Australian news, and some related international items

Solar thermal energy the way forward for Australia- says nuclear expert

Dr Wilson described nuclear power as simply “too risky”.

He also said the cost factor was also a major deterrent from going nuclear.

“It’s not the cost of building it. They are expensive to build and they are expensive to run but it’s the cost of demolition when it gets to the end of its life,” he said.

“Nuclear is not cheap, it’s not safe, and will be destructive to key Queensland industries like agriculture and tourism.”

February 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Religious leaders urge ScottyFromMarketing to move Australia away from fossil fuels

February 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Divisions within both Liberal and Labor parties over Coal

Anthony Albanese backs Adani coalmine but criticises proposed Collinsville power plant  The ALP leader says a feasibility study into a new coal-fired power station in Queensland is ‘hush money’ for climate sceptics.  Guardian,  Katharine Murphy Political editor
 @murpharoo, Wed 19 Feb 2020, Anthony Albanese says he supports jobs and economic activity from the Adani coalmine, but he has blasted a feasibility study into a new coal-fired power plant in Collinsville as “hush money” for climate sceptics in the Coalition……

Both the Coalition and Labor are battling divisions over climate policy and the future of coal.

The feasibility study examining Collinsville is proceeding because of strenuous lobbying by Queensland Nationals, but a number of Liberals have argued taxpayers should not be subsidising new coal plants.

While a majority of Labor MPs believe the opposition needs to stay the course on climate action, some in the party’s right argue the party needs to be more positive about the coal industry…….

February 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

143 Anti-Nuclear, 10 Pro Nuclear Submissions (published) to Victorian Parliament

Submissions published so far to the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into Nuclear Prohibition  are running strongly  ANTI NUCLEAR  

There are currently 143 submissions opposing the nuclear industry.

There are 10 submissions favouring the nuclear industry.  (You can bet that vested interests have sent in confidential submissions)

PRO nuclear 

1. Don Hampshire  ( with attack on ABC, The Age )
2 Robert Heron – vaguely
3 Terje- Petesen
116 Leah McDermott
122 Simon Brink
123 CFMMEU Mining and Energy Division   21 Azark  26 Buchanan, Bill    27   Murphy, Barry      28  Patterson, John

ANTI nuclear
4 Jessica Lawson    5 Pro Forma list of 122 contributors    48 Janet Nixon     49 Karen Furniss          63 Graeme Tyschsen        68 Barbara Devine 76 Vivien Smith
77 Lachlan Dow         81 RVS Industries       92 Alan Hewett and Joan Jones    103 Anne Wharton       106 John Quiggin   vague        107 Amy Butcher     109 Nick Pastalatzis            112 Philip White      22 Friends of the Earth      23 Derek Abbott    24 Simpson, Frank  25 Wauchope, Noel      29 Wissink, Bart     30  Sharp, Robyn    31, Smith, Colin


February 18, 2020 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Labor stays strongly against nuclear power, despite pro nuke push from one union

Labor bipartisanship on nuclear energy needed: AWU,Australian Financial Revieew Phillip Coorey – Political Editor, Feb 18, 2020
The Australian Workers’ Union has stepped up its call for Australia to embrace nuclear power by urging Labor leader Anthony Albanese to provide the political bipartisanship that is needed.  …….

Two weeks ago, after appointing nuclear power advocate Keith Pitt to cabinet as Resources Minister, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government was not about to change its policy of opposing nuclear power unless there was bipartisan support and an agreed solution to deal with waste.
A spokesman for Mr Albanese said there would be no change in policy .……

Like other pro-nuclear advocates, Mr Walton supports small modular reactors. He also accepts that if Labor were in government, nuclear power would not be an option for it.

“Nuclear is probably not the solution Labor would opt for if we were in government. But we’re not, and politics is the art of the possible,” he says……

In the Coalition, the Nationals are hardening against a proposal floated by Mr Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
On Monday, Mr Morrison was very cautious.

“I don’t sign up on anything if I can’t look Australians in the eye and see how much it will cost,” he said.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment

For Australia “business as usual” on climate change, will cost many $billions

February 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Climate change extreme weather making parts of Australia uninsurable

Risks aren’t worth it’: QBE says parts of planet becoming uninsurable due to climate concerns,  SMH, Charlotte Grieve February 17, 2020  Global insurance giant QBE has warned climate change poses a material threat to its business and the entire economy as its chief executive Pat Regan said premiums were at risk of becoming too high in areas exposed to repeated, extreme weather……

Mr Regan said there had always been parts of the world that were difficult to insure. But as floods and fires become have dominated headlines this summer, this risk was increasing across “swathes of Australia” and could potentially price out customers from home and business property insurance.

He said climate change was a “big topic” in the sector, requiring the insurance giant to “up its game on a number of fronts”. QBE boosted its reinsurance program for catastrophic events to $2 billion in a process that would be reassessed each year, he said. …..

“The evidence is there for all to see that the amount of weather events globally, not just in Australia, is consistently rising and most of the worst years on record have happened in the last 10 years.”

“The most prone ones [areas] are the ones we see in the news frequently,” Mr Regan said, referencing the Queensland floods and east coast fires……

February 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australian public unaware of the dangers of small nuclear reactors

Thorium advocates say that thorium reactors produce little radioactive waste, however, they simply produce a different spectrum of waste from traditional reactors, including many dangerous isotopes with extremely long half-lives. Technetium 99 has a half-life of 300,000 years and iodine 129 a half-life of 15.7 million years. 


February 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, technology | Leave a comment

South Australia’s grain exports could be at risk, if Kimba nuclear waste dump goes ahead

Paul Waldon   Fight To Stop A Nuclear Waste Dump In South Australia, 17 Feb 20,
Guidelines set by ARPANSA may suggest concerns for radioactive waste in an agriculture environment. These concerns are reaffirmed with Dr Yury Bandazhevsky’s study where he reported the health impacts in children around Belarus after 1986, this is where he states that the biomagnification of radioactive food ingested at a rate of 10 becquerels per kilo of contaminated food daily over a period of 500 days will culminate in a reading of 1400 Becquerels per kilo of body weight.

Keeping in mind the safe standard for radioactive contaminated food in Australia is 1200 becquerels, which fails to keep up with the safer standards of Japan at only 100 becquerels per kilo. Not only is Japans standards safer than ours but Australia’s grain export to Japan is about $646 million per year, and that could be in jeopardy if the program to turn Kimba into a radioactive dump proceeds.

Dr Bandazhevsky’s study came with the added problem of finding children of Belarus free of contamination, there was also a health cluster in children now recorded and known as Chernobyl heart, a condition of multiple holes in the heart, due to radioactive exposure.

February 17, 2020 Posted by | business, Federal nuclear waste dump, health, South Australia | Leave a comment

NukeMap – what if Australian cities were hit by a nuclear bomb

What Happens If Australia Is Hit By A Nuclear Bomb? lifehacker, Jackson Ryan | Feb 16, 2020, “….NUKEMAP provides a few different readouts for each map with colour coded rings :

  • The yellow ring is the size of the nuclear fireball
  • The red ring denotes the air blast zone where 20 psi of pressure is felt – enough to damage concrete buildings
  • The green ring denotes the radiation diameter – within this ring, you would receive a 500 rem radiation dose. That’s enough to kill 65-90% of all exposed within 30 days.
  • The grey ring denotes the air blast zone where 5 psi of pressure is felt
  • The orange ring is the thermal radiation zone – if you are within this ring you receive third degree burns that extend through the layers of the skin.

The most recent bomb tested by North Korea was reportedly around 50 kilotons. So if we used that as a base, what would the damage from a 50 kiloton nuclear bomb do to:


If a nuclear bomb of this size were to drop over the harbour bridge, then the bridge would be completely engulfed by the nuclear fireball. The amount of pressure emanating from the explosion would destroy Luna Park, most of Kirribilli, including the Prime Minister’s residence and the Opera House. Circular Quay would see an extreme amount of damage and radiation. Darling Harbour wouldn’t be subjected to quite the same amount of instantly fatal pressure, but anyone in the area would still be badly injured.


The size of the nuclear fireball would destroy Melbourne’s CBD and the resulting pressure from the explosion would flatten the land around it. Most of the iconic landmarks in Melbourne’s inner city would be gone.


Brisbane City would be engulfed by the fireball and Suncorp Stadium would take a huge hit. Most of the bridges in the area would need to withstand huge pressures and the thermal radiation causing third degree burns would reach out as far as Fortitude Valley, one of the more busy night strips in Brisbane. …..


Adelaide’s CBD would be mostly non-existent, with the fireball engulfing a large portion and the overpressure extending from North to South Terrace. Rundle Mall would be hit hard and you wouldn’t expect Adelaide Oval to remain standing, either. The thermal radiation would extend out as far as the parade in Norwood and almost entirely cover North Adelaide.


Owing to its place right next to the Swan River, Perth City may not see the same level of immediate fatalities but the destruction would be extensive. The thermal radiation ring would extend from the centre of the CBD out to the Perth Zoo and as far as Lake Monger. The famous Perth Mint would sadly be caught in the 5psi overpressure zone, a space where most buildings collapse.


Parliament House as a target, would be completely decimated by the fireball and the 20psi overpressure would flatten everything as far as National Circuit. The National Library, the National Museum and the National Gallery would also likely crumble under the pressure of the air blast. The Australian War Memorial and the Royal Australian Mint would fall just outside the thermal radiation zone.


A direct hit on Hobart’s CBD would see a lot of the blast rip across the River Derwent. The fireball would circle most of the city, while the overpressure blast would extend up Elizabeth Street and out to the Salamanca Market. The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens would receive a huge amount of thermal radiation, which would reach across the Tasman Highway bridge and into Rosny.


The size of an atomic bomb blast of this size would take out a lot of Darwin’s waterfront, but the thermal radiation wouldn’t extend all the way across Charles Darwin National Park but, provided it hit the CBD, the overpressure air blast would do incredible damage all the way through the city and across to the Gardens…..



February 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

History of Australia’s govt move towards importing nuclear waste

If the “low level” storage facility goes ahead in Kimba, it would only be a matter of time before it became a facility storing medium and high level waste creating untold risks for human life, Indigenous culture and heritage, flora and fauna, and agriculture. It must be stopped.

TERRA NUCLEAR  Anna Pha,16 Feb 2, Last week, the then Resources Minister Matt Canavan announced the site for an international nuclear waste dump on farmland in South Australia. The decision comes after two decades or more of wrangling over where to locate the facility.

The land is at Napandee in Kimba, on the Eyre Peninsula and is owned by a farmer who offered it to the government. He is set to receive compensation well above market value.

“The facility has broad community support in Kimba, but I acknowledge there remains opposition, particularly amongst the Barngarla People and their representative group,” Canavan said in a press release.

He omits to mention that the Barngarla People were excluded from a local vote on the question.

In addition, the opposition is not confined to the Barngarla People who fear the pollution of their land and waters, as well as the damage to their culture and sacred sites. Environmental and other groups as well as many individuals have not given up. They are determined to fight it to the end.

Denial of Danger

Just as the government refuses to acknowledge the dangers of inaction over climate change, Canavan plays down the deadly risks associated with radiation; “I am satisfied a facility at Napandee will safely and securely manage radioactive waste and that the local community has shown broad community support for the project and economic benefits it will bring.”

This is a hollow claim, which he cannot back with practice. How can anyone claim such a facility would be safely and securely managed for thousands or possibly hundreds of thousands of years that it would take for the radioactive material to breakdown?

The minister cannot make any guarantees. In particular, as the plan is to hand the facility over to the private sector to manage, the risks and cover-ups become far more likely and serious Continue reading

February 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, history, reference | Leave a comment

Australia must learn to mine rare earths responsibly

 We Australians can be so righteous about our environmental credentials, but we don’t seem to notice the problems with renewable energy.

We must jump on to the circular economy.  If the world could RECYCLE rare earths elements –   there’d be so much less need for mining and processing of rare earths, with its problematic creation of radioactive wastes.

What is needed is DESIGN – clever design of all devices that use rare earths, so that these elements can be easily retrieved, to use again in new devices.
While renewable energy technologies are used in the same old way –  dig it up, throw away the wastes, we are locked in the  20th Century thinking – that also includes the aim of endless energy use, endless growth. 

Critical minerals are vital for renewable energy. We must learn to mine them responsibly Bénédicte Cenki-Tok, Associate professor at Montpellier University, EU H2020 MSCA visiting researcher, University of Sydney,  February 17, 2020 .  As the world shifts away from fossil fuels, we will need to produce enormous numbers of wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles and batteries. Demand for the materials needed to build them will skyrocket.

This includes common industrial metals such as steel and copper, but also less familiar minerals such as the lithium used in rechargeable batteries and the rare earth elements used in the powerful magnets required by wind turbines and electric cars. Production of many of these critical minerals has grown enormously over the past decade with no sign of slowing down.

Australia is well placed to take advantage of this growth – some claim we are on the cusp of a rare earths boom – but unless we learn how to do it in a responsible manner, we will only create a new environmental crisis.

One consequence of a massive transition to renewables will be a drastic increase not only in the consumption of raw materials (including concrete, steel, aluminium, copper and glass) but also in the diversity of materials used.

Three centuries ago, the technologies used by humanity required half a dozen metals. Today we use more than 50, spanning almost the entire periodic table. However, like fossil fuels, minerals are finite.

Can we ‘unlearn’ renewables to make them sustainable?

If we take a traditional approach to mining critical minerals, in a few decades they will run out – and we will face a new environmental crisis. At the same time, it is still unclear how we will secure supply of these minerals as demand surges.

This is further complicated by geopolitics. China is a major producer, accounting for more than 60% of rare earth elements, and significant amounts of tungsten, bismuth and germanium.

This makes other countries, including Australia, dependent on China, and also means the environmental pollution due to mining occurs in China.

The opportunity for Australia is to produce its own minerals, and to do so in a way that minimises environmental harm and is sustainable.

Where to mine?

Australia has well established resources in base metals (such as gold, iron, copper, zinc and lead) and presents an outstanding potential in critical minerals. Australia already produces almost half of lithium worldwide, for example…….

Fuelling the transition

For most western economies, rare earth elements are the most vital. These have electromagnetic properties that make them essential for permanent magnets, rechargeable batteries, catalytic converters, LCD screens and more. Australia shows a great potential in various deposit types across all states.

The Northern Territory is leading with the Nolans Bore mine already in early-stage operations. But many other minerals are vital to economies like ours.

Cobalt and lithium are essential to ion batteries. Gallium is used in photodetectors and photovoltaics systems. Indium is used for its conductive properties in screens.

Critical minerals mining is seen now as an unprecedented economic opportunity for exploration, extraction and exportation.

Recent agreements to secure supply to the US opens new avenues for the Australian mining industry.

How can we make it sustainable?

Beyond the economic opportunity, this is also an environmental one. Australia has the chance to set an example to the world of how to make the supply of critical minerals sustainable. The question is: are we willing to?

Many of the techniques for creating sustainable minerals supply still need to be invented. We must invest in geosciences, create new tools for exploration, extraction, beneficiation and recovery, treat the leftover material from mining as a resource instead of waste, develop urban mining and find substitutes and effective recycling procedures.

In short, we must develop an integrated approach to the circular economy of critical minerals. One potential example to follow here is the European EURARE project initiated a decade ago to secure a future supply of rare earth elements.

More than ever, we need to bridge the gap between disciplines and create new synergies to make a sustainable future. It is essential to act now for a better planet.


February 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths | Leave a comment

Greens leader Adam Bandt seeks new deal with “renewable mining and manufacturing” sector

 New Greens leader Adam Bandt will tour Australia’s mining regions to promote his plan to create a “renewable mining and manufacturing” sector and repair his party’s poor relations with ­resources industry workers.    THE AUSTRALIAN , RICHARD FERGUSON FEBRUARY 16, 2020

New Greens leader Adam Bandt will tour Australia’s mining ­regions to promote his plan to create a “renewable mining and manufacturing” sector and repair his party’s poor relations with ­resources industry workers.

Mr Bandt — who started his tenure as leader saying big business was “killing people” — wants to shift the mining sector towards lithium and process materials such as iron ore in Australia to build a domestic “zero-carbon” manufacturing industry…. (subscribers only)

February 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Australian government pushes on with nuclear dump, tramples on indigenous rights

February 15, 2020 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste dumping: as the Baldock family sells farming land, is the agricultural market for Kimba now stuffed up?

As the Baldock family anticipates the establishment of a nuclear waste dump on Jeff Baldock’s land,  they now sell a large chunk of their farming land, along with three other farming families that have made the same decision. (Reported in The Advertiser , 14 Feb 2020)

It looks as if they are  getting out fast, before the dirty nuclear waste news is widely known.

And here are some of the many comments on Facebook:

James Shepherdson It is actually about roughly 20ks from the site and has only just been added to the other land for sale. Read into it what you will , but if he’s planning to stay he’s sure sending the wrong message with this move .As far as being approachable, been there done that and got jumped on by council and the gov department and were accused of bullying . this will go down in history as the most undemocratic process in this country

K Bruun I can’t – but at the same time ‘can’ – believe this. I am amazed at how planned this has been. There must be something sociopathic about these people. I still don’t understand how Baldock could spend his nuffield scholarship learning how to keep families on farms together, yet does this. What is the psychology behind people like this? They have effectively harmed their entire community.

Joshua Jaeger Selling it before it becomes worthless.
Zac Eagle Rats didn’t take long to jump the sinking ship
Jillian Marsh As always the business people will pack up and move on because it’s a business venture. The Traditional Owners face another round of dispossession and destruction as their sovereign lands are RE-colonised and further desecrated. Very sad and sorry state of affairs …
Noel Wauchope Perhaps the Baldocks and others look to a “healthy”economic transition for Australia from an agricultural country to the world’s quarry and waste dump.
Paul Waldon How many children will this crumbling community lose from this and future sales of properties.

Kazzi Jai  Paul Waldon “It was sheer elation when I heard,” Baldock says. “I’m very, very excited about what lies ahead for Kimba. It gives me a great feeling of relief. I’m quite excited to have it on my property and see it develop, to have our kids around it and see some opportunities close to home.”
The Saturday Paper February 8th -14th 2020

Joanne Borchers Yeah nah! Good luck offloading that with what’s planned by the grubby government for the Eyre Peninsula… soon to be the worlds nuclear waste dumping ground. People be selling up in droves and government will pick it up for a song and make squillions in dirty money … a big F U to the people of SA… hate what’s happening 
Paul Waldon Zac Eagle I wouldn’t know myself, however the Baldock with his property on the market may trying to distance himself in an attempt to elude the stigma and a name that one day maybe synonymous with shame.

  Noel Wauchope Perhaps the Baldocks and others look to a “healthy”economic transition for Australia from an agricultural country to the world’s quarry and waste dump.

Paul Waldon Another casualty of a Radioactive dump, I presume.
Paul Waldon $31 mil not looking so good. 

Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Range,

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment