Australian news, and some related international items

Antarctica – global heating and nuclear issues – theme for September 20

Antarctica is not in the news as much as the Arctic is,  But global heating is affecting Antarctica too, and Antarctica has its nuclear issues.

Antarctica has made headlines several times this year due to extremely warmer than usual temperatures. It has been steadily heating up for decades.  Antarctic ice shelves have lost nearly 4 trillion metric tons of ice since the mid-1990s, scientists say. Ocean water is melting them from the bottom up, causing them to lose mass faster than they can refreeze.  As ice shelves melt, they become thinner, weaker and more likely to break. When this happens, they can unleash streams of ice from the glaciers behind them, raising global sea levels. Antarctica is also losing ice from melting ice sheets, and chunks of ice falling from glaciers.

Less studied than the Arctic region, Antarctic is now being investigated by Australian researchers, using robots to gather data from difficult to reach underwater areas. Satellite monitoring confirms the shelves’ melting trend.

Nuclear issues.  From 6,000 nautical miles away, uranium mining in Australia is polluting the Antarctic.  After 1945 atomic bomb testing sent radioactive pollution to the South Pole, as well as to everywhere else on the planet.

USA  operated  a small nuclear power plant at Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound. It was known as “nukey poo” because of its frequent radioactive leaks. It had 438 malfunctions – nearly 56 a year – in its operational lifetime, including leaking water surrounding the reactor and hairline cracks in the reactor lining. The emissions of low level waste water where in direct contravention of the Antarctic Treaty, which bans military operations as well as radioactive waste in Antarctica. After the reactor was closed down, the US shipped 7700 cubic metres of radioactive contaminated rock and dirt to California.  Many USA naval workers there developed cancers.

Today, small nuclear reactors similar to this one, are being touted for remote areas in Australia and other countries. The history of this one in Antarctica, and 7 others elsewhere, was one of malfunctions, and closing down within a few years. This does not augur well for the small nuclear reactors being promoted today.

August 22, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, climate change - global warming, technology | Leave a comment

Australia’s Dept of Industry hiding the facts on choice of Kimba nuclear waste site

Kazzi Jai No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 22 Aug 20, 

DIIS: This is the statement we are going to hide behind. If we repeat it often enough people will just give up and stop questioning us…..surely?
It is a longstanding practice not to disclose information about the operation and business of the Cabinet, including if or when a matter went to Cabinet, as to do so could potentially reveal the deliberations of the Cabinet, which are confidential.”

FRIDAY NIGHT QUIZ QUESTION: How many times did the DIIS quote this EXACT SAME STATEMENT in their “Answers to Questions Notices” tabled recently for the Senate Inquiry?….more

August 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Keep uranium in the ground!  

Keep uranium in the ground!

Nuclear is part of the old, dirty and dangerous way of producing energy. In the age of cheap, reliable, clean energy, we just don’t need it. 21 Aug 20,

The media have reported that NSW Cabinet members have bowed to pressure from One Nation Leader Mark Latham and Nationals Leader John Barilaro to overturn a ban on uranium exploration and mining.

But there is still time for people like you and me to stop this disaster. Cabinet is set to make a decision this Monday (August 24), ahead of a vote in parliament.

WE URGENTLY NEED YOU to ask your MP to commit to voting down this terrible law.

Will you please also ask them to pressure their Party Leader to reject the plan and vote against it if it comes to parliament?

Uranium mining in other parts of Australia has left a terrible legacy of radioactive pollution, including in the Northern Territory where a massive $1 billion clean-up is underway at the Ranger mine in the middle of Kakadu national park.

Toxic uranium mining could become legal in NSW within weeks if your local MP supports a One Nation and National Party deal to overturn a 30-year ban.

August 22, 2020 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Adam Bandt urges another Labor-Greens coalition for climate action

Adam Bandt urges another Labor-Greens coalition for climate action,, By Rob Harris, August 21, 2020 —Greens leader Adam Bandt will mark 10 years since his party signed a deal to prop up the Gillard government by flagging he would be willing to again form a power-sharing deal with Labor to combat climate change.The Melbourne MP will use his address to the Greens National Conference on Saturday to urge Labor leader Anthony Albanese to commit to acting on carbon pollution by again entering into progressive pact

Labor is currently locked in a fierce internal battle over its support for coal and gas production as it wrestles with three successive election losses and poor results at the polls last year in resource-rich regional Queensland seats.

Veteran frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon warned on Thursday his party could soon split in two, arguing it is struggling to be “all things to all people” across its inner city and regional voter bases.

Mr Bandt will tell his party faithful that it was only with the Greens holding the balance of power in both the House of Representatives and the Senate which led to “world leading climate action with a price on carbon”.

“In recent Australian history, there is one indisputable fact. The only time that climate pollution meaningfully dropped is when the Greens shared power,” Mr Bandt says in a draft copy of the speech.

“When the Greens, Labor and independents worked cooperatively and shared power like we did in 2010, we got a lot done.

As Liberal and Labor rush once more to give tax cuts to millionaires while embracing coal and gas, it is clear that Greens sharing power is the pathway to change.

Mr Bandt will also use the speech to say the climate deal reached with the Gillard government was stronger and more effective in reducing carbon emissions than the Rudd government’s scheme it blocked in the Senate.

Mr Bandt said the nation was currently facing major issues – inequality, climate change and a COVID-induced economic crisis.

Warning of a federal election within 12 months, Mr Bandt will say the path to climate policy progress was to put the Greens into shared power through a hung parliament.

Mr Bandt said the carbon tax legislation by Labor in 2010 with the backing of the Greens was “well-designed” and it reduced pollution for the first time in Australian industrial era history.

He will promise to “hammer” a straightforward message between now and the next election that the “only way to get real change is to vote for it and give the Greens shared power”.

“Many look longingly to New Zealand, where Jacinda Ardern leads a progressive multi-party government with Greens support, and wonder if it could happen here,” he will say.

Mr Albanese on Thursday said Labor had continually evolved and a modern party with “any self-respect” would be attempting to mitigate the effects of climate change.

In a rebuke to Mr Fitzgibbon, he said the issue of climate change was not a matter of geography because “wherever people live, they’re impacted by climate change”.

“Were about also holding the government to account. Putting forward an alternative agenda for the nation,” he said.

“One that is about jobs. One that’s about an economy that works for people, not the other way around.”

August 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Labor Left weighs up plan for ‘drastic’ climate policy 

Labor Left weighs up plan for ‘drastic’ climate policy
  The Australian, 21 Aug 20

Opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler has signalled he will not back down to Joel Fitzgibbon’s plea for Labor to adopt a more moderate climate change agenda, with the Left faction heavyweight urging environmental activists to push the party to be “more ambitious and more courageous” on the issue. … (Subscribers only)

August 22, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The end of the environment – Bob Brown

The end of the environment Saturday Paper, Bob Brown 21 Aug 20 

The prime minister’s post-Covid-19 plan is to roar ahead with a slate of mega-projects that would be delayed by any proper consideration of their environmental and Indigenous heritage impacts. While the EPBC Act rarely leads to any project being given the thumbs down, it does require environmental impacts to be assessed, and this takes time. The government’s solution? Get rid of the federal assessment. …. (subscribers only)

August 22, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Slowing of population growth could be a good thing for Australia

August 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

How the climate crisis is already harming America – photo essay

How the climate crisis is already harming America – photo essay
The damage rising temperatures bring is been seen around the country, with experts fearing worse is to come, Guardian , by Oliver Milman in New York, with photographs compiled by Gina Lachman 21 Aug 20

Climate change is not an abstract future threat to the United States, but a real danger that is already harming Americans’ lives, with “substantial damages” to follow if rising temperatures are not controlled.

This was the verdict of a major US government report two years ago. The Trump administration’s attitude to climate change was perhaps illustrated in the timing of the report’s release, which was in the news dead zone a day after Thanksgiving.

The report was the fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA), and is seen as the most authoritative official US snapshot of the impacts of climate change being seen already, and the estimate of those in the future.

It is the combined work of 13 federal agencies, and it warns how climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social and economic wellbeing are rising, and will continue to grow without additional action.

Here we look at the regions of the US where it describes various impacts, with photography from these areas showing people and places in the US where climate change is very real.

If there was a ground zero for the climate crisis in the US, it would probably be located in Alaska. The state, according to the national climate assessment, is “ on the front lines of climate change and is among the fastest warming regions on Earth”.Sign up to the Green Light email to get the planet’s most important stories

Since the early 1980s, Alaska’s sea ice extent in September, when it hits its annual minimum, has decreased by as much as 15% per decade, with sea ice-free summers likely this century. This has upended fishing routines for remote communities that rely upon caught fish for their food.

The thinning ice has seen people and vehicles collapse into the frigid water below, hampering transport routes.Roads and buildings have buckled as the frozen soils underneath melt. Wildfires are also an increasing menace in Alaska, with three out of the top four fire years in terms of acres burned occurring since 2000. The state’s residents are grappling with a rapidly changing environment that is harming their health, their supply of food and livelihoods.

Last year was the hottest year on record in Alaska
, 6.2F warmer than the long-term average.

North-east – snowstorms, drought, heatwaves and flooding…………

Northern Great Plains – flash droughts and extreme heat………

Midwest – heavy rains and soil erosion……

South-east – flooding in Louisiana………

Southern Great Plains – Hurricane Harvey……

South-west – drought in the Colorado river basin reduced Lake Mead by more than half since 2000…….

North-west – wildfire increases and associated smoke…..
Hawaii and Pacific islands – coral bleaching….….

Caribbean – hurricanes….

August 22, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA: National opposition to transport and siting of “Interim”nuclear wastes

National resistance builds against nuclear waste facility near Carlsbad

Nationwide opposition of a nuclear waste storage facility proposed to be built near Carlsbad and Hobbs continued its call for the licensing process for the project to be suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission deny the application altogether.

Holtec International proposed to build the site to store high-level spent nuclear fuel rods transported to southeast New Mexico from generator sites across the county.

Many of the rods are already stored in cooling pools near the generator sites, which supporters of the project said were unsafe as many are located near large bodies of water or densely populated areas.

The concept of Holtec’s consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) was to temporarily store the spent fuel in a remote location while a permanent repository was developed.

Such a facility to permanently store the waste does not exist in the U.S.

The idea faced opposition from New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard along with other state lawmakers.

And during a Thursday public hearing held by the NRC, numerous nuclear watchdog groups from around the country voiced their opposition.

The NRC announced last week it would hold four such online hearings including Thursday’s with others scheduled for Aug. 25, 26 and Sept. 2 to solicit public comments on the Commission’s recently released environmental impact statement (EIS).

The EIS released earlier this year found the project would have minimal environmental impacts during the construction, operation and decommissioning of the facility.

The EIS was required for the first phase of Holtec’s plan for 500 cannisters to be stored, but the NRC also considered the company’s expressed intention to apply for future permits for 19 additional phases for a total of 10,000 cannisters of nuclear waste.

Leona Morgan of the Nuclear Issues Study Group based in Albuquerque said the online hearing process was unjust as many New Mexicans live without adequate internet or phone service to participate in electronic hearings.

While she called for the NRC to reject Holtec’s application, citing safety and environmental risks to the region of the facility and communities along the transportation routes, Morgan also questioned the hearing process itself as it continued during the global pandemic.

Leona Morgan of the Nuclear Issues Study Group based in Albuquerque said the online hearing process was unjust as many New Mexicans live without adequate internet or phone service to participate in electronic hearings.

While she called for the NRC to reject Holtec’s application, citing safety and environmental risks to the region of the facility and communities along the transportation routes, Morgan also questioned the hearing process itself as it continued during the global pandemic.

The Nuclear Issues Study Group, which held a continued presence during the past three public hearings held this year, and NRC’s scoping meetings held in 2018, would boycott the rest of the proceedings, Morgan said.

“There are a large portion of our state that lives without phone or internet service. Our organization is boycotting the rest of these proceedings. It is a sham. There is no reason to rush this process except to line the pockets of shareholders,” she said.

“We see this as a violation of our rights to submit our public comments under the National Environmental Policy Act. And it violates environmental justice. We can’t even verify that the NRC is sitting before us.”

More:Nuclear waste site near Carlsbad opposed by indigenous groups during public hearing

John LaForge, of nuclear watchdog group Nukewatch of Wisconsin also voiced his opposition to the project and ongoing proceedings, pointing to widespread opposition in New Mexico and among Tribal nations.

He demanded public hearings be held in up to 40 states other than New Mexico that could be impacted by the transportation of waste.

“There is no compelling reason at this time for these meetings to be rushed. I opposed this plan due to the governors of New Mexico and of 20 tribal nations,” LaForge said. “With these online meetings, it is apparent to me that the NRC has no interest in the public’s concerns. The people of New Mexico have said no.”

He also criticized the EIS as the NRC noted in the report it would expect no radiation release should there be an accident at the facility.

“In its review, the NRC said it assume in an accident there would be no release of radiation,” LaForge said. “That is alarming and preposterous.”

Petuuche Gilbert of the Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment based in the Acoma Pueblo near Albuquerque also questioned the EIS as it only considered the environmental impacts of the project for 40 years and only within a 50 mile radius.

“We believe the analysis needs to go beyond the 40 year possibility of storing the waste. We all know the nuclear waste and radioactivity extends beyond that limited timeframe. It really needs to go on for hundreds or thousands of years,” Gilbert said.

“You have the possibility of accidents that could occur along the transportation corridors. The cumulative analysis is limited only to a 50 mile radius. It really needs to be more.”

Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.

August 22, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Global heating keeps hitting France’s nuclear industry

Low flow rate may halve output at France’s Saint-Alban nuclear plant,   PARIS, Aug 20 (Reuters) – A low flow rate on the Rhone River will likely restrict output on Saturday and Sunday at EDF’s Saint-Alban nuclear plant in southeastern France, French grid operator RTE said on Thursday.The two Saint-Alban reactors produce 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of power each, and the output reduction could be equivalent to the production of one unit, RTE said.

EDF’s use of water is regulated by law to protect plant and animal life. It is obliged to reduce output during hot weather when water temperatures rise, or when river levels and the flow rate are low.

Last month was the driest July in at least 60 years and the first half of August was the second hottest on record, making it the fifteenth consecutive month with higher than average temperatures, Meteo France data showed.

RTE published a similar warning for the Chooz reactors in northern France on Tuesday, as low water levels on the Meuse river risk extending current maintenance periods.

French nuclear availability is currently at 63.6% of total capacity, with 22.7 GW offline. (Reporting by Forrest Crellin; Editing by Jan Harvey)

August 22, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Anthropogenic CO2 increase is unprecedented,

Anthropogenic CO2 increase is unprecedented, Science Daily 
August 20, 2020
University of Bern
Even in earlier warm periods there were pulse-like releases of CO2 to the atmosphere. Today’s anthropogenic CO2 rise, however, is more than six times larger and almost ten times faster than previous jumps in the CO2 concentration.

A new measurement technology developed at the University of Bern provides unique insights into the climate of the past. Previous CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere could be reconstructed more accurately than ever before, thanks to high-resolution measurements made on an Antarctic ice core. The study, which analyzed the Earth’s atmospheric composition between 330,000 and 450,000 years ago, was made possible by the commitment of experts, and their decades of experience, at the University of Bern. The results of the study have been published in Science.

Melting ice masses disturbed the ocean circulation…………

CO2 increase was ten times slower than today ……..

The largest jump in the past corresponds to the current CO2 emissions over only six years

The researchers compared the CO2 jumps of the past with the ongoing human-driven rise of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. According to Stocker, the largest centennial CO2 jump in the past was around 15 ppm (parts per million is the unit for atmospheric CO2 concentration), which is approximately equivalent to the increase caused by humankind over the last of six years. “This may not seem significant at first glance,” says Stocker, “but in light of the quantities of CO2 that we are still allowed to emit in order to achieve the 1.5°C climate target agreed in Paris, such increases are definitely relevant.” The findings of this study put us under even greater pressure to protect the climate.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Bern

August 22, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

“Why do you want to go electric?” Some Australian car dealers only want to sell ICE — RenewEconomy

A potential electric car buyer is first rebuffed, then talked down, by two separate dealerships, highlighting the need for more dealer support in selling electric vehicles. The post “Why do you want to go electric?” Some Australian car dealers only want to sell ICE appeared first on RenewEconomy.

“Why do you want to go electric?” Some Australian car dealers only want to sell ICE — RenewEconomy

August 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 21 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Natural Gas Is Not All It’s Fracked Up To Be” • If we have learned anything from climate science, it is that humanity must stop burning fossil fuels. Full stop. There is no other way to keep the Earth from heating to the point where humans can no longer survive on its surface. […]

August 21 Energy News — geoharvey

August 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar drinking water for Adelaide, as Happy Valley Reservoir adds 5B array — RenewEconomy

Works begin on 12MW ground-mounted solar array for SA Water reservoir that supplies the drinking water for nearly half of metropolitan Adelaide. The post Solar drinking water for Adelaide, as Happy Valley Reservoir adds 5B array appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Solar drinking water for Adelaide, as Happy Valley Reservoir adds 5B array — RenewEconomy

August 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Golden Plains wind farm set for 2021 construction after Supreme Court win — RenewEconomy

Westwind’s 800-1000MW Golden Plains wind farm set to begin construction in 2021, after legal challenge dismissed by Court of Appeal. The post Golden Plains wind farm set for 2021 construction after Supreme Court win appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Golden Plains wind farm set for 2021 construction after Supreme Court win — RenewEconomy

August 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment