Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

This week in nuclear/climate news

News is, by its nature, all about bad stuff. Whatever is normal, reasonable, decent,  is ordinary, and just not news, – a fact that we need to remind ourselves of, in these uncertain Covid-19 days.  There’s a lot of good will for changing society’s trajectory towards ruining our planet.  Half of the Earth’s ice-free land is still free from human impactPost-pandemic packages could green up our energy systems for environmental and economic benefit.   Some seemingly small ideas can have surprisingly large successes – for example, fast-growing mini-forests springing up in Europe are helping the climate.

Another bit of good news –  Elders Around the World in Their 80s, 90s, and 100s Are Bouncing Back From Virus – and Sharing Advice.

AUSTRALIA

Australia’s Environment Laws have no teeth, are in much need of strengthening.  Australia’s very bad record on environment: it’s no time to weaken our laws.

NUCLEAR  Don’t send uranium to India- Dr Vaishali Patil speaks to Australia.   Former weapons chief executive now South Australian Premier’s top advisorReviews of two TV shows on Australia’s nuclear history at Maralinga.

National Radioactive waste Dump Plan.  Australia’s govt rushes nuclear waste Bill through Lower House, but this story is not over.  Labor, Greens and 2 Independents voted against it.    The Maritime Union of Australia (SA branch) rejects Nuclear Waste Bill, discusses transport dangers.  Is Napandee another Maralinga?

Government -owned Woomera a better site than agricultural land, for nuclear waste dump. MP Rowan Ramsey depicts town of Kimba as failing, desperate to have nuclear waste dump for its survival.  Senator Rex Patrick – nuclear waste dump should not go on agricultural land.

Submissions to Senate Inquiry.

CLIMATE.  Australian Government’s Covid-19 advisory body – stacked with fossil fuel big-wigs, but their conflicts of interest kept secret.  Australia is one of world’s worst transport polluters: Covid-19 response could change this.  Four ways a smart government can create jobs and cut emissions.  The latest on Adani and the decline of thermal coal.

RENEWABLE ENERGY.  Australia’s best performing wind and solar farms in May.   How community-owned renewables could lead Australia’s Covid-19 recovery plans.   Western Australia is emerging as the new hot spot for wind energy in Australia.  Contracts awarded for Brisbane’s $1b all-electric Metro bus projectMorrison’s $25,000 renovation grant could deliver full energy retrofit for social housing.

INTERNATIONAL

Our existential threat – our extinction.

Cloud studies indicate that global heating may be more alarming than anticipated.  Global heating to bring more frequent, more extreme, ocean waves.  Seeking ways to remove carbon from the air.

The last major treaty for nuclear weapons control now hangs in the balance.

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Is Napandee another Maralinga?

Kim Mavromatis Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges, 15 June 20, 

The similarities between Napandee and Maralinga are frightening.

The dangers of British Nuclear Bomb Testing and Radioactive Fallout were downplayed and sugarcoated by the British and a complicit Australian Federal govt at Maralinga in South Australia in the 1950’s and 60’s.
In 2020, 60 years later, the dangers of Radioactive Nuclear Waste, to be dumped on farmland in South Australia, is also being sugarcoated and downplayed by the federal govt.
Spent Nuclear Fuel (other nations classify as High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste, which is 10,000 times more radioactive that uranium ore) and reprocessed Spent Nuclear Fuel (still contains 95% of the radioactivity of HLRNW), is to be transported halfway across Australia, from Lucas Heights in NSW and other unknown sites, and dumped at a farmland facility in South Australia.
The Federal govt sugarcoating of the Radioactive Nuclear Waste dumps process is eerily similar to the way the British and complicit Australian Federal govt at the time handled Nuclear Bomb testing and Radioactive Fallout at Maralinga. Aboriginal rights (and the Black Lives Matter movement) are being swept aside in South Australia by the Australian Federal govt, just like Maralinga, and the farmland site selected for the radioactive nuclear waste dumps, Napandee, near Kimba on Eyre Peninsula, has the potential to become another notorious modern-day Maralinga.
ABC series “Operation Buffalo” about British Nuclear Bomb testing at Maralinga.  ABC TV : Sundays at 830pm  https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/

June 15, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Do Australia’s politicians really understand the effect of nuclear radioactive contamination on agricultural land?

Mike Hancy Fight To Stop A Nuclear Waste Dump In South Australia, 15 June 20

Politicians do not seem to understand the meaning of a half-life. They seem to get it mixed up with termination of radioactivity. A half-life of 100 years means that in 100 years time there will be half as much radioactive material and in another 100 years there will be half as much material radiating. It takes 1000’s of years for the material to get to the point at which the radiation from the material is negligible.
By that time it has rendered substances in the neighbourhood to be radioactive, some may have a half-life of 1000’s or even tens of thousands of years. That means that it cannot be used for feeding livestock or growing crops. It will pollute the whole environment, causing widespread cancers among animals and humans and it will act in an insidious way, being noticed very slowly by degrees, becoming a permanent pandemic. No. We do not want Radioactive dumping on farmland or anywhere in South Australia. mo https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/

June 15, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s Environment Laws have no teeth, are in much need of strengthening

‘No checks, no balances’: push for change to environment laws, The Age, By Mike Foley, June 14, 2020 Australia’s 20-year-old flagship environmental protection laws are failing badly and in urgent need of an overhaul, the crossbench senator who helped the Howard government install the landmark legislation says.

“Clearly it’s not working well,” former Democrats senator Andrew Bartlett said ahead of an imminent review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. “The most obvious failure is despite the fact conditions can be attached to project approvals, there are just so many cases where conditions aren’t adhered to. There are no efforts to check and no penalties.”

Mr Bartlett stared down bitter opposition from some powerful players in the conservation movement and sided with the Howard government against Labor and the Greens to vote for legislation in 1999.

The act was an attempt by the Howard government to modernise environmental protection laws and was controversial because it significantly increased the environment minister’s powers, such as allowing them to intervene in project approvals to protect threatened species.

Since the act’s introduction, Australia’s list of nationally threatened species and ecosystems has grown by more than one-third – from 1483 to 1974.

The act is being reviewed by the former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Graeme Samuel, who is due to complete his report for Environment Minister Sussan Ley later this month.

Both conservationists and industry are unhappy with the application of the act. Conservation groups say successive governments have not used the powers in the act to protect threatened species, while industry argues the act has delayed development because of so-called “green law-fare”.

Australian Conservation Foundation policy co-ordinator James Trezise said “the idea that vexatious litigation is rife under national environment law is not borne out by the evidence”.

“There have been less than 50 public interest cases under the EPBC Act in 20 years,” he said.

Professor Hugh Possingham, one of the scientists who advised the Howard government on the legislation, said the act had failed to protect the environment.

“There’s no ambiguity in the science, the EPBC Act isn’t delivering,” Professor Possingham told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. ……

The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists’ submission to Mr Samuel’s review said the “objectives of the [EPBC] act are not being met”….. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/no-checks-no-balances-push-for-change-to-environment-laws-20200610-p55180.html

June 15, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Green Recovery

New Statesman 11th June 2020, Post-pandemic packages could provide the perfect opportunity to green up our energy systems for environmental and economic benefit. In June of 1993, Germany’s energy companies took out a series of newspaper adverts. Their
message was a grim, possibly self-serving, prediction, that sun, wind and water power would only ever meet four per cent of the country’s needs.
Now over half of Germany’s electricity comes from renewable sources, although there has been more scepticism along the way. “In 2002 I was told by two engineers that renewables could never provide more than 10 per cent of electricity in Germany,” says Jan Rosenow, director of European programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project, an independent organisation aimed at accelerating the clean energy transition. “In the first quarter of 2020 it was 51.9 per cent.” The very notion of a renewables-dependent grid was considered by many engineers as “pipe dream”, says John Murton, the UK’s COP26 climate summit envoy.
This week, Britain passed the landmark of burning no coal to generate power for a full two months. A decade ago, about 40 per cent of the country’s electricity came from coal. During lockdown, as much as 30 per cent of power has come from renewables. Research led by Oxford University and economists Nicholas Stern and Joseph Stiglitz shows green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns and lead to increased long-term cost savings compared to traditional fiscal stimulus. “Green fiscal recovery packages can act to decouple economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions and reduce existing welfare inequalities that will
be exacerbated by the pandemic in the short-term and climate change in the long-term,” says the study published in May 2020.

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/energy/2020/06/why-clean-energy-post-covid-19-stimulus-plans-climate-change 

June 15, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Cloud studies indicate that global heating may be more alarming than anticipated

June 15, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Researchers find that half ofthe earth’s ice-free land is still free from human influence

June 15, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

France’s submarine accident a reminder of the ever present danger of nuclear catastrophe

Why The Catastrophic Fire On A Nuclear Submarine Is Nothing To Gloat About https://www.forbes.com/sites/hisutton/2020/06/14/why-the-catastrophic-fire-on-a-nuclear-submarine-is-nothing-to-gloat-about/#ef9667d2ffd0

As details emerge of the fire aboard the French submarine Perle on Friday, it seems unlikely to me that the boat will be returned to service. Whichever way you look at it, the fire is a terrible blow for the French Navy (Marine Nationale). Their submarine fleet is already stretched. But France’s misfortune brings home a basic reality that it could happen to any navy.

The cause of the fire, which took most of Friday to extinguish, has yet to be determined. Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, was reported by Naval News as saying on June 13 that the “cause for such a strong (and rapid) fire is still unknown.” She also said that if the boat turns out to be fixable, everything will be done to repair it. Any hint of optimism in this statement may point to the terrible predicament that it will leave the French Navy in if it cannot be repaired.

No Reason To Gloat

You will not find many in the defense community laughing at France’s expense. When a Russian or Chinese warship suffers a similar accident, many casual observers are quick to make jokes. Less so the defense community.

For example on April 13 a Chinese Type-075 assault carrier caught fire in Shanghai. That ship, the first of its type, was being fitted out before delivery. The types of work done during refit are similar to the deep overhaul that Perle was being subject to. Or in December last year a Russian aircraft carrier caught fire.

But the Western defense community is very aware that these accidents could equally apply to their home navies. Overhauling ships and submarines is ‘hot work’ and fires can easily occur.

The fire took 14 hours to put out, from 10.35am until 00.50 am the next morning. This may sound like a long time, but the U.S. Navy had a similar experience dealing with a fire aboard the Los Angeles class submarine USS Miami in 2012. That fire, which was also during an overhaul, lasted 12 hours and caused so much damage that the boat had to be written off. In the American case it turned out that the fire had been started deliberately by a dockyard worker hoping that the alarm would get him off work early.

In general, fires aboard submarines can be harder to put out. This is because of the cramped spaces aboard, and also because there are very few openings into the submarine. And they can be more devastating than a similar fire aboard a surface vessel because the heat can deform the steel hull. On a surface vessel this can be repaired more easily, but with a submarine it can make the hull weaker so that it is no longer safe to dive. This is why I am not optimistic that she will be repairable.

The fire was not as bad as it could have been. Fortunately the nuclear reactor had apparently already been removed. So the fire has not been categorized as a nuclear accident. And the torpedoes and missiles had also been unloaded so there was no risk of them exploding.

Many core systems, such as the combat system and sonar, had also been removed. So if the hull can be saved, then returning her to service is at least feasible. But everything seems to depend on whether the hull itself has been weakened.

June 15, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fast-growing mini-forests spring up in Europe to aid climate

June 15, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

June 14 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Why We’re Overweighting Renewable Energy” • With the tentative return of demand, West Texas Intermediate oil just posted its best month on record in terms of price percentages. But some analysts say global oil demand may never fully recover. I believe this makes alternative and renewable energy a more attactive long-term investment. [ETF […]

via June 14 Energy News — geoharvey

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia is one of world’s worst transport polluters: Covid-19 response could change this — RenewEconomy

 

ClimateWorks report says national EV strategy needed to cut transport emissions, and push for quieter, healthier and cleaner cities. The post Australia is one of world’s worst transport polluters: Covid-19 response could change this appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australia is one of world’s worst transport polluters: Covid-19 response could change this — RenewEconomy

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How community-owned renewables could lead Australia’s Covid-19 recovery plans — RenewEconomy

Independent MP Helen Haines leading regional groups arguing community energy – including wind, solar and battery storage – should form major plank of Covid-19 recovery plans. The post How community-owned renewables could lead Australia’s Covid-19 recovery plans appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via How community-owned renewables could lead Australia’s Covid-19 recovery plans — RenewEconomy

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Four ways a smart government can create jobs and cut emissions — RenewEconomy

 

Done well, post-Covid government spending can make Australia’s economy more productive, improve quality of life and help the low-carbon transition. Here’s how. The post Four ways a smart government can create jobs and cut emissions appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Four ways a smart government can create jobs and cut emissions — RenewEconomy

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adani news, June 2020 — John Quiggin

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis rolls on, slowed a bit by the economic impact of travel restrictions. The campaign to stop carbon dioxide emissions, including those from the Adani Carmichael project, has to continue as well.It’s now almost a year since Adani Mining gained the final environmental approvals for the construction of the…

via Adani news, June 2020 — John Quiggin

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment