Australian news, and some related international items

The week in climate and nuclear news Australia

COP 25 – a chance to avoid catastrophic climate change. Not a lot happened in the first week of the COP25 climate talks in Madrid.  Dr Katharine Hayhoe on The Bible and Climate Change.  Disasters fuelled by climate change are the top driver of human displacement.

A bit of good news Renewable cities arising around the world. or  listen on You tube


BUSHFIRES and CLIMATE CHANGE. Australia on fire. Scott Morrison under fire over bushfire emergency. UN climate talks: what’s on the agenda in Madrid and what it means for Australia. COP25, and Australia’s position at the Madrid climate talks. Australia is copping it at COP25 – and rightly so. Australia slammed for using First Nations people to try and dodge climate bill.

Australian govt’s dodgy climate accounting tricks to be tested in Madrid. Energy Minister Angus Taylor escapes the House and heads for Madrid, where more fact checkers await. Australia burns, as government leaders choose not to discuss this. Fire? What fire? It’s business as usual in Morrison’s Canberra bubble.

Hypocrisy of Australian Labor Party on climate change. Peter Garrett urges Labor to reconnect with environmental movement, warns ‘true believers are dying’. To National Party members. “Climate Change” is real, not “dirty words”.

Morrison sponsored report says reef tourism may be virtually wiped out by climate change .  Australia warned on climate refugees .

NUCLEAR. Community of small rural town Kimba “blown apart” by nuclear waste dump plan.  Money, Money, Money, or perhaps not. Plan to dump nuclear waste in the Flinders Ranges.  Dr Jim Green busts ANSTO’s spin about nuclear wastes.

Federal Nuclear Inquiry Report expected this week.

Traditional Aboriginal owners will not give up fight against planned WA uranium mine, despite legal loss.

BHP’s Olympic Dam expansion plan deserves serious scrutiny. BHP’s plan to take yet more water for huge copper-uranium mine.

ENVIRONMENT Investigative journalism – Victoria’s chemical waste scandal.  Australia – water ownership and the politics of waterEnvironment is downgraded, as Morrison merges government departments.  Morrison carves up environment and energy, praises Angus Taylor for waving big stick.


Coalition said 50% renewables would wreck the economy. Now their modest climate targets depend on it. Australia’s biggest businesses could deliver “a Yallourn” of new wind and solar. Huge influx of solar will reduce risk of power outages this summer, says AEMO

How Australia’s rooftop solar boom can be good news for the grid. Electricity prices set to plummet as strong wind and solar investment kicks in.  NSW installs record 60MW of rooftop solar in November.   NCH Launches built-for-purpose solar Panel cleaner for harsh Australian conditions.  Cattle Hill wind farm starts sending power to the grid in Tasmania .


Water shortages to hit 1.9 billion people as glaciers melt.

Research shows that Climate models have correctly predicted global heating. UN chief praises youth leadership on climate action, deplores government inaction.  Coal power becoming ‘uninsurable’ as firms refuse cover.

9 climate tipping points pushing Earth to the point of no return.

Bacteria to consume CO2 – a climate change solution?

 .Antarctic ice sheets could be at greater risk of melting than previously thought.

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Community of small rural town Kimba “blown apart” by nuclear waste dump plan

The Australian town divided over hosting the country’s first nuclear waste dump, The small South Australian farming town of Kimba is split in two by the proposal to host Australia’s first permanent nuclear waste facility. Here, SBS News meets residents on both sides of the debate.

SBS NEWS, BY JARNI BLAKKARLY  10 DEC 19, Janet Tiller and her friend Cheryl Miller have recently made one of the hardest decisions of their lives.They both grew up and have lived most of their lives in the small wheat farming community of Kimba, at the top of the South Australian Eyre Peninsula, with a population of around 800 people.

The women, who both live with their families on farms, have come to the decision that it is time to move on.

“Kimba just isn’t what it was,” 55-year-old Ms Tiller tells SBS News.

“It used to be such a close-knit community, but it’s blown apart.”

Ms Miller says the debate over the proposal for Kimba to host Australia’s first permanent nuclear waste facility has led to so much community division that some people no longer talk to each other.

“It’s not a nice place to live, you don’t want to go down the street because there are people that shun you and won’t talk to you,” Ms Miller says.

“The whole atmosphere is just really depressing”.

For four years, this small town on the edge of the Australian outback has been at the centre of debate, consultation and planning as a potential site to host the facility.

After promises of 45 ongoing full-time jobs and more than $30 million in federal government money earmarked to flow into town projects if the proposal goes ahead, the community last month voted on whether or not to host the site.

Sixty-two per cent of Kimba residents backed the site going ahead in the ballot run by the Australian Electoral Commission, and 38 per cent voted against it.

The public vote was a key final hurdle to indicate community support for the plan and federal resources minister Matt Canavan is expected to make a decision on which site will host the dump in early 2020.

There are three sites that remain on the shortlist, two near Kimba and the other further north near Hawker, in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges region.

Support for the facility

Grain and livestock farmer Geoff Baldock is a third-generation farmer in the Kimba region. He and his family farm more than 700 hectares of land here and he is preparing to sell off a small slice of that, around two per cent, to the federal government for them to build their nuclear waste facility.

He won’t reveal exactly how much the government is offering to pay for his land but says the offer has been “generous”…..

He hopes the proposal will go ahead and play a vital role in securing the future of the Kimba town, which has been in economic and population decline for a number of years.  ……

Opponents of the proposal are deeply distrustful of the federal government and the promises made by politicians and scientists on government-paid salaries. They want independent scientists brought in to the safety assessments of the site.   ……

The public vote in the town of Hawker closes on December 12 and the government will make a decision on which site will go ahead with the plan early next year.

But for friends Ms Tiller and Ms Miller it is too late. Their properties are on the market and both families are planning to move elsewhere in South Australia as soon as they can. HTTPS://WWW.SBS.COM.AU/NEWS/THE-AUSTRALIAN-TOWN-DIVIDED-OVER-HOSTING-THE-COUNTRY-S-FIRST-NUCLEAR-WASTE-DUMP?CX_CID=EDM%3ANEWSAM%3A2019&FBCLID=IWAR2B19ZUOG9WHGBO9CVSO_81AOYNXY0R4AFZAJFJW4EJWKMW_N6_B2M01WQ

December 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

BHP’s Olympic Dam expansion plan deserves serious attention and scrutiny

10 Dec 19, BHP is formally seeking to expand the Olympic Dam mine in northern South Australia and public comment on the federal EPBC referral – the Olympic Dam Resource Development Strategy – closes today.

Conservation SA, Friends of the Earth Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation have sent a joint submission to the federal Environment department.

After today’s close of public comment the federal Minister has up to twenty business days to make a decision on the required level of assessment.

We maintain that the Olympic Dam expansion plan deserves serious attention and scrutiny for three key reasons: it involves the long lived and multi-faceted threat of uranium, it proposes to use massive amounts of finite underground water and the company is in trouble globally over the management of mine wastes and residues currently stored in multiple leaking – and sometimes catastrophically failing – tailings dams. BHP has identified and conceded that three of the existing Olympic Dam tailings dams are in the most severe global ‘extreme risk’ category.

The key recommendations from environment groups include:

  1. That BHP’s Olympic Dam operation be assessed in its entirety with the full range of project impacts subject to public consultation.

At a minimum, EPBC Act responsibilities to protect Matters of NES require that the BHP Olympic Dam Referral must be subject to a public environmental impact assessment process.

  1. A comprehensive Safety Risk Assessment is needed for all Olympic Dam mine tailings facilities.
  2. BHP must lodge a Bond to cover 100% of Olympic Dam rehabilitation liabilities.
  3. BHP must stop the use of evaporation ponds to reduce mortality in protected bird species.

These issues are further explored in detailed project briefing papers linked with the joint groups submission.

David Noonan – the submission author is available to provide further issue background on 0414 519 419

The comments below are attributable to ACF spokesperson Dave Sweeney (0408 317 812):

“As the world’s largest miner BHP has a responsibility to adopt best practise standards to every aspect of its Olympic Dam operation, including transparency, rigour and extent of assessment.

“A federal review when BHP wanted to expand Olympic Dam as an open cut mine earlier this decade made clear recommendations about the need to assess the projects cumulative impacts – this approach must be reflected in the current federal consideration of BHP’s proposal.

“Uranium is a unique mineral and risk and is always contested and contaminating.

“The global uranium price remains depressed after Fukushima and BHP should actively model a project configuration where uranium is not part of Olympic Dam’s mineral products.”

(note: there is direct DFAT confirmation that Australian uranium was inside Fukushima when the reactors failed: Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima’s fallout)

“Any increase in the footprint of Olympic Dam would mean an increase in the complexity and cost of future clean up and rehabilitation.

“Cleaning up a uranium mine is never easy and always costly – BHP must be required to ensure there is the dedicated financial capacity to fund this clean-up work – it cannot be allowed to become a future burden to the SA taxpayer or wider community.

“Existing federal government standards require the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu to isolate its radioactive tailings for at least 10,000 years. The same standard must be applied at Olympic Dam – especially as BHP has confirmed that three of Olympic Dam’s existing tailings dam are in the global ‘extreme risk’ category. There should be no new pressure on this already compromised tailings management system without comprehensive and independent review.”

December 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, uranium | Leave a comment