Australian news, and some related international items

A duplicitous letter from Sam Chard, General Manager, Radioactive Waste Taskforce


What a duplicitous letter  from Sam Chard!

She says “A separate facility, likely a deeply geological one, will be found for the permanent disposal of the intermediate-level waste, but that’s a few decades off.”
So where is this intermediate-level waste to go, in the meantime? –      to become stranded nuclear wastes at Wallerberdina or Kimba.

Nuclear assurance, by SAM CHARD, NRWMF taskforce general manager

I WRITE in response to the letter from Michele Madigan (“Nuclear vote”, The Advertiser, 11/11/19).

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility will be for the permanent disposal of low-level waste, and temporary storage of intermediate-level waste.

A separate facility, likely a deeply geological one, will be found for the permanent disposal of the intermediate-level waste, but that’s a few decades off.

The transport of waste will be conducted safely, and examples in France and the UK demonstrate such a facility can coexist with a clean, green image and a successful export industry.

In the recent Kimba community ballot, more than 61 per cent of local residents supported hosting the facility, and now a ballot is under way for residents near Wallerberdina Station.

Traditional owner, neighbour, and business consultation is also being undertaken, and anyone else with an interest can make a submission


November 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian Government report states that Lucas Heights spent nuclear fuel rods (for Kimba dump?) are High Level Wastes

Zac Eagle Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia, November 14

This is an extract from a government report from1993.
The report calls the nuclear fuel rods from the decommissioned Hifar reactor High Level waste.
This would be dumped in the Flinders or Kimba.
Stop the lies, stop the dump.

“The report of the Research Reactor Review examines, among many other things, the issue of the management of spent fuel rods from the HIFAR reactor, which had been accumulating at Lucas Heights since 1963. The Report says:

The spent fuel rods at Lucas Heights can only sensibly be treated as high level waste.
The pretence that spent fuel rods constitute an asset must stop’ (p. 216)

Kazzi Jai “The spent fuel rods at Lucas Heights can only sensibly be treated as high level
waste. … The pretence that spent fuel rods constitute an asset must stop.”
(McKinnon Review, Principal Conclusions p.xxiii, July 1993)

November 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, reference | Leave a comment

A cauldron of extreme heat developing in Western Australia is heading straight for the east coast bushfire zone

A cauldron of extreme heat developing in WA is heading straight for the east coast bushfire zone, ABC News, By Irena Ceranic   15 Nov 19, A build-up of intense heat that will see temperatures in WA soar into the mid 40s this weekend will be dragged across the country next week, right into parts of New South Wales and Queensland devastated by bushfires this week.

Key points:

  • Four lives and hundreds of homes have been lost in NSW and Queensland fires
  • Milder temperatures should provide some relief for NSW in the coming days
  • But intense heat from WA is likely to be dragged across the country next week

The NSW and Queensland bushfires have already burnt through more than a million hectares of land, killing four people and destroying more than 300 homes.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Neil Bennett said milder temperatures were expected to provide some relief to parts of NSW where fires continue to burn over the next few days, but the bushfire threat was far from over with the heat expected to ramp up again.

The areas in dark red on the map below [on original] show parts of WA will bake in temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius over the weekend, before the hot air mass bears down on the east coast by Tuesday.  …….

November 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Federal Govt to decide on new radioactive waste storage facility next year

November 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Meterologist shocked at prospect of Australia’s coming summer of heat and drought

November 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto drives ERA rehabilitation of Ranger uranium mine

Rio Tinto drives ERA rehabilitation of Ranger

November 15, 2019,  Salomae Haselgrove  Energy Resources Australia (ERA) plans to raise $476 million to cover its rehabilitation obligations at the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory.

The company has announced an offer of new fully paid ordinary shares to raise the rehabilitation funds, with support from majority owner Rio Tinto.

As ERA’s largest shareholder, Rio Tinto is subscribing to its full entitlement of approximately $326 million.

ERA is not able to secure third-party underwriting support, therefore Rio Tinto is also acting as the underwriter to ensure ERA secures the funds it needs.Rio Tinto energy and minerals group executive Bold Baatar said it was committed to ensuring ERA’s position to fund the rehabilitation.

“We take mine closure very seriously and ensuring ERA is able to fund the closure and rehabilitation of the Ranger project area, through participating in this entitlement offer, is a priority,” Baatar said.

The shares will be offered to all eligible shareholders for $0.15 per share, representing a 38 per cent discount to the $0.24 per share 10-day volume weighted average price (VWAP).

After the increase in the rehabilitation provision in 2018, ERA found it did not have sufficient existing cash resources or expected future cash flows to fulfil the Ranger rehabilitation.

ERA believes it will have an achievable plan for the Ranger rehabilitation with the completion of this entitlement officer.

As per the obligation with the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments and the Traditional Owners, ERA will return the Ranger project area to an environment similar to the nearby Kakadu National Park.

Under its mining approval terms, ERA must end mining and processing at Ranger by January 2021 and finish final rehabilitation by January 2026.

ERA is not expected to generate any direct financial return from the Ranger rehabilitation expenditure.

November 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, environment, uranium | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison shuns Torres Strait Islanders worried about climate change

Scott Morrison shuns Torres Strait Islanders worried about climate change,  Scott Morrison has declined to visit the homes of a group of Torres Strait Islanders who are taking their complaint against government inaction on climate change to the UN.

BY ROSEMARY BOLGER  15 Nov 19,  Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected an invitation to visit the homes of Torres Strait Islanders who have lodged a complaint with the UN about the government’s climate change inaction.

A group of Torres Strait Islanders have accused the Morrison government of breaching their human rights over its failure to cut emissions and build defences such as sea walls.

After lodging an official complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee in May, they asked Mr Morrison to see for himself the effects of climate change on their low-lying homes.

But Mr Morrison has declined, as has Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor to make the journey to Australia’s north.

Complainant Yessie Mosby said they were disappointed Mr Morrison would not visit.

“Just like those battling bushfires on the mainland, our islands are on Australia’s climate frontline.”

Mr Mosby said the complainants are demanding Australia increase its commitment to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement in the lead-up to COP 26 next year.

“We’ll wait and see what Canberra declares in coming months, as will our fellow islanders across the Pacific.

“This is not a problem for another country to sort out. Bushfires, floods, droughts, extreme heat and in our case rising seas – this is the reality of living in Australia now,” he added.

In their letter to Mr Morrison, the Torres Strait Islanders described how rising seas were threatening homes, swamping burial grounds and washing away sacred cultural sites.

The prime minister’s office has been contacted for comment.

November 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Coal lobby wields power over Australian govt, like the National Rifle Association does in USA

While Australia burns, the world watches our credibility go up in smoke, The New Daily,  Damien Cave  14 Nov 19, When a mass shooting shattered Australia in 1996, the country banned automatic weapons.In its first years of independence, it enacted a living-wage law.

Stable retirement savings, national health care, affordable university education – Australia solved all these issues decades ago.

But climate change is Australia’s labyrinth without an exit, where its pragmatism disappears. The bushfires that continued raging on Wednesday along the country’s eastern coast have revealed that the politics of climate in Australia resist even the severe pressure that comes from natural disaster.

Instead of common-sense debate, there are culture war insults.

The deputy prime minister calls people who care about climate change “raving inner-city lunatics”. Another top official suggests that supporting the Greens party can be fatal.

And while the government is working to meet the immediate need – fighting fires, delivering assistance – citizens are left asking why more wasn’t done earlier as they demand solutions.

“We still don’t have an energy policy, we don’t have effective climate policy – it’s really very depressing,” said Susan Harris Rimmer, an associate professor at Griffith Law School. ……

in Australia, where coal is king and water is scarce, the country’s citizens have spent the week simmering with fear, shame and alarm……..

Even as the country’s emissions continue to soar, it’s been hard to reach a political consensus on energy and climate change policy because of Australia’s mining history and a powerful lobby for one product: Coal.

“Coal is our NRA,” said Dr Harris Rimmer, referring to the National Rifle Association, which has stymied changes to gun laws in the US even as mass shootings have become shockingly common.

“They have total control over Parliament.”……

For conservatives in particular, extraction of natural resources in rural areas is a stand-in for values worth fighting for against condescending urban elites.

Just a few days before the fires, for example, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a mining group that new laws were needed to crack down on climate activists and progressives who “want to tell you where to live, what job you can have, what you can say and what you can think”.

“Climate change has become a proxy for something else,” said Robyn Eckersley, a climate politics expert at the University of Melbourne…….

Mr Morrison, who in the past has made it clear that Australia’s economic prosperity comes first, has repeatedly argued in recent days that now is not the time to discuss climate policy or politics.

Photographed hugging fire victims, he has sought to focus on emotional and financial support.

Joëlle Gergis, a climate scientist and author, said that “it wastes the opportunity to explain to the Australian public what we’re seeing in climate extremes”…….

November 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Dave Sweeney – on wining Nobel Prize, and on treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Dave Sweeney talks Nobel Prize and working against nuclear weapons

A Nobel Prize winner who grew up on a farm has dedicated his life to one of humanity’s most important causes.

DAVE Sweeney’s story starts out like so many rural kids.

Growing up on a grazing property, east of Melbourne, he wanted to be a farmer, but his Dad wanted his son to achieve more skills.

So Dave dutifully got a degree, and a range of jobs, including as a teacher.

But then he went one better and got a Nobel Peace Prize.

It was two years ago that Dave was one of the founding members of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, who travelled to Norway to receive the globally significant gong, which puts him in the same company as Mother Therese and Nelson Mandela.

“I didn’t actually go on the stage with the King of Norway,” the 57-year-old says.

“But I was in Norway for five days, for the formal reception, with the king and trumpets blowing, and a big party afterwards.”

It speaks volumes about Dave that he and his colleagues don’t run around promoting the fact they are Australia’s only Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Instead, he continues to knuckle down and get on with the job that won the prize in the first place.

“I don’t really talk about it much, only when people ask or I’m doing a presentation,” says Dave, who still speaks with a farmer’s easygoing attitude.

“I don’t have a T-shirt saying ‘Nobel winner’ or a screen saver.

“Winning hasn’t changed my daily life, but there’s been a sense of ‘the stuff this guy has been banging on about forever is actually important’ and ‘these people have done a significant thing’. It’s validation and it opens new doors to keep the momentum going.”

Working between his homes in Melbourne and South Gippsland’s Phillip Island, Dave is currently lobbying councils — including, most recently, Benalla — to get on board and pressure the Australian Government to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

He says the ICAN Cities appeal is an initiative that is seeking to build a wider recognition of and support for the UN treaty. At its most basic, a council passes a version of a model resolution and writes to the prime minister and foreign minister urging them to support it.

“Other councils get more engaged — some have asked ICAN speakers to attend council and community events, profiled the issue and initiative on the websites and newsletters, flown an ICAN/Nobel flag from the town hall, hosted displays about ICAN and the issue in their libraries, commissioned murals and public artworks,” he said.

“There is much that can and could be done and it really depends on the people and place.

“An important part of the local government initiative, and of ICAN’s wider work, is that it is non-partisan. We don’t seek to score points – we want to make one: that there are no winners in a nuclear war.”

Since 1996 Dave has been the nuclear-free campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation, working to stop uranium mining and promote the responsible handling of radioactive waste.

His role also includes working to stop nuclear weapons. That’s how, in 2006, he was one of the voluntary founding members who met over a cup of tea and beer to nut out a strategy, which the following year led to the creation of ICAN.

Today, ICAN has spread to more than 500 groups in more than 100 countries, with its headquarters in Geneva.

According to the Nobel committee, ICAN was awarded the world’s most significant prize for “its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.

“Often the deck feels stacked against us, that we can’t get a break and it’s not always fair. But this was awarded to a group of people who are not powerful or rich,” Dave says.

“It’s humbling and important recognition.”

He says just this year the Federal Government announced an inquiry into the nuclear energy industry, while in both NSW and Victoria there are pushes to examine the sector.

Dave says these are all under the guise of stopping climate change, even though science and industry are unanimous that renewables are the cheapest, fastest and easiest way to supply all our power needs.

“When you use a uranium fuel rod in a nuclear reactor you get a guaranteed three years of low- carbon electricity, and when you take the fuel rod out you get a guaranteed 100,000 years of toxic waste, which is poisonous to human life and the environment,” he says.

“There is a very poor risk-to- reward ratio.”

Yet despite setbacks, there are also breakthroughs.

He says just last week the Federal Environment Minister and the Northern Territory Government agreed with mining companies to transition out of uranium mining in Kakadu.

Dave says following Japan’s Fukushima disaster, the market for nuclear energy had dropped.

“In 2000, 22 per cent of global electricity came from nuclear energy, now it’s 11 per cent.

“Nuclear power is enormously expensive and slow. It would take 20 years to build a reactor in Australia and cost at least $20 billion.”

Dave says being raised in a rural farming family gave him a strong sense of the importance of social justice and caring.

“Mum and Dad were always decent, community-minded people. Mum would cut the sandwiches for the local emergency services and Dad would visit the sick,” he says.

“Even if I’d preferred to stay at home, it was always emphasised to me to put in.

“It’s a privilege to live in this country and so you give back, even if it’s something modest.”

He studied politics and literature, became a teacher, and later became an adviser at Oxfam, before former Prime Minister John Howard’s decision to mine uranium in Kakadu steered him into nuclear campaigning at ACF.

Given Dave has been campaigning on these globally-critical issues for more than two decades, what advice does he have for the younger generation, especially with the documented rise of eco-anxiety?

“I say to young people these problems aren’t of their making, so don’t feel guilt, otherwise you can’t get out of bed in the morning. But they do feel some responsibility and agency,” he says.

“Light a candle, say a prayer, put a sign saying ‘nuclear-free zone’ on your local school, do an act of kindness or a directed act of anger, write a letter to your council, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister saying we should ratify the Treaty.

“Yes, individual actions are small, but when you add the next action and the next and the next they really make a difference. Each action matters.”

November 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fire chief says Australia fires could be out of control for months

Australia fires could be out of control for months, says fire chief

Concern grows over wind changes and high temperatures forecast for later this week, Guardian,   Ben Doherty in Sydney @bendohertycorro
Wed 13 Nov 2019 It could be months before eastern Australia has more than a million hectares of bushfires under control, the New South Wales fire chief has warned, as the country faces one of its worst bushfire outbreaks.After relief that no further lives were lost on Tuesday, concern was growing over unpredictable winds worsening fires in the neighbouring state of Queensland on Wednesday, with much hotter temperatures also predicted for the Sydney area in the coming days.

Gusty winds changing direction are predicted to fan flames in new directions and widen “catastrophic” fire fronts in Queensland and northern NSW, where more than 100 fires – one more than 150,000 hectares (370,000 acres) in size – are burning.

Forecasters warned that “dry lightning” strikes could ignite new blazes, with fires worsening when hotter temperatures arrive over the weekend. Temperatures in Queensland are currently up to 8C higher than average.

Shane Fitzsimmons, the commissioner of the NSW rural fire services, said: “The real challenge is we have an enormous amount of country that is still alight. They won’t have this out for days, weeks, months. Unfortunately the forecast is nothing but above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall over the next few months and we’ve still got summer around the corner.”

The current fires in NSW cover four times the land area that burned during the whole of 2018, according to Fitzsimmons. There are also fires in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

While the extent of the bushfires is less than those in New South Wales in 1974-75 , which destroyed 4.5m hectares (11m acres), forecasters and fire chiefs are concerned that so many fires are already under way before high summer………

Bushfires are a regular occurrence during Australian summers, but the intensity of this year’s fires, and how early in the season they have arrived, have unleashed an acute political debate over the impact of climate change in exacerbating Australia’s fire vulnerability.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, whose conservative coalition government has been consistently criticised over its support for coal-mining and power plants, inaction on climate change, and Australia’s rising carbon emissions, has refused to answers questions on climate change worsening fires………

In one of the largest peacetime mobilisations of Australian forces, the defence minister, Linda Reynolds, is preparing to send army, navy and air force reserve forces – the equivalent of the UK’s Army Reserve – into the fire zone to assist with evacuations and logistics.

The military intervention might even include an unprecedented compulsory call-up of reserve forces, such is the scale of the fire damage.

November 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

23 fire and emergency services leaders from across Australia demand government action on climate change

November 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Scientists refute Barnaby Joyce’s claim that sun’s magnetic fields cause bushfires

Barnaby Joyce says sun’s magnetic fields cause bushfires. Science says… Brisbane Times By Liam Mannix, November 12, 2019 —Barnaby Joyce’s claim that changes to the sun’s magnetic fields were linked to the bushfires burning out of control across NSW have been rubbished by climate scientists.

The former deputy prime minister told Sky News he accepted that the climate crisis was making Australia hotter and drier.

Barnaby Joyce’s claim that changes to the sun’s magnetic fields were linked to the bushfires burning out of control across NSW have been rubbished by climate scientists.

The former deputy prime minister told Sky News he accepted that the climate crisis was making Australia hotter and drier….. “There’s just the the oscillation of the seasons. There’s a change in the magnetic field of the sun.”

Associate Professor Nerilie Abram, a climate researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, called his comments “ludicrous and grossly ill-informed”.

Dr Abram said she was unaware of any study suggesting changes to the sun’s magnetic field could increase Australia’s bushfire risk.

“I don’t know of any scientific study that says that,” she said.

“Increasing temperatures, drought and fuel load all increase that bushfire risk.”

Dr Abram said changes to the sun’s magnetic fields had a tiny effect on the Earth’s climate.

“They are not causing climate change……

Associate Professor Pete Strutton, from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, said it was difficult to analyse Mr Joyce’s claim because it was so bizarre.

“I don’t even know what he means. We know what causes climate change,” he said. “What exactly would the magnetic fields influence? I can’t even … Are they influencing the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth? It is hard to respond to because it is so wacky.”

November 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Enthusiastic (misplaced) call for tax-payer funded Mars colonisation research

When will these starry-eyed enthusiasts wake up to the intimate connection between space-Mars research, and Donald Trump’s nuclear-war-in-space project?
CALLS FOR A MARS RESEARCH STATION TO BE BUILT IN OUTBACK SOUTH AUSTRALIA, NZGeo, NOVEMBER 10, 2019,It’s unlikely that humans will call Mars home any time soon, but researchers think the arid Australian outback could help give us a clearer understanding of how to survive on the Red Planet.

Mars Society Australia has renewed its push for a Mars research station simulation to be built in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, in outback South Australia.

The site would replicate a future Mars community, complete with a fake rocket ship, laboratories, rovers and scientists in spacesuits doing field experiments in rocky outcrops.

“It will allow us to do a wide range of activities that support the vision of human presence on Mars,” the society’s president, Jonathan Clarke, said.

“We can train people in field science and space operations in the area, and we can do education and outreach programmes…….

It’s leveraging off the creation of Australia’s new space agency, as well as US president Donald Trump’s hasty plan for America to return to the Moon by 2024, and hopefully go on to Mars. ……

In September, the Australian government announced it would invest $A150 million ($NZ162m) for Australian businesses and researchers to join the US’s Mars exploration project……

November 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, technology | Leave a comment

Australian Energy Market Operator predicts ‘completely new’ two-sided energy market 

November 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

The vote of one town shouldn’t be the views of all people in South Australia.

Dianne Hedger The people of South Australia do not consider our state a wasteland that’s the view of the eastern states. The majority of South Australians don’t want anything to do with the nuclear industry in any form. We even have anti nuclear state legislation !!!!
The nuclear waste dump is being forced down our throats by the federal government and some people who only think of the almighty dollar.
The vote of one town shouldn’t be the views of all people in South Australia. The government know that if all of South Australia have a vote they wouldn’t be able to push their agenda.
The rest of Australia sits back and don’t think this issue will affect them.But they might like to think a little harder, Because the waste cannot fly across the country by itself to get to said dump. It will travel thru your state!! One spill is all it takes and your farming land will be useless too.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment