4 MAR 2015 THE CURRENT TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE ROYAL COMMISSION INTO SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S NUCLEAR INDUSTRY SADLY APPEAR TO PUT A HIGHER WEIGHTING ON INDUSTRY PROMOTION THAN PUBLIC INTEREST.
There is to be no review of SA’s atomic test legacy or flawed clean up attempts from earlier uranium mines. Disappointingly, the impacts and experience of current uranium mining is ignored lest it reflect poorly on industry expansion plans and key areas of very real public concern including health impacts, emergency capacity, implications for SA’s precious water resources and the potential for severe reputational and market damage to the important food, wine, fishing and tourism industries are missing.
Given that any credible assessment of the nuclear industry in South Australia also needs to fully explore the unique safety, security, legal, liability and transparency impacts and the full inter-generational economic, environmental and social costs and extent of direct or indirect public subsidies it appears that Premier Weatherill’s Royal Commission has failed to pass the most basic test of independence. Continue reading
4 Mar 15 Environment groups have urged the federal government to deliver on its commitment not to impose radioactive waste storage on unwilling communities, as announced by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane today.
The latest process to identify a site for a national nuclear waste facility follows more than 20 years of flawed and failed federal attempts to impose a dump on communities in South Australia and the Northern Territory, most recently at Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek.
“That this process is happening at all is a tribute to the tenacity of the Muckaty Traditional Owners who took sustained action to protect their country and culture,” said Beyond Nuclear Initiative convenor Natalie Wasley.
“It took more than eight years for the government to admit the Muckaty nomination was a ‘disaster’. This must not be allowed to happen to other communities.
“Environment and civil society groups will closely monitor – and engage where possible – with the revised site nomination and selection process,” she said.
The process outlined today includes federal commitments of increased transparency and a stated preparedness to consider a number of alternative siting models.
Environment, public health, Indigenous and trade union groups have called for an expert and independent Inquiry into the full range of waste management options, including decentralised nuclear waste storage instead of a centralised facility. This approach has not been adopted by Minister Macfarlane, who has opted for a limited, fast-tracked process.
“There are no compelling social or technical reasons to rush a decision on an issue that demands the highest quality decision making,” said ACF’s Dave Sweeney.
“We have time to get this issue right. The Minister’s revised process is significantly better than the previous one, but we are still a long way short of where we should be,” he said.
Most of Australia’s existing radioactive waste is securely stored at two dedicated federal sites. Reprocessed spent nuclear fuel set to return to Australia from Europe later this year will be sent to the Lucas Heights facility for interim storage. Context and comment: Dave Sweeney (ACF) 0408 317 812, Nat Wasley (BNI) 0429 900 774
BUSINESS has urged South Australia’s nuclear Royal Commission to fast-track consideration of hosting the nation’s first major waste dump, amid fears the state could miss out on a lucrative opportunity to take a foothold in a future storage industry.
The Federal Government has announced a new tender process for a national radioactive waste management facility and is seeking site nominations until May 5. However, South Australia’s Royal Commission is not expected to conclude until late this year or early 2016.
Australia has 4248 cubic metres of low level and 656 cubic metres of intermediate level waste in temporary storage, which the Federal Government is seeking to consolidate.
Most has been produced as the by-product of medical, research and industrial processes.
BusinessSA chief executive Nigel McBride said waste storage was a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the state and could become a major new revenue stream for government.
“The thing that really stands out as an opportunity is spent nuclear fuel storage,” he said.
“Maybe we need to fast track that. Maybe that’s the part of the Commission that needs to come out first. “We can’t just wait until the Commission is over. They’re calling for it now…….
Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney called for the tender to be delayed amid fears a rushed process could harm communities and the environment.
“There are no compelling social or technical reasons to rush a decision on an issue that demands the highest quality decision making,” he said. “We have time to get this issue right.” http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nuclear-royal-commission-urged-to-fast-track-storage-talks/story-fni6uo1m-1227246749276
Nuclear waste dump search restarts http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/latest/nuclear-waste-dump-search-restarts/story-e6frg90f-1227245757018 3 Mar 15 The federal government has called for voluntary nominations of sites for a national nuclear waste dump.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says any landholder could nominate a site to store intermediate level radioactive waste and dispose of low-level waste.
Australia has 4248 cubic metres of low level and 656 cubic metres of intermediate level waste in temporary storage across more than 100 sites.The waste has been generated by medical, research and industrial processes.
An independent advisory body will assess the nominated sites against a number of criteria.
These include community well-being, stable environment, environmental protection, health, safety and security and economic viability. At the end of the assessment and public consultation the government will negotiate with the landholder of the selected site.
Site nominations close on May 5.
The South Australian government’s royal commission into the nuclear industry is looking at the prospects of nuclear waste facilities in that state.
Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles has also shown an interest in putting forward a site.But last year he said it would not be done without “full information and dialogue with Territorians”.
In June 2014 the Northern Land Council withdrew its nomination for a section of Muckaty Station, north of Tennant Creek, as the site for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump amid a legal dispute.Further talks on alternative sites failed, triggering the new selection process.
Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney says the decision should not be rushed. “We have time to get this issue right,” he said.
“The minister’s revised process is significantly better than the previous one, but we are still a long way short of where we should be.”
The first concerted effort to build a dump occurred under the Labor government in 1992, identifying a site near Woomera in SA.
ROWAN RAMSEY MP Federal Member for Grey 4 Mar 15 CALL FOR VOLUNTARY LAND NOMINATIONS FOR A NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey welcomes the Australian Government’s decision to open the process for voluntary site nominations for a national radioactive waste management facility. ……
Mr Ramsey said an Independent Advisory Panel had been established by the Department of Industry and Science to assist with assessing nominations and advising the Government on which sites may be suitable for a facility.
“It is interesting that this call for volunteers has occurred when Premier Jay Weatherill has just launched a Royal Commission into the possibility of South Australia raising its participation in the nuclear industry past the simple supply of yellowcake,” Mr Ramsey said…….
The $12.9m project will use a combination of solar, wind, diesel, storage and enabling technologies, together with a “sophisticated” control system, to displace more than 60% of the island’s diesel generated energy, ARENA said.
The project is scheduled for completion in November 2016.
“The Flinders Island project will build on the success of a similar project Hydro Tasmania developed on King Island with ARENA support, which is delivering 100% renewable energy to the island when conditions allow,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said.
“One of the exciting aspects of the Flinders Island project is the development of a portable hybrid energy solution with the potential to further drive down costs and move a step closer to delivering a commercially competitive product.
“Hydro Tasmania will trial a series of modular units suitable to house and transport components for off-grid hybrid renewable energy projects.
“This low-cost, scalable approach has the potential to be a real game changer in remote areas – reducing the amount of construction and engineering work needed to be carried out on site would significantly reduce costs, risks and construction time.”
Mr Frischknecht said Hydro Tasmania’s hybrid project demonstrates how a flexible and integrated approach can provide improved penetration of renewable energy.
“Technologies like storage and dynamic resistors smooth out the power generated from solar and wind, while the automated control systems ensure generation and enabling equipment are coordinated and perform when required,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“Australia is a large country with many off-grid communities and industries facing similar energy supply challenges, whether they are on islands or in remote locations on the mainland.
“ARENA is committed to working with Hydro Tasmania to share the learning and expertise from the King Island and Flinders Island projects.
“This knowledge sharing will ensure we are best placed to advance competitive, reliable renewable energy options for off-grid Australia and help reduce its reliance on trucked and shipped in diesel.”
THE GREAT TRANSITION: SHIFTING FROM FOSSIL FUELS
TO SOLAR AND WIND ENERGY http://globalenergysecurity.blogspot.com.au/
by Lester R. Brown with Janet Larsen, J. Matthew Roney,
and Emily E. Adams “The energy transition will change not only how we view the world but also how we view ourselves,” say the authors of The Great Transition. “With rooftop solar panels to both power homes and recharge car batteries, there will be a personal degree of energy independence not known for generations.”
As fossil fuel reserves shrink, as air pollution worsens, and as concerns about climate instability cast a shadow over the future of coal, oil, and natural gas, a new world energy economy is emerging. The old economy, fueled largely by coal and oil, is being replaced with one powered by solar and wind energy.
We can see the transition unfolding. In the U.S. Midwest, Iowa and South Dakota are generating 26 percent of their electricity from wind farms. Denmark generates 34 percent of its electricity from wind. Portugal and Spain are above 20 percent. In China, electricity from wind farms now exceeds that from nuclear power plants. And in Australia, 15 percent of homes draw energy from the sun. With solar and wind costs falling fast, their spread is accelerating.
In The Great Transition, Lester R. Brown and his colleagues explain the environmental and economic wisdom of moving to solar and wind energy and shows how fast change is coming.
Australia has ‘welcome mat’ out for uranium investments, Australian Mining
3 March, 2015 Vicky Validaki Toro Energy, the company vying to develop Western Australia’s first uranium mine, says Australia is in the perfect position to drive a new era or uranium exports to China and India.
Addressing the annual PDAC conference in Toronto overnight, Toro’s managing director Dr Vanessa Guthrie told delegates that emerging powerhouse economies like India and China would drive a massive demand for uranium over the next decade……..
Guthrie said all these new reactors will need Australian uranium, and that the country had a welcome mat out for uranium development and fresh investment in the sector……
But the lagging price of the commodity since the Fukushima tragedy in 2011 has worked to hamstring investment, and drove nuclear sentiment to an all-time low…….http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/australia-has-welcome-mat-out-for-uranium-investme
- Labor rejects fresh renewable energy target offer, SMH March 2, 2015 Lisa Cox National political reporter Talks between the government and Labor toward a compromise on the renewable energy target appear to have again broken down, with the Opposition rejecting a new offer on Monday.
Government sources said a proposal to set the target at 31,000 gigawatt hours of baseline power by 2020 was put to Labor on Monday afternoon in a bid to break a deadlock that has existed for more than 12 months.
Labor is understood to have rejected the offer but could not be reached for comment.
The Opposition and the clean energy industry had been pushing for a figure in the mid- to high-thirties, but government sources said 31,000 was in line with demands from some quarters of the renewables sector.
Kane Thornton, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, said on Monday that 31,000 gigawatt hours was too large a cut from the existing target of 41,000 gigawatt hours by 2020.
“We’ve been quite transparent about our position on this,” Mr Thornton said.
“There’s a strong consensus in the renewable energy sector on a desire to resolve this.
“But there’s also a strong consensus on what reduction in the target the industry is willing to accept.
“We’ve made this quite clear and explicit – 31,000 is quite clearly a number we’re not prepared to accept.”
The failed offer continues the uncertainty that has plagued the renewables sector since the government launched a review of the target more than 12 months ago……..
Oliver Yates, the chief executive of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, told a Senate estimates hearing last week that uncertainty over the target had set the industry back 12 years.
Renewable energy industry’s uncertain future under Coalition government The Australian Financial Review JOANNA HEATH, 3 MAR 15
Whether a resolution of the uncertainty that has crippled the renewable energy industry of late is closer or further away than it was a month ago depends on who you ask.
On February 26, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane made the surprising announcement through a media interview that he was prepared to drop the government’s plans to make changes to the original 2009, 41,000 gigawatt hour target altogether if the clean energy industry rejected the government’s latest compromise offer……..
On the face of it, it seems a victory –the renewable energy industry has always argued there is no need to change the status quo target which runs out in 2020.Not so fast. The Clean Energy Council says it in fact had not received any formal offer from the government for a new deal, and in any case would not accept the low-mid 30,000 gigawatt hour target the government was proposing.
But it is not happy with the government just dropping the whole thing and walking away either. It says given the damage that has been done in the last 12 months or so, some kind of bipartisan agreement on a continued, untouched target was needed to restore confidence………
Kane Thornton, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, says more has to be done to fix the situation than for the government to “just walk away and leave it”.
“Investment in the clean energy industry is frozen due to the uncertainty generated by this review,” Mr Thornton said.
“The industry needs both sides of politics to reach a bipartisan agreement to provide long-term certainty, not to be left stranded. Without that bipartisanship the investment freeze will continue.”
The situation facing the renewable energy industry is indeed dire……..
Both parties pledged to relaunch talks in the new year. There has been one meeting so far with none further planned, and the situation appears to have once again reached stalemate. The most likely, and probably unfortunate, outcome is the target will be left alone by the government until 2020 but the issue is not resolved in the kind of definitive way required to bring confidence back to the market………….. http://www.afr.com/p/business/resources/renewable_energy_industry_uncertain_hV8xTeUOAwbl5MPKJCRCqK
Stop the Nuclear Restarts in Japan http://act.greenpeace.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1844&ea.campaign.id=36172 Add your voice to prevent further nuclear disasters in Japan.
It’s been 4 years, and clean-up of the Fukushima nuclear disaster continues with the long term damage still unclear.
The Abe government and the power utilities monopoly want to restart the nuclear reactors. This is despite broad public opposition in Japan. Greenpeace along with local groups have been successful in keeping Japan’s nuclear reactors offline for the last 18 months.
With your help, we can keep it that way.
Together we can create a safer and sustainable future for the people of Japan and the world.
“You know you feel gutted when they want to bring the nuke agenda back on,” she said. “The place has already been contaminated.
Maralinga could be flagged as nuclear dump site, opponent says in wake of SA royal commission, ABC News, 28 Feb 15 By Wendy Glamocak Less than four months after land used for nuclear testing in the 1950s was officially handed back to its traditional owners in full, nuclear is back on the agenda at Maralinga in South Australia.
Most of Maralinga’s 103,000 square kilometre lands were handed back to the Maralinga-Tjuarutja people in the 1980s, and in 2009, a 3,000 square kilometre site known as Section 400 that had been heavily contaminated by radiation and hazardous chemicals, was also handed back.
In November last year, the Defence Department officially gave the Maralinga-Tjarutja full control and unrestricted access to the lands.
Those connected to the land are worried that a newNuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission announced recently by Premier Jay Weatherill will see the land flagged as a potential site for a nuclear waste dump.
Karina Lester is the daughter of Yammi Lester, a man who said he was blinded by atomic tests on the site half a century ago. She said her grandmother was part of the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a council of senior Aboriginal women from northern SA who fought against the Howard Government’s plans in 1988 to build a national radioactive waste dump near Woomera.
After strong opposition from the local community, and from former SA premier Mike Rann, who won a High Court challenge against the proposal, the plan was abandoned in 2004.
Ms Lester said many custodians of the land were worried that the royal commission set up by Mr Weatherill meant they would soon have another fight on their hands.
“You know you feel gutted when they want to bring the nuke agenda back on,” she said. “The place has already been contaminated.
“Traditional owners are trying to move on from what happened back in the ’50s, but to perhaps propose that it’s a site for the waste, I think, is just another kick in the guts to the traditional owners up there at Maralinga-Tjaratja.
Language difficulties could ‘stand in the way’
Ms Lester said many traditional owners will want to make a submission to the royal commission but she was worried language difficulties would stand in their way.
The Premier’s office did not respond to ABC questions on Ms Lester’s concerns……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-28/maralinga-could-be-flagged-as-nuclear-dump-site-opponents-say/6270848
But by the end of this article – we are told that South Australia “is an idea site for nuclear waste disposal, both national and international — with the potential for huge financial returns.”
and that “The international nuclear industry has made enormous advances in the past 30 years and many of the concerns raised by Mr Rann may have been addressed.”
and that these concerns “should be addressed, and hopefully dispelled, by the Royal Commission.”
It sounds to me as though the Advertiser, scripted by the nuclear lobby, is softening readers up for the idea of a nuclear reprocessing industry, with the rationale of (supposedly) curing the world’s nuclear waste problem
Rex Jory: SA is an ideal site for nuclear waste disposal, Adelaide Advertiser, 1 Mar 15 “……..As an adviser to former Labor Premier, Don Dunstan, Mr Rann studied aspects of the nuclear industry in Europe and the United States and in the early 1980s wrote a 32 page soft-covered book outlining his concerns about SA’s potential involvement in the nuclear industry.
Mr Rann, now Australian Ambassador to Italy, may have revised some of his beliefs, yet his book raises serious issues which the community and the Labor Party cannot easily ignore. No matter what recent advances have been made in nuclear safety, what was true, or perceived to be true, in 1980 cannot now be rejected without questioning 35 years later. Continue reading
Decision on controversial Tableland wind farm due mid-March http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/decision-on-controversial-tableland-wind-farm-due-mid-march/story-fnjpusyw-1227242229621 DANIEL BATEMAN THE CAIRNS POST FEBRUARY 28, 2015
A CONTROVERSIAL wind farm planned for the Tableland could be approved within the next two weeks. The Palaszczuk Government is expected to make a decision about the Mt Emerald wind farm, four years after the project was first tabled.
A spokeswoman for Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the Minister’s call-in of the development application was due in mid-March.
Developers for the $380 million project gave the Government until the end of February to approve the wind farm, which was awaiting a ministerial decision before the election was called. The development, to be built near Walkamin, between Atherton and Mareeba, is to include up to 63 turbines on towers about 80m-90m tall, with about 50m blades.
The farm, a joint venture between Ratch Australia and Port Bajool, has the potential to generate enough electricity to power at least 75,000 homes.
It is estimated 158 jobs could be created during the development’s two-year construction phase.
Ratch Australia spokesman Geoff Dutton said representatives from the company’s Brisbane office had recently met with the newly elected Government to brief it on the project.“I think Ratch would be delighted in getting an answer after four years of hard work,’’ he said.
“We’re very hopeful the wind farm will be approved. Continue reading
US Gov’t: Radioactive material from reactors is 2 billion times more toxic than industrial poisons — Harm caused by nuclear disaster “greater than for any work of man” other than atomic bomb — Top Expert: Radiation “like explosions going off in cell… blows hole in DNA” (VIDEO)http://enenews.com/govt-document-radioactive-materials-reactors-2-billion-times-toxic-common-industrial-poison-harm-nuclear-disaster-greater-work-man-other-atomic-bomb-top-expert-radiation-like-explosions-going-ce?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Dr. Bill McBride, UCLA School of Medicine Vice Chair for Research in Radiation, Principle Investigator of UCLA’s Center for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation — National Institutes of Health, Jan 27, 2014 (emphasis added):
- 19:45 – There are some unique things about ionizing radiation when it comes to the interaction with biological systems… Energy is deposited ubiquitously in cells and in tissues… in little packets of energy… These [are] like many explosions going off in the cell… If you can think of these little explosions going off all over a cell, if it happens to take place in DNA, there’s really quite a high chance this will blow a hole in the DNA. Ionizing radiation is a very powerful cytotoxic agent… You get these lesions which are formed within DNA which are really quite complex lesions… We’re talking 0.0000000000000001 seconds for the ionization to take place… Cell cycle arrest, cell death by apoptosis or mitotic catastrophe… take place very rapidly after exposure.
- 37:30 – What’s happening following ionizing radiation? You get these little explosions going off very rapidly… But mitochondria get hit as well… With time, you actually get these mitochondria leaking more free radicals than [the] ionizing radiation, by orders of magnitude… This concept is one which is growing very strongly in radiation biology now. The effects are not all over in 24 hours… you initiate a cascade of biological responses which can go on for a long period of time, even years.
- 46:00 – You get long-term immune dysfunction… If you inject flu virus into mice [it] will eventually kill the [irradiated] animals… in normal animals this isn’t the case. So the immune system is compromised for long periods of time after radiation exposure.
- 51:00 – The concept is that we’re generating damage which is cascading forward to mitochondria and other cellular structures, in addition to DNA… Radiation is not just a powerful cytotoxin, it initiates signaling cascades that are taking place against a radiation damage background… Radiation damage is often remembered within the cells. We’ve shown, at least in brain and lung and other tissues, you get these kind of pro-inflammatory responses… This is underlying a lot of effects in radiation exposure.
- 52:00 (appears to be on verge of crying) – At UCLA we have over 100 people who are in our center… They’re interested in radiation now — they never were before. I think that we’re kind of moving animal models slowly forward to things which are really kind of very precise and very accurate and I think do reflect a lot of things that we will see in humans… who’ve been exposed to radiation.
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (pdf), 1968: The total amount of debris released during routine atomic processes and conceived as possible from accidents is minuscule when compared with the amount of pollutants produced throughout the world by combustion. The extraordinarily poisonous nature of the radioactive materialsinvolved, however, dictates that even small quantities be treated with respect. For instance, it has been estimated that some of the radioactive materials found in a reactor are 3 million to 2 billion times as toxic as chlorine, the most common poison used by industry... if it were possible for all the many controls and safety features in a large power reactor to fail so as to produce a disastrous release of radioactivity, this release could conceivably kill thousands… Although, in actual practice, such an accident is made to have a vanishingly small probability of occurring, the theoretical potential for such an accident is probably greater than for any work of man other than the explosion of a fission or fusion weapon.