Australian news, and some related international items

Australians’ support for nuclear plants rising – but most don’t want to live near one

Australians’ support for nuclear plants rising – but most don’t want to live near one Katharine Murphy Political editor @murpharoo 18 Jun 2019 

Essential poll finds 44% of Australians support nuclear power plants and 40% oppose them

Australians are slightly more inclined to support nuclear power plants than oppose them, but a clear majority of voters do not want to live near one, according to new polling.

With nuclear power making a return to the national political agenda, a new survey from Essential finds 44% of Australians support nuclear power plants, up four points since the question was last asked in November 2015, and 40% oppose them.

But asked whether respondents agreed or disagreed with the statement “I would be comfortable living close to a nuclear power plant”, only 28% agreed and 60% disagreed.

The new survey comes as some members of the Coalition are pushing for an inquiry into the viability of nuclear energy and the federal energy and environment ministers have left the door open to lifting Australia’s ban on nuclear power as part of a review of environmental regulations.

During the recent election campaign Scott Morrison insisted he had no plans to reverse the current ban on nuclear energy, after earlier suggesting he could be open to it if proposals stood on their own two feet.

While the internal positioning within the Coalition is nascent, influential industry groups such as the Minerals Council of Australia have been lobbying to overturn the ban. In the event the Morrison government ultimately proceeds with a legislative effort to end the prohibition, it is possible it could get the numbers in the new Senate even if Labor and the Greens oppose the shift.

The Australian Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi told Guardian Australia: “I’m all for it” – although he said he was not supportive of either a carbon price or government subsidies to make nuclear technology economically viable.

Bernardi said parliament should remove the ban and then let proponents determine whether power plants were viable or not.

The Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff said it was possible the micro-party, which has two Senate votes, could support ending the nuclear ban. “We don’t have a closed mind on this, but we are a long way from having an open one,” he said. “I’m not there yet, but that’s not to say we won’t get there in the future.”

Griff said if any change was to be made it would need to be accompanied by appropriate safeguards and regulations to ensure safety and public confidence, and he said he was not sure Australian voters favoured the change.

The returning Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie is yet to flag her position publicly on a range of issues but in 2015 said: “Apart from hydro, the only way to decarbonise energy is to move very quickly to nuclear. And it’s about time we move to that option.”

The Switkowski review concluded that Australia could establish a nuclear industry, and nuclear power plants – which don’t emit carbon pollution – could make a useful contribution to Australia’s abatement task, but setting up the industry would take between 10 and 15 years. That review also concluded nuclear energy would not be viable without a carbon price.

A more recent inquiry in South Australia, while supportive of the industry, said a nuclear power plant would not be viable in the state even under carbon pricing policies consistent with achieving the well below 2C target agreed in Paris in December “because other low-carbon generation would be taken up before nuclear”.

Separate to the renewed nuclear debate, the mining giant BHP has submitted a plan to build a new tailings dam at South Australia’s Olympic Dam uranium mine within months.

Dave Sweeney, nuclear campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, said: “Any increase in the footprint of Olympic Dam would mean an increase in the complexity and cost of future clean-up and rehabilitation.

“Cleaning up a uranium mine is never easy and always costly. BHP must be required to ensure there is the dedicated financial capacity to fund this clean-up work. It cannot be allowed to become a future burden to the SA community.”

The new survey from Essential says a majority of the sample 54% believe nuclear energy would be a reliable energy source for the future (28% disagree) and almost half the people in the survey, 47%, think nuclear would before better for the environment than coal-fired generation (30% disagree).

A majority, 63%, think having a nuclear industry in Australia would create skilled jobs, with 22% disagreeing. Even though nuclear energy is expensive, just over half the sample, 51%, think nuclear would help lower power prices (26% disagree).

John Howard established a review of nuclear power in the run-up to the 2007 election.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Deaths that have occurred due to Chernobyl nuclear accident – estimates range from 4,000 to 27,000

Derby Telegraph 16th June 2019 A Burton woman who grew up close to the Chernobyl nuclear plant has told
how families knew little about the disaster and where told ‘everything was
fine’ by the authorities. While she was at school, youngsters were given a
series of tablets but were never told what they were for; only later did
she learn they were to deal with radiation caused when a reactor exploded
at the nuclear plant in 1986. Elina Oliferuk, 32, was born in October 1986,
in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, just six months after the catastrophic
nuclear accident near the city of Pripyat.

Estimates of the number of
people who died due to Chernobyl range from 4,000 to 27,000 according to
the Union of Concerned Scientists, although Greenpeace estimates that
between 93,000 and 200,000 people died as a result of the disaster.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Indigenous Canadians fight small reactors on First Nations territory

June 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA has large uranium resources, now looking to cease importing uranium from Australia?

Oil Price 15th June 2019 This month, the United States’ Uranium Committee of the Energy Minerals
Division, a group responsible for monitoring the actions and movements of
the uranium industry and the nuclear power industry, released their 2019
Annual Report at the annual meeting of the American Association of
Petroleum Geologists in San Antonio.

The report assessed that the U.S. has
more uranium than we would need to fuel hundreds of years of nuclear power
generation, even if nuclear power was being relied on as a much more
significant source of energy in the U.S. This is great news for nuclear
supporters in the United States, though historically the country has not
mined its own uranium but imported the radioactive metal from other
countries–and there’s a reason for that.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Kyrgyzstan considering law to ban exploration and mining of uranium

above – uranium tailings wastes in nearby Tajikistan

Parliament committee approves draft law banning geological exploration and mining of uranium deposits in Kyrgyzstan  AKIPRESS.COM 17 June 19.- Parliament committee for agrarian policy considered and approved the draft law banning geological exploration and mining of uranium and thorium deposits in Kyrgyzstan in the first reading…  (subscribers only)

June 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Rare earths processing – a dirty business, as Lynas has found out

Ores containing these rare earths typically contain radioactive material like thorium. To be useful for industrial purposes, rare earths must be isolated from raw ore through a complex chemical process that leaves behind radioactive waste. “Other countries have been fairly happy to let China take on all that processing,” Rasser says. “It’s a dirty business.”

One of the few rare earth processing facilities outside of China is the Australian owned Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Malaysia. The facility has long been controversial, though the Malaysian government recently said it will renew Lynas’ license to operate. A prior processing facility shuttered in 1992 due to health and environmental concerns.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths | Leave a comment

Brown coal generators rated least reliable in the country: report — RenewEconomy

Victoria is home to 20% of the main grid’s coal and gas generation capacity, but is the source of 35% of all power station outages. The post Brown coal generators rated least reliable in the country: report appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Brown coal generators rated least reliable in the country: report — RenewEconomy

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 17 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “EU Leaders Face Pressure To Deliver On Climate Change” • By keeping global warming in the public eye, protests helped Green parties in last month’s European elections. They won 74 seats in the European Parliament, up from 52 seats. Their surge, and the boost for liberal parties in the center, will change EU […]

via June 17 Energy News — geoharvey

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Know your NEM: Coal price collapsing, renewables losing fight in Queensland — RenewEconomy

The international coal price is collapsing, thanks to increase in supply from Indonesia and Australia, while renewables are losing the fight in Queensland. The post Know your NEM: Coal price collapsing, renewables losing fight in Queensland appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Know your NEM: Coal price collapsing, renewables losing fight in Queensland — RenewEconomy

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gannawarra battery-integrated solar farm – Australia’s largest – officially opened — RenewEconomy

Official opening of Gannawarra solar and storage project, whose 60MW of PV and 25MW/50MWh Tesla battery has already provided “invaluable” services to Victorian grid. The post Gannawarra battery-integrated solar farm – Australia’s largest – officially opened appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Gannawarra battery-integrated solar farm – Australia’s largest – officially opened — RenewEconomy

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week in nuclear news – Australia

Nations with nuclear reactors are slowly waking up to the fact that mounting nuclear waste is a global emergency.   At the G20 meeting in Japan,  Japan proposed setting up an international framework for cooperative research into how to dispose of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. The first meeting on the framework is planned for October in France.

A bit of good news: First UK Supermarket Chain to Eliminate Plastic From Produce Will Save 1,300 Tons of Plastic From Landfill


Silly talk from Sussan Ley, Australia’s Minister Against the Environment.  Pick out the anti-environment statements in Sussan Ley’s spiel!

NUCLEAR. “Chernobyl”s warning: attempts by governments to conceal and manipulate the truthEnergy Minister Angus Taylor contemplates reversing Australia’s nuclear energy ban.  In Australia, support for nuclear power is increasingly marginalised to the far-right. In pro nuclear push, Victorian Liberal Democrat David Limbrick (thick as a brick)  gets it wrong about nuclear power.    Tailings dams at Olympic Dam uranium mine are in the “extreme risk” category.

CLIMATE. Queensland can expect catastrophic heat waves (but then coal is more important than climate, isn’t it?).  Australian government’s own data shows that its greenhouse gas emissions policy is failing. Australia’s Federal and State  governments keen to frack up the land with coal, gas, nuclear. Queensland clears the way for Adani to begin work on Galilee basin “carbon bomb”. All the same, Adani coalmine: minister loses legal challenge on water pipeline assessment.   ‘Stop-Adani’ protest to go global, says Bob Brown.  Adani is not about jobs, and never really was. Australia’s governments keen to frack up the land with coal, gas, nuclear. Adani mining project: Court asks Australian govt to look into public concerns. Anti-Adani protests continue in Canberra.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Australia has to look forward on energy, says Zibelman: “We have no choice”. South Australia’s stunning aim to be “net” 100 per cent renewables by 2030 Record wind output in South Australia, thanks to “butterfly” effect of failed coal plant. NSW promises details of solar and storage interest-free loans program soon.  Storage is key to NSW government plans, in race to clean energy . Zali Steggall issues call to arms to renewables sector .


Nuclear power is far from “emissions free”.

Escalating collapse of global insect populations.

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, Journalism on trial, Scahill, Hedges, Pilger and more: the charges, the defense, what you can do.s seriously working on nuclear decommissioning system.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Why women should oppose nuclear power — Beyond Nuclear International

Women first raised the alarm about radiation exposure. Why do some still support nuclear?

via Why women should oppose nuclear power — Beyond Nuclear International

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victorian Liberal Democrat David Limbrick gets it wrong about nuclear power

” We are the only country in the OECD that does not produce nuclear energy,” Mr Limbrick said.”
All of these are current members of OECD.:

Denmark:  1985 law passed by the Danish parliament, prohibiting power production from nuclear energy in Denmark.

Austria has no nuclear power plants. As a result of a public referendum in 1978,Austria follows a strictly non-nuclear energy policy.

 has no nuclear power plants
Iceland has no nuclear power plants

Ireland  has no nuclear power plants

Victorian crossbenchers go nuclear, SBS  17 June 19, A couple of Victorian crossbenchers want to explore lifting the state’s bans around uranium and nuclear power in an effort to tackle climate change.

Two of Victoria’s crossbench want the parliament to explore lifting the state’s bans on nuclear activities in an effort to tackle climate change.

The Liberal Democrats this week in the upper house will table a motion to establish a parliamentary inquiry expand the nuclear industry including uranium mining, exploration and exports, power generation, waste management, industrial and medical applications.

“If we have these issues with climate change we need to look at all the options available to us and at the moment we’ve got laws prohibiting certain options and we think that those options should be on the table,” Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick told AAP….The minor party is still working to garner support for their inquiry, but would hope if it gets up it would be completed in about 12 months.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy is NOT emissions free

Nuclear energy not emissions-free, too lethal   Nuclear power is not a panacea for climate change and doesn’t deserve bailouts like House Bill 6. It is a catastrophically dangerous, dirty, expensive, deteriorating technology that is not “clean”, “indispensable”, “carbon-free”, or “renewable.”

Gregory Jazcko, former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman, warned, “I oversaw the U.S. nuclear power industry. Now I think it should be banned. The danger from climate change no longer outweighs the risks of nuclear accidents.”

Perry and Davis Besse cost a whopping $8.7 billion to build and billions more in maintenance, repairs, and subsidies. Grid operator PJM has determined that closing Perry and Davis-Besse would not destabilize the grid.

The nuclear power life cycle produces copious carbon and other greenhouse gases from uranium mining, milling, refining, conversion, and enrichment; fuel fabrication; transportation; reactor construction, maintenance, decommissioning; and radioactive waste management.

While nuclear generated electricity is low in carbon, it has never been zero emissions. Reactors emit methane, a greenhouse gas, and radioactive Carbon-14, with a 5,700-year half-life. The scientific and medical communities have determined that there is no safe dose of radiation exposure.

Ingested or inhaled radioactive strontium-90 and cesium-137 replace calcium and potassium respectively, irradiating bones and muscles for decades. Carcinogenic radioactive iodine-131 is absorbed by the thyroid which is why potassium iodide is provided to residents near reactors. Cobalt-60 is a liver, kidney, and bone carcinogen. Specks of inhaled plutonium-239, with a half-life of 24,000 years, can cause lung cancer. Miles of buried, inaccessible, deteriorating pipes have leaked tritium, which is radioactive hydrogen; no technology can remove it from contaminated water.

Over 32 years, disasters occurred at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. The U.S. has 23 Fukushima-type reactors at 16 sites. The NRC and other researchers postulate a 50 percent chance of another catastrophic accident in approximately the next 20 years.

To limit utility liability, Congress passed the 1957 Price Anderson Act which caps accident compensation at $12.6 billion; a 1982 NRC study calculated a severe accident could cause 50,000 fatalities and $314 billion in property damage which is $720 billion today.

A 1,000-megawatt reactor contains as much long-lived radiation as 1,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs from which humans and the environment must be protected forever, but the NRC admits that no engineered structure can last the time required to isolate these wastes and that leakage will occur.

Early warnings to resolve radioactive waste before licensing new reactors were ignored. There are 88,000 tons of irradiated fuel “temporarily” stored in problematic pools and casks at 75 environmentally unsuitable reactor sites in 33 states because no permanent repository exists.

In 2012, Ohio was 13th in the U.S. for wind capacity and investment; this virtually ceased due to a 2014 law which mandated the country’s most restrictive wind turbine setbacks and severely impeded Ohio’s 2008 renewable energy and efficiency standards. HB 6 will finish the job.

Even conservative voters prefer solar, wind, and efficiency and oppose fees to keep old nuclear plants operating. Conservative groups testified against HB 6, as corporate welfare and a glorified slush fund.

Ohio needs to strengthen renewable energy and efficiency standards, stop throwing good money after bad, close Perry and Davis Besse as scheduled, and retrain workers in renewable energy jobs.

The writer is past chairman, Ohio Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Committee, of Willoughby Hills, Ohio.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

“Chernobyl” TV series – based on the testimony of those who were there

The Chernobyl miniseries is a compelling account of how the disaster unfolded, based largely on the testimony of those present, most of whom died soon afterwards. It rings true but only scratches the surface of another, more cruel reality– that, in their desperation to save face, the Soviets were willing to sacrifice any number of men, women and children.  
The truth about Chernobyl? I saw it with my own eyes.   Guardian, 16 June 19, Kim Willsher reported on the world’s worst nuclear disaster from the Soviet Union. HBO’s TV version only scratches the surface, she says.There is a line in the television series Chernobyl that comes as no surprise to those of us who reported on the 1986 nuclear disaster in what was the Soviet Union – but that still has the power to shock:

“The official position of the state is that global nuclear catastrophe is not possible in the Soviet Union.”

It was not possible, so in the days and months after the world’s worst such accident, on 26 April, the Kremlin kept up its pretence. It dissembled, deceived and lied. I began investigating Chernobyl in the late 1980s after Ukrainian friends insisted authorities in the USSR were covering up the extent of the human tragedy of those – many of them children – contaminated by radiation when the nuclear plant’s Reactor 4 exploded, blasting a cloud of poisonous fallout across the USSR and a large swathe of Europe.

When photographer John Downing and I first visited, the Soviet Union, then on its last political legs, was still in denial about what happened despite president Mikhail Gorbachev’s new era of glasnost. Continue reading

June 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment