Australian news, and some related international items

Heat in New South Wales – bushfires, health impact, and roads melting

Roads melt as temperatures break records across NSW, SMH, By Jenny Noyes, 17 January 2019 As temperature records continue to be broken across NSW, residents from Sydney to Menindee are warned the heatwave melting the state is yet to hit its peak, and in some parts is forecast to continue into next week without respite.

On Wednesday and Thursday, new maximum temperature records were set at 27 sites across NSW and the ACT, while some of the hottest overnight temperatures on record worsened the impact of the ongoing hot spell.

The conditions were so extreme that the bitumen on the Oxley Highway near Wauchope, just west of Port Macquarie, began melting about midday.

Walcha Council is using water from a nearby river to cool the pavement.

“Roads and Maritime Services acknowledge water is a scarce resource at this time, however it is required to ensure the safety of motorists and keep the road open,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the NSW Rural Fire Service was battling more than 50 fires across the state – 20 of them are uncontained.

Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said 61 new fires were ignited on Wednesday alone, 31 of them started by lightning.

“We’re still trying to capture some of these fires and get them contained,” he told 2GB radio.

Total fire bans were in place across much of central NSW, stretching from the Victorian border up to Queensland……….

Dr Broome said that hospitals across the state were preparing for a 14 per cent rise in emergency room admissions and a 13 per cent rise in mortality, after a similar event in 2011. …….


January 19, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Health risks due to high salt content in water, in a drought town

December 11, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Spikes in radiation monitored during bushfires near Lucas Heights nuclear site

15th April 2018 – Residents told to “Shelter in place”, Peter Daley, 20 Nov 18

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) local radiation monitor station shows significant spikes in radiation during the fire event.

Below are screen shots from the ANSTO radiation monitoring station at Endagine. Endagine is located East of the Lucas Heights reactor.

What caused this spike in local radiation?

Did the fire release local radioactive contamination?

Reactor venting?

Fault in equipment?

Their rainfall monitor shows it definitely was not raining at the time of these detections, so these detections can’t be explained away as Radon wash out events.

Radiation Spike plus rainfall chart 15th to 16th April

More Radiation detection spikes showing on the live Engadine ANSTO monitor station chart, 19th April.

ANSTO live monitoring site,

November 20, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Concern over New South Wales zurconium mine – also mining uranium and thorium

Kazzi Jai  Kazzi Jai  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 11 Nov 18, 

when you can’t legally “produce” uranium and thorium BUT inadvertently “mine” it to get the rare earth elements zirconium, hafnium, niobium and yttrium?

That’s what’s happening at the Toongi mine, 25km south of Dubbo in NSW. Called the “Alkane Resource’s Dubbo Zirconia Project” its lease was granted in December 2015. Much closer to Sydney at 380km…. compared to Roxby Downs which is 565 km from Adelaide! And it turns out that the mine has between 10,000 and 100,000 tonnes of uranium according to Geoscience Australia!

And there’s more! Turns out that over the 20-year life of the project around 80,000 tonnes of “radioactive substance” – uranium and thorium – would need to be “diluted”, according to Alkane’s Environmental Impact Statement.

This “dilution” would require up to 50 million tonnes of other, non-radioactive, materials. Around 7 million tonnes of salt, 2.5 billion litres of ‘liquid residue’ and 2 million tonnes of ‘solid waste’ would remain at the mine site forever, alongside a 40-hectare “final void”.

Now, why isn’t this in our local papers do you think?

November 11, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, uranium | 1 Comment

New South Wales government is preparing for a surge in renewable energy

We want to do everything we can’: NSW readies for renewables surge, Brisbane Times, By Peter Hannam, 5 November 2018 New solar and wind farms being planned for NSW have twice the capacity of the state’s coal-fired power stations, prompting the state government to set aside $55 million to help smooth their introduction.As of October 29, NSW had 20,000 megawatts of generation capacity either approved or seeking planning approval, worth more than $27 billion in investment, according to government data.

Proposed solar plants accounted for 11,200MW, dwarfing wind farms with 5100MW, and the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro of about 2000MW. Just 100MW involved coal, with the planned upgrade of AGL’s Bayswater power station.

Along with the new plants, some eight large-scale battery projects – all with solar farms – with more than 400MW-hours of capacity are also in the planning pipeline as the industry gears up for the bulge in variable energy sources.

The market, though, is going to need some near-term help to smooth the exit of most of the state’s existing power plants – particularly the 10,160MW of coal-fired power stations, said Amy Kean, director of the Energy Infrastructure and Emerging Technologies unit at the Department of Planning

To that end, the government last week revealed the first details of its $55 million Emerging Energy Program aimed at supporting a portfolio of nascent technologies that will be needed as 70 per cent of the state’s generation fleet retires by 2035.

“We’re trying to drive these technologies down the cost curve so they can then complement variable wind and solar technologies,” Ms Kean said.

The surge in renewable energy comes as the federal government has largely vacated the energy policy space after the demise of the Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee. The states are largely being left to press on with carbon reduction and other power sector goals.

“There is no doubt that our energy future lies in alternative technologies,” Don Harwin, the NSW Energy Minister, said.

“We want to do everything we can to unlock the expertise of the private sector to accelerate projects that deliver clean, reliable and affordable energy.”

Renewable energy could emerge as a key policy issue at next March’s state election. Adam Searle, Labor’s energy spokesman said his party planned to “have quite a lot more to say about it”, and that the ALP “will do more on new energy than Coalition parties”.

Solar catches up with windThe rapid advance and competitive nature of solar photovoltaic panels, meanwhile, has caught many by surprise. …….

November 6, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | 1 Comment

Severe fire danger as heat hits New South Wales East coast

NSW east coast now in ‘severe’ fire danger as mercury soars SMH , 2 Nov 18 Drier than expected conditions have put Sydney and much of the NSW east coast in severe fire danger, as the city experiences a “low intensity heatwave” on Friday afternoon.

A large mass of hot air moving across the state is driving temperatures up towards 40 degrees in some parts, fanned by strong winds above 30km/h.

At the peak, the mercury had hit 38.9 degrees at Sydney Airport, 37.6 degrees in Camden, 37.1 degrees at Observatory Hill and 38.8 degrees at Horsley Park. Statewide, White Cliffs in the far west, notched 43.3 degrees……..

Fires burn near Canberra and Newcastle

Firefighters were already battling an out-of-control blaze south-west of Canberra on Thursday night and continue to fight it today. The fire is burning erratically at Pierces Creek, about 8km from the nearest suburb……..

Exceptionally warm Australia was “exceptionally warm” last month, with mean temperatures 1.83 degrees above the 1961-90 average, making it the fourth warmest October on record, the bureau said.

Minimum temperatures were the second warmest on record, behind only 2015……

While Sydney’s October rainfall was twice the average at 167.6 millimetres, evaporation rates were almost as high at 160.6 millimetres meaning the rainfall deficient barely budged.

Elsewhere, the big dry has expanded beyond NSW and Queensland, with Tasmania recording its third-driest October on record as rainfall dived 60 per cent below average for the month.

Victoria was also dry, continuing its run this year of below-average monthly rainfall totals with less than half the usual October rain. By mean temperatures, it was also that state’s fifth warmest October on record.

November 3, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

City of Sydney calls on Australian govt to sign up to the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

ICAN Australia, October 30 

Last night, the City of Sydney unanimously adopted a motion calling on the Australian Government to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Congratulations!
We hope many cities and towns will join Sydney and Melbourne in endorsing the ICAN Cities Appeal.


November 1, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dr Joe McGirr, independent and supporter of climate action, is set to win Wagga Wagga by-election

Wagga Wagga by-election: Antony Green calls it for Dr Joe McGirr ABC News , By Nick Sas and Jennine Khalik  9 Sept 18, ABC election analyst Antony Green has called the Wagga Wagga by-election for independent candidate Dr Joe McGirr.

Speaking on ABC News on Sunday night, Green said he felt safe calling Saturday’s by-election, slightly more than 24 hours after the polls closed.

“He is a certain winner,” Green said.

The race for the seat, which had been vacated by disgraced Liberal MP Daryl Maguire, became a two-man battle between Labor’s Dan Hayes and Dr McGirr after the Liberals were hit with a 29 per cent swing against them…..

Dr McGirr, a medical doctor and academic at the University of Notre Dame Australia, has lived in central Wagga since 1991 and only decided to run for the seat three weeks ago……

September 10, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Overnight secret transport of nuclear wastes through Sydney

Radioactive nuclear rods leave Sydney bound for France, ABC 30 July 18 

July 30, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, safety | Leave a comment

Delay in production of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) at Lucas Heights

Fault at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor halts production of medical isotope, Guardian, 28 June 18 
Spokesman says no safety risk but there are fears patients could face delays in cancer diagnosis   “….. 
production of the most commonly used isotope in nuclear medicine was halted at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney’s south.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) usually produces about 10,000 doses a week of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is used to diagnose a variety of heart, lung and musculoskeletal conditions, as well as cancers.

An Ansto spokesman said production was temporarily suspended on Friday “after a mechanical fault was identified with a piece of equipment”. There was no safety risk due to the stoppage, he said………


June 29, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

ANSTO’s secret transport of spent nuclear fuel assemblies through Sydney’s streets

The Australian 1st June 2018 ,If you look out the window and glimpse a convoy winding through Sydney’s streets guarded by swarms of federal agents and state police, don’t be alarmed.

Any day now a decade’s worth of spent nuclear fuel assemblies weighing 24 tonnes will be moved out of Sydney’s Lucas Heights facility in a highly sensitive transport mission months in the making.

The radioactive cargo is set to be shipped to La Hague, in France, but details about the port, routes and specific timing of the operation remain classified with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) only disclosing it will happen mid-year.

June 3, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, safety, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Labor candidate for Monaro Bryce Wilson refutes MP Barilaro’s simplistic push for Small Modular Nuclear reactors

Barilaro sees nuclear future, Labor criticises lack of detail, Canberra Times, Elliot Williams – – 21 Apr 18, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has not ruled out one day having nuclear reactors in his home electorate of Monaro, near the ACT.

Mr Barilaro has garnered attention this week after advocating for nuclear energy to be considered in NSW in a speech to an energy policy forum in Sydney on Wednesday.

But when questioned whether he would ever consider bringing nuclear reactors to Monaro Mr Barilaro refused to rule anything in or out.

……..Mr Barilaro said he envisaged a future where small modular reactors were set up in a series and could be air, gas or sand cooled rather than the familiar technology of large reactors situated on the coastline for easy access to water.

He said recycling of radioactive material had improved and waste products would remain radioactive for around 300 years rather than hundreds of thousands of years.

However Mr Barilaro has been criticised by Labor candidate for Monaro Bryce Wilson and the Nature Conservation Council for his reluctance to provide details about his plan to bring nuclear power to the state.

“John can’t stand there and say he wants to provide relief to household energy bills without giving us any figures,” Mr Wilson said.

“This isn’t primary school debating, this is a conversation for grown ups.

“How can we have a conversation about nuclear power without knowing where reactors would go, how much it would cost and what would happen to the waste?

Mr Wilson added he would not endorse bringing nuclear reactors to any part of the region………The federal government has a ban on nuclear power in Australia and federal member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly said he would not support nuclear power in the region.

“It is not necessary to build nuclear power stations in Australia, as we have an abundance of natural renewable resources that can be utilised to create energy,” Dr Kelly said.

“For our region, there is a real opportunity in becoming a hub for research and development in renewable energy and the scope for manufacturing renewable energy components.”

Mr Barilaro said he wanted to see more investment in renewable energy, particularly in Monaro, but said it would not be possible to do so without ensuring a greater baseload of energy, which nuclear power could provide.

He said nuclear was a cleaner option than coal or gas to achieve the necessary baseload…….ACT minister for climate change and sustainability Shane Rattenbury ruled out nuclear power as an option for the territory.

“Both Greens and Labor national platforms specifically preclude the construction of nuclear power plants in Australia,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The ACT is committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity, and nuclear power does not form part of this commitment.”

April 22, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales Acting Premier is gung ho for nuclear power

Barilaro slams “ignorant 1970’s thinking” on nuclear,  – 19 Apr 18 MICHAEL MCLAREN  

Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro has been speaking on energy, declaring nuclear power “inevitable” and slamming the “ignorant 1970’s thinking” that has inhibited the development of our nation’s uranium reserves.

Michael McLaren is also pointing out the hypocrisy of Australia’s engagement with nuclear energy, noting that despite being the world’s third largest exporter of uranium, Australia has a banning moratorium on the resource.

“In 2016, Australia exported uranium worth more than $900 million to other places around the world. But we didn’t use one iota of it at home,” says Michael.

“If you ask me, that’s completely stupid.”  “It has been forgotten for no other then ideological reasons.”…..  Download this podcast here

April 20, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales firefighter warns on the importance of climate change bringing extreme weather

Menai bushfire reveals problem we must confront –By Jim Casey, 

I’m a professional firefighter employed by Fire Rescue NSW and working out of Balmain fire station.

When I arrived at work on Sunday, the crew who were just finishing their shift looked dead on their feet. There was a pile of dirty hose in the backyard, and the fire engine stank of smoke.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Climate change – unseasonably hot weather made bushfires near Lucas Heights nuclear reactor become “apocalyptic” blazes

Apocalyptic blaze surrounding nuclear reactor sets off emergency

AUSTRALIA is struggling to contain a growing bushfire that is racing towards a nuclear reactor, amid fears that the blaze could expand beyond their control. By OLI SMITH Apr 16, 2018 

More than 500 Australia firefighters are struggling to tackle a massive bushfire, with several residents urged to seek shelters as evacuation is now “too late”.

Scenes of the blaze, which started yesterday, have been described as “apocalyptic” after the fire ripped through nearly 2,500 hectares of land close to the suburbs of Sydney.

Firefighters failed to stop the out-of-control blaze from burning through a major military base – and a nuclear reactor is the next at-risk location.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) said it was concerned that flying embers could spark even more blazes……

The unseasonably hot Autumn in south-eastern Australia has been blamed for worsening the bushfire after record temperatures for April.

Shane Fitzsimmons, of the RFS, warned that strong 60km per hour winds are expected to push towards residential homes.

He said that the country’s largest army barracks at Holsworthy, where stockpiles of fuel, ammunition and explosive materials are kept, had been hit by the fire.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, safety | Leave a comment