Australian news, and some related international items

Japan to scrap 5 more nuclear reactors

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

String of facilities approaching maximum life span

0420N-Decommissioning-Business_article_main_image.jpgWorkers take apart a pump at Chubu Electric Power’s Hamaoka nuclear plant.

TOKYO — Five nuclear reactors in Japan were approved for decommissioning on Wednesday, pushing utilities and other companies to join hands to tackle both the great business opportunities and daunting technical problems involved with the process.

Two reactors at Kansai Electric Power‘s Mihama plant, as well as one each at Japan Atomic Power’s Tsuruga plant, Chugoku Electric Power‘s Shimane plant and Kyushu Electric Power‘s Genkai facility received the green light from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority. The safety updates needed to keep them running beyond their mandated 40-year life span were deemed too costly.

Japan had 54 nuclear reactors before the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. A total of 15, including the six at Fukushima Daiichi, are now set to be taken out of service. Another one…

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April 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Niigata governor dashes TEPCO’s hopes for reactor restarts in 2019

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

uguhgjkmll.jpgTokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose, left, hands a report to Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama at the prefectural government office in Niigata on April 19.

NIIGATA–Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama said a longer period may be needed to verify safety at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, destroying Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s schedule to restart reactors there.

Yoneyama announced the possible extension of the safety-confirmation period, which he had earlier put at three or four years, at a news conference on April 19 after his meeting with TEPCO President Naomi Hirose here.

The governor said it will take time to confirm that the nuclear plant can withstand major earthquakes, especially a building that is expected to serve as the headquarters in the event of a severe accident at the site.

Only after safety is confirmed can discussions begin on restarting the nuclear plant in the prefecture, Yoneyama said.

Under TEPCO’s reconstruction…

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April 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US Vice President in Australia, – to make sure that we toe the USA line?

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence Is En Route To Australia Malcolm Turnbull says the visit shows the United States’ commitment to Australia is ‘very real’. Huffington Post 21/04/2017 As tensions threaten to boil over between the United States and North Korea, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is en route to Australia in a visit expected to focus on regional security and trade.

Arriving in Sydney on Friday night, Pence will spend two days in Sydney as one of the final legs in his whirlwind tour of Asia which began last Saturday.

 Amid concerns that Trump plans to withdraw focus from the region, the visit is designed to both reassure the United States’ foreign partners and gauge the mood within Asia towards the most unconventional administration in America’s history……..

The growing tensions on the Korean peninsula, America-China relations and the remaining trade barriers between Australia and the world power are expected to feature prominently in talks between Pence and Australian political figures.

Pence’s visit to Australia so early on in Trump’s Presidency was evidence of our importance as an international ally to the US, Malcom Turnbull told ABC’s 7:30 on Thursday night.

“I believe this is the earliest visit by a Vice President to Australia,” Turnbull said……

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop invited Pence to visit Australia when they met in Washington in February. She has been vocal about the need for the US to become more involved in Asia.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Non scientists must join the March for Science

Why non-scientists need to join the March for Science, Brisbane Times,  Jocelyn Prasad, 20 Apr 17,  I’ll be among the many non-scientists participating in the inaugural March for Science, which is taking place worldwide on Saturday.

None of us is untouched by science. We owe much of our prosperity to scientific progress. And many of the greatest issues facing humanity require us to get behind evidence-based research…….

March for Science Australia aims to improve scientific literacy and promote open communication of science. We believe a well-informed society is more prosperous and successful. It is less likely to be led astray by the misinformation often propagated by social media. And it prevents the likes of the anti-vaccination movement from building an ideological stronghold.

In a time of political uncertainty where fake news has become part of everyday life, scientists participating in the march know they need to shed their lab coats and spend time explaining their work to non-scientists. They know that being able to explain research in simple terms doesn’t diminish its value. On the contrary, clear communication widens support for it.

All politicians must pay more heed to scientific evidence when formulating policy. This is not a climate change march but it’s impossible to ignore the blatant disregard by politicians of available, peer-reviewed research on environmental issues. A willingness to back new coal mines, thinly veiled disdain for renewable energy and abandonment of the Climate Council are just a few recent measures showing how the government has turned a blind eye to science.

And while we might think censorship of scientific information is not our problem, it’s worth remembering the Australian government last year asked the United Nations to remove references to the Great Barrier Reef from its report on climate change’s impact on global heritage sites.

We are also calling for stable investment in public research. It’s time for politicians to stop taking a myopic economic view, to look beyond the electoral cycle and to consider the country’s long-term wellbeing. Robust research that seeks to solve complex problems requires stable funding. But funding in the science sector can vary from year to year, often leaving worthwhile scientific pursuits to wither. We know the government’s coffers aren’t bottomless. It’s another reason for scientists to become better communicators – when they explain their work to taxpayers, they broaden support for publicly funded research.

Most of us aren’t professional scientists but we’ve all done science. Whether we’re teaching kids to catch a ball, figuring out how to improve this year’s tomatoes in our veggie patches or discovering new planets in our spare time, we’re embracing scientific principles.

And we need science that is pursued for the public good, uncompromised by commercial or political interests……Jocelyn Prasad is an organiser of the March for Science and University of Sydney media adviser. The Sydney march starts at midday on Saturday in Martin Place.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Why a region like outback South Australia should retreat from plan for radioactive waste dump

Paul Waldon, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 20 Apr 17  A used car salesman made mayor of Carlsbad New Mexico was the person that instigated the promotion of nuclear waste abandonment at the site now known as the WIPP with Betty Richards the only person to decry it. About 40 miles away a few council members took it upon themselves to offer and promoted their town of Andrews to be a nuclear waste dump with the unwilling towns people very shocked and upset when they were finally told.

50,000+ member strong united workers union fought to stop the build of the nuclear power plant Fermi 1 and lost their case even with the support of Edward Teller a Theoretical Physicist who claimed that it was a bad design reactor, only to have a partial meltdown shortly after construction.

These are just a few incidents where the the minority has over ruled the majority and the consequences to the environment and the economy could still cost the taxpayers of today and into the future many billions of dollars more.

So espousing the dumping of deadly radioactive waste is the wrong direction for any responsible community to consider, this is why the decision to retreat from a badly conceived idea of contaminating the region has appeal.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


March for Frontier Wars Massacres and Conflicts
Tuesday 25 April 2017  Gathering from 9:30am
Anzac Parade (west end cnr Constitution Ave., Reid, Canberra)


Newsletter of 21 April 2017, 9am AEST

This Newsletter:!topic/wgar-news/hVShDimAp6s

April 21, 2017 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

A March on Anzac Day: 6 years of FRONTIER WARS

Sovereign Union 20 Apr 2017  Ghillar, Michael Anderson: 

“We’ve been dying on this soil for many hundreds of years now, since the whiteman came and we’ve been doing that in defense of our land. They’ve had the superior force and mightier weapons, but they’ve never been able to conquer us. They’ve been able to imprison us, jail us and all that sort of stuff but we’ve never acquiesced, never ceded our sovereignty and we are in defense of our land every day of the week.

This is a hidden war. It’s a war of stealth and, unfortunately, when we want to remind people of this, then people take offence and call it a protest.

This is just being totally respectful of the fact that we, our people, have got a message to relay and Australia cannot keep hiding it – like at Hospital Creek nine kilometres north of Brewarrina. We want to excise that land there because the human bones are still visible and that’s my ancestry. They were shot at this place. We had here people who survived this massacre, but that was a private army. They were made up of all the cockies and pastoralists.

It’s reality.

We need to remind people of this – and you go to Germany where mass murders occurred in Germany. You go to Serbia now, where they buried people in mass graves, where they massacred them. They’ve now created a situation there where these things are memorial parks now to the dead who were killed there.

Here in Australia we don’t have that and I think it’s time we did that for every nation. We have to include the elements of Australia’s forgotten wars.”

April 21, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, ACTION, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s political leaders have a disgraceful history of climate inaction. Time to March For Science

March for science? After decades of climate attacks, it’s high time, The Conversation, Marc HudsonPhD Candidate, Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester, April 20, 2017. This Saturday, the March for Science will be held in cities around the world – coincidentally enough, ten years to the day since John Howard urged Australians to pray for rain.

While such marches are not the answer to everything, their very existence tells us that science is under attack, not merely from defunding of research bodies, but also via attacks on the inconvenient truths of climate science.

While scientists weep over the Great Barrier Reef, some politicians respond by laughing and joking. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, history | Leave a comment

Queensland govt calls for large scale renewables hub near near major coal port

Queensland wants “huge renewables hub” built near major coal port, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 20 April 2017 The Queensland government has earmarked one of the state’s major coal centres as a future renewable energy hub, calling for expressions of interest to develop up to 450MW of large-scale solar, wind or biofuels on a 1,248 hectare patch near Gladstone.

In a document published on Thursday, Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) said it was seeking to enter into an agreement with an organisation or consortia that “will act quickly” to develop a large scale solar farm or other renewable energy facility on government-owned land at Aldoga, within the Gladstone State Development area.

Gladstone – which is home to a 1,680MW coal-fired power station, the state’s largest electricity generator – is also known for its shipping port, which is largely used to export Australian coal and, more recently, LNG.

The government’s proposal to build up to 450MW of renewable energy capacity at Aldoga – more than half of the total 719MW currently installed in the state – offers a neat illustration of the shifting momentum in global energy markets, while also supporting the Palaszczuk government’s target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030……..The Aldoga site will be EDQ’s flagship renewable energy project and is part of the government’s Advancing Our Cities and Regions Strategy, which aims to renew and repurpose underutilised state land to generate jobs, and drive economic growth.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

Trump administration seems unable to make a decision on the Paris climate agreement

The Trump Administration Is Apparently Terrified of Actually Making a Decision About Paris Sad!, Mother Jones, APR. 19, 2017 This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Donald Trump’s aides have abruptly postponed a meeting to determine whether the US should remain in the Paris climate agreement, with an unlikely coalition of fossil fuel firms, environmental groups and some Republicans calling on the president to stick with the deal. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Donald Trump is making so many mistakes. Does he have a frontal lobe brain deficit?

Brain specialist doctor believes Donald Trump’s frontal lobe is failing By Bill PalmerOver the past week Donald Trump has begun making so many basic confused errors that it’s become a matter of serious concern to a number of Americans. He’s forgetting names. He’s forgetting people. He’s forgetting what to do during the National Anthem. He’s forgetting that a kid just handed him a hat. He’s forgetting which country he just bombed. And now a brain specialist doctor says she believes it’s evidence that Trump’s frontal lobe is failing.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victoria’s 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm set to be developed

Construction underway on Victoria’s 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm By Sophie Vorrath on 19 April 2017 Acciona Energy has broken ground on its 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm, a $258 million project in Victoria’s western plains that was fast-tracked after winning a state government tender designed to reboot renewables investment in the state, and side-step a capital strike by major utilities.

At a turning of the sod ceremony at the wind farm’s site, 25km east of Colac, Acciona managing director Andrew Thomson said the company expected to see Mt Gellibrand “pouring” clean energy into the grid within about 15 months – at a time when the nation would be seeking to increase its capacity for renewable power generation.

Thomson said the new wind farm would be a “massive economic driver” for the region over the next 25 years, creating 100 local jobs in the construction phase, and up to 10 operations and maintenance roles continuing for decades ahead.

Of course, generating local jobs and investment was a key aim of the Andrews government tender, alongside meeting its legislated target of 25 per cent renewables by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Tasmania, with wind and hydro can be “energy battery” for Australia – says Turnbull

Turnbull says Tasmania wind, hydro can become “energy battery” for Australia, Reneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 20 April 2017 Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has extended his vision of large-scale pumped hydro and storage to Tasmania, outlining plans to expand the island’s existing hydropower system, and possibly add 2,500MW in pumped hydro, and describing the possibility that the state could become the “renewable energy battery” for Australia. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | storage, Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Enormous solar farm planned for Gympie area, Queensland

Queensland company lodges plan to build Australia’s biggest solar farm near Gympie, ABC News, By Bruce Atkinson, 19 Apr 17, A company proposing to build Australia’s largest solar farm near Gympie says the $2 billion facility will eventually supply about 15 per cent of south-east Queensland’s power needs.

Queensland company Solar Q has lodged a development application with the Gympie Council to build a solar farm and battery storage facility 30 kilometres north-west of the city.

The project will be built in stages, with initial approval being sought for a 350-megawatt facility, but within four years it is proposed to increase this to 800 megawatts or enough electricity to power about 315,000 homes.

Managing director Scott Armstrong said the finished facility would be the biggest in Australia but “the way the market is going is that there will be bigger projects that will come on”……..

When completed, around 3 million solar panels will provide power to the network on the 17-square-kilometre site. During peak consumption at night, the battery storage facility, which is powered by the grid, will ease the load on power stations……..

The proponents are not expecting any hurdles to approval from the Gympie Council or State Government agencies, Mr Armstrong said.

“Solar and battery storages are a static generation facility so it will produce minimal noise, it doesn’t emit, it doesn’t have particulates from chimney stacks, it doesn’t have ash dams, so we are not expecting any impediments with regards to getting approvals,” he said.

Once the approvals are in place Mr Armstrong expects the connection agreement with the transmission company will be finalised.

He said the project would be funded by private investors, including superannuation management funds.Work is expected to start by the end of the year…….

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Victoria’s Ararat Wind Farm now supplying power to Victoria and ACT

Ararat Wind Farm fully commissioned, supplying power to Victoria and ACT By Sophie Vorrath on 19 April 2017  The recently completed 240MW Ararat Wind Farm in south-western Victoria is now operating at full capacity, feeding enough renewable energy into the grid to power 120,000 homes, 37,000 of them in Canberra.

The wind farm, which is operated and managed by Canberra-based company Windlab, was fully commissioned on Wednesday this week, after several years in the works. It first began sending power to the grid in Victoria in August 2016. This graph below, from the Energy and Climate College, shows how it has expanded production.

The project gained significance as the first wind farm to be contracted after the reinstatement of a bipartisan federal renewable energy target – that is, after the Coalition and Labor agreed to cut the RET to 33,000GWh from 41,000GWh).

In Ararat’s case, the go-ahead was buoyed by the signing of a power purchase agreement with the ACT government, which guaranteed the purchase of approximately 40 per cent of its annual output – a contract it is now delivering on.

“The ACT’s agreement with the Ararat Wind Farm provided certainty for investors and enabled construction to commence in late 2015,” ACT climate minister Shane Rattenbury said on Wednesday.

“This is good news for consumers as well as climate change mitigation, as the ACT government has locked-in a set price for the renewable electricity produced by 10 wind and solar projects, including Ararat, for the next 20 years.”

Rattenbury – whose predecessor, Simon Corbell, is widely regarded as the mastermind of the nation-leading renewables policy – said that the Capital was showing the federal government how to deliver on clean energy.

“If the generators make more money than the set price for the electricity they sell into the national electricity market, they pay the difference back to the ACT,” Rattenbury said.

Ararat Mayor, Paul Hooper, described the wind farm as a “really significant” project for the city, bringing $450 million of investment, 350 jobs at its construction peak, and more than $40 million into the local economy during construction, which lasted about 18 months.

“It was completed on time and to a very high standard,” Hooper said, adding that project developer RES Australia had been “…very, very good corporate citizens” throughout the development.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | ACT, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment