerable under an administration which denies the fact of ongoing climate change” by storing it on an independent server.

Researchers are also collating a spreadsheet of the research they deem to be at risk once the President-elect takes office on January 20.

The movement was spurred by a tweet from meteorologist and journalist Eric Holthaus, who became worried after Mr Trump announced he would be appointing Exxon-Mobil Corp chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state…….

news that Oklahoma attorney-general Scott Pruitt will lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has further inflamed tensions.

In a statement, Mr Pruitt was described as “a national leader against the EPA’s job-killing war on coal”.

In a piece for The Washington Post, Holthaus yesterday wrote that archiving climate data was “an extraordinary step to have to take, but we live in an extraordinary moment”.

“There is no remaining doubt that Trump is serious about overtly declaring war on science,” he said.

“This isn’t a presidential transition. It’s an Inquisition. It’s a 21st-century book burning.”

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

Greens urge Queensland government to reject $1 billion taxpayer-funded loan for Adani coal rail line

coal CarmichaelMine2NAIF funding: Greens call for Queensland government to put stop to Adani loan, SMH. Felicity Caldwell, 12 Dec 16.  Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk should reject a $1 billion taxpayer-funded concessional loan for the Adani Carmichael mine’s rail line, the Queensland Greens say.

The Greens say the Premier has the power to reject funding under the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility………Last week, Ms Palaszczuk met with Mr Adani and announced Townsville would be home to the Carmichael mine’s regional headquarters.

The Greens’ statewide campaign calling on the government to reject the NAIF loan and protect the reef will start in the electorate of Mount Coot-tha, targeting Environment Minister Steven Miles’ seat.

Billboards will be erected in the electorate and will be accompanied with online videos and a doorknocking campaign.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

 Nick Xenopohon slams ‘clueless and incompetent’ energy monitor AEMO

December 13, 2016. Nick Xenophon wants an independent inquiry into the energy market operator…. (subscribers only)

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

Sydney Lord mayor Clover Moore orders decisive action on climate change

climate-changeSydney mayor Clover Moore orders urgent action on climate change Lisa Visentin

The Paris Agreement commits signatories, including Australia, to “hold average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees and pursue efforts to keep warming below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”.
As the Turnbull government struggles to implement a clear and effective climate change policy, the City of Sydney will redouble its efforts to reduce emissions in a bid to bypass the federal impasse.Lord mayor Clover Moore, who returned from C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico earlier this month, said the climate conference had alerted her to the scale and urgency of the action required by cities to address climate change. Cr Moore said she now believed the city needed to do “twice as much in half the time” and, at Monday night’s council meeting, called on the council to accelerate its existing targets and re-allocate funding if necessary.

“It was clear from the conference that we need bolder action at a faster rate if we are to play our part in meeting the Paris Agreement,” Cr Moore stated in her report from the summit, which was tabled at Monday night’s council meeting.

At the meeting, she called on council staff to come back to council in February “with actions to accelerate our emissions reductions over the next four years”.

Fast-tracking the city’s move towards zero-carbon buildings, including developing a clear target date by which building standards should be in place, were key priorities, she said. She also called on City of Sydney chief executive Monica Barone to bring forward the city’s Draft Environmental Action Plan to the council’s first meeting in 2017 with a clear list of priorities in line with the C40 Summit.

Cr Moore said research presented at the summit provided cities with clear targets which, if adopted, would deliver 40 per cent of the savings need to achieve the ambition of the Paris Agreement.

Cr Moore’s report and recommendations were adopted unanimously by council.

The focus of Monday night’s council meeting on climate change policy comes after the Turnbull government’s beleaguered week in the policy arena, which culminated in a fractious meeting with state premiers at Friday’s Council of Australian Government meeting.

The week was dominated by Coalition intransigence on climate change, even as a report by chief scientist Alan Finkel warned Australia had no clear path to meeting the 2030 emissions target taken to the Paris climate deal under existing policies.

This report was preceded by a policy capitulation by Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg, who promptly dumped plans for a review of the Coalition’s direct action policy to examine whether to introduce an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity industry – a form of carbon pricing – after vocal opposition from the Coalition backbench.

Fairfax Media then revealed the Turnbull government had been sitting on advice that an emissions intensity scheme would save households and businesses up to $15 billion in electricity bills over a decade. The Paris Agreement commits signatories, including Australia, to “hold average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees and pursue efforts to keep warming below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment