Australian news, and some related international items

Mark Parnell on the final report of the Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission

What we saw with the royal commission is that they had a number of paid consultants—paid by you and I, the taxpayers—and they engaged these consultants who had clear, ongoing connections with the nuclear industry, often as lobbyists for the industry.

It became apparent very early on that the state was off on a frolic of its own. It was embarking on this major investigation about having a nuclear waste dump in South Australia when everyone knew that the bulk of the laws that regulate these things are at the commonwealth level.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission – Parliamentary Committee Report, Legislative Council, October 18th, 2017

The final report of the Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was tabled in the South Australian Parliament on October 17 2017.  A copy of the report can be found here.

As a Member of the Parliamentary Committee, Mark spoke to the Report on October 18, and outlined his findings and recommendations in the Greens’ Minority Report.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: The notion that South Australia could become fabulously wealthy if only we would agree to take the world’s high-level nuclear waste was ill-conceived from the very beginning. The committee heard evidence about previous attempts to establish nuclear waste dumps in other parts of the world and in Australia. Those attempts have mostly failed because the fundamentals just do not stack up. The liability lasts forever, the technology is unproven and risky, the economics are flawed and the public do not want it under any circumstances, according to the South Australian citizens’ jury. So, this current proposal for South Australia has predictably and properly gone the way of its predecessors and it has been comprehensively dumped.

Whilst the Greens welcome the inevitable abandonment of this project, it has come at a significant cost to the community. Millions of dollars of public funds have been wasted pursuing this folly, and the community is rightly angry that other worthwhile projects and other investigations have suffered through this unnecessary distraction from the real issues that are facing South Australia.

The committee only had one recommendation that received majority support. That is the recommendation that no further public money be spent on a nuclear waste dump in South Australia. Continue reading

October 26, 2017 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, South Australia | Leave a comment

UK’s silly plan for Small Nuclear Reactors – (really to develop resources for nuclear weapons)

There are just two problems with the rosy scenario. First, the techno-optimism that oozes from every page is a fantasy. Nuclear power stations have got bigger to achieve economies of scale: it’s much cheaper to build a single 1.2GW unit than four 300MW units, or a dozen 100MW units.

Nuclear power will be utterly irrelevant in meeting decarbonisation targets. There is no £400 billion export market. Who would want SMRs in 2050, when their power will be 50-100 times more expensive than solar?

the government wants to use civilian nuclear programme to generate expertise, technology, for military use, especially reactors for Trident nuclear submarines. What better way than to pour billions of pounds into SMRs under the pretence that the technology is for civilian use?


Small nuclear reactors are a 1950s mirage come back to haunt us, Oliver Tickell, 24th October, 2017

The government is due to announce a £250 million support package for ‘small modular reactors’ his week, just as the price of wind and solar power contracts fall 10% below UK wholesale prices. OLIVER TICKELL argues that the Britain’s ‘civilian’ nuclear power expenditure is actually a camouflaged subsidy to the UK’s Trident nuclear missile system.

It’s easy to see why Rolls Royce and other companies in the nuclear engineering business are pushing the UK government finance the development a new generation of ‘small modular reactors’ or SMRs. Whether the project succeeds or fails, there are juicy profits to be had for them at taxpayers expense.

Rather harder to understand is why the government should see the slightest merit in the idea. Continue reading

October 26, 2017 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Nuclear energy is in irreversible decline across the world

Standard & Poors Global Market Intelligence 16th October 2017, Nuclear energy is in irreversible decline across the world, with the construction of new units appearing to bottom out, a new report found. “The deterioration of the situation is accelerating,” warned Paris-based nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider at the U.S. launch of the World Nuclear Industry
Status Report on Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by the anti-nuclear Natural Resources Defense Council, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the German Green Party-linked Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America foundation.

The 10th annual edition of the report provides a grim assessment of the worldwide nuclear industry. According to the report’s 2017 edition, the mean age of the world’s 403 reactors in operation as of
July 1 is approximately 29 years while the mean age at retirement of the 169 reactors that have shut down was roughly 25 years.

October 26, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Anti Adani coal project protestors lock themselves to heavy machinery

Protesters strap selves to Adani machines, AAP   Anti-coal activists have locked themselves to heavy machinery to protest Adani’s mega mine in central Queensland.  Three members of the Frontline Action on Coal group have used a sleeping dragon technique – which involves wrapping their arms around equipment then locking their hands inside metal pipes so they can’t be removed by outsiders – to attach themselves to a grader, excavator and front-end loader near one of the workers’ camps at Belyando.

Protesters have vowed to “do whatever it takes to peacefully stop” the $21.7 billion coal mine and rail project.

October 26, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

India started big solar in 2010 – now a leading clean energy generator

‘India plans big on solar, wind power’ SAKUNALA (KURNOOL DT.), OCTOBER 07, 2017 India has chalked out ambitious plans to generate 84 gigawatts of solar power and 32 gigawatts of wind power by 2022, asserted Anjali Jaiswal, India Director of Natural Resources Defence Council (NDRC), California, on Saturday.

“India is emerging as the world leader in generating clean energy, although it started by generating 17 MW of solar power in 2010, when Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission was launched,” Continue reading

October 26, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bureau of Meteorology predicts 3 warmer months for Australia

Above-average temperatures predicted in Bureau of Meteorology’s latest climate outlookABC Weather By Kate Doyle, 26 Oct 17, The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting above-average temperatures in north and south-east Australia over the next few months.

The bureau released its climate outlook for November, December and January on Thursday, which also forecast a dry November for Western Australia.

Key points:

  • Above-average temperatures forecast for the north and south-east
  • Neutral rainfall outlook overall, but dry November for the west
  • Typical cyclone season expected
  • Fire risk reduced in south-east Queensland

The above-average temperatures follow spring heatwaves along the east coast, with temperature records being broken in New South Wales……..

October 26, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Peter Garrett: Back on centre stage to fight Adani, push for 100% renewables

Peter Garrett, the frontman for Midnight Oil is back on centre stage, promising to fight Adani and push for 100 per cent renewables, and challenging Labor on its equivalence on coal. Will he have more impact as a popular public figure than he did inside the Labor machine?

October 26, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The Myths About Adani Jobs

 Diane Hart  October 25, 2017
‘In response to my grand children’s questions about the state of the world and my growing anger over this disastrous coal mine,  ‘I joined our local Stop Adani Group in the Byron Shire, and
the question about jobs is the one I am most often asked.

‘Here, I have attempted to unpack it and sort fact from fiction.

‘I’d grab a cup of tea and sit down, if I were you, because its going to make your blood boil. … ‘

To read more of this comprehensive and well-researched article, go to this link:

October 26, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Chief Scientist contradicts Liberal Senator – says far fewer coal-fired power stations being planned

Alan Finkel disputes figures used by supporters of coal power

Chief scientist says far fewer coal-fired power stations being planned around the world than previously projected The chief scientist, Alan Finkel, has challenged figures used by supporters of coal-fired power stations in a Senate estimates hearing.

Liberal senator Ian Macdonald suggested there were more than 600 coal plants under way around the world, which would undermine any emissions reduction achieved by Australia.

Finkel told the hearing on Thursday he had seen a range of figures. However, he understood the number of coal plants in China and India in the initial planning stage or being built was “far less than what was projected a year ago”.

[China] has a commitment as a country to reduce emissions. They are finding they are reaping the benefits of their commitments to wind and solar at a faster rate than they thought,” he said.

Asked about developments in Europe, Finkel said he was aware of only one high-efficiency coal plant currently being built and it was in trouble.

 The plant in Germany, which was licensed in 2009, had become “a bit of a debacle”, he said.

Finkel said the modelling he produced in his review of Australia’s electricity sector had been provided to the Energy Security Board as it put flesh to the bones of the proposed national energy guarantee policy.

He believed the national energy guarantee modelling could be produced in time for a Council of Australian Governments energy council meeting in late November.

But he said the states and electricity sector needed to be properly consulted. “The ramifications of getting any aspect of the rules wrong are very serious,” he said.

October 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

The deal to sell U.S. nuclear technology to India “”dead at the very beginning”

India-US nuke deal signed without ground work: Ex-US Senator PTI|Oct 26, 2017, WASHINGTON: The landmark India-US civil nuclear deal was “dead at the very beginning” as it was signed without ground work, a former top Republican Senator has alleged, describing the agreement as more of an “arms deal” for American defence manufacturing companies.

Former Senator Larry Pressler, who has served as chairman of the US Senate’s Arms Control Subcommittee, told a Washington audience that the deal was much-praised “but there is no chance of it being implemented as the liability issues have not been addressed and it has not been worked through.”

He said that the India-US civil nuclear deal “was dead at the very beginning.

Pressler said that there was “no groundwork done” in India or the US on the civil nuclear deal.

The India-US nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in October 2008, ending India’s isolation by the West in the nuclear and space arena. The deal has given a significant boost to India’s nuclear energy production.

Pressler was speaking at an event organised by The Hudson Institute, a top American think-tank, to discuss his latest book ‘Neighbours in Arms: An American Senator s Quest for Disarmament in a Nuclear Subcontinent’.

“…There was nothing to it really. If you look into it, it is more of an arms sale agreement,” he alleged.

Pressler claimed the then US president Barack Obama’s visit to New Delhi was “largely an arms sale trip”.

“The then president Obama’s last trip to India was an arms sales trip and the poor people of India have to pay for all of these new arms that their country is buying from the US. This is really one of us but it’s a new friendship we’re told. But we have to be very careful. I’m somewhat critical that India has accepted that on those terms,” the former American Senator said. …….

October 26, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

27 october More REneweconomy news

  • China does not need any new coal fired generation
    BNEF report says China needs no new coal generation, has $300bn of potential stranded assets, and needs reform to address curtailment issues for wind and solar.
  • Why NEG may kill new renewable projects, even those with finance in place
    After initially seeing the NEG as a possible win for consumers and the environment, I now see it as an almost certain disaster for prices, reliability and emissions.

October 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

New research warns on sea level rise rise 1.3m unless coal power ends by 2050

Sea levels to rise 1.3m unless coal power ends by 2050, report says

University of Melbourne paper combines latest understanding on Antarctica and current emissions projection scenarios, Guardian, Michael Slezak,   Coastal cities around the world could be devastated by 1.3m of sea level rise this century unless coal-generated electricity is virtually eliminated by 2050, according to a new paper that combines the latest understanding of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise and the latest emissions projection scenarios.

It confirms again that significant sea level rise is inevitable and requires rapid adaptation. But, on a more positive note, the work reveals the majority of that rise – driven by newly recognised processes on Antarctica – could be avoided if the world fulfils its commitment made in Paris to keep global warming to “well below 2C”. Continue reading

October 26, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and the “Big Clean Switch” campaign

NFLA 25th Oct 2017, The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) warmly welcomes an exciting
initiative by Greater Manchester local authorities in its ‘Big Clean
Switch’ campaign. This scheme is encouraging both larger organisations
and members of the public to switch on to cheaper 100% renewable energy
providers for their electricity needs.

The ‘GM Big Clean Switch’ is acollaboration between the 10 Greater Manchester Councils and the
organisation ‘The Big Clean Switch’, which is encouraging greater
take-up with energy companies developing renewable gas and electricity
solutions. ‘The Big Clean Switch’ is a partnership between the climate
change campaigners at Purpose and the social enterprise Clean Energy UK.

This partnership with the GM Combined Authority is the first attempt to
encourage such a large switching to renewable energy companies and plans
are being made to look at delivering it elsewhere over the future. As the
‘Big Clean Switch’ note, this campaign is unique. It is the first time
a town or city has tried to save residents money by helping them switch to
green energy (let alone 10 local authorities working together), and it is
the first time an energy switching campaign of any kind has attracted such
city-wide support from other organisations, from universities to football

October 26, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Solar power – up in 3 weeks- gives electricity to struggling Puerto Rico children’s hospital

Struggling Puerto Rico children’s hospital gets solar power from Tesla, By J.J. GALLAGHER Oct 25, 2017,A children’s hospital in Puerto Rico that was forced to run off generators and ration diesel fuel in the wake of Hurricane Maria now has a solar power system that will supply all of its electricity needs. Tesla and Puerto Rico’s governor touted the project yesterday, sending out multiple official tweets and Facebook posts, and officials said today that the system is already providing solar-generated electricity to the hospital.

The Hospital del Nino is located in the capital San Juan and serves about 3,000 children across the island. The hospital also houses some 30 children with serious medical needs that require round-the-clock care.

A hospital spokesperson told Primera Hora last month that they were forced to ration diesel fuel and take other measures to ensure a constant flow of electricity.

Hurricane Maria also knocked down all of the trees surrounding the hospital, resulting in heat from the withering tropical sun beating down on the building and its surroundings.

Tesla’s system works with solar panels that generate electricity during the day and batteries that store the power and distribute it when the sun isn’t shining. Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that his company could bring solar power to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello replied “let’s talk” and later said the two had a “great initial conversation.”

Less than three weeks later, officials say the hospital is up and running with a solar system that supplies all of its electricity needs.

“I’ve never seen a team arrive so fast and work so fast. They built this in a week,” Rafael Pagán, the hospital’s chairman of the board, told Telemundo.

Just 25 percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents have electricity, according to the latest figures, and some 3,758 people are still in shelters nearly two months after Maria ravaged the island, causing widespread damages and killing 51 people.

Rossello has promised to fully restore electricity to the island by Christmas, a goal that analysts have cast doubt upon.

Repairing Puerto Rico’s badly damaged electrical grid could take months and cost billions of dollars. Musk has put forth his so-called solar microgrids, that produce energy locally through solar energy, as an alternative.

ABC News’ Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.

October 26, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Queensland Labor MP angry about delay to act on black lung disease

‘The hearse is waiting in the driveway’, Brisbane Times,By Felicity Caldwell, Labor backbencher Jo-Ann Miller did not pull any punches on Thursday, coming out swinging against her own government and a Parliament committeee.

October 26, 2017 Posted by | health, Queensland | Leave a comment