Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s legal ban on nuclear power will remain, says Environment Minister Sussan Ley

Environment Minister Sussan Ley refuses to consider an amendment to nuclear power ban in Australia The West Australian, 29 July 2019

Environment Minister Sussan Ley has quashed a push to lift the moratorium on nuclear power, saying she will not consider the ban as part of an upcoming review of Australia’s environmental protection legislation.

Speaking to The West Australian, Ms Ley gave the Federal Government’s strongest comment yet on the issue, indicating the settings would remain the same on nuclear power and a moratorium would not be lifted.

“I will not be looking to change the moratorium on nuclear power as part of that review,” Ms Ley said.

Ms Ley also said she would not be reviewing the decision by her predecessor — West Australian Melissa Price who was dumped from Cabinet — to approve the Yeelirrie uranium mine 500km north of Kalgoorlie a day before the May 18 Federal election.

“I don’t propose to review decisions that were already made before I became minister,” Ms Ley said, despite advice the mine could lead to the extinction of up to 12 native species.

As part of her portfolio, Ms Ley will have carriage over the 10-year review of the Environment Protection and Bio-diversity Conservation Act, which needs to begin by October.

The Act recognises the protection of the environment from nuclear actions as a matter of national environmental significance and specifically prohibits nuclear power generation in Australia.

A group of Coalition MPs, including Craig Kelly, James McGrath and Keith Pitt, want the Act to be amended to allow nuclear power generation to be permitted in Australia as a way to supply reliable, low-emissions base load power.

The move is backed by the Minerals Council of Australia and industry with Prime Minister Scott Morrison handed a draft terms of reference into a nuclear power inquiry last month. Ms Ley’s stance also comes as Labor tries to wedge the Government on power prices.

Shadow energy minister Mark Butler will today say average wholesale energy prices in the States connected to the National Energy Market — of which WA is not a participant — have risen 158 per cent since 2015.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said it “makes sense” to see if nuclear power was a worthwhile option in the current environment but that he was not convinced it would be good for Australians struggling with higher power prices.

“It may not meet our present needs given we have a desperate need to reduce power prices and nuclear power is on the more expensive end of the scale,” he said.

Former deputy prime minister and Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, who wants an inquiry into nuclear power, said last night he believed it was the only way to achieve zero emissions power.

“If this absurd zeitgeist believes that Australia singlehandedly contains the temperature of the globe by reason of them using coal fired power – as much as I disagree with that based on science – I’ll take the next alternative for baseload power which is nuclear power,” he said.

“Although we send uranium all around the world for zero-emissions power, there is an exceptional paranoia about it in Australian politics,” he said.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor told Question Time last week the government had an “open mind” on nuclear power generation but that there was no current plan to lift the moratorium.

“We always approach these things with an open mind, but we do not have … a plan to change the moratorium,” he said.

Opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler said nuclear power would not bring price relief for Australians.

“Based on the advice of industry and experts, it is clear nuclear power is not a viable option for Australia… The economics do not stack up and it would just mean higher power bills,” he said.

Nuclear power generation in Australia was pushed by John Howard while Prime Minister, with the Coalition running on a pro-nuclear platform at the 2007 election.

In 2006 former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski chaired a Commonwealth government inquiry into nuclear power which concluded Australia was well placed to consider adding nuclear to its energy mix.

An energy Green Paper by the Coalition government in 2014 suggested nuclear energy was a “serious consideration for future low emissions energy”.

Australia is home to a third of the world’s uranium deposits and is the third largest producer behind Kazakstan and Canada.

Uranium accounts for around a quarter of Australian energy exports.

July 29, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

“Smile With Kids”- Queensland welcomes Fukushima children for a much-needed holiday

Queensland’s Smile With Kids helping Fukushima children to rebuild their lives, ABC News, 

Fourteen-year-old Karin Hirakuri hasn’t been allowed to play outside since she was six years old and every time she goes to the supermarket, she worries her food could be unsafe to eat.

Key points

  • High school students from Fukushima exercise, play and spend most of their time indoors
  • Refresh programs in Australia give children the chance to connect with families and experience the outdoors
  • Some children are finding career inspiration through refresh programs

Growing up in Fukushima, Japan, after the catastrophic tsunami and the meltdown of four nuclear reactors in 2011, Karin’s childhood has been spent mostly indoors to limit her exposure to radiation.

She is one of eight high school students in far north Queensland this week with Smile With Kids, a not-for-profit organisation that pairs children from Fukushima with Australian host families.

The program began in 2014, inspired by other “refresh camps” that aim to give Fukushima children a week of outdoor activities.

“They can just come and enjoy nature without worry,” Smile With Kids founder Maki McCarthy said.

A highlight for Karin was sinking her feet in the sand and feeling the spray of seawater on her face at Palm Cove beach, north of Cairns, on Thursday.

“I wasn’t able to go swimming at the beach for five years,” she said.  “We cannot play outside in Fukushima.

“We have to play in the gym or in the house.”,,,,,,,,,

Families connect

Smile With Kids host Catherine Gunn has been accommodating Fukushima students for the past three years and said the experience had been eye-opening.

“It opens my world up,” Ms Gunn said.

“Also the reflection on how lucky we are in Australia.

“We’ve never experience anything like [the nuclear disaster] in Australia, we have a very free life.”…….

July 29, 2019 Posted by | personal stories, Queensland | Leave a comment

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister urges Australia to help island nations threatened by climate change

July 29, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

“Nuclear energy is never profitable”, new study slams nuclear power business case — RenewEconomy

Study by leading German economic think-tank finds every 1,000MW of nuclear power plant built since 1951 resulted in an average economic loss of $A7.7 billion. The post “Nuclear energy is never profitable”, new study slams nuclear power business case appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via “Nuclear energy is never profitable”, new study slams nuclear power business case — RenewEconomy

July 29, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Interim nuclear” waste storage really means long-term storage – a lesson for South Australia

But is interim storage really interim?……. the communities that give the OK to build an interim storage facility may end up having the waste stuck in their backyards for decades to come.
“Until there is an idea of a long-term repository,” said Maria Korsnick, CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, at a recent Senate hearing, “anybody that raises their hands for that consolidated interim storage [site] is, de facto, the long-term” site. 
Finding a repository for San Onofre plant’s nuclear waste is a difficult task L A Times,ROB NIKOLEWSKI

July 29, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Taylor a no-show at clean energy summit as Labor piles on pressure — RenewEconomy

This week, Australia’s renewable energy sector will converge in Sydney for the annual Australian Clean Energy Summit, hosted by the Clean Energy Council, although the person many are the most keen to hear from, federal energy minister Angus Taylor, won’t be in attendance. The absence is due to the sitting of Parliament in Canberra, where……

via Taylor a no-show at clean energy summit as Labor piles on pressure — RenewEconomy

July 29, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Extreme global temperatures are pushing the human body “close to thermal limits”

How extreme heat affects your body

Independent 27th July 2019 Extreme global temperatures are pushing the human body “close to thermal
limits”, according to a climate scientist. Record-breaking heat has swept
through Europe this week with temperatures topping 40C in a number of

However, in places such as South Asia and the Persian Gulf,
people are already enduring temperatures reaching up to 54C. Despite all
the body’s thermal efficiencies, these areas could soon be uninhabitable,
according to Loughborough University climate scientist Dr Tom Matthews in
The Conversation.

July 29, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Noosa the first Queensland council to declare a climate emergency – Mayor explains why

Why this south-east Queensland council declared a ‘climate emergency’, By Tony Wellington, July 27, 2019

Frustrated by stagnant policy at the federal level, Australian communities are looking elsewhere for responses to climate change.

Businesses, communities and, increasingly, local governments are stepping up to the plate.

Noosa council declared a climate emergency to send a strong message, according to the mayor.

As the closest tier of government to the people, it’s our responsibility to listen to the concerns of residents, and they are demanding a healthy and resilient future for their children and grandchildren.

The concerns of our communities are not being heard by the national decision-makers. Local governments have no choice but to act as climate advocates for their communities and thus take matters into their own hands.

That’s why we in Noosa shire have set ourselves a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2026 – and our community has jumped on board.

Our modelling shows that, if action is not taken to significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, a much larger proportion of our residential and commercial properties will be within the storm tide inundation zone in the year 2100.

In other words, with a projected sea-level rise of 0.8 metres and intensifying weather events, many properties could be flooded in a significant storm or else subject to coastal erosion. We need to plan for this now, not wait until it’s too late.

Noosa recently became the first Queensland council to declare a climate emergency, joining 847 other government jurisdictions across the world who have already done so. We want to send a strong message to higher levels of government that this is the most serious issue facing humankind.

Noosa council is rolling out solar panels and battery storage, adopting a wide range of energy efficiency measures and tackling methane emissions from our landfill. And we are working with our community to reduce emissions at the business and household level. Of course, there is much more to be done. But we’re not alone.

We’re just one of many councils across the country who are rising to the challenge of climate change. From the Huon Valley in Tasmania to Port Douglas in northern Queensland, councils are working together through alliances such as the Cities Power Partnership.

We need to learn from each other and share our knowledge because we’re all in this together. Every local government wants to see sustainable, healthy communities that thrive in the future. And, like it or not, the future is renewable energy. Tony Wellington is the Mayor of Noosa Shire Council 

July 29, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Unprecedented wildfires in the Arctic release huge CO2 to the atmosphere

Telegraph 27th July 2019 An unprecedented outbreak of wildfires in the Arctic has sent smoke across
Eurasia and released more carbon dioxide in two months than the Czech
Republic or Belgium does in a year.

As 44C heatwaves struck Europe,
scientists observed more than 100 long-lasting, intense fires in the Arctic
in June, the hottest month on record, and are seeing even more in July,
according to Mark Parrington of the European Centre for Medium-Range
Weather Forecasts.

Mostly in Alaska and Russia, the infernos have
collectively released more than 120 million tonnes of CO2, more than the
annual output of most countries. It is the most carbon emitted since
satellite monitoring began in the early 2000s. This will further exacerbate
climate change and has sent smoke pouring toward more populated parts of
the world. Pollutants can persist more than a month in the atmosphere and
spread thousands of kilometres.

July 29, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Wind and solar turn up ramping pressure in South Australia and Queensland — RenewEconomy

Daily price ramp on Australia’s wholesale electricity markets is quite strong in most states right now, and particularly in South Australia and Queensland. The evening peak price ramp is about $100/MWh difference between low and high price, but the duration of low and high price is short. Despite exports to NSW, coal in Qld is……

via Wind and solar turn up ramping pressure in South Australia and Queensland — RenewEconomy

July 29, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queensland drops bidding directions, says wind and solar less than $50/MWh — RenewEconomy

Queensland drops bidding restrictions on state generators, as energy minister celebrates cheap wind and solar below $50/MWh and mocks LNP push for new coal and nuclear. The post Queensland drops bidding directions, says wind and solar less than $50/MWh appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Queensland drops bidding directions, says wind and solar less than $50/MWh — RenewEconomy

July 29, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 28 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “The Best Trees To Plant For Global Warming Have Three Blades And Generate Electricity” • What is better, a forest or a wind farm? Calculations show a wind farm is about eight times more effective at reducing CO₂e annually than a forest. Also, it eliminates a bunch of other air and water pollution, […]

via July 28 Energy News — geoharvey

July 29, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment