Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

February 15 Energy News — geoharvey

World: ¶ “Oil And Gas Execs Are Rewarded For Pursuing Stranded Assets That Will Burn Investors” • Even as oil and gas majors announce plans to tie company climate action to employee remuneration, they reward executives for pursuing growth of oil and gas. That will inevitably lead to stranded assets and financial loss for investors. […]

via February 15 Energy News — geoharvey

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February 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why 50% renewables by 2030 is such an easy target — RenewEconomy

In the shift to renewables, time is pressing on Australia’s incumbent gentailers like AGL. Big decisions will have to be made, and made fairly promptly. The post Why 50% renewables by 2030 is such an easy target appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Why 50% renewables by 2030 is such an easy target — RenewEconomy

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Battery powered homes and battery powered cars: The fossil fuel era is fading — RenewEconomy

NSW hinterland luxury rental home with 10kW solar, two Tesla Powerwall batteries, and a Model X EV, seeks to demonstrate Tesla’s vision of the new energy and transport future. So how does it shape up? The post Battery powered homes and battery powered cars: The fossil fuel era is fading appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Battery powered homes and battery powered cars: The fossil fuel era is fading — RenewEconomy

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AGL proposes mega battery next to Cooper’s Gap wind farm in Queensland — RenewEconomy

AGL, the biggest coal generator in the country, has put in a proposal for a mega-battery into the Coalition’s tender for 24/7 dispatchable power. The post AGL proposes mega battery next to Cooper’s Gap wind farm in Queensland appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via AGL proposes mega battery next to Cooper’s Gap wind farm in Queensland — RenewEconomy

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Black coal plants push Australian wholesale energy prices to record highs — RenewEconomy

Latest quarterly report from AEMO shows black coal generators pushing up electricity prices as demand falls and more cheap renewables come into the system. The post Black coal plants push Australian wholesale energy prices to record highs appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Black coal plants push Australian wholesale energy prices to record highs — RenewEconomy

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vestas brings winds of change to Victoria manufacturing, with turbine plant in Geelong — RenewEconomy

Victoria’s former centre for car manufacturing, Geelong, will host a turbine assembly and testing hub for global wind giant Vestas. The post Vestas brings winds of change to Victoria manufacturing, with turbine plant in Geelong appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Vestas brings winds of change to Victoria manufacturing, with turbine plant in Geelong — RenewEconomy

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NEM Review 2018: More renewables, greater efficiency, less emissions — RenewEconomy

A detailed review of Australia’s main grid for 2018 shows a big increase in renewables, gains in efficiency, lower demand, and a substantial fall in emissions. The post NEM Review 2018: More renewables, greater efficiency, less emissions appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via NEM Review 2018: More renewables, greater efficiency, less emissions — RenewEconomy

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mental health issues in Kimba community divided by nuclear waste dump proposal

Nuclear waste site selection process triggers mental health concerns, business boycotts and division, FOI documents reveal https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/foi-documents-show-kimba-divided-over-nuclear-waste-site/10807462  ABC North and West By Gary-Jon Lysaght   (FOI documents are attached on the original) Freedom of Information (FOI) documents reveal the Federal Government has been aware of potential mental health issues, from as early as 2017, caused by the search for a site to store the nation’s nuclear waste.The Federal Government is currently considering two sites at Kimba and one near Hawker for a facility that would permanently store low-level waste and temporarily store medium-level waste.

Kimba, a small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, has been divided on whether to support or oppose the facility. Some residents believe the facility could help bring much-needed business to the rural town, while others suggest it could damage the region’s agricultural reputation.

“Many of the opposed group have raised the issue of mental health in submissions and direct discussions,” the FOI documents, written in 2017, said.

They believe mental health issues are arising in Kimba due to the stress of being in this process.

“These issues have been raised with the Kimba doctor and counsellor.”

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick obtained the Freedom of Information documents and hoped the concerns were a catalyst for change.

“In my view, that creates a very strong obligation for the Government to act,” he said.

“They’ve clearly known about this issue since 2017 and it is now time to ask the minister exactly what he is doing in relation to that.”

Industry, Innovation and Science Minister, Matt Canavan, is responsible for determining which site should be chosen for the facility.

“If anyone in Kimba advises they have concerns about their health, they can be referred to the Kimba Mental Health and Wellbeing Group,” a department spokesman said.  “Following a Community Benefit Program application, that group received funding of $30,000 for Healthy Mind Healthy Community workshops to improve resilience, mental health and wellbeing.”

Site selection process ongoing

The site selection process has been put on hold since traditional owners took the District Council of Kimba to court over a proposed community ballot on support for the facility.

The Barngarla Native Title Determination Aboriginal Corporation took the matter to the Federal Court because not all native title holders were included in the ballot.

A decision will be made on the court action this year, with Native Title holders claiming the ballot would breach the Racial Discrimination Act.

owever, an early technical assessment gave the Napandee property a score of 90, while Lyndhurst received 82.

“Both sites were ranked as ‘highly suitable’ by the initial desktop assessment,” the FOI documents said.

“This assessment involved a multi-criteria site assessment where the sites were evaluated against criteria of health, safety, security, environment protection, equity, economic viability, and stable environment.

“On balance, it is recommended that if there is a decision to proceed, both sites should be taken forward.

“If only one site is taken forward, it is recommended to be Napandee.”

This is despite a consultation in 2016, mentioned in the documents, found “that the Lyndhurst site was preferred by the community”.

“Given the perception it is ‘further out of town’ and on less productive land, but there is no strong basis for this assessment.”

Community divided

The documents also revealed that the Federal Government was aware of the “strong division” within Kimba that the site selection process was causing.

“It is unlikely community views will change significantly in the short to medium term, with a block of around 40 per cent persistently strongly opposed,” the documents said. “There is strong division in the town and this is expected to continue and may become more vocal in the short term.”

Jeff Baldock owns Napandee, the site indicated to be preferred by the Federal Government in the FOI documents.

“It’s been a very long process,” he said.

“When it first started out, there was probably a few things that could have been done better.

“But as it’s gone along, everyone’s had plenty of opportunity to find out what they want to know.”

Mr Baldock said there had been “vague references” to mental health concerns. (Below: Jeff Baldock and family) 

“But I’ve never actually spoken to anyone who feels particularly that way and I know that the department did have an open offer that they could contact them.”

Peter Woolford is Chair of No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or South Australia, an organisation against the facility.

He said there was no doubt that the site selection process had caused mental health concerns within the community.

“We’ve lost people from our community because of it,” he said.

“People I speak to are reluctant to go into Kimba much these days.

“It’s disappointing to say the least that if you went up the street and tried to have a conversation about the nuclear waste facility from people from opposite sides, you wouldn’t get much of a conversation.”

Boycotting businesses

Another section of the documents found there had been some cases of businesses being boycotted by locals if the owner either supported or opposed the facility.

“Business owners have noted that boycotting of businesses by the opposed group is occurring,” the documents said.

“While these claims may be exaggerated, this would appear valid and detrimental to the town.”

The ABC has also been told that those opposed to the facility were boycotting businesses that supported it.

It has also been told that up to 90 per cent of businesses at Kimba supported the facility.

Senator Patrick was concerned about the impact boycotting businesses could have on a town like Kimba.

“Kimba is a very small township and the last thing you want to have is animosity developing across members of the community,” he said.

“To the point where they simply won’t go and shop in a particular shop because of someone’s view on this issue.”

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

The world’s small creatures are being killed off by climate change

Climate change is killing off Earth’s little creatures http://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-killing-off-earths-little-creatures-109719, Bill Laurance, Distinguished Research Professor and Australian Laureate, James Cook University, February 12, 2019 Climate change gets blamed for a lot of things these days: inundating small islands, fueling catastrophic fires, amping-up hurricanes and smashing Arctic sea ice.
But a global review of insect research has found another casualty: 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. It confirms what many have been suspecting: in Australia and around the world, arthropods – which include insects, spiders, centipedes and the like — appear to be in trouble.

The global review comes hard on the heels of research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA that suggests a potent link between intensifying heat waves and stunning declines in the abundance of arthropods.

If that study’s findings are broadly valid – something still far from certain – it has chilling implications for global biodiversity.

Arthropod Armageddon

In the mid-1970s, researchers on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico conducted a large-scale study to measure the total biomass (living mass) of insects and other arthropods in the island’s intact rainforests, using sweep nets and sticky-traps.

Four decades later, another research team returned to the island and repeated the study using identical methods and the same locations. To their surprise, they found that arthropod biomass was just one-eighth to one-sixtieth of that in the 1970s – a shocking collapse overall.

And the carnage didn’t end there. The team found that a bevy of arthropod-eating lizards, birds and frogs had fallen sharply in abundance as well.

In the minds of many ecologists, a widespread collapse of arthropods could be downright apocalyptic. Arthropods pollinate some of our most important food crops and thousands of wild plant species, disperse seeds, recycle nutrients and form key links in food chains that sustain entire webs of life.

This ecological ubiquity arises because arthropods are so abundant and diverse, comprising at least two-thirds of all known species on Earth. In the 1940s, evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane quipped that “God has an inordinate fondness for beetles.” Humans might think we rule the world, but the planet really belongs to arthropods.

Killer heat waves

The researchers who documented the arthropod collapse in Puerto Rico considered a variety of possible causes, including pesticides and habitat disruption. But the evidence kept pointing to another driver: rising temperatures.

Weather stations in Puerto Rico indicate that temperatures there have risen progressively in the past several decades – by 2℃ on average.

But the researchers are far less worried about a gradual increase in temperature than the intensification of heat waves—which have risen markedly in Puerto Rico. This is because nearly all living species have thresholds of temperature tolerance.

For example, research in Australia has shown that at 41℃, flying foxes become badly heat-stressed, struggling to find shade and flapping their wings desperately to stay cool.

But nudge the thermometer up just one more degree, to 42℃, and the bats suddenly die.

In November, heat waves that peaked above 42℃ in north Queensland killed off almost a third of the region’s Spectacled Flying Foxes. The ground beneath bat colonies was littered with tens of thousands of dead animals. Dedicated animal carers could only save a small fraction of the dying bats.

The El Niño connection

El Niño events – fluctuations in Pacific sea-surface temperatures that drive multi-year variations in weather across large swaths of the planet – are also part of this story. New research appears to be resolving longstanding uncertainties about El Niños and global warming.

Recent studies published in Nature and Geophysical Research Letterssuggest global warming will in fact intensify El Niños – causing affected areas to suffer even more intensively from droughts and heat waves.

And this ties back to Puerto Rico, because the researchers there believe a series of unusually intense El Niño heatwaves were the cause the arthropod Armageddon. If they’re right then global warming was the gun, but El Niño pulled the trigger.

Beyond heat waves

Puerto Rico is certainly not the only place on Earth that has suffered severe declines in arthropods. Robust studies in EuropeNorth AmericaAustralia and other locales have revealed big arthropod declines as well.

And while climatic factors have contributed to some of these declines, it’s clear that many other environmental changes, such as habitat disruptionpesticidesintroduced pathogens and light pollution, are also taking heavy tolls.

So, at a planetary scale, arthropods are suffering from a wide variety of environmental insults. There’s no single reason why their populations are collapsing.


Read more: Climate change: effect on sperm could hold key to species extinction


The bottom line is: we’re changing our world in many different ways at once. And the myriad little creatures that play so many critical roles in the fabric of life are struggling to survive the onslaught.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear campaigner Eileen Wani Wingfield honoured posthumously at the 2018 SA Environment Awards. 

Family accepts Lifetime Achiever Award in Eileen’s honour  https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/5892492/eileen-wingfield-honoured-as-a-conservation-legend/?cs=1538&fbclid=IwAR0EgYbVPqxhd1EkhHXcL5Z-k8cuWyWWjDAHvuJznCeeDlliHoOudQ1toSo#slide=1, Amy Green, 13 Feb 19, 

February 14, 2019 Posted by | personal stories, South Australia | Leave a comment

Report on the global environmental crisis now at a critical stage


Environment in multiple crises – report https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47203344

Politicians and policymakers have failed to grasp the gravity of the environmental crisis facing the Earth, a report claims.

The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global economy.

Scientists warn of a potentially deadly combination of factors.

These include climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil erosion, forest felling and acidifying oceans.

The report from the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research says these factors are “driving a complex, dynamic process of environmental destabilisation that has reached critical levels.

“This destabilisation is occurring at speeds unprecedented in human history and, in some cases, over billions of years.”

So what is needed?

The IPPR warns that the window of opportunity to avoid catastrophic outcomes is rapidly closing. Continue reading

February 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

UK removes from public access documents on nuclear energy and nuclear weapons history fr

The National 11th Feb 2019 ACCIDENT reports and safety reviews into nuclear weapons and atomic energy programmes in Scotland are among hundreds of documents to have been suddenly withdrawn from public view.

According to a report on the Sunday Post website, following a “security review” the files at the National Archives in Kew were removed so that they can no longer be accessed by the public. The move has been described as “very concerning” by the Campaign  for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The documents relate to a range of topics on Britain’s nuclear weapons and atomic energy programmes, including the nuclear power plant in Dounreay, Caithness, as well as Chapelcross in
Dumfries and Galloway and the Hunterston A and Hunterston B power stations which are located in Ayrshire.
https://www.thenational.scot/news/17423745.scotlands-nuclear-history-suddenly-disappears-from-public-archive/

February 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Dangers of USA plan for nuclear fuel factory to combine military and civilian use

Nuclear watchdogs warn against blurring energy, military uses at Ohio fuel plantNuclear watchdogs warn against blurring energy, military uses at Ohio fuel plant,  Energy News,  BY Kathiann M. Kowalski, 13 Feb 19, 

Combining the capability to make fuel for nuclear reactors and material for weapons undercuts nonproliferation efforts, critics say.

A planned nuclear fuel plant in Ohio could help enable the nation’s next wave of carbon-free electricity, a fleet of small reactors providing continuous power to the grid.

The U.S. Department of Energy fuel facility would be unique in part because it could also produce material for use in nuclear weapons. That crosses a potentially dangerous line, nuclear watchdog groups say — one that could undercut efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Continue reading

February 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Spain plans to close all nuclear plants by 2035

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/spain-plans-to-close-all-nuclear-plants-by-2035-11239490, 13 Feb 19, MADRID: Spain aims to close all seven of its nuclear plants between 2025 and 2035 as part of plans to generate all the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2050.

Energy Minister Teresa Ribera announced the move on Tuesday (Feb 12), just as the Socialist government gears up to call an early national election in anticipation of losing a budget vote.

Overhauling Spain’s energy system, which generated 40 per cent of its mainland electricity from renewable sources in 2018, will require investment of 235 billion euros (US$266 billion) between 2021 and 2030, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last month.

Ribera said the government would present a draft plan to combat climate change, which had been due to be sent to the European Union for approval by the end of last year, to parliament on Feb 22.

Under a draft bill prepared last year, the government aims to ban sales of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2040 and encourage the installation of at least 3,000 megawatts a year of renewable capacity such as wind farms and solar plants.

Phasing out nuclear power, which accounts for a little over 20 per cent of mainland Spain’s electricity, was a campaign pledge for the governing Socialists, who took office last summer after toppling their conservative predecessors in a confidence vote.

Spain’s nuclear plants, which started operating between 1983 and 1988, are owned by Iberdrola, Italian-owned Endesa, Naturgy and Portugal’s EDP.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

“Next generation” nuclear companies press Trump administration to help them to sell nuclear reactors overseas

CEOs Ask Trump to Help Them Sell Nuclear Power Plants Abroad, Bloomberg, By Jennifer A Dlouhy,  Ari Natter, and Jennifer Jacobs, February 13, 2019,   Executives say they compete with China, Russia and France,  Thriving nuclear development key to U.S. security, they say

U.S. nuclear energy developers on Tuesday met with President Donald Trump and asked for help winning contracts to build power plants in the Middle East and elsewhere overseas……..

……..The push comes as developers seek U.S. government approval of next-generation advanced and small modular nuclear reactors — and the administration’s help in selling their products to the world. The International Atomic Energy Agency predicts that some 554 gigawatts of nuclear electric generating capacity will come online by 2030, a 42 percent increase over current levels. Continue reading

February 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment