Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Federal govt trying to con Australians that a national nuclear waste dump is a “local” not a NATIONAL ISSUE

October 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

South Australia: ballot on nuclear waste dump: Labor reaffirms anti-nuclear policy

Dave Sweeney, 19 Oct 19, Things are getting pointy around the federal radioactive waste plan in SA.

A community ballot (which does not include Native Title holders) is currently underway in the Kimba region with a comparable initiative due to start next month in the Flinders Ranges.

There are high levels of community concern and contest and continuing legal and procedural challenges in both the Federal Court and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Also below is the common sense position adopted by SA Labor at its recent state convention in Adelaide on October 12.

No Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia 

State Convention acknowledges that radioactive waste management continues to be a complex policy challenge that requires the highest level of transparency and evidence and that the current federal approach to site a national waste facility in regional South Australia is strongly contested.

  • Supports Traditional Owners and community members in the Flinders Ranges and Kimba regions of South Australia in their current struggle to prevent a nuclear waste facility being constructed in their region.
  • Acknowledge that Native Title holders in both affected regions in SA have taken legal and procedural action against their non-inclusion in the federal governments’ community ballot
  • Calls for full transparency, broad public input and best practice technical and consultative standards during the current site nomination and selection process.
  • Expresses concern at the federal government’s continuing focus on finding a single remote site for radioactive waste to be disposed (low level) and stored (intermediate level) to the exclusion of all other waste management options.
  • Reaffirms its support for the civil society call for the extended interim storage of federal wastes at federal sites pending a broad independent inquiry that examines all options for future responsible radioactive waste, transport and storage and management
  • Commits to support communities opposing the nomination of their lands or region for a dump site, and any workers who refuse to facilitate the construction and operation or transport and handling of radioactive waste material destined for any contested facility or sites including South Australian Port communities.
  • Commits to defend the SA Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000
  • Oppose the double handling of the intermediate level waste, currently produced and stored at Lucas Heights
  • Note federal Labor’s national conference commitment to ‘responsible radioactive waste management’

Environment groups are working to support the affected communities and advance the circuit breaker of extended interim storage at existing federal sites and a management options review.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear Power Uninsurable and Uneconomic in Australia 

Nuclear Power Uninsurable and Uneconomic in Australia    https://www.tai.org.au/content/nuclear-power-uninsurable-and-uneconomic-australia

New research has revealed that financial services in Australia will not insure against nuclear accidents, and if developers of nuclear power stations were forced to insure against nuclear accidents, nuclear power would be completely uneconomic.

The Australia Institute’s submission to the Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia, shows that establishing a nuclear power industry in Australia is economically unfeasible, particularly given the uninsurable nature of the technology means the risks of a nuclear incident are borne substantially by Australian taxpayers.

Submission key findings include:

  • Nuclear power is far more expensive than other forms of power and has a long history of getting more expensive over time, not less.
  • Nuclear power is slow to build, with the average build time taking a decade, face numerous delays and nearly all facing significant cost blow outs.
  • While renewable energy is booming globally, nuclear power generation is going backwards, nuclear companies are facing distress or bankruptcy, and governments are giving bailouts using taxpayer money. While China is the largest recent source of new reactors, it has not begun building any new nuclear power plants since 2016, and currently generates twice as much power from renewable energy as nuclear power.
  • New nuclear power technologies remain economically speculative; so-called ‘Small Modular Reactors’ face numerous diseconomies of scale and many analysts doubt their viability.
  • Nuclear power is subject to substantial outages, both planned and unplanned, and does not have the flexibility required for a modern energy grid.
  • In a country prone to extreme heat and prolonged droughts, nuclear power is extremely water intensive and vulnerable to extreme heat.

“The biggest barrier to nuclear power in Australia is that it is uneconomic, the costs of establishing a nuclear industry simply don’t stack up,” says Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute.

“Insurance policies by Australia’s major insurers contain specific language excluding coverage of nuclear disasters; none will insure against nuclear incidents.

“If nuclear power operators were made to adequately insure against the risk of nuclear accidents, the insurance premiums would make nuclear power completely uneconomic.

“Renewables, demand management and storage can meet Australian energy needs safely and at best-cost. In a country with no existing nuclear industry and vast renewable energy resources, it makes no economic sense to establish nuclear generation.”

“A sensible, fact based conversation about nuclear power in Australia must start in economics, and given the industry’s dismal economic outlook, really that is where the conversation should end.”

The Australia Institute report which expands on its inquiry submission, Over Reactor: The economic problems with nuclear power, by Tom Swann and Audrey Quicke can be downloaded here.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

South Australian government says: “nuclear power remains unviable now and into the foreseeable future.”

We’re fine with solar, wind and gas thanks, SA tells nuclear inquiry

We don’t need nuclear power, SA Government tells federal inquiry. And SA is not alone, with the electricity market’s rule-maker saying it’s not a good fit. Chris Russell, The Advertiser, October 17, 2019 

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/were-fine-with-solar-wind-and-gas-thanks-sa-tells-nuclear-inquiry/news-story/a0b7b0d031311c470443101e899818c9

Solar and wind power have closed the window on nuclear energy for Australia, a federal parliamentary inquiry into the technology has been told.

Nuclear is less likely to stack up now than it did when South Australia’s royal commission delivered its findings three years ago, the South Australian Government says.

“Existing nuclear power options remain unviable for SA when compared to current renewable energy, storage and gas generation,” Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said.

SA’s position fits with the view of national rule-setting body the Australian Energy Market Commission which says the electricity market needs generation providing short bursts of power to fill gaps in renewables, not the type of steady power provided by nuclear.

From a technology-neutral standpoint, the commission warns a big, expensive, long-lead time generation plant would carry a high level of investment risk.

In a submission to the federal Environment and Energy Committee inquiry, the SA Government says SA’s royal commission investigated the nuclear cycle — mining, processing, generating and waste.

“Since the Royal Commission, SA’s energy mix has continued to evolve, with a greater interest in generation that better complements a highly variable demand profile and variable renewable energy output,” it says.

“This means that nuclear power remains unviable now and into the foreseeable future.”

It adds that the Royal Commission “suggested that nuclear power may be viable in other jurisdictions in Australia based on different demand scenarios”.

A promising prospect for nuclear power — small modular reactors for remote locations like mining sites or towns like Coober Pedy isolated from the grid — was becoming less likely, SA said.

Conceptually, modular reactors made sense and the Commonwealth should look at removing regulatory barriers but the technology was still in development and social and environmental impacts unresolved.

“At this stage, the timeline for such learnings cannot be demonstrated to a point where it is relevant to current decision-making in SA,” it says.

Renewable energy backed by batteries and hydrogen were being actively explored by SA for regional and remote locations.

In its submission, the Australian Energy Market Commission says its rules “do not benefit, nor discriminate against, any particular technology” with the market designed so the lowest cost energy is used to supply customers at any point in time.

It monitors market trends and says:

– Wind and solar have low operating costs and are displacing coal and gas generation.

– Overall demand is not growing.

– The rapid increase in rooftop solar is affecting the total market.

This leads to the conclusion “flexible technologies, such as peaking gas plants, pumped hydro and battery storage, are likely to be better suited (to the future)

The Commission concludes that technologies such as battery storage are likely to be better suited to the future market’s needs.

The Australian Institute, which is among witnesses being heard by the committee on Friday says nuclear is not only too expensive but also uninsurable.

In the US, power companies can only buy insurance up to a ceiling and if costs from a nuclear accident exceed that “the taxpayer inevitably funds any residual costs or compensation”.

In Australia, insurers won’t cover consumers for nuclear incidents, the institute found.

“Insurance policies from some of Australia’s major insurers — AAMI, CGU, Allianz, QBE and NRMA — contain specific text regarding nuclear disasters,” it said.

“None of these major Australian insurers will insure your home, car or possession against a nuclear event.”

However, the Australian Workers’ Union has told the inquiry nuclear offers “the most viable technological proposition” to address Australia’s “self-induced energy crisis”.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Barkindji people have title to Darling River area – but their river is dying, killed by drought, and whiteys’mismanagement

Indigenous community say they’ve lost their culture to water mismanagement, SBSThis is the final part in a series of reports from communities along NSW’s Darling River that have been impacted by water mismanagement and drought. BY ANEETA BHOLE 18 Oct 19,  An Aboriginal community in rural NSW fears their culture may be lost, as dry conditions and low river flows threaten the future of the Darling River.

The Barkindji people have lived, hunted and passed down their oral history on the banks of the Darling for more than 40,000 years.

Now the river is drying up due to over-extraction by irrigation upstream and drought.

The community’s fears surfaced at a recent corroboree in the small town of Wilcannia, which was once a thriving Murray-Darling River port.

The Yaama Ngunna Barka corroboree had been travelling to towns along the river from Walgett to Menindee. The corroboree have been travelling to towns in outback New South Wales in a bid to raise awareness about the plight of the Darling river.

‘Dead water’

Lilliana Bennett can still recall her grandmother talking about taking the family down the riverbank to fish and hunt for goanna. The river was a place of safety and community for her family.

“It’s a place they go to relax, to tell stories,” she told SBS News.

“For me, it’s been really devastating, I mean we went down and camped by the river where there’s still a bit of water around and it just doesn’t have the same feeling, it’s dead water.”…….

With water levels at an all-time low and the drought continuing to ravage the region, native animals have also started to disappear from the river banks. Many with spiritual significance. …….

The Barkindji community fought for Native Title of the land – covering 128,000 square kilometres — from Wentworth at the Victorian border to near Wanaaring in the state’s north-west, including Broken Hill, Wilcannia, Menindee, Pooncarie and Dareton.

They started the claim in 1997 and won two decades later, but many have said without water flowing in the river they feel robbed. …….

Case for change

Last month, the National Resources Commission (NRC) released an independent report looking into the water-sharing plan of the Barwon-Darling River system.

The system takes in the the Barwon River, from upstream of Mungindi at the confluence of the Macintyre and Weir rivers, to where the Barwon meets the Culgoa River.

At this point the river channel becomes the Darling River and the Barwon–Darling system extends downstream to the Menindee Lakes.

It found that provisions that allow increased access to low flows resulted in poor ecological and social outcomes downstream of Bourke, including the town of Wilcannia where part of the Barkindji community live.

The NRC has made 17 recommendations, including one which has called for stricter regulation of when irrigators, including cotton farmers, can pump water from the river……….  HTTPS://WWW.SBS.COM.AU/NEWS/INDIGENOUS-COMMUNITY-SAY-THEY-VE-LOST-THEIR-CULTURE-TO-WATER-MISMANAGEMENT

October 19, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | Leave a comment

A new wave of anti-nuclear action in Washington

Fear of a new nuclear arms race revives hotbed of anti-nuclear action, President Trump’s plans for escalation kick off a new chapter in Washington’s long history with nuclear proliferation and resistance. CrossCut, by Kevin Knodell. October 18, 2019, As worries of nuclear war resurface and new concerns about the health impacts of America’s atomic arsenal emerge, Washington state’s long-lived but largely dormant anti-nuclear movement is again raising its voice.

President Donald Trump has made a show of withdrawing from landmark nuclear arms treaties while pushing a $1.7 trillion plan to replace America’s entire nuclear arsenal, even as North Korea has made progress toward a long-range atomic weapon. Those developments and violence around the globe have rekindled anti-nuke activism in the Northwest.

On Sept. 29, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility held a town hall on Washington’s history with nuclear weapons that brought together anti-war, environmental and Indigenous rights activists. Activists marched on the Federal Building in Seattle the following day to protest Trump’s nuclear policies. Continue reading

October 19, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Morrison government’s drought policy mess

Has drought policy become a casualty of the federal-state blame game? ABC The Conversation By Michelle Grattan 18 Oct 19,  Government sources insist shock jock Alan Jones didn’t drive Thursday’s announcement of a cash payment to drought-stricken farmers about to be turfed off their household support because they’d reached the four-year time limit.They say the measure — giving up to $13,000 to a couple and $7,500 to individuals at a cost of $12.8 million this financial year — had been in Cabinet’s expenditure review committee process for some time.

But the National Farmers Federation says it wasn’t given any notice, which seems odd since Drought Minister David Littleproud is constantly referencing the NFF.

Regardless of the sequencing, Mr Jones’ extraordinarily angry and emotional performance on Tuesday, haranguing Mr Morrison on radio, breaking down on TV, and warning of dire political consequences if the Government didn’t do something, certainly concentrated the Prime Minister’s mind.

As one official puts it, Mr Morrison is “attuned to the zeitgeist”.

Described more prosaically, the PM is highly sensitive to public opinion, and he judges that in metropolitan areas as well as the regions, people want more action — and then more still — to help those brought to their knees.

Can drought policy deliver better outcomes?

When he became PM, Mr Morrison was immediately anxious to own the issue of the drought. He referred to it in his news conference the day he was elected leader, saying it was “the first thing I need to turn attention to”, and was quickly off to a drought-affected area.

Now he is feeling the full cost — political as well as financial — of that ownership, as he’s confronted with pressure on all sides.

NFF president Fiona Simson continues to say she doesn’t think the Government has a drought policy…….

Drought policy is bedevilled by the old federal-state blame game, as shown by the wrangling over dam building.

A sign of weakness?

Also, the Government has no credible reason for keeping under wraps the report it commissioned from Stephen Day, who was its drought coordinator, which would provide some useful overview.

Thursday’s announcement of the cash payment was messy: Mr Morrison trumpeted it on radio at the same time as the Nationals unveiled it at a press conference.

The Coalition’s handling looks ad hoc and reactive……..

A sign of weakness?

Also, the Government has no credible reason for keeping under wraps the report it commissioned from Stephen Day, who was its drought coordinator, which would provide some useful overview.

Thursday’s announcement of the cash payment was messy: Mr Morrison trumpeted it on radio at the same time as the Nationals unveiled it at a press conference…….  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-18/drought-gives-scott-morrison-a-harsh-political-lesson/11614698

October 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | Leave a comment

Jane Fonda arrested with Sam Waterston in climate change protest

Jane Fonda arrested with Sam Waterston in climate change protest, msn, 19 Oct 19Sophie Lewis, Jane Fonda was arrested again on Friday for protesting climate change in front of the U.S. Capitol. This time, she was joined by her “Grace and Frankie” costar Sam Waterston, who was also arrested.

“We can do this!” Waterston, 78, said during the protest. “We need something to push for that’s as big as the problem.”

“This is an ongoing action to draw attention and a sense of urgency to the climate crisis,” Fonda said before her arrest. “Make no mistake, change is coming, whether we like it or not. Change is coming by disaster, or change is coming by design.”

The actors were seen with zip ties around their wrists by police following a demonstration in Washington, D.C, in front of the Library of Congress.

“We can do this!” Waterston, 78, said during the protest. “We need something to push for that’s as big as the problem.”

“This is an ongoing action to draw attention and a sense of urgency to the climate crisis,” Fonda said before her arrest. “Make no mistake, change is coming, whether we like it or not. Change is coming by disaster, or change is coming by design.”

The actors were seen with zip ties around their wrists by police following a demonstration in Washington, D.C, in front of the Library of Congress. …… https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/jane-fonda-arrested-with-sam-waterston-in-climate-change-protest/ar-AAIZPb1?ocid=spartandhp

October 19, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s new battery installation standard – what does it mean for you? — RenewEconomy

Australia now has a standard for residential battery storage installations. We look at what it means for customers, and installers. The post Australia’s new battery installation standard – what does it mean for you? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australia’s new battery installation standard – what does it mean for you? — RenewEconomy

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s dirty grid may kill its biggest customers, and the case for coal — RenewEconomy

A potential closure of Alcoa’s Portland smelter would have huge ramifications for the Australian grid. It would remove the biggest customer of brown coal, and ironically accelerate the transition to clean energy that it cannot afford to wait for. The post Australia’s dirty grid may kill its biggest customers, and the case for coal appeared…

via Australia’s dirty grid may kill its biggest customers, and the case for coal — RenewEconomy

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fortescue signs up to Alinta plans to use solar to power huge iron ore mines — RenewEconomy

Alinta says solar power deal for Fortescue iron ore mines means proof that renewables can drive Australia’s economic powerhouses. The post Fortescue signs up to Alinta plans to use solar to power huge iron ore mines appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Fortescue signs up to Alinta plans to use solar to power huge iron ore mines — RenewEconomy

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Taylor’s underwriting scheme could choose first six projects ‘by Christmas’ — RenewEconomy

Angus Taylor expects up to six new projects will be approved under the underwriting scheme before the end of the year, and is likely to favour fossil fuels. The post Taylor’s underwriting scheme could choose first six projects ‘by Christmas’ appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Taylor’s underwriting scheme could choose first six projects ‘by Christmas’ — RenewEconomy

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wind and solar output beat brown coal in Australia for first time in September quarter — RenewEconomy

Combined output of wind and solar in Australia’s main grid beats brown coal output for first time in September quarter, in significant landmark for clean energy transition. The post Wind and solar output beat brown coal in Australia for first time in September quarter appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Wind and solar output beat brown coal in Australia for first time in September quarter — RenewEconomy

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victorian dairy targets 100% renewables with solar + vanadium flow battery — RenewEconomy

Victorian dairy farm looks to cover all its electricity needs with 450kW solar and 80kW/320kWh vanadium redox flow battery. The post Victorian dairy targets 100% renewables with solar + vanadium flow battery appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Victorian dairy targets 100% renewables with solar + vanadium flow battery — RenewEconomy

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victoria bill to lock in 50% renewable target passes through upper house — RenewEconomy

Labor bill to legislate 50% renewables target passes upper course in Victoria, despite fierce opposition from Coalition. The post Victoria bill to lock in 50% renewable target passes through upper house appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Victoria bill to lock in 50% renewable target passes through upper house — RenewEconomy

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment