Way back, Ron Walker, a former federal Liberal Party treasurer, set up a company called Australian Nuclear Energy, with a plan for a nuclear power plant near Portland in western Victoria. Now he’s advocating nuclear energy for South Australia.
Along with former Western Mining boss Hugh Morgan, and dear old has-been Bob Hawke, they plan to lobby Australian federal and state governments, arguing, (of all cases!) that nuclear power would bring cheaper electricity. Source- The Australian 17 Jan 17
China’s Xi calls for a world without nuclear weapons, SCMP, 19 Jan 17, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a world without nuclear weapons at the UN on Wednesday and urged a multilateral system based on equality among nations large and small.
His speech at the United Nations in Geneva came at the end of a diplomatic tour that included a landmark address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, just days before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
Some experts have seen Xi’s Swiss tour as a bid to capture the mantle of global leadership at a time when Washington is clouded by uncertainty with an unpredictable political novice about to take charge.
“Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited and destroyed over time to make the world free of nuclear weapons,” Xi said, according to an official translation.
China has been a nuclear power since 1964.
In an address that stretched beyond 45 minutes, Xi also sought to make the case for a global governance system that strives for a level playing field among countries where interventionist tendencies are resisted……..
While he made no mention of the incoming Republican administration, Xi’s message on nuclear weapons stood apart from Trump’s at times contradictory remarks on American nuclear power……http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2063383/chinas-xi-calls-world-without-nuclear-weapons
Parts of United States are heating faster than globe as a whole A new study shows the Northeast USA will reach the dangerous 2°C warming threshold faster than most of the rest of the planet, Guardian, John Abraham, 17 Jan 17, A new study shows the Northeast USA will reach the dangerous 2°C warming threshold faster than most of the rest of the planet,
Global warming obviously refers to temperature increases across the entire globe. We know the Earth is warming, we know it is human-caused, we have a pretty good idea about how much the warming will be in the future and what some of the consequences are. In fact, when it comes to the Earth’s average climate, scientists have a pretty good understanding.
On the other hand, no one lives in the average climate. We live spread out north, west, east, and south. On islands, large continents, inland or in coastal regions. Many of us want to know what’s going to happen to the climate where we live. How will my life be affected in the future?
This type of question is answered in a very recent study published by scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The team, which includes Dr. Raymond Bradley and researcher Dr. Ambarish Karmalkar looked specifically at the Northeastern United States. They found that this area will warm much more rapidly than the globe as a whole. In fact, it will warm faster than any other United States region. The authors expect the Northeast US will warm 50% faster than the planet as a whole. They also find that the United States will reach a 2 degree Celsius warming 10–20 years before the globe as a whole.
So why does this matter? Well first, it matters because some of the effects people will experience are directly tied to the temperature increase in their region. For instance, we know that warmer air leads to more intense precipitation. In fact, we are already observing increases in very heavy rainfall across the United States (especially in the Northeast). Based on this new research, that trend will only get worse. It means that winters in this region will get warmer and wetter – more winter precipitation will likely occur as rain rather than snow. This affects the availability of water into the spring months. It also means that summers will have more intense heat waves which will lead to more severe droughts.
However, there is another impact to this study……..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/jan/17/parts-of-united-states-are-heating-faster-than-globe-as-a-whole
Climate sceptic a top Hanson pick, The West Australian, Gary Adshead and Daniel Mercer Thursday, January 19, 2017 Geologist and climate change sceptic David Archibald will be named as One Nation’s highest-profile candidate when Pauline Hanson launches the party’s WA election campaign in Perth today.
Mr Archibald, who has written many books and papers trying to debunk global warming science, will attempt to win the Nationals-held electorate of Kalgoorlie.
Mr Archibald and the names of more than 40 other Upper and Lower House candidates will be revealed by Senator Hanson at a campaign launch on the steps of Parliament House.
Claiming that the heating effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is minuscule forms part of his argument against scientists who say the planet is warming. Three years ago he wrote a paper arguing the world was actually cooling…….https://thewest.com.au/politics/state-politics/climate-sceptic-a-top-hanson-pick-ng-b88358823z
Australian solar farm capital intensity halves, due to smarter, cheaper plants, REneweconomy By Jonathan Gifford on 19 January 2017
The capital intensity per watt of the utility scale solar plants in the current development pipeline in Australia is about half that of those that are already operational.
The stark and rapid improvement in the economics of big solar in the country is due to global declines in component costs, but also importantly declining EPC (construction) costs and the deployment of yield-boosting technology like tracking.
With the pipeline of utility scale PV projects growing seemingly on a daily basis, Sustainable Energy Research Analytics (SERA) believes that solar’s increasing competitiveness is due to a large part to a more competitive and efficiency EPC landscape…….http://reneweconomy.com.au/australian-solar-farm-capital-intensity-halves-due-smarter-cheaper-plants-43781/
Solar closing cost gap with wind, conventional power, AFR, Angela Macdonald-Smith, 16 Jan 17 The latest batch of large-scale solar projects have revealed a “new cost paradigm” for the technology in Australia, although costs remain more than double the lowest-cost projects overseas, experts say. Construction contracts awarded to Downer EDI for the Clare solar project and to RCR Tomlinson for the Sun Metals Solar project, both in Queensland, demonstrate a further decline in costs per unit of power produced that makes the projects markedly cheaper than the first utility-scale solar projects built here, said Gero Farruggio at Sustainable Energy Research Analytics (SERA).
“The costs are half of what the the capital intensity was of the ones that are on stream and were built over 2015 and 2016,” Mr Farruggio said. “It’s a huge step forward for the industry and for the future of solar in Australia.”
The progress on costs has been more rapid than expected, and large-scale solar projects are now becoming competitive with wind power and getting “very close” to wholesale electricity prices excluding large-scale generation certificates (LGCs), said SERA director Ben Willacy.
“It really won’t be long before solar projects can compete in Australia without a subsidy and without necessarily relying on LGC revenue,” Mr Willacy said.
Mr Farruggio said that while the cost of solar panels was falling worldwide, increased competition among contractors was also helping improve the economics of local solar projects, with about 15 EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] contractors now fighting it out for work as opposed to just one a few years ago. Work has also slowed in other areas such as mining and energy, helping soften construction costs, while expertise in the area has grown.
Solar developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures late last month awarded a $190 million construction and operations contract for the 100 megawatt Clare project near Ayr to Downer, after striking a deal last May to sell power from the plant to Origin Energy.
RCR Tomlinson said late December it won a contract worth more than $155 million from Korea Zinc’s Sun Metals subsidiary to build a 98.5MW solar project at a zinc operation in Townsville. RCR previously worked on AGL Energy’s Broken Hill solar farm.
A wave of further announcements on construction contracts is expected by the end of the month as the projects that were selected for funding under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s large-scale solar funding round move towards financial close. Those 12 projects, spread across Queensland, NSW and Western Australia, are expected to unlock almost $1 billion of commercial investment……..
The solar power projects will contribute to rising investment in clean energy in Australia thanks to the 2020 Renewable Energy Target. Investment in the sector surged 49 per cent last year to $US3.44 billion, bouncing back after two weak years thanks to renewed confidence in the large-scale RET, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report on Friday.
Tony Abbott slapped down as Malcolm Turnbull opts for ‘minimalist’ reshuffle, The Age Michael Gordon, 16 Jan 17 The Turnbull government has slapped down Tony Abbott’s call for it to ditch its renewable energy target for 2020, declaring there are “no plans” to change the policy that was settled when Mr Abbott was prime minister.
Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, told Fairfax Media the government’s intention was to stick with its policy and contrast it with Labor’s commitment to a more ambitious target.
In a direct repudiation of Mr Abbott’s assertion that the existing policy would increase prices, reduce reliability and threaten heavy industries, Mr Frydenberg said: “The government has no plans to change the 2020 RET which was settled just 18 months ago providing investor certainty.”
Mr Abbott delivered a scathing critique of the government on Saturday,……… He said the government’s first move this year should be to introduce legislation to protect existing renewable generation “but to remove all further mandatory use requirements”.
Mr Abbott said the existing policy would almost double renewable energy supplies in the next four years, increasing power costs and reducing reliability…….http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-slapped-down-as-turnbull-opts-for-minimalist-reshuffle-20170115-gtrtgh.html
“ there was nothing in the analysis that we did post the royal commission report being tabled down that gave us any form of comfort that there wasn’t huge economic risk associated with this proposal.”
Marshall: Nothing’s off the table – except nuclear, INDaily, Adelaide Monday January 16, 2017
Liberal leader Steven Marshall says he has an open mind on policy solutions, today declaring South Australia “can’t afford to take one single solitary thing off the table” – only minutes after launching a strident defence of his unilateral move to take nuclear waste storage off the table.
In an interview on ABC Adelaide, Marshall was asked about the Liberals’ policy agenda, with little more than a year before he leads the party to another state election……
The Liberals were put in the spotlight last week when former senator Sean Edwards mused about a push by business supporters to see him installed into state parliament, and possibly to replace Marshall as leader. Edwards refused to rule out either scenario, repeating earlier disenchantment over his party’s decision to withdraw support for a broad discussion over a proposed nuclear waste dump…….
Marshall said of the party room’s decision to withdraw support for further nuclear debate: “A lot of people are out there saying it’s a political decision by Steven Marshall and the Liberal Party; nothing could be further from the truth.”
“We welcomed the royal commission in the first place, in fact we were the only party that was talking about the nuclear opportunity for South Australia before the last election,” he said.
“But there was nothing in the analysis that we did post the royal commission report being tabled down that gave us any form of comfort that there wasn’t huge economic risk associated with this proposal.”…… http://indaily.com.au/news/politics/2017/01/16/marshall-nothings-off-the-table-except-nuclear/
It is a good idea to at least test the feasibility of deep boreholes. As one resident said “Something must be done with the wastes”. There is no obligation on that community to agree to actually accept high level nuclear waste – only to host the testing of the deep bore concept.
The whole project would really make sense if it were combined with a definite plan to STOP MAKING TOXIC RADIOACTIVE WASTES, by closing down all nuclear reactors. This could be done, with genuine good will, and planning for compensation and transition to other employment for workers in the nuclear industry.
New Mexico town steps up for nuclear borehole project LMT Online, , January 15, 2017 “……. The U.S. Energy Department, Quay County and two energy development companies say the nation’s latest nuclear waste experiment could inject as much as $40 million into the county’s economy. Nara Visa residents just have to agree to let the companies drill a three-mile-deep borehole — seven times deeper than the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad — into the crystalline, granite crust of the earth a few miles outside of town, on land currently occupied by fat, black cattle.
Right now, the project is pegged as a scientific experiment. The Energy Department says no nuclear waste will be placed in the test borehole.
The ultimate goal is to find a permanent place to dispose of the ever-growing and deadly stockpile of spent nuclear fuel rods and high-level radioactive waste collected at nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons laboratories nationwide.
Until this year, no town in the U.S. had agreed to the proposal. But when the Quay County Commission approved the plan in October, it put Nara Visa on track to become the first.
About seven miles outside Nara Visa, there is a small, gravel roadside park where semi-truck drivers pull off U.S. 54 to sleep. Below the earth, the granite is devoid of oil but just right for deep drilling.
These 10 acres belong to Louis and Elaine James, who’ve agreed to lease it to the government………
As far as the nuclear waste component is concerned, Louis James, 69, said, “I have more of a problem with it sitting over at Pantex 100 miles away than I do with it being under the ground, because you know it will get you if they ever attack those spots.” He was referring to the Pantex Plant, a nuclear weapons assembly facility outside Amarillo, Texas……
The test hole planned for the James’ property is meant to be just 8 1/2 inches wide but would go deep below ground, first through the water table and a mile through sediment before hitting the top of a crystalline rock layer. From there, the hole would be drilled another two miles into the Earth. This is the layer where nuclear waste would be stored, then sealed off with a steel casing and concrete to protect the environment and water in the mile span separating the waste from the land’s surface.
Utah-based DOSECC Exploration Services LLC and Enercon Federal Services, Inc., based in Atlanta, are developing the Nara Visa proposal and are one of four groups that have been granted the go-ahead from the Energy Department for Phase 1 of the project. This is referred to as “community buy-in,” gaining not only public approval but also support for the project, and securing the land for the borehole site.
If DOSECC and Enercon win this bid, they will get $35 million over a five-year period to drill the first hole. The Energy Department will grant an additional $50 million to drill a second, wider borehole if the first is successful……
State Rep. Dennis Roch said that after meeting with the companies, he felt confident there was “no connection between this viability test and the ultimate decision of where to dispose of nuclear waste way down the road.”…….
The Nara Visa site would only be permitted for drilling, he added. Nuclear waste storage would require an entirely different permitting and regulatory process…….
WIPP, after being closed for nearly three years following the radiation leak, began depositing waste below ground for the first time in December. But the stagnation of waste disposal at these facilities left the Energy Department scrambling for alternatives, and in 2012, deep boreholes resurfaced as a potential alternative, an idea that was first floated in the 1950s.
To store all of the waste sitting at 77 U.S. facilities, the Energy Department needs to drill 950 boreholes at an estimated $20 million per hole, or $71 billion for the entire project, including transportation, environmental reclamation, monitoring and site characterization, according to the 2010 Sandia study. In contrast, Yucca Mountain was estimated to cost $96 billion.
Each hole is expected to contain 400 vertically stacked fuel pods that, unlike the costly steel drums used to pack waste headed to WIPP, would not require specialized containers but instead would be stored in their spent fuel form or glass. Multiple boreholes could be drilled just over 200 meters apart to avoid thermal reactions.
Though the Sandia study said boreholes could be used for nuclear reactor waste, Mast from Enercon said he believes the Energy Department is only looking at boreholes for waste from nuclear weapons development.
To actually begin placing nuclear waste in the boreholes will require an amendment to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.
Before the proposal reaches that stage, Greg Mello, director of the watchdog Los Alamos Study Group, says the government should be more transparent about exactly what type of high-level nuclear waste would go in the holes: spent fuel rods, nuclear weapons waste or down-blended plutonium. …..http://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/New-Mexico-town-steps-up-for-nuclear-borehole-10858853.php