Australian news, and some related international items

Hawker schoolkids given tax-payer funded nuclear promotional trip to Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney.

Hawker School Students Visit ANSTO  Ten students aged 11 to 17 from Hawker School are travelling across the country, to explore some of Australia’s most significant science infrastructure at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney.

On Wednesday and Thursday next week, the students and two teachers from Hawker School will spend their days not in their science classrooms, but near Australia’s multi-purpose nuclear research reactor.

Their trip will start in the nearby Royal National Park, with Les Bursill, an elder of the Dharawal community, who will share with them the rich traditional heritage of the land surrounding ANSTO.

Les is the Elder in Residence at the University of Wollongong, and has worked closely with ANSTO to ensure that the many sites of indigenous importance around the Lucas Heights campus are protected.

The students will then head to the ANSTO Discovery Centre, which welcomes 15,000 visitors a year, to learn more about radiation and radioactivity through an interactive workshop.

The OPAL reactor will be the next stop, where students will see the reactor pool up-close, before they tour the wider ANSTO campus, seeing the advanced technology used and the low level and intermediate level waste stores.

On Thursday, engineering will be the subject of choice as the students find out more about all different types of engineering, and take part in hands-on activities as part of Discover Engineering Day.

“ANSTO is thrilled to be welcoming our young South Australian visitors next week,” said Discovery Centre Leader, Rod Dowler.

“Every week we have visits from students, from Kindergarten through to university students, but it is always an exciting time when we are welcoming out-of-state visitors.

“Bringing the kids out to Lucas Heights to see the facilities and to show them the work being done at ANSTO will let them know more about the front end of the nuclear cycle – the research, medicine and innovation that nuclear science enables.

“At ANSTO we produce nuclear medicines that are needed by approximately one in two Australians in their lifetime, for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers, and heart, lung, muscular, and skeletal conditions.

“Researchers also use nuclear research techniques to support research into improving human health, understanding our environment and supporting Australian industries.

“For example, nuclear research supports the agriculture industry through helping to understand the sustainability of Australia’s groundwater reservoirs, by determining their age and the ‘recharge rate’ of water, which helps farmers around the country.

“We’ll also talk to students about radiation, and how it is all around us in everyday household items like potting mix, kitty litter, bananas, granite benchtops and even bricks in houses – and, it also occurs in things we produce, like nuclear medicines and its by-products.

“We’ll be talking about all things nuclear from start to finish, so that the students get a really good understanding of all the steps, people, products and by-products generated by Australia’s nuclear industry.

“We are really looking forward to having the students from Hawker in Lucas Heights, and we can’t wait to show them around.”

May 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

A plethora of renewable energy news in Australia

I strongly recommend viewers to read where Giles Parkinson ,Sophie Vorrath, and other mighty pens will give you all the news on renewable energy. The ABC is good, too.

For this website – the avalanche of renewable energy news is overwhelming. It IS all happening in Australia, even if our government is blind to that fact.
But, as this site is dedicated to nuclear issues, from now on, we’ll be providing only brief notes on renewables. I am grateful to Jim Green, Beyond Nuclear (Australia) and Maelor Himbury, for their daily dedication to collecting these headlines.

Solar PV could provide 30% of power needs by 2030, ARENA says
ARENA says solar PV could account for 30% of Australia’s power needs by 2030, as it unveils its new investment priorities – storage and reliability, solar innovation, energy productivity and renewable energy exports. Also, expect an announcement on solar thermal soon.

Why every Australian town should have its own wind or solar farm
Imagining an Australia where every town is running off its own renewable energy projects is becoming a reality. Victoria is on the case.

The solar panel and battery revolution: how will your state measure up?
Paul Graham, CSIRO
A new report predicts a boom in household solar and batteries as Australia’s electricity networks move to a more sustainable footing, with some states poised for a 500% boost in rooftop solar.

Five-fold increase in clean energy investment

Solar panel and battery revolution: how will your state measure up?
A new roadmap for Australia’s electricity networks outlines a national plan to keep the lights on, make sure bills are affordable, and decarbonise our electricity industry by mid-century.

New South Wales
NSW rooftop solar export tariffs could double from July
Recommended feed in tariff for NSW solar households more than doubles to range of 11.6c/kWh to 14.6c/kWh, reflecting jump in wholesale prices that will affect
Another 47MW of solar farms reach financial close in Queensland
Canadian Solar’s Oakey and Longreach projects to begin construction this month, after reaching financial close with help from CEFC.

Construction set to begin on 148MW Ross River Solar Farm
Construction is set to begin on one of the largest solar projects in Australia’s development pipeline, after the 148MW Ross River Solar Farm this week achieved financial close.

Western Australia
WA solar car park to power shopping centre
A solar-panelled shopping centre car park in WA will produce 40 per cent of the electricity needed by the complex and is the first in the state.
Northern Territory
Battery storage tender for Alice Springs to be decided by N.T. soon
A tender for 5MW battery storage tender to help reduce gas generation and integrate high levels of solar power to be decided soon.
Vic says renewables + batteries cheaper than peaking gas
Victorian government documents detailing state’s $25m battery storage tender say renewables + storage have surpassed gas as cheapest source of new peaking power.

May 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Adani coal mine expansion project is in the wars: Matt Canavan’s not helping!

As with renewables, I am snowed under with news about Adani’s coal mine. It is indeed the critical issue in Australia right now, (well after the risk of joining Trump in war). However, as this site is dedicated to Australia’s fight to be nuclear-free, I am now, reluctantly, cutting short the posts on this topic.


Canavan’s call to boycott Westpac a colossally stupid salvo in the new Truth Wars
Michael Bradley
Matt Canavan says Queenslanders should boycott Westpac since the bank is not going to lend money to the colossally wasteful Adani coal mine and becomes sucked into the Nationals Irony Generator.

Adani’s telling meltdown over Westpac’s new climate policy
Bob Burton
The angry denunciation of Westpac’s new climate policy – which rules out funding for new mines in the Galilee Basin – serves only to underscore how crucial support from at least one major Australian bank was to Adani’s push to win finance for its beleaguered Carmichael coal project.

Cash, not climate, real concern
Dennis Shanahan
Westpac’s announcement that it would refuse to finance the Adani mine appears to be ‘virtue signalling’.

May 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Push for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) not going too well in Britain

Alarm sounded over delays to develop UK mini nuclear reactors Lords scold government for lack of progress on small modular reactors plan, warning UK nuclear sector will suffer if firms walk away, Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 2 May 17, The government’s failure to deliver on a multimillion-pound competition to develop mini atomic power stations has hurt the nuclear sector and risks international companies walking away from the UK, a Lords committee has warned.

In 2015 the then chancellor George Osborne promised £250m over five years for a nuclear research and development programme, an undisclosed sum of which was for a competition to pave the way for small modular reactors.

These reactors are much smaller than conventional nuclear plants with a capacity of less than 300MW – or a 10th of what Hinkley Point C should provide.

But the government has failed to even publish results of the first phase of the competition, expected last autumn, which the Lords science and technology committee said was “particularly alarming”.

“This has had a negative effect on the nuclear sector in the UK and if the government does not act soon the necessary high level of industrial interest will not be maintained,” they said in a report on Tuesday.

The peers urged ministers to publish their plans for small modular reactors (SMRs) without delay, and scolded the government for not showing any urgency to make a decision…….

Newcastle-based Penultimate Power UK, which hopes to capitalise on the market, told the committee that a lack of clarity from government had paralysed development of nuclear power generation technology…….

Government officials said earlier this year that one of the attractions of mini nuclear power stations was they fitted with the industrial strategy launched by Theresa May. But Tom Wintle, deputy director at the business department, said they had to provide affordable power.

“SMRs will need to deliver energy cost-competitively if they are to play a part in the UK’s future energy mix. As well as securing low-carbon energy, government is also committed to keeping down the cost of that energy for consumers, so there is a key challenge there for the nuclear industry as a whole and for SMRs,” he told an industry conference.

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s anti-wind farm zealots are getting crazier

Lunar right go crazy over “genocidal” wind turbines and solar power, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson & Sophie Vorrath on 2 May 2017 Conservatives are not giving up fossil fuel power without a fight – and a solid dose of extremist remarks.

In the US, we have Donald Trump extolling the virtues of “clean coal” – a product that doesn’t actually exist. In Australia we have deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce saying that Australia has a “moral” duty to export coal to provide power to the poor in India. And on Murdoch media, we have got the lunar right railing against “genocidal” wind turbines.

Of course, not all is lost. The CSIRO and the network owners recognise that 100 per cent renewable energy is eminently possible by 2050, and it will be significantly cheaper too. But, they say, we need to reframe market rules and policies now.

The new head of the Australian Energy market Operator, Audrey Zibelman, is in full agreement. She says the transition to a cheaper, cleaner, smarter and more reliable grid is inevitable, and is going to happen a lot quicker than anyone things. And it will be centred around consumers.

On the right however, they don’t understand the significance of “clean”, and simply don’t accept that renewables could provide a cheaper, smarter and more reliable grid than their preferred coal, gas and nuclear plants.

“If you want clean power, go nuclear,” proclaimed Joyce on the ABC Q&A program on Monday, after railing about protests against the Adani coal mine.

And on the subject of coal, Joyce went from “economic pragmatist” to moral theorist:

“I’m going to be a complete economic pragmatist. We have to make sure this economy works. We have to export dollars. One of our largest exports is coal,” he said. “We have to realise we have a moral responsibility to other people in other nations to keep their lights on.”

Er, no, if the poor in India want access to electricity, then solar is their answer. To use coal, they need to connect to the grid, and in Australia we have seen how expensive that can be. So-called cheap coal is now delivered to the doorstep with a mark-up of nearly 1,000 per cent. The old centralised grid is outdated and undercut by new technologies.

And at the large-scale, imported coal cannot compete in any case. Large-scale solar costs are tumbling. The India energy minister insists, and has said this repeatedly, that he wants Indian to be done with coal imports within a few years.

Pixyish Goyal even wants the country to go “full electric” for vehicles by 2030,  and the latest government data suggests that India added twice as much renewable energy capacity than thermal capacity over the last 12 months.

But Joyce seems quite moderate when compared with the right wing commentators hosted on the Murdoch media, in print and on air. On the Bolt report, Rowan Dean was having a good laugh with the host about genocidal wind turbines:…….

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fiji wants Australian PM to lobby Trump to stay with Paris climate deal

Fiji asks Turnbull to lobby Trump to stay with Paris climate deal, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 2 May 2017 Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama, who will host this year’s climate change talks in Bonn, has asked Australia prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to urge US president Donald Trump to stay within the Paris climate treaty.

In his first address as president of COP23, Bainimarama told the Carbon Markets Institute conference in Melbourne on Tuesday that he had written a letter to Trump, who has dismissed climate science as a Chinese hoax, urging the US to stay within the Paris agreement.

Bainimarama met with Turnbull at the PM’s home in Sydney on Sunday and said he had asked Turnbull to convey the message to Trump when he meets with him next week.

“My message to Donald Trump, and the message that I hope Malcolm Turnbull will also convey is ‘Mr President, do not abandon the Paris agreement, please stay the course’.”

Bainimarama said it was clear from the latest climate science that the world is running out of time, and it may already be too late to avoid many of the impacts.

“Climate change is not a hoax, it is frighteningly real,” he said. “Billions of people are losing the ability to feed themselves … We need to limit the damage … failure is not an option.”

 Trump has signaled previously that the US would quit the Paris climate deal, or withdraw from the UNFCCC, the UN umbrella body on climate change.

He has appointed a climate science denier, Scott Pruitt, to lead the Environment Protection Agency; appointed deniers to numerous other key portfolios; and has sought to roll back all climate change and clean energy initiatives, and remove rules restricting what he calls “clean coal.”

However, a decision on whether to leave the Paris deal, expected last week, has been delayed………

May 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

South Africans fed up with govt pro nuclear propaganda, (Australians will soon be, too?)

Eskom has told the public that they will manage the massive nuclear-build programme in a responsible manner, devoid of significant cost overruns, corruption and scope creep. Yet the court of public opinion is unconvinced, following years of a lack in transparency and many incidents of questionable leadership conduct, combined with Eskom’s inability to curtail gross runaway costs on projects at Medupi, Kusile and Ingula.

Our message to government and their pro-nuclear lobbyists is to stop trying to feed us with propaganda.

Pro nuclear lobbyists and government must stop propaganda campaign,, Wayne Duvenage, 2 May 17 “………What I find amazing,however, is the pro nuclear lobbyists’ belief that they alone are the experts and that civil society must simply trust their views on what is best for our country’s energy needs. Government has become its own worst enemy on the nuclear issue, believing they have the right to make these costly capital decisions without the necessary public engagement or for legally required parliamentary processes to take place.

-Government furthermore gives the impression that they don’t have to answer or offer explanation about the expose related to secret supplier agreements with Rosatom (yes this did happen), or the need for haste with the nuclear decision, or the use of an outdated 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), or the exorbitant costs of the scheme and how this will be financed.

For months the pro-nuclear clan have complained that the R1-trillion price tag of a 9.6 GW nuclear programme is incorrect, but they overlook the need to provide the public with a credible response as to what the expected price tag should be. Continue reading

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

World Health Organisation’s conflict of interest on ionising radiation

In reality, IAEA is a commercial lobbying org promoting use of the atom, yet at the same time, it dictates WHO procedures, standards, and published articles on the matter of nuclear radiation, prompting a very pregnant question: Is this a conflict of interest for WHO? Answer: Yes, it is!

Not only is there a serious conflict of interest, Katz claims WHO fails, time and again, to meet its mandate to the public, as for example:

1) WHO remained absent from Chernobyl for five years even though the WHO mandate requires it to be present the “day after a catastrophe” to evaluate and provide assistance. But, WHO was MIA for 5 years.

2) WHO does not issue independent reports on radiation issues. All nuclear-related reports are written by IAEA but published “in the name of the WHO.”

3) Following Chernobyl, there were two international conferences held to analyze the implications of the catastrophe; one held in Geneva in 1995 and the second in Kiev in 2001. The “Proceedings of the Conferences” were never published by WHO.

Hidden Radiation Secrets of the World Health Organization, CounterPunch  MAY 2, 2017 Imagine the following hypothetical: The World Health Organization (“WHO”) is deeply involved in a high level cover up of the human impact and dangers of ionizing radiation, intentionally hiding the facts from the public, a chilling storyline!

After all, the world community depends upon WHO as an independent org t0 forewarn the general public of health dangers and to help in times of crises, not hide pivotal health facts from public eye.

As it happens, that nightmarish hypothetical comes to life in an interview with Alison Katz, who claims: “We are absolutely convinced that if the consequences of nuclear radiation were known to the public, the debate about nuclear power would end tomorrow. In fact, if the public knew, it would probably be excluded immediately as an energy option.”

Alison Katz heads a NGO known as Independent WHO, and she spends a lot of time arranging sandwich boards with messages like: “Complicity in Scientific Crime” or “Crime of Chernobyl – WHO Accomplice” in front of WHO headquarters/Geneva. For 10 years now on a daily vigil from 8:00-to-6:00 she and/or other protestors expose alleged misbehavior committed by WHO, right outside of the headquarters building. Imagine this: Ten years on the same street corner every working day. It’s commitment and determination sans pareil.

“The aim of the silent vigil is to remind the World Health Organisation of its duties. It was Hippocrates who formulated the ethical rules for health practitioners. The World Health Organisation ignores these rules, when it comes to protecting the health of the victims of the consequences of the nuclear industry”.

Which brings forth: Ten years of hard work combating a difficult and challenging issue warrants public adulation beyond carrying posters back and forth, come rain or shine, trudging away in the heat of the sun or the freezing cold and snow in front of WHO Hdqs. Hopefully, this article serves that purpose for Alison Katz.

The mission of Independent WHO is to expose WHO’s failings whilst calling for WHO independence away from influence by the worldwide nuclear syndicate: According to WHO Independence’s Web Site: “The World Health Organization (WHO) is failing in its duty to protect those populations who are victims of radioactive contamination.”

Ms Katz worked inside the WHO for 18 years. She insists that WHO, in cahoots with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), dangerously misrepresents the inherent dangers of ionizing radiation, an insinuation that smacks in the face with egregiousness galore.

Ms Katz’s April 2017 interview, which this article is based upon, can be heard in its entirety. Continue reading

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s energy efficiency loans scheme now open

Tasmanian households and small businesses can increase their energy efficiency through a new no-interest loan scheme, BLAIR RICHARDS, State Political Editor, Mercury

May 3, 2017 Posted by | efficiency, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Time to make mining companies responsible for clean-up – Western Australian Minister says

Loopholes for ‘rogue’ miners to escape clean-up must close: Minister, WA Today Emma Young, 2 May 17  Changes need to be made so mining companies can’t use legal loopholes to avoid environmental rehabilitation obligations, according to new Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston.

“Rogue players, as they’ve been called, should not be allowed to shift their costs to the rest of the industry, negatively impacting other companies,” he said.

“In light of experience, there is a need to assess and improve the Mining Rehabilitation Fund so that the industry is protected.”

He also acknowledged the MRF was the community’s guarantee that miners would take environmental responsibility.

The MRF, established in 2012, is a fund made of industry levies, held by the government to rehabilitate any abandoned mine in WA if the miner goes broke and all other options are exhausted.

Collie’s Black Diamond Pit Lake, Ellendale Diamond Mine, Bulong Nickel Tailings Storage Facility, Elverdton Dump and Pro-Force Plant site have so far been identified as the abandoned mines to be dealt with through the fund, their problems including leaching residue, dust and public safety risks. ……

Greens and other east coast senators have now referred the matter, and others concerning WA’s $70 billion resource sector, to a Senate inquiry into the rehabilitation of mining and resources projects.

The WA government’s submission recommended that accounting procedures were upgraded to require companies disclose their environmental liability more transparently and that legislation on mine site rehabilitation obligations in the case of insolvency were updated…….

Research by the CSIRO also emphasises the importance of community trust, or ‘social licence’ for the mining sector

May 3, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

AGL Energy says there’ll be a shift from coal directly to large-scale wind and solar.

AGL kills idea of gas as transition fuel: wind, solar + storage cheaper, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 2 May 2017  Australia’s largest integrated energy company, AGL Energy, says Australia’s transition away from a coal power dominated national grid to low-carbon generation will largely bypass “baseload” gas, and instead shift straight to large-scale wind and solar.

As politicians and the gas lobby expend considerable energy over the need to guarantee supply of gas, the company founded some 180 years ago as The Australian Gas Light Co, says the combination of wind and solar and battery storage is already cheaper than new gas generators.

“The energy transition we have all been anticipating will skip ‘big baseload gas’ as a major component of the NEM’s base-load generation and instead largely be a case of moving from ‘big coal’ to ‘big renewables’,” AGL CFO Brett Redman says in a presentation to the Macquarie Australia Conference in Sydney on Tuesday.

The frank prediction – which flies in the face of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to subsidise the delivery of more gas into Australia’s electricity market – is based on the now fairly well accepted economic view that gas power will continue up the cost curve, making it less and less competitive with large-scale solar and wind. Continue reading

May 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Hydro electricity versus coal-fired power – northern Queensland election issue?

Hydro electricity versus coal-fired power in north Queensland set to be major state election issue, ABC News By Chris O’Brien, 2 May 17  and staff Hydro electricity versus coal-fired power for north Queensland will be a major issue in the next state election, with voters to choose between rival plans that have support from opposite sides of federal politics.

The Queensland Government’s weekend announcement of a feasibility study for a hydro-electric power station at the Burdekin Falls Dam was strengthened today with a $200 million pledge by federal Labor leader Bill Shorten.

“With hydro-electric power being generated we can start doing something about providing greater reliable power for Townsville, for its residents and for its businesses,” Mr Shorten said.

That contrasted with Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls’ previously announced policy for a new coal-fired generator in the north……..The LNP’s coal-fired plan was supported by the Prime Minister and federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan…….

May 3, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment