Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian nuclear waste dump plan will leave future generations with the radioactive trash problem

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA     19 Nov 17   Why do we believe the power to move more than 2100 kilograms (Ford Territory) is “NOT” economical when moving 80kgs (1adult). Yet proponents of nuclear believe the life span of a nuclear power plant generating electricity for less than 0.0164% of the life of the hazard persistence of the radioactive spent fuel rods “IS” economical acceptable.

Is it because this generation wont be picking up the “TAB” for babysitting the deadly radioactive waste. This is the worst deal that anyone could bestow on future generations.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Big upset for Australia’s major parties, as Aboriginal Green candidate wins inner-city by-election

Northcote by-election:  Greens win inner-city seat, Thorpe to become first female Aboriginal MP, By Richard Willingham, Sunday 19 November 2017 The Greens’ Lidia Thorpe will become the first Aboriginal woman in Victoria’s Parliament,
defeating Labor’s Clare Burns on the back of a campaign that included a
pitch to voters that they could make history while not toppling a progressive government.

‘It is the first time Labor has lost a Victorian by-election since 1948.’

November 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

King Islanders to get free electricity in renewable energy trial

Renewable energy trial provides King Island with free power, Cole Latimer   

New technology will provide free power to King Island as it aims to prove low-cost energy generation claims.

Wave Swell Energy, a group developing ocean wave energy generation technology, is carrying out commercial validation trials off Tasmania’s King Island ahead of a potential listing.

The group has built what Wave Swell chief executive Tom Denniss described as “big concrete caverns”, which use the constant back and forth flow of the ocean to generate energy.

“As waves pass into the inside of the cavern the water level rises, this causes pressure on the air, which blows open valves at the top of the unit and turns a uni-directional turbine; as the water recedes it causes negative pressure which closes the valves, creating a cyclical process. The air opening and closing the valves turns a turbine, generating a consistent flow of power.

“What sets this apart from other wave generation technology is its lack of moving parts,” Mr Denniss said. “It sits just below the water line, it’s like an iceberg, but with only two-thirds underwater.”

The blocks are located in water depths of around 10 metres, and typically found up to 500 metres offshore. They connect to the mainland via undersea cables and provide energy to the onshore grid via a transformer unit.

A single, one-megawatt generation offshore unit weighs about  4500 tonnes. It is built onshore and moved into place using semisubmersible barges.

The group is carrying out commercial validation of its technology on King Island, and has signed an offtake agreement with Hydro Tasmania for an initial 200-kilowatt trial unit, and will operate during 2018 after its initial funding goals are reached.

Denniss said all energy generated will initially be provided to the King Island grid and Hydro Tasmania for free.

Current tests put generation costs at $100 per megawatt hour, or 10¢ a kilowatt hour.

“This is really about ensuring independent verification, and Hydro Tasmania verifying that we can produce at the low cost of 10¢ per kilowatt hour,” Mr Denniss said.

Typical solar systems cost around 13¢ per kilowatt-hour and wind about 7¢ per kilowatt-hour, not including grid costs.

Mr Denniss added that the units can also be used as breakwaters or as an artificial reef, with trials demonstrating an increase in marine life where they are installed.

Wave Swell is still looking to investors to raise $8.3 million over the coming months, having secured $2 million in investment to date, and has set a goal of raising $10 million in total funding, Mr Denniss told Fairfax Media.

“We are targeting anyone for funding, from energy companies, construction companies, or individuals who see upside in investing.”

It has used RFC Ambrian to arrange a private placement of 1.73 million shares at a value of $4.80, and anticipates having a total of 6.9 million shares on issue, putting a potential value of $33 million on the company.

The group plans to list after the successful commercial viability trials of the technology on King Island.

Mr Denniss said it will most likely carry out an initial public offering on London’s AIM exchange, although it will not rule out a listing on the ASX.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australian government lending to Adani? A bad look internationally!

Australia’s reputation faces ‘serious’ risks if Adani loan goes ahead: Figueres,  Providing a $1 billion loan to underwrite Adani’s proposed mega coal mine in Queensland would have “serious negative impacts” for Australia’s international reputation and “unpick the progress” of the Paris climate agreement, according to Christiana Figueres, a former United Nations climate chief.

Ms Figueres has written to the Turnbull government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), which is considering a concessional loan for a rail link from the mine to the coast

The former executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change
sought to highlight that under the NAIF’s own enabling legislation, it “must not act in a way that is likely to cause damage to the Commonwealth government’s reputation, or that of a relevant State or Territory”.

Ms Figueres warned the expected total lifetime carbon emissions from burning coal from the proposed Carmichael in the Galilee basin would be 4.64 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide, according to details of the letter obtained by Fairfax Media.

At its peak, the mine’s product would trigger emissions of 120 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent, roughly equal to what Australia has pledged to cut by 2030 from current pollution levels under its Paris pledges.

“Based on these numbers, emissions that would result from burning Carmichael coal in one peak production year would completely cancel out the total emissions reduction effort Australia has committed to for the 13 years from now until 2030 under the Paris Agreement,” she said.

The rail loan, now being considered by NAIF, has been a key point of debate in Queensland’s state elections, with polls indicating little support for concessional finance for Adani, a mining conglomerate owned by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government, if re-elected at Saturday’s elections, would have no role in assessing the NAIF loan, effectively blocking it. Oppositional leader Tim Nicholls supports the loan and has blasted the premier’s stance as putting thousands of regional jobs at risk.

Ms Figueres said her intervention was prompted by a “deep concern for planetary well-being, I cannot, in all good conscience, remain silent on an issue that threatens to unpick the progress represented by the Paris Agreement”.

“A decision by the NAIF (and the Australian Government) to financially support the Adani project would be likely to have serious negative impacts on Australia’s reputation, in particular that of the Commonwealth Government,” Ms Figueres said, highlighting Australia’s commitment to “refrain from acts which would defeat” the Paris accord’s object and purpose.

Ms Figueres’ letter to the NAIF was dated November 17, the final day of the Bonn climate talks aimed at nudging nations to increase their commitments to cut emissions two years on from the Paris accord.

Australia copped criticism at the gathering for its promotion of coal, with Hilda Heine, president of the Marshall Islands calling for a change of government in Canberra and urging nations to stop burning the intensive-heavy fossil fuel.

Dean Bialek, a former Australian diplomat and advisor to small island states threatened by the rising sea levels driven by climate change, said Ms Figueres had been “utterly shocked to learn the government was considering a huge subsidy” for Adani during a recent visit to Australia.

“She felt compelled to explain to the NAIF Board how dangerous and irresponsible this project would be in global environmental terms, and the serious damage it would do to Australia’s international reputation and standing in the world,” said Dr Bialek, who now works with Ms Figueres on her Mission 2020.

The project is attempting to accelerate climate action to get global emissions peaking and then trending lower by 2020. A report out last week by the Global Carbon Project estimated emissions will jump this year by 2 per cent after flatlining for three years, to a record 41 billion tonnes of CO2.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Fearful reality that Donald Trump is controlled by the nuclear weapons industry

The Sway of the Nuclear Arms Industry Over Donald Trump and Congress Is Terrifying
“The devastation is very important to me.”  Mother Jones his story originally appeared on……… in every sense of the term, our nuclear arsenal already represents overkill on an almost unimaginable scale. Independent experts from US war colleges suggest that about 300 warheads would be more than enough to deter any country from launching a nuclear attack on the United States.

It may not surprise you to learn that there’s nothing new about the influence the nuclear weapons lobby has over Pentagon spending priorities. The successful machinations of the makers of strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles, intended to keep tax dollars flowing their way, date back to the dawn of the nuclear age and are the primary reason President Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the term “military-industrial complex” and warned of its dangers in his 1961 farewell address.

Without the development of such weapons, that complex simply would not exist in its present form. The Manhattan Project, the vast endeavor that produced the first workable nukes during World War II, was one of the largest government-funded research and manufacturing projects in history. Today’s nuclear warhead complex is still largely built around facilities and locations dating back to that time…….

Eisenhower couldn’t have been more clear-eyed about all of this. He saw the missile gap for the fiction it was or, as he put it, a “useful piece of political demagoguery” for his opponents. “Munitions makers,” he insisted, “are making tremendous efforts towards getting more contracts and in fact seem to be exerting undue influence over the senators.”

 Once Kennedy took office, it became all too apparent that there was no missile gap, but by then it hardly mattered. The damage had been done. Billions of dollars more were flowing into the nuclear-industrial complex to build up an American arsenal of ICBMs already unmatched on the planet.

The techniques that the arms lobby and its allies in government used more than half a century ago to promote sky-high nuclear weapons spending continue to be wielded to this day. The 21st-century arms complex employs tools of influence that Kennedy and his compatriots would have found familiar indeed—including millions of dollars in campaign contributions that flow to members of Congress and the continual employment of 700 to 1,000 lobbyists to influence them; that’s nearly two arms lobbyists for every member of Congress. Much of this sort of activity remains focused on ensuring that nuclear weapons of all types are amply financed and that the funding for the new generations of the bombers, submarines, and missiles that will deliver them stays on track.

When traditional lobbying methods don’t get the job done, the industry’s argument of last resort is jobs—in particular, jobs in the states and districts of key members of Congress. This process is aided by the fact that nuclear weapons facilities are spread remarkably widely across the country.  There are labs in California and New Mexico; a testing and research site in Nevada; a warhead assembly and disassembly plant in Texas; a factory in Kansas City, Missouri, that builds nonnuclear parts for such weapons; and a plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that produces weapon-grade uranium. There are factories or bases for ICBMs, bombers, and ballistic missile submarines in Connecticut, Georgia, Washington State, California, Ohio, Massachusetts, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Such a nuclear geography ensures that a striking number of congressional representatives will automatically favor more spending on nuclear weapons.

In reality, the jobs argument is deeply flawed. As the experts know, virtually any other activity into which such funding flowed would create significantly more jobs than Pentagon spending. A study by economists at the University of Massachusetts, for example, found infrastructure investment would create one and one-half times as many jobs as Pentagon funding and education spending twice as many.

In most cases it hasn’t seemed to matter that the jobs claims for weapons spending are grotesquely exaggerated and better alternatives litter the landscape. The argument remains remarkably potent in states and communities that are particularly dependent on the Pentagon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, members of Congress from such areas are disproportionately represented on the committees that decide how much will be spent on nuclear and conventional weaponry……….

November 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel says that Renewables could reliably contribute 50% to power grid

, says Alan Finkel, Guardian, Katharine Murphy, 20 Nov 17 , Chief scientist warns in new report that Australia risks missing out on global growth industry of energy storage because of ongoing policy uncertainty Australia’s power grid can reach penetrations of 50% renewable energy without a significant requirement for storage to support reliability, according to a new report commissioned by Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel.

While the Turnbull government has made much of the need for storage to increase security and reliability in the national power grid, the new report from the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) says at an aggregated national level, 50% renewables is possible without major investments in storage for reliability purposes.

But the report also points out that the requirement to shore-up network security as power systems decarbonise in accordance with international climate policy commitments is an ongoing task, and that transition means energy storage is now a major global growth industry.

It notes that new energy security requirements create opportunities to expand energy storage capacity for reliability at a lower marginal cost than would otherwise be the case.

It also warns that Australia risks missing out on the benefits of participating in global supply chains because of ongoing uncertainty over energy policy.

 The report notes that Australia possesses abundant raw mineral resources for batteries, but could derive greater benefits through value-adding.

As well as focussing on building local manufacturing capacity, the report says Australia’s research and development performance in energy storage technologies is world class, “but would benefit from strategic focus and enhanced collaboration.”

The report points out that Australian energy storage start-ups face challenges, including access to venture capital, which are related to continuing uncertainty over energy and climate policy……

Last month, the Turnbull government dumped Finkel’s recommendation for a clean energy target and went with a policy which imposes new reliability and emissions reduction guarantees on energy retailers and large energy users from 2020 – a policy which will encourage new investment in storage.

The energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, is due to meet with his state counterparts later this week to consider whether or not consensus can be reached on the national energy guarantee – but going in to the discussions, some of the Labor states have resisted the proposal on the basis it isn’t sufficiently friendly to renewables.

The federal government needs buy-in from the states, because the new system requires jurisdictions to pass complimentary legislation to set up the national energy guarantee.

The new report by ACOLA , which assessed various energy storage technologies, also probed public attitudes, with focus groups in two capital cities and with a national survey of 1,015 respondents.

The research suggests Australians favour a more ambitious renewable mix by 2030, particularly solar and wind, with significant energy storage deployed to manage grid security………

Bruce Godfrey, chair of ACOLA working group, says the new report “clearly shows the two sides of the coin – that energy storage is an enormous opportunity for Australia but there is work to be done to build consumer confidence”.

Finkel, the chief scientist, and the man who led the review of the national electricity grid, says Australia should grab a major new export industry by developing our technical capacity. Given our natural resources and our technical expertise, energy storage could represent a major new export industry for our nation,” Finkel says.

“Energy storage is an opportunity to capitalise on our research strengths, culture of innovation and abundant natural resources.

“We have great advantages in the rapidly expanding field of lithium production and the emerging field of renewable hydrogen with export opportunities to Asia.”

November 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

South Africa – a government captured by the nuclear industry

#StateCapture fears as SA nuclear bid lifts off, IOL 19 NOVEMBER 2017, Johannesburg – Russian state energy firm Rosatom is pushing ahead with its nuclear bid despite two environmental groups taking Energy Minister David Mahlobo to court to block the nuclear build programme.

Head of Rosatom in sub-Saharan Africa Viktor Polikarpov said on Saturday it was still in the race to build nuclear in South Africa irrespective of what was happening.

Polikarpov, who was in Accra, Ghana, said it was not involved in politics and were businesspeople.

Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei) lodged an urgent high court application this week to block Mahlobo from fast-tracking the nuclear build programme.This followed reports that Mahlobo was planning to finalise processes soon.

Polikarpov said it will still pursue the nuclear build programme in South Africa. He said Rosatom was busy all over Africa.

“As for South Africa if the government launches another tender we will participate. This is business for us which should not be mixed with politics,” said Polikarpov.

Earthlife Africa and Safcei said they went to the high court to block Mahlobo from pushing through the nuclear deal because he was fast-tracking the process.

Mahlobo will be in Parliament on Tuesday where he will brief the portfolio committee on energy on matters of energy in the country.

Makoma Lekalaka of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg said they wanted to put a stop to the nuclear programme.

“We are part of an international movement against dirty nuclear energy, where we have seen governments enter into nuclear deals that are not in the interests of their people. That must not happen in South Africa,” said Lekalaka…..

Lid McDaid of Safcei said they wanted to block the process because the state was now captured.

He said South Africa cannot afford the reported R1 trillion nuclear deal as the money would go to the people who are milking the state, and not the poor.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Surge in wind farms in Australia, drop in complaints about them

Desultory’: Wind farm complaints aren’t keeping up with surging industry, The Age, Peter Hannam, 19 Nov 17,  The surge in new wind farm developments has failed to produce an upswing in complaints, with just nine of the 79 projects operating in Australia receiving any formal objections, Andrew Dyer, the National Wind Farm Commissioner, has said.

As of the end of October, the commission had received 54 complaints, for existing projects, with all but two resolved. Four people had relocated as part of the resolution process.

“There are no complaints for recently completed wind farms,” Mr Dyer told Fairfax Media.

Victorian wind farms have attracted the bulk of objections, accounting for 31 of the 54, while SA and NSW had 16 and seven complaints, respectively. Operating wind farms in other states have not triggered any complaints, Mr Dyer said.

The National Wind Farm Commissioner’s three-year term – which began in late 2015 with $2 million funding – followed a Senate inquiry prompted in part by efforts of a few anti-wind turbine groups.

Fears by supporters of renewable energy that the commission may have spurred an uptick in opposition to wind farms have largely been allayed, with the role now seen as helping developers understand and respond better to community concerns.

Simon Chapman, whose upcoming book, Wind turbine syndrome: A communicated disease, describes the number of complaints as “desultory”, said opposition to the industry from the cross-bench senators had backfired.

“There are no complaints for recently completed wind farms,” Mr Dyer told Fairfax Media.

Victorian wind farms have attracted the bulk of objections, accounting for 31 of the 54, while SA and NSW had 16 and seven complaints, respectively. Operating wind farms in other states have not triggered any complaints, Mr Dyer said.

The National Wind Farm Commissioner’s three-year term – which began in late 2015 with $2 million funding – followed a Senate inquiry prompted in part by efforts of a few anti-wind turbine groups.

Fears by supporters of renewable energy that the commission may have spurred an uptick in opposition to wind farms have largely been allayed, with the role now seen as helping developers understand and respond better to community concerns.

Simon Chapman, whose upcoming book, Wind turbine syndrome: A communicated disease, describes the number of complaints as “desultory”, said opposition to the industry from the cross-bench senators had backfired…….


Booming industry

Fairfax Media understands that some complaints originated from cases where landholders had expectations of hosting turbines and subsequently were denied that chance due to factors beyond their control.

A number of complaints citing a wind farm as at fault for a particular issue were resolved after the root cause of the problem was found to be something completely different. These complaints ranged from health-related matters through to poor television reception…….

November 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

Court action against General Electric over its reactor designs, and Fukushima nuclear disaster

GE faces lawsuit over role in Fukushima nuclear disaster  Boston 

A group of Japanese businesses and doctors sued General Electric Co. in Boston federal court on Friday, claiming the industrial giant was reckless and negligent in its design of the reactors and related systems at the core of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

The plaintiffs claim Boston-based GE knowingly used a reactor design at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that would fail to protect against the possible threat of earthquakes and tsunamis, a natural risk in that area.

The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for businesses in the area that suffered economic damage as a result of the disaster, which displaced as many as 150,000 people.

Among other things, the lawsuit claims GE and its partners lowered a protective cliff by more than 60 feet, placing the plant and all six of its GE-designed reactors closer to the Pacific Ocean and in the path of the severe tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011.

Afte the tsunami hit, three GE-designed reactors suffered from “entirely foreseeable flooding and resulting nuclear meltdowns,” causing the release of radioactive matter into the area surrounding the plant, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs are essentially blaming GE for defective reactor design as well as for not putting in place enough safeguards to prevent the spread of radiation once the Fukushima plant was breached……..Jon Chesto can be reached at

November 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

AGL to expand energy plan that allows householders to sell or share excess solar power

South Australia’s biggest electricity company AGL has announced the successful trial and expansion of a so-called “peer-to-peer” trading scheme in Adelaide, which uses an app to share the power. ….(subscribers only)

November 20, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Canberra stood out at Bonn climate talks as a progressive city, adopting renewable energy

Canberra climate action on show at UN talks in Germany, Canberra Times, 19 Nov 17, Tom McIlroy   The role of cities like Canberra in affecting progress against global warming has been considered in the latest United Nations climate talks, with experts welcoming “a groundswell” of innovation.

World leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and environment advocates gathered in the former German capital of Bonn last week for the 23rd conference for signatories to the UN Convention on Climate Change.

University of Canberra chair of Urban and Regional Planning Barbara Norman said a key message from the talks had been how mayors, governors and regional leaders could work together to create large-scale change, boosting wider efforts on a national and international basis.

Professor Norman said powering cities with 100 per cent renewable electricity, building integrated transport systems, designing green precincts and environmentally sustainable developments were key to meaningful progress……….

Chair of the ACT Climate Change Council, she said Canberra stood out among cities involved in an international cooperation network, including because the territory was on track to achieve its target of 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020……..

November 20, 2017 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

1.4 billion to be saved, by replacing Liddell coal mine with renewable energy

Replacing Liddell with renewables is $1.4 billion cheaper than government plan, report says, The Age, Nicole Hasham, 20 Nov 17 

The Turnbull government’s plan to keep the worn-out Liddell power station running for another five years would cost about $1.4 billion more than replacing it with clean energy, and spew millions of tonnes of damaging carbon pollution, a new analysis shows.

The findings cast further doubt on the wisdom of keeping Australia’s oldest operating coal plant open beyond its slated closure in 2022, and have implications for the expected retirement of most existing coal-fired power stations within 15 years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg in September ordered energy giant AGL to keep open the coal-fired plant for five extra years or sell it to a party that will…….

The University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures compared the financial cost and pollution of three possible scenarios for Liddell: extending its life by five years, pursuing AGL’s plans for a combination of renewable and fossil fuel solutions to replace the lost capacity, and a package of clean energy measures.

It found keeping Liddell open until 2027 would cost $3.6 billion in capital and operating expenses, and that 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide would be generated over this time.By comparison, a clean energy package would cost $2.2 billion and create no emissions. This would involve energy efficiency, new wind energy, managing the power demands of consumers and flexible pricing, which means electricity is charged at different rates depending on the time of day or year………

ACF chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said Australia desperately needs a comprehensive climate change policy to allow a rapid transition to clean energy.

Any such policy “must be designed to encourage as much clean energy and smart technology as possible, and not prop up polluting coal plants that are damaging our planet”, she said.

ISF research director Chris Dunstan said replacing Liddell’s lost capacity with renewables could set a powerful precedent as the majority of Australia’s coal-fired power stations approach retirement age……..

November 20, 2017 Posted by | business, energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

What will it take for the U.S. to go to the negotiating table with North Korea amid continuing nuclear threats?


Originally published: ‘ADAM BROINOWSKI. Picking up the pieces amid the U.S.–North Korea nuclear stand-off’,

North Korea is often righteously condemned for being the only nation to have conducted five nuclear tests and a barrage of missile tests in the 21st century. Led by a young chubby dictator with a bad haircut, we have long been told that the paranoid hermit kingdom known for its undeniably bombastic, intensely patriotic and anachronistic rhetoric is evil, unhinged and dangerous.

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November 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment