Australian news, and some related international items

President Obama’s solar energy systems for low income earners

Statue-of-Liberty-solarWhite House’s New Initiative to Install 1GW of Solar for Needies, Energy trend, 21 July 16   Under name of President Obama, the White House announces “Clean Energy Savings for All Initiative” and aims to offer a total of 1GW solar to low- and moderate-income families by 2020.

The Initiative, which was announced through a FACT SHEET on July 19, includes an investment of approximately US$288 million from housing associations, energy corporations, and power companies for solar deployment. The Initiative targets installing 1GW of solar systems for around 200,000 low- to moderate-income families by 2020.

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan set a goal of installing 100MW of renewable energy on federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020. The new initiative, depicted as “new catalytic goal,” will bring 10 fold of solar to the needy Americas. The Clean Energy Savings to All Initiative is the successor to the Climate Action Plan.

The new scheme will be implemented in collaboration with state agencies. Propergy-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funding, a community solar competition and jobs programs will also be involved in.

The Initiative is supported by government agencies include the Departments of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Celeste Tsai, analyst at EnergyTrend, describes this new initiative as “an American version of PV Poverty Alleviation Project.” This program will be helpful for expanding renewable energy installations and relevant jobs as well as creating economical supports for needy families……., the new program will further declare Obama’s commitment to developing renewable energy and creating new jobs for the United States.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian uranium miner Paladin questioned by Australian Securities Exchange

questionPaladin cops ASX query over deals The West Australian on July 22, 2016Paladin Energy has been forced to halt trading of its shares after a query from the Australian Securities Exchange demanding more information about $US200 million worth of deals flagged to the market yesterday.

Paladin did not outline the additional information requested by the ASX, but yesterday’s announcement was notable in that it did not give the name of the party offering to pay $US175 million for 24 per cent of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia.

Paladin said yesterday the agreement was non-binding and that “key terms of this proposed transaction remain confidential, including the identity of the counterparty”.

Paladin promised yesterday to disclose details as the deal firmed up, including the identity of the buyer.

But the ASX has been on the warpath over non-disclosure of counterparties to major funding deals since the Padbury Mining scandal in 2014, when shares in the market tiddler surged after it said funding had been “secured” from an unnamed party that would supposedly deliver $US6.5 billion to build the Oakajee port and rail project…….Paladin shares closed down 3.5¢ to 20.5¢ on the announcement yesterday. ra ra

July 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium price at an 11 year low

piggy-bank--nuke-sadUranium Price Falls to 11-Year Low, Economic Calendar,  July 21, 2016, Despite bullish forecasts for uranium in the years ahead, the commodity continues to languish in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Shortly after the earthquake in Japan caused the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, uranium prices crashed on the expectations, and reality that countries around the world would shun nuclear power as a source of energy…..

Although uranium analysts changed their sentiment from negative to positive, uranium prices till floundered. This is because, in reality, the ramp-up of nuclear power plants was much slower than anticipated and at the same time stockpiles of the commodity remained high. Ahead of the nuclear disaster, there was a ramp up in global uranium production with the price of uranium reaching a record high of $70 a pound, which spurred increased investment and production increases around the world. After the nuclear disaster, uranium demand came to a virtual stand still, leaving an oversupplied market.

Now, these stockpiles are being worked down, and there is little incentive for new production. In fact, many companies have slashed production as weak pricing has impacted the economics of uranium mining. On Monday, according to Ux Consulting, uranium prices fell to an 11-year low. Uranium is also finding new competition for an energy source thanks to the increase in availability and decrease in the price of natural gas….

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power as a carbon emitter- good reason to shut it down

climate-and-nuclearThere are good reasons for California to phase out nuclear power, Huffington Post, Johann Saathoff,MP German BundestagCoordinator of energy policy for the Social Democratic Party in the German Bundestag  07/22/2016 “…….While electricity from nuclear power stations may be carbon-free at the time of production, looked at in overall terms it is anything but that and it is certainly not clean.

Nobody asks or calculates how much CO2 was released in the building of the power station. Nobody considers how CO2 is released through the mining, processing and enrichment of uranium and through its transportation. And nobody in the world knows at this point where and how radioactive waste can be safely stored for the millennia to come, how much CO2 will have to be used in the process and what the costs will be in terms of the second energy bill, as in the case of fossil energy sources.

Considered in overall terms – even assuming no incidents – the actual costs of nuclear power per kilowatt hour and CO2 emissions are incalculable. What is certain, however, is that unlike renewable energies, nuclear power is not carbon-free.

For this reason alone a renaissance of nuclear power would be irresponsible. It would also be irresponsible because of the danger of accidents (particularly in earthquake-prone areas) and the unsolved question of the final storage of nuclear waste. Nuclear power is also not clean; discharges of hot water cause considerable damage to the environment – to say nothing of the enormous environmental damage caused by the extraction of uranium……..

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The global climate danger of Russia’s forest wildfires

global-warming1Russian wildfires put key climate change resource at risk, Japan Times, 22 July 16 AFP-JIJI, REUTERS JUL 22, 2016 MOSCOW – Russia’s practice of leaving massive wildfires to burn out of control in sprawling stretches of Siberia puts at risk a key global resource for absorbing climate-warming emissions: its trees. Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

India cannot join Nuclear Suppliers Group unless it signs Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

India Nuclear Suppliers Group Membership Depends on Signing NPT  No country which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj told the lawmakers that India will not sign the NPT.“It is worth mentioning that China does not make the rules for how to become new members of the group. The international community has forged a consensus long ago that the NPT is the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime. No country should or can put itself opposite to the NPT,” Lu Kang was cited as saying by The Times of India.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970 with the aim to prevent the spread of nuclear weaponry. Three states, namely India, Pakistan and Israel, denied to sign the treaty. North Korea withdrew from NPT in 2003.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group is a group of nuclear supplier countries whose aim is to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology which could be used to produce nuclear weapons. As of 2016, the NSG has 48 members, including China

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Complete ecosystem collapse in sections of Great Barrier Reef

coral bleachingSections of Great Barrier Reef suffering from ‘complete ecosystem collapse’
Coral Watch investigator reports ‘shocking’ lack of fish and says the surviving corals are continuing to bleach, even during winter,
Guardian, , 22 July 16, “Complete ecosystem collapse” is being seen on parts of the Great Barrier Reef, as fish numbers tumble and surviving corals continue to bleach into winter, according to a scientist returning from one of the worst-hit areas.

“The lack of fish was the most shocking thing,” said Justin Marshall, of the University of Queensland and the chief investigator of citizen science program Coral Watch. “In broad terms, I was seeing a lot less than 50% of what was there [before the bleaching]. Some species I wasn’t seeing at all.”

Marshall spent a week this month conducting surveys on the reefs around Lizard Island………overall, Marshall estimate that more than 90% of the branching corals had died around Lizard Island. He said many of the huge porites corals, which could be a thousand years old, had died.

Coral and other organisms like anemones and giant clams bleach when water temperatures are too high for too long. When they become stressed, they expel their colourful symbiotic algae that provide them with energy, becoming pale or white. Unless the water temperatures quickly return to normal, many of those organisms die.

Lizard Island was particularly badly hit by the global bleaching event that hit every major reef region in the world and killed almost a quarter of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef. But, in the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef, between Lizard Island and the Torres Strait, a majority of the coral is thought to have died.

The mass bleaching this year was driven by climate change, which raised water temperatures close to the maximum threshold coral could stand, and a strong El Niño that bumped the temperatures above that threshold.


July 23, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Investments in wind have brought costs down- THE AUSTRALIAN got it SO wrong!

News-Limited1How The Australian got it hopelessly wrong on wind energy The Australian got its facts wrong on wind energy in South Australia. Investments in wind have brought costs down. Giles Parkinson  Crikey, 22 July 16 The Murdoch media attack on the Australia wind industry knows no bounds, and not many facts either.

This week’s front-page “exclusive” in The Australian suggests South Australia’s wind turbines were producing significant amounts of “negative power” from the grid at the height of the recent electricity “crisis”. But the numbers it quotes are ridiculously wrong.

The story, by Adelaide bureau chief Michael Owen, suggests the state’s wind turbines were “producing about 5780MW” between 6am and 7am, but by mid afternoon were producing “negative 50MW”. Asanalysis from Ron Brakels observes, the report confuses energy terminology, apparently not knowing the difference between capacity and output.

In fact, the state’s wind turbines cannot produce 5780MW — they only have a combined capacity of 1600MW. There’s not even 5780MW of wind capacity in the whole country……

As SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis told the ABC, that’s precisely why the government encouraged investments in wind and solar: to bring costs down. That has largely succeeded.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

El Nino is Basically Over — But this Global Coral Bleaching Event Just Won’t End


Back in 2014, an unsuspecting world was on the verge of a major global temperature increase. But despite warnings from scientists like Dr. Kevin Trenberth that deep ocean warming had sped up and would eventually result in rapid surface warming, the big media meme at the time was that global warming had ‘paused.’ Originating in The Economist, and swiftly spreading to numerous other news outlets, this particular blast of bad information fed the public a big helping of false sense of security.

In 2014 through 2016, maximum global temperatures jumped from around 0.65 degrees Celsius to around 1 C above the 20th-century average. In just three years’ time, the whole of the Earth’s surface had warmed by about 0.35 C. This is like cramming all of the warming from 1880 to 1980 into the three-year 2014-to-2016 period. Never before in all of the global climate record starting in the late…

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July 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week in Australian nuclear and climate news

a-cat-CANIt’s not too late to comment on this appalling nuclear lobby plan to make South Australia the world’s nuclear toilet.  Yes, the South Australian govt will probably ignore you. However, as with Facebook, Twitter, and comments all over the place – the pro nuclear shills are active on this site, too – at


Federal Politics Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wasted no time in gifting to the nuclear and coal industries – the new Minister For Environment and Energy – Josh Frydenberg.  Australia rates rather poorly on UN Sustainable Development Goals. Turnbull govt still backing Trans Pacific Partnership. Warning to Australia against being USA ‘deputy sheriff’ near China.

South Australia holding Parliamentary Inquiry in the nuclear waste importing plan. No report so far, but evidence was given by Craig Wilkins (Conservation Council Of South Australia), and by independent campaigner David Noonan. 

Premier Jay Weatherill is launching  a pro nuclear extravaganza. The tax-payers of this cash-strapped State are forking out at least $13 million this campaign to blanket the State with nuclear propaganda. First the Royal Commission fed them with a biased report recommending nuclear waste importing. Then a Citizens’ Jury was fed very dubious economic, health and safety information on this.

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency, (made up of nameless people) are sending out teams to 101 cities and towns to carry the pro nuclear message to the population.

Renewable energy. In South Australia the Liberal Coalition  opposition appears to be behind the feeding of misinformation on wind energy, to the Murdoch media. In other States, the Coalition attacks renewable energy, and Murdoch media continues to publicise this. Nick Xenophon wants inquiry in South Australia’s renewable energy issues.

South Australia is set to get world’s biggest solar + storage project. Canberra’s solar farms with sun- tracking technology. Victoria to get record-breaking wind farm. Queensland: Catholic schools recognised by Vatican for solar energy success.

July 22, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Let’s talk nuclear waste economics, the only argument that governments find persuasive

South Australian government’s YOUR SAY website, Megan Riley 22 Jul 2016 Let’s talk economics, the only argument that governments find persuasive:

If storing nuclear waste is so lucrative how come those countries who produce it aren’t doing so?
If nuclear waste can be stored safely and effectively, won’t other countries get on board and then under-cut South Australia because they can cut out shipping costs to the other side of the world?

If spent nuclear fuel is so safe how come those countries who produce it aren’t storing it?
If the technology to store nuclear waste safely doesn’t exist, how come South Australia thinks it can do so safely?
Why does it seem to be a good idea to store this nuclear waste in volume and concentration unheard of in the history of the planet? Surely ‘spreading the risk’ by each country that produces the waste making their own arrangements is better for the health of the planet.
World markets are volatile – how can any economist predict how much countries will be willing or able to afford to pay for transport and storage of this waste in 10, 20, 50 or 100 years’ time?
Taking on this toxic waste and storing it safely becomes South Australia’s problem for hundreds of thousands of years – how can anyone guarantee that level of safety or the untold billions of dollars that it will take to keep this storage facility safe [from geological, meteorological and even ideological [terrorist] events]?
Nuclear fuel was seen as ‘the next big thing’ 40 years ago and yet the technology and the take-up of this fuel has NOT advanced in the way predicted. Why would anyone believe these ‘next generation’ reactors are just around the corner? Even the Royal Commission itself found that nuclear production of energy is unviable for the state. As it is unviable, less money will be spent in research and development and there’s less chance that ‘clean’ solutions to this poison will ever be found. Meanwhile, SA is left with the world’s largest pile of toxic waste to maintain for perpetuity.
How much will it COST to build a storage facility?
How much will it COST to maintain this facility in perpetuity?

I believe these are very valid concerns which have not adequately been answered by the Royal Commission. However, I believe the ethical considerations have much more weight.

The State Government will lose all credibility on Indigenous matters if it goes ahead with this nuclear facility. Both the state and the federal government are treating the outback as ‘terra nullis’ – an empty expanse full of ‘nothing’ where this waste can be stored out of sight and out of mind. They pay lip service to Aboriginal concerns but do not truly grasp the idea of connection to country. All of us, as human beings, are connected to country in a very real way. We can’t exist if our air and our ground and our water is polluted.

To quote EF Schumacher: The nuclear lobby “is a transgression against life itself, a transgression infinitely more serious than any crime ever perpetrated by man. The idea that a civilisation could sustain itself on the basis of such a transgression is an ethical, spiritual, and metaphysical monstrosity.” Why? Because nuclear fission [and it’s waste] “represents an incredible, incomparable, and unique hazard for human life” which “does not enter any calculation and is never mentioned.”

Like Midas, the Royal Commission is seduced by the idea of untold riches and it lacks the ethical, spiritual and metaphysical backKing-Mids-storybone to resist the nuclear lobby.


July 22, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Turnbull’s gift to the nuclear and coal industries – Minister Josh Frydenberg

It’s time the Turnbull Cabinet came clean on energy Forget Waters,-Larissa-Senator-1merging the environment and energy portfolios – we need Minister for the Environment and for Clean Energy, writes Senator Larissa Waters.
21 JUL 2016 – 
In an ideal world, combining the federal environment portfolio with the federal energy portfolio, as Malcolm Turnbull has just done in his Cabinet reshuffle, would make perfect sense.

But in today’s political context, which sees big mining companies pour mega donations into the two big parties, it’s a troubling move, especially as the responsibility for the merged ministry falls to Josh Frydenberg.

Frydenberg radiation

Minister Frydenberg is a well-known coal supporter who has argued for nuclear power from his first speech in the Parliament. Alarmingly, Frydenberg’s appointment could signal Malcolm Turnbull’s support for nuclear is growing since he left uranium mining, processing and storage ‘on the table’ late last year, even though nuclear power is a dangerous, expensive and slow-off-the-ground distraction from job-rich renewable energy.

As Resources Minister, Frydenberg pushed ahead with a proposed nuclear waste dump in South Australia that stands to financially benefit a landholder who happens to be a retired Liberal politician, despite opposition from Traditional Owners.

Championed by Andrew Bolt as ‘Mr Coal’, the former Resources Minister believes there is a “moral case” for the Adani mega-coal mine. He argues that the coal mine will lift people in India out of energy poverty, ignoring the fact that four out of five people without electricity in India are not connected to an electricity grid so can’t access coal-fired power.

The solution to energy poverty in India is localised renewable energy. Unlike coal, clean energy doesn’t cause millions of premature deaths every year through air pollution a year or pollute local water supplies.

Given Minister Frydenberg’s track record, his approach to his role as Environment and Energy Minister threatens to be very different from what is required to save our Great Barrier Reef and safeguard our very way of life from global warming.

To give the Reef a chance and to protect our Pacific neighbours from sea-level rise, the title really should be Minister for the Environment and for Clean Energy. We need an ambitious, rapid transition to clean energy that embraces storage technology for reliability, provides assistance to communities affected by the end of fossil fuels, and helps workers with training to benefit from this job-rich 21st century industry.

Malcolm Turnbull’s Cabinet re-shuffle gives no indication that his government is up for the task of leading this necessary national transition from dirty to clean energy. Mr Turnbull has announced the largest Cabinet team in 40 years but despite the size and the breadth of issues covered in his colleagues’ titles, climate change has been completely ignored.

Climate change is the biggest economic challenge we face and a stand-alone Minister and Department would provide a serious advantage in meeting it.

Instead climate change has been completely forgotten and environment has been relegated to a part-time role for a known coal-loving, nuclear fan.

No wonder the fossil fuel lobby is happy.

Shortly after Minister Frydenberg’s appointment was announced, The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association put out a glowing media release. The Qld Resources Council executive Michael Roche said the sector had “won the trifecta”, in energy and environment and with Matt Canavan, who questions climate science while cheering on coal, taking over from Frydenberg as Resources Minister.

Some environment groups carefully expressed qualified hope that the merger of environment and energy could assist in the economic transition we so desperately need toward clean energy.

I’d love nothing more than for that to be true. However, the environment movement’s caution is well warranted, given the control fossil fuel companies exert over both the old parties.

As political donations are not disclosed in real time, we’ll have to wait for at least half a year to find out which big mining companies have donated with the aim of holding on to the polluting status quo.

From the looks of Malcolm Turnbull’s Cabinet reshuffle though, the dirty donations continue to be more than enough to keep the Prime Minister forgetting about the once-genuine concern he seemed to have for future generations surviving global warming.

Queensland Senator Larissa Waters is the Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson.

July 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment

Russia’s secret radioactive city

the pact has had deadly consequences. For years, the Soviet Union’s political and scientific leadership withheld the effects of extreme exposure to radiation on the health of the city’s inhabitants, and their future offspring.

 From the late 1940s, people here started to get sick and die: the victims of long-term exposure to radiation.

While accurate data is not available thanks to the authorities’ extreme secrecy and frequent denials, the gravestones of many young residents in Ozersk’s cemetery bear witness to the secret the Soviets tried to bury alongside victims of the Mayak plant.

It is difficult for outsiders to comprehend how the residents of City 40 can continue to live in a place they know is slowly killing them.

Hot Docs 2016 Trailers: CITY 40

highly-recommendedThe graveyard of the Earth’: inside City 40, Russia’s deadly nuclear secret

Ozersk, codenamed City 40, was the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme. Now it is one of the most contaminated places on the planet – so why do so many residents still view it as a fenced-inparadise?ViSamira Goetsche

“Those in paradise were given a choice: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no third alternative.” (From the dystopian novel We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin, 1924)

Deep in the vast forests of Russia’s Ural mountains lies the forbidden city of Ozersk. Behind guarded gates and barbed wire fences stands a beautiful enigma – a hypnotic place that seems to exist in a different dimension.

Codenamed City 40, Ozersk was the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme after the second world war. For decades, this city of 100,000 people did not appear on any maps, and its inhabitants’ identities were erased from the Soviet census. Continue reading

July 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Investors run from Australian uranium company, debt-laden Paladin Energy

text-uranium-hypePaladin sold down despite $US200m in deals Peter Klinger – The West Australian on July 21, 2016  Investors have failed to applaud news from debt-laden Paladin Energy that it had struck almost $US200 million worth of deals, including offloading a big slice of its flagship Langer Heinrich uranium mine.

The news also includes a plan to sell 75 per cent of the undeveloped Manyingee uranium project east of Onslow to Chinese-backed, ASX listed tin miner MGT Resources for up to $US30 million. The Manyingee deal does not include the Carley Bore deposit.

The proposed sale of a 24 per cent stake of Langer Heinrich, in Namibia, to an unnamed party for $US175 million is the main plank of Paladin’s long-awaited debt reduction plan.

The Perth company, which remains one of the world’s few pure-play uranium producers but is fighting to remain viable because of the nuclear fuel’s long-term depressed price, has $US212 million in convertible bonds due in April next year.

Paladin is refusing to name the “major participant in the global nuclear power industry” which will buy the stake, which will cut Paladin’s interest in its only operating asset to 51 per cent.

But analysts will be focusing on China National Nuclear Corporation, which bought 25 per cent of Langer Heinrich for $US190 million two years ago.

The lack of clarity or certainty around the Langer Heinrich sale saw Paladin shares fall 2.5 cents, or 10.42 per cent, to 21.5 cents at noon on solid turnover this morning.

“The parties are using their best endeavours to prepare definitive documentation for formal execution, including (a) sale and purchase agreement, shareholders agreement, and documentation for the uranium off-take arrangements,” Paladin said.

“Paladin is working towards a formal close of the transaction in the fourth quarter (of this year). Other than set out in this announcement, the other key terms of this proposed transaction remain confidential, including the identity of the counterparty.”

July 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Wind down for the “dirtiest industry” – uranium mining in Africa

burial.uranium-industryUranium is the dirty underbelly of nuclear – scientist , Engineering News,  BY: NEWS24WIRE, 21 july 16  Anti nuclear sentiment tends to focus on nuclear waste or operational risks, but more focus should be on the “dirty underbelly” of uranium mining, according to a science adviser.

“Whenever people get excited about nuclear power stations, they kind of forget where the actual uranium comes from,”Dr Stefan Cramer, science adviser for environmentalist groupSafcei, told Fin24 in an interview recently.

“Nuclear is a fallacy, both economically and environmentally,” Cramer, who was born in Germany but not now lives in Graaff-Reinet, claimed. “Uranium mining is the dirty underbelly of this whole nuclearcycle,” he said. “It’s where it all starts.”

“One must stop nuclear industries in (their) tracks because it leaves future generations with an immeasurable task and legacy,” he said. “The best point to start is at the source, where the whole cycle of nuclear technology begins, and that is at uranium mining.

“Uranium mining is very much the dirtiest part of the entire industry.” Anti-uranium mining boost

Cramer’s focus on anti-uranium mining was given a boost this month when Australian company Tasman Pacific Minerals Limited said it is downsizing its mining application in South Africa by almost 90%.

“Overall, the area covered by Tasman’s new and existing mining right and prospecting right applications in the Western and Eastern Cape will reduce by almost 300 000 ha to approximately 465 000 ha,” it said……


July 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment


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