Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Walkatjurra Walkabout: For country, against uranium.

September 23, 2017 .Lauren   http://www.riverredgum.com/walkatjurra-walkabout-for-country-against-uranium/

‘This is my first post in my ‘Real Life Ideas’ area and I wanted to share this as an idea because what I experienced on over the last month really made me think about different types of activism, what the word really means and how we can connect to the planet in a spiritual way while involving ourselves in activism and campaigning.

‘I also truly hope that the idea of a nuclear free world is one that will spread throughout
the world before more beautiful beings are harmed by its dangers. …

‘As the global nuclear free movement grows, so too will the attention given to this land.
It is in for a turbulent next few years, but no matter what any corporations, or selfish politicians say,
there is no denying the dangers and outright absurdities of uranium.

‘Too many people have been and will be hurt by nuclear weapons and nuclear power failures
and many more in the future will be effected by radioactive waste that we are accumulating.

‘Here’s an idea to say no to uranium, leave it in the ground.

‘Here’s an idea to say no to colonialism and exploitative western powers.

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September 25, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, art and culture, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

A diplomatic path to containing the North Korea nuclear threat

The nuclear threat can be contained by diplomacy, These issues are manageable if they are given the right degree of priority,   Ft.com 25 Sep 17    “……… North Korea is the issue of the day. The objective of a denuclearised Korean peninsula, pursued by the previous US administrations, is no longer an achievable goal.

The best that can be hoped for is the suspension of nuclear and missile testing in return for security assurances and practical aid. Sanctions are designed to draw Kim Jong Un into a negotiation with that aim, and to pressure China to take a more active part. But it is very hard to see President Kim pulling back now. And China is more concerned about a new US-led war in Korea or the north collapsing and sending millions of refugees into China, than it is about living with a nuclear armed Pyongyang.

The US only really has two strategic options: contain and deter the threat; or destroy it, which would require regime change. There are always military options. But all who have studied the secret Pentagon plans are sobered by the scale of loss of life in South Korea these would entail. There is also a risk of China reluctantly coming to the aid of the north as it did in the 1950s.

Realistically, it seems the only practical option is containment. That requires missile defence systems to create uncertainty that nuclear-tipped missiles would ever get through to their target, and to deter any use of such weapons by being clear that North Korea would be destroyed if it ever tried to use them.
Mr Kim may be hard for us to comprehend, but he is a rational actor and he is certainly not suicidal. US concern about this isn’t exaggerated by the Trump administration: it has a serious problem on its hands.
However much we may view containment as the only sensible answer, there are still dangers of miscalculation. Mr Kim may be tempted to use his nuclear arsenal to hold others to ransom. There is also a proliferation threat. We have seen how Pyongyang has used its nuclear technology as an export earner. In 2007, the Israelis destroyed a secret nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert that had been designed and built by the North Koreans. Is it conceivable that a future terrorist organisation might be able to obtain such a device? Unlikely. But if they had the means, then Pyongyang would be the first place to go to get it. Pakistan’s ambivalent relationship with terrorist organisations adds to the dangers.
One country where our nuclear weapons concerns had eased is Iran. The nuclear agreement has its weaknesses, especially that it only applies for 10 years. But it is worth having, and Tehran is complying by its technical requirements. If Donald Trump walks from the nuclear deal — as he threatened at the UN last week — then before long he could find he has another North Korea to deal with, this one in the Gulf.
The outlook on nuclear weapons might look grim. But as we showed in the cold war, these issues are manageable with skilful diplomacy and the right investments in defence. We just have to give it the right degree of priority. When I was at MI6, and before that our negotiator with Iran on its nuclear programme, I was always mindful of the nuclear threat. The only issue that can seriously threaten our way of life must be among our top international security priorities. The writer is chairman of Macro Advisory Partners and a former chief of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service   https://www.ft.com/content/02c58f70-9c80-11e7-8b50-0b9f565a23e1

September 25, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Latest threats Trump versus Kim

Kim Jong-un ‘won’t be around much longer’ http://www.skynews.com.au/news/politics/international/2017/09/24/trump-insult-makes-attack–inevitable—korea.html  Donald Trump has made fresh threats against the North Korean regime after it branded him a ‘mentally deranged megalomaniac’.

The US President warned Pyongyang’s foreign minister that if he if ‘he echoes thoughts’ of the country’s leader Kim Jong Un they both ‘won’t be around much longer’.

He was responding after Ri Yong Ho told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that targeting the US mainland with its rockets was inevitable after ‘Mr Evil President’ made an ‘irreversible mistake’ by calling Mr Kim ‘rocket man’.

Describing Mr Trump as a ‘mentally deranged person full of megalomania,’ Mr Ri went on to tell the annual gathering of world leaders that the country was now ‘only a few steps away from the final gate of completion of the state’s nuclear force’. Continue reading

September 25, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Barnaby Joyce now becoming aware of the radiation risks of nuclear power

Steve Dale   Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia shared a link more https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/
North Korea’s latest threat to test a Hydrogen bomb in the pacific is probably making reasonable nuclear reactor supporters have a re-think. Take Barnaby Joyce’s words when he was surprised with the news – “…because what they’re doing is they’re testing a mechanism to incinerate human beings, to kill men, women and children, to give people disease from radiation, to partially burn human bodies. Why would you say well that’s a good thing? Why would you say that must be a good person? No. ” His words “to give people disease from radiation” gives me hope that he is beginning to understand the risks of nuclear in general.
 

September 25, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Six international academics refute the attack on renewable energy by Ben Heard and others

Response to ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems’ AUTHORS W. Browna,(a) , T. Bischof-Niemz (b)  , K. Blok(c) , C. Breyerc(d) , H. Lund (e) , B.V. Mathiesen (f  )  (Their  university positions are listed at the end of this post) September 2017

Abstract A recent article ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems [by Ben Heard, Barry Brook, Tom Wigley and Corey Bradshaw] claims that many studies of 100% renewable electricity systems do not demonstrate sufficient technical feasibility, according to the authors’ criteria.

Here we analyse the authors’ methodology and find it problematic. The feasibility criteria chosen by the authors are important, but are also easily addressed at low cost, while not affecting the main conclusions of the reviewed studies and certainly not affecting their technical feasibility.

A more thorough review reveals that all of the issues have already been addressed in the engineering and modelling literature. Nuclear power, as advocated by some of the authors, faces other, genuine feasibility problems, such as the finiteness of uranium resources and a reliance on unproven technologies in the medium- to long-term. Energy systems based on renewables, on the other hand, are not only feasible, but already economically viable and getting cheaper every day.

Contents Continue reading

September 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia needs a massive switch to renewables, if it is to meet its Paris climate commitments

the bind faced by the formerly green-tinged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

the Australia Institute, which has taken over the intellectual property of the Climate Institute, says even Dr Finkel’s model would be insufficient on its own to meet the international obligations signed under Mr Abbott.

“This analysis of the economic modelling demonstrates meeting these targets for the electricity sector with a policy like the clean energy target is likely to require 66-75 per cent of electricity to be supplied by renewables,” said Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist.This was because a CET “provides less of an incentive for gas generation than an EIS (emissions intensity scheme) or a carbon price“.

Climate crunch: Australia to fail on Paris commitments without massive renewable switch http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/climate-crunch-australia-to-fail-on-paris-commitments-without-massive-renewable-switch-20170924-gynkj8.html  Mark Kenny, 25 Sept 17   Australia will fall short of its Paris carbon reduction targets signed under Tony Abbott unless it lifts its renewable energy production to levels higher even than Labor’s plan for 50 per cent green energy reliance by 2030.

The first assessment by the Australia Institute’s new Climate and Energy Program, to be released on Monday, has found that unless a higher burden is placed on the more expensive process of carbon reductions in other sectors – agriculture, transport and manufacturing – then the electricity generation sector will need to aim for a renewable energy target of at least 66 per cent by 2030, and possibly as high as 75 per cent.That is, a power generation sector where the fossil fuel component is reduced to perhaps a quarter of the size it is now.

Power generation currently accounts for 35 per cent of total emissions, which is twice as much as the next biggest contributor, fuel combustion and transport, at 18 per cent.

Industry produces 14 per cent and agriculture 13 per cent.

 The current emissions reduction target, committed to in Paris while Mr Abbott was prime minister, is 26-28 per cent lower than the 2005 level – part of Australia’s  contribution to a global effort to restrict the planet’s temperature increase this century to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.

The government is now wrestling with how to go about this after  Chief Scientist Alan Finkel proposed a clean energy target which would lock in a 28 per cent reduction in energy-related emissions by 2030 through a four-pronged strategy emphasising energy security, reliability, affordability for households and business, and meeting Australia’s emissions targets.

Last week Mr Abbott indicated he would cross the floor in Parliament to stop further renewable-friendly policies, calling it “unconscionable for a government that was originally elected promising to abolish the carbon tax and to end Labor’s climate obsessions to go further down this renewable path”. Continue reading

September 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy | Leave a comment

Australia’s opposition leader visits South Korea, “in lockstep” with Turnbull on nuclear issue

Bill Shorten visits South Korea to address nuclear tensions
Australian opposition leader calls on China and Russia to put pressure on the North Korean regime over missile tests,
Guardian, Amy Remeikis, 24 Sept 17,  Australia’s opposition leader, Bill Shorten, will meet with South Korea’s prime minister as part of a bid to reassure the region that Australia’s position on North Korea will not change, even if there is a change in government.

Shorten and his foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, have left for a four-day trip to South Korea and Japan, with meetings scheduled with Lee Nak-yeon, the former UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, the commander of the US Forces in Korea, Gen Vincent Brooks, and Japan’s foreign minister, Taro Kono.

The trip comes just days after the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, used her address to the United Nations general assembly to condemn North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and missile provocations, and to call on the rogue nation’s allies China and Russia to continue applying pressure.

On his way to the political hotspot, Shorten said North Korea was one area where Labor and the Coalition were in lockstep.

“South Korea and Japan are critical to the economic and national security of our region,” he said.

 “And it is therefore important at a critical time, that both sides of Australian politics have the best possible understanding so we can make the best possible decisions……….https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/24/bill-shorten-visits-south-korea-to-address-nuclear-tensions

September 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Did Australian govt reject China’s climate change action initiative?

Government denies claims it knocked back Chinese climate change offer and reveals ‘joint action plan’ Fergus Hunter SMH, 23 Sept 17

The Turnbull government rejected a landmark Chinese invitation to issue a formal joint statement on climate change earlier this year, Greenpeace has claimed, saying Australia vetoed an unprecedented step in the Asian power’s emerging international role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

But the Australian government has denied the claim and revealed the two countries’ energy departments were working on a “joint action plan” on climate change as part of their commitments under the Paris agreement.

According to Greenpeace East Asia senior climate policy adviser Li Shuo, the government quietly knocked back an offer – perhaps the first time the Chinese government had proactively sought such an arrangement – during Premier Li Keqiang’s state visit to Australia in March.

Mr Li said the offer was “very, very significant” because it suggested China had become “diplomatically proactive” after previously being on the receiving end of invitations from the European Union and United States to outline mutual commitments on climate change.

He observed it would have been a concrete political signal for the international community amid the uncertainty triggered by the election of President Donald Trump, who has wound back American leadership on climate change and begun the process of withdrawing the US from the Paris accord.

“The Chinese delegation with Li Keqiang came with the proposal but that didn’t get the green light from the Australian side,” Mr Li said, adding that his awareness of it came from a directly involved figure in the Chinese government.

“It was clearly the intention from the Chinese side to build up international climate momentum. I think the proposed bilateral statement was part of that effort to send a signal back to the rest of the world and primarily the US.”

A spokesperson for the Australian government said it “did not decline an offer from the Chinese government earlier this year to make a joint statement on climate change” and labelled the March leaders’ meeting “highly successful”……..

Previously an advocate for sweeping action on climate change, Mr Turnbull has had to compromise since taking the leadership of a Liberal-National Coalition still internally divided on the issue. A significant portion of his party room are keen supporters of coal-fired power and some do not accept the scientific consensus on climate change.

Under the Paris accord, former prime minister Tony Abbott’s Coalition government committed to reducing emissions by 26-28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. His government also renegotiated the Renewable Energy Target in the electricity sector down to 23.5 per cent by 2020.

In the face of internal hostility, the government is currently redesigning a Clean Energy Target proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, which would aim to have 42 per cent of Australia’s energy generated by lower emissions technologies by 2030. The government may loosen the CET to allow for high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired power stations……. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/government-denies-claims-it-knocked-back-chinese-climate-change-offer-and-reveals-joint-action-plan-20170920-gyl3j5.html

September 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Britain’s dodgy Small Modular Nuclear Reactor scheme: will it really happen ?

Is The UK Really Planning To Approve “Mini Nuclear Reactor” Rollout? https://cleantechnica.com/2017/09/22/uk-really-planning-approve-mini-nuclear-reactor-rollout/ by James Ayre It was reported last week in The Telegraph that ministers in the UK were “ready” to approve the rapid development and testing of a fleet of “mini nuclear reactors” — to be used as baseload capacity and meant to make up for older soon-to-be-decommissioned nuclear facilities.

Is there any truth to this assertion? What about the assertion that such mini nuclear facilities will provide electricity that’s one-third cheaper than that provide by the nuclear facilities currently in use in the UK?

That sounds a bit “too good to be true” (which means that it probably is), but that is the sales pitch that’s being used.

I haven’t been able to find out too much about what’s going on, as many news outlets haven’t been covering the matter apparently, but it seems that “Rolls-Royce, NuScale, Hitachi, and Westinghouse have held meetings in past weeks with civil servants about Britain’s nuclear strategy and development of ‘small modular reactors’ (SMRs)” in recent days — if The Telegraph is to be believed.

Here’s more from that coverage: “Whitehall sources confirmed that ­officials from the Department for Business were whittling down proposals from consortia keen to work with government to develop SMRs, with an ­announcement on the final contenders for funding expected soon.

“The report to be published by Rolls-Royce, entitled ‘UK SMR: A National Endeavour’, which has been seen by The Telegraph, claims SMRs will be able to generate electricity significantly cheaper than conventional nuclear plants.

“The mini reactors are each expected to be able to generate between 200 megawatts and 450 megawatts of power, compared with the 3.2 gigawatts due from Hinkley, meaning more of them will be required to meet the UK’s energy needs.”

The Rolls Royce report claims that its projects would be able to generate electricity at a strike price of £60 per megawatt-hour — a fair bit higher than a number of other electricity generation modalities can offer. Though, I guess that the sales pitch is based on the idea of its use as baseload capacity?

September 25, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

25 September REneweconomy news

RenewEconomy
  • What’s next for Minerals Council’s coal and climate policy?
    The abrupt and unexpected departure of the Minerals Council of Australia’s CEO, Brendan Pearson, may well be a crucial tipping point in Australia’s debate over domestic energy policy.
  • Consumers see solar and battery storage as key to cutting bills
    Poll reveals batteries could soon be as “common as dishwashers” in Australian homes, in race to cut power bills with solar and storage.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility likely to fund coal rail line, but not coal mine itself

No coal projects being considered, says NAIF  http://www.afr.com/news/politics/no-coal-projects-being-considered-says-naif-20170922-gymmr4

The Turnbull government’s $5 billion Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility has never received a proposal to help fund a coal-fired power station since it was created two years ago.

While senior minister, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, continue to link the NAIF to funding a next-generation coal plant, it is understood the NAIF board has not assessed any proposal for a high-efficiency low emissions or a carbon capture and storage coal project.

When contacted by AFR Weekend, NAIF chief executive Laurie Walker would not comment on specific proposals, but confirmed the board was on track to announce the first round of funding from the project later this month.

The project would then be put to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who has taken over the portfolio after resources minister Matt Canavan stood aside following doubts over his citizenship.

 Ms Walker said the NAIF board was now looking at 10 projects in due diligence, up from five projects a few months ago, based on 161 inquiries, and was on track to make a decision by the end of the month.

Some of the projects under consideration by the NAIF include a rail link to Adani’s $16.5 billion Carmichael mine in Central Queensland and Genex Power’s $823 million Kidston pumped hydro and solar project in North Queensland.

Other as yet undisclosed projects which have made it to the NAIF short-list include renewables, resources, transport and tourism, Ms Walker said.

 Despite the lack of coal projects which have applied for NAIF funding, the infrastructure funding body – established by former treasurer Joe Hockey after the 2015 budget – is constantly linked by senior ministers as a potential funding source for next-generation coal projects.

Mr Turnbull, on a three-day trip to Queensland marginal seats this week, specifically highlighted the NAIF as a way to get new coal projects across the line.

Once a decision by the NAIF board has been sent to the minister he has 21 days to decide whether to veto – a period which can be extended to 60 days.

Some of the projects under consideration by the NAIF include a rail link to Adani’s $16.5 billion Carmichael mine in Central Queensland and Genex Power’s $823 million Kidston pumped hydro and solar project in North Queensland.

Other as yet undisclosed projects which have made it to the NAIF short-list include renewables, resources, transport and tourism, Ms Walker said.

 Despite the lack of coal projects which have applied for NAIF funding, the infrastructure funding body – established by former treasurer Joe Hockey after the 2015 budget – is constantly linked by senior ministers as a potential funding source for next-generation coal projects.

Mr Turnbull, on a three-day trip to Queensland marginal seats this week, specifically highlighted the NAIF as a way to get new coal projects across the line.

The Queensland Liberal National Party has vowed to back a HELE coal project in the state if it wins the next election, which is due to be held later this year or early next year. But it says it wants it to be mostly privately funded.

Green Energy Markets director Tristan Edis said the concept of using taxpayer funding for a coal-fired power station in Queensland – which could cost between $2 billion and $5 billion – was not justified.

 “It doesn’t make environmental or economic sense, but it makes perfect political sense [for the LNP],” he said.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment