Australian news, and some related international items

To July 28 – the climate-nuclear news this week – Australia

On CLIMATE the situation is eerie. Technogeeks are exploring geoengineering ways to cool the planet. Some journalists – New York’s David Wallace Wells, Slate’s Tommy Lynch, predict an uninhabitable Earth, and warn that we are not alarmed enough.

The general media inform us of greatly increased wildfires, (Europe),  (USA), floods, (India)(Germany), droughts, (USA), (Italy) . These news items whisk away under the relentless hurricane news of celebrities, sport, and Trump’s latest absurdities.

On NUCLEAR it would seem few immediate events are happening. However,important issues are being explored. Investigative journalism lives!


Peter Dutton’s home affairs ministry will investigate itself for corruption.

NUCLEAR. Pentagon says North Korea capable of nuclear missile strike on Australia, USA in 2018.

Death of famed and much-loved Aboriginal activist Yami LesterYami Lester is mourned: his daughters carry on the anti nuclear fight.

Complaints lodged with National Radioactive Management Taskforce regarding the undemocratic nature of the radioactive waste dump process.

Quietly, nuclear -powered USS Ronald Reagan to Brisbane to join massive Talisman military exercise.

World Vision leader scathing about Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne’s plan for Australia to export weapons.

Western Australia: Aboriginal group’s claim against Western Australia Conservation Council over uranium mining.  Walkabout against uranium -month-long pilgrimage from Wiluna to Leonora to begin next month .

Northern Territory Norther Territory Aboriginal owners’ legal case: they wanted “low level nuclear waste dump”. Planning for the town of Jabiru to be rejuvenated as uranium mining ends.  Northern Territory Aboriginal communities begin shift to hybrid solar and storage.

CLIMATE. The world watches Australia – saving the Barrier Reef, – or pandering to Adani coal baron? ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank, slash lending to coal miners.

Resignation of Australia’s Minister Representing The Coal Industry – Matt Canavan. There is no truth in the rumour that he is to be replaced by a lump of coal. Still, the replacement is Deputy Prime Minister Barbaby Joyce, so the rumour was close.


July 29, 2017 Posted by | Christina reviews | 2 Comments

Aboriginal group’s claim against Western Australia Conservation Council over uranium mining

Traditional owners hit out at WA Conservation Council for alleged misrepresentation over uranium campaign  ABC Goldfields By Jarrod Lucas An Aboriginal corporation representing traditional owners in WA’s northern Goldfields claims an environmental group has misrepresented it by suggesting it supports legal action against a proposed uranium mine.

The Conservation Council of WA launched Supreme Court action earlier this month to challenge the Barnett Government’s decision to approve Cameco’s proposed mine at Yeelirrie, 1,079km north east of Perth.

The council maintains it has the support of members of the Tjiwarl people, the native title holders over the Yeelirrie area, in pursuing the action.

But the Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation said they do not speak for its 150-odd members or 10 directors, who represent each of the area’s different family groups.

A spokesman for the Tjiwarl group told the ABC it is yet to formally adopt a policy on uranium mining or the Yeelirriee court case — although that could change as soon as September when the directors meet in Leinster.

“Any decision about this project needs to be made by Tjiwarl (Aboriginal Corporation) in accordance with our traditional laws and customs,” the corporation said in a statement.

“Until such time, we ask that media outlets, and the Conservation Council of WA, refrain from referring to Tjiwarl (Aboriginal Corporation) as supporting this legal proceeding.”

The spokesman said the group had received significant backlash on social media, due to its perceived involvement in the action.

Conservation Council denies misrepresenting group

Conservation Council director Piers Verstegen denied they ever misrepresented the Aboriginal corporation.

“We haven’t linked them to the case, there’s certain members of that claim group that are part of the case, but we haven’t linked the body corporate to the case and I’m not sure where they’re getting that information from,” Mr Verstegen said.

“We haven’t made any linkage between their claim group and the case — it’s just individuals who are part of that claim group who are part of the case.”

Vicky Abdullah, whose family has opposed uranium mining at Yeelirrie for more than 40 years, is one of three traditional owners who are backing the Conservation Council’s legal action.

“Yeelirrie is important to my family; we have fought to protect this site and we won’t stop now,” Ms Abdullah said.

A crowdfunding page set up by the 47-year-old not-for-profit group seeking to raise $50,000 to fund the court case also mentions the traditional owners.

At last count the page had raised more than $9,800.

Uranium mine a challenging call for traditional owners

The Tjiwarl claim was officially recognised by the Federal Court in April, with the long legal fight seeing the group’s 13,000 square kilometres of land between the towns of Wiluna and Leonora officially acknowledged.

It has sparked a flurry of negotiations with Cameco and fellow mining giants BHP and Gold Fields, both of which have operating mines in the area.

But as WA’s biggest uranium deposit, Yeelirrie remains the area’s most controversial potential development.

Discovered by Western Mining Corporation in 1972, the deposit was sold to Cameco by BHP for $US430 million in 2012.

The mine takes its name from a nearby pastoral station, which in turn took its name from the traditional word for the area.

Opponents of the mine say the name translates to “place of death”, but others have suggested “lethargy” or “fatigue” are better translations.

The mine is one of four proposed uranium mines the McGowan Government will allow to proceed, despite reinstating a ban on any further development or exploration in Western Australia.

The Tjiwarl spokesman said the group would likely formalise its position on uranium mining when the corporation’s directors meet in September.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

September 8-9 Conference of The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)

At a time when recent US administrations have become more proactive about the need for solidarity within US Global Alliance Systems, there is a pressing need for elected leaders of both government and opposition parties to be more concerned about protection of our national sovereignty.

The Conference of The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) in Melbourne between 8-10 September 2017 will provide peace activists with a chance to interact with an array of local and overseas speakers
There is a problem for our national sovereignty if Australia’s official voice on the terrifying issue of nuclear proliferation is not being expressed to support the representatives of Ireland, Austria, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico as co-sponsors of the Draft Treaty on new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Support for the UN Draft Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or more comprehensive US nuclear weapons umbrellas? July 28, 2017, by: The AIM Network By Denis Bright 
Where are the cheers across Australia for the new Draft Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as finalized by the recent UN Conference on 7th July 2017?
In the past, Australia developed a bipartisan balance between continued membership of the Australia-US Alliance, support for the Charter of the United Nations and commitment to its own national sovereignty.Article 1 of the ANZUS Treaty of 1951 indeed rejected the need for sabre-rattling in the settlement of international disputes.

Barry McGuire – Eve Of Destruction

New Zealand officially left the Alliance in 1986 after continued participation compromised its national sovereignty (Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, US Department of State Online).

In 1984, the ANZUS Treaty began to unravel when New Zealand declared its country a nuclear-free zone and refused to allow U.S. nuclear-powered submarines to visit its ports. Two years later, U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Australian Foreign Minister Bill Hayden concluded a series of bilateral talks by confirming that their countries would continue to honor their obligations to one another under the ANZUS Treaty, in spite of the  fact that the trilateral aspects of the Treaty had been halted. On September 17, 1986, the United States suspended its treaty obligations toward New Zealand.

  • In Australia, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction towards greater solidarity with the US Alliance and away from a diversity of foreign policies which required the US to adjust to policy diversity over issues like the Suez Crisis of 1956, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the War in Vietnam and even the presence of nuclear powered ships carrying nuclear weapons into New Zealand during the 1980s. Continue reading

July 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Death Spiral Of Nuclear Energy And The Demise Of Uranium Miners

Seeking Alpha, Jul. 28, 2017   Includes: BBLBHPCCOEGRAFNXERIOURA Caiman Valores   Contrarian, long-term horizon, research analyst, value 


  •  Uranium is caught in a protracted slump that is sharply impacting uranium miners.
  • Despite claims that prices will rise sentiment towards nuclear power has turned unfavorable.
  • Demand growth for uranium remains muted which along with growing supplies will keep pressure on prices.
  • There is no indication of a sustainable recovery in sight making uranium miners value traps.

There has been a surge in interest in uranium explorers and miners in recent months because of growing optimism surrounding the outlook for the radioactive metal. This has sparked a rash of upgrades for a number of uranium miners and explorers including Cameco Corp……

The marked uptick in the outlook for uranium is long over due with the radioactive metal caught in prolonged slump that now sees it trading at less than a sixth of its 2007 high………

Despite the proclamations of some analysts and market pundits there are distinct signs that point to a sustained recovery in uranium being unlikely and that the long-term prognosis for the fuel is poor.

What is driving this positive outlook?  The progressively positive outlook for uranium mining stems from a belief that the current global supply glut which has been weighing heavily on uranium prices will be eliminated over the next two-years.

There is also the expectation among market pundits that as demand for the radioactive metal begins to grow global supplies will diminish. This is because the prolonged slump according to those pundits has led to a dearth in investment in exploration and mine development which will impact uranium production in coming months.

Furthermore, uranium miners have been forced to shutter high cost production because it was uneconomic at current prices. The slump in uranium particularly in the wake of the Fukushima disaster sent one of the world’s largest uranium miners Energy Resources of Australia (OTCPK:EGRAF) also known as ERA, which at its peak was supplying 10% of the world’s yellow cake, into terminal decline……(registered readers only)

July 29, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Catholic nun’s climate change petition is based on science

Sister Marie takes ‘climate change’ petition to Pirie, 26 Jul 2017 For more than 45 years, Sister Marie O’Shea has been a woman of the Catholic faith.

Now she has a new belief – “climate change”. The Port Pirie-based nun with the Sisters of the Good Samaritan has collected 200 names on a petition calling for stronger action on “climate change”. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and other people of faith are working with the Catholic Church’s Caritas Australia to raise the petition as the biggest such effort in Australia’s history.

While critics say “climate change” theory is plot to destabilise society, Sister Marie bases her belief on having lived in Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean. The island nation is said to be at risk of being over-run by rising seas attributed to changing environment.

Scientific research suggests increasing carbon dioxide levels, from pollutants such as fossil fuels, are threatening the planet.

Sister Marie said she had many friends among the 110,000 people living in Kiribati where tides were eroding the shore and the sea was contaminating water in wells. “Are we saying it doesn’t matter if these islands disappear?” she said. “The highest part of the country would be no higher than the top of the window in the Parish Centre, in Gertrude Street. “People say the islanders can move to higher land, but there is no higher land.

“The Pope wrote an encyclical letter on Care of Our Common Home and it was for everyone. “It was about his belief that ‘climate change’ is a threat and action needs to be taken.”

Asked whether she thought God could save the planet, she replied: “I think God expects us to do our bit. He gave us free will and provided scientists with the minds to do their research.”

She said concerns had been raised about the world’s temperatures rising by up to five degrees.

“Can you imagine Port Pirie being five degrees hotter?” she said……

July 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Privatisation the overriding factor in high energy prices – Dennis Matthews

Dennis Matthews, 29 July 17 According to the Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), of the six major factors that have forced up energy prices five are directly related to privatisation (The Advertiser 27/7/17).

These are
• inadequate regulation of electricity distribution monopolies
• over-expenditure on electricity distribution infrastructure
• inadequate competition (“concentration”) in electricity generation
• inadequate competition (“concentration”) in electricity retailing, and
• very high gas prices
to which I would add a sixth
• inadequate competition through integration of electricity generation and retailing.

Given that a main function of the ACCC is to make privatisation work, it is not surprising that no mention was made of the political decision to privatise essential energy services.

In order to control skyrocketing energy prices, addressing the overriding factor, privatisation, may have to be the first priority. But don’t expect the ACCC to lead the way.


July 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

29 July More REneweconomy news

  • Mills Oakley advises on largest solar project in Australia
    Mills Oakley has advised Elecnor on the $450m 275MWdc Bungala Solar Farm in Port Augusta, South Australia.
  • Electric vehicles for Australia: Not if, but how and when
    Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) says that with a concerted effort, the Australian car fleet could consist solely of electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Labor state conference dumps Barron River branch anti-Adani motion at last minute

Chris Calcino, The Cairns PostJuly 29, 2017   AN anti-Adani motion from members of Labor’s Barron River branch has been scrapped before the party’s State Conference today.

Barron River was among three branches calling for Labor to pull support for the Carmichael coal mine whose motions were abandoned after a meeting of Labor’s agenda committee on Wednesday……

July 29, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

USA govt to clean up highly thorium polluted site in New York City

Government Announces Cleanup Plan for NYC Radioactive Site THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (VERENA DOBNIK) July 28, 2017, New York (AP) — The federal government on Thursday announced its plan to clean up a Superfund site in New York City where radioactive material was once processed to develop the atomic bomb.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the $39 million job, which could take years, will force out businesses still operating on a block in Queens where buildings, the soil and sewers were contaminated with radioactive material. Protective measures have been in place since 2012.

The source of the industrial waste was the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company that operated on Irving Avenue in the Ridgewood neighborhood from 1920 to 1954, according to Elias Rodriguez, the EPA spokesman in New York. The company processed monazite sand, extracting from it a radioactive element called thorium for the federal government as part of a program that began with the top-secret Manhattan Project that led to the testing of the first nuclear weapons during World War II in New Mexico.

The now-defunct company disposed of thorium waste on its property and into the Queens sewer.

Given the contaminated waste, the owner of the Celtic Custom NYC motorcycle repair shop, Sandy Frayman, said on Thursday that he wouldn’t want to stay, “but we’re worried what’s going to happen to us.”…….

The public is invited to voice concerns to the federal agency — either by email, regular mail and telephone, or by showing up for an open public hearing on Aug. 16 at a nearby day care center…..

Following an EPA evaluation, buildings will be razed and excavation will start to remove more than 24,000 cubic yards (18,000 cubic meters) of contaminated soil, sediment and debris.

An exact date for the cleanup will be set when the evaluation is completed.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s failure to protect environment: the Murray-Darling basin scandal:

The Murray-Darling basin scandal: a symptom of how we fail to protect our environment, Guardian ,  Suzanne Milthorpe, 29 July 17  Only an independent watchdog can sort out the current impenetrable soup of federal, state and local bodies that make up environmental governance Suzanne Milthorpe is National Nature Campaign Manager with The Wilderness Society Australia It turns out that the only drop to drink in the Murray-Darling basin is in private irrigation channels surrounding NSW’s Barwon River. But the scandal unfolding there is not an isolated failure in the system, but a symptom of something much more fundamentally wrong with how we protect our environment. And it’s time for the Australian government to lead us in a national plan to fix this.

The community was rightly shocked this week by allegations of widespread water theft, meter tampering and what looks very much like corrupt dealings between public servants, politicians and certain irrigators in the Murray Darling basin.

People from southern NSW to South Australia are wondering how in the hell wrongdoing at this scale could go undetected and unchecked for so long. How could a multi-billion dollar program, overseen by the federal government, the NSW government, local governments and the Murray Darling Basin Authority, fail to catch such widespread problems? In response to the allegations, downstream users and political leaders are calling for independent inquiries and new independent bodies to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

That’s fair. From the 2014 Icac coal scandals in NSW, government-run clearing of threatened species in Perth’s Beeliar wetlands and the continued logging of Leadbeater’s possum habitat, despite years of federal and state recovery plans, the need for an independent watchdog for our environment and our communities has long been evident.

But what’s being lost in the furore over the Murray-Darling is that this problem is much bigger than the potential corruption in the system. This is just the latest in a long line of similar failures in our system of environmental protection and governance…….

the 2014 Icac coal scandals in NSW…..

clearing of tens of thousands of hectares of koala habitat and logging of old growth forests full of wildlife. …..

the Great Barrier Reef…..

As with the Murray-Darling, our greatest natural assets are caught between self-interested state governments desperately holding on to a mantra of “jobs and growth equals votes” and an utterly disinterested Australian government that is trying its best to rid itself of its responsibilities. The system is broken and needs a complete overhaul. We need a national plan to protect our environment, we need a strong and independent watchdog, a national EPA, with teeth to deliver the plan and we need governments of all levels to stop the buck passing and get on with the job.

It’s time for the Australian government to step up and lead the country in a national environment plan that coordinates the states and territories in a truly national effort to protect the environment. Because the simple truth is that without fundamental change, these scandals will keep happening. Threatened species will face extinction. The Reef will continue to suffocate under tonnes of soil. And our environment and our communities will continue to suffer for years to come.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Turnbull’s lack of energy policy: it won’t help for him to blame renewables

No summer break for Turnbull government’s energy policy failure, Brisbane Times Richard Denniss, 28 July 17  “….. The failure of the federal government on energy policy is driving up emissions, driving up energy prices, stalling investment and harming consumers. And hasn’t it been a cold winter. Unless the Turnbull government can soon pull energy policy out of the bog Tony Abbott created, no amount of blaming the states or renewables is going to save him…….

while the ACT government is going to help people keep their heater on, the federal government is doing its best to keep them shivering.

ActewAGL said it will be establishing a $250,000 Energy Support Fund, matched by the ACT government, to help those who will struggle to pay their bigger electricity bill. In contrast, the Turnbull government currently has a bill before Parliament which will strip the clean energy supplement from new recipients of welfare from 20 September 2017.

Abolishing the clean energy supplement will put Newstart recipients 30 per cent below the poverty line, the lowest point since the measure has been kept.

So what is driving up electricity prices and forcing people to turn off their heaters? Craig Kelly blamed renewables, but he also said renewables would cause an increase in children drowning. The Australia Institute studied both wholesale and retail electricity prices and – spoiler alert – it’s not solar panels.

The federal government has used South Australia as a whipping boy on energy. But when we look at wholesale electricity prices in South Australia in detail, there is an almost perfect correlation between wholesale gas prices and wholesale electricity prices and a negative correlation between the share of wind generation in supply and wholesale electricity prices. In other words, it’s nothing to do with renewables and everything to do with gas exports……..

We’ve all heard about the “gold-plating” of poles and wires – well, it turns out poles and wires weren’t the only things gold-plated: privatisation seems to have encouraged profit gouging, with energy companies able to inflate the asset base used in calculating the permitted return on assets. The Australia Institute’s research showed an odd process in which high rates of profits are used to “gold plate” the financial asset base of energy companies without improving the ability to generate electricity, but the unproductive capital base is used to increase the price we pay for electricity.

So what should Turnbull do?

If he gives in to the extreme right wing of the Coalition, it’s a recipe for higher emissions, higher prices and more instability. They want to abolish the Renewable Energy Target, which even the government’s own review (by climate sceptic Dick Warburton) found that the Renewable Energy Target put downwards pressure on electricity prices. They oppose a Clean Energy Target that doesn’t include coal – when according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, ultra-supercritical coal-fired power (ever think they’re trying too hard with that title?) is the most expensive form of new energy to build. Gas prices now make new gas-fired plants equally unappealing. So renewable energy makes the most economic sense…….

July 29, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Wildfires will increase in severity due to climate change

Climate change will feed wildfires – experts By AFP28th July 2017  Long periods of heat cause vegetation to become dry and inflammable, easily set alight by lightning, spontaneous combustion, or fires lit by humans. More than 10,000 people had to flee raging fires in southern France this week, and several villages were evacuated in Portugal just weeks after another blaze killed more than 60 people there.
In South Africa in June, nine people died and some 10,000 people were evacuated from their homes as fires raged through the drought-stricken Western Cape region, while this month some 40,000 people have had to flee wildfires in western Canada, where officials declared a state of emergency.

In California, some 8,000 people were evacuated last week ahead of fires that razed vast swathes of forest.

What causes wildfires? Continue reading

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK govt funding a dubious plan to promote Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

Amec Foster Wheeler To Lead UK Government’s Nuclear Reactor Research, Alliance News , By Joshua Warner;; @JoshAlliance, 28th Jul 2017 LONDON  – Amec Foster Wheeler PLC on Friday said it has handed a GBP2.9 million contract from the UK government to lead a “key” research programme that aims to use developments in digital technology to optimise the next generation of nuclear reactors……


The project is part of a broader effort to put UK industry at the forefront of developing Generation IV and small modular reactors…….

Amec Foster Wheeler is being supported by partners and sub-contractors from industry, academia and science, including the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, the Hartree Centre, National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, EDF Energy, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London.

Professor Eann Patterson from the University of Liverpool, also partnering on the project, will be the lead academic of the research programme……..

The contract award comes as Amec Foster Wheeler is in the midst of merging with peer John Wood in a GBP2.20 billion deal that is expected to take place in the fourth quarter. Amec Foster Wheeler only last month made a decision to retain its European nuclear business after consulting John Wood, but is still pushing to offload its North American nuclear unit.

The North American nuclear operations are nominal within the wider company, adding a trading profit of just GBP1.0 million and revenue of GBP83.0 million to Amec Foster Wheeler’s 2016 results.

What’s more, Amec Foster Wheeler is being investigated by the UK Serious Fraud Office about possible offences related to corruption and bribery related to its past relationship with Monaco-based Unaoil SAM, which has been being probed by the SFO for suspected fraud, bribery and money laundering since July 2016.

That probe into Unaoil also hit oil services provider Petrofac Ltd, forcing the resignation of its chief operating officer.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

29 July REneweconomy news

  • NSW govt approves 275MW of new solar farms for state
    Four more large-scale solar projects totalling 275MW approved for development in central and northern NSW.
  • Just how quickly can Tesla kill the petrol car?
    Elon Musk to had over first 30 Tesla Model 3s and reveal what’s inside first mass market EV. Along with new government mandates, the event flags another stage in demise of the petrol car. Except perhaps in Australia, whose government is developing an Amish-style suspicion of new technology.
  • Environment Ministers to consider national battery recycling scheme
    Australia’s Environment Ministers resolved today to consider new laws to require battery manufacturers to collect and recycle used batteries.
  • Graph of the Day: Tesla battery popular on both sides of politics
    Scott Morrison compares Tesla’s big battery to the Big Banana and the Big Prawn, but polls shows even Coalition voters think it’s a good idea.
  • Canavan comes out as “minister for mining sector,” internet gets really mad
    Recently removed Coalition minister for resources and Northern Australia admits to representing the mining sector. Facebook responds.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment