Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Labor rejects National Radioactive Management Amendment Bill.   2020- Josh Wilson MP

This bill is not a sensible or appropriate way in which to move towards the waste storage solution. It puts the program at risk. That’s why we don’t support the bill.
There is plenty of room [at Lucas Heights] in that interim storage facility, so there’s no issue with space as far as intermediate-level waste is concerned, and there’s no issue in relation to safety or health concerns either

Hansard , Mr JOSH WILSON (Fremantle) Senate Committee Inquiry into National Radioactive Management Amendment Bill.   2020.  “…….. There is no question that Australia needs to make progress when it comes to the proper long-term storage of nuclear waste. It is just that this bill doesn’t help take us towards that end. It’s taken us 40 years and it’s cost$55 million to get us to this point. ……..

Effectively this bill seeks to rush and force the issue of community acceptance, which is a mistake. The ministerhas the power to make the decision in question. You can only guess that the reason for this legislation is to lockin an outcome, when the minister and the government accept that there are some concerns with the communityacceptance process that has occurred so far.

The bill effectively also wants to ignore, avoid and further neglect the key issue of a permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste.  There are two kinds of waste that this bill proposes to send to a site in South Australia—low-level waste and intermediate-level waste—and they are very different. A lot of what has been said, including what the minister said in introducing this bill, glides over that difference in a way that is wrong and is certainly not helpful in terms of getting to where we need to get to with a permanent disposal site for low-level waste and a permanent site for intermediate-level waste…..

We have to get towards a long-term disposal solution, and yet this bill raises two serious questions about how the government wants to take us there. There’s concern over the site selection process, which goes to the question of consultation, engagement and community agreement, and there are concerns about the purpose and function of the facility…….

Departmental officials came before the energy and environment committee when we were inquiring into nuclear energy, and they gave us some very rough estimates of what the construction of the site itself would cost. That will be somewhere around $340 million to $350 million. That’s for the construction of the site, and that was described to us as a conservative estimate.Bizarrely, there is no current process underway with even a single dollar of government resources going towards the issue of a permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste. It’s quite strange. It’s almost hard to believe that, when it’s taken us 40 years to get to the brink of a permanent site for low-level waste, there is not yet any departmental group or any taskforce on this and there’s not a single dollar going to the process of site selection,engineering design or anything else around the question of a permanent disposal site……

There is plenty of room [at Lucas Heights] in that interim storage facility, so there’s no issue with space as far as intermediate-level waste is concerned, and there’s no issue in relation to safety or health concerns either……where is the evidence that there is anyproblem with the intermediate-level waste staying where it is, as it should do, until the government of Australiaidentifies and resources an appropriate permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste? …..When the interim facility was set up, there was no suggestion it was only for a few years. The licence that exists for the storage of the intermediate-level waste at Lucas Heights runs to 2055. …

ARPANSA is aware that some stakeholders have interpreted ARPANSA’s decisions regarding the IWS— which is the intermediate-level storage— as a requirement for relocation of the waste stored in the IWS, even suggesting that there is an urgent need for relocation. This is not correct. ARPANSA has not raised safety concerns regarding storage of waste at the IWS. ANSTO seems to share this view. ANSTO has indicated to ARPANSA that the mandatory recertification of the TN-81 casks every 10 years can be carried out at the IWS

But the claims that the government and government members in this place have made that intermediate-level storage needs to go to South Australia because there’s no room for it and that there are health and safety concerns about where it is currently are rubbish.

And so it should stay where it is as a spur to the government to get on with the process, which currently hasn’t even started, of finding and resourcing a permanent disposal site. That is not occurring, and that’s one of the chief flaws of this bill. ……

They need to immediately start and resource the process of a permanent disposal site for intermediate-level waste. They should commit to maintaining that waste where it is currently stored, which is another reason for an inquiry on this issue.

……..there are members of the government running around saying that nuclear power should be part of our energy mix in our communities across Australia. Frankly, that is not only deeply irrational but ridiculous and unhelpful in the task this bill presents to us.

This bill is not a sensible or appropriate way in which to move towards the waste storage solution. It puts the program at risk. That’s why we don’t support the bill.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

South Pole warming at triple the global average

‘Nowhere to hide’: South Pole warms up with climate change a factor, https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/nowhere-to-hide-south-pole-warms-up-with-climate-change-a-factor-20200629-p55797.html, by Peter Hannam, June 30, 2020  The South Pole, the most remote part of the planet, has been warming at triple the global average, as natural variability joins with climate change to produce an abrupt shift in temperature trends.The findings, published Tuesday in the Nature Climate Change journal, show surface temperatures at the South Pole were stable in the first couple of decades of instrument records into the 1980s.

A record-breaking cold for a spell then made way for even warmer temperature anomalies from the early 2000s. For the 1989-2018 period, the mercury rose an average of 0.6 degrees per decade, or three times the global warming rate, the researchers found.

The report on the flipping of temperature trends at the most southerly point comes as abnormal warmth continues to bake the planet’s other polar extreme. The Russian town of Verkhoyansk last week reported 38 degrees, the warmest reading ever recorded within the Arctic Circle.

For Antarctica, the recent accelerated warming is estimated to be about two-thirds the result of natural variability with the role of rising greenhouse gases contributing about one-third, said Kyle Clem, a post-doctoral research fellow at New Zealand’s Victoria University.

The rapid warming “lies within the upper bounds of natural variability”, Dr Clem said. “It’s extremely rare and it appears very likely that humans played a role.”

The research shows “there’s no place on earth that’s immune to global warming”, he said. “There’s nowhere to hide – not even up on the Antarctic Plateau.”

Sitting at 2835 metres above sea level – or 600 metres higher than Mt Kosciuszko – on a rocky continent, the South Pole is exposed to different weather processes than its polar opposite. By contrast, the North Pole rests on shifting sea ice with the seabed more than four kilometres below.

Dr Clem, along with other researchers from the US and the UK, found changing circulation patterns in the Pacific and Southern Ocean determine which parts of Antarctica warm or cool.

For instance, the western tropical Pacific has periods when is warmer or cooler than usual.

The warmer period – known as the negative phase of the so-called Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – set in about 2000. During this phase, there is more storm activity in the tropics which in turn spawns more high- and low-pressure systems that send heat far into the high latitudes.

The circumpolar westerly winds, which have been strengthening and contracting polewards under climate change – also play a role in amplifying the transfer of warmth into Antarctica.

When those two patterns align, as they have in recent decades, the South Pole warms but some parts, such as western Antarctica warm at a slow pace or even cool, as the frigid air shifts around.

Michael Mann, Director of the Earth System Science Centre at the University of Pennsylvania, said the study provided “a very detailed and useful analysis” of the forces at play in the far south.

If anything, though, the researchers’ use of model simulations to reach conclusions about regional trends probably understates the role of human-caused climate change.

“In short, what the authors attribute to natural internal cycles might just be a shift in atmospheric circulation that is actually due to human-caused climate change but isn’t accurately captured in the average over models,” Professor Mann said, in an email that included those italics.

The recent polar extremes – including eastern Siberian temperatures above 40 degrees – were important because “what happens in the poles doesn’t stay in the poles”, the prominent climate scientist said.

Changes at the South Pole itself were not as critical as the warming of the Southern Ocean, which is leading to the collapse of the West Antarctic ice shelves and the destabilisation of the interior ice sheet.

“This was not well predicted by climate models, meaning we are further along when it comes to the destabilisation of ice sheets and the commitment to rising sea levels than we expected to be at this point,” Professor Mann said.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

It’s time to get emotional about climate change

Rebecca Huntley on why it’s time to get emotional about climate change, SMH, By Caitlin Fitzsimmons, June 28, 2020 —Rebecca Huntley had to submit her manuscript for her new book on climate change just as the country was entering lockdown for coronavirus.

The book, How to Talk about Climate Change in a Way that Makes a Difference, to be published this Thursday July 2, is based on social science rather than science. What scientists know about climate change is the jumping off point for Huntley’s exploration of the psychology behind activism, disengagement and denial.

“I nearly called it How to Talk about Climate Change with Your Drunk Uncle,” says Huntley, a social researcher and author. “It’s a bit derogatory but it’s about the idea that everybody who is concerned about climate change has somebody in their life who wants to pick a fight with them about it. Do we fight them or not?”

If the book is about the human factor in the climate change equation and society has just been through major disruption in the form of the pandemic and lockdown, it begs the question whether anything has changed since April, when she submitted her final edits.

The short answer is yes. Huntley says the way the pandemic has played out, at least in Australia, has given her unexpected hope.

She knew greenhouse emissions would go down if people stayed at home, industry was closed and flights were grounded and she knew there would be stories, some of them apocryphal, about wildlife reclaiming human spaces.

stories about low emissions and environmental rejuvenation would mean that people associated climate action with personal deprivation, that we’ve all got to be locked in our homes, losing our jobs, not being able to hug our aunt and uncle and not being able to go on holidays … or out to dinner and the movies,” Huntley says. “I thought if people thought that was the sacrifice we have to make in order to do something about climate change, it would be hugely detrimental.”

The book’s thesis is that the climate change argument won’t be won by reason alone: it’s time to get emotional. Huntley writes about her own emotional transformation from a citizen who believed in the science of climate change and tried to act accordingly to a citizen who believed in the science of climate change and organised her entire personal and professional life accordingly. Her belief in the scientific consensus did not shift, her world-view did……. https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/rebecca-huntley-on-why-it-s-time-to-get-emotional-about-climate-change-20200625-p5561z.html

June 30, 2020 Posted by | climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

France’s EDF in a financial pickle over huge costs of UK’s Hinkley C nuclear project

Dave Toke’s Blog 27th June 2020, The chickens are coming home to roost for EDF for their questionable decision to go ahead with building Hinkley C -a decision they took despite the lack of certainty over whether they would get enough backing from the British Government.

Originally EDF was publicised as being offered UK Treasury loan guarantees that had been widely touted as a vital basis for building Hinkley C. But now the French Financial Markets Regulator has
sanctioned EDF for not flagging up how conditional such loan guarantees were. These loan guarantees have never materialised.

Essentially, EDF is now continuing to build Hinkley C using money borrowed on its own balance
sheets – borrowings which are much more costly than UK Government backed guarantees and which reduce its own (EDF) profitability.

The Finance Officer of EDF actually resigned at the time EDF decided to go ahead with building Hinkley C. Of course all this is happening at the same time when we are being asked to believe that the next EPR (at Sizewell C) is going to be delivered at low cost to the consumer if the risk of building the plant is transferred from EDF to the British taxpayer and consumer!

This is the so-called RAB mechanism, something that could well just turn out to be an
almost unlimited cash facility for EDF to park their financial black hole in the centre of British finances (as well as those of the French).

https://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.com/2020/06/edf-sanctioned-by-french-regulators-for.html

June 30, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Melbourne factories and universities sign bulk supply deal with Victoria wind farms — RenewEconomy

A group of prominent Melbourne universities, factories and other businesses targeting zero emissions sign bulk purchasing deal with Victorian wind farms. The post Melbourne factories and universities sign bulk supply deal with Victoria wind farms appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Melbourne factories and universities sign bulk supply deal with Victoria wind farms — RenewEconomy

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ombudsman to have greater powers to protect consumers with solar, storage — RenewEconomy

 

Energy ombudsman could have new powers to oversee complaints relating to new energy technologies such as solar and battery storage provided by electricity retailers. The post Ombudsman to have greater powers to protect consumers with solar, storage appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Ombudsman to have greater powers to protect consumers with solar, storage — RenewEconomy

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 29 Energy News — geoharvey

 

Opinion: ¶ “Maine Woods Would Benefit From Power Line Project” • Ensuring a healthy future for the Maine Woods – its plants and trees, animals and fish, jobs and industries – requires us to recognize its biggest threat: climate change. To reduce the devastating effects of climate change, we must take some big steps. And […]

via June 29 Energy News — geoharvey

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coal’s share of Australia’s grid scale generation tumbles below 70% for first time — RenewEconomy

TAI report shows that as renewables flourish, total sent-out coal-fired power fell to below 66% of total generation and to less than 70% of grid-level generation, excluding rooftop solar. The post Coal’s share of Australia’s grid scale generation tumbles below 70% for first time appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Coal’s share of Australia’s grid scale generation tumbles below 70% for first time — RenewEconomy

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment