Australian news, and some related international items

Any South Australian nuclear waste dump must have broad social consent and specific community consent

Tim Bickmore  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 29 Jan 18 

Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. Final report. Tabled in the SA Parliament October 2017…..

“The Royal Commission found that “both broad social consent and specific community consent must be obtained for any new nuclear activity to commence in South Australia”. (Finding No. 95).
[Commissioner Scarce] …. We have seen overseas that a particular vote has been taken at a particular point in time and then the community has subsequently lost confidence in that process.
…it is not about just having one vote from the public at one point in time. Social licence is something that needs to be maintained for the life of a project, and it therefore needs to be an ongoing dialogue and an ongoing relationship between the developer and the public.

“…….. based on the failure of pure voluntarism in the UK, the NDA is currently revising its policy away from this model. In order to obtain outcomes, and streamline negotiations, it aims to tighten definitions of “community”, “representation” and “consent”. ….. The NDA also hope that an appropriate definition of “community” will inhibit contribution from non-representative groups.”

January 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Donald Trump will propose $716 billion in defense spending in his fiscal 2019 budget

Pentagon Wins as Trump Readies a $716 Billion Budget Request, Bloomberg, By 

  • Big increase for Pentagon would deepen the U.S. deficit
    • Mattis has raised alarm over U.S. ‘competitive edge’ eroding

    President Donald Trump will propose $716 billion in defense spending in his fiscal 2019 budget request, a 7.2 percent from his request for this year that backs the Pentagon’s push for a major buildup, a U.S. official said.

     The funding would include $597 billion for the Defense Department’s base budget, with the rest going for its war-fighting account and to other government programs such as the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons program, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the release of Trump’s second proposed budget next month.

    The amount is a sharp increase from the $668 billion total Trump proposed last year for fiscal 2018 and also offered as a placeholder for fiscal 2019. Currently, the Pentagon is operating under stopgap funding at fiscal 2017 levels, which totaled $634 billion. The plan, reported earlier Friday by the Washington Post, represents a victory of defense hawks over those trying to constrain deficit spending.

     The U.S. official confirmed Trump’s next proposed budget will include major increases on procurement spending over the $124 billion sought this year.
     Mattis’s Push

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has pushed for a jump in defense spending to match the breadth of the new National Defense Strategy he released this month……….

  • Ultimately, Trump’s proposal will be measured by the amount it exceeds the caps in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

    Unless Congress waives the budget limits, as it’s done three times in the past, the cap for fiscal 2019, which begins Oct. 1, is $563 billion for defense-related spending, including $534 billion for the base defense budget.

    War-Fighting Fund

    The official said more than $90 billion of Trump’s budget proposal would come from the war-fighting fund — known as Overseas Contingency Operations — that’s exempt from caps. While the fund is supposedly for pressing war needs, it’s often used as a tool to bulk up overall defense funding. Trump’s war-fighting budget for the current year includes $10 billion for weapons acquisition……..

January 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Turnbull govt to give $3,8billion to develop a weapons export industry

Australia to become major defence exporter under $3.8b Turnbull plan, The Age, Adam Gartrell, 29 Jan 18, Australia is set to become one of the world’s top 10 defence exporters under an ambitious $3.8 billion government plan.

The new defence export strategy to be released by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday aims to put Australia on par with major arms-exporting countries like Britain, France and Germany within 10 years.

The government believes the strategy will create new jobs and bolster Australia’s troubled defence manufacturing industry, which struggles to sustain itself based on Australian Defence Force needs alone. A big boost in exports will insulate local manufacturers from the peaks and troughs – sometimes called the “valley of death” – of domestic demand.

“This strategy is about job creation. It will give Australian defence companies the support they need to grow, invest and deliver defence capability. It will make Australian defence exports among the best in the world,” Mr Turnbull said……..

The centrepiece of the strategy will be a new financing facility that will make up to $3.8 billion available to Australian defence companies looking to sell overseas…….

The government will seek to use the exports to cement relationships with key countries in volatile regions like the Middle East. Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has previously nominated Australia’s relationship with the United Arab Emirates as one that could benefit from deeper, export-led economic ties…..

A new Australian Defence Export Office will be established to implement the strategy, and an Australian Defence Export Advocate will be appointed to co-ordinate with the industry, and state and territory governments.

The strategy is designed to complement the government’s promise to invest a record $200 billion in ADF capability over the next decade.

January 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian Government Department of Industry and Science hides the truth on radiation risks

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA  29 Jan 18 “People lie when they want something, because they think the truth wont get it for them.” (Cary Grant, Charade).

DIIS failure to catalogue the known risks of a radioactive waste dump in Hawker or Kimba may be testimony of burying the truth, in a attempt to jump-start the progress of waste abandonment, while knowing they can’t tick all the boxes.
We must remain resolute in our fight to preserve a clean, safe environment for future generations.

January 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy is Clearly the Way Ahead: Dispelling the Myths of the Nuclear Propaganda Machine

Renewable Energy Is Much Faster To Install & More Scalable Than Nuclear Power January 28th, 2018 by Jake Richardson 

This article is part of our “CleanTechnica Answer Box” collection. For some reason, there are certain anti-cleantech talking points that get thrown around over and over again that are absolute bunk. We got tired of dealing with the same myths repeatedly and also saw that many other people could use some support responding to these untruths — in discussions on CleanTechnica and elsewhere. So, at the suggestion of a reader, we created this resource in the same vein as Skeptical Science’s responses to global warming & climate change myths.

Myth: We need to build more nuclear power if we want to cut electricity emissions quickly and turn off coal and natural gas power plants.

Short answer: Renewables can grow fast because they can be installed practically everywhere rapidly and simultaneously. Renewable capacity in the magnitude of 1 TW can in principle be added every year. Germany installed 3 GW of PV in one single month in December 2011. Germany has roughly 1% of the world’s population. So, if the entire world installs only 20% the amount of PV that Germany did 5 years ago, it would be at 720 GW per year. At a single utility-scale-PV plant, 120 MWp per month was installed. If only 10% of all cities worldwide installed utility-scale-solar at this scale at the same time, it would lead to approximately the same number just for utility-scale-solar (the world has 4,412 cities with a population of at least 150,000). In fact, if the world only installs one PV module per person per year, this already leads to 1,850 GW per year. Nuclear power plants, meanwhile, take several years to build — and are much more expensive.

One major advantage renewable energy has over nuclear power (and fossil fuels) is that it can typically be installed much faster. Nuclear power plants can require 5–15 years to complete and some have taken 20 or more. (Constructing a new coal power plant cantakes 4 years or more. Building a new gas-powered plant generally takes several years as well.)

Installing a solar power farm can be completed in a number of months, depending upon the size and complexity of the project. Obviously, the much larger ones will require more time, but even they often can be finished in a year or less.

The same is true of wind farms. A 10 MW wind farm can be built in about 2 months and a 50 MW in approximately 6 months.

The speed at which renewables can be built and made operational is impressive. In the year 2017 alone, China installed about 52 GW of solar power. When it comes to wind power, China may install about 403 GW over the next 10 years. As with a large number of any type of construction project, the limiting factor in speed is generally one of financing, will, and labor, and that is certainly no less true with highly distributed wind and solar power projects.

The cost of renewables will likely continue to decrease with greater adoption and acceptance, especially as fossil fuel usage declines. Greater demand and adoption can spur further innovation to make renewables even more efficient, which enhances their effectiveness and the speed at which you can get large amounts of power onto the grid. With renewables, it is possible to have a virtuous cycle which drives increasing affordability and performance, whereas with fossil fuels we have a vicious cycle of climate change emissions, air pollution that harms and kills humans, rising seas, more severe weather, massive coral die-offs, and the contamination of air, soil, water, and food. Nuclear power costs, meanwhile, have risen in recent decades and are priced out of any free market or semi-free market.

Another advantage is that installing solar and wind power is not nearly as dangerous as building a nuclear or coal power plant. In India, an accident at a construction site for a new coal plant killed 32 people and injured many others. A similar accident in China killed 74. Installing solar power and wind power farms almost never results in fatalities.

Renewable energy is more scalable and a better fit to address global warming than nuclear because it costs much less, takes less time to install, and doesn’t carry the burden of potentially causing catastrophic damage — which also comes with sophisticated safety guards that take much time to implement, monitor, and keep up to date.

Electricity produced from sunlight and wind are scalable because these sources are abundantly available and will never run out. In order to combat climate change, we all need clean, renewable energy that can be quickly built and put into operation, but that will also never run out of the primary fuel source.

Another reason why renewables are scalable is their portability and ability to fit the scale needed, no matter how small or how large. Renewable energy systems can be sized precisely to the needs, whether at the small scale where people might use diesel generators or at the gigawatt scale. Community solar projects only require a capital investment and some land near the place where the electricity will be used. Renewables can easily power one community, one home, or even one device (like a light). Consumers can get solar power systems for their RVs, vans, or boats as well.

Because solar power costs have declined dramatically, more and more homeowners are going solar, and they will save money over the long term. (Home energy storage is making this scenario feasible for even more homeowners year by year.) While individual projects are not notable amongst a large grid and generation fleet, the aggregation of small projects that can go up in a matter of weeks or months is considerable.

On a bit of a larger scale, many companies are choosing to install solar power for cost-saving as well as environmental reasons and have shown that sensible, fast renewable energy installations can save huge amounts of money. Again, these projects can go up in a matter of weeks or months — unlike nuclear — and the aggregate of them means a large and quick increase in the amount of clean power on the grid. There’s a reason or two why large corporations don’t install nuclear power plants instead.

Mainstream American companies like PepsiCo, General Motors, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Walmart have been using more renewable energy and saving billions of dollars in the process while cleaning up the air and atmosphere.

Renewable energy can be employed by just about anyone at any time if they have the means to do so. Sunlight and wind are free. Installations can be on a watt scale or a gigawatt scale. If we want clean power added to the grid quickly, nothing can come online faster than renewables. In certain places, depending on market penetration and infrastructure, transmission lines or energy storage may be an important complement, but that still doesn’t change that renewables are the quickest option for new and cheap clean power capacity.

January 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

California scare – Fire at Rickety Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

Fire at Rickety Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Gives California a Scare — Shutdown Slated for 2025 bureau EnviroNews Headline News by Shad Engkilterra  January 27, 2018 , (EnviroNews USA)

January 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Corrupting influence of Adani spreads

 Photo: Activists from Frontline Action Against Coal joined Townsville residents in protesting outside a meeting of Townsville Council on January 23.’

View Photo:

Margaret Gleeson  January 27, 2018

‘The continued support for the project by Labor and Coalition forces in Queensland and Canberra,
in the face of the growing likelihood of the project achieving “stranded asset” status
as sources of financing dry up, raises the question: “What is in it for the pollies?” …

Townsville resident David Lowe told Green Left Weekly:

“Council would be surprised how many people in Townsville oppose the Adani mine.
There are high levels of scepticism about how many jobs would be generated
and the timing of these alleged jobs.

“Locals well understand the impact the mine would have on the Great Barrier Reef
and are determined to do what they can to protect the reef and
the nearly 70,000 jobs dependent upon a healthy reef.

“Climate experts have told us we can have the reef or the mine; we can’t have both.
Throwing money at imaginary ‘reef fixes’ is pointless if Australia
continues to allow the main cause of the problem — fossil fuels — to be used.” ‘

Read more of Margaret Gleeson‘s informative, interesting & well-researched article:

January 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Black, white – whoever – fight against poisonous nuclear dump for South Australia

Mitji Wukantha Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA
We must never give up fighting against the nuclear waste dump on yarta, I hope more people regardless of colour or nationality, can get involved and stand up, in stopping poison been put into country, otherwise our children their children and generations to come will be stuck with the poison on country forever. I say #DumpTheDump #NoDumpingOnYarta#SATOOGOODTOOWASTE #NoDumpingInTheFlindersRanges #ISayNo

January 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fraudulent nuclear project in Nigeria

INVESTIGATION: At Nigeria’s abandoned nuclear centre, failed projects, idle staff and ‘fraud’ [Part 2] Premium Times, Kemi Busari Awarded at over N400 million in 2009, what was supposed to be a radioactive waste management facility at Nigeria’s Nuclear Technology Centre never came to life.

Instead, a building overgrown with scrubs lies east of the gamma irradiation facility. Waste management plants and equipment comprise various devices and machines used for treating, converting, disposing and processing wastes from various sources.

The construction of low/medium radioactive waste management facility was awarded at the contract sum of N401.4 million to Commerce General Limited and so far, N312 million has been paid to the contractor, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) said in response to a Freedom of Information request made over a month ago.

The project, according to NAEC, was 78 percent complete and has “only suffered delays.”

“The project was not abandoned. It only suffered delays due to factors outside the control of the commission,” the agency said.

The delays, NAEC said, include; “inadequate funding of capital projects generally, over the years, modification of the original design, as recommended by IAEA experts, which has resulted into changes in the BOQ figures and this development is being discussed with the contractor,” and also, “no outstanding Interim Payment Certificate on the project.”

A staff of the NTC, who was privy to the contract and execution since 2009, said the project had been used to embezzle money from government since the time of award.

“It is true that they changed the plan of the plant but they’ve never done anything meaningful there since they mounted these blocks,” he said.

“The contractor is not qualified and along the line, he got stuck in the project and we’ve not seen or heard about him for many years now.”

PREMIUM TIMES’ efforts to reach the management of Commerce Nigeria Limited were unsuccessful as the company has no website or any visible record.

Its recorded address at Plot 3, Railway Avenue, Kachia Road, Kakuri, Kaduna South, Kaduna, does not exist, this paper found out during a visit there.

“We’ve never heard of that place,” several residents of Kachia told this reporter after attempts were made to locate the company.

In Nigeria, it is not uncommon for ‘brief case’ contractors, most times in connivance with the awarding entity, to register a company for the sole purpose of bidding for contracts and making quick money.

As alleged by staff of the centre, this may be the case as even the figures quoted in FOI response by NAEC are contradictory.

While the commission said the project was 78 percent complete, a visit to the facility told a different story: an expanse of land overgrown with weeds and a construction no way near half-way complete which, in no way, justified the commission’s claim of paying almost 80 percent of the total contract sum to the contractor.

If the contract was awarded at N401. 4 million and N312 million had been paid so far, the balance should be about N89 million. But NAEC quoted N329 million.

‘Abandoned’ nuclear instrumentation laboratory

One of the components of the masterplan of the centre is the nuclear instrumentation laboratory which is supposed to serve as workshop for students, researchers and others in the nuclear field.

The project was awarded at the cost of N829.6 million to Trois Associate Limited in 2012 and it is 68% complete, NAEC’s response to an FOI stated………….

Nigeria joined IAEA, an international body for cooperation in the nuclear field in promoting safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies, in 1964.

The IAEA safety standards, was enshrined to ensure protection of people and the environment against radiation risks, safety of facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risks. The world body recognised this to include, safety of nuclear installations, radiation safety, the safety of radioactive waste management and safety in the transport of radioactive material.

The world body listed some fundamentals which must be observed by member states in section 3.30 of the safety standard………

As presented in the first part of this story, PREMIUM TIMES investigation has revealed that the centre has violated the core of safety principles expected at the centre and thus, risk withdrawal of its license……..

January 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment