Australian news, and some related international items

Barnaby Joyce suggests free electricity as an incentive for communities to host nuclear power plants

Make nuclear power free, Barnaby Joyce says., By Nicole Hasham, July 21, 2019 Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce says free nuclear power could be offered to residents living close to a reactor to help build support for the controversial technology, as an analysis pinpoints which Australian towns are best placed to host a nuclear plant.

But the pro-nuclear push by Coalition backbenchers may be losing momentum after one colleague dismissed it as a “distraction” and a senior minister said the government had “no desire to go down that path”.

Federal and state laws prohibit the development of a domestic nuclear power industry. However, federal MPs Keith Pitt and James McGrath are pushing for a parliamentary inquiry into the technology’s feasibility in Australia and the NSW Nationals last month passed a motion supporting nuclear energy.
A leading lobby group for the technology, the Australian Nuclear Association, has identified dozens of potential sites for nuclear reactors – those with stable geology and proximity to the existing grid, transport and water. The locations include those in Mr Joyce’s New England electorate in northern NSW and Liberal Ken O’Dowd’s Queensland seat of Flynn. Both MPs have backed a nuclear inquiry.

Mr Joyce said nuclear technology had come a long way in the past few decades and rejected claims that even if Australia’s nuclear ban was overturned, communities would refuse to host reactors over safety and environmental concerns.

“You just have to come up with the right policy settings and they will accept it … People will think with their wallets,” he said.

Mr Joyce floated a potential policy whereby “if you can see the reactor [from your house], your power is for free. If you are within 50 kilometres of a reactor, you get power for half price.” Discounts would scale down to 25 per cent for those living 75 kilometres from a nuclear facility.
Such a policy would trigger a rush of proposals for “hills in the middle of towns that people want a reactor on”, Mr Joyce said.

In NSW, the association also identified sites in Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s seat of Hume and Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s seat of Farrer. Proposed Victorian sites include those in the seats of Wannon and Gippsland, held by ministers Dan Tehan and Darren Chester.

Wide Bay MP Llew O’Brien, whose Queensland electorate is also on the list, said he was “not enthusiastic” about the prospect of a parliamentary probe into nuclear power.

“We need to focus on bringing down power prices and bringing more supply into the market … which can be done a lot quicker than legalising nuclear energy and then building the infrastructure needed,” he said.

“It seems to be a distraction from the very real issues at hand.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during the election campaign that his party had “no plans” to change its nuclear power stance and Mr Taylor told this publication on Sunday “the business case has got to stack up”.

A government minister told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that “there’s no desire to go down this path” in the broader Coalition.
“Financially it doesn’t stack up and … there’s also the not-in-my-backyard issue, which is a very difficult one,” the minister said.
Labor’s climate change and energy spokesman Mark Butler said Mr Morrison had allowed Mr Taylor and backbenchers to “pursue their nuclear power fantasy” as power prices rose.

Consultancy SMR Nuclear Technology promotes the benefits of small, modular nuclear reactors. Technical director Tony Irwin said about ten community groups and others had expressed interest to his firm in hosting such a reactor, should the ban in Australia be lifted.

“People are now concerned about climate change and they can see that renewables aren’t the total answer and we need everything that we’ve got,” he said.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

A pity that Australians generally missed out on seeing the “Chernobyl” series

In Australia – the TV miniseries “Chernobyl” has pretty much passed us by, with minimum discussion.  That’s because it has been available only on Foxtel.  Foxtel does have many subscribers, but they”re mainly on Foxtel so that they can watch the AFL Football, which is the major religion in this country.  So – it’ s no surprise that even the majority of Foxtel subscribers are not likely to watch “Chernobyl”.

Hardly remarkable, in a country so devoted to that religion, and secondarily devoted to reality and cooking shows.  But a bit of a pity, as the influential, though poorly informed, right wing is pushing for nuclear power in Australia.  Watching “Chernobyl” might have given Australians an opportunity to think about the downsides of nuclear power.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

USA’s original plan was to explode a nuclear bomb on the moon — Nuclear Australia

Australians seem to have got very excited because Australian space expertise took part in the moon landing. And more excitement about supporting future space travel, and the Mars mission. Few people realise that the whole thing was militaristic from the start. And it will be so in the future, as Trump is promoting weapons in […]

via USA’s original plan was to explode a nuclear bomb on the moon — Nuclear Australia

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Uranium mines harm Indigenous people — Beyond Nuclear International

But a new one is approved at Yeelirrie in Australia

via Uranium mines harm Indigenous people — Beyond Nuclear International

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Five myths about the Chernobyl disaster — Beyond Nuclear International

Countless victims, wildlife not thriving, and far reaching impacts are a few of the harsh realities

via Five myths about the Chernobyl disaster — Beyond Nuclear International

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Soviet film maker who filmed his own death at Chernobyl


I watched the “Chernobyl” miniseries, and I was struck by the accuracy. The scene on the roof of the reactor as depicted in the fictional episode, was accurate in so much detail, compared to  the 1986 real film.


The Soviet film maker who filmed his own death at Chernobyl

There were many who risked their lives after the Chernobyl disaster — but none more so than a man desperate to show the world what happened,   LJ Charleston,  21 July 19  When Soviet filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko took his camera onto the roof of Chernobyl’s reactor four in the aftermath of the fatal explosion, he had no idea he was right in the middle of what was — in April 1986 — the most dangerous place on earth.

He also had no idea that his chilling documentary Chernobyl: Chronicle of Difficult Weeks, about the clean-up of the radioactive material at Chernobyl, would be his very last.

He died of acute radiation sickness a year later.

The award-winning film director, who was working for Ukrainian TV at the time, was said to have been quite unaware of the dangers he was putting himself in when he agreed to film from the roof next to reactor four.  

He’d been hired to film in the exclusion zone. But his gravest error was agreeing — along with two assistants — to climb up to the most lethal area of all, just days after one of the worst man-made disasters of all time.

Even 33 years after the explosion, Shevchenko’s film is still an eerie reminder of the sacrifices made by those who risked their lives in the clean-up efforts at Chernobyl.

Today, as the world focuses once again on those events due to HBO’s series Chernobyl, it’s worthwhile putting the spotlight on the courageous Shevchenko.

He gave his life so that we could see with our own eyes what went on during the clean-up. It was, at times, incredibly basic and put so many lives at risk.

And, by doing so, Shevchenko was unknowingly filming his own death……

Shevchenko, who was the first and only film maker allowed on location in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl, is best known for Chernobyl — Chronicle of Difficult Weeks. You can watch the full cut of his film here.

The film is entirely in Russian, although it’s believed people are currently working on English subtitles. It includes interviews with beleaguered scientist Valery Legasov, now famous due to the HBO series in which he’s played by Jared Harris.

Legasov committed suicide two years after the disaster, on the anniversary, due to the horror of his experiences and the lies he had to tell the International Atomic Agency in Vienna to cover up Soviet mishandling of the event.

Shevchenko’s footage of Chernobyl has not been widely seen and the fact he lost his life a year after the explosion has been completely obscured, as his name isn’t listed on official records of deaths. At the time, his two assistants were receiving hospital treatment, but there is no word of what became of them.

Sydney archaeologist Mr Robert Maxwell, the only archaeologist who has worked in Chernobyl across two field excursions, told Shevchenko was well-respected and trusted to film the clean-up efforts, as it was such a highly sensitive time for the Soviets.

“He was granted permission to film the clean-up, including the incredibly dangerous work of the ‘biobots’,” Mr Maxwell said, referring to the name given to the workers sent in to clean up……..


One of the most memorable and unbelievable scenes in the TV series Chernobylfeatures liquidation workers on the roof, using shovels to throw highly radioactive material back into the core.

If it wasn’t for Shevchenko’s 1986 footage, we would not know that this happened. The men could only work in frantic 90 second shifts; any longer and their exposure to the radiation would be fatal.

What makes the footage so compelling is that we can clearly see some men picking up the radioactive graphite with gloved hands. We also see Shevchenko filming from the roof top, wearing only a flimsy mask and cap for protection. Then we can see how badly damaged the footage is as the radiation makes an impact on the film itself.

It’s harrowing to see how much work the men are doing with their hands.

This is Shevchenko’s footage focusing on the rooftop clean-up.

Chernobyl. Cleaning the roofs. Soldiers (reservists). 1986.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

No clear answer in sight, for Lynas’radioactive waste problem in rare earths project in Malaysia

July 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths | Leave a comment

China’s pollution from rare earths mining and processing – a warning to other countries

“To us as an environmental group, we hope that the environmental damage can stop and that these external [pollution costs] could be internalized in the cost” of products, Ma Jun, a leading Chinese environmentalist and director of the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs, said in a phone interview.

Ma’s fear is that other regions around the world could suffer a similar fate if they become, like China, the supplier of cheap rare earth elements, with little or no environmental price attached

China Wrestles with the Toxic Aftermath of Rare Earth Mining, 

China has been a major source of rare earth metals used in high-tech products, from smartphones to wind turbines. As cleanup of these mining sites begins, experts argue that global companies that have benefited from access to these metals should help foot the bill.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian Greens are focusing on climate change – call for ‘climate emergency’ this year

Greens seek ‘climate emergency’ this year, SBS News 20 July 19

The Australian Greens are focusing on climate change and the need to transition to renewable energy at its annual conference in Adelaide.   The Australian Greens are demanding the country declare a “climate emergency” while calling for a royal commission into the Murray-Darling Basin plan.

Aside from those core messages at the party’s annual conference, Greens leader Richard Di Natale also had a crack at the Labor Party for capitulating on the Morrison government’s personal income tax cuts.

And he urged Australia to forge an independent, non-aligned foreign policy rather being tied to a “dangerous and unhinged” US President in Donald Trump.

It’s now clearer than ever that the Greens are the real opposition,” Senator Di Natale declared at the Greens national conference in Adelaide on Saturday in response to the actions of Labor since the May election.

“We don’t believe one thing before an election and another thing after it.”

Addressing reporters after his speech, Senator Di Natale said a key focus for the conference will be the transition from coal and fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“There needs to be a transition that brings tens of thousands of new jobs and that looks after people so that we are better off as a result of making this transition,” he said.

“Unless you accept that there is a serous problem you’re not going to come up with the solutions that are necessary to deal with it.”

Greens federal spokesman on climate change, Adam Bandt said he hopes to bring a motion to have the parliament declare a climate emergency before the end of the year.

He said the UK, France and Canada have already made such declarations, as has the ACT government. Labor and the crossbench also took climate change policies to the election.

“We think there is a really good chance in having the parliament unanimously declare a climate change emergency before the end of the year,” Mr Bandt told reporters…….

July 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Melbourne’s tram network is set to be powered by the state’s largest solar farm

July 22, 2019 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

July 21 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “US Cities Are Losing 36 Million Trees A Year. Here’s Why It Matters And How You Can Stop It” • Trees can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10°F, according to a recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But tree cover in US cities is shrinking by 36 million trees […]

via July 21 Energy News — geoharvey

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Next-gen solar modules launched by “father of PV” Martin Green — RenewEconomy

World’s leading solar PV researcher helps launch Sunport’s innovative solar modules, as Australian solar tech starts to achieve market dominance. The post Next-gen solar modules launched by “father of PV” Martin Green appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Next-gen solar modules launched by “father of PV” Martin Green — RenewEconomy

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Olympic Games and the second Tokai Nuclear Plant — limitless life

The Olympic Games and the secondTokai Nuclear Plant Dear Friends, You will be shocked by the attached article by the scale of problems to be surmounted facing the Tokyo OLympic Games. Is Tokyo Ready for the Olympic Juggernaut? Concerning the restarting of the Tokai second nuclear plant, the Mainichi Newspaper dated July 20 reports that […]

via The Olympic Games and the second Tokai Nuclear Plant — limitless life

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment