Australian news, and some related international items

In an act of ?religious faith, Western Australian govt backs uneconomic uranium industry

nuclear-elixir-17Yeelirrie uranium mine approval defended by Albert Jacob amid environmental fears, ABC News 18 JAN 17  By Briana Shepherd and Sam Tomlin Western Australia’s Environment Minister has defended his decision to back Canadian mining company Cameco’s Yeelirrie uranium project, despite the environmental watchdog advising against it. The Barnett Government has granted approval for the Yeelirrie mine in the Goldfields subject to 17 “strict conditions”, five months after the Environmental Protection Authority knocked back the proposal.

It is the third WA uranium mine proposal approved in the past month, and WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said it was a clear sign the Government was in a hurry.

“The Government obviously has an ideological addiction to uranium mining — they’re putting their approvals through now before the state election,” he said.

The EPA advised against the Yeelirrie project based on what it said was a risk to tiny stygofauna — a microscopic underground shrimp-like species……….

Uranium market soft, production unlikely anytime soon

Price remains the largest challenge for the state’s would-be uranium miners, with the global spot sitting at just over $US21 per pound.

The collapse from highs of $US137 per pound came in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster in 2011. senior analyst Gavin Wendt said the historically low price meant progress would be challenging for any of WA’s four proposed mines.

“I think it’s highly unlikely Cameco will bring this mine on stream anytime soon,” Mr Wendt said.

“There’s a big difference between having environmental approval and the economics of the operation being clear and justified — I don’t think we have a situation like that at the present time.”

Mr Reilly conceded price remained the key concern for Cameco.

“The market is oversupplied, and like any commodity [uranium] goes through its cycles,” he said.

“We’re optimistic that down the track we will see better and stronger prices, but right now the uranium market is soft so we’re working with the objective to get the projects ready.”

January 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Old nuclear spruikers never give up – Bob Hawke, Ron Walker, Hugh Morgan


nuclear-elixir-17Way back, Ron Walker, a former federal Liberal Party treasurer, set up  a company called Australian Nuclear Energy, with a plan  for a nuclear power plant near Portland in western Victoria. Now he’s advocating nuclear energy for South Australia.

Along with former Western Mining boss Hugh Morgan, and dear old has-been Bob Hawke, they plan to lobby Australian  federal and state governments, arguing, (of all cases!) that nuclear power would bring cheaper electricity.   Source- The Australian 17 Jan 17

January 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for a world without nuclear weapons

xi-jinpingChina’s Xi calls for a world without nuclear weapons, SCMP, 19 Jan 17Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a world without nuclear weapons at the UN on Wednesday and urged a multilateral system based on equality among nations large and small.

His speech at the United Nations in Geneva came at the end of a diplomatic tour that included a landmark address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, just days before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

Some experts have seen Xi’s Swiss tour as a bid to capture the mantle of global leadership at a time when Washington is clouded by uncertainty with an unpredictable political novice about to take charge.

“Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited and destroyed over time to make the world free of nuclear weapons,” Xi said, according to an official translation.

China has been a nuclear power since 1964.

In an address that stretched beyond 45 minutes, Xi also sought to make the case for a global governance system that strives for a level playing field among countries where interventionist tendencies are resisted……..

While he made no mention of the incoming Republican administration, Xi’s message on nuclear weapons stood apart from Trump’s at times contradictory remarks on American nuclear power……

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Parts of USA will reach e dangerous 2°C warming threshold faster than rest of the planet,

climate SOSFlag-USAParts of United States are heating faster than globe as a whole A new study shows the Northeast USA will reach the dangerous 2°C warming threshold faster than most of the rest of the planet, Guardian, , 17 Jan 17, A new study shows the Northeast USA will reach the dangerous 2°C warming threshold faster than most of the rest of the planet,

Global warming obviously refers to temperature increases across the entire globe. We know the Earth is warming, we know it is human-caused, we have a pretty good idea about how much the warming will be in the future and what some of the consequences are. In fact, when it comes to the Earth’s average climate, scientists have a pretty good understanding.

On the other hand, no one lives in the average climate. We live spread out north, west, east, and south. On islands, large continents, inland or in coastal regions. Many of us want to know what’s going to happen to the climate where we live. How will my life be affected in the future?

This type of question is answered in a very recent study published by scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The team, which includes Dr. Raymond Bradley and researcher Dr. Ambarish Karmalkar looked specifically at the Northeastern United States. They found that this area will warm much more rapidly than the globe as a whole. In fact, it will warm faster than any other United States region. The authors expect the Northeast US will warm 50% faster than the planet as a whole. They also find that the United States will reach a 2 degree Celsius warming 10–20 years before the globe as a whole.

So why does this matter? Well first, it matters because some of the effects people will experience are directly tied to the temperature increase in their region. For instance, we know that warmer air leads to more intense precipitation. In fact, we are already observing increases in very heavy rainfall across the United States (especially in the Northeast). Based on this new research, that trend will only get worse. It means that winters in this region will get warmer and wetter – more winter precipitation will likely occur as rain rather than snow. This affects the availability of water into the spring months. It also means that summers will have more intense heat waves which will lead to more severe droughts.

However, there is another impact to this study……..

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation picks climate sceptic for Western Australian election

Climate sceptic a top Hanson pick, The West Australian, Gary Adshead and Daniel Mercer Thursday, January 19, 2017 Geologist and climate change sceptic David Archibald will be named as One Nation’s highest-profile candidate when Pauline Hanson launches the party’s WA election campaign in Perth today.

Mr Archibald, who has written many books and papers trying to debunk global warming science, will attempt to win the Nationals-held electorate of Kalgoorlie.

Mr Archibald and the names of more than 40 other Upper and Lower House candidates will be revealed by Senator Hanson at a campaign launch on the steps of Parliament House.

Claiming that the heating effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is minuscule forms part of his argument against scientists who say the planet is warming. Three years ago he wrote a paper arguing the world was actually cooling…….

January 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Smarter, cheaper solar plants are halving Australian solar farm capital intensity

solar-panels-and-moneyAustralian solar farm capital intensity halves, due to smarter, cheaper plants, REneweconomy By  on 19 January 2017

The capital intensity per watt of the utility scale solar plants in the current development pipeline in Australia is about half that of those that are already operational.

The stark and rapid improvement in the economics of big solar in the country is due to global declines in component costs, but also importantly declining EPC (construction) costs and the deployment of yield-boosting technology like tracking.

With the pipeline of utility scale PV projects growing seemingly on a daily basis, Sustainable Energy Research Analytics (SERA) believes that solar’s increasing competitiveness is due to a large part to a more competitive and efficiency EPC landscape…….

January 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment