- about his choice of Steve Bannon on the National Security Council – “Unsupervised by people who know what they’re doing. Trump and Bannon could bring the world closer to a nuclear holocaust.“
- Pentagon urges Trump to expand nuclear weapons, ready for “limited” atomic war.
- Thanks to Trump’s comments on climate change and nuclear arms we are once again close to nuclear war.
- USA intelligence agencies to study whether the Russian and Chinese leadership could survive a nuclear attack
- Dangerous steps by Russia and Trump on nuclear arms control
Meanwhile the global nuclear industry is in financial crisis. And Fukushima nuclear reactor radiation at highest level since 2011 meltdown.
Trump is having his impact on climate change news and action, too.
Joint Statements on Climate Change from National Academies of Science Around the World.
CLIMATE. Well, Prime Minister Turnbull and Resources Minister Matt Canavan have flung themselves well and truly into the embrace of the coal industry. They have set up a task force to promote coal. They are setting up a $5 billion fund for ‘clean-coal’ power stations, and plan to use the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund “clean coal”, seeing that no private investor would take that risk. New “clean” coal plants would cost $billions in taxpayer subsidies, and not clean anyway.
Australia’s national government falters on climate policy. Victoria races ahead.
South Australia is in position to be renewable leader, stabilise Australia’s energy system with supergrid. Snowy Hydro turns to solar
Solar power now taking off in a big way in Western Australia.
Federal nuclear waste dump plan ( This is not just a South Australian issue – it’s national.) Extracts from Hansard show how the Australian government seeks to deceive the public on the definition of “High Level Nuclear Wastes”
Kimba Mayor wants a referendum first, before any decision on nuclear waste dump. South Australian property owners offer land for nuclear waste – at Napandee and Lyndhurst, near Kimba. Community survey shows strong local opposition to Federal nuclear waste dump at Barndioota, South Australia. Nuclear propaganda group to visit Port Augusta.
Federal govt embarrassed over backlash to its plan to expand Shoalwater Bay military training area.
Taipower clearly states that it would not consider sending waste to another country unless and until that country has developed a repository. Yet the economic case developed by Jacobs and MCM collapses if revenue (and waste) is not received before construction of a repository.
Finally, Mr Heard’s promotion of fast breeder reactors is beyond stupid….. Most of the countries that invested in fast breeder reactors have given up, deciding not to throw good money after bad. Last year, Japan decided to give up on the Monju fast breeder reactor, a fiasco that will cost Japanese taxpayers A$17.3 billion in construction, operation and decommissioning costs despite the fact that the reactor rarely operated.
The Royal Commission completely rejected proposals advanced by Heard and others for ‘advanced fast reactors’, noting in its final report that such reactors are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future; that the development of such a first-of-a-kind project would have high commercial and technical risk
Friends of the Earth Australia has today written to all Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council, and SA political representatives in the Federal Parliament, responding to the latest round of misinformation from those proposing to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump.
To: Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council
From: Jim Green
National nuclear campaigner
Friends of the Earth, Australia Feb. 3, 2017
EXPOSING THE LATEST MISINFORMATION FROM THE NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP LOBBY
Dear Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council,
The Advertiser has today run an article including false claims from nuclear lobbyist / uranium industry consultant / PhD student Ben Heard that Jay Weatherill’s plan to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump could be pursued without the need to gamble hundreds of millions or billions of dollars with no guarantee of any return on the investment.
Mr Heard is quoted saying that the “notion of high upfront cost to South Australia is a persistent and deliberate lie first peddled by deceitful environmental groups and now, sadly, taken up by the Liberal Party.”
In fact, the necessity of gambling hundreds of millions or billions of dollars ‒ without the slightest guarantee of any return on the investment ‒ is clearly spelt out by Jacobs, the economics consulting firm commissioned by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.
Jacobs Project Manager / Consultant Tim Johnson told the SA Joint Select Committee that “total expenditure prior to the decision to proceed” is likely to be from around A$300 million to in excess of A$600 million, depending on the timing of the decision to proceed. (Letter to Joint Standing Committee, 5 July 2016.)
Dr Johnson told the Joint Select Committee that the project entails very significant economic risks: “It isn’t a risk-free process to go into this. There is a very significant risk.” Yet the nuclear waste dump lobby persist with the fabrication that the project can be pursued without economic risks. Continue reading
Resources Minister Matt Canavan opens $5 billion infrastructure fund for clean-coal power stations, ABC News, 3 Feb 17 By political reporter Henry Belot Resources Minister Matt Canavan has opened the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund to fund new so-called clean-coal power stations.
- The Federal Government has invested close to $590 million in clean-coal technology since 2009
- Australia does not have a high-efficiency, low-emission power station
- Prime Minister Turnbull announced the push for more clean-coal technology earlier this week
Senator Canavan’s comments come days after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australian industry had an obligation to be at the forefront of coal technology.
Treasurer Scott Morrison has also not ruled out using money set aside in the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to pay for new generation power stations.
Mr Canavan said he had received interest from energy generators to tap into the billion-dollar investment fund and explore North Queensland. “I’ve received some interest over the past week associated with our commitment to build base load power stations, including to support clean coal options,” he told ABC AM. Mr Canavan would not say which companies had expressed interest but said there were viable options near the Galilee Basin and other parts of the state’s north.
The Federal Government has invested close to $590 million in clean-coal technology since 2009 but Australia does not have a high-efficiency, low-emission power station. The Resources Minister cited a 2012 report by industry consultants GHD, which indicated clean-coal power stations could be commercially viable in Australia’s north.
Mr Canavan dismissed comments by some Australia’s energy generators — including AGL and Energy Australia — saying new power stations would be expensive to build and require significant public funds……
Bloomberg New Energy finance researcher Leonard Quong said new coal would be the most expensive form of energy supply. “New coal is made particularly expensive due to the substantial carbon, reputation, trading and construction risks the technology presents to an investor,” he said.
The renewed focus on clean-coal has drawn criticism from Labor and the Greens, who have accused the Government of trying to protect “the coal club”.
Opposition spokesman for climate change and energy Mark Butler said a preference for coal over renewables would mean higher power bills for Australians. Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the cleanest form of electricity would remain wind and solar, while raising concerns about the cost of new base-load coal plants. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-03/infrastructure-fund-opened-for-clean-coal-power-stations/8237866
Not just Toshiba – the global nuclear industry is in crisis everywhere, Ecologist, Jim Green 3rd February 2017 “………..”It has never been a worse time for uranium miners”, said Alexander Molyneux from Paladin Energy in October 2016.
“No major commodity had a worse 2016 than uranium”, Bloomberg said in January 2017. “In fact, the element used to make nuclear fuel has had a pretty dismal decade.”
Uranium mining ramped up 5-10 years ago in anticipation of the nuclear renaissance that never materialised. Hence a glut, hence the low price. The price has fallen for seven of the past nine years. The spot price fell 41% in 2016, sinking to a 12-year low (US$18 / lb U3O8 in November).
The spot price averaged about $26 last year, and is expected to average just $23 in 2017 according to the median forecast of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg in December 2016. “I don’t think there’s a mine profitable at current spot prices”, Leigh Curyer from Canadian uranium miner NexGen Energy told Bloomberg.
The long-term contract price fell from $44 in January 2016 to $30 in December. It would need to double to encourage the development of new mines. KPMG noted in December that “uranium producers are expected to reduce production and cut costs through 2017 and 2018, with high cost mines likely to scale back or close. New projects are expected to remain on hold.” RBC expects the sector will be oversupplied until around 2024.
The uranium enrichment industry is in much the same place as uranium mining. The spot uranium enrichment price has fallen consistently since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and it fell by a third between early 2015 and late 2016 to reach an all-time low.
And since cheap, abundant enrichment capacity can substitute for newly mined uranium (either by extracting more uranium-235 during uranium enrichment, or re-enriching tails), this has and will continue to keep uranium prices down. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988607/not_just_toshiba_the_global_nuclear_industry_is_in_crisis_everywhere.html
Community survey shows strong local opposition to Federal nuclear waste dump at Barndioota, South Australia
A survey of residents living within a 50km radius of the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility of Barndioota, and the remainder of the Flinders Ranges Council Area, South Australia……….
Conclusion FLAG employed two separate survey methodologies to gauge community support for the proposed waste facility.
The first opportunistically sampled interested &/or concerned community members attending the Quorn Town Hall Meeting of 21st September 2016 and the Quorn Agricultural Show on 25th September 2016. Respondents elected to fill out a questionnaire at the FLAG booth.
Whilst there is a possibility of some response bias the method does offer a measure of community support or opposition to the development.
The second mail out/postal survey represents a more systematic attempt to survey the entire towns of Quorn, Hawker and Craddock. Although there is still the possibility of some response bias (as in any survey), these methods provide an improved estimate of regional community sentiment.
Both surveys indicate considerable community opposition to the waste facility and when taken together demonstrate that Department of Industry, Innovation & Science does not have the majority community support it requires.
In both surveys, a clear majority voted “no” to the establishment of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in the area, with 92% voting against it in Survey 1 and 79% in Survey 2.
In the Hawker/Cradock region, which is closer to the proposed site, the support for the proposal was slightly higher, presumably due to the perceived economic benefits. Further away in Quorn, support for the proposal was lower, as the benefits would be minimal and outweighed by loss to other industries such as tourism.
Both surveys indicate majority disapproval for the proposal.
Prof. Garnett – America is the one that is different. America has not yet adopted the internationally agreed definitions. Dr Cameron is on the committee. He is also involved in the International Atomic Energy Agency. My director of materials, Dr Jostsons, whom you met, is also on relevant committees, and at this stage America is not conforming with the internationally agreed definitions.” Joint Committee on Public Works 14/05/99
Turnbull taskforce to push coal-fired power for north The Australian February 4, 2017 DENNIS SHANAHAN Political Editor Canberra MICHAEL OWEN, Malcolm Turnbull has formed a new, powerful cabinet committee to oversee national energy policy as the government proposes to use some of the $5 billion Northern Australia Fund to help build a new, commercially viable coal-fired power station in northern Queensland……
As parliament resumes next week the Prime Minister is putting energy security and lower power prices at the heart of the Coalition’s policy and political campaign with the new cabinet sub-committee — including Mr Turnbull, Barnaby Joyce, Julie Bishop, Scott Morrison, Mathias Cormann, Josh Frydenberg, Matt Canavan and Arthur Sinodinos — starting to co-ordinate and develop a national energy policy…….
Mr Turnbull and the Treasurer have flagged using funds from the Clean Energy Development Fund for modern coal-powered generators the government has convinced the $100 billion Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank to lend for coal-fired electricity generation in Asia. Senator Canavan, the Minister for Northern Australia, yesterday suggested the government help fund a coal-fired power station in the Galilee Basin in Queensland……
“We back clean-coal options in the north and I want to make clear that we will back investment in clean coal through our $5bn Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. We set up that facility to build infrastructure in the north, to build specific infrastructure like power stations,” Senator Canavan said….
The minister said Mr Turnbull had announced that the “Australian government would look at encouraging the development of a clean coal-fired power station in Australia”. “This will be a clear difference between us and the Labor Party. We support coal…….. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/turnbull-taskforce-to-push-coalfired-power-for-north/news-story/e15cbb9f03c1922f909780ccbffd41cb
Extraordinary readings pile pressure on operator Tepco in its efforts to decommission nuclear power station, Guardian, Justin McCurry , 3 Feb 17, Radiation levels inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are at their highest since the plant suffered a triple meltdown almost six years ago.
The facility’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said atmospheric readings as high as 530 sieverts an hour had been recorded inside the containment vessel of reactor No 2, one of three reactors that experienced a meltdown when the plant was crippled by a huge tsunami that struck the north-east coast of Japan in March 2011.
The extraordinary radiation readings highlight the scale of the task confronting thousands of workers, as pressure builds on Tepco to begin decommissioning the plant – a process that is expected to take about four decades.
The recent reading, described by some experts as “unimaginable”, is far higher than the previous record of 73 sieverts an hour in that part of the reactor.
A single dose of one sievert is enough to cause radiation sickness and nausea; 5 sieverts would kill half those exposed to it within a month, and a single dose of 10 sieverts would prove fatal within weeks.
Tepco also said image analysis had revealed a hole in metal grating beneath the same reactor’s pressure vessel. The one-metre-wide hole was probably created by nuclear fuel that melted and then penetrated the vessel after the tsunami knocked out Fukushima Daiichi’s back-up cooling system.
“It may have been caused by nuclear fuel that would have melted and made a hole in the vessel, but it is only a hypothesis at this stage,” Tepco’s spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi told AFP.
We believe the captured images offer very useful information, but we still need to investigate given that it is very difficult to assume the actual condition inside.”
The presence of dangerously high radiation will complicate efforts to safely dismantle the plant.
A remote-controlled robot that Tepco intends to send into the No 2 reactor’s containment vessel is designed to withstand exposure to a total of 1,000 sieverts, meaning it would survive for less than two hours before malfunctioning.
The firm said radiation was not leaking outside the reactor, adding that the robot would still prove useful since it would move from one spot to the other and encounter radiation of varying levels.
Tepco and its network of partner companies at Fukushima Daiichi have yet to identify the location and condition of melted fuel in the three most seriously damaged reactors. Removing it safely represents a challenge unprecedented in the history of nuclear power.
Quantities of melted fuel are believed to have accumulated at the bottom of the damaged reactors’ containment vessels, but dangerously high radiation has prevented engineers from accurately gauging the state of the fuel deposits.
Earlier this week, the utility released images of dark lumps found beneath reactor No 2 that it believes could be melted uranium fuel rods – the first such discovery since the disaster.
In December, the government said the estimated cost of decommissioning the plant and decontaminating the surrounding area, as well as paying compensation and storing radioactive waste, had risen to 21.5tn yen (£150bn), nearly double an estimate released in 2013.
The financial fog swirling around the Moorside new-build project in West Cumbria continues to thicken by the day. Continue reading
Defence told to look elsewhere as plan to seize Queensland cattle country sparks outcry
PM tells defence to find other sites to train foreign troops amid anger at plan to expand Shoalwater Bay training area, Guardian, Joshua Robertson, 2 Feb 17, Malcolm Turnbull has ordered the Department of Defence to find alternative sites for foreign military training in Queensland after uproar over plans to take over as many as 60 grazing properties in prime cattle country.
The state opposition leader, Tim Nicholls, on Thursday said the prime minister intervened after a growing backlash over the prospect of compulsory acquisitions, revealed months after an election campaign in which the federal government trumpeted a $2.2bn training deal with Singapore.
The controversy prompted Nicholls to write to Turnbull imploring him to step in after what he said was defence’s mishandling of the proposed training site expansion at Shoalwater Bay and near Townsville.
The federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, wrote to Turnbull on Wednesday calling for him to urgently review the matter and explain what “alternatives to acquiring prime grazing land” had been considered.
Nicholls’ statement raised doubts about what other options defence, which has compulsory land acquisition powers, had explored to date for expanding training bases to host 14,000 Singapore troops a year………
The LNP this week joined state and federal Labor, Katter’s Australian party and One Nation in publicly criticising the process for the land expansion, after the federal government signed the deal with Singapore in May last year to train 14,000 of its troops.
The parties all warned the loss of drought-resistant grazing land in areas that contain up to 100,000 head of cattle would have a dramatic and harmful impact on the beef industry.
In November landholders in the Marlborough and Charters Towers regions first learned of the possibility their properties would be acquired in letters from defence, which had planned an expansion of about 170,000 hectares.
Defence is yet to decide which properties it will target but the defence minister, Marise Payne, recently ordered the process be sped up with those plans to be revealed next month.
Those under pressure include federal backbencher Michelle Landry, whose central Queensland seat of Capricornia is one of the nation’s most marginal……….https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/02/defence-shoalwater-bay-queensland-compulsory-acquisition?CMP=share_btn_fb
Bannon will join the NSC’s principals committee, the top inter-agency group advising the President on national security.
Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will now attend meetings only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed,” according to the presidential memorandum issued Saturday.
Political strategists have never before participated in National Security Council principals meetings because the NSC is supposed to give presidents nonpartisan, factual advice.
But forget facts. Forget analysis. This is the Trump administration.
And what does Bannon have to bring to the table?
In case you forgot, before joining Donald Trump’s inner circle Bannon headed Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet that has promoted conspiracy theories and is a platform for the alt-right movement, which espouses white nationalism.
This is truly scary.
Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice calls the move “stone cold crazy.” Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who also served under George W. Bush, says the demotions are a “big mistake.”
Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told CBS News, “I am worried about the National Security Council. … The appointment of Mr. Bannon is a radical departure from any National Security Council in history.” McCain added that the “one person who is indispensable would be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in my view.”
Here’s the big worry: Trump is unhinged and ignorant. Bannon is nuts and malicious. If not supervised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, their decisions could endanger the world…….
Not incidentally, “America First” was the name of the pro-Nazi group led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II to keep America neutral between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.
Trump’s and Bannon’s version of “America First” is no less dangerous. It is alienating America from the rest of the world, destroying our nation’s moral authority abroad, and risking everything we love about our country.
Unsupervised by people who know what they’re doing. Trump and Bannon could also bring the world closer to a nuclear holocaust. http://inthesetimes.com/article/19853/reich-trump-bannon-america-first-national-security-council