Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Turnbull lies – calling coal a “dispatchable”power source

The new policy redefines coal as dispatchable, despite it having the opposite technological characteristics.

This is not an entirely new approach. Before the government decided to abandon the proposed Clean Energy Target it put a lot of effort into redefining coal as “clean”.

The government’s energy policy hinges on some tricky wordplay about coal’s role https://theconversation.com/the-governments-energy-policy-hinges-on-some-tricky-wordplay-about-coals-role-85843?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitterbutton, The Conversation, The most important thing to understand about the federal government’s new National Energy Guarantee is that it is designed not to produce a sustainable and reliable electricity supply system for the future, but to meet purely political objectives for the current term of parliament.

Those political objectives are: to provide a point of policy difference with the Labor Party; to meet the demands of the government’s backbench to provide support for coal-fired electricity; and to be seen to be acting to hold power prices down.

Meeting these objectives solves Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate political problems. But it comes at the cost of producing a policy that can only produce further confusion and delay.

The government’s central problem is that, as well as being polluting, coal-fired power is not well suited to the problem of increasingly high peaks in power demand, combined with slow growth in total demand.

Coal-fired power plants are expensive to start up and shut down, and are therefore best suited to meeting “baseload demand” – that is, the base level of electricity demand that never goes away. Until recently, this characteristic of coal was pushed by the government as the main reason we needed to maintain coal-fired power.

The opposite of baseload power is “dispatchable” power, which can be turned on and off as needed.

Classic sources of dispatchable power include hydroelectricity and gas, while recent technological advances mean that large-scale battery storageis now also a feasible option. Continue reading

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October 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Adani’s tax havens – the Queensland coal mine plan’s connection with corruption

Adani Australia: Investigation uncovers tax haven ties to British Virgin Islands, Four Corners ,By Stephen Long, Wayne Harley and Mary Fallon , ABC News, 3 Oct 17 An investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners program has uncovered previously unknown tax haven ties for Adani Group’s Australian operations, with key assets ultimately owned in the British Virgin Islands.

Key points:

  • Adani Group’s filings with ASIC fail to mention a company registered in the British Virgin Islands
  • Vinod Adani, older brother of Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani, has been under investigation in India
  • Vinod Adani also a substantial shareholder in Adani Enterprises Limited

Adani Group has promised a $22 billion windfall in taxes and mining royalty payments for Australia over the life of the giant Carmichael coal mine it has been given approval to build in outback Queensland.

But experts say an opaque web of companies and trusts behind its Australian assets gives it ample opportunity to minimise the tax it pays.

Adani Group’s assets in Australia include the Abbot Point Coal Terminal near Mackay in Queensland, a terminal expansion project it has approval to undertake at Abbot Point, and a planned railway line of nearly 400 kilometres from the port to the giant mine it wants to build in the Galilee Basin — aided by a subsidised loan of up to a $1 billion it is seeking from the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

It was previously thought that Atulya Resources, a Cayman Islands domiciled company controlled by members of the Adani family, was the ultimate holding company for Abbot Point, the expansion project, and the railway.

However, filings in Singapore by privately-owned Adani companies show that a company registered in another notorious tax haven, the British Virgin Islands, sits behind Atulya Resources.

Vinod Adani investigated over alleged scam

It is variously described in the offshore company filings as ARFT Holding Limited, AFRT Holding Limited and Atulya Resources Family Trust.

Adani Group’s filings with Australia’s corporate watchdog, ASIC, fail to mention this company, instead continuing to list Atulya Resources as the owner.

The British Virgin Islands’ company’s apparent position at the apex of the structure is disclosed in the financial reports of a series of Adani companies controlled by Vinod Adani, also known as Vinod Shantilal Adani or Vinod Shah.

Vinod Adani, the older brother of Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani, has been under investigation in India over an alleged scam designed to shift money offshore…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-02/adanis-tax-haven-ties-to-british-virgin-islands-revealed/9007714

October 4, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

National Party President Larry Anthony runs a firm that lobbies for coal industry !

Nationals Interest: Larry Anthony, the party president who runs a lobbying firm, The Age, Patrick Begley, Mario Christodoulou, 30 Sept 17, 

A lobbying firm run by National Party president Larry Anthony is pushing the interests of energy firms as the Coalition grapples with looming gas shortfalls and bitter infighting over renewable energy policy.

Santos and Delta Electricity this year joined the client list of SAS Consulting Group, the government relations firm founded and co-owned by its executive director, Mr Anthony.

“Through our extensive networks we create powerful, purposeful connections for businesses and organisations,” the SAS Group website says.

The first line of Mr Anthony’s SAS Group biography refers to his presidency of the Nationals, “one half of the ruling Coalition government”.

A leading expert on lobbying said the party president’s absence from the public register of lobbyists “so undermines the intent of the lobbyist code of conduct as to make it nearly useless”………

After a federal conference debate moderated by Mr Joyce and Mr Anthony this month, the Nationals passed a motion urging the government to freeze and then phase out renewable energy subsidies…….

When he became party president in 2015, Mr Anthony was criticised for lobbying for the Shenhua Watermark mining project. At the time, he said he had removed himself from lobbyist registers and had no conflict of interest.

“We do a lot of things aside from government relations – media, communications, stakeholder relations, et cetera,” he said. “But executive director? Yes, I might have to come off that.”

Two years later, he remains an executive director.

The SAS Group website has promoted the fact Mr Anthony attended the Liberal National Party’s Queensland convention in July. Asked whether his party presidency helped to attract clients, Mr Anthony said: “I don’t know about that, but my name is synonymous with the National Party.”

His father, Doug, served as party leader from 1971 to 1984 and his grandfather, Larry snr, was a Country Party minister…….

The  lobbyist code of conduct prohibits lobbyists from being a member of a party executive. It also requires anyone who lobbies or employs lobbyists to register on a public database.

University of Melbourne politics lecturer George Rennie said even if Mr Anthony had not technically breached the code, his failure to appear as a registered lobbyist “so undermines the intent of the code, as to make it nearly useless”.

“Being a part-owner and director of a lobbying firm, while concurrently serving as president of the National Party, creates a clear conflict of interest,” Mr Rennie said……..

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which administers the lobbyist register, did not respond to specific questions about Mr Anthony but said in general it would investigate evidence or allegations of code breaches.

Do you know more? Email patrick.begley@fairfaxmedia.com.au  http://www.theage.com.au/nsw/nationals-interest-larry-anthony-the-party-president-who-runs-a-lobbying-firm-20170929-gyr9wx.html

September 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia VERY QUIETLY signs up to help develop new nuclear reactors

Noel Wauchope, 20 Sept 17, Now, many weeks after Australia signing up to the Framework Agreement For Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, the public is informed of this. I found it at the bottom of page 23  of the print version of The Age today.  Why haven’t we heard about this before?

How is it that Dr Adi Paterson of ANSTO signed up to this, in advance of Parliamentary approval, and that the whole thing can be done without any proper public consultation? Australian tax-payers are now to be supporting the development of these new dreams of nuclear power –  advanced nuclear reactors that exist now only as blueprints, and will be expensive, require government funding, and will not be commercially operational for many decades, if ever.
Surely it is time for a thorough inquiry into ANSTO’s funding and finances. The New Generation nuclear reactors are controversial, to say the least. They are in fact, part of the global nuclear lobby’s push to save itself –  its future being threatened by its dire economics, and by its connection to the nuclear weapons industry.
The Australian media is regularly used to promote ANSTO’s nuclear reactor as having as its purpose “medical research”  and “medical isotopes saving lives” – despite the fact that non nuclear production of these isotopes can be, and is, being done.  The reality is that ANSTO is part of the global nuclear industry lobby, and its reactor produces long-lasting radioactive wastes and it should be shut down.
I couldn’t find it on The Age online.  The print version, 19 Sept 17 – small article at the bottom of page 23:

Australia joins nuclear research club,  by Cole Latimer
Australia has officially joined an international group focused on developing future nuclear energy systems, The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has been welcomed into the Generation IV International Forum Framework, which aims to develop next generation nuclear power systems, and which ANSTO calls “a potential game-changer in global energy creation”.
Although Australia joined the GIF charter last year, the event marked the  country’s official accession to the nuclear framework agreement, which is focused on six different nuclear reactor designs that provide poeer and “stringent standards in relation to safety and non proliferation”.
However, ANSTO stated that this was not about  advancing the cause of nuclear energy in Australia’s current energy mix: instead it was about utilisingAustralian skills in research and development.
“Australia has no nuclear power program, but we do have significant local expertise in next generation research, which is what this partnership is about”  ANSTO chief executive officer Adi Paterson said.
ANSTO will leverage our world class capabilities, particularly in relation to the development of advanced materials and with applications in extreme industrial environments, and of nuclear safety cases.
“This agreement will enable Australia to contribute to an international group focused on peaceful use of nuclear technology, and the international energy systems of the future”
An ANSTO spokesman said Australia was a world leader in terms of nculear safety, “due to the high levels of oversight and paperwork required” to operate.
GIF is a co-operative of 14 nations led by France, a country where nuclear power accounts for  nearly 75% of energy generation. This reliance on nuclear energy has helped the nation slash its carbon emissions.

September 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, technology | Leave a comment

NUCLEAR LIES: AUSTRALIA – theme for October 2017

Australia is a particular target of nuclear industry lies.

Unfortunately, both major political parties, and the dominant Murdoch media buy into these lies. Some politicians and journalists actually believe them.

The global industry continues its 70 year campaign of lies. But Australia gets its own very specialised lies, spread by the government, via the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) .  ANSTO is a law unto itself, working primarily to promote the nuclear industry. The Murdoch media obliges by promoting also the lies of nuclear shills, like Michael Shellenberger,  imported from America.

September 17, 2017 Posted by | Christina themes, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

In India, Customs Department accuses Adani of fraud, as Adani bids forAustralian coal loan

If true, one effect of the alleged scheme would have been to move vast sums of money from the Adani Group’s domestic accounts into offshore bank accounts where it could no longer be taxed or accounted for.

Adani mining giant faces financial fraud claims as it bids for Australian coal loan, Exclusive: Allegations by Indian customs of huge sums being siphoned off to tax havens from projects are contained in legal documents but denied by company, Guardian, Michael Safi in Delhi, 16 Aug 17, A global mining giant seeking public funds to develop one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia has been accused of fraudulently siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money into overseas tax havens.

Indian conglomerate the Adani Group is expecting a legal decision in the “near future” in connection with allegations it inflated invoices for an electricity project in India to shift huge sums of money into offshore bank accounts.

The directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) file, compiled in 2014, maps out a complex money trail from India through South Korea and Dubai, and eventually to an offshore company in Mauritius allegedly controlled by Vinod Shantilal Adani, the older brother of the billionaire Adani Group chief executive, Gautam Adani.

Vinod Adani is the director of four companies proposing to build a railway line and expand a coal port attached to Queensland’s vast Carmichael mine project.

The proposed mine, which would be Australia’s largest, has been the source of years of intense controversy, legal challenges and protests over its possible environmental impact.

Expanding the coal port to accommodate the mine will require dredging an estimated 1.1m cubic metres of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Coal from the mine will also produce annual emissions equivalent to those of Malaysia or Austria according to one study.

One of the few remaining hurdles for the Adani Group is to raise finance to build the mine as well as a railway line to transport coal from the site to a port at Abbot Point on the Queensland coast.

To finance the railway Adani hopes to persuade the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif), an Australian government-backed investment fund, to loan the Adani Group or a related entity about US$700m (A$900m) in public money.

While it awaits the decision on the loan, in Delhi the company is also expecting the judgment of a legal authority appointed under Indian financial crime laws in connection to allegations it siphoned borrowed money overseas.

The Adani Group fully denies the accusations, which it has challenged in submissions to the authority.

The investigation

News of the investigation was first reported in India three years ago, but the full customs intelligence document reveals forensic details of the workings of the alleged fraud which have not been publicly revealed.

The 97-page file accuses the Adani Group of ordering hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment for an electricity project in western India’s Maharashtra state using a front company in Dubai.

To read the pdf click here. Continue reading

August 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia must not forget – the plutonium abuse of an Australian child, by Argonne National Laboratory

Paul Langley,  https://www.facebook.com/paul.langley.9822/posts/10213752429593121CAL-2, 14 Aug 17, 5 yr-old Simon Shaw and his mum. Simon was flown from Australia to the US on the pretext of medical treatment for his bone cancer. Instead, he was secretly injected with plutonium to see what would happen. His urine was measured, and he was flown back to Australia.

Though his bodily fluids remained radioactive, Australian medical staff were not informed. No benefit was imparted to Simon by this alleged “medical treatment” and he died of his disease after suffering a trip across the world and back at the behest of the USA despite his painful condition. The USA merely wanted a plutonium test subject. They called him CAL-2. And did their deed under the cover of phony medicine.

“Congress of the United States, House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515-2107, Edward J. Markey, 7th District, Massachusetts Committees, [word deleted] and Commerce, Chairman Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance, Natural Resources, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe] MEMORANDUM To: Congressman Edward J. Markey From: Staff Subject: The Plutonium Papers Date: 4/20/94

Staff Memo on Plutonium Papers

The medical file for Cal-2 also contains correspondence seeking follow-up from Argonne National Laboratory in the 1980s. Cal-2 was an Australian boy, not quite five years old, who was flown to the U.S. in 1946 for treatment of bone cancer. During his hospitalization in San Francisco, he was chosen as a subject for plutonium injection. He returned to Australia, where he died less than one year later.

Document 700474 is a letter from Dr. Stebbings to an official at the Institute of Public Health in Sydney, Australia, in an attempt to reach the family of Cal-2. This letter reports that the child was “injected with a long-lived alpha-emitting radionuclide.” Document 700471 is a letter from Dr. Stebbings to New South Wales, Australia (names and town deleted), inquiring about recollections of the boy’s hospitalization in 1946. The letter notes that, “those events have become rather important in some official circles here,” but provides few details to the family.

A hand-written note on the letter reports no response through October 8, 1987. Considering the history on the lack of informed consent with these experiments, it is surprising that the letters to Australia failed to mention the word “plutonium.”

The Australian news media has since identified Cal-2 as Simeon Shaw, the son of a wool buyer in New South Wales, and information on the injection created an international incident. The information in the medical file does indicate that at a time when Secretary Herrington told you that no follow-up would be conducted on living subjects, the Department of Energy was desperately interested in conducting follow-up on a deceased Australian patient.

In an effort to determine the full extent of follow-up by the Department after 1986, your staff has requested, through the Department’s office of congressional affairs, the opportunity to speak with Dr. Stebbings, Dr. Robertson, and any other officials who may have been involved in the follow-up. So far, that request has been unsuccessful. It remains an open question as to what was the full extent of follow-up performed in the 1980s, and whether the efforts then would facilitate any further follow-up on subjects now. It seems appropriate for the Interagency Working Group to address these questions as its efforts continue.”

Source: National Security Archives, George Washington Universityhttp://www.gwu.edu/…/…/mstreet/commeet/meet1/brief1/br1n.txt

See also ACHRE Final Report.

NO MORE DUAL USE ABUSE OF AUSTRALIANS MR PRESIDENT. STOP FUNDING SYKES AND FLINDERS UNIVERSITY IN THE DOE QUEST FOR CHEAP CLEANUP OF URANIUM CONTAMINATED SITES.

Mr. President, you are wrong if you think you can do the same again re hormesis funding in Australia as the USA did with CAL-2. We have not forgotten and do not trust you or your paid agents in Australian universities such as Flinders.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, history, reference, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Federal govt keeping Australia’s pollution data secret

FOI documents confirm government holding almost one year’s worth of pollution data, Brisbane Times, Lucy Cormack  7 July 17 The federal government has been keeping almost a year’s worth of pollution data secret, despite it being scheduled for release in May, documents obtained under freedom of information laws reveal.

Independent estimates suggest Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen sharply since the government last released its quarterly data in December – a trend that would make the nation’s commitment to cutting emissions more disruptive and expensive.

Quarterly updates by the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, described as “up-to-date information on emissions trends for business, policymakers and the public”, have been released 28 times since 2009, but not since last year.

Documents obtained under FOI by the Australian Conservation Foundation reveal that while the government possesses data on greenhouse pollution for the two quarters leading up to the end of last year, it has failed to release them……..http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/foi-documents-confirm-government-holding-almost-one-years-worth-of-pollution-data-20170706-gx5um3.html

July 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Mystery of fireball seen in sky near Port Lincoln

South Aussies mystified as blazing fireball tears through sky https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36231067/port-lincoln-fireball-in-sky-video-mystifies-south-australia/?cmp=st#page1  on July 1, 2017, 

Experts are not sure if it’s a meteor or a piece of space junk.

Nor are they sure where, or if, it landed.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

ANSTO’s hidden agenda? – nuclear waste dump to precede tax-payer funded “new nukes”

From ENuFF South Australia Australia 20 June 2017, The hidden agenda becomes less opaque….. Coupled to the recent GenIV treaty endorsement, the proposed dumps will be used as additional justification for developing a commercial reactor industry “…. see, we have already resolved the ‘back end’ problem… “.

Since when have the Liberals’ been interested in Government having commercial money making enterprises? Never. We are witnessing the global military industrial wedge being hammered home…

In the Senate, Arthur Sinodinos tabled the ‘AUSTRALIAN NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ORGANISATION  AMENDMENT BILL 2017′

“…. includes the use of ANSTO’ s property to bring together start-ups, high-tech industry … it will allow ANSTO to leverage its facilities to generate additional capability and increase opportunities for ANSTO to generate commercial revenues…” https://www.facebook.com/sanuclearfree/posts/1693731754265029

June 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

What tests go on at Woomera – ‘the largest land testing range in the world’ ? 

What IS the army testing in the South Australian desert? Mysterious mushroom cloud erupts over historic Woomera range just after a drone flying near the secretive site was ‘forced to the ground’  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4616616/Mystery-mushroom-cloud-erupts-Woomera-range.html  By Bryant Hevesi For Daily Mail Australia

A man has captured image of ‘mushroom cloud’ near Lake Hart, South Australia  Jason Wright said loud explosion occurred after his drone was forced to ground . The cloud formed over the Woomera Prohibited Area, used for military testing The prohibited area is known as ‘the largest land testing range in the world’

A man has captured the moment a mysterious ‘mushroom cloud’ formed over the Woomera military testing range in outback South Australia.

Jason Wright snapped images of the cloud shortly after he says his drone was forced to the ground prior to hearing a loud explosion while he was near the testing range.

Mr Wright told Daily Mail Australia he had stopped off along the Sturt Highway with his partner and children to see Lake Hart on Saturday when the unusual incident occurred.  The experienced drone flyer had set-up his drone to take photos near the Lake Hart tourist rest area on the edge of the salt lake when he says it came down out of his control and made a hard landing.

Mr Wright, who lives in Coober Pedy, believes the drone’s GPS-based tracker may have been interfered with. About a minute after the drone fell, a ‘fireball’ erupted in the far distance, estimated to be as high as a 30-storey building, with the ‘mushroom cloud’ forming.

‘It was quite a spectacular explosion. It was very bright and there was a lot of heat in it,’ he said.

Mr Wright said despite criticisms he should not have been flying a drone in the area, he said the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s ‘Can I fly there?’ app showed was able to have a drone up to 45 metres where he was standing.

The Woomera Prohibited Area ‘is used for the testing of war materiel’ and is ‘the largest land testing range in the world’.

Exclusion zones are in place at various locations within the prohibited area at different times of the year while military equipment is tested.

One is currently in place until June 30.

In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, the Department of Defence said: ‘No weapons were being tested; the activity was a demolition of war materiel’.

Defence did not carry out any action to impact the unmanned aircraft,’ the statement said.

‘Defence carries out operations for the testing of war materiel within the Woomera Prohibited Area. This includes capability being developed and tested for use for defence purposes. The photograph was the result of the demolition of war materiel.

‘An unauthorised person must obtain a permit or approval to enter the Woomera Prohibited Area.

‘In addition to the entry requirements, all unmanned aerial vehicle or remotely piloted aircraft operators must comply with the requirements of Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998, this includes requirements associated with operating within a designated restricted area (for the purpose of regulation 6 of the Airspace Regulations 2007).

‘The Woomera Prohibited Area includes restricted areas for the purposes of the Airspace Regulations 2007 and these areas may be active during periods of defence testing activities.’

June 26, 2017 Posted by | secrets and lies, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Adani will profit from APPROVAL for coal mine expansion, even if the project does not go ahead

Malcolm Turnbull is considering spending almost $1 billion of his $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund on one project: a loan to a company controlled by the Adani family to enable it to build a 400 kilometre railway to get the coal to a deep water port near the Great Barrier Reef. By definition, such a loan wouldn’t be needed if the railway was commercially viable, which raises a disturbing question: if the railway isn’t viable, what about the mines it would rely on for business?

“One of the most profitable activities in Australia is the magical act of getting things rezoned, and that’s just as true for the mining industry.”

If Adani gets environmental approvals and a licence to mine, the value of its asset will have soared whether or not it actually mines. It could even onsell the asset without mining.

Even better, if it did onsell the project, it could maintain ownership of the railway, without which the next owners couldn’t get the coal to port.

Patriarch Gautam Adani has put ownership of the railway (the one that would be financed by the Commonwealth) into a separate private company owned by the family in the Cayman Islands. Should the publicly listed company that owns the mine go bust and have to sell, the mine’s new owners would still have to keep paying him.

Mine games. Why Adani is banking on the unbankable http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/mine-games-why-adani-is-banking-on-the-unbankable-20170531-gwgzvb.html Peter Martin  2 June 17,

You would think Adani would have gone away by now.

The giant Indian conglomerate can’t get a loan for its proposed $22 billion Queensland coal mine from an Australian bank, it can’t seem to get one from an Indian bank, the mine would be so big it would depress the world coal price, and the Indian government plans to phase out coal imports altogether.

In documents released to Fairfax Media under freedom of information laws, the Queensland Treasury as good as described the project as “unbankable”.

What is being proposed is breathtaking: a series of coal mines 60 kilometres long. If scrunched together they would be 40 kilometres long and 10 kilometres wide – an area bigger than Paris, much bigger than Sydney Harbour.

It would be the biggest coal mine in Australia and the biggest export coal mine in the world. It and the neighbours in the Galilee Basin that would open up when the railway went through would double our export capacity. It’s more than important enough for the Australian government to take a serious interest in. Continue reading

June 2, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Karla Way-McPhail, Annabelle Chaplain, – involved in coal industry , but on the Board to decide about Adani mine?

Adani: director on board that will consider $900m loan says project is ‘vital’
Karla Way-McPhail, who runs mining labour and equipment companies, will not say whether she will recuse herself from Carmichael decision,
Guardian, Joshua Robertson, 31 May 17, A director of the independent board due to provide recommendations regarding a $900m taxpayer loan to Adani publicly declared she was “very supportive” of its “vital” coal project, a day after she was accused of allowing a perceived conflict of interest to develop.

Karla Way-McPhail, who runs mining labour and equipment hire companies, last week told a central Queensland newspaper that Adani’s Carmichael mine project would be “a huge boost” for the region.

“We’re very supportive and have been in the industry over 20 years and think it’s vital to the economic platform of central Queensland and we think we really need to see the Galilee [basin] opened,” she told the Morning Bulletin in Rockhampton in a story published last Friday.

Way-McPhail sits on the independent board of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif), which will make investment recommendations, including whether to grant the loan to Adani.

She is the chief executive of the coalmine labour and machinery supplier Undamine Industries, which says on its website it is well-placed to work with miners in the Galilee. The Adani proposal would open up the Galilee for development.

“Our Central Queensland base allows us to effectively serve areas such as the Galilee Basin and beyond,” it says.

Final approval for a Naif loan rests with the minister for Northern Australia, Matthew Canavan, and Naif has said its board members are aware of their conflict-of-interest obligations. It is unclear whether Way-McPhail plans to recuse herself from any decisions.

The Morning Bulletin article did not refer to Way-McPhail’s $56,150-a-year role on the board.

A day before the article appeared, Environmental Justice Australia had written to Naif raising questions about Way-McPhail’s alleged conflict of interest as the chief executive of Undamine and Coal Train Australia, a mining training company.

“There is a perception that Ms Way-McPhail could gain an advantage if either project were to proceed,” EJA said.

Asked by Guardian Australia if her public support for the Adani mine compromised perceptions of her independence, Way-McPhail said: “Due to confidentiality and privacy obligations I am unable to make comment or respond.”

A Naif official did not answer EJA questions about whether Way-McPhail had received any internal information about the Adani proposal, whether she had been present for board discussions or had been included in other correspondence about them. The same was true for questions about Aurizon, which has also approached Naif with a loan proposal to support the construction of a rail line to open up thermal coalmining in the Galilee basin.

 Adani’s proposed $900m Naif loan is to build a line connecting its Abbot Point coal port, near Bowen, to its Carmichael mine, hundreds of kilometres inland. The terms of both proposed loans are unknown.

Naif would not say whether Way-McPhail planned to recuse herself from any decision on Adani or Aurizon.

EJA also raised questions around Annabelle Chaplain, who sits on the board of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), which advises Naif. Chaplain also sits on the board of and owns shares in Downer EDI, which has provisional contracts worth up to $2bn with Adani, including to build its mine……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/31/adani-director-on-board-that-will-consider-900m-loan-says-project-is-vital

May 31, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Conflict of interest in federal government bodies considering $billion loan to Adani coal company

Adani: Government body board members considering rail loan ‘linked to companies who may benefit’ Mark Willacy and Alexandra Blucher, ABC News 29 May 17, Conflict of interest concerns have been raised about two board members of federal government bodies involved in the consideration of a billion-dollar loan to Indian mining giant Adani.

Adani is seeking the loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for a rail line linking its proposed Carmichael coal mine to the port of Abbot Point in north Queensland.

Green group Environmental Justice Australia said the two board members had connections to Queensland mining companies that could benefit financially if the Adani mine is approved and as such have a potential conflict of interest.

They have written to the NAIF and to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), the government credit agency, which is helping to evaluate the loan.

Environmental Justice Australia said Annabelle Chaplain was a board member of Efic but also a director of Downer EDI, which has a $2 billion commercial arrangement with Adani.

It also said Karla Way-McPhail was a NAIF board member as well as being the chief executive of two companies that do work in the mining industry. One is Undamine Industries, which hires out labour and machinery to support mining operations.

The second is Coal Train Australia, a mining training company based in central Queensland.

Efic board member Ms Chaplain is listed as an independent non-executive director of Downer EDI, whose $2 billion arrangement is to conduct drilling, blasting and coal haulage at the Carmichael Mine, if it goes ahead.

According to Downer EDI’s last annual report, Ms Chaplain held 74,000 shares in the company, putting her stake at more than $450,000. Downer EDI chief executive Grant Fenn told The Australian Financial Review last year the company was a “supporter” of the Adani mine and that the Indian giant was “a very large potential customer”.

‘Clear connections’ to companies that could gain from loan

Environmental Justice Australia said both Ms Way-McPhail and Ms Chaplain had clear connections to companies that could benefit financially if the Adani project was approved.

“We understand NAIF is considering proposals by an [Adani company] and Aurizon Holdings Ltd for Galilee Basin rail projects that would cart thermal coal to the Great Barrier Reef Coast,” Environmental Justice Australia wrote in its letter to both government bodies.

“There is a perception that Ms Way-McPhail could gain an advantage if either project were to proceed.”

Efic told the ABC Ms Chaplain was unavailable for interview…….

The NAIF has been accused of excessive secrecy over the operation of its board and the board’s deliberations. The ABC reported earlier this year the NAIF rejected a freedom of information request for the dates and locations of its upcoming board meetings. The NAIF chief executive said the “disclosure of the dates of board meetings could reasonably be expected to adversely affect the NAIF’s operations” by creating media attention and protest activity……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-29/conflict-of-interest-concerns-over-adani-rail-loan/8564368

May 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian government about to secretly sign up to developing Generation IV nuclear reactors?

Should Australia invest funds and resources in developing Generation IV nuclear reactors? Online opinion, 

By Noel Wauchope, 23 May 2017 Without any fanfare, with no media coverage, Australia’s Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) is presently considering Australia signing up to the International Framework for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems (GIF), which will commit this nation to take part in developing new nuclear reactors.Dr Adi Paterson, CEO of the Australia Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, signed up to this GIF Framework last year. However, that does require confirmation by the Australian government. Hence there was the need for the JSCOT Committee to at least take a look at it, before the government completes the membership. Apparently there is no need for public discussion, or probably even Parliamentary discussion.

This Committee very quietly invited submissions, and very few were in the know about this. Now the received submissions have been published – at http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/NuclearEnergy/Submissions.

Anyway, it looks as if ANSTO is the driving force behind this process, and judging by the submissions received, the nuclear lobby was in the know, even if the public was not. Fourteen submissions were received. Of these, eleven were strongly pro- nuclear, and three were opposed. The opposing submissions came from Friends of the Earth (FOE), (jointly with the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF ), Medical Association For The Prevention of War (MAPW), and myself, (I came upon the Parliamentary website just by chance).

In assessing these submissions, of course, I have to admit to bias on my part. Still, I think that any reader would find that there is one submission that stands out for clarity, and a detailed, factual discussion of the GIF plan. That is the one written by Jim Green and Dave Sweeney, for FOE and ACF.

Green and Sweeney respond to assertions made in ANSTO’s National Interest Analysis. They question claims that the new reactors reduce weapons proliferation risks, are economic, efficient, and solve waste problems. They rebuke the claim of ANSTO that “a significant expansion in nuclear power production is underway “, listing the overall decline in nuclear power growth, with the exception of China. They discuss at length the very long time frame expected even by nuclear industry experts, before any Generation IV reactors could be commercially viable.

They go on to discuss each of the six proposed new nuclear reactors, giving a detailed history of the attempts to develop each, and factual information that refutes those claims made by ANSTO. For all of their statements, Green and Sweeney provide evidence and references.

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW)’s submission questions the government’s high subsidising of ANSTO, and points out the poor prospects for private investment in new nuclear power. It refutes the argument that Gen IV reactors would solve the nuclear waste problem, quoting analysis by the US National Academy of Sciences. They discuss the history of attempts to develop Gen IV nuclear reactors: ” a track record of repeated failure and massive cost”. They discuss the direct and indirect costs, and ANSTO’s secrecy about nuclear costs. Safety and reliability issues, and proliferation risks, are examined. They also point out that the recent Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) was not supportive of new nuclear technology. The Commission proposed:

…monitoring and reporting” of new designs, not participation in research and active subsidization. The Royal Commission also places emphasis on economic value for nuclear power generation, which is clearly entirely absent from fast reactor operations.

My own submission also discusses non-proliferation, nuclear waste, and claims about climate change, but it focuses on the lack of public information and discussion. In view of Australia’s laws prohibiting the development of nuclear power in Australia, I find it disturbing that the government is about to put money and resources into developing new nuclear reactors.

Now – to the eleven pro nuclear submissions. In general these faithfully repeat the claims made by ANSTO, stressing the value of Australia participating in an international forum. (e.g: submission from Australian Nuclear Association)

Now – to the eleven pro nuclear submissions. In general these faithfully repeat the claims made by ANSTO, stressing the value of Australia participating in an international forum. (e.g: submission from Australian Nuclear Association)

  • Most submissions praise ANSTO and universities ANU and UNSW for their expertise.
  • Then there’s the claim that nuclear power will decarbonise the economy. (submission by The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE)). (and from Barrie Murphy)
  • Joining GIF will increase the visibility of Australia’s cutting-edge research (from Nuclear Engineering Research Group, School of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, UNSW Sydney)
  • Would increase Australia’s ability to influence international policy – will increase the international status of ANSTO and Australia’s universities. (from Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering)
None of these submissions discussed the proposed reactors or provided any evidence for those claims…….http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19049

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May 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, technology | Leave a comment