Australian news, and some related international items

14 October REneweconomy news

  • How to fix Australia’s embarrassing failure in electric vehicles
    TAI report shows 64% of all party supporters in favour of policies to increase EV uptake – so what aren’t governments doing?
  • The UK Government has announced an ambitious new Clean Growth Strategy to drastically cut carbon emissions and combat climate change.
  • UK solar fund buys stakes in three Queensland projects
    UK-based Foresight Solar Fund Limited continues Australian buying spree, taking shares in three Queensland projects under development.
  • Don’t waste time on CET – there are other options for renewables, efficiency
    We will never have an effective broad-based emission reduction policy – no matter who is in government. Best to look at alternatives, like reverse auctions.
  • NSW network to trial 1MWh grid support battery, as new suburbs boom
    MPower tapped by Endeavour Energy to install 1MWh battery on network in NSW, in a trial hoped to save $1m a year on grid costs.
  • Storage on hold as Victoria still reviewing battery tender
    Clock ticks down on Victoria government’s plans to have two large scale battery storage projects in place by January 1, with the winners still not known.
  • China halts more than 150 coal-fired power plants
    China is to stop or delay work on 151 planned and under-construction coal plants as Beijing struggles to respond to a flat-lining of demand for coal power.
  • Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter joins climate science deniers and islamophobes for Australian LibertyFest
    What do you get when you bring together some of Australia’s most fervent climate science deniers with anti-Islam activists, fledgling right-wing political groups, and an American “free market” Libertarian?

October 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Rokkasho NPP Violated Safety Rules —

Nuclear fuel reprocessing operator violated safety rules: regulator TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japanese nuclear regulators concluded Wednesday that Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. violated legally binding safety rules by failing to conduct necessary checks for over a decade at its uncompleted spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the country’s northeast. The failure of checks at an underground […]

via Rokkasho NPP Violated Safety Rules — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rokkasho Fuel Reprocessing Plant Faked Safety Records For 14 Years

(Kyodo) Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. violated legally binding safety rules by failing to conduct necessary checks for over a decade at its uncompleted spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant… Unfinished nuclear fuel reprocessing plant faked safety records: NRA The firm that owns an uncompleted nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture failed to conduct necessary checks […]

via Rokkasho Fuel Reprocessing Plant Faked Safety Records For 14 Years — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UN: Japan Violated Human Rights, Fukushima Evacuees Abandoned — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

“Why should people, especially women and children, have to live in places where the radiation level is 20 times the international limit?” Sonoda said. “The government hasn’t given us an answer.” Mitsuko Sonoda’s aunt harvesting rice in her village, which is outside the mandatory evacuation zone, before the disaster. Fukushima evacuee to tell UN that […]

via UN: Japan Violated Human Rights, Fukushima Evacuees Abandoned — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

9 Images show #ClimateChange impacts #StopAdani — jpratt27

Nine Pictures That Show How Climate Change Is Impacting Earth by Victor Tangermann on September 16, 2017 IN BRIEF The latest satellite data from NASA that showcases the effects of climate change paints a sobering picture. Here’s how far we have come and how much work there is to be done. Record-breaking hurricanes have affected […]

via 9 Images show #ClimateChange impacts #StopAdani  — jpratt27

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Voters demand better policy response than baseload — Renew

New polling shows two thirds of voters would prefer to see governments increasing energy conservation rather than building new power stations.

via Voters demand better policy response than baseload — RenewEconomy

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Investing in the age of #ClimateChange #StopAdani — jpratt27

Countries who’ve signed the Paris Climate Agreement are looking for ways to curb carbon emissions Marija Kramer is Head of Responsible Investment Business at Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). She is responsible for all aspects of responsible investing (RI) offerings, including policy development, as well as research and data screening services covering more than 13,000 global […]

via Investing in the age of #ClimateChange #StopAdani  — jpratt27

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s role in monitoring North Korea’s nuclear tests

North Korea nuclear tests: How Australia is watching Kim Jong-un

THE key to stopping North Korea’s nuclear technology could lie in Australian towns you’ve never even heard of.  Debra Killalea@DebKillalea 12 Oct 17,

THERE are 321 monitoring stations around the world all designed with one common goal. The International Monitoring System (IMS) uses four technologies to monitor nuclear activity in countries including North Korea.

Unsurprisingly some of these stations are located within our own borders and play a powerful role in monitoring rogue nations.

In a piece for The Conversation, Trevor Findlay, Senior Research Fellow Department of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne reveals the key role Australia plays.

Dr Findlay writes Australia hosts six seismic, two infrasound, and one hydroacoustic station, including a large seismic array and infrasound station at Warramunga in the Northern Territory.


The Vienna-based Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) uses the IMS to detect nuclear tests around the world.

This means if Kim Jong-un decides to conduct another nuclear test there are several monitoring stations in Australia which could potentially pick up this abnormal activity.

According to Dr Findlay its monitoring system, which began construction in 1996, is “sensitive enough to detect underground nuclear tests below 1 kiloton”.

The CTBTO picked up the September 3 blast detecting a seismic magnitude of 6.1 and a blast yield of 160 kilotons.

Data such as this is picked up is transmitted to Vienna via satellite where it is analysed and distributed to member states.

The CTBTO’s International Monitoring System is basically designed to verify compliance with the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty.


According to Associate Professor at Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre Dr Stephan Fruhling, the monitoring system is hugely beneficial.

“The technologies used by the monitoring system (seismic, infrasound, and radionucleides) were all used developed the Cold War to monitor other countries’ nuclear tests, and/or are also the same as used in geophysical monitoring,” he said.

However, it has a much more vital function.

“The main innovation of the CTBTO system is that it makes all raw data freely available, which means that all member states have now access to a global detection system that is meant to give confidence that the treaty is effective, whereas before only the superpowers had such capabilities,” Dr Fruhling said.

He also said the system is operating “even though the CTBTO itself isn’t actually legally in force, and probably never will be.”

Dr Fruhling said the system was very effective and expects it to become even more so over time as sensors and computing improve and the last few stations come online.

He said the system wasn’t perfect.

“There are some limits to the system in terms of very low-yield tests, especially where reduced enrichment fuels are used that do not produce a full yield but still a useful neutron flux to validate a weapons design,” he said.

“However, this is something that is of more use to the advanced nuclear powers who have a lot of experience and access to past testing data, than it is to a new proliferant like North Korea.


Nuclear disarmament campaigner John Hallam said the system and Australia’s role in it was actually quite remarkable.

Mr Hallam said the system has managed to not merely detect, but diagnose every North Korea test right from their first which was just a fraction of a kiloton.

“Australia plays quite a key role, mainly with the big seismic and infrasound array at Warramunga and the Hydroacoustic station at Cape Leeuwin,” he said.

“The CTBTO manages to do amazing work not only in detection of nuclear blasts, but also in detecting earthquake and volcanic activity and a secondary role as a tsunami early warning network.”

However Mr Hallam said the current policies of the US threaten all of that as the CTBTO has been in effect “boycotted” by the Government, despite being the first to actually sign it.

CTBTO’s executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo is geophysicist who used to be the Director of the International Data Centre which processes and analyses all the data coming from the more than 300 stations around the globe.

CTBTO’s work, including the establishment and maintenance of the IMS, is mandated by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty which was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in the 1990s and endorsed by the General Assembly. It opened for signature in 1996.


October 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump now attacking the freedom of the press

Trump finds the First Amendment ‘frankly disgusting’ News by Jordan Freiman / October 11, 2017 Donald Trump on Wednesday continued his ongoing feud with NBC over a report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “fucking moron” during a meeting at the Pentagon back in July. That comment was reportedly in response to Trump demanding that the U.S. increase its nuclear stockpile 10-fold, an absurd request considering we have plenty of nukes to wipe out every single person on the planet many times over.

Trump, as he did with the initial “fucking moron” report (which has been corroborated by multiple sources), called the nuke story “Fake News.” Defense Secretary James Mattis chimed in to call the latest report “absolutely false” as well, but Trump took things a step further during a press conference on Wednesday.

“That was just fake news by NBC, which gives a lot of fake news lately,” Trump told reporters, claiming he just wanted to make sure the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal was in good shape. For what it’s worth, Trump previously boastedabout how the nuclear arsenal has in fact been “modernized,” despite it not being possible to complete such an undertaking in just six months.

“It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” the president of the United States said, “and people should look into it.”

Well, people have looked into it. Turns out we’ve got this whole First Amendment thing which includes freedom of the press. There are obviously limits on that freedom, and those are typically hashed out in court. Under normal circumstances, the president is supposed to uphold the constitution. It’s in the oath of office, after all. Instead, Trump continues to threaten to pull NBC’s broadcasting license.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Julie Bishop says that USA should keep Iran nuclear deal

US should keep Iran nuclear deal: Bishop

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has made the case to the US that the nuclear deal with Iran should remain. Australia has urged the US to retain the nuclear deal with Iran in the absence of any credible alternatives.

US President Donald Trump will make an announcement this week on an “overall Iran strategy”, including whether to decertify the international deal curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, the White House says.

“We are urging that it be maintained and Iran’s other behaviour be dealt with in different circumstances,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC TV.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop slaps down Abbott’s climate speech

Bishop slaps down Abbott’s climate speech, THE AUSTRALIAN Australian Associated PressDeputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop has slapped down Tony Abbott’s changing opinions on climate change following his controversial key-note speech to sceptics in London this week.

Ms Bishop, who is in South Korea for security talks, said the former prime minister was entitled to express his views on global warming but pointed out they were vastly different to when he was in power.

Mr Abbott supported the Paris Climate Agreement while he was prime minister, set national emissions targets and established the Renewable Energy Target.

“I think the question that has to be asked of Tony Abbott is why does he have a different view now than when he was prime minister,” Ms Bishop told the ABC on Thursday evening.

“He is entitled to change his mind, but I am sure that is why there is a deal of interest in what he has to say.”

Ms Bishop steered clear of questions about whether Mr Abbott was going to lose the next election for the coalition with his constant undermining of Malcolm Turnbull, or whether he ought be expelled.

The foreign minister’s intervention came after former Liberal leader John Hewson urged Mr Turnbull to stand up to Mr Abbott.

Dr Hewson believes the prime minister should call out his predecessor, especially over energy policy, which Mr Abbott focused on during his London speech.

“How long do you want to sit back and be beaten up, because that’s what (Mr) Abbott’s doing,” he told Fairfax Media on Thursday.

Mr Turnbull should draw a line in the sand in adopting a progressive clean energy target in the full knowledge that Mr Abbott would fight back, he said.

Dr Hewson thinks Mr Abbott would “make a bit of noise” and “a few that would back him”, but ultimately voters would appreciate the prime minister standing up for his beliefs.

“It’s time for Malcolm to just take a stand and I think the electorate is looking for him to show leadership on so many issues,” he said……..

October 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

600 South Korean thyroid cancer patients living near nuclear power say “No” to new nuclear power

Thyroid cancer patients say no to nuclear power plants음성듣기, By Kim Se-jeong, 12 Oct 17

More than 600 thyroid cancer patients living near nuclear power plants in the country came together earlier this week, calling on the government to keep its construction of new nuclear power plants halted.They also asked the government to help them cope with their ordeals. Their calls came while the public debate on the construction of two Shin-Kori reactors is at its peak.

“Nuclear power plants are government projects,” a group of thyroid cancer patients and activists said in a press conference at the National Assembly, Wednesday. “We have contributed to the national growth by enduring many side effects of nuclear power plants. Now that we’re sick, we’re left to fight for survival alone.”

There are two ongoing lawsuits raised by the thyroid patients against Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., the operator of the nuclear power plants, and Wednesday’s calls also meant to push the courts which are expected to deliver verdicts within this year.

One was filed in 2012 by a family of three ― a father, mother and son suffering colorectal cancer, thyroid cancer and a developmental disability, respectively. The lower court ruled partially in favor of the family, stating thyroid cancer had been caused by exposure to radioactive iodine from the power plant. The case is currently being reviewed by an appeals court.

The other lawsuit was filed in 2015 by 618 thyroid patients against the operator, demanding recognition and compensation. The patients are awaiting a verdict. What they want from the government are the following. For long-term action, they want no nuclear power plants so there will be no more such patients in Korea,” said Choi Soo-young, a Korean Federation for Environmental Movement activist. “For a short-term solution, they want to relocate themselves and want the government to pay for it.”

Exposure to radioactive iodine is one of the main causes of thyroid cancer.

A couple of epidemiological surveys in Korea have also found a high number of thyroid cancer patients in the areas close to nuclear power plants in Korea. Yet, the KHNP disputed this, saying the high number was a result of overtreatment.

Korea’s 24 nuclear power plants generate almost 30 percent of the nation’s electricity. Eighteen of them are concentrated in the southeastern region of Busan, Ulsan and Gyeongju.

“We want our voices to be heard by the group of citizens who are debating the new nuclear power plant construction. No more new nuclear power plants should be allowed,” Choi said. The group of almost 500 citizens is starting the three-day major debate on Friday in the final phase of the three-month-long debate. A decision on whether to resume the construction of the Shin-Kori reactors is expected on Oct. 20.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change and California’s Wildfires

Scientists See Climate Change in California’s Wildfires
Strong winds and months of record-high temperatures have fueled the destructive fires, 
Scientific American, By Debra KahnAnne C. MulkernE&E News on October 12, 2017 

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — As wildfires engulf nearly 170,000 acres of Northern California wine country, questions are swirling about the role of climate change in causing damage of historic proportions.

The fires, which started late Sunday night in the hills of Napa and Sonoma counties, quickly ballooned to 22 separate conflagrations in eight counties, killing at least 21 people by Tuesday evening. The Tubbs Fire, in Sonoma County, has been responsible for at least 11 deaths so far, making it the sixth-deadliest fire in state history. Nearly 300 people are still reported missing and 25,000 have been evacuated in Sonoma County alone, with more than 3,500 homes and businesses destroyed.

Strong winds were responsible for the fires’ quick incursion into urban areas, but months of record-high temperatures, preceded by heavy rainfall last winter, also fueled the destructive power of the fire that burned through the region, climate experts said.

Residents of inland Northern California are now experiencing the confluence of these trends. The fires are expected to persist for weeks, until the rainy season begins next month. Strong winds are predicted to return as soon as tomorrow, giving firefighters a narrow window to get the blazes under control…….

Temperatures soared in the San Francisco Bay Area in early September, hitting 106 degrees Fahrenheit in San Francisco, a new record, and 108 in San Rafael, north of the city. It was the warmest summer in more than 100 years of record keeping, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with UCLA: “It beat the previous record by a pretty wide margin.”

Those high temperatures dried out vegetation throughout the area, he said. While fires are a part of life in California, this one became more destructive because it had so much dry brush and grassland — fed by last winter’s rains — to burn.

Powerful winds pushed the flames farther, Swain said. Known locally as the Diablo wind, they’re similar to the Santa Ana wind in Southern California, and they reached an unusually high speed of 79 mph Sunday night. Coupled with relatively low humidity, the wind patterns quickly created havoc.

“This is very much a weather-driven fire, but there is definitely a climate component to the overall story, too,” Swain said.

The dead brush and trees were the result not just of this year’s hot temperatures, but also of the state’s historic drought, which officially ended with the rainfall last winter, said LeRoy Westerling, a management professor at the University of California, Merced’s School of Engineering.

Scientists typically hesitate to say any specific event happened because of climate change, Westerling said. Yet, he said, “we know that these events are affected by the weather and the climate and how dry it is. The climate system has been altered by people … all the weather we’re experiencing and what’s driving these wildfire events is climate change.”……

October 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

13 October More REneweconomy news

  • Victoria attracts another wind farm proposal
    Australian outfit Synergy Wind has proposed building a 34 turbine wind farm in Victoria’s south-east.
  • Politics be damned – consumers jump aboard the energy revolution
    Australian energy politics might have reached peak stupid, but Australia’s energy revolution – led by innovators and incumbents alike, all focused on delivering smarter, cheaper power – is just hitting its stride. And consumers are getting into it.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Maralinga’s nuclear legacy features in Tarnanthi Aboriginal art festival

Tarnanthi Aboriginal art festival shines light on Maralinga’s nuclear legacy, ABC News,  By Nicola Gage , 12 Oct 17, More than 60 years have passed since the first nuclear bomb tests were carried out at Maralinga, but many affected are only now speaking out about what happened.

That’s the case for some artists who have created an installation for Adelaide’s Tarnanthi Festival, which showcases contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works.

“For a lot of the artists it’s the first time they’ve spoken publicly about their personal experiences of living through the atomic bomb testing,” festival curator Nici Cumpston said…….

October 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment