Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission: Disclosure of Potentially Relevant Roles and Interests

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN – Expert Advisory Committee

(Note details of potentially relevant activities disclosed here for Dr. Timothy Stone. And read Jim Green’s responses to Prof. Barry Brook’s nuclear power advocacy on the Brave New Climate website here:

July 1, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Submissions called for Inquiry into Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Amendment Bill 2015

text-relevantInquiry into Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Amendment Bill 2015 On 25 June 2015 the Senate referred the above Bill to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 17 August 2015. The Bill and accompanying documents can be accessed at:

sign-thisThe Committee invites you to provide a written submission addressing issues that may be of relevance to you. The Committee would appreciate your submission to be lodged by 24 July 2015. Please contact the secretariat if you wish to make a submission but are unable to do so by this date.

The Committee prefers to receive submissions online as an attached document by accessing the committee website and selecting the Upload Submission Online link at: Alternatively, submissions may be emailed as an attached document to or by hard copy to the address below.

Submissions become Committee documents and are made public only after a decision by the Committee. Publication of submissions includes loading them onto the Internet and making them available to other interested parties including the media. Persons making submissions must not release them without the approval of the Committee. Submissions are covered by parliamentary privilege but the unauthorised release of them is not protected. Information relating to Senate Committee inquiries, including notes to assist in the preparation of submissions can be located on the Internet at:

The Committee will consider all submissions, and may invite individuals and organisations to give evidence at public hearings.

If you require further information please contact the Committee secretariat on (02) 6277 3515.

Yours sincerely

Jeanette Radcliffe


PO Box 6100, Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Tel: (02) 6277 3515 Fax: (02) 6277 5829

Email:  Internet:

July 1, 2015 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Taxpayers likely to cop the costs of Ranger uranium clean-up. if ERA goes bankrupt

text-my-money-2as Ranger was authorised by the Commonwealth Government under 1953 Atomic Energy Act which primarily allowed the uranium to be used for military purposes, the Commonwealth and, ultimately the taxpayers, could be liable for the clean up if ERA was bankrupted.

ERA faces closure after uranium miner’s expansion plans shelved by Rio Tinto, ABC News, 30 June 15  By business reporter Stephen Letts Sorry history, uncertain environmental legacy Apart from the discharge of a million litres of radioactive slurry in 2013, Ranger has a sorry history of accidents with more than 200 environmental incidents being reported to government agencies since 1979.

Ranger-pitJust how much Ranger’s clean-up will cost is open to question. Under existing legislation, once the lease expires early in 2021, ERA has five years to complete the rehabilitation program.

Gavin Mudd, a senior lecturer in environmental engineering at Monash University with a long standing interest in Ranger, argues there are problems calculating the final cost as it depends on a number of choices, including how long is an adequate period of monitoring radioactivity levels.

The level of radioactivity around the site is unlikely to be safe any time soon given the half-life of uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years. The half-lives of other principal radioactive components of mill tailings, thorium-230 and radium-226, are shorter at about 75,000 years and 1,600 years respectively, but it’s a rather academic distinction.

Currently there is not a stipulated period for monitoring levels of radiation at the site once the rehabilitation is completed. However, Dr Mudd said a monitoring program should be run over decades rather than years.

“Fifty years would be a good start,” he said. Continue reading

July 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

How The States Can Get Around The Cut To The Renewable Energy Target

renewable-energy-pictureTime To Take The Power Back: How The States Can Get Around The Cut To The Renewable Energy Target , New Matilda, By John Kaye, 29 June 15  The Abbott Government may be trying to gut the renewable energy sector, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. John Kaye explains.

The deal has been done and the Senate has officially passed legislation to cut the Federal Renewable Energy Target by 20 per cent.

However, states like NSW don’t have to sit back and watch their wind and solar sectors frustrated by the Abbott government and their anti-renewable energy crusade.

Not satisfied with gutting the RET by 8,000 GWh, the federal Coalition used the bill to create a “Wind Farm Commissioner” to give a voice to the discredited health concerns fuelled by the anti-wind farm lobby.

They also lifted the exclusion of native forestry biomass which will effectively steal credits from genuine renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

It is hard to believe that an Australian government is publicly conspiring to curtail the growth of a global industry that is attracting investment, creating jobs and reducing the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.

While the commitment of the Abbott government to destroying the industry is astounding, it is essentially futile. The economics of energy production and the global uptake of renewables mean that a shift away from fossil fuels is inevitable.

July 1, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fukushima to be the biggest cover-up of the 21st Century?

Fukushima-Radiation-spreadiFukushima Not Even Close To Being Under Control Oil Price, By , 28 June 2015 Fukushima’s still radiating, self-perpetuating, immeasurable, and limitless, like a horrible incorrigible Doctor Who monster encounter in deep space.

Fukushima will likely go down in history as the biggest cover-up of the 21st Century. Governments and corporations are not leveling with citizens about the risks and dangers; similarly, truth itself, as an ethical standard, is at risk of going to shambles as the glue that holds together the trust and belief in society’s institutions. Ultimately, this is an example of how societies fail.

Tens of thousands of Fukushima residents remain in temporary housing more than four years after the horrific disaster of March 2011. Some areas on the outskirts of Fukushima have officially reopened to former residents, but many of those former residents are reluctant to return home because of widespread distrust of government claims that it is okay and safe.

Part of this reluctance has to do with radiation’s symptoms. It is insidious because it cannot be detected by human senses. People are not biologically equipped to feel its power, or see, or hear, touch or smell it (Caldicott). Not only that, it slowly accumulates over time in a dastardly fashion that serves to hide its effects until it is too late.

Map-Chernobyl_FALLOUTChernobyl’s Destruction Mirrors Fukushima’s Future As an example of how media fails to deal with disaster blowback, here are some Chernobyl facts that have not received enough widespread news coverage: Over one million (1,000,000) people have already died from Chernobyl’s fallout.

Additionally, the Rechitsa Orphanage in Belarus has been caring for a very large population of deathly sick and deformed children. Children are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to radiation than adults.

Zhuravichi Children’s Home is another institution, among many, for the Chernobyl-stricken: “The home is hidden deep in the countryside and, even today, the majority of people in Belarus are not aware of the existence of such institutions” (Source: Chernobyl Children’s Project-UK).

One million (1,000,000) is a lot of dead people. But, how many more will die? Approximately seven million (7,000,000) people in the Chernobyl vicinity were hit with one of the most potent exposures to radiation in the history of the Atomic Age.

The exclusion zone around Chernobyl is known as “Death Valley.” It has been increased from 30 to 70 square kilometres. No humans will ever be able to live in the zone again. It is a permanent “dead zone.”

Additionally, over 25,000 died and 70,000 disabled because of exposure to extremely dangerous levels of radiation in order to help contain Chernobyl. Twenty percent of those deaths were suicides, as the slow agonizing “death march of radiation exposure” was too much to endure……

July 1, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canada ceases making medical isotopes from nuclear reactor: will use non nuclear sources

nuclear-medicineThe Chalk River reactor, which began operating in 1957, is one of five major producers of molybdenum-99, which decays into the technetium-99m isotope used in 85 per cent of nuclear medicine procedures such as bone scans and other diagnostic tests.

 Other sources, such as a cyclotron operated by TRIUMF, Canada’s national nuclear laboratory for particle and nuclear physics at the University of British Columbia, are in the works.

Final shipment of weapons-grade uranium due at Ontario facility this year  By:  Ottawa Bureau reporter,  Jun 29 2015

OTTAWA—The United States has approved what is expected to be the last shipment of weapons-grade uranium to be sent to Canada for the production of medical isotopes. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed an export licence June 23 to transport 8.1 kilograms of highly enriched uranium from Oak Ridge, Tenn., along a secret route to Chalk River, Ont., by the end of this year.

There, for what is expected to be the last time, the uranium will be used to produce target material for the aging National Research Universal (NRU) reactor to irradiate in order to produce medical isotopes used in nuclear medicine.  Continue reading

July 1, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Woes of AREVA, as France loses faith in nuclear power

text-relevantFrance Loses Enthusiasm for Nuclear Power, Scientific American,  Nuclear’s share of electricty will drop from 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025 due to loss of know-how and requirements for more renewable sources By Umair Irfan and ClimateWire | June 29, 2015 “……..

A ‘once formidable institution’ declines….nuclear plants, by their nature, are big bets and take years to build. Laponche explained that the French nuclear industry anticipated 1,000 TWh of demand, but domestic needs have yet to top 600 TWh, leaving an oversupply. With the economic downturn and increasing energy efficiency, French electricity demand has remained level or declined in some instances.

Now, some of France’s reactors are showing wrinkles—France’s oldest reactor, Fessenheim 1, started operations in 1977—and officials need to decide whether to invest in costly safety upgrades to keep them operating or to decommission them, another expensive prospect that leaves open the possibility that fossil fuels may rise to meet the shortfall.

New reactors also are struggling. Areva’s third-generation nuclear reactor, EPR, is now under construction at four sites: two in China, one in France and one in Finland. All four are behind schedule, and the French and Finnish reactors have seen their costs more than double, suffering from quality control and management problems.

“The cost of construction of new nuclear is extraordinarily expensive,” said Antony Frogatt, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, an international affairs think tank. He observed that there are ways to extend the lives of existing reactors, but upgrades get progressively more expensive, and certain components, like reactor pressure vessels, cannot be replaced, so renewed operating licenses are only prolonging the inevitable.

And while France has reduced nuclear waste, it hasn’t eliminated the need to dispose of it. No country with nuclear power has a viable underground repository for waste, and proposed sites in France face public opposition, despite more widespread support for nuclear power.

On the other hand, France is the second largest renewable energy producer and consumer in Europe. Wavering solar and wind power don’t play well with baseload nuclear plants that prefer to run at full blast, so the French must find a way to cope with this imbalance if they are to meet the European Union’s directive to generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020…….

To sum up, it’s a shrinking client base [for nuclear power] and a competitive market,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent international energy consultant. “The financial and economic situation is devastatingly bad.”

The New York Times reported that Areva hasn’t been profitable since 2010, accrued €4.8 billion in losses in 2014 and may lay off up to 6,000 workers. EDF may take over parts of Areva’s business…….

July 1, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s birds greatly affected by radiation

Mousseau said the reason comes down to the long-term impact of the radiation. “It takes multiple generations for the effects of mutations to be expressed in natural populations,” he said

bird barn swallowNear site of Fukushima disaster, birds still in peril, By MICHAEL CASEY CBS NEWS April 16, 2015, Four years after the Fukushima disaster, birds are becoming a rarity around the damaged nuclear site.

A study in the Journal of Ornithology found that half the populations of 57 bird species had suffered declines. Studying birds over three years at 400 sites, University of South Carolina biologist Tim Mousseau and his colleagues found that the numbers continue to decline over time – even as the radiation threat drops.

“There are dramatic reductions in the number of birds that should be there based on the overall patterns,” Mousseau told CBS News. “In terms of barn swallows in Fukushima, there had been hundreds if not thousands in many of these towns where we were working. Now we are seeing a few dozen of them left. It’s just an enormous decline.” Continue reading

July 1, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Local community funds Repower Shoalhaven renewable energy investment scheme

Repower Shoalhaven renewable energy investment scheme funded by locals, SMH, June 29, 2015 Kieran Gair First, it was the local bowling club. Then the churches. In the Shoalhaven, community solar power is on the rise.

Renewable energy is expected to supply almost 60 per cent of Australian electricity by 2040, according to research by  Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which found the fall in renewable energy prices  would drive a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

One community in NSW has already reaped the benefits of an early move to community-owned renewable energy. Non-profit Repower Shoalhaven installed Australia’s first investor-owned community solar project on the roof of the Shoalhaven Heads Bowling Club last year.

solar Shoalhaven Heads Bowling Club

Repower raised $145,000 for the project in just two weeks, with 80 per cent of the cost coming from “mum and dad” investors.

The company has just completed its second community solar investment project in the Illawarra region on Figtree Anglican Church and Nowra City Church.

Head of Repower Shoalhaven Chris Cooper said demand for renewable energy is growing as it becomes cheaper. “People want clean energy and they want secure investments and previously there was no real opportunity to do that so we created a system where the community pays for the solar power system and the business repays community investors via a power purchase agreement.

The Repower solar financing model allows local businesses to purchase community-owned renewable energy at a cheaper rate than grid power.

Figtree Anglican Church member and University of Wollongong Sustainable Building Research Centre masters student Daniel Jones said community owned solar had significantly reduced the overall electricity costs associated with running the church…….

July 1, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

The end of the line for uranium company Energy Resources of Australia

burial.uranium-industryERA faces closure after uranium miner’s expansion plans shelved by Rio Tinto, ABC News, 30 June 15  By business reporter Stephen Letts ERA was once one of the world biggest uranium producers, supplying about 10 per cent of the global market for ‘yellowcake’ and powering electricity utilities in Japan, Europe and North America.

It’s now pretty well friendless as its last three independent directors resigned, leaving the company in the hands of its majority shareholder Rio Tinto.

Rio for its part said there is no future for ERA’s only productive asset, the Ranger Mine, which operates in the middle of the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.

With its existing open mine resources exhausted, ERA has been labouring on, processing stockpiled ore since late 2012.

Ranger’s last hope lay in an ambitious and expensive underground mine – the Ranger 3 Deeps project – which could have extended the mine’s life by another decade. That hope was extinguished earlier this month when Rio, with its 68 per cent stake in ERA, said enough was enough. The market was blindsided by Rio’s decision, with ERA’s share price tumbling more than 70 per cent in the aftermath.

In hindsight it was probably inevitable.

ERA’s losses mount to $700 million since 2011 Continue reading

July 1, 2015 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Fukushima- The Real Story

Fukushima Not Even Close To Being Under Control Oil Price, By , 28 June 2015  “……….In late 2014, Helen Caldicott, M.D. gave a speech about Fukushima at Seattle Town Hall. Pirate Television recorded her speech

Dr. Helen Caldicott is co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and she is author/editor of Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, The New Press, September 2014. For over four decades Dr. Caldicott has been the embodiment of the anti-nuclear banner, and as such, many people around the world classify her as a “national treasure”. She’s truthful and honest and knowledgeable.

Fukushima is literally a time bomb in quiescence. Another powerful quake and all hell could break loose. Also, it is not even close to being under control. Rather, it is totally out of control. According to Dr. Caldicott, “It’s still possible that Tokyo may have to be evacuated, depending upon how things go.” Imagine that!

 Fukushima- The Real Story

According to Japan Times as of March 11, 2015: “There have been quite a few accidents and problems at the Fukushima plant in the past year, and we need to face the reality that they are causing anxiety and anger among people in Fukushima, as explained by Shunichi Tanaka at the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Furthermore, Mr. Tanaka said, there are numerous risks that could cause various accidents and problems.”

Even more ominously, Seiichi Mizuno, a former member of Japan’s House of Councillors (Upper House of Parliament, 1995-2001) in March 2015 said: “The biggest problem is the melt-through of reactor cores… We have groundwater contamination… The idea that the contaminated water is somehow blocked in the harbor is especially absurd. It is leaking directly into the ocean. There’s evidence of more than 40 known hotspot areas where extremely contaminated water is flowing directly into the ocean… We face huge problems with no prospect of solution.”

At Fukushima, each reactor required one million gallons of water per minute for cooling, but when the tsunami hit, the backup diesel generators were drowned. Units 1, 2, and 3 had meltdowns within days. There were four hydrogen explosions. Thereafter, the melting cores burrowed into the container vessels, maybe into the earth……

July 1, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Environmentalists may sue Abbott government over its climate inaction

Environmentalists consider legal challenge to climate ‘inaction’ Environmentalists in Australia are investigating legal options to challenge the federal government over what they say is inaction on climate change. By  Abby Dinham 30 JUN 2015 – ENVIRONMENTALISTS IN AUSTRALIA ARE INVESTIGATING LEGAL OPTIONS TO CHALLENGE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OVER WHAT THEY SAY IS INACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

It comes after a landmark ruling in a Dutch court, which ordered the country’s government to slash greenhouse gas emission at a faster rate.

The victory for Dutch environmental group Urgenda is having global repercussions, with environmental lawyers in Melbourne preparing to launch similar action in Australia.

Abby Dinham spoke to lawyer for Environmental Justice Australia, Ariane Wilkinson, on the pending civil case.

July 1, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Landcare group reports high radioactive gas levels at Iluka mine

Radioactive gas levels at Wimmera mining site near Horsham too high says Landcare group, ABC News, 30 June 15 


A Wimmera Landcare group in south-western Victoria says monitoring it has done shows levels of radioactive gas at a mine near Horsham far exceed the maximum for public exposure.

The Kanagulk Landcare Group placed four radon gas monitors at properties surrounding Iluka Resources’ mining operations at Douglas over a three-month period.

It said analysis of the monitors’ data by Australia’s nuclear industry regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, reveals levels of the gas were four times the limit.

The group’s Albert Miller said the State Government needed to step in…….

July 1, 2015 Posted by | environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

Central Sydney blocked as marchers protest Aboriginal community closures

handsoffAustralia: Sydney streets blocked by protest against Aboriginal community closures Warrior Publications by Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian, June 28, 2015

A protest against the closure of remote Aboriginal communities blocked streets in central Sydney on Sunday, as about 600 people marched against the Western Australian government’s plans to wind back support for communities it deems aren’t viable.

The protest began at Town Hall at 1pm on Sunday and moved toward The Block in Redfern, closing George, Lee, Regent and Lawson Streets on the way. t’s the third national call to action and the sixth time protests have shut down an Australian capital city in protest against the plan to overhaul funding to the state’s 247 remote Aboriginal communities, which the premier, Colin Barnett, has said will result in “significantly fewer” homelands communities remaining open……

At the same time, WA has developed its own “major reforms” for service delivery in remote Aboriginal communities, which is expected to lead to the closure, through withholding services from some communities, of a number of less populated communities over the next few years.

Details are scarce and the full model is yet to be worked out. Nominations for Aboriginal leaders to join the regional working groups intended to steer the reforms closed this month.

Protest organisers, rallied around the #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA hashtag on social media, have been ramping up activities since Friday ahead of July 1 – the day federal funding to WA’s remote communities formally switches over to the state…….

July 1, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Waste from logging native forests is NOT renewable energy

Abbott government’s RET returns Australia to dark ages of energy production, June 26, 2015

 The Abbott government’s Renewable Energy Target legislation passed by the Senate this week means consumers will think they are buying so called “renewable energy” when it is actually generated from burning wood from unsustainable native forest logging.

The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance released this statement on June 23.

The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) has condemned today’s decision to make burning native forests eligible for Renewable Energy Certificates under the Renewable Energy Target.

“We are going back to using dirty medieval technology that pretends to be sustainable and clean”, said Jill Redwood of AFCA.

“In reality it will undermine real renewables like solar and wind. It will produce more emissions than burning coal and cause immense loss of ecosystems, wildlife and our greatest carbon stores. It’s hard to imagine a worse scenario.

“This is not about ‘waste’ from the forest floor, but is a deliberate waste of our forests. It is about financing the logging of forests as fuel for furnaces.

“The government has been doing grubby back room deals”, said Lorraine Bower from AFCA. “They have promised a Wind Farm Commissioner and tighter controls on wind power in return for the support of key cross bench senators for the wood ‘waste’ regulation.

“Perversely there is proven evidence that living near a biomass plant has major health risks, but none whatsoever have been found from living near a wind farm.”

“This regulation will simply prop up the dying and destructive native forest logging industry now that woodchips are out of favour with customers and the logging industry is 80% plantation based. To date electricity companies have undertaken not to sell ‘Dead Koala Power’. We will now do all we can to make sure people understand that they should steer clear of companies that sell it.”

“Government and UN agencies overseas are coming to the conclusion that this is not renewable energy’, said Redwood. “Investors and consumers are quickly consigning these polluting industries from the Dark Ages to the dustbin of history.”

July 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment


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