Author Archive: roman

Nuclear Royal Commission losing further credibility

Submitted by Cam Walker on Fri, 24/04/2015 – 10:55

Media Release

24 April 2015

Friends of the Earth, Australia has today written to Kevin Scarce, head of the SA government’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, asking him to revisit his decision not to include weapons proliferation risks in the Royal Commission’s issues paper dealing with uranium mining.

Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia, said:

“Day by day, the Royal Commission is losing further credibility. Last week, we learned that the expert advisory panel is stacked with three nuclear advocates, with just one token critic. Kevin Scarce’s claim to be running a ‘balanced Royal Commission’ is demonstrably false.

“Now we learn that the Royal Commission wants to ignore weapons proliferation, the single greatest risk associated with uranium mining. The Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission clearly instruct Kevin Scarce to consider the risks associated with uranium mining yet he apparently wants to ignore weapons proliferation, the single greatest risk associated with the industry. He needs to rethink that decision.”… Read more >>

Major flaw in largest nuclear reactor: too much carbon

LONDON, 13 April, 2015 ? The future of the world’s biggest nuclear reactor, under construction at Flamanville in northern France, is now in doubt after a serious flaw was found in its steel pressure vessel.

Examination has shown that the steel contains too much carbon, which can weaken the vessel’s structure and breaches safety rules. The Chinese, who have two similar 1,600 megawatt European Pressurised Reactors under construction, have been warned that they too may share the potentially catastrophic problem.

The news from the Climate News Network suggests this may have serious repercussions for the new proposed nuclear reactors in the UK (already notorious for the huge subsidy provided) and for the future of Areva, the french engineering firm constructing the reactor.… Read more >>

French banks rule out funding Galilee coal exports

Submitted by Cam Walker on Thu, 09/04/2015 – 07:17

Three major French banks have announced they will not fund the mega coal mines proposed in the Galilee Basin, or associated infrastructure such as the new coal export terminals at Abbot Point.

BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and Credit Agricole have issued statements that bring to eleven the number of international banks that have spoken out against the prospect of funding mega-coal mines in the Galilee Basin or new export terminals in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The commitments came in response to letters sent by Friends of the Earth France and after a long period of engagement by several environment groups. Market Forces Lead Campaigner Julien Vincent acknowledged the announcements as a major step forward for the campaign to keep the Galilee Basin coal in the ground. He said:

“When it comes to securing finance for their massive coal mine and export terminal, Adani are simply running out of options.

“That some of the world’s biggest lenders to the coal industry can come out and public declare themselves as not involved speaks volumes about how unacceptable this project is from an environmental, reputational and economic standpoint.

“However, while major international banks have demonstrated common sense on this issue, we are yet to see the same statements from Australia’s major banks. It is astounding that banks based in New York, Paris, Edinburgh and Frankfurt are doing more to defend the Reef and climate from new coal project than our own Aussie banks.

You can see the letters sent by BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale (in French) by following the links.

More details from FoE Australia…

Federal Energy White Paper stuck in the past

Giles Parkinson, from RenewEconomy, notes some details from the Federal White paper on Energy:

The energy white paper begins with a false assumption. That “Australia’s large quantities of traditional energy resources provide low-cost, predictable and reliable power for Australia and the world.”

The energy white paper’s assumptions are based on the International Energy Agency’s “new policies” scenario, which sets the scene for what would be a catastrophic rise in temperatures to an average 4C.

More details in Parkinson’s full article.

Aside from the extraordinary bias towards fossil fuels, there are some pointers as to the government thinking (my italics):

  • it will not pursue policies to “pay” for exit of surplus generation capacity. This has left Australia with vast amounts of surplus capacity, which in turn has been used to argue against new renewable energy.
  • It will be keeping an open mind on nuclear energy. Interestingly, it says it recognises the argument that nuclear is a costly alternative to renewables, uses lots of water and has waste disposal issues. But it also says other argue that it is “adequate” affordable and reliable, and has significant environmental benefits and public health advantages over other existing base load technologies. It says it will consider the outcomes of the South Australian Royal Commission, including its use as an energy source.
  • The government still believes that carbon capture and storage may be a solution, and wants more funds to be spent.

The middle point suggests there’s a need for a strong FoE campaign to counter the flood of pro-nuclear propaganda generated by the existence of the Royal Commission. We’re looking at seconding Jim Green to work on the issue, and perhaps employing a part-time campaigner.Read more >>