Australian news, and some related international items

13 top Australian non government organisations say that the Kimba nuclear waste dump plan is illogical

There is no logic behind the proposal to move intermediate-level waste from interim above-ground storage at Lucas Heights to interim above-ground storage at the Kimba site. The proposed double-handling is illogical, it exposes communities to unnecessary risk, and ARPANSA’s Nuclear Safety Committee has indicated that it is not consistent with international best practice.

[ The group makes 10 excellent RECOMMENDATOINS to the Senate Committee]

Joint NGO Submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee Inquiry into National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 Submission 101
The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill amends the National Radioactive Waste Management Act to specify a site near Kimba in South Australia for a nuclear waste ‘facility’ ‒ a repository for low-level waste and an above-ground ‘interim’ (indefinite) store for long-lived intermediate-level waste.

The Bill is deeply flawed and should be rejected. Further, the existing Act is deeply flawed and should be repealed Continue reading

May 12, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) question government’s plan for nuclear waste dump near Kimba, South Australia

Time for action over proposed nuclear dump,    Michele Madigan  April 24, 2020   

The Federal Government has recently announced its plans to establish a national nuclear waste ‘facility’ near Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. It will comprise a permanent dump for low-level nuclear waste, and an ‘interim’ store for long-lived intermediate-level nuclear waste (LLILW)
Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) includes representatives of religious congregations of women and men throughout the nation. Some time ago they voiced their concerns about this project which depended on particular landholders simply offering a site. As a group historically involved with the education of generations of young Australians, CRA noted well their concerns ‘that short term proposals for the storage of Australia’s nuclear waste will leave insoluble problems for present and future generations’, LLILW remains toxic for an unimaginable 10,000 years. There are no present plans for its permanent disposal.
Former CRA president Sr Monica Cavanagh had cause to ‘question the sense, the expense and the risks of transporting long lived intermediate nuclear waste from where it is temporarily housed at Lucas Heights with the nuclear experts, 1700 kilometres across the country to be temporarily stored in a regional, yet to be built, facility. Given that most of Australia’s intermediate level nuclear waste comes from Lucas Heights many believe that it should be kept there, at least until a final disposal solution is established
Nuclear medicine can continue in Australia regardless of whether the current proposal goes ahead or not. Nuclear medicine lecturer Dr Margaret Beavis notes that ‘hospitals will continue to deal with nuclear waste as long as they treat patients. Almost all nuclear waste from patients rapidly loses it radiation and is then sent on to the rubbish tip after several months’. X-rays and radiotherapy are not nuclear medicine.

The reality is that over 90 per cent of the waste, measured by radioactivity, is intermediate long-lived waste including the nuclear spent fuel rods and also the parts of the previous nuclear reactor.

Shamefully, the Federal Government has decided to move ahead despite the unanimous opposition of the Barngarla Traditional Owners, native titleholders over the area. Excluded from the Kimba ballot last year, Barngarla people engaged the Australian Election Company to conduct a confidential postal ballot. Not a single Barngarla Traditional Owner voted in favour of the dump.

The Barngala initiated a legal action protesting their exclusion. Sadly their appeal has recently been denied. As Barngarla Traditional Owner Jeanne Miller laments, Aboriginal people with no voting power are put back 50 years, ‘again classed as flora and fauna’.

With just 4.5 per cent of SA being agricultural land, many Kimba region farmers are astounded that their combined livelihoods of $80 million per annum have been put at risk by association with a nuclear LLILW dump. SA environmentalist David Noonan’s careful research of government documents has revealed that Whyalla is the most likely SA port to receive the two shipments in the first two years of operation. There is still no government communication on land transport routes for the fortnightly 50 tonne load B-double trucks from Lucas Heights. Accidents happen.

With Pope Francis’s designation of practical Care for Earth as the 8th Beatitude, a wonderful Lenten/post-Lenten penance might be a concerned letter to alert an Opposition or cross bench SA senator at Parliament House, Canberra 5600. The Senate vote is likely at the end of June.

Michele Madigan is a Sister of St Joseph who has spent the past 38 years working with Aboriginal people in remote areas of SA, in Adelaide and in country SA. Her work has included advocacy and support for senior Aboriginal women of Coober Pedy in their campaign against the proposed national radioactive dump. 

May 12, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Australia listened to the science on coronavirus. Imagine if we did the same for coal mining

Australia listened to the science on coronavirus. Imagine if we did the same for coal mining The Conversation,  Matthew Currell Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering, RMIT University, Adrian Werner, Professor of Hydrogeology, Flinders University, Chris McGrath, Associate Professor in Environmental and Planning Regulation and Policy, The University of Queensland, Dylan Irvine, Senior lecturer in hydrogeology, Flinders University  -12 May 20,
 Australia’s relative success in stopping the spread of COVID-19 is largely due governments taking expert advice on a complex problem. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of decisions on projects that threaten the environment – most notably, Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.Our research published today in Nature Sustainability documents how state and federal governments repeatedly ignored independent scientific advice when assessing and approving the Adani mine’s groundwater plans.

We interrogated scientific evidence available to governments and Adani over almost a decade. Our analysis shows governments failed to compel Adani to fully investigate the environmental risks posed by its water plans, despite concerns raised by scientists.

There is also evidence the government approval decisions were influenced by the political climate and pressure exerted by members of government.

Our findings come as the Morrison government conducts a ten-yearly review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. It is critical these laws – Australia’s most important environmental legislation – are reformed to put rigorous, independent science at the core.

Advice ignored

In mid-2019, the federal and Queensland governments approved groundwater management plans for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine. It granted the company unlimited access to groundwater in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

We and other experts warned the mine threatens to damage aquifers, rivers and ecosystems – in particular, the Doongmabulla Springs Complex. This system contains more than 150 wetlands which support rare plant communities found nowhere else on earth.

The springs are of major cultural significance to the Wangan and Jagalingou people.

We analysed the full suite of evidence on the groundwater plans from agencies and scientists with expertise in hydro-geology. The evidence, provided to state and federal environment ministers, spanned almost a decade and included at least six independent scientific reviews.

The evidence highlighted major shortcomings, and gaps in knowledge and data.  For example –    ………

Once-in-a-decade chance

Our analysis exposes flaws in how evidence informs major government decisions. It also shows why reform of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is so urgent.

The laws are currently under review. Many reputable organisations and scholars have proposed ways the legislation can better protect the environment, increase its independence from government and put science at the core.

Independent scientific committees, such as the federal IESC, are commissioned by governments to advise on mining proposals. We suggest such committees be granted greater powers to request specific data and studies from mining companies to address knowledge gaps before advice is issued.

Alternatively – or in addition – a new independent national commission should be established to oversee environmental impact assessments conducted by mining and other development proponents.

This commission should be empowered to interrogate and resolve key scientific uncertainties, free from political interference. Its recommendations to government should take into account a wide range of expert advice and public feedback.

This would not only improve the evidence base for decisions, but may also speed up assessments – ensuring more effective resolution of uncertainties that often lead to protracted conflict and debate about a mine’s impacts.

Such reform is urgently needed. Australia is suffering unprecedented water stressenvironmental harm and declining trust in government.

Australian governments listened to the science when it needed to flatten the curve of COVID-19. The same approach is needed if we’re to preserve the places we love and the ecosystems we depend on.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Queensland urged to unlock $36bn renewable investment boom in lead-up to election — RenewEconomy

Solar Citizens calls on Queensland government to embrace wind and solar to unlock more than 50,000 new jobs and take the state past 90% renewables. The post Queensland urged to unlock $36bn renewable investment boom in lead-up to election appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Queensland urged to unlock $36bn renewable investment boom in lead-up to election — RenewEconomy

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Water loss in northern peatlands threatens to intensify fires, global warming

Water loss in northern peatlands threatens to intensify fires, global warming  Boreal climate change study features 59 authors,  MCMASTER UNIVERSITY HAMILTON, ON, MAY 11, 2020 – A group of 59 international scientists, led by researchers at Canada’s McMaster University, has uncovered new information about the distinct effects of climate change on boreal forests and peatlands, which threaten to worsen wildfires and accelerate global warming.

Manuel Helbig and Mike Waddington from McMaster’s School of Geography and Earth Sciences gathered observational data from collaborators in countries across the boreal biome. Their study of how ecosystems lose water to the atmosphere appears today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The unprecedented detail of their work has highlighted dramatic differences in the ways forests and peatlands regulate water loss to the atmosphere in a warming climate, and how those differences could in turn accelerate the pace of warming.

Most current global climate models assume the biome is all forest, an omission that could seriously compromise their projections, Helbig says.

“We need to account for the specific behavior of peatlands if we want to understand the boreal climate, precipitation, water availability and the whole carbon cycle,” he says.

“Peatlands are so important for storing carbon, and they are so vulnerable.”

Until now, Helbig says, it had not been possible to capture such a comprehensive view of these water-cycle dynamics, but with the support of the Global Water Futures Initiative and participation from so many research partners in Canada, Russia, the US, Germany and Scandinavia, new understanding is emerging.

As the climate warms, air gets drier and can take up more water. In response to the drying of the air, forest ecosystems – which make up most of the world’s natural boreal regions – retain more water. Their trees, shrubs and grasses are vascular plants that typically take up carbon dioxide and release water and oxygen through microscopic pores in their leaves. In warmer, dryer weather, though, those pores close, slowing the exchange to conserve water.

Together with lakes, the spongy bogs and fens called peatlands make up the remainder of the boreal landscape. Peatlands store vast amounts of water and carbon in layers of living and dead moss. They serve as natural firebreaks between sections of forest, as long as they remain wet.

Peatland mosses are not vascular plants, so as warming continues, they are more prone to drying out. Unlike forests, they have no active mechanism to protect themselves from losing water to the atmosphere. Dehydration exposes their dense carbon stores to accelerated decomposition, and turns them from firebreaks into fire propagators, as shown in previous research from Waddington’s ecohydrology lab.

Drier peatlands mean bigger, more intense fires that can release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming, Helbig says.

“It’s crucial to consider the accelerated water loss of peatlands in a warming climate as we project what will happen to the boreal landscape in the next 100 to 200 years,” he says.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia is uniquely placed to be able to reinvigorate manufacturing through renewable energy

Powering onwards: Australia’s opportunity to reinvigorate manufacturing through renewable energy 8 MAY 2020 Dan Nahum  Centre for Future Work 

Australia enjoys a large landmass with an abundance of renewable energy resources and a low population relative to that landmass. We are the only developed nation to have access to such a large quantity of solar and wind power; we could generate many of our energy needs renewably by using just a very small proportion of our landmass. This means that we enjoy a considerable competitive advantage in the production of renewable energy.

Not only are we able to power an expanded manufacturing sector using renewables, but it is cheaper to do so than to continue down the path of an energy grid that favours and subsidises coal and gas. These economic advantages in turn can expedite a broader economic rebalancing, away from extraction towards production, in which value-added manufactures increasingly supplant the export of raw materials in our economic mix. This will be good for Australia’s economy—and for the world’s emissions.

This paper compiles evidence to demonstrate that Australia can achieve the continuation and resurgence of a vibrant, competitive manufacturing sector based on the even faster development of renewable power. To do this, the paper:

  • reviews the strategic importance of, and opportunities presented by, manufacturing
    • discusses Australia’s competitive advantage in renewable energy
    • shows that, based on the government’s own figures, renewables are already cheaper than coal—and quickly getting cheaper
    • debunks claims about the unreliability of renewables relative to more traditional energy sources
    • identifies examples where renewable power is already in use, or could be put to use, in manufacturing and industrial processes, and instances where we can use our natural and manufactured inputs to add further value to these renewables
    • examines international evidence showing that there is no connection between reliance on fossil fuels and success in global manufacturing trade
    • presents a range of recommendations for government action to capitalise on the opportunity of renewable energy for revitalising Australian manufacturing.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Quick action from governments can drive energy efficiency jobs boom — RenewEconomy

The Energy Efficiency Council and the Property Council of Australia are calling on state and federal governments to prioritise energy efficiency measures in the effort to restart Australia’s economy. The post Quick action from governments can drive energy efficiency jobs boom appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Quick action from governments can drive energy efficiency jobs boom — RenewEconomy

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Angus Taylor’s stalled UNGI program placed on audit hit list — RenewEconomy

Federal expenditure watch dog adds Morrison government’s stalled UNGI scheme to its audit hit list, as concerns are raised over lack of transparency and legal basis. The post Angus Taylor’s stalled UNGI program placed on audit hit list appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Angus Taylor’s stalled UNGI program placed on audit hit list — RenewEconomy

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week in climate, nuclear, (and coronavirus) news

The movement is on, in many countries, to return things to”normal” as the infection “curve” is reported to be “flattening”.  But as lockdown rules are eased, in Germany and South  Korea, infection rates go up again.  With 4 million confirmed cases globally, there is no slowdown in the rate of infection. USA’s death toll is 80,000, while Russia’s and Brazil’s are thought to be soaring.  COVID-19 is such a strange disease. Like climate denialism, –  is a form of coronavirus denial going on?


The Liberal coalition government killing the ABC by 1000 cuts – but a possible way exists to save it.

Australian government stops listing major threats to species under environment laws.  New environment laws must address main cause of the biodiversity crisis – climate change.

Investigative journalism – ‘Under cover of coronavirus’ New South Wales govt approves US company to mine coal beneath a Sydney drinking water dam.

NUCLEAR. Minerals Council of Australia wants radiation risks to be discounted in Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.  Film Maralinga Tjarutja premieres on ABC Sunday 24 May.

 Kimba National Nuclear Waste Dump Plan   Bogus claims and dodgy Fed govt nuclear waste dumps process. Submissions to government:

Western Australian uranium projects floundering, as Cameco’s Kintyre environmental approval lapses.

CLIMATE.  States so far ahead of Australia government, it’s as if they are in a different industrial era. Canberra is a model for using climate action to drive economic recovery, minister says.   Covid-19 co-operation lays out pathway for climate ambition, CMI says.   How “green steel” could replace Australia’s coal industry – and end climate wars.

RENEWABLE ENERGY  States so far ahead of Australia government, it’s as if they are in a different industrial era.  Helen Haines launches renewable energy plan for regional Australia.    Record growth in rooftop solar pushing coal out of Australia market.    Switching to renewables could cut industry energy costs by almost a quarter.

ARENA funds study into smarter solution for system strength issues plaguing solar, wind projects.  Australian Renewable Energy Agency funds end in 2022 – a major blow for solar research.

Queensland’s Yurika to install 15MW of solar on shopping centres.  Lithium Australia assessing the use of recycled battery components as fertiliser micro-nutrients.  South Australia minister aiming for 100 per cent renewables before 2030 .  Victoria calls on feds to “put aside ideology” and pave way for offshore wind.


A potential US extradition of Julian Assange poses existential threats to democracy..

Another world is possible.

Tiny killer agents – Cornaviruses, and also, Nuclear Radiation.  As with viruses, containment of atomic weapons may be good, but eradication is best.  .

International co-operation – essential for Coronavirus action, and for Climate action .  Can Covid-19 response be a model for climate action?.  Climate change – a bigger still challenge follows coronavirus.  A small window of opportunity to stave off rapid global heating.

2020 hurtles toward the warmest year milestone –Heat+ humidity – global heating has already made parts of the world too hot for humans.

Trilateral Track 2 Nuclear Dialogues Consensus Statement.


May 12, 2020 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

May 11 Energy News — geoharvey


Opinion: ¶ “Covid-19 Will Not Slow Southeast Asia’s Shift From Coal To Renewables” • From oil price shocks to billion-dollar bailouts, Covid-19 has caused mayhem. Early signs are that fossil fuel sector volatility is further driving the case for Asia to embrace the security of domestic renewable energy and, if anything, hasten the clean transition. […]

via May 11 Energy News — geoharvey

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fossil fuel incumbents push to delay another crucial energy market reform — RenewEconomy


Crucial National Electricity Market reforms face delays under pressure from large incumbent fossil fuel generators using Covid-19 as a cover to stymie progress. The post Fossil fuel incumbents push to delay another crucial energy market reform appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Fossil fuel incumbents push to delay another crucial energy market reform — RenewEconomy

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Debunking Michael Moore’s myth about life cycle energy needs of wind and solar — RenewEconomy


Contrary to claims made in Michael Moore film Planet of the Humans about life cycle energy for renewables, wind and solar are likely to breed even better returns. The post Debunking Michael Moore’s myth about life cycle energy needs of wind and solar appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Debunking Michael Moore’s myth about life cycle energy needs of wind and solar — RenewEconomy

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment