This week’s front-page “exclusive” in The Australian suggests South Australia’s wind turbines were producing significant amounts of “negative power” from the grid at the height of the recent electricity “crisis”. But the numbers it quotes are ridiculously wrong.
The story, by Adelaide bureau chief Michael Owen, suggests the state’s wind turbines were “producing about 5780MW” between 6am and 7am, but by mid afternoon were producing “negative 50MW”. Asanalysis from Ron Brakels observes, the report confuses energy terminology, apparently not knowing the difference between capacity and output.
In fact, the state’s wind turbines cannot produce 5780MW — they only have a combined capacity of 1600MW. There’s not even 5780MW of wind capacity in the whole country……
As SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis told the ABC, that’s precisely why the government encouraged investments in wind and solar: to bring costs down. That has largely succeeded. https://www.crikey.com.au/2016/07/22/558133/
A pity that I can’t read the full article. Being on a low income, I don’t subscribe to any paid journal or newspaper. Well, I did, until today, subscribe to Fairfax’s The Age. But not any more.
It is a sad sacking of many staff, and I feel for all of them.
However, it says something a bit more about Fairfax, when they pick out a top investigative journalist. Michael West not only has confronted the big end of town with some very inconvenient facts, but – a worse crime – he has written about them in lively language that the peasantry can understand.
Watch now as the Business Pages of the Age become more obscurely written, and even more pro business. And along with that. The Age particpates in the general dumbing down of the Australian media.
Michael West among Fairfax redundancies, Crikey.com, Myriam Robin Media Reporter, May 13, 2016 Hard-hitting business journo Michael West is among those saying goodbye to Fairfax. Senior business reporter Michael West, whose work appeared in the Business Day sections of the Sydney Morning Herald and Age, is leaving Fairfax today.West confirmed his compulsory redundancy, but declined to comment further. In a tweet after this piece was published online, west wrote “told my skillset not aligned with fairfax strategy going forward”….. subscribers only http://www.crikey.com.au/2016/05/13/michael-west-fairfax-redundancy/
“…..Politically, the need for a centralised facility has bipartisan support across multiple levels of government. Socially, the government has moved from suggesting sites to prioritising community consultation in all stages of the project, especially site selection. Environmentally, international experience has demonstrated that highly engineered and well-regulated low- and intermediate-level repositories can be managed safely with no impact on the community or agricultural industry….”
Pro-uranium social media campaign’s #epicfail Why are some still championing nuclear power when renewable energy generation has doubled worldwide over the past decade? Jim Green, SBS, 25 Apr 2016 www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/04/25/comment-pro-uranium-social-media-campaigns-epicfail
The Minerals Council of Australia launched a pro-uranium social media campaign on Wednesday. By that afternoon the twitter hashtag #untappedpotential was trending but ‒ as an AAP piece picked up by SBS and others noted ‒ contributors were overwhelmingly critical.
Nearly all contributors offered thoughts such as these: “A week away from the #Chernobyl 30-year anniversary and Minerals Council begins propaganda trip on the #untappedpotential of uranium. Huh?!” said Twitter user Jemila Rushton.
“We need to better harness the #untappedpotential of solar power”, tweeted Upulie Divisekera.
“#untappedpotential to put more communities at risk of nuclear waste dumps,” Ace Collective said.
“We concur that uranium has much #untappedpotential … for disaster, cost and time blowouts and proliferation,” Anglesea After Coal said.
No doubt the Minerals Council anticipated the negative publicity and is working on the basis that all publicity is good publicity. But what the MCA didn’t anticipate is that in recent days the uranium price has fallen to an 11-year low. Mining.com noted in an April 20 article that the current low price hasn’t been seen since May 2005. The current price, under US26/lb, is well under half the price just before the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and under one-fifth of the 2007 peak of a bubble.
Mining.com quotes a Haywood Securities research note which points out that the spot uranium price “saw three years of back-to-back double-digit percentage losses from 2011-13, but none worse than what we’ve seen thus far in 2016, and at no point since Fukushima, did the average weekly spot price dip below $28 a pound.”
Mining.com notes that five years after the Fukushima disaster only two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are back on line, and that in other developed markets nuclear power is also in retreat. The last reactor start-up in the U.S. was 20 years ago. The French Parliament legislated last year to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear power by one-third. Germany is phasing out nuclear power. The European Commission recently released a report predicting that the EU’s nuclear power retreat ‒ down 14% over the past decade ‒ will continue.
China is a growth market but has amassed a “staggering” stockpile of yellowcake according to Macquarie Bank. India’s nuclear power program is in a “deep freeze” according to the Hindustan Times (unfortunately the same cannot be said about its nuclear weapons program), while India’s energy minister Piyush Goyal said on April 20 that India is not in a “tearing hurry” to expand nuclear power since there are unresolved questions about pricing, safety and liability waivers sought by foreign companies.
Even if all of Japan’s 50 reactors are included in the count, the number of power reactors operating worldwide is the same now as it was a decade ago. Zero growth despite the endless rhetoric about a nuclear renaissance.
A decision on two planned reactors in the UK could be announced in the next fortnight and the price-tag for the reactors explains why nuclear power is stagnant worldwide and why the Minerals Council is talking about uranium’s ‘potential’ rather than its current contribution to export revenue and employment. The total price-tag for the two planned reactors is A$45 billion. If the project proceeds, the industry will be hoping it doesn’t go three times over budget, as reactor projects in France and Finland have.
South Australian academic Richard Leaver has neatly summed up the uranium industry’s tiresome rhetoric: “‘Potential’ is one of the most powerful chemicals available to the political alchemist. Any individual, firm or sector deemed to have potential is relieved of a massive and perpetual burden − the need to account for past and present achievements (or, more probably, the lack of them). The history of Australian involvement in the civil uranium industry offers an excellent example of this alchemy at work.”
Whatever the future potential of the uranium industry, it contributes next to nothing to the economy at the moment: <0.2 percent of national export revenue and <0.01 percent of all jobs in Australia. And those figures will fade further into irrelevance with the end of mining and the gradual winding down of processing at the Ranger uranium mine in the NT.
The stagnation and cost escalation of nuclear power contrast sharply with the trajectory of renewables. Driven by sharp cost reductions, renewable energy generation has doubled worldwide over the past decade and renewables now produce more than twice the amount of electricity as nuclear power. The gap is widening every day. Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia.
The terrorists’ initial aim to blow up Belgium’s nuclear reactors was explained on SBS World News, last night, but did not get a mention on ABC news. It was reported on Sydney Morning Herald, but that story appears to have been withdrawn.( – Brussels bombers considered nuclear site, changed their minds: report Sydney Morning Herald–24 Mar. 2016. )
I doubt that it was reported on the Murdoch dominated commercial media
Could Australia’s media be experiencing pressure to avoid uncomfortable nuclear topics, – heading in the self censorship direction now prevalent in Japan?
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The Adelaide Advertiser – mouthpiece of the nuclear lobby advises that we should all just give up – “see the light’ and let South Australia just roll over like a tame dog, and let the nuclear juggernaut roll over it.
we hosted the British nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga in the 1950s, and we have the world’s largest uranium mine at Olympic Dam.
So we are destined to be locked in to the nuclear fuel industry for decades to come. – Chris Kenny, The Advertiser 21 Feb 16
The Age today reported on the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission. I guess we should be thankful that this news actually got into more than just the South Australian press and the corporate mouthpiece THE AUSTRALIAN.
Of course, this is in the Business section, not the major part of the paper. . After all, it’s not as if the question of importing radioactive trash is of concern to Australian sin general. Or is it?
Anyway – some of the contradictions, omissions and problems in the Royal Commission findings, as reported.
Mr Scarce said he had been conservative in his assumptions.
“I want to under-promise and over-deliver,” he said…..”
“Facility could be open in a decade“….Really?
“He [Scarce] said during the life of a nuclear storage facility, a net present value of profits of more than $51 billion had been calculated”. Why hasn’t some other country with nuclear expertise and experience grasped this opportunity?
The tax-payer will be up for huge costs?
“He [Scarce] recommended that such a facility be government owned.….. the facility would require a dedicated port facility, airport and rail freight line”. Who pays for all that?
“There are significant quantities of used fuel from nuclear reactors in temporary storage in the Asia-Pacific region and these quantities will grow ” -not a mention of the transport problems and dangers .
Dennis Matthews 24 Dec 15 In response to Dave Sweeney’s “good nuclear news” – on the leadership of indigenous Australians in opposing the nuclear industry and nuclear waste dumping in South Australia
It’s correct, in December Karina and Rose Lester shared the Conservation Council of SA (Conservation SA) 2015, $1000, Jill Hudson Award for environmental protection for their opposition to the nuclear industry, but, apart from a small column in The Advertiser which didn’t mention the nuclear industry I’ve seen no mention of this important event.
I looked for a media release on the Conservation SA website but couldn’t find anything.
Perhaps someone could put the media release on this website?
PS. The first winners of the Jill Hudson award were Adnyamathanha activist Dr Jillian Marsh and ABC journalist Rose Crane. I understand that Jillian is involved in fighting attempts to put the proposed national nuclear waste dump on Adnyamathanha land.
In Muller’s previous presentations on his YouTube show Veritasium, he has consistently confused the
naturally occurring radioactive potassium K, with the nuclear fission produced radioactive isotopes…..Muller seems to have no understanding of the way in which bananas are used in the body
What Muller and Thomas are doing is following the script from the tobacco and asbestos industries.
This documentary “Uranium – twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is just Series One. I would love to know who helped to fund Gene Pool Productions for PBS and SBS to produce this. I’m betting that Series Two will follow before long, with a glossy and positive story about Generation IV nuclear reactors.
The half lie of the Dragon’s Tail. Online opinion, By Noel Wauchope Thursday, 27 August 2015 The documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is the latest glossy and highly sophisticated soft sell for the nuclear industry. It’s also, if you look at it closely, rather confusing.
I will start from the end, because that’s where the main message of this film comes out clearly “Just imagine a world where reactors can produce immense amounts of clean, safe, energy. There is no such thing as a future without uranium.” These final words are said against a background of soaring celestial choirs.
This seems to be the formula now, in nuclear promotion. The 2013 propaganda film “Pandora’s Promise” carried the same positive message – an ever rocketing energy demand to be met by ever increasing, indeed limitless, electrical energy provided by new nuclear reactors.
But, like ‘Pandora’s Promise’, this new documentary devotes the first two thirds of its series to discussing the negative aspects of the nuclear industry. Episode One covers its history, ill effects of radiation, the atomic bomb and its use. Episode Two continues this, with a sympathetic attitude to Australian Aboriginal concerns.
Unlike “Pandora’s Promise” this film does not denigrate anti-nuclear activists, and there is no attempt to ridicule Dr Helen Caldicott, as “Pandora’s Promise” did.
Indeed, the first two episodes are beautifully clear and accurate, as well as entertaining. Really, I couldn’t criticise them.
With the final episode – that’s when the message kicks in, and also when it gets confusing……. Continue reading
I was astounded to hear ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live programme last night. Philip Adams’ guests were two spruikers for the nuclear industry. Ben Heard, (occupational therapy graduate,now doing his PHd all about nuclear power – tutored by Australia’s top nuclear propagandist Barry Brook), and Hayden Manning Associate Professor with the School of Social and Policy Studies at Flinders University. Not a surprise that he’s from Flinders Uni – that seem sto bde abit of a hotbed for nuke spruiking, and with Prof Pam Sykes funded by DOE to find out how ionising radiation is good for mice.
A Critical Look at ‘Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail’, truthdig, Aug 9, 2015 By Stanley Heller A week or so before the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, I watched a curious documentary on PBS. It was called “Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail.” You can see it here. The presenter was a physicist named Derek Muller. What’s odd is that Muller concludes that nuclear power is not the way to go, but the way the film was edited, the message is the opposite: that nuclear power is relatively safe and that its technical problems are at the point of being solved. Continue reading
“There is a very strong perception that when Australian mining companies come here they take every advantage of regulatory and compliance monitoring weaknesses, and of the huge disparity in power between themselves and affected communities, and aim to get away with things they wouldn’t even think of trying in Australia,”
Australian miners linked to hundreds of deaths, injuries in Africa, SMH, July 11, 2015 -Will Fitzgibbon Australian mining companies are linked to hundreds of deaths and injuries in Africa, which can go unreported at home. Some of the Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies include state governments as shareholders. One company recorded 38 worker deaths over an eleven-year period.
In Malawi, litigation continues against Paladin Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Perth-based Paladin Energy, and its subcontractor after an explosion disfigured one worker with such heat that his skin shattered when touched by rescuers. Two others died in the same incident.
Other allegations include employees in South Africa hacking a woman with a machete and Malian police killing two protesters after a mine worker reportedly asked authorities to dislodge a barricade on the road to the mine.
An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, in collaboration with 13 African reporters, uncovered locally-filed lawsuits, violent protests and community petitions criticising some Australian companies. Continue reading
Dennis Matthews, It is indeed pathetic that the pro-nuke lobby keeps repeating the same old one-sided arguments to support their out-dated, dangerous and dirty industry (The Advertiser, 15/6/15). This should be recognised for what it is, the standard tool of the propaganda merchant.
It is equally pathetic that others keep repeating the neurotic claim that opposition to the nuclear industry is some sort of conspiracy to prevent “rational debate” (The Advertiser, 15/6/15), a claim that flies in the face of countless inquiries run by manifestly pro-nuclear governments.
But the most pathetic thing of all is that a reputable newspaper keeps publishing these sorts of unproductive and boring contributions to what is claimed to be an important issue.
Let’s have not only a rational debate but also a debate that encourages the flow of new information not repetitive, mindless, propaganda that appears to be designed to brainwash rather than inform.