Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

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

Continue reading

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

‘Dirty Deeds’ – The shady web behind potential Adani coal mine finance

https://www.acf.org.au/dirty_deeds STOP ADANI 24 MAY 2017
An Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) investigation has discovered the publically funded Export Finance Investment Corporation (Efic) could be used as a backdoor option to finance Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

An Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) investigation has discovered the publically funded Export Finance Investment Corporation (Efic) could be used as a backdoor option to finance Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

Efic could provide loan insurance to private investors for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, leaving Australians exposed to billions of dollars being lost to a useless stranded asset.

These findings are part of a new report from ACF exposing the web of ties between the fossil fuels industry, the government, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) and Efic.

  • Five of the seven NAIF directors have close connections to the fossil fuel industry.
  • NAIF Board has lack of experience with industries such as communications and renewable energy which are critical to the development from Northern Australia.
  • NAIF’s chief adviser, Efic, has a track record of investing in large fossil fuel projects, backing fossil fuels over renewables at a rate of more than 100:1.
  • Efic could insure private investment in Adani coal mine – Turnbull government has refused to rule it out.

Download the investigation, and watch a video below showing the web of NAIF and Efic coal interests.

“That public money could be put on the line to protect private profit from the Adani coal mine that will help destroy the Reef and Australian tourism jobs is a truly gobsmacking and outrageous idea.” said Kelly O’Shanassy, Australian Conservation Foundation CEO.

“Both NAIF and Efic must be prevented from supporting a mine that will end up being a stranded asset, potentially wasting billions in public money. The Turnbull government must take responsibility and rule it out immediately.

“When the Adani mine fails, the Australian public will be the very last people to get their money back and probably won’t.

“Public investment in coal is a losing proposition for public money, the Reef and the 70,000 tourism jobs that rely on it.”

May 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Is the Australian govt secretly planning for tax-payers to finance Adani coal mine?

Report; EFIC may finance Adani coal mine, Michael West, May 23, 2017 Is the government secretly planning to put taxpayers on the hook to build the world’s biggest new thermal coal mine? It is refusing to rule it out.

Until now, speculation has centred on a $1 billion discount loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to Indian billionaire Gautam Adani to build a rail line from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point on the Queensland coast. This is a “cart before the horse” proposition however. There can be no rail line without a mining project, and Adani is yet to attract project finance from commercial banks to build its mine.

A new report by the Australian Conservation Foundation notes that a number of approaches were made to the Federal Government and its credit agency, Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), asking whether the agency was considering supporting the Carmichael thermal coal project. Already EFIC has a team working within NAIF on project evaluation. Continue reading

May 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

NO PUBLIC DISCUSSION! Australia’s Generation IV Nuclear Energy Accession

Submission to:  Inquiry: The Generation IV Nuclear Energy – Accession. by Noel Wauchope, 24 April 2017

First of all, I find it very strange that this agreement has been signed up to in advance, not by any elected representative of the Australian Parliament, but by Dr Adi Patterson CEO of the Australia Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, apparently pre-empting the results of this Inquiry!

I find it disturbing that this Inquiry is being held without any public information or discussion. Are we to assume that the decision to join this “Charter” is being taken without prior public knowledge?

It is a pretty momentous decision. According to the World Nuclear Association the 2005 Framework agreement “formally commits them (signatories) to participate in the development of one or more Generation IV systems selected by GIF for further R&D.”

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 currently prohibits the development of nuclear power in Australia. Nuclear power cannot be approved under either the EPBC Act or the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998.  These prohibitions are, as I understand it,  supported by all major parties in Australia?

This would be an extraordinary step for Australia to take, especially in the light of the recent South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) pro-nuclear Royal Commission, which, while recommending South Australia for an international nuclear waste dump, nevertheless stated that

The recent conclusion of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), which issued updated projections for fast reactor and innovative systems in January 2014, suggests the most advanced system will start a demonstration phase (which involves completing the detailed design of a prototype system and undertaking its licensing, construction and operation) in about 2021. The demonstration phase is expected to last at least 10 years and each system demonstrated will require funding of several billion US dollars. As a result, the earliest possible date for the commercial operation of fast reactor and other innovative reactor designs is 2031. This timeframe is subject to significant project, technical and funding risk. It extends by six years a similar assessment undertaken by GIF in 2002. This means that such designs could not realistically be ready for commercial deployment in South Australia or elsewhere before the late 2030s, and possibly later.”

This was hardly a ringing endorsement of Generation IV nuclear reactors.

The South Australian Citizens Jury, Community Consultations, numerous economists, and the S.A. Liberal Party all rejected that nuclear waste plan, as not economically viable.  A huge amount of preparation was done by the NFCRC in investigating the phases of the nuclear Fuel Cycle (more accurately Chain) to arrive at their rather negative view of Generation IV nuclear reactors.

That makes it all the more extraordinary that the Australian government would be willing to sign up so quickly to ANSTO’s request that Australia put resources into these untested, and so far, non-existent nuclear technologies.

I hope that the Committee is aware of the present financial troubles of the giant nuclear corporations, such as AREVA, Toshiba, and Westinghouse Electric. Nuclear power is turning out to be a financial liability wherever it is not funded by the tax-payer, (as in China and Russia). (1)

The World Nuclear Association describes the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) as countries for whom nuclear energy is significant now or seen as vital in the future. Australia’s situation in no way fits these criteria.

Nuclear energy is not significant now in Australia, and even the NRCRC nuclear proponents do not see it as vital for Australia’s future. It is almost laughable, that right now, renewable energy systems are taking off in Australia – both as large solar and wind farms, and as a huge increase in small decentralised systems such as home and business solar panel installations.

That’s where Australia should be putting its resources of human energy, talent, and funding.

The claims made by the nuclear lobby, ANSTO and some politicians, notably Christopher Pyne and Julie Bishop, about Generation Iv nuclear reactors, do not stand up to scrutiny:

Non proliferation “-   Furthering Australia’s non-proliferation and nuclear safety objectives.” The well-known claim that a “conventional” nuclear bomb cannot be made from these new types of reactor, might be true, to a certain extent. However, IFRs and other plutonium-based nuclear power concepts fail the WMD proliferation test, i.e. they can too easily be used to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. The use of thorium as a nuclear fuel doesn’t solve the WMD proliferation problem. Irradiation of thorium (indirectly) produces uranium-233, a fissile material which can be used in nuclear weapons.  These materials can be used to make a “dirty bomb” – irradiating a city or other target.  They would require the same expensive security measures that apply with conventional nuclear reactors.

If the purpose in joining the GIF is to strengthen non-proliferation and safety – why is ANSTO the implementing agent not the Australia Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office?

Solving nuclear waste problem? Claims that these new nuclear reactors will solve the problem of nuclear wastes are turning out to be spurious. For example, Nuclear energy startup Transatomic Power has backed away from bold claims for its advanced reactor technology after an informal review by MIT professors highlighted serious errors in the company’s calculations. (2) Even at the best of times, the “new nuclear” lobby admits that their Gen IV reactors will produce highly toxic radioactive wastes, requiring security for up to 300 years.
The Integral Fast Reactor is called “integral” because it would process used reactor fuel on-site, separating plutonium (a weapons explosive) and other long-lived radioactive isotopes from the used fuel, to be fed back into the reactor. It essentially converts long-lived waste into shorter lived waste. This waste would still remain dangerous for a minimum of 200 years (provided it is not contaminated with high level waste products), so we are still left with a waste problem that spans generations. (3)

Climate change. The claim that new nuclear power will solve climate change is spurious. This ignores life-cycle CO2 emissions

Nuclear energy is not zero carbon.

Emissions from nuclear will increase significantly over the next few decades as high grade ore is depleted, and increasing amounts of fossil fuels are required to access, mine and mill low-grade ore.

To stay below the 2 degrees of global warming that climate scientists widely agree is necessary to avert catastrophic consequences for humans and physical systems, we need to significantly reduce our emissions by 2050, and to do this we need to start this decade. Nuclear is a slow technology:

The “Generation IV” demonstration plants projected for 2030-2040 will be too late, and there is no guarantee the pilots will be successful.

Nuclear Economics. For “a time when significant expansion in nuclear power production is underway” – this is a laughable falsehood. In reality, nuclear power economics are in a state of crisis, most notably in America, but it is a world-wide slowdown. (4)

The vagueness of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) agreement is a worry. Australia is to formally commit to participate in the development of one or more Generation IV systems selected by GIF for further R&D.  Surely Australia is not going to sign up to this, without any detail on what kind of research, what kind of reactor, what amount of funding we would be committing to the GIF.

And all this without any public discussion!

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/11/toshiba-losses-uk-moorside-nuclear-plant-westinghouse
  2.  https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603731/nuclear-energy- startup-transatomic-backtracks-on-key-promises/
  3. https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4555
  4.  http://reneweconomy.com.au/nuclear-industry-crisis-29735/

 

May 17, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, secrets and lies, spinbuster, technology | 2 Comments

Stop Australia signing up to develop new nuclear reactors -submissions by 28 April

Submissions received until 28 April by Parliamentary Committee

Right now a Parliamentary Committee is considering Australia’s further involvement in the ‘Charter’  or   Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems. The Committee consists of 9 Liberal MPs, 6 Labor, and one Green.

Australia secretly signed the ‘Charter’ on 22 nd June 2016 – signed by Dr Adi Patterson COE of the Australia Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. (pending this JSCOT review). ANSTO is to be the implementing agent.

The An international collection of 14 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, the UK and the USA ( original charter members 2005) Switzerland, Euratom, China, Russia and Australia (signed later)  . The World Nuclear Association describes the collection as countries for whom nuclear energy is significant now or seen as vital in the future.

When the Australian government quietly signed up to the GIF, it made no commitment to any particular action towards developing new nuclear reactors.  Other countries, including Japan, Canada, France, South Korea, have committed to working on particular types ofGeneration IV reactors Australia might be expected to not only fully sign up as a member of the Charter, but perhaps also to provide funding and resources to develop one or more types.

Involvement of various countries in developing particular types of new nuclear reactor

April 17, 2017 Posted by | ACTION, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian government about to secretly sign up to participate in developing new nuclear reactors

Under the radar: Parliamentary Committee preparing for Australia to sign up to more participation in developing new nuclear reactors 

Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) inquiry into the Agreement for Research and Development on Generation IV nuclear reactors that Australia signed in June 2016, without any public discussion .

Inquiry Homepage: Submissions close 28 th April 2017 Inquiry Homepage: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/NuclearEnergy

There are six reactor technologies described as Gen IV. A 2014 industry update on the road map for development of these 6 technologies can be seen here. In short all 6 technologies are in the ‘viability’ (conceptual) or ‘performance’ (engineering) phase. The earliest prediction for the development of a prototype would be 2022, but it’s expected it will take much longer.
What are Gen IV (Generation IV Reactors) ? There are six reactor technologies described as Gen IV. A 2014 industry update on the road map for development of these 6 technologies can be seen here. In short all 6 technologies are in the ‘viability’ (conceptual) or ‘performance’ (engineering) phase. The earliest prediction for the development of a prototype would be 2022, but it’s expected it will take much longer.
What is the 2005 Framework Agreement aka ‘the Charter’? According to the World Nuclear Association the 2005 Framework agreement “formally commits them (signatories) to participate in the development of one or more Generation IV systems selected by GIF for further R&D.” Australia signed the ‘Charter’ on 22 nd June 2016 –by Dr Adi Patterson COE of the Australia Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. (pending this JSCOT review). ANSTO is to be the implementing agent.
Australia’s signing of the GIF Media reports indicate Australia made a bid or approach to join GIF. The active seeking out of such an agreement that is at odds with public opinion, at odds with the current
Governments policy position on nuclear power and is inconsistent with Australian laws which prohibit the use of this technology is astounding.
What the Gov’t said in 2016 in relation to joining GIF: Christopher Pyne, said:

“Australia’s invitation to join this important global project marks an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of global innovation in the nuclear industry.” He added, “Inclusion in the GIF further strengthens Australia’s position as a nation that has the research muscle to deliver innovations on the global stage. It reinforces the governments 1 $billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, encouraging our best and brightest researchers to collaborate with international experts.”

Julie Bishop said in relation to joining GIF 

“Australia has firm non-proliferation goals and nuclear safety objectives, and contributing to the global conversation on this level is an opportunity to assist in the research that is making nuclear technologies safer around the world in the long term.”

April 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, technology | Leave a comment

Queensland premier does secret water deal with Adani, putting the coal company ahead of Queensland

ACF Australian Conservation Foundation: Palaszczuk to put Adani before Queensland
with secret water licence deal  
http://www.4-traders.com/news/ACF-Australian-Conservation-Foundation-Palaszczuk-to-put-Adani-before-Queensland-with-secret-water–24137075/ 31 March 2017:

“The Courier-Mail has reported today that the Palaszczuk government is set to grant a water licence for Adani to suck millions of litres of groundwater for its mega-polluting Carmichael Coal Mine in secret.

“‘The Queensland Government have created one rule for Adani and a different set of rules for everyone else when it comes to managing groundwater.’ said ACF Healthy Ecosystems Campaigner Basha Stasak.

“‘This is a secret decision to prop up a mine that will help destroy the Reef and the 70,000 Queensland jobs that rely on it. A secret decision to prop up a mine that no one else will fund because it is too risky and dangerous for the climate. … “

April 1, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Adani investors misled? Money shifted to tax haven as Australian govt subsidises loan

The Cayman Islands-controlled rail company has rights to a royalty stream worth up to $3 billion from the proposed mine, the ABC recently revealed — a payment that would come at the expense of shareholders in the publicly listed Adani Enterprises.

Adani facing growing pressure on fears investors may have been misled http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-22/adani-facing-growing-pressure-investors-may-have-been-misled/8376794 By Stephen Long, Adani Group is facing growing pressure to reveal which company in its complex corporate web has applied for a $1 billion subsided loan from the Australian Government, amid fears money could be shifted to a tax haven and investors may have been misled.

An Australian law firm has written to the Bombay Stock Exchange asking it to clear up the confusion about a $1 billion funding application to the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

The loan would finance a 400-kilometre railway from Queensland’s Abbot Point Coal Terminal to a planned massive mine in the Galilee Basin, which, if it goes ahead as proposed, would contain six open-cut pits and five underground collieries.

It is “absolutely possible” investors have been misled about the loan, lawyer David Barnden from not-for-profit law firm Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) told the ABC. “In terms of misleading the market, the NAIF funding is really, really important for Adani’s share price,” Mr Barnden explained.

“When [Resources Minister] Matt Canavan told Reuters last week that Adani Enterprises had applied for the funding, the share price went up 4 per cent.”

Continue reading

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

Adani to send Coal mine $billions to Cayman Islands

Last year Resources Minister Matt Canavan dismissed the ABC’s investigation into Adani’s web of companies leading to tax havens as “fake news”.

Adani’s planned Carmichael coal mine to shift millions to Cayman Islands controlled company, ABC News 13 Mar 17  by Stephen LongUp to $3 billion from Adani’s planned Carmichael coal mine will be shifted to a subsidiary owned in the Cayman Islands if the controversial project goes ahead, an analysis of company filings shows.

Key points:

  • ‘Royalty deed’ gives shell company rights to recieve $2-a-tonne payment beyond first 400K tonnes mined for two decades
  • Entitlement owned by company registered in Cayman Islands, controlled by Adani family
  • Carmichael coal mine’s production capacity means payment ammounts to about $120 million per year

An “overarching royalty deed” gives a shell company rights to receive a $2-a-tonne payment, rising yearly by the inflation rate, beyond the first 400,000 tonnes mined in each production year for two decades.

The company with this entitlement is ultimately owned by Atulya Resources Limited, a secretive entity registered in the Cayman Islands, and controlled by the Adani family.

“In plain English, the upshot for the Adani family is [that] if the mine goes ahead, they receive a $2-a-tonne payment, so up to $3 billion, via a Cayman Islands company, a company owned in a tax haven,” says Adam Walters, principal researcher and Energy Resource Insights……

“I would describe it as a structure that means that the Adani family enriches themselves if the mine goes ahead but that other shareholders are impoverished,” associate professor Thomas Clarke, director of the Centre for Corporate Governance at UTS told the ABC.

“The worry is that this may be just the beginning.

He said the billions flowing to the Adani private company would come at the expense of minority shareholders in the company listed on the Bombay stock exchange which ultimately owns the Carmichael mine.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

How Adani acquired the right to this multi-billion-dollar revenue stream is a tale in itself……..

Last year Resources Minister Matt Canavan dismissed the ABC’s investigation into Adani’s web of companies leading to tax havens as “fake news”.

He rejected concerns about the web of companies and trusts, many owned in tax havens, that Adani had set up for its Australian operations, says resources companies such as Rio Tinto and BHP also had complex company structures.

Dr Clarke said that is nonsense.

“This is a classic third-world pyramid structure, with the Adani family having a controlling interest in all of the different companies, publicly listed, privately listed and the offshore companies which are its private properties,” he told the ABC.

“It can freely move cash or assets between the different entities to the benefit of its own family interests.”

But according to the Minister, the advice from his department is that it is all perfectly legal.

Adani’s spokesman did not respond to a series of questions.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-14/adani-carmichael-coalmine-to-shift-millions-to-cayman-islands/8350704

March 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac invest $7bn more in fossil fuels than in renewables

hypocrisy-scaleBig Australian banks invest $7bn more in fossil fuels than renewables, says report https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/06/big-australian-banks-invest-7bn-more-in-fossil-fuels-than-renewables-says-report ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac provided three times more for non-renewable than clean energy projects in 2016, says Market Forces, Guardian, , 6 Mar 17, Australia’s big four banks invested three times as much in global fossil fuels as they did in clean energy in 2016, despite pledging to help Australia transition to a low carbon economy.

The banks provided a combined $10bn to projects around the world that expanded non-renewable energy, according to finance group Market Forces.

ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank were the worst offenders, investing over $3bn each in fossil fuels. In the same period, ANZ only lent $225m to renewables, giving it a 14:1 ratio. Continue reading

March 6, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Conflict of interest: Queensland govt appoints Adani director to oversee coal port!

Adani director appointed to body overseeing mining giant’s coal port despite conflict of interest warning http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-27/adani-director-appointed-government-body-overseeing-coal-port/8301104 Exclusive by the National Reporting Team’s Mark Willacy and Alexandra Blucher    27 February 2017:

“The Queensland Government appointed an Adani company director to chair the authority overseeing the Abbot Point coal port, despite being warned of “potential conflicts of interest”.

Key points:

“It’s undoubtedly a conflict of interest,” said law professor on Mr Fish’s appointment
Treasurer’s office confirms it knew of Mr Fish’s directorship and that he “disclosed potential conflicts of interest prior to his appointment”
But Mr Fish’s link to Adani was not disclosed publicly by the Treasurer when he was appointed … “

March 1, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Money intended for research was diverted to coal advertising

Pre-election coal advertising funded by money meant for clean coal research, ABC News, By Stephen Long   21 Feb 17   The coal industry’s multi-million-dollar advertising and lobbying campaign in the run-up to the last federal election was bankrolled by money deducted from state mining royalty payments and meant to fund research into “clean coal”.

Key points:

  • Coal21 fund launched in 2004, aiming to create $1 billion to research “clean coal technologies”
  • Fund’s coal levy was suspended from mid-2012 to mid-2016
  • In 2013 coal lobby changed mandate of Coal21 to allow its funds to be used for “coal promotion”

The mining industry spent $2.5 million pushing the case for lower-emissions, coal-fired power plants in the run-up to last year’s election — a cause the Federal Government has since taken up with gusto.

The source of the funds was a voluntary levy on coal companies, originally intended to fund research into “clean coal” technologies, which coal producers could deduct from state mining royalties.

Instead, some of the money raised paid for phone polling, literature and TV ads that declared “coal — it’s an amazing thing”.

The funds were channelled through the Australian Coal Association Low Emissions Technology Limited (ACALET), formerly owned by the Australian Coal Association and now part of the Minerals Council for Australia.

Queensland Government documents list “the COAL21 levy payable to Australian Coal Association Low Emissions Technologies Ltd (ACALET)” as an eligible deduction against royalty payments in the state.

A “coal research” levy in NSW is also deductible against coal mining royalty payments, under a deal signed off by the disgraced former NSW Labor minister Ian Macdonald, who was charged with criminal offences after an ICAC inquiry.

Coal21 was launched more than a decade ago, with the aim of creating a $1 billion fund for research into “clean coal” technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS), but only a fraction of the money was raised or spent.

With a lack of research projects to finance, the levy was suspended in 2012. In 2013, the coal lobby changed the mandate of Coal21 to downplay research and allow its funds to be used for “coal promotion”.

Critics ‘outraged’ by industry’s use of funding

Funding the industry campaign from money that otherwise would have been paid to state governments as mining royalties has outraged the Federal Opposition and the coal industry’s critics.

“It is a huge shame that Coal21 funding, which was mean to go into genuine CCS research, is now being used to finance advertising and political campaigns,” Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler said.

Australia Institute chief economist Richard Denniss said it was “scandalous”.

“Every dollar spent on advertising as part of the coal industry campaign was a dollar that should have gone into consolidated revenue,” he said.

“Citizens funded a propaganda campaign with money that would otherwise have gone into public revenue to fund schools and hospitals.”

February 22, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment