Australian news, and some related international items

Queensland’s nuclear cowboy MPs join One Nation’s Marlk Latham to push for nuclear power

Nationals MPs urge rethink on nuclear, THE AUSTRALIAN GRAHAM LLOYD, ENVIRONMENT EDITOR, 24 JUNE 19,   Scott Morrison is being asked to support a full investigation of nuclear energy in Australia.

Queensland Coalition MPs Keith Pitt and James McGrath have drafted a letter to the Prime Minister together with proposed terms of reference for an inquiry, which will be delivered this week.

The letter will call for a review of advances in nuclear energy including small nuclear reactors and thorium technology, both of which could produce less radioactive waste than existing nuclear plants.

Commercial investigation of nuclear energy will require that a ban on considering the technology be removed from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Mr Pitt said that the nuclear issue was “a debate we are ready to have”.

“In our view the technology has moved on and small modular reactors and thorium need to be investigated,” Mr Pitt said.

…….. Critics of nuclear energy claim it would be unable to compete economically with renewable energy and storage.

……. The Morrison government has been reluctant to consider changes to the EPBC Act on nuclear power. But the act in its entirety is up for statutory review this year.

……. The Nationals MPs expect a public review to take from 18 months to two years.

The call for a national inquiry coincides with a review into the potential of nuclear power in NSW, to include former federal Labor Party leader and newly elected One Nation MP Mark Latham.

Mr Latham has introduced a bill in the upper house of the NSW parliament to repeal the uranium mining and nuclear ban in the state.

A parliamentary inquiry will be held by the eight-member, multi-party Standing Committee on State Development of the upper house. Mr Latham will be a member of the committee.

An issues paper is being prepared by the NSW Parliamentary Research Service for public release. The committee will call for submissions and is likely to conduct public hearings as early as September.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Robert Parker still pushing the fantasy that nuclear power could be viable in Australia


 As the nuclear debate reignites in Australia and the viability of a national nuclear power industry is back on the agenda, Australians are starting to raise questions about what a nuclear future could look like.

Australian Nuclear Association vice-president Robert Parker joins Jane to discuss the future of the industry in Australia.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Why nuclear energy is not the answer to solve climate change

There is no such thing as a zero- or close-to-zero emission nuclear power plant. Even existing plants emit due to the continuous mining and refining of uranium needed for the plant. Emissions from new nuclear are 78 to 178 g-CO2/kWh, not close to 0. Of this, 64 to 102 g-CO2/kWh over 100 years are emissions from the background grid while consumers wait 10 to 19 years for nuclear to come online or be refurbished, relative to 2 to 5 years for wind or solar. In addition, all nuclear plants emit 4.4 g-CO2e/kWh from the water vapor and heat they release. This contrasts with solar panels and wind turbines, which reduce heat or water vapor fluxes to the air by about 2.2 g-CO2e/kWh for a net difference from this factor alone of 6.6 g-CO2e/kWh.

In fact, China’s investment in nuclear plants that take so long between planning and operation instead of wind or solar resulted in China’s CO2 emissions increasing 1.3 percent from 2016 to 2017 rather than declining by an estimated average of 3 percent. The resulting difference in air pollution emissions may have caused 69,000 additional air pollution deaths in China in 2016 alone, with additional deaths in years prior and since.

The 7 reasons why nuclear energy is not the answer to solve climate change,, Mark Z. Jacobson , Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University, 21 June 19  

One nuclear power plant takes on average about 14-1/2 years to build, from the planning phase all the way to operation. According to the World Health Organization, about 7.1 million people die from air pollution each year, with more than 90% of these deaths from energy-related combustion. So switching out our energy system to nuclear  would result in about 93 million people dying, as we wait for all the new nuclear plants to be built in the all-nuclear scenario.

Utility-scale wind and solar farms, on the other hand, take on average only 2 to 5 years, from the planning phase to operation. Rooftop solar PV projects are down to only a 6-month timeline. So transitioning to 100% renewables as soon as possible would result in tens of millions fewer deaths.

This illustrates a major problem with nuclear power and why renewable energy — in particular Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS)– avoids this problem. Nuclear, though, doesn’t just have one problem. It has seven. Here are the seven major problems with nuclear energy:

1. Long Time Lag Between Planning and Operation

Continue reading

June 24, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian States taking the lead on energy policy, as renewable energy generates more Queensland jobs than coal does,

It’s ironic, perhaps, that in an election cycle where a number of regional Queenslanders voted for the promise of blue-collar jobs, backing the party that backed the Adani coal project, renewables generated more than 13,000 actual jobs in construction, with a lot of that activity in north Queensland. 

Cowling says as a corporate player in the energy market, it is clear why the Morrison government needs to step back into the frame: “You wouldn’t dream of government pulling out of the planning of roads, or where you put an airport, and Australia’s electricity grid is more complex than those things.

“Imagine if we left it to the market to dispatch police or ambulances – we wouldn’t do it, but we are close to that with electricity.” 

Australia’s energy future: the real power is not where you’d think    Katharine Murphy Political editor @murpharoo 22 Jun 2019 

Liberal states have caucused, and they want the newly elected Morrison government to reboot the National Energy Guarantee….. “we are prepared to do it if you don’t”.

Liberal states in talks to revive Turnbull’s dumped energy policy  In Canberra, a month on from Scott Morrison’s election victory, there is talk of feasibility studies for a new Queensland coal plant, and a nascent nuclear debate. But if we shift our vantage point to Adelaide, Australia’s near-term energy outlook looks very different.

Dan Van Holst Pellekaan, the Liberal energy minister, is talking about South Australia hitting 100% net renewables by the 2030s. When asked to explain what that means, he tells Guardian Australia “producing more renewable energy in South Australia than we need for our own consumption and exporting the surplus”.

There is no talk of coal, apart from the inevitability of its displacement.

The South Australian renewables export plan relies on a new interconnector with New South Wales. Van Holst Pellekaan says if the proposed interconnector is approved, there are opportunities to construct large-scale solar and wind farms in the north-east of the state, on pastoral land, adjacent to the transmission equipment. “Then we start to displace coal in NSW,” he says. “It’s not just about a bit of renewable energy making a difference … that’s where you start to get a really big win on emissions reduction.”

But pushing ahead with that kind of progress is much easier if there’s a national framework driving the transition. Post-election, Van Holst Pellekaan wants Canberra back at the table being collaborative, implementing a coherent energy policy.

What the South Australian doesn’t say, but is obvious to people who know how the Coag energy council works, is the states can force this issue if they choose to.

If they can agree among themselves about what needs to happen, they can create a framework setting out the rules of the road even if the commonwealth resists.

Liberal states drive energy policy reboot Continue reading

June 24, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics | Leave a comment

An American State Opposes Transport of Nuclear Wastes and Federal Waste Dump Plan

Political opposition grows to nuclear waste storage plan, SF Chronicle, June 21, 2019 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Plans by a New Jersey-based company to temporarily store spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors in the New Mexico desert is running into more political trouble, as some of the state’s top elected officials are raising red flags.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland became the latest member of the delegation to weigh in Friday, sending a letter to the U.S. Energy Department and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The first-term Democratic lawmaker suggested existing railways weren’t built to withstand the weight of the special casks that would be used to transport the high-level waste from sites around the country to southeastern New Mexico.

Haaland said there are no plans for new construction or renovations as part of the project proposed by Holtec International and that cities and states shouldn’t bear the cost of the infrastructure improvements needed to ensure safe transportation.

“I believe such a facility poses too great a risk to the health and safety of New Mexicans, our economy and our environment,” Haaland wrote.

Holtec is seeking a 40-year license from federal regulators to build what it has described as a state-of-the-art complex near Carlsbad……….

n her letter, Haaland pointed to past studies done by the Energy Department when it was considering Yucca Mountain. She said modeling predicted rail accidents at a rate of 1 in 10,000 shipments.

She also said the agency has found that a severe accident involving one cask of radioactive waste has the potential to contaminate dozens of square miles and result in hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs.

State and industry officials also have concerns about potential effects on oil and gas development, as Holtec’s proposed site is located within the Permian Basin — one of the world’s most prolific energy production regions.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change bringing sea-level rise to Victoria’s low-lying towns and suburbs

Rising sea, erosion to wreak havoc in low-lying suburbs: report, The Age , By Benjamin Preiss and Adam Carey

June 23, 2019Rising seas are threatening to encroach on low-lying parts of Melbourne within 20 years, causing flooding and erosion in suburbs including St Kilda, Point Cook, Mordialloc, Seaford and Frankston.

Other places at risk include areas around Queenscliff and Barwon Heads on the Bellarine Peninsula; the south-west Victorian towns of Port Fairy and Portland; and Tooradin, Lang Lang and Seaspray in the state’s south-east.

A report tabled in Victoria’s Parliament last week examines the myriad threats to the state’s fragile coastline, painting an alarming picture of damage to the environment and suburban Melbourne if no action is taken.

The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council report cites a 20-centimetre sea-level rise by 2040 and between 40 centimetres and one metre by century’s end.

Sea-level rise will lead to more frequent inundation of low-lying areas, loss of coastal habitat, cliff, beach and foreshore erosion,” the report says.

“Climate change will also put pressure on ageing coastal infrastructure and ultimately impact on feasibility of living in or developing some coastal locations.”

Increasing storm intensity, coupled with rising seas, will cause extensive erosion of the Victorian coastline by 2040, the report says.

“The most extensive area vulnerable to erosion by 2040 is the Gippsland coast,” it says. “Other coasts at risk include west of Portland, beaches in Port Phillip Bay between Mordialloc and Frankston, and the coast between Cape Paterson and Cape Liptrap in South Gippsland.”

Coastal erosion has already had a dramatic impact on the foreshore at Inverloch, which has receded 33 metres since 2012…….

June 24, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

China’s new solar thermal power plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 350,000 metric tonnes yearly

Energy Live News 21st June 2019 China’s first 100MW molten salt solar thermal power plant has
successfully hit its maximum power levels. Built by Beijing Shouhang IHW
Resources Saving Technology, the three billion yuan (£345m) project in
Dunhuang uses 12,000 mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a receiver, which
is then used to heat the molten salt. It is capable of generating 390
million kWh of clean power each year, enough to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions by 350,000 metric tonnes – engineers at the facility say it has
already reached or exceeded its designed values.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Sydney City Council. Mayor Clover Moore to declare city climate emergency 

‘Feds to blame’ as Moore declares city climate emergency, DEBORAH CORNWALL, JUNE 24, 2019A formal declaration by the Sydney City Council that the city is in a state of “climate emergency” and Sydneysiders at “serious risk” from climate change is expected to pass at tonight’s council meeting.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Australia’s largest city needed to step up and show global leadership, especially given the failure of “successive federal governments (which) have shamefully presided over a climate disaster”.

Liberal Sydney Councillor, Craig Chung, one of two Liberal councillors who plan to oppose the motion, told The Australian while he supported action on climate change, he strongly objected to Ms Moore’s “hysterical, catastrophising” message.

“Language like climate emergency, climate catastrophe and extinction rebellion do nothing to further reasoned and rational debate,” Mr Chung said.

“If we learned one thing from the May 18 (federal) election, polarised fear mongering is not what the community want. The electorate expects us to take action, debate clearly and rationally about solutions, stop weaponising language and to deliver measurable and tangible outcomes for all Australians.”

Mr Chung said he would be proposing an amended version of the lord mayoral motion, stripped of all its “hysterical elements”.

Ms Moore said the nation was now experiencing such extreme weather “91 of the hottest places on Earth were in Australia”.

She said heatwaves across the country were now five times more likely, and “even more alarming — they start earlier, become hotter and last longer”.

“Seventy per cent of the world’s emissions are generated from cities, so the action city governments take is absolutely critical,” Ms Moore said.

Ms Moore has asked Council to call on the Federal Government to respond urgently to the emergency, by reintroducing a price on carbon to meet the Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets, and establishing a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find appropriate alternate employment.

“Successive federal governments have shamefully presided over a climate disaster, and now we are at a critical juncture — we face a climate emergency,” she said.

“Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased for four consecutive years. It is clear that the current Federal Government’s policies are simply not working and I call on council to declare a climate emergency, step up our efforts to hold the Federal Government to account. “With 96 per cent of NSW still drought affected, our farmers and rural communities are being decimated by drought, suffering from water shortages and extended bush fire seasons, witnessing unprecedented fish kills and the death of once mighty river systems.”

The Lord Mayor, outlining the City of Sydney’s action on climate change since 2008, committed to accelerate work in the development of its strategic plan till 2050.

“We set a goal to reduce our emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and — following the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 — we set a more ambitious goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050”, she said.

“We became Australia’s first carbon neutral council in 2007, and as of June 2017, we’d reduced emissions in our own operations by 25 per cent. By 2020, we will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, allowing us to meet our 2030 target by 2024 — six years early.”

According to the International Climate Emergency Forum, over 600 jurisdictions in 13 countries have now declared a climate emergency. The Climate Emergency Declaration campaign in Australia is supported by over 50 climate action groups, including the International Climate Emergency Forum, Extinction Rebellion, and Greenpeace Australia.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Russia has a nuclear priesthood – quite literally

BLESSED BE THY NUCLEAR WEAPONS: THE RISE OF RUSSIAN NUCLEAR ORTHODOXY, War on the Rocks, MICHAEL KOFMAN     June 21  2019 Dmitry Adamsky, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy (Stanford University Press, 2019).

Russia’s Federal Nuclear Center, the All-Russian Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF), recently placed a somewhat unusual government tender: It is seeking a supplier of religious icons with the images of Saint Seraphim of Sarov and Saint Fedor Ushakov. Meanwhile, a private foundation, backed by President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, has been gathering funds to build a massive temple to the Russian Armed Forces at Patriot Park,. Artisans are crafting a new icon for the temple, while the steps are to be made from melted-down Nazi equipment captured by the Red Army in World War II.

Viewed in isolation, these may seem to be the occasional eccentric habits of a latter-day authoritarian state. However, Dima Adamsky’s new book, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy, demonstrates convincingly that there are indeed important signs being missed all around us, pointing to a longstanding nexus between the Russian Orthodox Church and the country’s nuclear-military-industrial complex.

Adamsky’s groundbreaking book lays out the largely unstudied history of how a nuclear priesthood emerged in Russia, permeated the units and commands in charge of Russia’s nuclear forces, and became an integral part of the nuclear weapons industry. Continue reading

June 24, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

To comply with Paris climate agreement, France could switch to 100% renewables

Le Point 18th June 2019 “France could switch to 100% renewable energy” INTERVIEW. According to Rana
Adib, head of the network of experts REN21, the effort in favor of
renewable energies must be relaunched to comply with the Paris agreement.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

German climate activists storm open cut coal mine

Hundreds of climate change activists have stormed an open cast coal mine in
western Germany to campaign against fossil fuels. BBC 23rd June 2019

June 24, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Russia perturbed, as USA government turning towards a ‘limited nuclear war’

Washington’s mindset sliding back to ‘limited nuclear war’ says Russian Foreign Ministry,  23 June 19. 
Statements by the US officials are clearly designed to justify expanding the Pentagon’s arsenal of nuclear weapons to support the projection of military force around the world,” the diplomat said

MOSCOW, In its approaches to the use of nuclear weapons, the United States is returning to the concept of “limited nuclear war” and for this they could be planning to abandon the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Artem Kozhin said on Saturday in a statement.

“It causes great concern to reiterate that the United States is going 60 years back in its approaches to nuclear planning, when the ‘limited nuclear war’ between superpowers seemed acceptable to them and seemed to give a chance to win,” Kozhin said. “This, apparently, is connected to the growing signs of Washington’s desire to renounce its obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty,” the diplomat said.

The United States is ready to make low-yield nuclear warheads a means of blackmailing states for global projection of US military power, Kozhin said. “Statements by the US officials are clearly designed to justify expanding the Pentagon’s arsenal of nuclear weapons to support the projection of military force around the world,” the diplomat said. With such actions, the United States reduces the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, the statement said.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Environmental groups are now considering a legal challenge To Queensland’s approval of Adani mine

Queensland approval of Adani plan ‘unlawful’, say environment groups Activists consider legal challenge, saying rules related to source aquifer have been compromised, Guardian, Ben Smee @BenSmee 23 Jun 2019 

The Queensland environment department may have acted “unlawfully” when it approved of Adani’s groundwater plan, in the process backing down on a longstanding requirement that the miner provide definitive proof about the source of an ancient desert spring.

Environmental groups are now considering a legal challenge to the approval, partly because the state’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) appeared to negotiate a last-minute compromise with Adani rather than applying strict conditions.

The DES insisted on Friday that it had not changed its position when granting approval for Adani’s groundwater dependent ecosystems management plan – the final hurdle that will allow the company to begin construction of the Carmichael coalmine.

But documents obtained by Guardian Australia, and an email sent by a DES spokesman on 9 April, indicate that the department softened its interpretation of a key requirement in the politically charged weeks before clearing the proposal.

The email of 9 April says the department believed the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia had highlighted “uncertainties” about whether Adani had identified the source aquifer of the Doongmabulla Springs complex.

“Based on the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia report, it would appear that a number of uncertainties remain, including whether the (groundwater plan) definitively identifies the source aquifers of the Doongmabulla Springs Complex, which has always been a requirement for state approval,” the email says.

Four days after the federal election, the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, insisted on a timeframe for DES to make a decision about the groundwater plan. When the clock ran out on 13 June, Adani’s plan was approved, and DES had subtly changed its language.

It said Adani had “sufficiently” identified the “main source aquifer”. The miner’s conditions require it to identify the “source aquifer(s)”…….

June 24, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Executed for being an anti-nuclear activist — Beyond Nuclear International

22-year old Greek martyr for peace is remembered

via Executed for being an anti-nuclear activist — Beyond Nuclear International

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is not the answer in a time of climate change — Beyond Nuclear International

Forest fires around nuclear sites redistribute radiation

via Nuclear power is not the answer in a time of climate change — Beyond Nuclear International

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment