Australian news, and some related international items

Despite Minerals Council lobbying, Australia’s Environmental Law prohibits nuclear and limits uranium mining

K-A Garlick, Nuclear Free WA, 22 July 20, This week, the interim report of the review into the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act – Australia’s federal environmental laws was released. This found that the Federal government should maintain the capacity to intervene in uranium mining and that there be no change to the existing prohibition on nuclear activities, including domestic nuclear power.

Environment groups have given a cautious welcome to this continuation of the status quo, especially in the face of lobbying by the Mineral Council of Australia to weaken nuclear protections and scrutiny. This outcome is a tribute to the efforts of those who have worked hard over years to highlight the deep community concerns with the nuclear industry.

While no amount of regulation can make uranium mining socially or environmentally acceptable, it can reduce the impacts.  The reports sensible approach means it is now incumbent on both State and Federal government to ensure the highest standards or rigour, transparency and public interest.

The nuclear power ban has been retained despite years of concerted effort by the Mineral Council of Australia and pro-nuclear lobbyists to have this removed. Again, this is testimony to the power, importance and effectiveness of sustained community advocacy and action.

In future updates, there will be more information on further developments and action to take, but in the meantime zip over to the excellent resource page, Don’t Nuke the Climate, Australia for all information and myth-busting to keep sharing that nuclear power cannot solve the climate crisis.  Click on website link

July 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Australian govt trying to keep its $1.3bn arms purchase a secret, a dangerous precedent

Coalition says making public parts of $1.3bn Thales arms deal audit would penalise weapons company

Australian government claims disclosure would damage chances of multinational Thales to sell Hawkei combat vehicle to other countries,  Guardian  Christopher Knaus,    The Australian government is arguing parts of an audit of a $1.3bn arms purchase must be kept secret because a multinational weapons company Thales would have trouble selling its product if they were disclosed.But the administrative appeals tribunal has heard that such an argument if allowed to stand would have a “devastating effect” on the auditor general’s ability to transparently and publicly criticise other government purchases.

The tribunal is hearing a case between the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and crossbench senator Rex Patrick, who is fighting through freedom of information for full release of a 2018 audit report examining the government’s acquisition of the $1.3bn Hawkei combat vehicle fleet from French-based manufacturer Thales.

After representations from Thales, the attorney general, Christian Porter, made an extraordinary and largely unprecedented intervention to redact sections of the audit on the grounds they unfairly prejudiced Thales’s commercial interests and threatened Australia’s national security and defence.

The Guardian has since revealed the redacted material included a cost-comparison suggesting that Australia could have saved money by purchasing a different vehicle – the joint light tactical vehicle – from the United States…….

July 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The spread of climate denial on Facebook

‘Everybody’s entitled to their opinion – but not their own facts’: The spread of climate denial on FacebookThe arguments are that people can’t trust scientists, models, climate data. It’s all about building doubt and undermining public trust in climate science’, Independent Louise Boyle, New York @LouiseB_NY, 24 July 20, 

An article linking climate change to Earth’s solar orbit went viral last year, racking up 4.2million views on social media and widely shared on Facebook. It was the most-engaged with climate story in 2019, according to Brandwatch.

There was just one problem. It wasn’t true.

Facebook removed the article from Natural News, a far-right conspiracy outlet with 3 million followers, after it was reported.

But the spread of misinformation on the climate crisis by groups who reject climate science continues on Facebook and other social media platforms.

While tech giants have taken steps to remove, or label as false, potentially harmful misinformation on the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a seeming acceptance of those who spread false theories on the climate crisis.

In August, an op-ed by two members of the CO2 Coalition, a pro-fossil fuel nonprofit with close ties to the Trump administration, was published in the Washington Examiner and subsequently posted to the group’s Facebook page.

The article, which claimed climate models are inaccurate and climate change has been greatly exaggerated, was initially tagged as “false” by five scientists from independent fact-checkers Climate Feedback who said it used “cherry-picked” evidence and deemed its scientific credibility “very low”.

Facebook doesn’t check content but outsources to dozens of third-party groups. A fact-checker’s false designation pushes a story lower in News Feed and significantly reduces the number of people who see it, according to Facebook policies.

The CO2 Coalition did not take the fact-checkers’ decision lying down, branding Climate Feedback “alarmists” and writing an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. They succeeded in having the false label removed.

Andy Stone, Facebook’s policy communications director, told the New York Times last week that all opinion content on the platform, including op-eds, has been exempt from fact-checking since 2016…………

July 25, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

A corrupt industry – bankrupt US nuclear financing schemes

How bankrupt US nuclear financing schemes are going to be used to fund nuclear power in the UK to fund nuclear power.     by David Toke  24 July, 20  As different types of corrupt pro-nuclear handouts in the USA unravel the British Government is expected to support bringing in a legalised version of bankrupt US nuclear financing practices to fund Sizewell C nuclear power plant.

The US nuclear power industry is in danger of implosion as corrupt practices used to maintain its old power plant and pay for new plant are the subject of prosecutions. In Ohio the Speaker of the House of Representatives has been arrested on account of charges that he was bribed to ensure that nuclear power and coal plant in Ohio were given bailouts whilst policies supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency were cut back.

Meanwhile in South Carolina the Securities and Exchange Committee has charged executives of the State’s monopoly utility with fraud after the abandonment of two of the only four nuclear reactors  whose construction has been started in the USA this century. According to the Wall Street Journal: ‘The defendants claimed the project was on track even though they knew it was significantly delayed and wouldn’t be completed on time by Jan. 1, 2021, to qualify for $1.4 billion of federal tax credits, the securities regulator alleged’. In the process the electricity consumers were charges billions of dollars for the power plant which were not built through a similar cost recovery process that is proposed for the UK.

Over to Florida, and while nobody has been charged with any offences there is great controversy over the way the dominant state utility has charged the electricity consumer for a nuclear power plant that was never built. In this case they never even got as far as breaking ground, but the consumers had to pay out  $871 million as well as lots more money for other bungled projects relating to nuclear energy. Florida, like other US  states has simultaneously erected huge barriers stopping homeowners (in the so-called ‘Sunshine State’) from putting solar panels on their roofs.

According to the New York Times: ‘Florida is one of eight states that prohibit the sale of solar electricity directly to consumers unless the provider is a utility. There is also a state rule, enforced by the utilities, requiring expensive insurance policies for big solar arrays on houses’.

Meanwhile in Georgia, the third state to use the cost recovery method for financing nuclear plant, the only two nuclear power plant being built in the USA (Vogtle III and IV) are hopelessly delayed with massive cost overruns, again, yes you’ve guessed it, with costs paid by electricity consumers.

Of course all of these real or abandoned nuclear plant were financed under the so-called Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model that is being slated to pay for Sizewell C in the UK. This is hailed as a much cheaper way to pay for nuclear power compared with the way that Hinkley C is financed. Cheaper, for the developer (in this case EDF), certainly, but for the electricity consumer it’s a disaster! The consumer, as the US experience clearly illustrates, starts paying and continues paying for a nuclear power plant long before it is generating any energy, and there is no guarantee even that it will ever generate anything! But the consumer still pays, no matter what the constructions cost overruns turn out to be! And invariably, with nuclear power plant, there are very large cost overruns.

Added to this of course the bias in favour of new nuclear as opposed to new renewable energy schemes is also assured. The contracts nuclear power are being given assure them that they will get paid the premium price for energy generated even if wholesale electricity prices are negative whereas windfarms and solar farms will get nothing in such circumstances. See our report on this. Of course there’s nothing illegal in this because mountains of impenetrable contractual and accountancy paperwork make it so. It is just written by the the people who have the energy establishment’s interests at heart.

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Nuclear Industry’s Watergate – massive corruption case in Ohio

Nucleargate in Ohio  Huge criminal racketeering conspiracy orchestrated reactor bailouts, more By Linda Pentz Gunter, 24 Jul 20 

It’s been a bit of a Watergate week for nuclear power, with individuals in two states arrested for criminally defrauding the public to keep nuclear power alive. In Ohio, it was public officials, backed by nuclear company money, who illegally orchestrated a massive subsidy. In South Carolina, it was the arrest of an energy company official who has pled guilty to a $9 billion nuclear fraud. This week, we feature the Ohio story. Next week, it will be South Carolina’s turn. Continue reading

July 25, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy and the industry surrounding it ‘is a complete scam’ 

Nuclear energy and the industry surrounding it ‘is a complete scam’  

That’s the bold claim from Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, who told Energy Live News that the UK ‘has been one of the most incompetent countries in developing nuclear infrastructure’, Jonny Bairstow,   4 July 20, 
Nuclear energy and the industry surrounding it is a complete scam.

That’s the bold claim from Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, who told Energy Live News’ Editor Sumit Bose that both traditional nuclear infrastructure and emerging technologies such as small modular reactors (SMRs) were “unbelievably expensive” and said it was “preposterous” that the industry “still lays claim to such political attention”.

The renowned environmentalist said nuclear power plants can only be built with “massive” government subsidies at the cost of other energy sources which he suggested are much cheaper, safer and less environmentally damaging.

He stressed the only reason the nuclear civil industry still exists in the UK is to build the skills needed to maintain the nation’s military nuclear expertise and alleged that historically, the UK has been one of the most incompetent countries in developing nuclear energy.

He said: “I’m amazed that this industry still thinks it has a case to make, I mean it’s been talking about next-generation nuclear reactors for as long as I can remember, fusion power has always been precisely 40 years away, it was when I joined the green party in 1974 and you’ll be surprised to know Sumit, It’s now 30 years away – in 30 year’s time we’re not going to be worrying about these things at all.”

Mr. Porritt added that suggestions from opponents of renewable energy that clean technologies such as solar panels never achieve payback in terms of their climate impacts are “utter rubbish” and noted carbon payback is usually delivered around 18 months after a solar panel has been installed.

July 25, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Millions displaced, hundreds killed in South Asia floods

July 25, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Virtual tours planned at atomic bomb museums – Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Virtual tours planned at atomic bomb museums,  Two Japanese museums dedicated to documenting the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki plan to offer virtual tours online in cooperation with an international NGO devoted to the elimination of nuclear weapons.They are planning the events as the number of international visitors to these museums has dropped sharply due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kawasaki Akira, a member from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, unveiled the plan online on Monday.

The exhibits at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum will be shown live on Instagram. Volunteers and researchers from universities will explain the displays in English.

The Hiroshima museum will hold the virtual tour on Wednesday for about 30 minutes after closing time, between 6:30 p.m. and 7p.m. Japan time.

The Nagasaki museum will hold it on Friday for about 30 minutes before opening time, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Japan time.

Kawasaki said his group and the museums want to do everything possible online as various activities have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said he wants to offer young people abroad an opportunity to find out about the damage and aftereffects of the atomic bombings of the two cities.

July 25, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

More than 200 prominent Australians issue urgent call to act on climate — RenewEconomy

Leading Australians – former politicians, public servants, artists and academics – issue an urgent plea for action on climate change, saying Covid-19 is a ‘dress-rehearsal’. The post More than 200 prominent Australians issue urgent call to act on climate appeared first on RenewEconomy.

More than 200 prominent Australians issue urgent call to act on climate — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Taylor appoints his former advisor and a prominent RET critic to ARENA board — RenewEconomy

ARENA overhaul sees a former advisor to Angus Taylor appointed to the board, along with one of the most prominent critics of the renewable energy target. The post Taylor appoints his former advisor and a prominent RET critic to ARENA board appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Taylor appoints his former advisor and a prominent RET critic to ARENA board — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Population — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

population’s daughter product, climate change, might continue destroying life long after Humans are gone.

Population — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 24 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “European Renewables Just Crushed Fossil Fuels. Here’s How It Happened” • The EU has seen rosy results for green energy of late. There was a 7% drop in demand due to Covid-19, and plenty of sunny and windy weather. But more lastingly, Austria, Spain, and Sweden closed their last coal-fired power plants, while […]

July 24 Energy News — geoharvey

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All Australia’s coal generators could close by 2040 and it won’t be as big a deal as you’d think — RenewEconomy

Panel of energy experts suggest coal closures may not be as big a deal, and may happen faster than predicted, provided the transition is properly managed. The post All Australia’s coal generators could close by 2040 and it won’t be as big a deal as you’d think appeared first on RenewEconomy.

All Australia’s coal generators could close by 2040 and it won’t be as big a deal as you’d think — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment