Australian news, and some related international items

Climate and Nuclear – the news this week- Australia

This week, Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist and evangelical Christian, sends a powerful message to other Christians, on the urgent necessity to act on climate change. Scientific warnings have intensified over recent month. It used to be “a problem for our grandchildren“, but climate change is here, now. With a new urgency, the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2019 will be held from 2-13 December in Madrid.California wildfires signal the arrival of a planetary fire age.

Mainstream media has been silent on the threats, and indeed the impacts, of extreme weather on nuclear facilities.  There is minimal (and all too reassuring) coverage following on the effects of Hurricane Hagibis on Fukushima’s collections of radioactive trash.   There is not a mention of the threats to  nuclear facilities, in the reporting on the Californian wildfires. For example, there are fires in Ventura County, which has the notorious nuclear Santa Susana Field Laboratory

A bit of good news – the Living New Deal Project.


Is climate change playing a role in Australia’s drought? Hotter and drier- Australia’s weather records set to be broken this year.

CLIMATE.-Dry weather set to return after thunderstorms bring temporary reliefClimate change is bringing more extreme weather events to Sydney and Melbourne.

Coal from six biggest miners in Australia produces more emissions than entire economy. Coercion is coal’s only friend. Australia’s surging diesel emissions from cars and utes cancel out wind and solar gains.

Scott Morrison’s threats against climate activists – getting a bit sinister. Scott Morrison doesn’t like even the “quiet people” speaking up. Scott Morrison delivers a speech that sounds very like an attack on democracy. Morrison’s crackdown on climate protests could have unintended consequences.

Energy Minister Taylor’s ‘expert panel’ in search of emissions reductions shuts out clean energy sector. Coalition’s carbon market plans at risk from low quality “grey” credits.

It’s time that the Australian government declared a water emergency. A national approach needed to a national river system.


RENEWABLE ENERGY.  Renewable energy target now overshot by nearly 1GW, says regulator. Victoria 50% by 2030 renewable energy target voted into law.  South Australia had lowest cost of supply in main grid in October. Hydro Tasmania pushes “battery of the nation” plan, will unlock wind and solar.  Hydro Tasmania pushes “battery of the nation” plan, will unlock wind and solar. Carnegie Clean Energy set to resume trading, with big plans for CETO wave power. Coalition gives $1bn to CEFC for 24/7 reliable renewable power.


Ruthless and relentless – USA-UK destruction of Julian Assange.

Fukushima is not safe for 2020 Olympics, nuclear scientists warn.

The human species at threat of wipeout – nuclear war in space.

A Global Review : Threats o f Nuclear Conflict. How an India-Pakistan nuclear war could start—and have global consequences.  United Nations adopts Japan’s nuclear disarmament resolution.

Argentina’s Rafael Grossi chosen to head UN nuclear agency.

No, thorium nuclear power is still not a viable energy technology.

 Greta Thunberg and Leonardo Di Caprio join forces in climate crusade.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste containers in transit to South Australian dump, could be vulnerable to bushfires.

Kazzi Jai    Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges, 4 Nov 19 In an inquiry tabled with the NSW Parliament in 2004, asserting exactly the same containers for the transport of the Nuclear Waste from Lucas Heights as proposed now….

“The Fire Brigade Union contradicted this view stating that everything burns under the right conditions and that an accident, particularly with a fuel tanker, could generate enough heat to burn concrete and steel containers and vaporise the waste. This would transform the waste into a form in which it presents the greatest risk to human health.

“Concrete burns, it spalls, it expands and it explodes. That is what happens to it if it is subject to fire for long enough. You can put it in concrete and you can have steel mesh holding the whole thing together, but when you apply heat, the granules grow and things start spalling, just throwing out bits of itself everywhere until, in the end, that concrete or the integrity of the structure that encases it is broken.
Steel burns as well. It does not surprise many firefighters but steel burns. Anything burns, distorts, warps, breaks and spalls. Maybe that is why we have a fascination with it, but in our society nothing is safe from fire. There is nothing in this world that is safe from fire”

November 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, safety | Leave a comment

Storing nuclear waste is an economic liability for a State, not a benefit

Kessler: Nuclear waste storage provides no benefit for  Wyoming, Star Tribune, 2 Nov 19

There’s no doubt that Wyoming needs to find new revenue sources to fund our schools and state budget, but storing nuclear waste is not the answer. It’s a far-fetched proposal riddled with legal roadblocks. And even if we ignore those roadblocks — along with the many safety and political risks of storing high-level radioactive waste — there’s no real money in it for Wyoming.

For starters, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which regulates the storage of spent fuel rods from commercial nuclear reactors, makes available just $5 million per year to states willing to host a “monitored retrievable storage” facility during the construction phase. Once such a facility starts accepting the waste, that amount increases to just $10 million per year. This is a far cry from the $1 billion per year proponents claim Wyoming would see.

That’s assuming such a facility can even legally be constructed. The act also prohibits building a temporary facility until a permanent disposal repository, such as the one proposed for Yucca Mountain in Nevada, starts construction. But licensing work on Yucca Mountain has stalled; Congress hasn’t authorized any funding for it in recent years.

To build a storage facility in Wyoming, we’d have to get Congress to change the law in our favor and give us 100 times the amount of cash authorized in the act. That’s not likely. In the last three years, more than a dozen bills have been introduced in Congress to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and address this topic. They’ve all failed. Nuclear utilities are likely the biggest opponents: Fees collected for the act’s Nuclear Waste Fund are predominantly meant to fund a permanent disposal solution — not something temporary.

But assume we could actually convince Congress to change the law to allow a monitored retrievable storage site here. Then what? Chances are we’d be stuck with those spent fuel rods for good. That’s because there are no legal, political or financial mechanisms to ensure that, once accepted, high-level radioactive waste would ever be removed. Wyoming would likely become the new Yucca Mountain – not a place to hold nuclear waste temporarily, but a de facto permanent disposal site.

The proposal also ignores serious transportation safety concerns. At no time in our nation’s history would so much high-level radioactive waste be on our roads and rails — and traveling such great distances. So far, the federal government has failed to adopt the enhanced transportation safeguards suggested by the Western Governors’ Association, the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on American’s Nuclear Future, the National Academy of Sciences and the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects. There is much work to be done ahead of any attempt to safely ship spent fuel rods across the country. As a recent government report concluded: “The transportation of large amounts of spent fuel to an interim storage or permanent disposal location is inherently complex and the planning and implementation may take decades to accomplish.”

It’s especially curious that our legislators suddenly seem so trusting of the federal government in this matter. Our nation’s nuclear waste policy has a 50-year history of broken promises, missed timelines, shifting policies, unreliable funding, changing scientific criteria and running roughshod over states’ rights. In fact, when Gov. Mike Sullivan vetoed this same proposal in 1992 he wrote:

“Can we trust the federal government or the assurance of negotiation to protect our citizens’ interests? To do so would disregard the geographical voting power in Congress and 100 years of history and experience… Are we willing to ignore the experience history would provide us for the siren song of promised economic benefits and a policy that is clearly a moving target? As Governor, I am not.”

In Wyoming, we need a vision for our future that embraces the assets that truly make us a place where people want to live, move to and do business: our strong public schools, workforce, wildlife, open spaces, livable communities, agricultural legacy and outdoor way of life. This is what makes Wyoming the envy of many other places. Instead of jeopardizing our heritage and tarnishing our state’s image, we need to protect and build upon these assets. Storing nuclear waste invites regulatory, political, safety and economic diversification risks — while providing Wyoming no real benefits. We urge the Legislature to reject spending any more time or resources on such a misguided idea.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Podcast: Australia’s nuclear bomb lobby

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

A nuclear war in space would be catastrophic for the human civilisation

 Bruce Gagnon ‘War in Space’ interview

Nuclear space war ‘would wipe out humans in days with Earth becoming Hiroshima’   A fierce critic of the Space Force says the Earth would “burn” and turn into a Hiroshima-style landscape should a nuclear war erupt,  By  Katy Gill, Video News Reporter, 3 NOV 2019, 

A nuclear war in space would be catastrophic for the human civilisation as Earth would transform into a Hiroshima-style landscape with humans being wiped out in a matter of days.

That’s according to Bruce Gagnon, the co-founder and coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he is hoping to create the sixth branch of the US military – the Space Force – in 2020 to, among other things, protect satellites in space from other nations.

There are those that believe new fleets of military craft are already being built, pointing to various UFO sightings across the US in recent months.

But Bruce thinks it could open the doors for a new domain of warfare – with the consequences being devastating.

He explained to Daily Star Online that if a nuclear war erupted above Earth, “everything would burn”.

“The cities are burning, the forests are burning, the planet is burning,” he added.

“There’s no food, you can’t grow anything, everything poison, everything radioactive, we all die.” Bruce spoke of how food production will immediately halt because of the atmosphere burning up and affecting crops.

This will lead crowds of people to raid their local supermarkets.

“How long is that going to last? How long do we have after that?” he asked.

“Probably a few days. Not much longer than that. It’s going to happen fast.Who wants to be alive when the whole world looks like Hiroshima?”

Bruce said after the fire’s smoke and debris floods into the atmosphere it will block the sun.

This would eventually see the Earth freeze because the sun is no longer visible to the planet.

“So the Earth freezes and you have whatever is left after this nuclear war is finished,” he added.

In the past, Bruce told the site that USAF is “creating a new generation of space soldiers by indoctrinating kids“.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Is climate change playing a role in Australia’s drought?

How bad is this drought and is it caused by climate change?

How do we define drought? What causes them? And are they getting worse?, Brisbane Times, By Peter Hannam , NOVEMBER 3, 2019

“………..Is climate change playing a role?

If droughts can be hard to pin down, explaining their connection to climate change adds to the complexity.

The facts are that scientists cannot say definitively that a specific drought is caused by climate change, but they can say definitively that climate change makes the effects of droughts stronger and more damaging.

Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, recently ignited a brief firestorm over his comment to a business forum that “there is no link between climate change and drought”.

Some media jumped on his views, prompting his centre to issue a belated correction saying he erred by leaving out one word, as in “there is no direct link between climate change and drought”.

The indirect links, though, should be cause enough for concern in a country with Australia’s variable rainfall……..

Climate change is blamed for accelerating the winds that circle around Antarctica, drawing storm tracks further south so some miss the mainland.

By contrast, for some areas in southern Australia, rainfall is increasing during the warmer months. That shift, though, comes as little consolation for farmers now reliant on winter harvests……

While it’s not clear how annual rainfall totals will change in a warming world, future droughts will be hotter when they do arrive, says Ben Henley, a climate researcher at the University of Melbourne.

“We’re really quite concerned in southern Australia,” he says. “Even if we get the same degree of annual rainfall, if that’s falling in the hot time of the year, that’s more likely to be evaporated off.” …..

Is this the new normal?

Cutting-edge research includes work to investigate whether droughts such as the current one are likely to become more prolonged and more frequent…..

One smoking gun is that rainforests are now burning.

“By June 2018, they reported that all types of trees were dying, leaving a desert-like landscape of sand dunes replacing the normally vegetated scene,” the paper says.

As plants dry or die,the risk of major bushfires increases. And, as plants also help moderate the local climate through a process called evapotranspiration, when they die another hand brake on the heat is removed.

Some researchers believe the ambient conditions that led to the Millennium Drought have not yet broken down, says Greg Holland, an emeritus senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research and formerly with the bureau.

“It’s quite possible … we never came out of it,” he says, adding a couple of wet years in 2010 and 2011 may have been “a bit of an hiatus in the middle”.

Indeed, while drought is measured against historical averages, it may be time to redefine what we considered as normal. “One smoking gun is that rainforests are now burning,” he says…….

November 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment


Senator Rex Patrick   3 Nov 19, I’m sick and tired of the NSW Government threatening to pull out of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan every time they get upset about something happening on the river.

It’s been threatened at least 4 times since February 2018, when the Senate was debating whether or not to allow an extra 70GL of extraction from the Norther Basin (Centre Alliance voted against extra extraction).

NSW pulling out of the Basin Plan would not be in its own interests. There are a number of significant NSW river projects that are or will be funded by the Basin Plan, but won’t be if NSW were to pull out.

The Murray-Darling is a national river that needs to be managed accordingly. If NSW took its bat and ball home, there would be little choice but for the Federal Government to take control, either using existing Commonwealth powers or by supporting a constitutional amendment handing powers to the Federal Parliament. Centre Alliance already has a Constitutional Alteration Bill before the Parliament that seeks to do this.

NSW Nationals MPs have cried wolf on pulling out of the plan so often now that it’s becoming meaningless. They would be better off focussing their efforts on reigning in over-extraction, but that would involve acting in the national interest, not in the Nationals’ interests.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment