Fukushima, the Worlds worst Industrial or nuclear accident, or Goodbye Japanese

Radio-activity destroys fertility.

Australia’s first uranium mine was at a place called Rum Jungle (rum as in strange not drink), since the aboriginal folks had noted that this was a place to avoid, since any group that lived there didn’t survive long.

It is possible to argue that that the low fertility rates in the Ukraine and Belarus are due to the economy. It is very hard to find in English, fertlilty rates for specific districts in these countrys.

It is possible however to compare the fertility rate for Cumbria, the home of Britains worst nuclear accident (the Windscale fire) and compare it to London. Nearly two generations later Cumbria has a fertility rate 20% lower than that of London.

Fukushima is the Worlds worst nuclear accident and it is converting the fertilty rate of the northen part of the island of Honshu to something resembling that of an old age home.


Jill Jordan, a great Australian passes

JILL JORDAN: I think they just couldn’t be bothered with us. They thought we were a mob of fools, I think. It’s really only been through doing the sorts of things that we’ve done, by getting involved in starting co-operatives and so on and really having an economic impact on the town that probably many of them have changed their minds. After I’d been living up here for about a year I sat on a knoll up at the top of the valley up here. It’s a funny thing to say, but I swear that the land spoke to me and said, “You need other people here to help you look after this.” And it was at that stage that I decided that I would form a community.

From Australian Story http://www.abc.net.au/austory/transcripts/s355648.htm


Jill Jordan was not some wooly-headed idealist but a very practical person

Jill’s factors for sustainability in community enterprise.

  • Sound financial base
  • Good management
  • Flexibility (to change with changing needs)
  • Broad base of members to encourage/maximise involvement
  • Accessible training opportunities
  • Ensuring people are doing what they love to do
  • Valuing everybodies contribution.


I never met Jill Jordan but her work in Maleny inspired thousands of Australians including myself.




Charles Hugh Smith – free ebook Survival+, known sources of Happiness

Charles Hugh Smith at his blog http://www.oftwominds.com/blog.html has posted a free ebook. It is not a long read but it is a good read.

I feel it useful to post the following reminder from Charles’ book

The known sources of happiness require little to no consumption:

1. health

2. friends

3. free time to pursue interests

4. spiritual communion/worship

5. exercise/sports/play

6. gardening

7. meaningful work (unpaid qualifies)

The experience of well-being has been so derealized that the sense of deprivation experienced at the loss of fine dining, Caribbean cruises, season tickets to the games, etc. is itself suspect.



Tour de France – Art, Sport, Travelogue or Social Commentary

One of the annual broadcasts that the Australian Special Broadcasting Service does http://tdf.sbs.com.au/tdf2009/ , is the Tour de France. If there is an art form that can be said to belong to the late twentieth century then it is the outside sports broadcast. The annual peak outside broadcast is the Tour de France. (The Dakar rally must come a close second.)

The sport event itself without the broadcast would only appeal to cycling fanatics. It has arcane rules. There are yellow, green, white and polka dot jerseys. All the riders there by invitation even though they are getting paid for it and there is significant prize money. It is not totally on France. Please don’t get me wrong it is a real test of physical endurance and in that respect it is a sporting event.

For me the magic is the direction of the broadcast. I have no idea who the director is but this person night after night will weave a story that will hold people for hours. The organisation that must get the credit is French Television. Part of the flavour is the countryside. The broadcast has to also capture the nuance of each region. Then there is the story of the spectators including the most famous El Diablo. This is an event that is extremely accessible, you see the camper vans all along the route where people have set up to see the race. When the race is under way, there are times when the spectators seem to be heart-stopping close to the riders.


The Tour is run by Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO)http://www.aso.fr/ . The Tour cannot be longer than 3500km and no more than two stages can be longer than 225km. I should also give credit where credit is due, ASO seem to run a flawless operation, getting the barriers in place, making sure the sponsors get value for their money etc. You did not think that the French taxpayers paid for everything did you. Amaury Sports Organisation also runs the Dakar rally.

Stories I like, Beavers returned to Scotland

From the UK Daily Mail, this story about the re-introduction of the European Beaver (Castor fiber ) in to Scotland.

For some odd reason, I get a sense that Gaia is talking to Us and somebody is listening. This is purely opinion and unable to backed by fact.

I may have been influenced by this.

Too much Green electricity?

One of the complaints made of wind generated electricity has been that they would be unable to generate enough power, well it turns out that they can also generate too much.

From Politiken.dk 27 Feb 2009

In October, turbine owners will have to pay an excess production duty of DKK 1.70 for each kilowatt of energy produced during evenings and nights when there is too much electricity on the market.

“The last thing that we want to do is to stop a wind turbine. But we may have to. No-one wants to produce at a loss,” says Wind Energy Denmark Director Niels Dupont who administers a third of the wind energy production in Denmark.

Energinet.dk, which administers the Danish electricity network says that periods with too much electricity in the network will rise from 100 hours per year to up to 500 hours.

“When prices go negative, wind turbines will probably have equipment installed so that you can reduce production,” Marketing Manager Nicolaj Nørgaard Petersen tells Jyllands-Posten.

Nuclear vs Alternate energy – playing with AUD$10 Billion




The state of the Art Nuclear reactor is the European Pressurised Reactor, one of which is being constructed at Olkiluoto Finland. Originally estimated to cost €3.7 billion however now with speculated cost over run of €1.5 billion (total cost in AUD$10.2 billion). It is designed to generate 1600 MW and have an operating life of 60 years. 

I will admit the total cost figure is a bit rubbery. It is difficult to discover hidden subsidies given to sustain industries that are considered strategically important to maintaining nuclear arsenals. There is no estimate of moneys set aside for the deconstruction of the plant.  (Imagine telling some CEO that AUD$ 2 billion must be set aside for the next sixty years.)


Ausra solar thermal

Ausra solar thermal

Ausra, a company spun off using technology developed by Australia’s CSIRO is building a plant to generate 177 Megawatt at a cost of  US$550 million. Converting at todays rate this would cost AUD$880 million. AUD $10 billion would build you enough plant to generate 2000 megawatt (25% more than the Olkiluoto plant). Yes, it would take up more space but Australia is neither short of Sunshine or space. A very important advantage is that there would very little that we would need to purchase overseas. 

Grid Connected Solar

Home Solar (Braemac Energy)

Home Solar (Braemac Energy)

Using figures derived from a webpage of BRAEMAC energy (Rough guide only for back of envelope calculations) where the company gives an estimate for materials and labour of AUD$30 000 for 3.2 kilowatt system. AUD $10 Billion would pay for 333 thousand installations generating 1066 megawatt at peak.

The solar panels used in the quote are made by Suntech a company started by one of my Chinese-Australian heroes, Dr Zhengrong Shi. Suntech, the worlds largest producer of solar panels could provide all the panels required. Being a dynamic company employing newer technologies, Suntech could achieve the cost reductions so that for AUD$10 billion more than 1600 megawatt could be produced at peak.


Wikipedia gives an estimate of €1300 per kilowatt installed cost(2007). Change to AUD and you find that AUD$10 billion will buy 3900 megawatt of wind power. 

In Australia with our open spaces, why couldn’t we build a 1000km long wind turbine “spine” composed 400 to 500 5 Mw turbines running close to our major transmission gridlines.

Saving – shifting from Standby to Nil power

Charles Hugh Smith supplied an estimate of 5% of electricity production is just for standby power. Conveniently this is almost the same as the power that would be produced by one state of the art 1600 megawatt nuclear power station. Since this would be achieved by regulation, education and retro-fitting, it is difficult to put a dollar value on this.

Ropatecs demonstration installation at Bolzano Italy

Ropatec's demonstration installation at Bolzano Italy

Using a multi-faceted approach, allowing AUD$ 1 billion in cost of regulation and education over ten years still leaves AUD$9 billion to used for retro-fitting older buildings with solar and wind turbines it is hard to believe you could not achieve savings and new generation equivalent to a 1600 megawatt nuclear power station.


To build a state of the art 1600 megawatt nuclear power plant in Australia would cost over AUD$10 billion. This is approximately twice the cost of the Snowy Mountain Scheme. For the same amount of money more electricity can be generated by big project Solar Thermal and Wind.