Australian news, and some related international items

Coalition government rejects Clive Palmer’s call for nuclear power for Australia

Clive Palmer’s nuclear power plan for SA knocked back by Coalition, Chris Russell, The Advertiser, March 31, 2019 

A push by the United Australia Party for nuclear power has been swiftly rejected by the Federal Government.

A spokesman for the party led by Clive Palmer confirmed nuclear was on the agenda.

“South Australia has a major energy problem and we, as a party, are discussing nuclear,” he said. “Australia has uranium reserves and nuclear is emissions free.

“Kristian Rees, our number one senate candidate is speaking with his SA candidates and party members on major issues like cheaper power, manufacturing and jobs.”

A planned announcement on nuclear power, reported by the Sunday Mail, was revealed early by Professor Adrian Cheok who quit the party despite being the No. 2 Senate candidate in SA.

The party spokesman said it was “disappointing someone who didn’t get what they wanted leaked confidential discussions”.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor rejected the nuclear call.

“Nuclear power remains illegal in Australia and highly expensive to build and operate,” he said.

The Government has short-listed electricity generation projects that could warrant underwriting — but the program specifically excluded nuclear.

Last financial year, SA generated more electricity than it used, exporting the excess to Victoria.

Wholesale prices were 11 per cent lower than the year before, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s report on SA electricity.

Mr Palmer is the national leader but has yet to nominate for a seat. His options include his former seat of Fairfax, on the Sunshine Coast, and Herbert, based in Townsville.

The Senate ticket for Queensland also is unresolved.
A party spokesman said Mr Palmer was expected to be endorsed “very soon”.

April 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Western Australian Aboriginal community uses solar hydropanel to solve problem of uranium in water

Buttah Windee in remote WA now has clean water thanks to solar hydropanel technology

Key points:

  • Six solar hydropanels have been installed in the small WA community, capturing 900 litres of water a month from the air
  • The community had discovered its water supply contained uranium more than twice the national health standard, and the State Government deemed it too expensive to address
  • With the help of crowdfunding and technology donated by a WA company, the residents of the community no longer need to live elsewhere

The remote Aboriginal community is 760 kilometres north-east of Perth on the outskirts of Meekatharra.

Almost a decade ago, resident Andrew Binsiar discovered the community’s water was tainted with naturally occurring uranium at more than twice the national health standard.

“I was actually very surprised,” he said.

“You’d imagine people would test the water for human consumption before people are allowed to drink it.”

Unable to drink the community’s tap water, most of the 50 people who lived at Buttah Windee left.

Too expensive to fix: State Government

But for Andrew Binsiar and his wife Janine, leaving the home where they had raised their five children was not an option.

He turned to the State Government for help, but was told fixing the water supply would be too expensive.

“They come out and put up ‘do not drink the water’ signs and that was their solution to it,” Mr Binsiar said.

The State Government offered to move the remaining residents into state housing in Meekatharra, but Mr Binsiar was apprehensive about exposing his family to the town’s social issues.

“We knocked them back … for the simple reason I’d already been there and done that. My life changed when I moved here,” he said.

“I wasn’t a very good father when I lived in Meeka.”

Solar hydropanels pull water from air

Almost a decade on, Buttah Windee is the first remote Aboriginal community in Australia to use innovative technology for its water supply.

Six solar hydropanels have been installed at the outback community, donated by a WA company who heard about the community’s plight and wanted to help out.

Director of Wilco Electrical Frank Mitchell said the units captured water from the air and produced up to 900 litres of water a month.

“Those fans, you can hear them whirring away, are just drawing in air all day, all around, and the piece of material inside collects … the moisture in the air, then condenses down into the tank where it’s got a pump straight out to the tap,” he said.

Mr Binsiar said it was a simple idea, which should be introduced to all remote communities.

“Water is a basic human right that everyone deserves,” he said.

“It could mean better health for your children … I would guarantee that most communities have bad water.”

Crowdfunding rallies support

The near decade-long battle for clean drinking water has not come easily for the Buttah Windee residents, with Mr Binsiar turning to crowdfunding as a last resort.

Word spread quickly when Mr Binsiar began the fundraising campaign last year, and people from across Australia donated nearly $26,000 in three months.

“It was a huge success. The Australian public have been awesome,” he said.

Mr Binsiar used the funds to install a reverse osmosis water treatment plant.

“Reverse osmosis takes out all the contaminants in the water … on the back end of it, it puts the minerals your body needs back into the water,” he said.

“They’ve given us a chance where no-one else would and we are really proud of what we have done here.”

Barramundi fish farm to boost employment

The two separate systems now supply the community with safe drinking water and enough water to run a small barramundi fish farm.

Mr Binsiar and several residents built the fish farm hoping it would eventually provide local employment and a potential source of income.    “Hopefully we can continue on and make it bigger and provide this region with fresh barramundi,” he said.

“I’d like to welcome everyone out to Buttah Windee and come and look at the work we do.”

April 1, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Malaysia wants Australia to help remove Lynas’ radioactive trash from rare earths processing

Malaysia turns up heat on Australia over Lynas waste,  Brad Thompson, Fin Rev, 1 Apr 19,  A senior Malaysia politician says the Australian government has been asked to collaborate on the removal of low-level radioactive waste produced by Lynas Corporation’s rare earths processing operations.

Deputy environment and climate change minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis said an official letter requesting collaboration had been sent to the Australian government last month,  in another sign Malaysia is determined to have the waste removed despite suggestions from Lynas it is close to …… (Subscribers only)

April 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths | Leave a comment

Lynas considers relocating its rare earths processing to Western Australia

Lynas looks to WA, not Wesfarmers, for its Malay solution, WA Today, By Hamish Hastie, Colin Kruger and Darren Gray, March 27, 2019 Western Australia might hold the key to Lynas Corp’s future despite the rare earths miner rejecting a $1.5 billion takeover offer from Perth-based Wesfarmers on Wednesday.

WA’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) confirmed it had recently met with the company to discuss approvals in the state.

“These discussions are preliminary in nature and no formal submission for any change has been presented to the EPA,” a spokeswoman for the agency said.

The discussions could help solve the problems in Malaysia which threaten the company’s future, and made it vulnerable to what analysts and investors described as a low-ball bid from Wesfarmers on Tuesday.

Lynas faces an uncertain future after the Malaysian government imposed strict new conditions on its billion-dollar Malaysian operation which could force it to shut down in September.

This includes the permanent removal of a residue with naturally occurring radiation, Water Leached Purification Residue (WLP), from Malaysia.

According to institutional investors, Lynas discussed plans last month to relocate some of its rare earths processing back to Western Australia. All processing is currently handled in Malaysia.

Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze denied there was any plan to extract and retain the controversial WLP residue in WA – the state where it is mined – but did confirm it planned to expand its processing operations outside of Malaysia.

She confirmed that Western Australia was a contender.

We operate in a growth industry and we are looking at how we grow our business with the market,” Ms Lacaze said.

According to the EPA, in February 2017 the rare earths miner applied to make changes to conditions of its rare earths operation at its Mt Weld mine in Laverton, 700 kilometres north east of Perth, and “secondary processing” at Meenar in the Shire of Northam 100km north east of Perth.

Lynas received approval for the mine and Meenar processing facility in 1998, but decided to set up its processing plant in Malaysia instead.

Anti-nuclear groups had fought the facility in both countries over concerns about rare earths radioactive by-product thorium.

Speaking of the approvals, Ms Lacaze said “it’s not something that we have specifically refreshed for any purpose”.

On Wednesday, Ms Lacaze played down the Wesfarmers bid, saying the highly conditional nature of the approach meant there was “nothing substantive with which to engage”.

“This business is not for sale,” she told the media after the company said “it will not engage with Wesfarmers on the terms outlined in the indicative and highly conditional proposal”.

Lynas said its key assets included its position as “the only significant” rare earths miner and processor outside of China, and its Mt Weld ore body – a long life Tier 1 asset………

April 1, 2019 Posted by | rare earths, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Radioactive nuclear waste sites “not wanted in Wales”: objections to landowners offering their sites.

Radioactive nuclear waste sites “not wanted in Wales” says Anglesey AM

By Dale Spridgeon 1 Apr 19, WE don’t welcome radioactive waste sites in Wales says Anglesey’s AM Rhun ap Iorwerth.The Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance is urging Local Authorities in Wales to respond to a consultation by Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) before the consultation closes on April 14.

In a question to Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths Mr ap Iorwerth raised his own and constituents’ concerns that the consultation process being undertaken by RWM, as they seek a site for a Geological Disposal Facility to bury radioactive waste.

Mr ap Iorwerth said: “Constituents of mine have raised concerns that there is an effort here by Radioactive Waste Management to move towards a less open consultation process.

“I also have a number of concerns regarding the consultation process.

“My main concern is that it is possible for one landowner or one business even to express an interest in make an application to express interest in hosting a site for radioactive waste disposal.

“I think that is totally unacceptable, especially in the context where Local Authorities may have long since said they don’t want such sites in their area, as Isle of Anglesey County Council has done.

“If a Local Authority has said they don’t want a disposal site in their area then that should be the end of the matter.

“Councils in Wales should be declaring clearly between now and the end of the consultation on April 14 that we don’t welcome permanent geological waste sites here in Wales.”

April 1, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Despite substantial government bribes, Councils in Wales do not want to host nuclear waste dumps

North Wales Chronicle 30th March 2019 , Anglesey Council has confirmed that it will not volunteer the island to take part in a government search for sites to bury the UK’s stockpile of its most dangerous radioactive waste despite the promise of substantial financial incentives and “well paid jobs.”

Gwynedd Council, meanwhile, says that no discussions have taken place despite a local AM urging Welsh local authorities to respond to a consultation by Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) and “declare clearly” that Wales doesn’t welcome
permanent geological waste sites.

April 1, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Government ‘failing’ on climate change: poll 

  SBS News, 1 Apr 19, As the federal election approaches, new polling shows how public attitude to climate change are shifting.  Only 13 per cent of Australians believe the Morrison government is doing a good job in addressing climate change, according to a new poll.Results from an Ipsos poll released Sunday framed public perceptions of climate change in the leadup to the federal election, due in May.

It found almost half of Australians now feel that “honouring the Paris Climate Agreement should be a key priority” for this country.

And many Australians want to go even further. Forty per cent said they would like to see an emissions reduction target set that goes beyond reducing emissions by 26 per cent – 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 as set out in the Paris agreement.

In a statement, Ipsos said the poll “uncovered a growing momentum for action on climate change and acceptance of the role of humans in causing it”.

“We also [found] that the majority of Australians believe that they will not be negatively impacted by a move towards renewables and that support for climate action by the government is on the rise.”…….

April 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Strong growth in use of linear accelerators for radiation diagnosis and therapies

Linear Accelerators for Radiation Market Trends Research and Projections for 2018-2026  Truth Daily Mirror NICOLE SMITH — APRIL 1, 2019 The Global Linear Accelerators for Radiation Market has witnessed continuous growth in the past few years and is projected to grow even further during the forecast period (2018-2026). The research presents a complete assessment of the market and contains Future trend, Current Growth Factors, attentive opinions, facts, historical data, and statistically supported and industry validated market data………

April 1, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New procedure treats irregular heartbeat without radiation, By: SUSANNE BRUNNER : Mar 25, 2019 CDTLITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A new procedure at Arkansas Heart Hospital is eliminating radiation exposure.

April 1, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Radiation found in soil at Byron Bay school

 Echo Net Daily, March 2019, Radioactive soil will be removed from Byron Bay Public School after testing showed higher-than-normal levels during upgrade works.

According to a statement from the education department, preliminary testing of soil during early construction works for the upgrade to the school has identified ‘quantities of naturally occurring radioactive material’.

‘The department has engaged an environmental consultant to assist with the management of remediation works in consultation with the school principal, NSW Health, NSW Environmental Protection Agency and Byron Shire Council,’ the statement says.

‘The health, safety and well-being of students, staff and the school’s neighbours are the highest priority for the department.’

Works are currently being planned to remove soil from the school work site with dates and times still to be advised.

The department said said the removal of the material ‘presents no health risk to the school, and will be done after hours to minimise impact to school operations’………

April 1, 2019 Posted by | environment, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Protesters disrupt Brexit debate by baring bottoms over inaction on climate change

 ABC News 2 Apr 19While some view the British parliament as a symbol of political stasis since the 2016 Brexit referendum, other Brits have utilised Westminster’s symbolic power to press — literally and figuratively — for faster action on climate change.

On Monday, members of climate change action group Extinction Rebellion stripped half-naked in the House of Common’s glass-walled public gallery during a Brexit debate, and some appeared to have glued themselves to the glass.

As MPs started yet another day of lengthy debate on how or even whether the country should leave the European Union, 14 protesters stripped to their underpants to show slogans painted on their backs, including: “Climate justice now”.

……. more acts of civil disobedience would occur in the lead up to the group’s ‘International Rebellion’ on climate change inaction slated for April 15.

In the moments afterward, numerous people took to Twitter to poke fun at a parliament that has otherwise been considered stale and mired in a prolonged Brexit debate…..

April 1, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Hyundai Kona test drive: Finally, a long-range EV at half the price — RenewEconomy

We drive the fully electric Hyundai Kona for a week and deliver our verdict. The post Hyundai Kona test drive: Finally, a long-range EV at half the price appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Hyundai Kona test drive: Finally, a long-range EV at half the price — RenewEconomy

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 1 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Who Should Pay For Corporate Environmental Degradation?” • Judges are holding mine owners accountable for water problems they cause. Doesn’t it also make sense that what’s known as the “tragedy of the commons” should apply to fossil fuel companies and greenhouse gasses that have contaminated our atmosphere? [CleanTechnica] Science and Technology: ¶ “Ocean […]

via April 1 Energy News — geoharvey

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bad news. Closing coal-fired power stations costs jobs. We need to prepare — RenewEconomy

Where rapid structural change happens due to closures of large coal plants in regional areas, it is important to have measures in place to ease the transition. The post Bad news. Closing coal-fired power stations costs jobs. We need to prepare appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Bad news. Closing coal-fired power stations costs jobs. We need to prepare — RenewEconomy

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Clive Palmer will promise to build a nuclear reactor in South Australia

April 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment