Australian news, and some related international items

To 7 May – Climate and Nuclear News Australia

Arguably the biggest news –  the world’s species are disappearing (and hey! – we’re vulnerable, too).

Both issues – climate change, and nuclear wastes have been in the political  headlines in anglophone countries. A pity that these seem to be rarely reported in English language in other countries, and probably not reported at all in totalitarian countries.  Good News:  In Britain, climate activists, – Extinction Rebellion, and school children’s strikes have had their political impact, as UK declares a Climate Emergency.  In Australia climate ‘paralysis’ looms over its coming election.

In USA, the battle over where to put nuclear wastes heats up with renewed political turmoil over plan for Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as nuclear waste dump. Radioactive wastes continue to trouble Europe  and UK, though not a peep out of Russia, China about theirs.



NUCLEAR. It is left to rural South Australians to oppose the misguided national plan for nuclear waste dumping.  Federal election candidates for Grey express their views on nuclear waste dump plan.   Clive Palmer expects to hold the balance of power in Australian Parliament, says he will bring in nuclear power. Both Liberal and Labor oppose Clive’s plan.

The harm done to indigenous people, through uranium mining – and it’s happening again. Unfinished business: a new report on the Ranger uranium mine: what its clean-up means for Kakadu National Park.

RARE EARTHS.  WA rules out Lynas waste imports Western Australian govt rules out importing Lynas’ wastes from Malaysia.  Australian rare earths company Lynas is determined to keep its radioactive trash in Malaysia.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Labor will establish South East Queensland community power hub. Labor pledges funding for renewable jobs, support for Tasmania Battery of the Nation. Labor battery subsidy could deliver 80% cut to household electricity bills. Solar schools to create 364MW virtual power plant in Labor policy plan.

Bank Australia becomes first Australian bank to purchase 100% renewables.    Big batteries help Tesla lift storage revenue near 10-fold in Australia. Wesfarmers dumps coal and turns to electric cars: Australia should follow . WA’s 130MW Badgingarra wind farm officially opens.  World’s largest Tritium EV charging R&D facility launched in Brisbane. Hanwha to launch 100% renewable “next gen” energy retailer in Australia.   International Award for Australian PV Leader.


Nuclear weapons companies doing very profitably out of governments. ICAN and PAX list the companies that make nuclear weapons.

Can the Non Proliferation Treaty and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons co-exist?  Hibakusha continue their mission to eliminate nuclear weapons.

High blood pressure risk from prolonged exposure to low-dose ionising radiation. Low level radiation exposure and increased risks of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease.

Why cockroaches might be able to survive a nuclear attack.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Unfinished business: a new report on the Ranger uranium mine: what its clean-up means for Kakadu National Park

Unfinished business: Kakadu needs a new approach to cleaning up an old mine, 7 May 19,      How well the Ranger uranium mine is cleaned up is key to the long-term health of Kakadu.

A new report has found Australia’s largest national park is at long-term risk unless the clean-up of the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu is done comprehensively and effectively.

Unfinished business, co-authored by the Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of Sydney and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), identifies significant data deficiencies, a lack of clarity around regulatory and governance frameworks and uncertainty over the adequacy of current and future financing – especially in relation to future monitoring and mitigation works for the controversial mine site.

Mine operator Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) and parent company Rio Tinto are required to clean up the site to a standard suitable for inclusion in the surrounding Kakadu National Park, dual-listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

“No mine in the world has ever successfully achieved this standard of clean up,” said report co-author Dr Rebecca Lawrence from SEI.

“Rehabilitating what is essentially a toxic waste dump is no easy task. Rio Tinto faces a complex and costly rehabilitation job.

“The challenge is not to simply scrape rocks into holes and plant trees, it is to make sure mine tailings, radioactive slurry and toxic by-products of mining are isolated from the surrounding environment for 10,000 years.

“To ensure this in a monsoonal environment, such as Kakadu, which is already being impacted by climate change, raises enormous environmental and governance challenges.

“For the rehabilitation process to even have a chance at success, the existing opaque and complex regulatory regime needs an urgent overhaul,” Dr Lawrence said.

Tailings, the waste material remaining after the processing of finely ground ore, are one of the serious environmental risks outlined in the report. The report examines how ERA and Rio Tinto intend to deliver on the federal government’s requirement to protect the Kakadu environment by isolating any tailings and making sure contaminants do not result in any detrimental environmental impacts for at least 10,000 years.

“Long after the miners have gone this waste remains a direct human and environmental challenge,” said report co-author Dave Sweeney from ACF.

“This issue is key to the long-term health of Kakadu but there is insufficient evidence and detail on how this work will be managed and assured in the future. Without this detail there will be a sleeping toxic time bomb deep inside Kakadu.

“At its London AGM last month Rio again committed to make sure ERA has the financial resources to deliver its rehabilitation obligations, however the financial mechanism to do so remains undisclosed.

“The community and environment of Kakadu need certainty and a comprehensive clean up.

“This work is a key test of the commitment and capacity of Northern Territory and Commonwealth regulators as well as the mining companies.”

The report makes recommendations to improve the chances of a successful clean-up at Ranger. It calls for increased transparency, public release of key project documents, a better alignment of research and operations and open review processes for key decision points.

The full report is here.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Zali Steggall, Independent candidate for Warringah, aims to tackle the health impacts of climate change

Zali Steggall promises action to stem health impact of climate change 6 May 19, 

The Warringah independent signs up to strategy to tackle problems of increased asthma, mental illness and heat-related deaths

Independent candidate for Warringah, Zali Steggall, has pledged to address the health impacts of climate change if she wins Warringah as an independent.

Like her fellow independent, Kerryn Phelps in Wentworth, Steggall signed up on Monday to the strategy developed by the Climate Health Alliance, which has more than one million health professionals behind it through their representative groups. It is pushing governments to start factoring climate change into their thinking about health policy, warning that a rise of 3C in world temperatures would have catastrophic consequences for the health of Australians.

Among the health impacts of climate change are an expected jump in severe asthma attacks, more disease due to severe weather events such as flooding, increased mental illness due to prolonged droughts and higher death rates among the elderly and chronically ill due to more frequent very hot days.

On 21 November 2016 thousands of people were taken ill and 10 people died in Melbourne due to thunderstorm asthma. High temperatures, thunderstorms and windy conditions blew rye grass pollen into the city causing the mass incident.

Melbourne has now implemented an alert system for epidemic asthma which operates during October and December each year when pollen levels are at their highest.

Mary Chiarella, professor of nursing at Sydney university, said increasingly warm weather meant there would be more out-of-season pollen that would extend the asthma risk season.

More hot days would drive hospital admissions putting additional stress – and costs – on the health system.

“[Economist] Warwick McKibbon says no action is not a zero sum game. Just because you don’t spend the money taking action, doesn’t mean it will deliver a zero cost,” said Steggall.

“We are in one of the most exposed regions to climate change,” she said.

Steggall said she would be pushing for the expert panel to look into the climate change impacts on health outcomes and to advise the government on its response.

“My point of difference [with Tony Abbott] is I do like facts and data,” she said, a reference to the criticism that Abbott has made of her expert panel proposal.

At a debate last week, Abbott said Steggall would be shirking her responsibilities as a parliamentarian when she said she would be “led by experts” on climate change policy and what emissions cuts the nation should commit to.

She also criticised Abbott’s focus on power costs due to measures to address climate change.

“The more people understand the other impacts on them personally, the more the case for action,” she said.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

UN Report – One million species at risk of extinction – Australia not interested?

May 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Australian rare earths company Lynas is determined to keep its radioactive trash in Malaysia

Lynas backs Malaysian waste solution despite removal order, Fin Rev Brad Thompson 6 May 19, Lynas Corporation is pushing ahead with plans to build a permanent disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste in Malaysia despite a contested ultimatum to export about 450,000 tonnes of residue already stockpiled by September.

The Wesfarmers takeover target said on Monday it was confident of meeting conditions outlined by Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to ….. (subscribers only) ..

May 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths, wastes | Leave a comment

Ireland urged to follow UK – the first national parliament to declare an “environmental and climate emergency”.

Irish Times 6th May 2019 In the quagmire of Brexit there is little to commend the UK government’s approach. This is in stark contrast with its clarity and leadership on climate change. It is the first national parliament to declare an “environmental and climate emergency”.

It has not only committed to “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the climate change committee in Westminster has set out how this can be achieved. Net zero means, in effect, eliminating its carbon footprint in a dramatically transformed economy built on sustainability with a near absence of fossil fuels.

Ireland has some way to go before it could commit to such a course, but a Government report due in the coming weeks must show a similar level of intent, and include a roadmap to reduce the shocking levels of Irish emissions. Declaring an emergency may seem like tokenism but it injects urgency into consideration of the best course to take. Wicklow County
Council was the first Irish local authority to declare a “biodiversity and climate change emergency”.

The Government should endorse a similar vote in our national parliament and introduce binding legislation on
revised targets.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Inspired by schoolchildrens’ action, an Irish Council, and UK parliaments declare “a biodiversity and climate-change emergency”

Irish Times 2nd May 2019 Wicklow County Council has become the first local authority in Ireland to declare “a biodiversity and climate-change emergency”, recognising the need to respond more urgently to the threat of climate breakdown and the global decline of species.
The unanimous decision was taken this week by councillors after they were briefed by local students who participated in recent school strikes for climate action. It coincides with similar declarations made in the UK, Scottish and Welsh parliaments – and by cities such as London and Manchester.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste dump site becomes a national issue in USA (it should be national in Australia, too)

War over nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain spreads to nation’s capital, by John Treanor, May 6th 2019 LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — It’s becoming a familiar scene in Carson City.

Many believe Yucca Mountain is settled science. That Yucca was selected, or that it’s ready to receive nuclear waste. Well, they are wrong,” said Senator Cortez Masto.

The war over Yucca Mountain continues, and the latest battleground was a committee meeting in Washington D.C. where senators debated the plan to open funding to study the site.

Right now, sites across the country have nuclear waste sitting in danger of contaminating waterways or nearby communities.

The federal government has long wanted to bury it deep in Yucca, but Nevada politicians are united against that plan.

Saying that storing it could be dangerous, transporting it here a matter of national security.

Senator Jacky Rosen said, “Severe risks in transportation threaten the health and costs billions in cleanup costs. I ask the members here today, is this a risk you’re willing to take?”

Nevada Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto want states to sign off on any nuclear plan before the waste is shipped to them, giving Nevada the opportunity to turn those shipments away.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

May 6 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Coal’s Future Is In The Hands Of The People, Not Banks” • Climate change is at the top of many American voters’ minds, as evidenced by a CNN poll last week. And elsewhere, even while some governments continue to promote coal to generate power, surveys show the people want to use renewable power […]

via May 6 Energy News — geoharvey

May 7, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment