Australian news, and some related international items

Ethics, Nuclear Power, and Global Heating – theme for December 2019

“Ethics” seems to be a dirty word in this strange era in which “Economics”, (i.e money) is apparently the only credible argument for taking any action.

Yet, now, under those truly awful shadows of a heating planet, and nuclear conflict, ethics might be our only sane guide.

What are ethics in relation to climate and nuclear issues?

Surely – ethical behaviour,  -behaving decently and honestly. In the face of these dire threats – this is the way to go.

Not that it’s easy. No-one wants to pay the price, – changed employment, lifestyle changes, increased taxes….

BUT – we have borrowed this world from our children, and great grandchildren.  We need to return it in good condition.

This means facing up to the reality of all the effects of climate change, the horrors of nuclear weapons, the environmental poison of ionising radiation.

And then – taking action on all levels, from the personal to global co-operation. A tall order?  It means plain, honest, speaking, just treatment of under-privileged groups and countries, taking investment out of dirty industries.

An impossible order? Perhaps, but it would be a shame not to try. Even in this period of ethically and often environmentally ignorant , narcissistic national leaders Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolsonaro, Scott Morrison …….still there are thousands of individuals and groups working for a clean and nuclear-free planet.

We don’t need to be taken in by the big words and twisted arguments of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries and their bought politicians and journalists. The facts on climate change are clear. The facts on nuclear dangers are clear.

Even the economic facts point us to climate action and to scrapping nuclear power and weapons. But surely, human beings can do better than that, and be guided by ethics.

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Pastoralists relieved that Hawker is safe from threat of nuclear waste dump. Kimba is now the nuclear lobby’s target

Attention back on Kimba as Hawker nuclear site dumped, Stock Journal

QUINTON MCCALLUM, 19 Dec 2019,  A LACK of community support has prompted the federal government to scrap Hawker as a potential site for the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, with speculation turning to what the decision means for Kimba.With 52.7 per cent of ballot papers from the recent Flinders Ranges community vote not supporting a proposed nuclear waste facility at Wallerberdina Station, Resources Minister Matthew Canavan conceded there was not enough community support and he would no longer consider the site……

The decision to remove Hawker from the site shortlist has been met with relief from the region’s pastoralists.

Kate and Paul Greenfield, South Gap Station, were one of 14 stations in the region who signed and sent a united statement to Mr Canavan stating their strong opposition to any nuclear facility in the lead-up to the ballot.

They held concerns about the proposed site’s proximity to the Lake Torrens catchment and the impact of such a facility on the region’s reputation.

“I think that decision (to not consider Hawker) is incredibly wise,” Mrs Greenfield said.

“It had me perplexed that Hawker was considered as a site in the first place.

“There is a bid for world heritage status for the Flinders Ranges so I didn’t think it sat comfortably to have a nuclear waste dump right beside a world heritage site.” …..

Mr Canavan said he would make an announcement on site selection early next year, with the Napandee and Lyndhurst sites near Kimba still being considered.

While 61.6pc of Kimba residents voted in favour of a radioactive waste facility being built in their region in November, Kimba farmer and facility opponent Peter Woolford said the result was not a clear cut indication of broad community support.

“There’s a long way to go in all of this yet and I still believe they’re imposing it on the community here with nearly 40pc opposed,” he said.

“By Hawker being removed – and so it should have been – it is going to open up this debate to the thought of ‘this is bigger than Kimba’.”

Mr Woolford said the people of SA should be involved in the discussion concerning the construction of a radioactive waste facility and it would be unfair to have a small community make the final decision on a national facility of that nature.

He noted there were only 734 votes in the Kimba ballot, a “tiny proportion” of the state’s population.

“People outside of Kimba should have a say on this because it’s a national issue,” Mr Woolford said……

December 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Australian bushfire crisis deepens with record breaking temperatures

SA hard hit as Australian fires burn into the night – as it happened

Australian bushfire crisis deepens with record breaking temperatures – video report

Calla Wahlquist (now), Amy Corderoy and Naaman Zhou (earlier), Fri 20 Dec 2019
Melbourne was shrouded in smoke, catastrophic fire warnings issued for parts of New South Wales on Saturday and in South Australia one person died and eight have been injured.

  • New South Wales is bracing for catastrophic bushfire conditions on Saturday. A catastrophic warning has been issued for Greater Sydney, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, and Southern Ranges — all areas where fires are currently burning. The Greater Hunter, ACT and Central Ranges will have extreme conditions.
  • RFS deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said it would be a “miracle” if more houses were not lost in NSW tomorrow.
  • Fire chiefs in NSW, SA and Victoria have all emphasised that they may not be able to get a warning to people, and they cannot guarantee they will be able to get a firetruck to everyone affected by bushfires. The recommendation, across the country, is to leave early. “Early” means before the fire approaches — not after the embers have begun falling.
  • People in NSW have been told to put off travel tomorrow because the Princes Highway, Western Highway, Hume Highway and other major arterial roads could be cut.

December 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

32 eminent academics and authors refute the claim that “nuclear power is sustainable”

December 21, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

50 year guarantee on nuclear waste casks- pretty useless contents remain radioactive for as long as 7 billion years.when

Paul Waldon  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges 20 Dec 10,   The reassurance of a 50 year guarantee on a TN81 Dry-Cask that can not be remedied when compromised adds no comfort when its contents remain radioactive for as long as 7 billion years.

December 21, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison’s brand damaged by silly cover-up of his Hawaii holiday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison pulls pin on Hawaii family holiday, but the damage is already done, ABC , By political editor Andrew Probyn , 20 Dec 19,  Australia’s marketing expert Prime Minister has just had his first major product recall.Scott Morrison’s brand has been damaged, as he wings his way back to Australia from Hawaii, a trifle shop-soiled and humiliated.

And all because Morrison and his office thought they could engineer silence on a family holiday.

As so often in politics, it’s the cover-up that gets you.

No-one begrudges the fellow going on holiday with his wife and lovely girls who have probably seen less of their dad this year than any in their short lives.

And he’s undoubtedly knackered from a hectic year in which he pulled off a miracle election win…….

There was no official public note issued of his absence and when one Press Gallery journalist inquired with the Deputy Prime Minister’s office as to whether Michael McCormack was Acting PM, the journalist was referred back to the PM’s Office.

And when a couple of journos asked the PMO to confirm the boss was in Hawaii, they were told this was incorrect.

Here’s a tip for the PM’s minders: don’t compound a fudge with a fib……

Morrison is actually lucky more pressure hasn’t been appliedMorrison can be grateful that Anthony Albanese has been very measured this week. Albanese has visited members of the Rural Fire Service, making breakfast for volunteers, but has constrained his commentary……

It is now very clear that the Coalition must recalibrate its climate and energy policies.

Amid the smoke haze, the community horror and angst, this is a point of real clarity.

Morrison’s attempt last week to reassure Sydneysiders concerned by the incessant bushfire haze, by asserting he’d seen it all before, didn’t cut it. Nor does it now…..

December 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Students’climate protest outside Scott Morrison’s residence. Greens MP arrested

‘Time politicians did something’: Greens MP among arrested at Kirribilli climate rally, Students rallied outside Scott Morrison’s Sydney prime ministerial residence to demand action on climate change. SBS News, BY TYRON BUTSON, 20 Dec 19,   NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge was among 10 people arrested by police outside Sydney’s Kirribilli House as they demanded the prime minister take action on climate change.

Demonstrators rallied outside Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s official Sydney residence on Thursday, protesting the PM’s overseas holidays as unprecedented bushfires burn across the state.

Some protesters had vowed to camp out on site until the PM returned from holidays until they were confronted by police on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Shoebridge, a NSW Upper House Greens MP, was among those protesters charged with failing to move on.  He took aim at Mr Morrison, saying it was high time politicians left parliament to join the community demanding climate action.

Mr Shoebridge, who alleges he was trying to comply with police directives to move on when he was arrested,  will face Manly Local Court on 16 January. ….

Some of the demonstrates were clad in Hawaiian shirts, while others carried placards asking “ScoMo where the bloody hell are ya?” and “When do our firefighters get a holiday?”…. HTTPS://WWW.SBS.COM.AU/NEWS/TIME-POLITICIANS-DID-SOMETHING-GREENS-MP-AMONG-ARRESTED-AT-KIRRIBILLI-CLIMATE-RALLY

December 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Busting the false claims of the thorium lobby

Fact-check: Five claims about thorium made by Andrew Yang, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , By John KrzyzaniakNicholas R. Brown, December 18, 2019   Andrew Yang, like many of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, has an ambitious plan to wean America off of fossil fuels. Unlike many of the other candidates, however, a key piece of his plan to address climate change involves harnessing nuclear power—in particular thorium. According to Yang, thorium is “superior to uranium on many levels.” But Yang isn’t alone; thorium boosters have been extolling its supposed virtues for years.

Do the claims about thorium actually hold up? The Bulletin reached out to Nicholas R. Brown, an associate professor in the department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Tennessee, to examine five common claims about thorium and next-generation nuclear reactors. Brown’s responses are below.

…….. the public has good reason to be skeptical that thorium can or should play any role in the future.

Claim: Thorium reactors would be more economical than traditional uranium reactors, particularly because thorium is more abundant than uranium, has more energy potential than uranium, and doesn’t have to be enriched.

False. Although thorium is more abundant than uranium, the cost of uranium is a small fraction of the overall cost of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy economics are driven by the capital cost of the plant, and building a power plant with a thorium reactor is no cheaper than building a power plant with a uranium reactor. Further, using thorium in existing reactors is technically possible, but it would not provide any clear commercial benefit and would require other new infrastructure.

Additionally, there is technically no such thing as a thorium reactor. Thorium has no isotopes that readily fission to produce energy. So thorium is not usable as a fuel directly, but is instead a fertile nucleus that can be converted to uranium in a reactor. Only after conversion to uranium does thorium become useful as a nuclear fuel. So, even for a reactor that would use thorium within its fuel cycle, most energy produced would actually come from uranium fissions.

Claim: Next generation thorium reactors would be safer than current reactors.

True but misleading.……. the benefits are a function of the inherent safety in the next-generation designs, not the utilization of thorium.

Claim: The waste from thorium reactors would be easier to deal with than waste from today’s uranium reactors.

False. A comprehensive study from the US Energy Department in 2014 found that waste from thorium-uranium fuel cycles has similar radioactivity at 100 years to uranium-plutonium fuel cycles, and actually has higher waste radioactivity at 100,000 years.

Claim: Thorium would be more proliferation-resistant than current reactors—you can’t make nuclear weapons out of it.

False. A 2012 study funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration found that the byproducts of a thorium fuel cycle, in particular uranium 233, can potentially be attractive material for making nuclear weapons. A 2012 study published in Nature from the University of Cambridge also concluded that thorium fuel cycles pose significant proliferation risks…

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Nuclear war in space? Even the U.S. Democrats voted for it!

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russia covered up a major nuclear accident. Scientists now locate the source

December 21, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Eight new electric vehicle models set to join Australia market in 2020 — RenewEconomy

At least 8 new electric vehicle models will hit Australian shores in 2020, opening up choice for drivers wanting to reduce transport emissions or simply have the latest in auto tech. The post Eight new electric vehicle models set to join Australia market in 2020 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Eight new electric vehicle models set to join Australia market in 2020 — RenewEconomy

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Telsa Models X and 3 ranked among Australia’s Top 3 safest cars for 2019 — RenewEconomy

Two of out three of Australia’s independently ranked safest cars are electric vehicles, and both of those are Teslas. The post Telsa Models X and 3 ranked among Australia’s Top 3 safest cars for 2019 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Telsa Models X and 3 ranked among Australia’s Top 3 safest cars for 2019 — RenewEconomy

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 20 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “This Century Is An Era Of Climate Retreat, Both Managed And Unmanaged” • Fifteen years after Hurricane Katrina, the population of New Orleans is down 100,000, an unmanaged retreat. An alternative is managed retreat. Communities are looking at ways to deal with the consequences of climate change. Moving the whole town is just […]

via December 20 Energy News — geoharvey

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grid “balanced on a knife edge”: AEMO flags more solar delays in Victoria — RenewEconomy

AEMO warns solar project owners that constraints and delays may be long lasting as it seeks a solution to issues “unprecedented in any power system.” The post Grid “balanced on a knife edge”: AEMO flags more solar delays in Victoria appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Grid “balanced on a knife edge”: AEMO flags more solar delays in Victoria — RenewEconomy

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia prices hit market cap as temperature records tumble — RenewEconomy

Period of low prices in South Australia comes to an abrupt end amid third day of unprecedented heatwave. The post South Australia prices hit market cap as temperature records tumble appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via South Australia prices hit market cap as temperature records tumble — RenewEconomy

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment