Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen

Australian emissions have actually increased since we closed our biggest coal-fired power plant

DESPITE the fact we closed our grubbiest coal-fired power plant in March, Australia’s emissions have actually grown to the highest level since 2011. Kirrily Schwarz , 8 Sept 17  AUSTRALIAN greenhouse gases last year were the highest since 2011, despite the closure of our grubbiest coal-fired power plant.

The electricity sector had its biggest drop on record in the three months to June, following the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood power station, which burned brown coal deposits from an open-cut mine in nearby Morwell.

However, even that wasn’t enough to stop Australia’s overall greenhouse gas emissions from rising, with increases recorded in every other sector. That’s according to new projections reported in the Guardian, which take stock of quarterly emissions across the country.

According to environmental experts, Australia has now consumed 24 per cent of the carbon budget set by the government’s Climate Change Authority. The budget represents the total amount of carbon Australia can release from 2013 while keeping global warming under two degrees. The alarming revelation comes as new modelling shows South Australia and Victoria both risk four-hour blackouts this coming summer.

The Australian Energy Market Operator released its annual stocktake this week, showing there’s a heightened risk of a shortfall over the next decade if nothing is done. “The power system does not have the reserves it once had,” Audrey Zibelman, chief executive of the Australian Energy Market Operator, told AAP.

The South Australian government’s energy plan includes extra diesel generation, and is working with entrepreneur Elon Musk to develop much-hyped battery storage.

Victoria, meanwhile, is rolling out a large-scale storage plan the government says will boost storage capacity by 100 megawatts by the end of 2018.

Both states will ask consumers to use less electricity during peak times.

Mr Turnbull seized on the report to highlight the vulnerability of the nation’s electricity supply, but said measures were in place to cover the immediate gap.

The Prime Minister also revealed he and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg were in talks with energy company AGL about keeping open the Liddell power station in NSW at least five years beyond 2022, while the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project is completed.

However, AGL is working on shutting down all its coal-fired plants, and in August ruled out extending the Liddell plant’s life.

Meanwhile, Labor has offered to work with the government for a “constructive compromise” on energy policy so something can actually be done to drive down power prices.

But the Greens are angry the two major parties agree on subsidies for coal.

Mr Turnbull has set a deadline of developing a clean energy target — as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel — before Christmas.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called on the government to just get on with its job. “The number one problem contributing to energy prices in this country, out-of-control energy prices, is the absence of proper national policy,” he told reporters in Canberra.

The figures come at a time when electricity is more expensive than ever. Power prices jumped on July 1 after three major retailers announced increases of up to 20 per cent and $600 a year for the average customer in several states.

September 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) supports incentives for households to cut power this summer

Renewable energy agency assesses incentives for households to cut power this summer, ABC News, By Melissa Brown, 8 Sept 17,  Twenty-four electricity retailers and tech companies have applied to be part of a scheme the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) says will help the country avoid looming blackouts this summer.

Under the scheme, large groups of households or business will be offered incentives, such as payments, to cut their electricity usage when the grid comes under stress.

ARENA business development manager Phil Cohn said, as an example, participating customers could be sent messages, telling them a high-stress period was expected at the next day, and asking them to switch of their air conditioner or pool pump for 30 minutes.

The agency and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) announced their Demand Response trial program in May.

Mr Cohn said ARENA was now examining proposed projects under the scheme.

“We’re going through our assessment and contracting process at the moment with the successful projects,” he said.

“We got a wide range of energy retailers come in the door, from energy retailers through to new technology start-ups that are looking to utilise things in people’s homes to control appliances and help manage energy use.”

Summer blackouts looming

Experts have warned there is a high chance of blackouts this summer, partly caused by the closure of Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria.

Mr Cohn said the successful projects would be announced in October and they would need to be up and running by December, so the energy savings could be used in summer.

He said they would be in New South Wales, where the State Government is contributing funds, and in Victoria and South Australia…….

September 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, efficiency | Leave a comment

Wildfires in Nevada nuclear test site

“It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.” Like monitoring is going to help or they’re going to share their data. Not a peep about the radiation numbers during the fires in and around Los Alamos even though they were “monitoring” – comment by  Helen Helen Mary Caldicott and Henry Peters

Wildfire burning in former Nevada nuclear site, Daily Mail UK By Associated Press 1 September 2017 RENO, Nev. (AP) – The Latest on wildfires burning across the western United States
An official says firefighters are battling a lightning-sparked wildfire in a remote part of the vast former national nuclear proving ground north of Las Vegas. Nevada National Security Site spokeswoman Tracy Bower said Thursday that the fire covers almost 4 square miles (10 square kilometers) in the western part of what used to be the Nevada Test Site.

More than 1,000 nuclear detonations occurred at the 1,360-square-mile (3522-square-kilometer) secure federal reservation from 1951 to 1992. It now hosts non-nuclear experiments and safety training.

Bower didn’t have immediate information about the exact location of the fire or what tests may have taken place in the burn area in the past.

She says the fire started Monday and isn’t considered a threat to people or buildings.

It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation. :

September 8, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

9 September REneweconomy news

  • Results Announced for 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Review
    The results of the annual Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) review.
  • Australia installs 98MW rooftop solar in August – soaring above 6GW total
    Solar party continues. Latest data show 98MW of rooftop solar PV was installed on Australian homes and businesses in August.
  • Telstra, Macquarie looking to build new wind and solar farms
    Telstra and Macquarie Group looking to build new solar and wind farms in Australia in further signs of strong corporate investment.
  • South Australia launches tender for hydrogen plant, buses
    SA govt seeks proposals to build hydrogen production facility and refuelling station, and supply at least six hydrogen cell buses.
  • Blockchain energy trader Power Ledger raises $17m in “coin offering”
    Perth blockchain-based renewables trading start-up, Power Ledger, raising tens of millions of dollars in Australia’s first “initial coin offering” in energy space.
  • AEMO explains caution on S.A. wind: We’re first in the world
    AEMO explains caution of grid operations in South Australia, saying it is way out front of rest of the world and in virgin territory. But there is debate on grid weakness is due to wind farms or ageing gas units with the wrong settings.

September 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

September 8 Energy News



¶ “Why the smart money is now on renewables” • When it comes to the energy sector, the Australian investment community has clearly decided that renewable energy is not only viable, but is the way of the future. This year alone, renewable energy projects worth more than A$7 billion will either commence construction or be completed in Australia. [Business Insider Australia]

Wind turbine technicians (Photo Mark Kolbe | Getty Images)

¶ “Wired Japan woefully unprepared for EMP attack” • North Korea’s announcement that it has a hydrogen bomb raised fears of a new kind of attack that completely bypasses many hurdles of delivery technology: an electromagnetic pulse. An EMP attack would damage or destroy power and communications systems, and disable nuclear power plants. [The Japan Times]


¶ The government of Scotland is now planning to phase out the sale of new petrol/gasoline and diesel…

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September 8, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s choice: back nuclear war, or support UN nuclear weapons ban.

Nuclear War Or Prohibition? Australia Can Choose,    By Gem Romuld on Australia’s alliance with the US does not mean we have to follow them to nuclear war, writes Gem Romuld from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Faced with two irrational and aggressive nuclear-armed leaders, deterrence theory is failing. The promise of nuclear attack is meant to keep nuclear states from using their weapons. Is it becoming clearer every week that this fragile structure is not built to last.

North Korea’s 6th nuclear test is alarming, yes, but an unsurprising next move in the war-game with US President Trump. Both Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are threatening each other with some form of catastrophic “fire”, a thin veil for nuclear war.

Both the US and North Korea are engaging in reckless provocations. Joint US/South Korean military drills on the Korean peninsula and the pursuit of the THAAD missile defence system are continually fueling the fire. Trump and Jong-un are paving the path to nuclear war. Another path exists and we must take it.

On September 20, heads of state and foreign ministers will line up at the United Nations to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). All states are invited to participate in the signing ceremony. When 50 countries have ratified, the new Treaty will enter into force. The TPNW was negotiated and adopted at the UN by 122 nations earlier this year, and promises to be a powerful tool to de-escalate, de-legitimise and disarm nuclear weapons.

The TPNW categorically rejects nuclear weapons for the instruments of catastrophe that they are. Founded on a deep and detailed understanding of the humanitarian impacts of the weapon, the treaty’s drafters have closed the legal gap by which nuclear possession by some was apparently tolerable.

Now, all three weapons of mass destruction are outlawed by international treaties, and nuclear possession by anyone is declared equally unacceptable. As former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “there are no right hands for the wrong weapon.”

The TPNW prohibits the development, stockpiling, testing, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. It also prohibits any nations from encouraging, assisting or inducing others to engage in the prohibited activities. The goal of the Treaty is the total elimination of nuclear weapons; and it provides the formal legal channel to facilitate the process.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s unqualified support for Trump serves to legitimize and condone his actions. Instead of providing constant approval, Australia is in a position to change the landscape. The ANZUS Treaty doesn’t require us to be “joined at the hip”, as Turnbull suggests, but to consult together. Australia’s interests are not identical to the US’. Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong explained in the Lowy Interpreter last October; “being in an alliance does not mean Australia must agree reflexively with every aspect of American policy or make its foreign policy subservient to that of our partner”.

On September 20, the Australian leadership is faced with a choice to support or reject nuclear weapons. If it fails to sign the TPNW, Australia’s commitment to nuclear disarmament is fictional. As a signatory to the treaties banning biological and chemical weapons, anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions, expectations are high. Public opinion is with the Treaty; a March 2017 IPSOS poll found 74 per cent of Australians wanted our government to join the negotiations that led to this landmark agreement.

With every new signatory on the TPNW, the international norm against nuclear aggression will strengthen. The weapon will lose its status and it will be harder for nuclear programs to secure resources for modernization and maintenance. Countries that claim dependence on extended nuclear deterrence, like Australia, will experience increasing pressure to sign on and choose a non-nuclear defence posture.

What right does Turnbull have to criticise the North Korean nuclear program when Australia claims that nuclear weapons are essential for our security? De-escalation is urgently required, and the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons provides a legally sound and feasible alternative to the perilous path we’re currently on.

September 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Julie Bishop in pro uranium session with CEO of failed miner Paladin!

Julie Bishop helps promote African uranium with Australian zombie miner, Independent Australia Dave Sweeney Better known for her support for asbestos, why is Julie Bishop fronting an African mining conference beside uranium miner John Borshoff, who ran Paladin Energy into insolvency and called Fukushima a “sideshow”?

NO DOUBT, tall tales and cocktails will both flow at this week’s Africa Down Under mining conference in Perth, an annual event that sees Australian politicians join their African counterparts alongside a melange of miners, merchants and media.

But it is unlikely that too many of these will be the stories of corruption, dirty dealing and corner cutting that are so common in the world of resource extraction, especially in the developing or majority world.

Earlier this decade the Human Rights Law Resource Centre found that many

‘Australian companies, particularly mining companies, can have a severe impact on human rights throughout the world, including the right to food, water, health and a clean environment. Despite this, successive governments lack a clear framework of human rights obligations for Australian corporations operating overseas. This is particularly problematic in countries with lax or limited regulations.’

The operations and impacts of one embattled Australian miner highlights the point. For years, Paladin Energy was a bullish uranium promoter, now in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster it has joined the zombie companies — the walking corporate dead.

For a few short years, Paladin, headed by the John Borshoff, a man reminiscent of Les Patterson with a drill-rig, operated the Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Malawi.

Borshoff was clear in his rationale stating that the

“Australians and the Canadians have become over-sophisticated in their environmental and social concerns over uranium mining — the future is in Africa.”

The contested mine was a focus of sustained criticism from community and civil society groups before being placed into extended ‘care and maintenance’ following the collapse in global demand and the freefall in the uranium commodity price that followed Fukushima.

Borshoff termed the Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima meltdown a “sideshow”. Not true, although Paladin were always clowns. But never funny ones.

The company is now in administration and a complicated planned bailout involving a Chinese takeover of a shrinking Namibian uranium project has failed. So now, as the creditors circle, who cleans up after the party? What priority will be given to addressing the disrupted and damaged country and communities around Kayelekera?

All good questions to ask John Borshoff, who is presenting Africa Down Under in a session with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. But don’t hold your breath. This year he will wear a different hard hat. Paladin is the past and the future now is Deep Yellow — a junior miner with ambitions in Namibia. The caravan moves on with scarcely a glance behind.

Paladin’s ambition and appetite always exceeded its capacity and competence and now the gap between its inflated promises and its profound under-performance is absolute.

As the senior Mirarr Traditional Owner Yvonne Margarula reflected about her experience with the uranium sector in Kakadu:

”The promises never last, the problems always do.”………

The absence of a robust regulatory regime in many African countries can see situations where Australian companies are engaged in activities that would not be acceptable practise at home.

Paladin’s boom to bust case study is a further clear example of the lack of independent scrutiny of the uranium sector that also reflects poorly on the activities of Australian miners operating in nations with limited governance and regulatory capacity.

The mining sector always makes a difference, but it is not always a positive one. Especially given that many of the Australian company’s active in the African mining sector are juniors with limited capacity, scant accountability and little or no operational experience or proven compliance history.

In 2015, Tracey Davies, a lawyer with the South African-based Centre for Environmental Rights told Fairfax Media of the widespread and

“… very strong perception that when Australian mining companies come here they take every advantage of regulatory and compliance monitoring weaknesses, and of the huge disparity in power between themselves and affected communities, and aim to get away with things they wouldn’t even think of trying in Australia.”

There are too many examples of Australian mining activities in Africa ending in corruption, environmental damage or community disruption for us to simply accept pro-industry rhetoric. There is a clear need for increased transparency, responsibility and support for affected communities. And a clear need for independent proof, not industry promises.

Africa Down Under cannot be allowed to be an uncritical platform for Plunder Down Under.

Dave Sweeney is the Australian Conservation Foundation‘s nuclear free campaigner. You can follow him on Twitter @nukedavesweeney.,10694#.WbH-ZD_xgOU.twitter

September 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

USA needs a policy of containing Kim Jong Un’s regime, not eliminating it

Kim’s Nukes Aren’t a Bargaining Chip. They’re an Insurance Policy Climb into the North Korean dictator’s mind, and you can see that his aim isn’t to destroy Los Angeles but to save his regime. Bloomberg Michael Schuman, 7 Sept 17, 
North Korea looks pretty scary at the moment, firing off missile after missile, threatening to target Guam, and, on Sept. 3, testing what the regime claims was its first hydrogen bomb. And the country’s dictator, Kim Jong Un—so ruthless he may have had members of his own family murdered—might be just crazy enough to push the button to initiate a catastrophic war.

Or maybe not. Look deeper, and you’ll find a North Korea that isn’t as much of an immediate danger to the U.S. as the headlines and rhetoric suggest. That’s because Pyongyang isn’t very likely to use its nukes and missiles against the U.S.—or anyone else.

 Don’t get me wrong: North Korea still presents a huge security risk to East Asia and the world. Kim’s neighbors include three of the world’s 11 largest economies and two of America’s closest allies, Japan and South Korea. No U.S. president would want to see Pyongyang lob a missile into Tokyo or Seoul, let alone Hawaii.

But climb into the mind of Kim—as terrifying as that may sound—and we can conclude that his aim isn’t to destroy Los Angeles but to save his own skin. This is a regime that was never expected to still be around in 2017. When the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union unraveled more than a quarter century ago, North Korea was supposed to vanish with them. The regime has since outlasted economic and political isolation, stiff international sanctions, and famines so severe that they may have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. But through it all, the Pyongyang government has persisted. That speaks to the cunning of the Kim family, which has lorded over the country since its founding by the current Kim’s granddaddy in 1948. They’re survivors.

 And that’s what Kim is striving to do today: survive. He’s not out to conquer the world or even expand his influence in his own neighborhood. Kim and the Pyongyang elite must recognize that the odds are against them and their backs are to the wall. …….

Here’s where the nukes come into play. Pyongyang believes they’re the best, and possibly only, deterrent against evaporation, absorption, or annihilation. That’s why the regime has never been truly willing to trade its nuclear program for other benefits—something Washington has tried to do since the 1990s. The nukes aren’t a bargaining chip. They’re an insurance policy.

Yet the very same weakness that drives Kim’s mania for nuclear weapons is why he can never use them, at least not as an aggressor. As President Trump has already warned, any such attack would be met by “fire and fury.” That comment was irresponsible, but the point is true nevertheless. Kim likely isn’t delusional enough to think his country could survive an all-out war with the U.S. and its allies. Proactively launching a nuclear-topped ballistic missile against the U.S. would mean his own destruction. That’s why it won’t happen. The U.S. Defense Department in its 2015 report said that even though the country remains a continuing threat, “North Korea is unlikely to attack on a scale that would risk regime survival.”

If we see Pyongyang’s motivations in this light, the policy course the Trump administration is taking is all wrong. Threats of fire and fury will only make Kim more paranoid and more certain that he needs nukes to defend himself or deter an aggressive Washington—……

At this stage, with Kim already in possession of nukes and maybe the ability to deliver them, the only viable option for Washington is to accept this reality and deal with Pyongyang as it does with any of the world’s other nuclear powers. This may sound terribly distasteful, and the course presents its own risks—mainly, that North Korea’s neighbors, especially Japan and South Korea, will feel the need for nuclear weapons of their own, leading to a regionwide, potentially destabilizing arms race. Washington would also have to work hard to ensure Pyongyang doesn’t spread its know-how to other rogue states or terrorist organizations that might be less wary of using it—such as Islamic State.

But the U.S. has successfully dealt with the appearance of other nuclear powers, whether China, India, or Pakistan, and it may have to do so again, this time by containing the North Korean threat instead of attempting to eliminate it. ……

September 8, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hurricane-hit Antigua and Barbuda ‘living consequences of climate change’ 8 Sept 17  Washington (AFP) – Island nations devastated by Hurricane Irma are “living the consequences of climate change,” said the prime minister of the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday.

Both islands were blasted by Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest ever to charge across the Atlantic Ocean, packing winds of 180 miles per hour (290 kilometers per hour).

Irma damaged 95 percent of Barbuda’s properties and left the island covered in rubble and “barely habitable,” said Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

“These storms are more ferocious, they are coming in greater frequency — evidence that climate change is real,” Browne said in an interview with CNN.

“We’re living the consequences of climate change.”

Irma has packed sustained winds of over 180 mph (295 kph) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France’s national weather service said.

It comes on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which drenched Texas with deadly floods.

The next big storm, Hurricane Jose, is already churning in the Atlantic behind Irma.

“Those who do not believe in climate change, we’re hoping that when they would have looked at these natural disasters that they’ll change (their) position,”

Browne said.   “All of us need to believe in it and take collective action.”

September 8, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fragile ecosystem of the Flinders Ranges – threatened by nuclear waste dumping

Paul Waldon  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA Yesterday,Thursday the 7th of September was Threatened Species Day. The promotion of nuclear waste abandonment in the Flinders Ranges by The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), and ANSTO can only be seen as a irresponsible act pushing life to extinction with a radioactive assault on a incompatible and fragile environment, while threatening the taxon and the biotas of the Flinders Ranges.

MAMMALS: One species of mammal, the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (Petrogale Xanthopus), has a national and state conservation rating of “Vulnerable.” Half of all mammal fauna that was once known for the Flinders are now extinct, with surviving species assessed at a regional level, with 15 rated “Vulnerable”, 2 “rare”, 7 “Uncommon” and 6 listed “Immediate Conservation Concern”, while the vulnerable will require focused management to ensure their long term future.
BIRDS: 15 birds species are listed a South Australian Conservation Rating, 7 rated “Vulnerable”, 4 as “Rare”, 4 as “Uncommon”, 1 the Short-tail Grass-wren (Amytornis Merrotsyi) listed as Endemic, significantly near Hawker.
REPTILES: Several species are near “Endemic” to the Flinders Ranges, and 5 species known in the region have “Conservation ratings.”
PLANTS: 18 Plant taxa are “Endemic” to the Flinders Ranges, some of these are locally very common, while others are more sparsley present, and have conservation significance ratings. No less than 221 plant species have conservation rating of the 1361 plant taxa recorded.
This well balanced fragile ecosystem, may collapse with the death of any taxa or biota that suffer the impact of radiation from nuclear waste abandonment. ANSTO at Lucas Heights offers a low environmental impact site for nuclear waste while Hawker and Kimba fail to deliver, and in the interest of safety, radioactive waste should remain at Lucas Heights

September 8, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

The climate importance of Greenland’s melting ice and thawing permafrost

Greenland: How rapid climate change on world’s largest island will affect us all The ice sheet is melting and permafrost is thawing. What’s happening in Greenland will speed up climate change across the world, The Independent, 7 Sept 17, Kathryn Adamson 

 The largest wildfire ever recorded in Greenland was recently spotted close to the west coast town of Sisimiut, not far from Disko Island where I research retreating glaciers. The fire has captured public and scientific interest not just because its size and location came as a surprise, but because it is yet another sign of deep environmental change in the Arctic.

Greenland is an important cog in the global climate system. The ice sheet, which covers 80 per cent of the island, reflects so much of the sun’s energy back into space that it moderates temperatures through what is known as the “albedo effect”. And since it occupies a strategic position in the North Atlantic, its meltwater tempers ocean circulation patterns.

But Greenland is especially vulnerable to climate change, as Arctic air temperatures are currently rising at twice the global average rate. Environmental conditions are frequently setting new records: “the warmest”, “the wettest”, “the driest”.

Despite its size, the fire itself represents only a snapshot of Greenland’s fire history. It alone cannot tell us about wider Arctic climate change.

But when we superimpose these extraordinary events onto longer-term environmental records, we can see important trends emerging.

The ice sheet is melting

Between 2002 and 2016 the ice sheet lost mass at a rate of around 269 gigatonnes per year. One gigatonne is one billion tonnes. One tonne is about the weight of a walrus.

During the same period, the ice sheet also showed some unusual short-term behaviour. The 2012 melt season was especially intense – 97 per cent of the ice sheet experienced surface melt at some point during the year. Snow even melted at its summit, the highest point in the centre of the island where the ice is piled up more than 3km above sea level………

In Greenland, like much of the Arctic, rising temperatures are thawing the permafrost. This means the active layer is growing by up to 1.5cm per year. This trend is expected to continue, seeing as under current IPCC predictions, Arctic air temperatures will rise by between 2.0°C and 7.5°C this century.

Arctic permafrost contains more than 1,500 billion tonnes of dead plants and animals (around 1,500 billion walrus equivalent) which we call “organic matter”. Right now, this stuff has been frozen for thousands of years. But when the permafrost thaws this organic matter will decay, releasing carbon and methane (another greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere.

If thawing continues, it’s estimated that by 2100 permafrost will emit 850-1,400 billion tonnes of CO₂ equivalent (for comparison: total global emissions in 2012 was 54 billion tonnes of CO₂ equivalent). All that extra methane and carbon, of course, has  the potential to enhance global warming even further……..

September 8, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Desperate nuclear industry launches advertising blitz

In advertising blitz, nuclear industry seeks reset, , Amy Harder, Sep 5

The beleaguered nuclear industry is launching an advertising campaign Tuesday that casts the decades-old electricity resource in a new light….  The campaign, by the Nuclear Energy Institute, will try to reset nuclear’s appeal in Washington as an electricity source but also more broadly, such as its role in space exploration and medical care.

 Advertising on social media sites, radio and TV will run in the Washington, D.C., area, though the group is considering expanding to states later.

  • The group isn’t buying any print advertisements, in a sign of the changing media landscape.
  • The campaign costs about $800,000, which the group says will go further than advertising in prior stints because the buy is hyper targeted. NEI will bid for space in real time on digital platforms, a spokesman said……
  • Between the lines: Most of the headlines these days are about how the industry is struggling to compete against cheap natural gas and, to a lesser extent, renewable energy. Nothing is pending in Washington that would drastically improve the outlook for nuclear power, but as lawmakers consider new policies, the industry’s leaders hope this campaign helps brighten their perspectives on the fuel.

    Bigger picture: The Trump administration has positive words to offer about nuclear energy, but is unlikely to push any policies that could really provide a boost to the sector, like a carbon tax that would make carbon-emitting energy sources more expensive. The industry is also not asking for anything like that, realizing it’s a non-starter with this administration….

September 8, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New nuclear reactors not recommended – American Institute of Physics

 DOE Advanced Nuclear Reactor Program Deemed Ineffective, American Institute of Physics , 7 Sept 17, 
According to a new report, the Department of Energy’s program to develop advanced nuclear reactors has shifted priorities too often and overspent on facility upkeep. After $2 billion in expenditures, no advanced design is ready for deployment.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) is unlikely to fulfill its mission of developing and demonstrating one or two advanced nuclear reactor technologies by mid-century, according to a new review of the program. In a report published in Environmental Research Letters in August, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the Brookings Institution, and the University of California, San Diego, found fault with, among other things, NE’s overemphasis on light-water-reactor technologies…….

For advanced reactor and advanced fuel research over the 1998 to 2015 period reviewed by the authors, NE spent $2 billion, an amount they said is insufficient to ready even one advanced reactor design for commercial deployment. The authors estimated the cost of designing and licensing an advanced reactor to be $1 billion; demonstration at full scale would cost between $4 billion and $13 billion.

The report blamed NE’s ineffectiveness on a lack of “programmatic discipline.” The program’s funding focus has shifted frequently over the 18-year span, supporting a dozen different technologies at funding levels that were “too low to be relevant to actual commercialization.” Many of those efforts were discontinued during the review period………

Advanced reactor and fuel test facilities at Idaho National Laboratory consume up to half of NE’s budget. Some of those facilities, the report argued, are defense related and only marginally support NE’s core mission. But Lyons says NE doesn’t fund defense programs, and he notes that the U.S. Navy pays half the cost of operating Idaho’s Advanced Test Reactor.

The largest sustained NE R&D program during the review period was the $750 million Nuclear Power 2010, which supported development of two enhanced light-water-reactor designs through licensing and siting. Funding for that program was 57 percent greater than what was devoted to the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), NE’s largest non-light-water advanced reactor program. The NGNP has effectively been terminated due to disputes over site location and the selection of a private-sector partner. ….

Lyons points out that the NGNP was conceived at a time when natural gas prices were at twice today’s levels and the economics of nuclear power was more compelling. He says the project failed mainly due to the unwillingness of industry to share its cost.

Most of the advanced reactor designs that NE has funded couldn’t use the tristructural-isotropic (TRISO) nuclear fuels that the DOE office spent $450 million to develop during the review period, the report stated. Consisting of tiny pellets of low-enriched uranium oxide encapsulated in four layers of carbon, pyrolytic carbon, and silicon carbide, TRISO fuel is more resistant to melting or rupture than today’s fuels are. But TRISO isn’t coupled to a specific reactor R&D program, and it is unclear what role the fuel would play in a transition to advanced reactors, the report said……

September 8, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian Energy Market Operator focuses on dispatchable and flexible energy generation

AEMO switches focus to dispatchable generation over baseload, By Giles Parkinson on 6 September 2017    The Australian Energy Market Operator has sought to switch the debate about Australia’s energy future, saying it is critical to focus on dispatchable and flexible generation rather than baseload, and it wants to create a short-term “strategic reserve” and long-term changes to market design to ensure this need is met. Continue reading

September 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

8 September REneweconomy news

  • AGL bought Liddell for nothing, but would cost Turnbull a small fortune, and his credibility
    Liddell was bought for nothing and for good reason – “it’s clapped out”. Turnbull’s intervention raises probity issues and could have as devastating an impact on new technology as canning of the carbon price and the attempt to kill the RET.
  • Barnaby Joyce’s bizarre call to arms against “green peril”
    Joyce says Australia under attack from “green peril”, that will only become apparent to all when the power goes out, leaving people stuck in a lift, busting for a pee. Oh, and he doesn’t think India will want Australia’s thermal coal. Say, what?
    Energy Efficiency market – commercial lighting takes centre stage
    Whatever the recent VEEC market volatility may imply, it seems clear that the intent exists within government to bring about change, the question now remains what will the end result be?
    What does Hurricane Harvey mean for your super?
    Though the awareness of climate risk disclosure has become more prevalent, such disclosures by Australian companies are still the exception rather than the norm.

September 8, 2017 Posted by | energy | Leave a comment