Australian news, and some related international items

About nuclear wastes: Ignorance, incompetence and hypocrisy of Dan van Holst Pellekaan, South Australian Minister for Energy and Resources

Meetings with Minister Pellekaan and the DIIS, Anti-Nuclear Coalition of South Australia, January 2019

Report back from ANC members’ meetings with SA Minister for Energy and Resources, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, on Nov. 14, and with two bureaucrats from the DIIS (Department of Industry, Innovation & Science). 

This second meeting was held in Adelaide at the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science (DIIS) offices on November 28. Ms Sam Shard the GM for the NRWMFT (National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce) fielded all questions, and Wendy (no one heard her surname), Head of Policy, who only spoke once throughout the hour-long meeting.  Requests for meetings with federal Minister Canavan (delegated to his department’s officials) and his SA counterpart, Minister Pellekaan, were made several months ago, and both only came about as a result of persistent efforts.

In this summary, the NRWMF (National Radioactive Waste Management Facility)=the dump.

Pellekaan Meeting: In his initial response to the ANC’s request to meet – first declined – Pellekaan outlined his government’s support for a national dump, “in one central, secure location” for LLW (low level waste) the justification being that such waste resulted from “life-saving medical procedures and research”. Notably, he omitted any reference to the planned ‘temporary’ storage of ILW (intermediate level waste).

(Last year on talkback radio, then, Premier Weatherill, similarly, omitted any mention of co-location of the very long-lived ILW at a national dump.)

Pellekaan and his leader’s support for a national dump (“one dump is better than many”) are predicated entirely on there being a willing host community. He wouldn’t, “refuse a dump to a community that gave its broad support”.

During the half-hour (only) meeting the emphasis from five ANC participants was on his omission to mention the co-location of the ILW (he did say that he had talked about it on radio). Also, on the significance of a radioactive dump for all South Australians, not only the two small communities targeted for a dump. On the latter point, Pellekaan argued that, if the wider community were to prevent a willing local community from hosting a dump it would disenfranchise local people(!) It was pointed out to him that it is South Australians, in general, who are being disenfranchised by the federal government’s strategy.

Regarding the ILW, Pellekaan was not overly concerned about the temporary storage, considering it would be just as safe at a rural SA location as at Lucas Heights, saying, “It has to be stored somewhere”.

Other questions and comments were about the classification of radioactive waste; the regulator’s (ARPANSA) licensing arrangements, about which he said that he was,not across the detail”; the longevity of the ILW and the implications of the SA Nuclear Waste (Prohibition) Act.

 He downplayed any special role he might have as either the responsible SA Minister or as the Member for Sturt, the electorate in which a national dump could well be located, emphasising that it would not be his decision, but a cabinet decision.

Regarding the South Australian  legislation, he considers that at least, in part, it would have to be altered to allow the dump. This was not seen in any way as a hindrance because legislation can be enacted and repealed, if the parliament wishes.

In summary, Pellekaan follows faithfully the federal government’s arguments for the dump. His apparent lack of knowledge about High Level Waste (HLW)  and Intermediate Level Waste (ILW); the length of time the ILW could remain stored above ground at the ‘interim’ site; the lack of any permanent plans for its disposal, or facilities and technical expertise for dealing with radioactive hazards at an interim dump is deeply troubling and unacceptable.

Note: Ally apologises for inaccurately stating in the prepared questions to put to Pellekaan that the ARPANSA licencing arrangement for the temporary storage of ILW at Lucas Heights is conditional on it being transferred to a permanent site. This is not the case. However, what it does say is, “The NRWMF will cater for the long-term above ground storage (approximately 100 years) of Intermediate Level Waste including the waste processed in France and the United Kingdom.” Final_ARPANSA.pdf  

Department of Industry Innovation and Science (DIIS)  Meeting: Four people from ANC met with two departmental bureaucrats (see above) for an hour – not a minute more. Unfortunately, no full set of notes was taken. This report is based on notes taken by Mnem Giles, Colin Mitchell and Ally Fricker. Getting into the commonwealth offices in Franklin St was farcical with security having difficulty establishing who qualified as bone fide visitors, and negotiating with a boss up on the thirteenth floor to allow a fourth person to attend. Another five people remained on the street with placards and leaflets. A press release was sent out. The main entrance door was locked and only unlocked after we departed the building.

Mnem presented Sam Chard with a submission to the Senate Standing Committee from WILPF as requested by Ruth Russell. It was explained who WILPF is.

NOTE: Sam Chard’s comments are not always direct quotes. They are highlighted in red to make it clearer when it is her comments.

Sam Chard was the only person who responded to our questions. We established very quickly that we had not come to hear the government’s PR; that we were quite familiar with it. Head of Policy Wendy … commented only once saying that a permanent national dump for the intermediate waste would require two decades to plan.

The questions and comments attached were largely followed. We emphasised our request for the DIIS to hold a public meeting in Adelaide to inform politicians, media and public (who remain very confused) about the full plans for the national dump.

Response: The state is aware of the details and all the information is on-line.

It was also stressed that a national radioactive waste dump is an issue of national significance, not only an issue for locally targeted communities. (There is little likelihood that an Adelaide meeting would occur without follow up with a formal letter from the ANC and persistent demands to DIIS, the Minister and other relevant agencies.)

Chard agreed that a national dump was an issue of national significance because 1 in 2 people in Australia need nuclear medicine.

 Other Issues Raised: 1. The lack of transparency at the Barndioota Consultative Committee meeting held at Quorn on the previous day (Nov 27) NO observers were allowed to attend, even after several had signed the usual request to sign confidentiality statements!

Response: This is entirely at the Chairman’s discretion and to allow free and frank discussion. The reason for the cancellation of the Kimba meeting (due on Nov 28) was because of it being “harvest time”, not because of the Barngarla legal challenge, as people inside the committee meeting at Quorn were told.

  1. Disposal of DoD (Department of Defence) waste.

Response: it is not wanted at Woomera for “operational reasons”, which would be classified. Re the quantity and location of DoD waste, the document, Australian Radioactive Waste Framework April 2018, was distributed to everyone, and referred to throughout the meeting, but this document fails to give any detail about what activities created the waste in the first place. Chard took on notice further questions relating to DOD waste stored at Woomera.

  1. Illegality of a national dump in SA: Response – Once land is acquired by the commonwealth, the  federal Act (2012) would override the SA Act prohibiting a nuclear dump. Note this differs from Pellekaan’s response.
  2. Still after decades of planning, there remains no full inventory of waste intended for a national dump.

Response: A new ARPANSA document is now available which discusses the possible acceptance criteria for a national dump, but no further information, apart from the Framework document available (at the meeting). The first phase of acceptance criteria is available on the web.

  1. DIIS document titled,National Radioactive Waste Management Facility. Lucas Heights Sydney 2017 says, about long-term disposal of waste at Lucas Heights, “ . . .it’s not allowed. ANSTO’s Lucas Heights campus is only licenced . . . to store waste on a temporary basis, and on the condition that a plan is developed by the end of the decade for final disposal pathway for its waste.” (Our emphasis) It was pointed out that this was unambiguous. Response: There was no elaboration.      ARPANSA document,Information to Stakeholders (May 2017) notes that temporary storage of ILW at a national dump ‘could be in excess of 100 years.’

Response: this is not correct. We responded in which case, ARPANSA should be corrected. Response: 100 years refers to the LLW only. ILW would only remain at an interim location for a couple of decades, or up to 30 years, or up to 40 years – 40 years is, conveniently, the approximate lifetime of the TN81 steel containers in which the reprocessed spent fuel is packaged.

  1. What facilities would be available at a temporary dump for re-packaging the TN81 containers?

Response: Waste entering the dump would be checked, but there are no plans for re-packaging facilities. The waste would not be there for long enough to require themThere are also, as yet, no facilities at Woomera for re-packaging any of the CSIRO waste currently stored there that might require

  1. These would need to be established.
  1. Co-location of LLW and ILW in other countries:

Response – There are models overseas for this. Where is it occurring? Response – Would take on notice. It was pointed out that the LLW and ILW stored permanently at Aube, France was not the equivalent of the co-location planned in SA because French classification of ILW is not the same as Australia’s, and definitely does not include reprocessed spent fuel. Response – Don’t know the specifics of Frances’ arrangements.

  1. Storage of ILW at Lucas Heights: Response -It’s in a dedicated facility. It is only there on a temporary basis; it’s quite safe there. Storage at a national dump would be the same as at Lucas Heights.
  2. Difference between French and Australian classification of the returned reprocessed spent fuel:

Response – The French have now changed their reference to HLW and brought the classification into line with Australia’s requirements. France now agrees with Australian authorities.

  1. Future availability of reprocessing facilities in France and any alternative arrangements: Response – Would take on notice.
  2. Commercial in confidence re the business case for the expansion of medical radioisotope production at Lucas Heights: Response – the expansion is for the export business (therefore commercial?)
  3. Classification of spent fuel: Response –Spent fuel from a nuclear power reactor is HLW, but from a research reactor it is ILW – there is a significant difference between ILW and HLW. A request to explain the difference was taken on notice.
  4. Permanent disposal of ILW, no site, no plans and no technology on the horizon: Response: That entity not yet defined.
  5. Permanent disposal of waste, ‘too dangerous’ to leave at Lucas Heights: ALP Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources, Kim Carr, spoke to Susan Craig and said that this was the reason why waste had to be removed to another interim site. Response: DIIS could not comment on this.

Formal minutes taken by DIIS staff were requested and an undertaking to forward them to ANC was made. Mnem followed this up and was told the minutes were being ‘cleaned up’. Mnem said we would prefer them as they were recorded. As with minutes from the Minister Pellekaan meeting, we are still waiting . . .

Thanks to Mnem for persisting with the arrangements for this meeting with DIIS, and the people who waited outside, and to Kate who distributed many leaflets.

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia bakes as record temperatures nudge 50C

‘It’s like hell here’: Australia bakes as record temperatures nudge 50C , Fears rise for homeless and vulnerable people as communities brace for another week of relentless hot weather , Guardian, Naaman Zhou,  @naamanzhou, Sun 20 Jan 2019
It was 48.9C last Tuesday in Port Augusta, South Australia, an old harbour city that now harvests solar power. Michelle Coles, the owner of the local cinema, took off her shoes at night to test the concrete before letting the dogs out. “People tend to stay at home,” she said. “They don’t walk around when it’s like this.”It’s easy to see why: in the middle of the day it takes seconds to blister a dog’s paw or child’s foot. In Mildura, in northern Victoria, last week gardeners burned their hands when they picked up their tools, which had been left in the sun at 46C. Fish were dying in the rivers.

Almost every day last week a new heat record was broken in Australia. They spread out, unrelenting, across the country, with records broken for all kinds of reasons – as if the statistics were finding an infinite series of ways to say that it was hot.

The community of Noona – population 14 – reached the highest minimum ever recorded overnight in Australia – 35.9C was the coldest it got, at 7am on Friday. It was 45C by noon.

A record fell on Tuesday in Meekatharra in Western Australia – the highest minimum there ever recorded (33C). Another fell on Wednesday, 2,000 miles away, in Albury, New South Wales – their hottest day (45.6C).

It was 45C or higher for four consecutive days in Broken Hill – another record – and more than 40C for the same time period in Canberra, the nation’s capital. Nine records fell across NSW on Wednesday alone. Back in Port Augusta, Tuesday was the highest temperature since records began in 1962………..

In South Australia, they declared a “code red” across Adelaide, the state capital. Homelessness services were working overtime and the Red Cross started calling round a list of 750 people who were deemed especially vulnerable

At the Australian Open in Melbourne, only the sea breeze kept the temperature below 40C. At Adelaide’s Tour Down Under, a bike race, it was 41C.

On Monday last week the hottest spot in New South Wales was Menindee, a river town that feeds the country’s largest water system, the Murray-Darling basin. It was 45C. It climbed to 47C on Wednesday, and by Thursday the fish were gasping.

Australia’s native Murray cod can live for decades under normal conditions, growing all the while. The oldest are a metre long, with heavy white bellies that have to be held with both hands. Last week, hundreds died, choked of oxygen due to an algal bloom that fed and grew in the heat, and collapsed when temperatures dipped.

Blue-green algae flourishes in hot, slow-moving water. Then, when temperatures inevitably drop, the algae dies and becomes a food source for bacteria, who multiply and starve the river of oxygen. The fish rise to the surface.

The mass fish death has reignited a debate over water management in the region, where cotton farmers upstream have been accused of taking more water than they should.

The heat is not the root cause, the locals stress. But the five punishing days settling over the river have not made it better. Last Thursday the cod were up near the surface and struggling. On Friday, it was 45C again. In Menindee, the locals believe the fish kill will happen again, with temperatures in the 40s expected to continue into this week. The water will be running hot……….

January 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia faces ‘new normal’ of year-round bushfires

Australia faces ‘new normal’ of year-round bushfires ,Greg Mullins, Daily Telegraph

Extreme bushfire conditions in Australia are becoming worse, fires are burning in areas that should never burn at times when there should not be fire, former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Greg Mullins says to describe our now unpredictable fire seasons….. (subscribers only)

January 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

UK government covering up genetic damage to families of wartime nuclear ‘guinea pigs’

Tory Defence Secretary breaks promise and refuses study on nuclear test guinea pigs’ families

Gavin Williamson has been accused of betrayal just six months after promising campaigners he’d help, By Susie Boniface,19 JAN 2019, The Tories have refused to order a study into genetic ­damage suffered by children of servicemen in the British nuclear tests.

Defence Secretary Gavin ­Wil­­liamson’s decision came days after his department finally admitted it never warned the men used in Cold War radiation experiments that their families might have been harmed.

Children of the 1950s veterans report 10 times the normal rate of birth defects. But six months after he met campaigners and ­promised to help, Williamson has been accused of betrayal.

Shirley Denson, 84, who told the minister her ­hus­­band Eric was ordered to fly through the mushroom cloud of a massive H-bomb, said: “I’m disgusted the man who seemed to lis­­ten so carefully has let us down so badly.

“A fifth of the children and grandchildren Eric and I had have de­­­formities, including missing and extra teeth. Our family is just one of thousands and Williamson knows this.”

Eric killed himself after years of crippling headaches, and Shirley later uncovered proof he had been exposed to 165 years’ worth of background radiation to his brain in just 6 minutes.

Campaigners and cross-party MPs had asked for research into all the children’s health problems, but instead Williamson has spent a six-figure sum on repeating an old study into the veterans’ cancer rates.

It is expected to take a year to report back, and in the meantime veterans, who are mostly in their 80s, are dying at the rate of one a week.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who is backing the vets’ campaign for justice, said: “The earlier study failed to note the miscarriages, ill health, infant mortality and childhood illness which so many veteran families experienced. As a result it showed few problems, when the veterans’ experience was very different.

“By raising their hopes then dashing them with science de­­­signed to fail, the Defence Secretary has shown scant regard for the survivors, widows and children he promised to help.”

The announcement followed an admission in Parliament the MoD had never warned the men that exposure to radiation might damage their DNA.

Junior minister Tobias Ellwood confessed after a search of the archives that he was “unable to locate” any proof servicemen were made aware of the dangers.

Yet there are documents showing those in charge knew of the risks.

The Medical Research Council reported in 1947 that “even the smallest doses of radiation produce a genetic effect.”

A 1953 memo stated chiefs of staff wanted to “discover the detailed effect of various types of explosion on equipment, stores and men, with and without various types of protection”.

Another states Downing Street considered how “to limit the genetic hazards”.

And a No10 letter discovered in the archives proves that in 1955, when warned about the genetic dangers, PM Anthony Eden responded: “A pity, but we cannot help it.”

When he met campaigners Mr Williamson also promised them a speedy review into a medal for the veterans’ exceptional service.

But 6 months later, a medal review committee has yet to be formed and neither the MoD nor Cabinet Office, which is in charge of honours, can give a timescale for when it will meet to hear the veterans’ evidence.

Just before Christmas, thousands of bomb test documents were removed from the National Archives without explanation.

Some had been scheduled for immediate release under Freedom of Information requests by campaigners.


January 21, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Cleantech stocks remain resilient as broader market falls — RenewEconomy

Demonstrating resilience in rising and falling markets, the three-year performance of the Australian CleanTech Index is nearly 30% ahead of the ASX200. The post Cleantech stocks remain resilient as broader market falls appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Cleantech stocks remain resilient as broader market falls — RenewEconomy

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National Electricity Market year in review: Changing energy mix — RenewEconomy

Second installment of National Electricity Market (NEM) Year in Review looks at how the energy mix evolved in 2018 – the year of large-scale solar. The post National Electricity Market year in review: Changing energy mix appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via National Electricity Market year in review: Changing energy mix — RenewEconomy

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The farming family who held out against Wylfa B — Beyond Nuclear International

Welsh family wouldn’t sell land to owners of proposed — and now “frozen” — nuclear power plant

via The farming family who held out against Wylfa B — Beyond Nuclear International

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jaitapur: A risky and expensive project for India — Beyond Nuclear International

Deal could let French company EDF off the hook for accident liability

via Jaitapur: A risky and expensive project for India — Beyond Nuclear International

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Don’t leave Dracula – Murray Darling Basin Authority Water management – in charge of the Blood Bank”

Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations, 21 Jan 19 MDBA Water management: “Don’t leave Dracula in charge of the Blood bank”

  1. Support for a Royal Commission
  2. Representation at the decision making table of MDBA
  3. Acknowledge Legal Rights of First Nations as determined in Mabo (2)
  4. Explain why different standards are set for First Nations’ Organisations
  5. Demand Criminal Prosecutions be an integral part of Royal Commission findings

Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN) Deputy Chair, Ghillar Michael Anderson and NBAN Director Cheryl Buchanan announce NBAN’s support for Sarah Hanson-Young’s call for a Royal Commission into the mismanagement and over extraction of the waters of the Murray Darling Basin. [The Guardian, 16 January 2019]

NBAN has now learnt that the disaster that we are experiencing in the Murray/Darling Basin is a perfect electric dry storm of massive fish kills and drying riverbeds.

It is NOT caused just by the drought but is also a culmination of man-made mismanagement; corruption at the highest levels; and major development without scientific evidence-based planning in the formative years of the MDBA.

NBAN has great difficulty in understanding why the so-called experts water planners would attempt to normalise our current circumstances. First Nations now demand urgent answers and to be included in all future top-level water planning within the Murray Darling Basin……..

NBAN is critical of the fact that NSW Water planners admit that from 2012 to 2018 they did nothing to properly prepare for evidence-based planning in relation to water management in the northern basin, and that their assessments in terms of quantities of water are based on hypothetical values and assumptions. Now there is a mad rush to review water planning on the basis of A, B and C water licencing in the Barwon/Darling and there is a suggestion to amalgamate these water licences into two or one licence. NBAN’s problem with this is that there are too many vested interests in the process calling for this to happen. Water planning from NBAN’s point of view needs to be reviewed so as to plan on the basis of what real volumes of water are in each valley catchment. With all the science and technology we have in today’s society there is no excuse for hypotheticals and assumptions.

From NBAN’s perspective these admissions clearly demonstrate that there are failures by the Water Ministers responsible for due diligence in their portfolios and departments.

Playing the blame game and shirking responsibility will not help our dying rivers. Clearly, corporate water users, irrigators and mining companies are driving the agenda. For example, the Broken Hill pipeline is for the mining interests rather than the community. Then we need to take into account the Proposed Uranium Mining near Menindee.

The Board of the MDBA is made up of members who have vested interests. A clear example of this is the Chairman, Brian Andrews, (former Speaker of the House of Representatives under PM John Howard) who is an orchardist dependant on irrigation waters from the Murray River in South Australia.

NBAN further expresses deep concern for the integrity of politicians and MDBA authority members. Clearly, there is an inference in recent media reporting that what is currently going on in the MDBA is a major defrauding of the public purse, which can never be condoned. This is in tandem with water theft by irrigators who were never investigated and escape prosecution for their criminal acts. As the Sydney Morning Heraldreported on 8 March 2018:……….

Also there was the warning of water theft by irrigators in the northern basin by a former MDBA staffer Maryanne Slattery, who now works for the Australia Institute, testified to this effect at the South Australian Royal Commission, based on satellite imagery tracking the fate of environmental water flows. This experimental project called Data Cube was rudely interrupted and shut down by MDBA, because Ms Slattery was exposing the theft of environmental water by illegal diversion. It was also reported MDBA staff were denied by the MDBA Board the right to give evidence to the Royal Commission and Minister Littleproud refused to co-operate with the Commissioner, Brett Walker QC,

The greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, is correct to call for a Commonwealth Government Royal Commission into the water management and expenditure of public funds in the MDB. The question that is on everybody’s lips right now is: What have they done with the $13B. Clearly, cotton growers and irrigators are getting money for nothing and continue to live on their lands drawing on other Commonwealth funds under Works and measures programs through ‘Toolkit’ measures for water efficiency.

NBAN is seriously concerned about what was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 9 March 2018 in . In this article it was reported that:Cry me a river: Mismanagement and corruption have left the Darling dry.

Surely, what Barnaby Joyce has done is criminal. When the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) bought Yulara village, the Commonwealth financial regulators questioned why the ILC acquired the village resort for $60M above market price. To this end the Commonwealth government chastised the ILC and lowered the market price to its correct value, thereby denying the right ILC to sell their interest at the price they paid for it, which denied them millions of dollars.

This demonstrates that there continues to be two standards: one for First Nations Peoples and one for non-First Nations Peoples. What makes this worse is the fact that sitting politicians are involved in a major profiteering scam on a scale never seen before in this country.

Clearly having people like the Minister David Littleproud being given the portfolio of Agriculture and Water and coming from the same location where Barnaby Joyce first gained his start in Politics at the Commonwealth level does raise serious concerns about the integrity of portfolio allocations in the Commonwealth government. People like Barnaby Joyce and David Littleproud can be accused of not disclosing their full interest in farming and irrigation. There is much to be desired in these appointments as Barnaby Joyce and Littleproud are sitting members of the national party. They are elected to look after the interests of their constituents and in the case of the appointment of Barnaby Joyce and Littleproud to the Water portfolio is likened to the appointment of Dracula being appointed to be in charge of the Blood Bank.

This demonstrates that there continues to be two standards: one for First Nations Peoples and one for non-First Nations Peoples. What makes this worse is the fact that sitting politicians are involved in a major profiteering scam on a scale never seen before in this country.

Clearly having people like the Minister David Littleproud being given the portfolio of Agriculture and Water and coming from the same location where Barnaby Joyce first gained his start in Politics at the Commonwealth level does raise serious concerns about the integrity of portfolio allocations in the Commonwealth government. People like Barnaby Joyce and David Littleproud can be accused of not disclosing their full interest in farming and irrigation. There is much to be desired in these appointments as Barnaby Joyce and Littleproud are sitting members of the national party. They are elected to look after the interests of their constituents and in the case of the appointment of Barnaby Joyce and Littleproud to the Water portfolio is likened to the appointment of Dracula being appointed to be in charge of the Blood Bank.

On the 16th, the NBAN Delegation then met Dr Lindsay White, Director Northern Basin Section, Lindsay White is also responsible for Wetlands, Policy and Northern Water Use Branch Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, and Hilary Johnson, Director, Southern Basin Section, Southern Water Use, Aquatic Science and Community Engagement Branch Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

NBAN advised the CEWO that within the river systems we have sacred waterholes where our creative water spirits live. These culturally significant water spirits are dependent on regular flows. For First nations Peoples these flows are what we call cultural flows. Without the modern development pre-Christmas rainfalls would have replenished these waterholes and they would have sufficient water to take them through the current drought or until a new rain event within the northern regions. But, with modern development and mis-management these water holes are under serious threat and our Native Fish will lose their refuges. Past river recordings prior to development demonstrate that this is the case with these waterholes. It is important to understand that these Waterholes are critical fish refuges and serve to protect species diversity and are responsible for repopulating rivers in recovery after flooding.

The Delegation sought clarification of the role of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holders. What shocked the delegation was the limitation of the CEWO, because the First Nation held the view that CEWO were responsible for not just managing environmental water flows, but also were responsible for the actual purchasing of any water requirements. Instead we were advised that the purchasing responsibilities lay with the Minister and the Department of Agriculture. Under the Current circumstances much of the responsibilities associated with managing environmental water needs lay at the feet of the Ministers responsible.

The NBAN delegation now demand that First Nations People’s must be at the table in all future water and environmental planning at all levels of government.

In calling for the royal Commission, NBAN demand that criminal prosecution be part of the terms of reference to hold those responsible, accountable, and to bring transparency into the murky process that has persisted to this day.

NBAN Sources:

January 21, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Accelerated pace of melting, in North American glaciers

North American glaciers melting much faster than 10 years ago – study
Satellite images show glaciers in US and Canada, excluding Alaska, are shrinking four times faster than in previous decade ,
Guardian, Emily Holden in Washington, Sat 19 Jan 2019

Glaciers in western North America, excluding Alaska, are melting four times faster than in the previous decade, with changes in the jet stream exacerbating the longer-term effects of climate change, according to a new study.

The retreat hasn’t been equal in the US and Canada. The famous alpine ice masses in the Cascade Mountains in the north-west US have largely been spared from the trend.

“The losses we would expect were reduced because we got a lot of additional snow,” said David Shean, a co-author at the University of Washington. “Moving forward we may not be so lucky.” The jet stream – the currents of fast-flowing air in the atmosphere that affect weather – has shifted, causing more snow in the north-western US and less in south-western Canada, according to the study released in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. Changes in the northern hemisphere jet stream are increasingly firmly linked to global warming.

That warming from humans burning fossil fuels is also expected to continue to melt alpine glaciers, even under scenarios for more moderate greenhouse gas levels.

While some of the fourfold increase in the melting rate in western North America is related to manmade climate change, the researchers can’t say with certainty how much.

“We’re starting to understand these shorter cycles that have real impacts on how the glaciers are behaving and how much water is stored in the glaciers,” Shean explained.

Alaskan glaciers get much of the attention in North America because Alaska is warming faster than the continental US. Mount Hunter in Denali national park, is seeing 60 times more snow melt than it did 150 years ago.

The North American glaciers analyzed in the new study are far smaller than those in Alaska, Asia and elsewhere, so they won’t contribute much to sea-level rise as they melt. The authors say they offer critical lessons for water management, fisheries and flood prevention……..

January 21, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Melting glaciers in Central Asia will bring disaster to millions

Melting glaciers spell trouble for millions in Asia, SMH, By Henry Fountain,19 January 2019  On a summer day in the mountains high above Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, the Tuyuksu glacier is melting like mad. Rivulets of water stream down the glacier’s thin leading edge.

In Central Asia, a warming climate is shrinking many glaciers. The Tuyuksu is losing ice every year. Around the world, vanishing glaciers will mean less water for people and crops in the future. Here, the people need to prepare sooner.

As she has for nearly two decades, Maria Shahgedanova, a glaciologist at the University of Reading in England, has come here to check on the Tuyuksu. As one of the longest-studied glaciers anywhere, the Tuyuksu helps gauge the effect of climate change on the world’s ice.

Glaciers represent the snows of centuries, compressed over time into slowly flowing rivers of ice, up to about 300 metres thick here in the Tien Shan range of Central Asia and even thicker elsewhere. They are never static, accumulating snow in winter and losing ice to melting in summer.

But in a warming climate melting outstrips accumulation, resulting in a net loss of ice. That is what is happening in Kazakhstan and all over the globe.

The world’s roughly 150,000 glaciers, not including the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, cover about 500,000 square kilometres of the Earth’s surface. During the last four decades they have lost the equivalent of a layer of ice 20 metres thick.

Most are getting shorter, too. Small ones in places like the Rockies and Andes have disappeared. And researchers say that even if greenhouse gas emissions were sharply curtailed immediately, there has already been enough warming to continue shrinking glaciers around the world.

This great global melting contributes to sea level rise. It affects production of hydroelectricity. It leads to disasters like rapid, catastrophic floods and debris flows. It alters rivers and ecosystems, affecting the organisms that inhabit them.

But here in the Tien Shan, the biggest effect may be on the supply of water for people and agriculture. ……..The researchers analyse samples from streams to determine the mix of water sources, which is important for forecasting how the rivers will fare over time. A melting glacier can at first increase stream flow, but eventually the glacier reaches a tipping point, called peak flow, and meltwater begins to taper.

“At some point they cannot produce the water they are providing right now,” said Matthias Huss, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. “It’s really important for water managers to know when this tipping point is reached.”

Glaciers elsewhere in Central Asia – in China to the east, and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the south – will eventually decline as well. But the biggest effect will be further south, where countless glaciers feed the great river basins of Asia.

Across the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges, the glaciers number in the thousands and the people who rely on them in the hundreds of millions, along rivers like the Indus in Pakistan, the Ganges and Brahmaputra in India, the Yellow and Yangtze in China and the Mekong in south-east Asia……… 

January 21, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

“Zero chance” of nuclear getting into a Green New Deal in USA

Nuclear’s Bleak Odds in a Green New Deal
Ocasio-Cortez won’t rule out inclusion of nuclear, but some see sector as incompatible with ‘100% renewable’ focus 
Morning Consult , January 14, 2019  Lawmakers embracing a transition to 100 percent renewable energy under a Green New Deal have largely left out mention of whether nuclear energy should be included in such a policy package. While Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the Green New Deal’s biggest proponents, said she hasn’t ruled out nuclear energy from the platform, other advocates on the left hold long-running concerns that appear to lessen nuclear’s chances of inclusion in the deal.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) is one of over 40 lawmakers who have issued their support for Green New Deal concepts championed by the freshman Democratic representative from New York, who has floated a draft resolution that calls on lawmakers to work toward supplying 100 percent of U.S. power demand from renewables, building a national smart grid and putting money toward a drawdown of greenhouse gases.

“I think on nuclear energy, we all have a general resistance to it,” Pingree said, because of the unsolved quandary of how to deal with nuclear waste, along with remaining environmental and safety issues. “We all think of Japan.”……..

The Sunrise Movement, an environmental group formed in 2017 that has taken up the Green New Deal cause and staged climate protests last year outside the office of now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still “working on a policy outline for what a Green New Deal includes and are consulting with experts and other organizations to develop that,” said Stephen O’Hanlon, who handles communications for the group, in an email. That plan will be ready soon, he said.

If the rest of the environmental community is any indication, nuclear’s outlook in a Green New Deal is even grimmer. The Green Party of the United States’ Green New Deal calls for a full phaseout of U.S. nuclear power. And on Thursday, hundreds of environmental groups wrote an open letter in support of a Green New Deal that supports transitioning completely away from nuclear, along with biomass resources and large-scale hydropower.

Mike McKenna, a Republican strategist who worked on President Donald Trump’s Energy Department transition team, said there is “zero chance” of nuclear getting into a Green New Deal…….

January 21, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

January 20 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “A Local Blueberry Farmer’s Perspective On Climate Issues” • Farmers are accustomed to challenges … Organic growers like Jubilee Orchards must combat heat, insects, weeds and plant diseases without using pesticides or herbicides. But increasingly climate issues pose our biggest challenge and the deepest risk to our fruit. [] ¶ “It’s Up To California To Save Us […]

via January 20 Energy News — geoharvey

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As Japan Tries Out Immigration, Migrant Workers Complain Of Exploitation — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

An employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co. works at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant to decontaminate the area after the 2011 nuclear meltdown. A Vietnamese laborer in Japan on a training program says he was also put to work cleaning up the site, but with inadequate gear. January 15, 2019 The wind howls and […]

via As Japan Tries Out Immigration, Migrant Workers Complain Of Exploitation — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Schoolchildren co-opted to promote propaganda on Fukushima food safety — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Students tasked with developing dishes using Fukushima produce to promote prefecture’s recovery Students sample local farm products with the aim of creating their own dishes as part of a campaign to highlight recovery efforts in the prefecture of Fukushima and its capital, on Dec. 16. January 13, 2019 A group of elementary, junior high […]

via Schoolchildren co-opted to promote propaganda on Fukushima food safety — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment