Australian news, and some related international items

Outlandish claims made by Byron Shire Councillors, (Greens!!) promoting mobile Small Nuclear Reactors

What a strange article!   The claims made about these “mobile small nuclear reactors” are completely fanciful. These reactors do not exist, are just in the planning stage for use by U.S. military.  Even more fanciful , the article’s claim – “the pilot scheme, which will attract multi-million dollar grants.”.   Just where are these grants to come from?   The cash-strapped Australian government?  The Russians? The Americans? The Chinese?  This entire magical unicorn the Small Nuclear Reactor business is quite unable to attract investors. It’s only hope is to be funded by the tax-payer.  I note these unnamed Green proponents talk about “spreading the risk fairly among the population” – and still think it’s just fine.  So they understand that there’s a risk of dangerous radiation – a very strange attitude for a supposedly environmental group. 

What could go wrong?    April 1, 2020 | by Echonetdaily, Mobile 100MW nuclear power plants have been proposed by the NSW National Party.

The latest miniaturisation technology that has seen electronic circuitry reduced from physical nodes to nanoscale impulses in quantum space has had astounding impacts on the relatively macroscale equipment needed to generate nuclear power. Such equipment has become so small it is now possible to build bus-sized nuclear reactors that can be deployed, as needed, to address gaps in the power grid.

Byron’s Greens councillors have indicated support for the proposal, and hope to involve the Shire in the early stages of the pilot scheme, which will attract multi-million dollar grants. A spokesperson for the local Greens said nuclear plants are not only less polluting than coal fired power stations, but being mobile means they spread the risk fairly among the population.

State and federal Greens later issued a statement disassociating themselves, ‘as always’, from Byron Shire councillors.

April 2, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, technology | Leave a comment

Big swings to the Greens in Brisbane wards elections

Greens celebrate record swings in Brisbane wards, Brisbane Times by Lucy Stone March 30, 2020  While the final results for Brisbane City Council’s election are still days away, the Greens are already celebrating a powerful swing towards them in several LNP-held wards, as well as a strong boost in incumbent Jonathan Sri’s ward, The Gabba.As the Electoral Commission of Queensland continued the vote count on Monday, after a website glitch saw few early numbers uploaded on Saturday night, Cr Sri said he had seen a swing of about 17 per cent to the Greens in his ward……

Cr Sri said the shutdown of ordinary life due to the coronavirus pandemic meant the Greens could no longer doorknock, their most effective campaign strategy, and had to rely on telephoning prospective voters instead. ….

March 31, 2020 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

With the pandemic, and the bushfires, we now must strengthen the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC)

in the immediate term we need to advocate for vital improvements to the EPBC. It is extraordinary that the Howard legacy of deliberately excluding a project’s climate impacts from the triggers to require assessment still hasn’t been remedied. That must now be fixed, as must the fact that there is no mechanism for assessing the cumulative ecological impacts of various proposals. After this summer’s destruction of huge areas of remaining healthy ecosystems, we need to institute, in both legislation and the practice of assessment, a presumption of protection instead of a culture of managed destruction.

March 28, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Tax-payers funded Matt Canavan’s expensive trip to attend coalmine opening

Matt Canavan billed taxpayers $5,390 for charter flight to attend coalmine opening

The former resources minister used the occasion to give a speech attacking ‘self-indulgent’ environmentalists,  Guardian, Christopher Knaus, Wed 25 Mar 2020 

The former resources minister Matt Canavan billed taxpayers for a $5,390 charter flight to travel 150km to attend the opening of a coalmine, where he gave a speech attacking “self-indulgent” environmental activists.

Canavan took the private charter flight from Mackay to Colinsville, a three-hour drive, so he could get to the opening of the $1.76bn Byerwen mine in north Queensland.

At the opening, Canavan gave a speech attacking what he described as “hypocritical, self-indulgent activists” holding back the dreamers of the mining industry…….

The most recent parliamentary expense reports, released last week, show Canavan later billed taxpayers for the $5,390 charter flight ….. The expense was listed as “unscheduled travel” by the independent parliamentary expenses authority and the finance department…….

The expense is roughly the same as that incurred by the former Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop, who chartered a $5,227 helicopter for a return trip from Melbourne to a golf course near Geelong for a Liberal party function.

Canavan quit as minister last month to support Barnaby Joyce’s bid to return to the leadership position. He has described himself as running on an “unashamedly pro-coal” platform.

The Guardian previously reported that Canavan had omitted two properties worth more than $1m from his current declaration of interests to parliament. He declared “nil” interests in real estate despite owning two houses in Yeppoon, Queensland and Macquarie in Canberra.

Canavan said he was not required to declare the interests to the 46th parliament because they’d been declared to the previous parliament, an argument that conflicts with official advice.


March 26, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

The Morrison govt’s emergency measures are a massive subsidy to Australia’s largest corporations.

March 24, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics | Leave a comment

After backlash from colleagues, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro backs down from nuclear power support

Barilaro retreats on Nationals support for One Nation nuclear bill,, By Lisa Visentin,March 17, 2020 Deputy Premier John Barilaro has walked back his party’s support for a One Nation bill to allow nuclear power in NSW, as the issue threatened to split the Coalition.Mr Barilaro, a long-time advocate of nuclear energy, alarmed some Coalition MPs when he declared two weeks ago that the National Party would support Mark Latham’s bill to overturn a ban on uranium mining.

But the Nationals’ leader changed his tune on Tuesday, telling a budget estimates hearing the matter would first need to be considered by the party room as well as the cabinet.

Mr Barilaro made the unilateral call to back Mr Latham’s bill during an interview on Sky News on March 3 before consulting his party room, triggering concern among some National MPs and angering some of his Liberal cabinet colleagues. 

“I’ve since then had to pull that back to the point where I’ll have to go through the National party room, the parliamentary team, before we get to that position,” Mr Barilaro told the hearing.

“What I’m committing to is advocating for a policy that the party stands for and let’s see what happens when we get to the floor of Parliament.”

However, Mr Barilaro reiterated his strong personal support for nuclear energy, in particular “small nuclear reactors”, which he dubbed “the iphone of reactors”.

In a terse exchange, Labor MLC Adam Searle asked Mr Barilaro whether he was aware small nuclear reactors “don’t exist anywhere in the world at the moment”.

Mr Barilaro responded that he was “advocating for a technology that we know is on the horizon,” saying the Russians “would probably have small modular reactors on the market in the next two to three years.”

When quizzed about whether he’d discussed with his Coalition colleagues where in NSW the reactors could be located, Mr Barilaro floated the option of his own electorate of Monaro, on the state’s southern border.

“I haven’t even ruled it out of my own electorate. There you go. There’s your press release for today. Can’t wait to see it,” he said.

Mr Barilaro has previously grounded his support for Mr Latham’s bill as being consistent with the National Party’s policy position to “support nuclear energy in Australia as part of the energy mix for the future”, adopted at last year’s state conference.

He confronted an immediate backlash from within the cabinet, which had yet to consider the issue, with at least four senior ministers saying they would not support his push to back the bill. One minister told the Herald they were prepared to quit cabinet rather than support it.

The split followed a parliamentary inquiry into Mr Latham’s bill, chaired by Liberal MLC Taylor Martin, which concluded the government should support it.

The inquiry’s report stated: “the committee could find no compelling justifications from an environmental or human safety point of view which would warrant the blanket exclusion of nuclear energy.”

The two Labor MPs on the inquiry – John Graham and Mick Veitch – opposed the findings in a dissenting statement which reaffirmed Labor’s “longstanding and unequivocal platform position in relation to nuclear exploration, extraction and export.”

Mr Latham was also on the inquiry, which was comprised of eight MLCS, including three Liberals, two Labor, and one member apiece from the Nationals and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party.

March 19, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Doctors again call on Australian govt about Julian Assange’s precarious health, risk of coronavirus

Almost 200 medical doctors say Julian Assange’s health is at increased risk from coronavirus,  
John McEvoy
 18th March 2020  On 18 March, almost 200 medical doctors wrote to Australian foreign minister Marise Payne to warn that Julian Assange’s health is at increased risk from the new coronavirus.

“Mr Assange could die in prison”

This is the latest in a number of letters sent by Doctors for Assange to express concern over the WikiLeaks publisher’s deteriorating health.

On 22 November, the group signed an open letter addressed to UK home secretary Priti Patel, saying: “we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison”.

In a follow-up letter published on 4 December, the doctors wrote:

When the UK, as a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council, repeatedly ignores not only the serious warnings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, but also its unequivocal investigative and remedial obligations under international and human rights law, the credibility of the UK’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law is fatally undermined.

Fertile breeding grounds”

The latest letter, signed by medical doctors from countries including the UK, Australia, Sweden, and the US, was written in light of the recent coronavirus pandemic.

The letter reads:

We wrote to you on December 15 2019 that Julian Assange’s life is at risk due to nearly a decade of human rights abuse including arbitrary detention, psychological torture and medical neglect. Now, with the president of the Prison Governor’s Association warning that prisons provide “fertile breeding grounds” for coronavirus, Julian Assange’s life and health are at heightened risk due to his arbitrary detention during this global pandemic. That threat will only grow as the coronavirus spreads. …

We therefore stand by our previous calls for the Australian Government to urgently intervene to protect the life, health and human rights of its citizen Julian Assange, before it is too late, whether due to coronavirus or any number of catastrophic health outcomes.

Coronavirus is the latest threat to Assange’s life, adding onto years of arbitrary punishment and psychological torture.

March 19, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics | Leave a comment

Time that Australia closed the door on the dangerous distraction of nuclear power

March 16, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales National MPs embrace nuclear industry, other MPs are shocked

Is it time to go nuclear?, 13 Mar 20 The announcement by National Party leader John Barilaro last week that his party would support the development of nuclear power in NSW came as a surprise to many considering the long lead times for nuclear power development and the abundance of solar and wind power that is ready to be quickly developed.

One Nation’s Mark Latham brought the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019 to parliamentary debate on June 6, 2019 and it’s now working its way towards a vote.

However, local Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has urged North Coast residents to help her kill off the Nationals’ plans to build nuclear power plants in places like Tweed Heads and Coffs Harbour with the same determination shown to defeat Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining.

Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith points out that ‘While Europe is rapidly phasing out nuclear energy the dinosaurs in the National Party in NSW want to lift the ban and distract us all in an anti-nuclear debate’.

‘The coal barons and their favourite political party are counting on us to repeat the same mistake we made with climate change. We battled to convince the dinosaurs of climate science that was well and truly settled and we lost the war on vested interests in fossil fuel for over a decade.’

Ms Saffin said Mr Barilaro had announced his nuclear policy support on the run on Sky News, blindsiding Premier Berejeklian, who during Question Time on Wednesday (March 4) could not state her government’s true position on nuclear power.

Ms Saffin accused Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro of dangerous behaviour in supporting One Nation Leader Mark Latham’s bill in the Upper House lifting the ban on uranium mining and nuclear energy in New South Wales.

‘By joining forces with Mark Latham, and his former visit overseas to gather information and support for his nuclear cause, John Barilaro has well and truly opened the door to nuclear power plants in coastal communities on the North Coast.

‘The Nats are embracing nuclear power – they keep marching us backwards and have no plans for water protection, no plans for cheap energy that they bang on about, and no plans for country New South Wales,’ she said.

Local National MP responds

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest has responded to questions from Echonetdaily stating that, ‘I have previously stated I am against nuclear power in the Tweed and I have heard nothing during this most recent discussion to change my mind.’ [Ed. note – does he mean that nuclear power is OK everywhere else in Australia?]

Member for Page, Kevin Hogan (Nationals) and National Party MLC, Ben Franklin have not responded to questions regarding their support for nuclear power development.

Federal investigation

Last year the Federal government House of Reps held an inquiry into the pre-requisites for nuclear power in Australia.

‘The release of the report has clearly been done in such a way as to attract the absolute minimum of attention. Its media profile up to now has been zero. That is likely because were it better known, it would have been panned by NGOs Australia-wide,’ said long time anti-nuclear campaigner John Hallam.

‘It’s clear from the recent Federal inquiry, that there is no case whatsoever for a pronuclear about-face in favour of reactors or uranium mining in NSW,’ he said.

‘Ten years ago, the argument would have been that nuclear power was/is uneconomic and potentially dangerous, and that it is uneconomic precisely because it is potentially dangerous. The argument now would be exactly the same, with the added one that in order to be of any relevance to combatting the climate emergency, a source of power must be cheap, problem-free and quickly and easily deployable and nuclear power is the opposite of all those things.

‘Nuclear power, far from solving the climate emergency, diverts needed resources from the real solutions – the deployment of cheap and quickly deployable renewables.

‘Small modular reactors look wonderful on paper but no one has actually succeeded in building even one that works satisfactorily and can be mass-produced, let alone the hundreds that would be needed.’

Local Greens MP Tamara Smith told Echonetdaily that her party requested to be included on the committee looking into nuclear but were ignored. Committee members include two Liberal party MPs, two Labor MPs, a One Nation MP, a Shooters Fishers and Farmers MP and a Nationals MP.

March 14, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobbyists have got into the ears of NSW’ National Party

Editorial – Nuclear afterglow Nuclear waste. Hans Lovejoy, editor, 13 Mar 2020

While there will surely be an afterglow of good will towards local National Party MLC Ben Franklin for securing the Shire $25m in road and infrastructure funding, it should be pointed out where his government is taking us when it comes to the energy sector.

Mr Franklin’s leader, John Barilaro, is a complete bozo.

For many informed voters, that’s not news.

Barilaro’s been a long-time supporter of nuclear power, and last week he reportedly supported One Nation’s attempts to create that industry and lift the uranium mining ban, all without consulting his own party. Seriously.

The Echo is still waiting on a reply from Mr Franklin on his attitude to the ‘nuclear option’, and whether Barilaro did not consult his party, as reported by SMH.

When asked if he supported repealing the uranium mining ban and creating a nuclear industry, Nationals Tweed MP Geoff Provest told The Echo, ‘I have previously stated I am against nuclear power in the Tweed, and I have heard nothing during this most recent discussion to change my mind.’

Notice how Provest only said he opposes nuclear in the Tweed? The rest of the state is presumably okay.

One Nation’s Mark Latham brought the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019 to parliamentary debate on June 6, 2019 and it’s now working its way towards a vote.

Local Greens MP Tamara Smith told The Echo that her party asked to be on the committee that is looking into this – they were denied. Instead it’s stacked with MPs sympathetic to the industry.

Latham’s parliamentary speech, in support of nuclear, admits it takes a decade to establish, but points to Finland’s nuclear industry as why it should occur here.

It’s a speech that you would expect from One Nation – there’s no economic modelling presented to support the viability of nuclear, for example.

Instead, Latham uses his time trying to paint those opposed to nuclear power in Australia as fearmongers, while disparaging renewable energy.

There’s plenty of info available as to the insanity of nuclear – says it simply: ‘Australia is one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, with enough renewable energy resources to power our country 500 times over. When compared with low risk, clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy and storage technology in Australia, nuclear power makes no sense.

‘Nuclear cannot compete on a cost basis with wind and solar, which are the cheapest forms of new generation’.

Clearly nuclear lobbyists are in the ear of Barilaro the Bozo.

Have they also got into the ear of the local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin? It may not matter – Franklin is obliged to vote for whatever idiotic laws his party supports.

March 14, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

This week’s uranium report- prices fall again, Australia’s “nuclear future” going nowhere

Uranium Week: The Nuclear Debate Mar 11 2020

Moves are afoot once again in Australia to lift bans on both uranium mining and nuclear power. The uranium spot price has slipped once more.

-U3O8 spot prices fall again
-Nuclear debate reopens in Australia
-History suggests it will be no easy road

By Greg Peel   This week’s uranium report could simply be left as “nothing happened”. At least nothing of major uranium industry implication. The same issues remain in place, so rather than rake over old ground yet again, as to why uranium prices are in the doldrums, this week we’ll zoom in Australia’s nuclear dilemma.

For the record, industry consultant TradeTech reported ten transactions completed in the uranium spot market last week totalling 1mlbs U3O8 equivalent. As buyers were again largely MIA, prices fell gradually during the week. TradeTech’s weekly spot price indicator has fallen -US50c to US$24.40/lb.

Term price indicators remain at US$28.25/lb (mid) and US$33.00 (long).

How to React?

The nuclear power debate has heated up in Australia once more. Driving fresh debate is the pending shutdown of ageing coal-fired power stations that provide Australia’s base load electricity. The federal government wants to build new coal-fired power stations. This policy already had its critics but as a result of this season’s bushfire disaster, an electoral groundswell is calling for the government to recognise climate change and act accordingly before it’s too late.

Australians are now generally opposed to both coal-fired power and new thermal coal mines. But not all Australians. The country is the world’s largest exporter of coal. The coal mining industry employs thousands, and thousands more are supported indirectly by that industry. The surprise victory for the coal-friendly Coalition at last year’s federal election was in part due to support from Queensland-based electorates, Queensland being Australia’s premier coal producing state.

Nuclear power has long been proposed as an alternative source to meet Australia’s electricity needs, if for no other reason Australia boasts the world’s largest known reserves of uranium. But from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl and Fukushima, successive governments have considered nuclear power to be electoral suicide. The debate is now back on again nevertheless, to lift bans on uranium mining and build nuclear reactors.

Australia is a federation of six sovereign states and two federal territories. Of those six states, four have bans on uranium mining. Tasmania has no known commercial uranium deposits, leaving South Australia as the only state with operating uranium mines. Of those four operating mines, two are currently under care & maintenance pending improved uranium prices, leaving only BHP Group’s ((BHP)) Olympic Dam and the foreign-owned Beverley in operation. A fifth mine – Ranger in the Northern Territory — is currently producing uranium but only from stockpiled ore.

Over a decade ago, the then Queensland premier decided to lift the state’s ban on uranium mining. So swift and brutal was the backlash from the coal lobby, the premier very quickly changed his mind. In the interim, one Western Australia state government lifted the ban on uranium mining, only to have the next government ban it again. Two mines under construction on the basis of the prior policy were exempted.

The Australian federal government previously limited the number of allowable uranium mines, but that policy has since been abandoned. The federal government is currently content to restrict the number of countries Australia can export uranium to.

Last week the New South Wales deputy premier supported a bill in state parliament to overturn a nuclear power ban, after a parliamentary inquiry recommended that the law prohibiting uranium mining and nuclear facilities should be repealed. The bill has the support of the Minerals Council of Australia, and the Australian Workers Union, which supports uranium mining and nuclear power for the jobs both will create. But the AWU’s stance puts it at odds with the Australian Council of Trade Unions, which has long been anti-uranium for what we might call Fukushima reasons.

And support for uranium mining and nuclear power is not split down party lines at either federal or state level. The debate is splitting parties.

A lifting of state uranium mining bans would likely not achieve much in the near term. The marginal cost of new production well exceeds current uranium trading prices. To not build nuclear reactors, on the other hand, when the issue of Australia’s future base load power and electricity prices is paramount, and Australia has abundant uranium resources, is seen by supporters as pure folly.

The debate will rage on, but in the short term at least, likely go nowhere.

March 14, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Labor MP Yasmin Catley stands up for New South Wales nuclear ban laws

Nuclear power debate resurrected,  MARCH 13, 2020

Member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley, has vowed to fight moves to repeal legislation banning uranium mining in NSW, which she says is the first step towards nuclear power plants in the State, with three Central Coast sites likely contenders.

An Upper House inquiry into the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019 has recommended repealing the original bill in its entirety.

Although this would make it legal to mine for uranium within NSW boundaries for the first time since 1987, the prohibition on nuclear facilities would remain in place as a result of prohibitions enacted in federal legislation.

But Catley said that Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, had made it clear that he supports the building of new nuclear power stations.

“While there is also federal legislation in this space, it is clear that the Deputy Premier sees the removal of the current ban on uranium mining and nuclear power in NSW as the first step towards that objective,” she said.

“Potential nuclear power station sites were identified at Eraring, Vales Point and Munmorah in 2018, but nuclear is not the answer to the problem of climate change.

“Nuclear is too expensive and too dangerous.

“The future lies in large scale renewable energy projects that bring together wind, solar and other renewable technologies to meet our needs.

“Wind power made reliable with storage, and peaking gas support, costs as low as $52MWh while nuclear energy in nations with established industries costs between $169MWh and $270MWh.

“New nuclear facilities will cost between $195 and $344 per MWh.
“This would see NSW households pay potentially six times as much for electricity.

“Already on the Central Coast we have Vales Point rolling out clean technology like solar.

“The government should be supporting the expansion of this sector and the jobs that come with it, rather than turning regional and coastal communities into nuclear power plant wastelands.”

But MLC Taylor Martin, who chaired the inquiry into repealing the prohibition bill, said bans on uranium mining and nuclear energy reflected the “outdated fears of the 1980s”.

“The safety of nuclear technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since the state prohibition commenced,” Martin said.

On the balance of evidence gathered for this inquiry, nuclear power in its emerging small scale applications, is a compelling technology where energy policy settings seek to decarbonise emissions while delivering secure, reliable and affordable energy to the NSW grid.

“Despite the share of wind and solar in the NSW electricity generation mix tripling in the past five years, just over seven per cent of the state’s electricity currently comes from these sources.

“It is clear that wind and solar firmed with gas, batteries and pumped hydro would not be an adequate solution to meet the state’s future needs for affordable and reliable electricity following the decommissioning of our ageing coal fired generation assets.

“There is an imperative for legislators and governments to be genuinely technology neutral and not lock out appropriate, low emission alternatives to replace these ageing assets.”

Martin said there were “no compelling justifications” from an environmental or human safety point of view which would warrant the blanket exclusion of nuclear energy from serious policy consideration in NSW.

“The outdated arguments for prohibiting nuclear on the basis of safety are increasingly difficult to defend,” he said.

March 14, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Melinda Pavey National Party MP wants Small Nuclear Reactors for the Riverina

Melinda Pavey says public perception of nuclear energy is changing  Ute Schulenberg  13 Mar 20,

Melinda Pavey says she would “love to see regional communities engaged in the discussion of all the opportunities zero emission [?] nuclear energy can offer”.

The Member for Oxley’s comments are in the context of the Upper House Parliamentary Inquiry into the mining of uranium in NSW and nuclear energy, led by Liberal MP Taylor Martin, which has recommended the law prohibiting uranium mining and nuclear facilities should be repealed.

The inquiry was established as a result of a bill put forward by One Nation MP Mark Latham.

While it is only the start of a fresh conversation about nuclear energy, Mrs Pavey said the public perception of zero emission nuclear energy was changing.

“Small modular reactors (SMRs)* are new technology and should be discussed as be part of an energy source and climate change,” Mrs Pavey said.

“SMRs will create new industries, more jobs and a reliable source of baseload power.”

Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro has long-supported nuclear energy and said the Nationals would support a bill, as will the Shooters and Fishers.

The parliamentary inquiry will deliver its findings in September.

The process for nuclear energy is both a State and Federal process and both levels of government would have to overturn the various legislative bans currently in place prior to any changes being made.

* Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a type of nuclear fission reactor which are smaller than conventional reactors, and manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be assembled. They require less on-site construction and supposedly increased containment efficiency. They do not require a coast locations as is the case with traditional nuclear energy sites.

March 14, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Call to Premier Gladys Berejiklian to stand up for a nuclear-free New South Wales

Premier must stand up to Barilaro on nuclear power,  10 Mar, 20,    Deputy Premier John Barilaro has issued another ultimatum to the NSW government, this time over his obsession with starting a nuclear industry, but it is high time Premier Gladys Berejiklian called his bluff. Mr Barilaro is demanding that cabinet endorse a report by an upper house parliamentary committee backed by One Nation which recommends lifting the ban on uranium mining and nuclear power generation that has been in place since 1986. If cabinet refuses, he is threatening that he and perhaps the whole National Party will go their own way and vote in favour of a bill to that effect.

The Herald reported on Monday that some cabinet ministers who oppose nuclear power are threatening to respond by quitting if Ms Berejiklian caves in. The question of whether NSW can or should develop a nuclear industry is complicated. In theory, mining uranium could earn money and nuclear power generation could help reduce emissions. In fact, both face huge practical problems.
Of course, the Northern Territory and South Australia already mine uranium. But there is little reason for NSW to follow them now because, quite apart from concerns over waste storage, safety and proliferation, the business case is very weak. As the upper house report says, the state does not have any proven commercial deposits of uranium and, since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the global market for uranium has been depressed. The conservative government in Western Australia ended its ban on uranium mining in 2010 but no new mines have opened.

Similarly, the prospects are also poor for nuclear power generation here any time soon. Nuclear reactors are very expensive and would take decades to build. By most reckonings, they cannot compete on cost with renewables – backed up by battery storage – or pumped hydro. Private companies will not build them without subsidies from taxpayers.

Given those practical issues, it is hard to understand why Mr Barilaro has joined One Nation’s crusade for nuclear power. Cynics would argue that his main goal is shielding the coal industry by delaying other more immediate and practical forms of action to reduce carbon emissions. And for Mr Barilaro, it might be a political winner. He might steal One Nation’s thunder and win the support of older regional voters and radio shock jocks who have a vendetta against those they see as renewables-loving green hippies.
But Mr Barilaro’s nuclear adventure risks doing damage to the government including a repeat of what happened to the Howard government in 2007 when it campaigned on nuclear power. The ALP pointed out that because plants require enormous amounts of water, they would have to be located on the coast. That went down like a lead balloon with voters and that was before Fukushima.
With a two-seat majority, Ms Berejiklian is more than usually dependent on her Coalition partner. Over the past year, Mr Barilaro has been able to extract some questionable concessions from her on water policy and regional jobs in the energy sector.

But she must not allow policy on such an important issue to be driven by a minority of Nationals MPs and the whims of One Nation backbenchers. As Premier, it should be Ms Berejiklian who sets the priorities of the state’s energy policy.

This is a good chance for Ms Berejiklian to stamp her authority on the government. Mr Barilaro has backed down in the past. He knows how much he and his party need to be in government. His bark is often worse than his bite.

March 12, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Australian government manipulates the National Radioactive Waste Management Act so as to prevent an Appeal

March 12, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment