Australian news, and some related international items

Tony Abbott calls for ditching Renewable Energy Target: PM Turnbull disagrees

text-relevantTony Abbott slapped down as Malcolm Turnbull opts for ‘minimalist’ Abbott-destroys-renewablesreshuffle, The Age Michael Gordon, 16 Jan 17  The Turnbull government has slapped down Tony Abbott’s call for it to ditch its renewable energy target for 2020, declaring there are “no plans” to change the policy that was settled when Mr Abbott was prime minister.

Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, told Fairfax Media the government’s intention was to stick with its policy and contrast it with Labor’s commitment to a more ambitious target.

In a direct repudiation of Mr Abbott’s assertion that the existing policy would increase prices, reduce reliability and threaten heavy industries, Mr Frydenberg said: “The government has no plans to change the 2020 RET which was settled just 18 months ago providing investor certainty.”

Mr Abbott delivered a scathing critique of the government on Saturday,……… He said the government’s first move this year should be to introduce legislation to protect existing renewable generation “but to remove all further mandatory use requirements”.

Mr Abbott said the existing policy would almost double renewable energy supplies in the next four years, increasing power costs and reducing reliability…….

January 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

South Australian Liberal leader stresses that the Royal Commission nuclear waste plan economically risky


scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankrupt“ there was nothing in the analysis that we did post the royal commission report being tabled down that gave us any form of comfort that there wasn’t huge economic risk associated with this proposal.”

  Marshall: Nothing’s off the table – except nuclear, INDaily, Adelaide Monday January 16, 2017

Liberal leader Steven Marshall says he has an open mind on policy solutions, today declaring South Australia “can’t afford to take one single solitary thing off the table” – only minutes after launching a strident defence of his unilateral move to take nuclear waste storage off the table.

In an interview on ABC Adelaide, Marshall was asked about the Liberals’ policy agenda, with little more text politicsthan a year before he leads the party to another state election……


The Liberals were put in the spotlight last week when former senator Sean Edwards mused about a push by business supporters to see him installed into state parliament, and possibly to replace Marshall as leader. Edwards refused to rule out either scenario, repeating earlier disenchantment over his party’s decision to withdraw support for a broad discussion over a proposed nuclear waste dump…….


Marshall said of the party room’s decision to withdraw support for further nuclear debate: “A lot of people are out there saying it’s a political decision by Steven Marshall and the Liberal Party; nothing could be further from the truth.”

“We welcomed the royal commission in the first place, in fact we were the only party that was talking about the nuclear opportunity for South Australia before the last election,” he said.

“But there was nothing in the analysis that we did post the royal commission report being tabled down that gave us any form of comfort that there wasn’t huge economic risk associated with this proposal.”……

January 16, 2017 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian politics in 2017 – allout war over renewable energy?

text-relevantEarly skirmishes point to a war over renewable energy lasting well into 2017, The Age, Peter Hannam, 15 Jan 17   “……Trenches are now being dug for what looms as a political battle that will probably last through 2017. On one side lie the Turnbull government, fossil fuel suppliers and right-wing pundits, who say the priority has to be affordable and reliable power.
Turnbull destroys renewables 

logo Paris climate1On the other, Labor and the Greens and clean-energy backers who argue ageing coal-fired power stations need to prepare for an orderly if not accelerated exit to meet Australia’s commitments agreed in the Paris climate treaty.

Josh Frydenberg, environment and energy minister, ended holidays early on Thursday to rail against states for curbing unconventional gas exploration, which also feeds into higher Frydenberg, Josh climateelectricity prices. That’s especially true in SA where gas provides all the power that’s not from wind or the sun.

He took particular aim at Queensland, where the Labor government under map-solar-QueenslandAnnastacia Palaszczuk is aiming for a 50 per cent share of renewable by 2030, up from 4.4 per cent in 2015………

Frydenberg’s Labor counterpart, Mark Butler, though, says the Coalition’s energy policy was “being dictated by the hard right of the party with the likes of Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi”.

“The culture-war element starts to blind people to pretty clear policy,” he says, noting three-quarters of Australia’s fleet of power stations were operating beyond the end of their design life and needed to be replaced.

“The Turnbull government leaves a policy vacuum at the federal level, the states will fill the void,” he says.

Federal Labor remains committed to a 50 per cent renewable share by 2030, he said, noting the Turnbull government has no target beyond 2020 nor is a target among the terms of reference for its 2017 climate policy review. NSW Labor shares the party’s national goal……

Abbott, as if on cue, weighed into the renewables debate on Saturday……

What is certain is that energy bills are on the rise – although the causes are highly debated…….

Bruce Mountain, an energy economist with CME Australia, says rising energy prices will prompt more people to add solar panels and also batteries as prices continue to tumble – much faster than regulators predict.

Tesla’s new 13.5-kilowatt-hour Powerwall 2, costing about $8800 before installation, already offers a lower battery price than AEMO had predicted for 2040, he says

An average household in Adelaide, where power prices have doubled in the past eight years to be among the highest in Australia, would now be better off with panels and storage.

While panels alone typically slash demand for electricity from the grid by a third, adding a battery will reduce grid purchases by about 95 per cent, he said.

‘Existential threat’

Dylan McConnell, a research fellow at the Melbourne Energy Institute, notes AEMO is predicting 15.5 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants  will be shut by 2030. That’s about half of such stations and equivalent to 10 Hazelwoods.

Importantly, AEMO is betting 12GW of new gas-fired power will come on stream “assuming no alternative technologies come to fruition”, Mr McConnell said.

However, the open-cycle gas plants that can provide peaking power to complement variable suppliers such as wind and solar farms “face an existential threat from batteries”, he said……..

Without clear signals, investors won’t have the confidence to invest the billions needed to bring new, more efficient capacity online.

RET challenges

Bloomberg New Energy Finance underscored the scale of the challenge even meeting the 2020 Renewable Energy Target of supplying 33,000 gigawatt-hours from clean energy annually from 2020.

Last year, investment in large scale renewables under the RET bounced back from a meagre $US10 million in 2014 and 2015 after the Abbott government’s review of the sector threw it into a panic. In 2016, it recovered to $US1.1 billion ($1.45 billion).

“However it is still well below the $US2.9 billion per annum now needed to satisfy the notional 20 per cent target by 2020,” Bloomberg said.

Greens energy spokesman Adam Bandt says the Coalition will be tempted to stir up fears of rising electricity prices “in the hope that they can repeat 2013”, when Tony Abbott swept to power in part because of the carbon tax issue.

“They’ll try to beat the electricity bill drums but the prices are going up on their watch,” he says………

January 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, solar, storage | Leave a comment

Australia’s taxpayers subsidise a private company set up by ANSTO to sell nuclear power produced isotopes

ANSTO’s link This is a slide from the above link. ANSTO Nuclear Medicine (ANM) Pty Ltd is a commercial subsidiary of ANSTO.

So a company is going to cream off the profits while Australian taxpayers subsidise the reactor and the waste disposal – and communities have to deal with the costs of a nuclear waste dump. Another slide says “Full Cost Recovery Model” – the full cost can never be recovered when you are dealing with nuclear waste.


January 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Canada develops nuclear-free production of medical isotopes, Australia subsidises nuclear production

Steve Dale  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA., 14 Jan 17, Canada is moving towards clean Cyclotrons for Molybdenum-99 production – yet Australia decides it wants to undermine worldwide Cyclotron development by subsidising Mo-99 for the world. Waste taxpayer’s money to produce unnecessary nuclear waste.

“The ANSTO Nuclear Medicine (ANM) Project will enable ANSTO to triple production of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). The increased capacity will enable Australia to meet domestic demand, as well as being able to supply up to 25-30% of global demand.”

Medical isotope production

January 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, politics | 1 Comment

Trump’s USA could drag Australia into a nuclear war with China

  US ‘threatens to involve Australia in war with China’: Paul Keating condemns US secretary of state nominee’s comments, The Age, Fergus Hunter, 14 Jan 17  

Trump Former prime minister Paul Keating has rounded on President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee, accusing him of threatening to bring on war with China and making “ludicrous” comments on the tense South China Sea dispute.

In a statement released on Friday, Mr Keating warned the Australian government to reject Rex Tillerson’s declaration this week that a “signal” needed to be sent to Beijing that the construction of artificial islands in the contested region must stop and “access to those islands also is not going to be allowed”. The remarks from the former chief of Exxon Mobil, in which he also called for regional allies “to show backup”, have set the stage for sharply increased tensions between the US and China as the Asian superpower builds up its military presence on the islands to defend against competing territorial claims from neighbouring countries.

According to Mr Keating, Mr Tillerson’s testimony to his US Senate confirmation hearing “threatens to involve Australia in war with China”. And he has urged the Australian people to “take note” and recommended the government tell the Trump administration, which will take over on January 20, “that Australia will not be part of such adventurism, just as we should have done in Iraq 15 years ago”. “That means no naval commitment to joint operations in the South China Sea and no enhanced US military facilitation of such operations,” the former Labor prime minister said.

“Tillerson’s claim that China’s control of access to the waters would be a threat to ‘the entire global economy’ is simply ludicrous. No country would be more badly affected than China if it moved to impede navigation. On the other hand, Australia’s prosperity and the security of the world would be devastated by war.”………



January 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory prepares for role as clean energy hub and exporter of renewable technology

text-relevantFunding boost for renewable sector to prepare ACT for green future  Clare Sibthorp  11 Jan 17 

The ACT government hopes a funding boost to the local renewable sector will take the territory one step closer to a green future.

Two new grant programs launched by Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Shane Rattenbury aim to shape the ACT as an export-oriented hub for renewable energy innovation and investment.

The new Direct Grants Stream will provide grants of more than $30,000 to businesses developing renewable technologies.

The Innovation Connect Renewables Stream will feed extra cash into the ACT government’s existing Innovation Connect grants program, allocating $120,000 to the development of innovative products and services in the renewable sector in 2017.

Mr Rattenbury said the programs would be financed from the $12 million industry-funded Renewable Energy Innovation Fund.

He said the ACT was on track to be fully powered by renewables by 2020. “The grants announced today are designed to grow the renewable energy industry, help organisations take the next step in commercialising their technology and reduce deployment costs of renewable energy and energy storage,” he said.

Jobs growth in the ACT renewable energy sector in the past six years was 12 times faster than the national average, a report into the territory government’s action on climate change revealed.

The Minister’s Report into Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction also showed the rate of job growth in the ACT’s renewables sector was six times higher than any other state and territory, as the government invested $12 million into a renewable energy industry development strategy.

January 12, 2017 Posted by | ACT, business, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear former Senator Sean Edwards to run for South Australian Parliament, considers leadership

Former Liberal Senator Sean Edwards considers run for State Parliament, refuses to rule out standing for party leadership State Political Editor Daniel Wills, The Advertiser January 11, 2017 

January 12, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Prominent wealthy nuclear industry fans back former Senator Sean Edwards

greed-1Ex-Lib senator Sean Edwards backed by nuclear dump supporters The Australian, , 12 Jan 17  A high-powered group of South Australians, angry over the abandonment of bipartisan ­support to study a nuclear waste repository, are backing a push by former Liberal senator Sean Edwards to enter state ­parliament.

Mr Edwards, who lost his seat at last year’s election after being bumped down his party’s ticket, is an outspoken ­advocate of South Australia playing a greater role in the nuclear fuel cycle……

South Australians are due to go to the polls in March next year, with a redistribution putting the Liberals in the box seat.

The Australian understands Mr Edwards is set to nominate for preselection for the seat of Frome, a traditionally Liberal electorate seated in the industrial city of Port Pirie and the agriculture areas of Clare and Gilbert valleys, where the former senator owns a wine business…..

Several of those understood to be backing Mr Edwards were among a group of 21 who last month signed an open letter urging politicians to continue to explore a nuclear waste dump.

Adelaide Crows chairman Rob Chapman, Coopers brewery chief Tim Cooper, former Cricket Australia chairman Creagh O’Connor and industry chief Robert Gerard were among the signatories. Mr Gerard has don­ated more than $1 million to the Liberals. Dr Cooper donated $22,000 to the party in 2014-15……

January 12, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

W.A. govt approves Toro Energy’s Wiluna uranium mine, as uranium prices continue to decrease

text-uranium-hypeToro Energy’s Wiluna uranium mine in Goldfields gets green light from WA Government, ABC News, By Jarrod Lucas, 9 Jan 17, Western Australia’s first uranium mine is a step closer after the state’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob granted approval for a project at Wiluna in the northern Goldfields.

The owners of the proposed mine, Toro Energy, still need the green light from Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg.

Toro told the stock market on Monday afternoon it hoped federal approval would be granted by March…..

, uranium miners rushing to get approvals in place before March’s state election were thwarted in their bid for a hat-trick when Canadian giant Cameco’s proposed Yeelirrie mine was knocked back on environmental grounds last year……

Drop in Australian uranium production predicted

Uranium prices remain near historic lows, depressed since the 2011 Japanese tsunami sent the Fukushima plant into multiple meltdowns.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science today released its Resources and Energy Quarterly which forecast Australian uranium production to decrease by 6.8 per cent this financial year to 7,141 tonnes……

January 11, 2017 Posted by | business, politics, uranium, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Matt Canavan Australia’s very own Minister For The Coal Industry

Canavan, Matt climateNext-generation coal can fill gap, says Matt Canavan, 5 Jan 17 
Australia should turn to the next generation of coal-fired power stations to generate more domest­ic electricity, according to a key federal minister who has gone on the offensive against conservationists who want to end the use of coal…. (subscribers only)   

a-cat-CAN(You can see why I don’t bother to subscribe to this puppet of industry newspaper!)

January 6, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Former Liberal leader Peter Reith now a lobbyist for nuclear related company Bechtel

buy-politiciansDan Monceaux   Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, December 2016 

Former Deputy leader of the Liberal party, Peter Reith, is a registered political lobbyist in South Australia.

His current book lists just two clients: Bechtel Infrastructure (Australia) Pty Ltd and G4S Custodial Services Pty Ltd.

Internationally, Bechtel has worked on a variety of substantial projects in the nuclear fuel cycle. Examples include:

Advanced Mixed Waste, Idaho, USA

Chernobyl Shelter and Confinement, Ukraine

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, Ohio, USA

Hanford Waste Treatment Plant, Washington, USA

Horizon Wylfa Newydd, Isle of Anglesey, Wales, UK

Reagan Test Site, Marshall Islands

Savannah River Remediation, South Carolina, USA

Sellafield Pile Fuel Cladding Silo Retrieval, England

U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, Texas and Tennessee, USA

Uranium Processing Facility, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA

Watts Bar Completion, Tennessee, USA

Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, Nevada, USA

December 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Bob Hawke spruiking nuclear power again – to an unreceptive audience

Hawke,-Bob-relevantBob Hawke pushes nuclear power at Woodford Folk Festival north of Brisbane BY MEGAN KINNINMENT ABC NEWS WED DEC 28 Former prime minister Bob Hawke’s assertion that nuclear power is the salvation for a planet ravaged by global warming divided the crowd at the Woodford Folk Festival, north of Brisbane today. But it was his assertion that Australia should take on the world’s nuclear waste that had the crowd most worked up, prompting several calls of “no thanks” from the audience.

Last night, pop singer Paul Kelly said Mr Hawke was a hard act to follow after he had the crowd singing along to Waltzing Matilda at the festival’s opening ceremony.

But today’s address under the big top did not meet with universal acclaim.

“The time has come when we’ve got to think big if we’re going to face the big issues of our time,” Mr Hawke told those assembled.

“We’re going to have to be prepared to think about changes that are quite radical.”

That comment was greeted with a round of applause.

Then he began to elaborate, advocating nuclear power.

“Nuclear power would be a win for the environment and an essential part of the attacking that must be made on this grievous and dangerous global warming,” he said.

“It would be a win for the global environment and a win for Australia.”…..Mr Hawke said Australia would benefit financially from the transaction and could use profits towards ending Indigenous poverty.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

France’s submarine sales firm DCNS is notorious for corruption

text-from-the-archives“DCNS’s operations face questions across almost the entire globe, including in Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia and Chile, with bribes and kickbacks reportedly comprising 8 per cent to 12 per cent of DCNS’s entire budget.”


flag-franceFrench subs builder’s record of corruption, The Saturday Paper, HAMISH MCDONALD, 30 Apr 16  “…….The Defence Department has been dazzled by promises from shipbuilder DCNS of ultra-quiet pulse-jet propulsion, a powerful sonar array from Thales, a comfortable space for the crew, and a very long range. Now all that has to be done is design the new boat, replacing the nuclear reactor in the Barracuda with diesels, batteries and fuel cells, and fitting in fuel tanks.

For the politicians, it’s all about jobs and buckets of money − as much as an extra $20 billion for local production − to retain a few Coalition seats in South Australia. So soon after seeing off the car industry, the Liberal Party dominated by economic “dries” has embraced industrial policy in a big way, in alliance with the Socialists of President François Hollande……
Somehow, even though the subs will be built in Adelaide, the French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, also claims the contract as a “major victory for the French naval industry”, which would create thousands of new jobs in France.
Le Drian added that, “We are married to Australia for 50 years” − referring to the lifetime support for the submarines. So we had better be aware of the baggage our new partner brings. Unfortunately the Direction des Constructions et Armes Navales, now partly privatised and named DCNS, is a lady with a shady past,

As the Hong Kong-based website Asia Sentinel has pointed out, “DCNS’s operations face questions across almost the entire globe, including in Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia and Chile, with bribes and kickbacks reportedly comprising 8 per cent to 12 per cent of DCNS’s entire budget.”

 One of the notable scandals was the alleged payment, with approval by the late president François Mitterrand, of $US400 million in bribes to Taiwan’s then ruling Kuomintang in 1991 for the sale of six frigates, with another $US100 million going to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee to keep Beijing quiet. A more recent scandal, still simmering in Malaysia and France, involves the payment of €114 million in commissions to an associate of then Malaysian defence minister Najib Razak (now prime minister) in 2002 for the $US1.25 billion order of two Scorpène-class submarines for the Malaysian navy.

No doubt our politicians and officials are aware of all this, and will be ready to account for any largesse. Perhaps they should automatically knock off 8 to 12 per cent of any price quoted by DCNS.

December 25, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, secrets and lies | 2 Comments

Resources Minister Matt Canavan attacks Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Canavan, Matt climateFederal resources minister accuses ABC of ‘fake news’ over Adani coalmine Matt Canavan attacks the broadcaster for being one-sided and says Australia’s biggest coalmine would improve the environment, Guardian, , 22 Dec 16, The federal resources minister has accused the ABC of reporting fake news and thrown his weight behind the energy giant Adani, amid Indian finance ministry investigations into the company.

Matt Canavan attacked the ABC for what he described as one-sided coverage of Adani’s plans to build Australia’s biggest coalmine and accused the national broadcaster of having a massive blindspot when it came to the project.

The Liberal National party senator from Queensland also said the Adani Carmichael coalmine would improve the environment in central Queensland by setting aside land for birdlife and returning water to the Great Artesian basin……..

The Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, said Canavan’s comments showed the “lunatic fringe” was in power.

“For Matt Canavan to suggest that Adani’s Carmichael coalmine will be good for the environment, in contrast to all scientific evidence, shows that the lunatic fringe of the Turnbull government is running the show,” Di Natale said.

“Matt Canavan’s comments are an embarrassment and if [the prime minister] Malcolm Turnbull is serious about tackling dangerous climate change he will give Australia an early Christmas present by stopping the Adani coalmine from opening and stopping Matt Canavan from opening his mouth.”……

December 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment