Australian news, and some related international items

No more money for investigating nuclear waste importing – South Australian Parliamentary Committee report

No more cash for nuclear vision as parties conspire against waste dump. In Daily, Tom Richardson , 18 Oct 17  A parliamentary inquiry into Jay Weatherill’s doomed nuclear waste repository has told the State Government not to spend another cent of public money on the plan, with MPs from both major parties conspiring to drive the last nail into the project’s political coffin.The final report of a committee established to review the findings of former Governor Kevin Scarce’s Nuclear Royal Commission, tabled in parliament yesterday, makes only one recommendation: “That the South Australian Government should not commit any further public funds to pursuing the proposal to establish a repository for the storage of nuclear waste in SA.”

The recommendation was endorsed by Liberal, Greens and Labor members of the committee – surprisingly, including even outspoken nuclear advocate and Labor whip Tom Kenyon………

Earlier this year, InDaily revealed Weatherill’s declaration that the project would not be revisited by his Government.

But the work of the committee has continued, with the inquiry hearing “concerns from witnesses that if market conditions changed, for example through competition or changes in technology, the state may be left with a facility which, from an economic and financial perspective, is a break-even proposition at best”.

“Further, while no direct losses would be incurred, there could be significant costs attached to losing other, potentially higher value, investment opportunities,” the report stated.

“Further still, the minimum pre-commitment, or baseline viability, does not mitigate risk of writing-off pre-commitment expenditure estimated at roundly $600 million if the facility did not proceed.”

The committee noted “the possibility of a customer country unilaterally deciding not to send waste to SA despite contractual agreements to do so which, depending on the timing of the risk impact, could leave the facility significantly under-funded”.

Greens committee member Mark Parnell, a consistent opponent of the repository plan, said today “the project was ill-conceived from the outset”.

“The whole exercise has been a colossal waste of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, but it’s now good the process has finished and we can move on to talking about more realistic projects that will create employment and opportunity for South Australians,” he said.

Calling the inquiry’s recommendation the “second-last nail in the coffin”, Parnell insisted the Government must now reinstate Section 13 of the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act of 2000, which was repealed last year.

The law prevented the Government from consulting on the merits of a nuclear waste storage facility, holding that “no public money may be appropriated, expended or advanced to any person for the purpose of encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility” in SA.

Parnell has his own legislation before parliament to re-establish the original act, saying “we need to fix the legislation to make sure no future government comes back with a project like this, without coming to parliament first”……..


October 18, 2017 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australian Labor commends Weatherill govt on acknowledging Citizens Jury outcome – no nuclear waste importing

In addition to the parliamentary committee report released today …

Motion / resolution passed unanimously by the Australian Labor Party SA Branch, State Convention 2017 
13 October 2017
Motion 22. MUA
Federal Nuclear Waste Dump
Andrew AllisonNuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia-18 Oct 17  -South Australian  Labor congratulates the Weatherill government for acknowledging the Citizens Jury outcome to reject the establishment of the nuclear dump, which reflected a majority of the state’s residents, some two thirds of Jury participants. The Weatherill Government is to be commended for acknowledging the community, social and environmental concerns.

SA Labor calls on the State Government to oppose any future proposal for a South Australian nuclear dump and storage site. lt is recognised that the Federal Government is indicating they will advocate for a nuclear waste dump in our state. The SA Labor Government and Party will publicly oppose any proposal of this nature, and take this position based on the findings, evidence and community concerns presented during the Citizens Jury.
SA Labor continues to acknowledge, respects and endorse the ALP National Platform on Nuclear Waste.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

“The Advertiser’s” nuclear advertising article drew strong responses

Jim Green, 18 Oct 17 Dean Jaensch makes two comments about nuclear power ‒ both of them false (‘Nuclear power could be the solution for Australia’s energry crisis‘, The Advertiser, yesterday). He claims that 19 of the G20 utilise nuclear energy in their power production. But in fact, Indonesia Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have no reactors.

And in most of the G20 countries that operate reactors, nuclear power is either negligible or in a world of trouble. In Japan, for example, less than one-tenth of the pre-Fukushima reactor fleet is operating. Estimated clean-up and compensation costs for the 2011 Fukushima disaster have doubled and doubled again and now stand at $245 billion.

Could the state economy cope with a $245 billion hit if Fukushima happened in SA? Of course not.
Jaensch’s claim that nuclear power “emits absolutely no carbon” is also false as a cursory review of the relevant literature demonstrates.

Robyn Wood, 19 Oct 17  Regarding nuclear power, Dean Jaensch is very mistaken when he claims that nuclear power emits no carbon (Advertiser 17/10/17).  He forgets to include the fossil fuel burned during uranium mining, transport of uranium by truck, train or sea, plus the construction of a waste facility along with associated transport of waste.

He also forgets that last year’s nuclear Royal Commission found that nuclear power is currently uneconomic compared to other sources of power.  Costs for the construction of new nuclear power plants around the world are skyrocketing while the costs of renewables are rapidly falling.  If our government is wise enough to also invest in constructing pumped hydro dams which act as energy storage, then renewable energy can be stabilised to provide continuous electricity for the benefit of all Australians.


October 18, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Remote seismic station in the Northern Territory plays critical role in monitoring North Korea’s nuclear testing

Remote Territory seismic station watching for nuclear blasts from North Korea GARY SHIPWAY, NT News October 18, 2017 A LESSER-known remote seismic station in the Northern Territory is playing a critical role in keeping an eye on North Korea and its nuclear testing.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Chinese slowdown may end nuclear’s last hope for growth

 Energy Post,  by Jim Green This year has been catastrophicfor nuclear power, and just when it seemed the situation couldn’t get any worse for the industry, it did, writes Jim Green, editor of Nuclear Monitor: there are clear signs of a nuclear slow-down in China, the only country with a large nuclear new-build program. According to Green, if this program stalls, nuclear power looks headed for an irreversible decline. Courtesy Nuclear Monitor.

China’s nuclear slow-down is addressed in the latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report and also in an August 2017 article in trade publication Nuclear Engineering International by former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd.

China’s nuclear program “has continued to slow sharply”, Kidd writes, with the most striking feature being the paucity of approvals for new reactors over the past 18 months. China Nuclear Engineering Corp., the country’s leading nuclear construction firm, noted earlier this year that the “Chinese nuclear industry has stepped into a declining cycle” because the “State Council approved very few new-build projects in the past years”.

Kidd continues: “Other signs of trouble are the uncertainties about the type of reactor to be utilised in the future, the position of the power market in China, the structure of the industry with its large state owned enterprises (SOEs), the degree of support from top state planners and public opposition to nuclear plans.”

Over-supply has worsened in some regions and there are questions about how many reactors are needed to satisfy power demand. Kidd writes: “[T]he slowing Chinese economy, the switch to less energy-intensive activities, and over-investment in power generation means that generation capacity outweighs grid capacity in some provinces and companies are fighting to export power from their plants.”

Kidd estimates that China’s nuclear capacity will be around 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, well below previous expectations. Forecasts of 200 GW by 2030 were “not unusual only a few years ago,” he writes, but now seem “very wide of the mark.” And even the 100 GW estimate is stretching credulity ‒ nuclear capacity will be around 50 GW in 2020 and a doubling of that capacity by 2030 won’t happen if the current slow-down sets in.

Kidd states that nuclear power in China may become “a last resort, rather as it is throughout most of the world.” The growth of wind and solar “dwarfs” new nuclear, he writes, and the hydro power program “is still enormous.”

Chinese government agencies note that in the first half of 2017, renewables accounted for 70% of new capacity added (a sharp increase from the figure of 52% in calendar 2016), thermal sources (mainly coal) 28% and nuclear just 2%. Earlier this month, Beijing announced plans to stop or delay work on 95 GW of planned and under-construction coal-fired power plants, so the 70% renewables figure is set for a healthy boost……

October 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Why Turnbull’s energy plan could be disaster for renewables, climate, prices

October 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy | Leave a comment

Turnbull govt – dumping clean energy target for “national energy guarantee”

Turnbull dumps clean energy target for “national energy guarantee”, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 17 October 2017 (note: This story updates a previous article, based on the release of further policy details).

Well, looks like he has actually done it. The Turnbull government has formally abandoned the idea of a Clean Energy Target, proposed by chief scientist Alan Finkel and endorsed by nearly everyone, in favour of a new policy that will protect fossil fuel generation and slow down the uptake of renewable energy.

The new National Energy Guarantee marks a major switch in government policy – at least on the face of it. But the major problem is, we just don’t know because there are so few details.

But it appears to hand extraordinary market power to the country’s big utilities and fossil fuel generators, and gives no obvious incentive to introduce new generation, which one would expect would be the key to lowering prices.

Dumped is any form of visible subsidy scheme – be it a renewable energy target, or carbon price, or clean energy mechanism – in favour of changes to energy market rules that put an additional burden on retailers for a “reliability guarantee” and an “emissions guarantee.”

But these guarantees can also be traded – in the form of contracts between utilities. Potentially, it will generate credits in dirty energy, as this table  above [on original]  illustrates.

Quite how this works is not clear, and energy participants were struggling to get their heads around it. They may struggle for a while, because the levels of these reliability and emissions guarantees have not been set, and the reliability settings will vary from state to state, depending on their level of wind and solar.

Western Australia, for instance, has been ignored and is not part of the plan, because it only applies to the National Electricity Market, which excludes WA.

It appears to allow enormous discretion on the part of the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Australian Energy Market Commission. Some described it as an emissions intensity scheme in disguise, but couldn’t be sure because of the lack of detail.

It also appears that retailers may be able to satisfy their emissions guarantee through international carbon markets. One thing is certain, the Turnbull government has undertaken not to go any further than its current Paris target of a 26-28 per cent reduction by 2030, and that is a blow to renewables.

This appears to be the minimum demand of the Coalition’s right wing, and is in effect an abrogation of the Paris climate treaty, which is to make all efforts to keep global warming well below 2°C.

The impact on the renewable sector is hard to predict, but it is clearly not good. Modelling for the government suggests that the share of renewables in total generation will be 28-36 per cent by 2030 – and the level of wind and solar 18-24 per cent.

This compares to a level of 42 per cent suggested by Finkel, Labor’s 50 per cent target, and the 70 per cent deemed necessary if Australia was to get serious about meeting the international 2°C target.

This new modelling represents only a modest increase in renewables, and possibly a virtual stop, particularly if it includes behind the meter rooftop solar, which it appears to do. If it does represent some sort of target, then it could likely bring new large-scale development of wind and solar to a halt…….

The fact that this proposal comes from the Energy Security Board also raises some questions. Finkel took nearly a year to put together his review and his painstaking modelling of a clean energy target.

The ESB, chaired by Kerry Schott, and including the heads of the AEMC, AEMO and the AER, was formed less than two months ago and only had its first meeting four weeks ago.

Little wonder that the details are so vague. Apparently it was delivered to the government last week. Investors may be mindful of Schott’s comments a few weeks ago: harnessing demand management in Australia, means “we can all stop worrying about building new plants of any description.”

The other issue about the ESB is that it is required only to look at the issue of energy security, not emissions. It appears to have been given the arbitrary number of electricity accounting for one-third of anticipated emission reductions by 2030. Who is going to do the rest?

But the involvement of the ESB has provided Turnbull with an element of political cover, saying that he was “relying on the experts”. Indeed, at the press conference, he refused to answer any question in detail, deferring instead to the members of the ESB.

Minutes later, in question time, it was obvious that the political rhetoric hadn’t changed. Quoting complete nonsense from The Australian and other conservative commentators, Turnbull claimed that the renewable energy target would cost $66 billion in renewable energy certificates, a cost imposed on consumers.

It’s rubbish, of course. Most new projects ascribe no value at all to those renewable energy certificates.

And it is this that raises concerns. The conditions of the right wing rump of the Coalition, which have been holding the government, and the nation, hostage to their demands, were laid clear by Craig Kelly, the climate change science denier who acts as chair of the Coalition’s environmental committee.

Kelly says the target must not allow renewables to get near 50 per cent, and must not go further than the 26-28 per cent committed by the Abbott government, and certainly not the 45 per cent emission cuts recommended by the Climate Change Authority, and other climate scientists, and endorsed by Labor.

In other words, it wants Australia to tear up its Paris climate commitment to keep global warming well below 2°C, and possibly as low as 1.5°C……

market power remains with the big generators – the very ones that have been dudding consumers on retail and wholesale costs for the last few years. The ESB modelling effectively locks in the recent high prices, offering only an 8-10 per cent fall over the next decade.

The ESB says this may translate into consumer savings of some $100 a year – over a 10-year period – over and above the Finkel Review. But it is not clear how if the wholesale savings are so small…….

October 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Rockhampton’s Mayor Strelow misrepresents Wanganand Jagalingou

Mayor Strelow misrepresents Wanganand Jagalingou
‘Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow’s
‘thanks’ to the the Wangan and Jagalingou people for ‘our support’ is disingenuous
and clearly misrepresents the position of the Traditional Owners
of the proposed Carmichael mine area.

‘We do not support a FIFO (fly in fly out) hub that allows
a mass of people who have no respect for our land to fly in
and destroy our country and culture, and fly out again.

‘The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council
don’t know who Mayor Strelow is talking to,
but it’s clearly not the W&J Applicant or the claim group or our families.

‘A majority of Wangan and Jagalingou families have
consistently rejected Adani’s sham ILUA  for the mine.
Adani has no agreement with Traditional Owners
and an ILUA has not been registered.
The purported ILUA is subject to a Federal Court trial in March 2018.

‘Our court action in March will expose the underhanded way
in which our position on the mine is misrepresented by Adani,
and our supposed support was engineered.

‘We have provided evidence to the court of Adani’s bad faith and
we will pursue this constant misrepresentation of our people and
our position on the mine until we can demonstrate once and for all
we do not and never will support this coal mine
or any project or enterprise aligned to it. …’

To continue reading this excellent statement by Wangan and Jagalingou People go here:

October 18, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Tradiational land owners Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people at forefront of opposition to Adani coal mine

‘Opposition from traditional owners of the land

‘The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people are the traditional owners of the land
on which the Adani group has proposed to build its mine and they argue
that if this mine was to be built on their homelands,
it would irreversibly destroy their customs, culture and heritage. …

‘The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council
is at the forefront of the tussle with the Adani group and
have taken the matter to the federal court of Australia.

‘The matter is up for hearing in March 2018 and is being seen
as the last legal hurdle in the way of the Carmichael coal mine. … ‘

Note: This is the first in a three-part series 
that will examine how the Adani and Carmichael coal mine has divided the Australian public
and in the process, sparked fierce debate on issues such as
coal-based energy, energy financing, jobs and the rights of indigenous people.’

To continue reading this comprehensive overview go here:

October 18, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s successful influence on Coalition energy policy

Abbott 1, Consumer 0. Turnbull’s energy fudge locks in high prices Giles Parkinson on 17 October 2017 Whatever else you can say about Malcolm Turnbull’s new energy policy one thing is clear: Tony Abbott has won, and consumers have lost. Even in the most optimistic scenario presented by the government, energy consumers will see little reduction in their energy bills over the next decade.

That’s outrageous. Australians are paying absurd prices for their electricity – upwards of 40c/kWh and not just in South Australia – and this new scheme can envisage only a slight reduction over the next 12 years.

In an era where renewable energy costs are plunging, where the costs of rooftop solar are about one-sixth the cost of grid power, that spells an abrogation of the government’s duty, and it spells trouble for the future.

To please Abbott and the vast rump of climate deniers and renewable energy nay-sayers in the Coalition and the conservative commentariat, Turnbull has effectively abandoned the Paris climate target and closed the door on new renewable energy projects.

 Paris is abandoned because Turnbull is committing only to the Abbott downpayment of a 26-28 per cent cut by 2030, and has co-opted the Energy Security Board to devise a plan that commits the electricity industry to account for just one-third of that target. It should, and could, do a lot more.

Renewable energy is abandoned because there is no obvious incentive to develop new generation. And consumers can rest assured they will be screwed because the power, quite literally, is conferred upon the big retailers and generators and their complicated series of price caps and hedges.

The government would like us to believe that this new plan is the work, solely and uniquely, of the newly established Energy Security Board. Given that this board only met for the first time a month ago, that seems unlikely, despite the fact that the directors were co-opted to attend the Turnbull policy launch.

More likely, this is the work of the vested interests who have controlled debate and policy making in Australia for all but the Gillard years of carbon pricing. The fact the current high levels of wholesale prices are, by the government’s own admissions, locked in for another decade at least, is confirmation of this.

Turnbull says it is about reliability, emissions and affordability. But it appears an own goal on all three counts: Australia simply cannot afford to dump climate targets, wind and solar are clearly cheaper than fossil fuels, and relying on ageing coal generators seems a recipe for disaster

The policy unveiled on Tuesday means he is effectively tearing up Australia’s commitment to the Paris treaty, because there is no path to 2°C.

It throws a wall of protection around the fossil fuel industry – as if it hasn’t benefited from enough political favours – and raises the drawbridge on new large-scale renewable energy investments

The details of how this scheme will operate are far from clear. There are reliability and emissions standards to meet, but no decision on what these might be. We only know that they vary from state to state, and will be at the discretion of the AEMO and the AEMC.

Turnbull hailed the initiative as a significant breakthrough and a game-changer for the industry. Minutes later he was back in the parliament sprouting complete nonsense about the cost of the renewable energy target, quoting a discredited series of stories in The Australian that claim the cost is $66 billion.

And that’s the point. Renewable don’t need subsidies, and many new projects aren’t getting them. But they do need a target, and an incentive to encourage utilities to move beyond their current coal and gas interests.

For Turnbull, the politics haven’t changed at all – and that’s why the renewable energy industry and the consumer should remain suspicious. There is no path to the decarbonised electricity grid that the CSIRO, the networks and any number of energy analysts have said is not just doable, but eminently affordable.

There is no path for falling energy costs, because the system will rely on the very institutions that have been gaming the market for the last decade. Reliability may be maintained, but at the cost of gold plating the coal and gas industry in the same way that regulators encourage and allowed the networks to do.

Most of all, it’s killed the chance of a bipartisan agreement. It’s a sorry tale. And unless something mighty surprising emerges in the next few months, when the policy details are finalised, it will have got us nowhere.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott has betrayed the bush, on climate change

Forget Abbott’s wishful thinking, climate change is here , Gregor Heard@grheard 

With this in mind, his recent claims in London regarding climate change can only be viewed as a betrayal of the bush by someone who has always seen themselves as a champion of our farming communities.

To stand up before an audience and suggest climate change was probably not real, and flippantly then say even if it was, it would probably be a good thing because the cold is more deadly than the heat is an insult to farmers across Australia’s cropping belt.

It’s a difficult thing to debunk the myriad myths presented in the speech, but let’s make a start.

Climate change is real, and we, through inland Australia are placed to cop some of the worst effects of this change.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

18 October REneweconomy news

  • Abbott 1, Consumer 0. Turnbull’s energy fudge locks in high prices
    If one thing is clear from the Coalition’s new energy policy announcement today, it is that Tony Abbott has won, and consumers have lost. Even in the most optimistic scenario presented by the government, energy consumers will see little reduction in their energy bills over the next decade. And that’s outrageous.
  • Origin teams with UK start-up in SA demand-response trial
    Origin Energy rolls out flexible energy trial in South Australia, allowing commercial and industrial customers to align demand with renewables output.
    • Live: Turnbull unveils new energy plan – national energy guarantee
      The Turnbull Coalition government unveils its new energy policy.
    • Know your NEM: Laws of physics grind slowly, but surely
      With energy policy set to remain a political battleground in Australia, physics, in the form of global warming, will continue to gradually push decarbonization to the top of the policy agenda.
    • Can solar on the roof really power your EV?
      With China, India, Norway, UK, France and California planning to ban manufacture and sales of new internal combustion engine cars, and EVs on the rise, will a solar roof become popular add-on option for plug in EV’s?
    • Innovation: UNSW “microfactories” transform waste into green gold
      A team of Australian researchers is turning the notion of recycling on its head, while also building a new green manufacturing sector.
    • Battery storage? Australia’s rooftop solar boom has only just begun
      The buzz might be about batteries, but the mass adoption of solar PV by Australian homes – and the efficient use of this asset – has only just begun, as prices reach levels that appeal to the late majority, and as early adopters look to upsize their systems.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment