Australian news, and some related international items

Keep ANSTO’s deadly radioactive waste at Australia’s only accepted high grade nuclear waste dump, Lucas Heights. 

Paul Waldon, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization, founded 1987… Australian Atomic Energy Commission, established 1952… Atomic Energy Policy Committee, created 1949…

How long it was on the drawing board is unknown. However the locals willingness to embrace and accept a nuclear waste producing machine with its ever growing stockpile of manufactured waste in their region is alive and strong.

For 69+ years the facility has been endorsed every time someone relocates to Lucas Heights/Barden Ridge and surrounding burbs,, or when a contract for a house or business in the area has been secured. 69 Years is along time in the cycle of a persons life, and presents a question:are there any surviving post nuclear residents residing in the district? So keep ANSTO’s deadly radioactive waste at Australia’s only accepted high grade nuclear waste dump, Lucas Heights.


January 8, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, New South Wales | Leave a comment

World’s first fully solar-powered train on the New South Wales North Coast

World-first solar train now leaving the platform in Byron Bay with zero emissions, ABC North Coast , By Bruce Mackenzie, 17  Dec 17,  What is claimed to be the world’s first fully solar-powered train is operating on the New South Wales North Coast.

A refurbished 70-year-old ‘red rattler’ is running on a three-kilometre stretch of disused rail line at the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay.

It made its maiden trip yesterday with almost 100 passengers on board.

Electric bus solar system

The $4-million project is the brainchild of multi-millionaire businessman Brian Flannery, who owns a resort in the area.

“Hopefully it attracts people to Byron Bay,” Mr Flannery said.

“I think international tourists will come here to have a look at this world’s first solar train.

“So let’s see, in five years’ time they’ll probably still say I’m mad, but it’s a bit of fun.”

Tim Elderton, from the Lithgow Railway Workshop, was tasked with building curved solar panels and a battery system to power the train.

“Of course the major difference is it’s got solar panels on the roof so it can recharge itself.

“For those cloudy days we’ve also got 30 kilowatts of solar panels in this [station’s] roof here so we can also plug it in.

“On a sunny day like today we can do about four or five trips before we have to plug it in.”……..

Tram infrastructure a possibility

Longer trips than this one — 10 minutes to cover three kilometres or so — would require regular recharging stations along the route, but Mr Flannery said the technology might be suited to inner-city trams.

A lot of the tram networks of course have overhead wires and they’re electric but they’re powered off the grid from overhead,” he said.

“But in a case where you want to build a tramline without that infrastructure, I think you could.

“At various stations you could top the train [or tram] up.”

December 17, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

“Significant radiation dose” received by Lucas Heights worker in nuclear accident

Radioactive liquid spills on worker at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney, Peter Jean, Political Reporter, The Advertiser, December 14, 2017 A WORKER received a “significant radiation dose” when a vial of radioactive liquid spilt onto their hands in the most serious recorded safety incident to ever occur at Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.

The Advertiser can reveal the accident occurred on August 22 when a vial of the nuclear medicine product Molybdenum-99 was dropped when its cap was being removed during a quality-control test. The incident was rated “severe” by regulators and has led to changes in safety procedures.

Molybdenum-99 is produced by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights, below, for use in cancer and heart disease scans.

ANSTO Health general manager Mark Moore said the analyst has a slightly elevated risk of developing skin cancer after the liquid spilt on their hands.

“The analyst was working in a shielded fume cupboard that, in normal operation, limits a dose received, but the dropping of the vial resulted in the radiation dose,’’ Mr Moore said.

“Our employee remains at work and is currently performing alternative quality assessment work in the nuclear medicine field.”

Mr Moore said the staff member had burn-like symptoms, including blistering and reddening of the skin.

“While ANSTO is still waiting to be advised on the final estimate dose by an independent clinical specialist, we know it was above the annual statutory dose limit of 500 millisieverts, and expect to be issued with a formal breach from the regulator,” Mr Moore said.

“At this stage, the dose is estimated to be more than 20 Sieverts, which is 40 times above the extremity dose limit.”

The incident was reported to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

An ARPANSA investigation criticised some safety practices in Lucas Heights’ radiopharmaceutical production facilities.

December 15, 2017 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales, reference | Leave a comment

How Sydney could become a zero-carbon city

Sydney’s closer to being a zero-carboncity than you think, The Conversation, You live in one of the sunniest countries in the world. You might want to use that solar advantage and harvest all this free energy. Knowing that solar panels are rapidly becoming cheaper and have become feasible even in less sunny places like the UK, this should be a no-brainer.

Despite this, the Australian government has taken a step backwards at a time when we should be thinking 30 years ahead.

Can we do it differently? Yes, we can! My ongoing research on sustainable urbanism makes it clear that if we use the available renewable resources in the Sydney region we do not need any fossil resource any more. We can become zero-carbon. (With Louisa King and Andy Van den Dobbelsteen, I have prepared a forthcoming paper, Towards Zero-Carbon Metropolitan Regions: The Example of Sydney, in the journal SASBE.)

Enough solar power for every household

Abundant solar energy is available in the Sydney metropolitan area. If 25% of the houses each installed 35 square metres of solar panels, this could deliver all the energy for the city’s households.

We conservatively estimate a total yield of 195kWh/m2 of PV panel placed on roofs or other horizontal surfaces. The potential area of all Sydney council precincts suited for PV is estimated at around 385km2 – a quarter of the entire roof surface.

We calculate the potential total solar yield at 75.1TWh, which is more than current domestic household energy use (65.3TWh, according to the Jemena energy company).

Wind turbines to drive a whole city

If we install small wind turbines on land and larger turbines offshore we can harvest enough energy to fuel our electric vehicle fleet. Onshore wind turbines of 1-5MW generating capacity can be positioned to capture the prevailing southwest and northeast winds.

The turbines are placed on top of ridges, making use of the funnel effect to increase their output. We estimate around 840km of ridge lines in the Sydney metropolitan area can be used for wind turbines, enabling a total of 1,400 turbines. The total potential generation from onshore wind turbines is 6.13TWh.

Offshore turbines could in principle be placed everywhere, as the wind strength is enough to create an efficient yield. The turbines are larger than the ones on shore, capturing 5-7.5MW each, and can be placed up to 30km offshore. With these boundary conditions, an offshore wind park 45km long and 6km wide is possible. The total offshore potential then is 5.18TWh.

Altogether, then, we estimate the Sydney wind energy potential at 11.3TWh.

Turning waste into biofuels

We can turn our household waste and green waste from forests, parks and public green spaces into biogas. We can then use the existing gas network to provide heating and cooling for the majority of offices………

Extracting heat from beneath the city

Shallow geothermal heat can be tapped through heat pumps and establishing closed loops in the soil. This can occur in large expanses of urban developments within the metropolitan area, which rests predominantly on deposits of Wianamatta shale in the west underlying Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith.

Where large water surfaces are available, such as in Botany Bay or the Prospect Reservoir, heat can also be harvested from the water body…….

Hydropower from multiple sources

The potential sources of energy from hydro generation are diverse. Tidal energy can be harvested at the entrances of Sydney Harbour Bay and Botany Bay, where tidal differences are expected to be highest………

Master plan for a zero-carbon city

All these potential energy sources are integrated into our Master Plan for a Zero-Carbon Sydney. Each has led to design propositions that together can create a zero-carbon city.

The research shows there is enough, more than enough, potential reliable renewable energy to supply every household and industry in the region. What is needed is an awareness that Australia could be a global frontrunner in innovative energy policy, instead of a laggard.

December 15, 2017 Posted by | energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Did thorium pollution cause cancers and deaths in the Tweed Valley?

Cancer cluster fears after more than 20 deaths  by Alina Rylko  22nd Aug 2015  Updated: 14th Aug 2017 A MULTI-GENERATIONAL tragedy costing dozens of lives on a short stretch of road in the Tweed Valley is claimed to be evidence of a cancer cluster.

December 8, 2017 Posted by | health, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Heating oceans make South East Australian hot spots

Global hot spot: Exceptional heat pushes up ocean temperatures off Australia, Peter Hannam

Australia is home to a global hot spot for sea-surface temperatures, with a record burst of prolonged heat in the country’s south-east helping to make conditions several degrees warmer than average.

Daily weather charts generated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show the unusual warmth is almost unmatched around the world, compared with normal temperatures.

Only patches off Greenland and New York in the US are as abnormally warm compared with long-run averages. (See chart below.)

“It’s clear sea-surface temperatures around south-eastern Australia, and Tasmania in particular, are well above average,” Blair Trewin, senior climatologist for the Bureau of Meteorology, told Fairfax Media.

Record warmth

Continue reading

November 26, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, Victoria | Leave a comment

Wind Energy – a brave new world for New South Wales farmers

Wind Alliance to host public forum for landholders in Kentucky to bust myths about living with turbines Rachel Baxter , 24 Nov 17 

November 24, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

1.4 billion to be saved, by replacing Liddell coal mine with renewable energy

Replacing Liddell with renewables is $1.4 billion cheaper than government plan, report says, The Age, Nicole Hasham, 20 Nov 17 

The Turnbull government’s plan to keep the worn-out Liddell power station running for another five years would cost about $1.4 billion more than replacing it with clean energy, and spew millions of tonnes of damaging carbon pollution, a new analysis shows.

The findings cast further doubt on the wisdom of keeping Australia’s oldest operating coal plant open beyond its slated closure in 2022, and have implications for the expected retirement of most existing coal-fired power stations within 15 years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg in September ordered energy giant AGL to keep open the coal-fired plant for five extra years or sell it to a party that will…….

The University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures compared the financial cost and pollution of three possible scenarios for Liddell: extending its life by five years, pursuing AGL’s plans for a combination of renewable and fossil fuel solutions to replace the lost capacity, and a package of clean energy measures.

It found keeping Liddell open until 2027 would cost $3.6 billion in capital and operating expenses, and that 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide would be generated over this time.By comparison, a clean energy package would cost $2.2 billion and create no emissions. This would involve energy efficiency, new wind energy, managing the power demands of consumers and flexible pricing, which means electricity is charged at different rates depending on the time of day or year………

ACF chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said Australia desperately needs a comprehensive climate change policy to allow a rapid transition to clean energy.

Any such policy “must be designed to encourage as much clean energy and smart technology as possible, and not prop up polluting coal plants that are damaging our planet”, she said.

ISF research director Chris Dunstan said replacing Liddell’s lost capacity with renewables could set a powerful precedent as the majority of Australia’s coal-fired power stations approach retirement age……..

November 20, 2017 Posted by | business, energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Costly removal of uranium from water supplies

Tamworth Regional Council uranium removal $50,000 more than initial estimate, Northern daily Leader, Jacob McArthur , 22 Oct 17

October 23, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

New South Wales Senate debated the idea of a nuclear power station for Jervis Bay

NSW senate debates Jervis Bay nuclear plant, South Coast Register, Rebecca Fist@fistjourno

NSW deputy premier John Barilaro called for a debate in the senate, and the contentious issue was discussed on Thursday.

“The technology they use today is a lot safer than what they used in Chernobyl, but Jervis Bay is not the place,” Christian Democratic Party member Paul Green said. “Not in Jervis Bay’s clean, green, pristine environment.“Over my dead body Jervis Bay will end up with one there.”

Meanwhile, his colleague Fred Nile, was open to the idea…..

October 16, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear Reactor for Burrinjuck Dam – says Rob Parker of Nuclear For Climate Australia

Nuclear debate: Burrinjuck Dam a potential site, Yass Tribune,

Rob Parker, who coordinates Nuclear for Climate Australia (NCA), argued politicians should not shy away from nuclear energy.

In southern NSW, NCA has identified Marulan, Burrinjuck and the Shoalhaven as three of 18 potential sites for nuclear reactors, envisaged to be constructed by 2040 and provide 140.9 terawatts of energy annually.

Mr Parker ran unsuccessfully as a Labor candidate for Goulburn in 2007 and as an independent in 2011. But he says his views are not political, other than to shatter notions………

Burrinjuck Dam cited for nuclear reactor

Mr Parker argued that nuclear energy needed to be 80 per cent of the mix due to climate change. He said the best locations were those near water, rail and the transmission grid.

“Yass has a high viability because of the dam. It also has a good grid connection and good geology,” he said.

NCA proposes that cooling in Burrinjuck would be a hybrid wet-dry process, with water being drawn from Burrinjuck Dam to a storage reservoir at the power station.

However, Ms Goward said “those of us who live here would recall the last serious drought, when the levels of the Burrinjuck Dam were dangerously low”.

“I do not believe the community nor this government would support the use of Burrinjuck Dam as part of a nuclear facility,” she said.

Mr Parker believed Mr Barilaro was raising the possibility of smaller modular reactors being developed across more sites, which did not involve significantly opening up the grid or a large water supply.

He also maintained that nuclear was becoming more price competitive due to the combined effects of electricity generation at $105/MWh in 2018 and the likelihood of increased network costs. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has ruled out nuclear reactors.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear shill group on the move in New South Wales


Rob Parker injects nuclear into energy debate, Goulburn Post Louise Thrower@ThrowerLouise, 

Rob Parker, who coordinates Nuclear for Climate Australia (NCA), argued politicians should not shy away from nuclear energy. In southern NSW NCA has identified Marulan, Yass and the Shoalhaven as three of 18 potential sites for nuclear reactors.

Mr Parker ran unsuccessfully as a Labor candidate for Goulburn in 2007 and as an independent in 2011. But he says his views have little to do with politics, other than to shatter notions.

He was speaking about the latest tit-for-tat between shadow State energy spokesman Adam Searle and Goulburn MP Pru Goward. Mr Searle last week said Deputy Premier John Barilaro should “come clean” about his social media post on Thursday.

“We could have them (small nuclear reactors) operating here in a decade – which is not long for the energy industry…,” it stated.

Mr Searle said it was the second time Mr Barilaro had raised the possibility of nuclear energy in the State, the first time being in May when he was “prepared to talk about it as an option.”

“He can’t just float an idea like this without being specific. He should be clear with the public on where he thinks the nuclear reactors should be. A pro- nuclear power group is on the record suggesting reactors should be in the Goulburn electorate – does Mr Barilaro agree?

“Our farmers’ clean and green reputation is known throughout the world but a nuclear industry in these areas would end all that.”

Mr Searle told The Post the technology was a “silly idea” given there were no apparent solutions for dumping nuclear waste and required a “huge amount” of water….

The consultant civil engineer [Parker] said one of the great problems with renewables supported by gas was that “they entrenched failure while giving the impression of achievement.” …….

Mr Parker argued that nuclear energy needed to be 80 per cent of the mix due to climate change.

The NCA has listed 18 possible nuclear reactor sites on its website, including Yass, Marulan and Shoalhaven which could be constructed by 2040 and provide 149 terrawatts of energy annually.

Mr Parker said he considered many locations but the best ones were those near water, rail and the transmission grid…….. He maintained the Snowy Mountains area could work given its plentiful water reservoirs. Yass was also close to the Burrinjuck storage.

Mr Parker believed Mr Barilaro was raising the possibility of smaller modular reactors being developed across more sites, which did not involve significantly opening up the grid or a large water supply.

He also maintained that nuclear was becoming more price competitive due to the combined effects of electricity generation at $105/MWh in 2018 and the likelihood of increased network costs.

He will address the Australian Nuclear Association conference in Sydney this weekend. He will argue nuclear energy will not only restore business confidence and energy price stability but increase Australia’s resilience in the face of increasing climate change.

But Premier Gladys Berejiklian has ruled out nuclear reactors

October 4, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

NO to Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader, John Barilaro: New South Wales does NOT need nuclear power

Opposition fires up over nuclear power station chatter, Labor is challenging the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to detail any plans for nuclear power on the North Coast.

This follows musing by Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader, John Barilaro, that nuclear reactors could be operating in NSW within 10 years. Mr Barilaro said on social media: “We could have them (small nuclear reactors) operating here in a decade – which is not long for the energy industry…”

Opposition Energy spokesman Adam Searle said it was the second time this year Mr Barilaro had raised the possibility of nuclear energy for the State.

In May, Mr Barilaro said he was “prepared to talk about nuclear as an option”. One pro-nuclear power group, Nuclear for Climate Australia, has identified 12 regions of NSW as possible sites for nuclear reactors – including on the North Coast.

“A pro-nuclear power group is on the record suggesting reactors should be on the North Coast – does Mr Barilaro agree?” Mr Searle said.

“He should be clear with the public on where he thinks the nuclear reactors should be.

“Our farmers’ clean and green reputation is known throughout the world but a nuclear industry in these areas would end all that.”

September 29, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, technology | Leave a comment

Dryness of vegetation in Sydney area adds risk to coming bushfire season

Dry winter primes Sydney Basin for early start of bushfire season The Conversation, Matthias Boer, Associate Professor, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Rachael Helene Nolan, Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Technology Sydney. Ross Bradstock, Professor, Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires, University of Wollongong, August 21, 2017        It might feel like the depths of winter, but Australian fire services are preparing for an early start to the bushfire season. Sydney has been covered with smoke from hazard reduction burns, and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service has forecast a “horrific” season.

Predicting the severity of a bushfire season isn’t easy, and – much like the near-annual announcements of the “worst flu season on record” – repeated warnings can diminish their urgency.

However, new modelling that combines Bureau of Meteorology data with NASA satellite imaging has found that record-setting July warmth and low rainfall have created conditions very similar to 2013, when highly destructive bushfires burned across NSW and Victoria.

Crucially, this research has found we’re approaching a crucial dryness threshold, past which fires are historically far more dangerous……..

August 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Solar power, wind power, storage – to replace Liddell coal plant

Liddell coal plant to be replaced by solar, wind, storage

AGL Energy has continued to rubbish suggestions from members of the Coalition, as well as the Murdoch media and the ABC, that Australia should invest in new baseload generation, particularly in coal plants.

“We just don’t see the development of a new coal-fired power plant as economically rational, even before carbon costs,” AGL Energy CEO Andy Vesey told analysts and journalists at a briefing on Thursday, to mark the release of its annual profit results.

And nor would the company consider extending the life of existing coal-fired generators, such as the Liddell plant in the NSW Hunter Valley, which is scheduled to close in 2022.

AGL made a point in its presentation that the most economic option to replace the 2000MW Liddell would not be coal, or baseload gas, but a mix of energy from wind and solar, and various load shaping and firming capacity from other sources.

 This could include battery storage, pumped hydro, demand response mechanisms, and gas peaking plants. It confirmed it is looking at all possibilities but it highlights the shift from reliance on “baseload” power, which as we saw last summer does not equate to reliability, and dispatchable generation.

Already, the 200MW Silverton wind farm is under construction near Broken Hill, and the 465MW Coopers Gap wind farm in Queensland is expected to begin construction soon. Vesey said this would provide “clean reliable energy” for the grid.

AGL also reproduced its estimates of the current cost of wind and solar PV. Both renewable energy technologies delivered energy at a lower cost than brown or black coal, and were still competitive even after adding “firming costs”.

These estimates do not include carbon risk, and the only thing stopping increased investment in those technologies was the lack of policy certainty, Vesey said.

“The challenge is that we are at a point where the lack of certainty around carbon policy is preventing people from investing in the right options, which we think is wind, solar, and storage,” he said. Asked if the company would extend Liddell, built in 1973, particularly given the windfall earnings from the ageing and fully depreciated coal plants in its portfolio given the high wholesale prices, Vesey said no.

Even without factoring in the carbon risk, it would require significant investment in an asset that would be less reliable and have higher cost than other possibilities, such as renewables.

Indeed, Liddell only operated at a capacity factor of 50 per cent in the last financial year, barely above the best performing wind farms.

Notably, half of its capacity was not available during the supply crunch of the NSW heat wave, when wind and solar saved the day after the state’s two biggest gas generators also crashed.

The Bayswater plant operated at 64 per cent capacity, while Loy Yang A operated at around 75 per cent.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment