“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
Pro nuclear spin hides the real motive behind South Australia’s Royal Commission – a nuclear waste import industry
When announcing the commission last month, SA Premier Jay Weatherill said it would “explore the opportunities and risks of South Australia’s involvement in the mining, enrichment, energy and storage phases for the peaceful use of nuclear energy”.
The move caught many by surprise, not least federal opposition leader Bill Shorten, who – unlike his Labor colleague Weatherill – remains opposed to nuclear.
The announcement also generated huge amounts of free PR for the nuclear industry, as shown in the avalanche of media coverage that ensued – some deliberately balanced, some sceptical of the commission and its value, but much of it highly favourable, especially in the business press.
It is not hard to see why. As Naomi Klein contends, nuclear power is an industrial technology, organised in a corporate manner. And as psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton points out, no technology does more to underline humanity’s dominion over nature than our ability to split the atom.
The positive spin Continue reading
I’m hoping you will support us with this very important issue which has arisen from SA Goverenment regarding a Royal Commission into Nuclear Energy and proposal to store high-level nuclear waste at Maralinga, South Australia
Please read. With thanks, Yami Lester, Yankunytjatjara Walatinna Station, South Australia (08) 8670 5077
Statement on Royal Commission into Nuclear Energy and proposal to store high-level nuclear waste at Maralinga, South Australia:
In 1953 I was just ten years old when the bombs went off at Emu and Maralinga, I
didn’t know anything about nuclear issues back then, none of us knew what was happening. I got sick, and went blind from the fallout from those tests, and lot of our people got sick and died also.
Now I’m 73 years old and I know about nuclear issues, and I have some friends who know about nuclear waste, and they will fight the South Australian Government on their plans to put high-level nuclear waste at Maralinga and to develop nuclear energy in South Australia.
Why does the government keep bringing back nuclear issues when we know the problems last forever?
The Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia (1984-85) revealed
what happened at Maralinga but it never told what happened to Aboriginal people; the findings were left open.Lawyers proved that there was radiation fallout over Walatinna, but because wenever had any doctors records to document what happened to us, (the closest clinic was Ernabella, 160km away as the crow flys and we didn’t have any transport to get there), we only had our stories and they were never written down.
A few years ago they cleaned up Maralinga from the waste that was leftover from the bomb tests; they spent $1 million, and now they’re going to put more waste back there?
That’s not fair because it’s Anangu land and they won’t be able to use that land.
Members from the APY, Maralinga-Tjarutja and Arabunna, Kokatha lands say we don’t want nuclear waste on our land.
The best thing the government can do is the leave the uranium in the ground, stop mining it.
We ask the South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, to talk to Aboriginal people on the lands, and to everyone who has been directly affected by the atomic tests and nuclear industry in Australia before he makes any decisions for South Australia.
One media narrative, as espoused in the AFR, is that this defeat was the result of a revolt by SA politicians. But this version of the story ignores the powerful campaign led by the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, the senior aboriginal women’s council of Coober Pedy.
This story has been recorded by movement researchers Nina Brown and Sam Sowerwine and in a book, Talking Straight Out: Stories from the Irati Wanti Campaign.
Many members of the Kunga-Tjuta were survivors of the British government’s atomic testing in the 1950s and 60s, and so understood the devastating history of the nuclear industry. Upon hearing about the waste dump proposal, the group issued this statement:
We are the Aboriginal Women. Yankunytjatjara, Antikarinya and Kokatha. We know the country. The poison the Government is talking about will poison the land. We say, “No radioactive dump in our ngura – in our country. It’s strictly poison, we don’t want it.
The traditional residents of this supposedly “benign and sparsely populated geology” fought hard to protect their country using the tools they had available. They explained, demanded, marched and sang. They worked with green activists and wrote passionate letters. They urged politicians to “get your ears out of your pockets”. They won.
As South Australia faces another push from the nuclear industry, we would do well to remind ourselves of these stories. To paraphrase the late historian Howard Zinn, we need to emphasise what is possible by remembering those moments in our recent history when people demonstrated their capacity to resist, come together, and occasionally, to win.http://theconversation.com/south-australias-broad-brush-nuclear-review-is-meant-to-sideline-opponents-38110
What Macfarlane is essentially saying here is, ‘take my offer or I’ll leave you with scheme that we will make clear to investors does not have Coalition Party support.
And in the event that it looks like the target will not be met, we will use that as a mechanism to overcome Senate obstruction to cut the scheme back by even more than what is currently on the table’
Macfarlane threatens: take my RET deal or else, Climate Spectator TRISTAN EDIS 27 FEB 15 , The confusing saga on the Renewable Energy Target continues with Environment Minister Greg Hunt sounding optimistic (as he seems to be about everything) that there will shortly be an agreement on the level of the target, and one that he said will “go significantly further” than 20% market share for renewable energy. Meanwhile Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane on the same day delivered a message of a rather more belligerent and less optimistic tone. Continue reading
$1 billion in untapped clean energy opportunities in WA http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/1_billion_in_untapped_clean_energy_opportunities_in_wa/091292/26 February 2015 Western Australia has an exciting opportunity to join the race for renewable energy and the investment and jobs it brings, according to the Clean Energy Council.
The CEC says that while Australia’s renewable energy industry has grown from a niche player to a multi-billion dollar industry, Western Australia hasn’t fully capitalised on the opportunities on offer.
“The Western Australian Government can step up to the plate and attract more renewable energy projects to the state with just a few simple policy measures,” Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said.
“I have written to Energy Minister Dr Mike Nahan to ask him to advocate for a bipartisan resolution to the Renewable Energy Target, which would see Western Australia attract more than $1 billion in new investment out to 2020.
The CEC has recommended 15 policy measures that would help Western Australia become a leading renewable energy state, while driving greater competition and consumer choice in the electricity sector.
The CEC launched its new Guide to improving electricity use in your business in Perth this week.
The guide aims to provide small and medium-sized businesses with more information on how they can reduce their operating costs through measures like installing solar and storage, or shifting their energy use.
The guide is part of the CEC’s Future-Proofing in Australia’s Electricity Distribution Industry project, which aims to enhance the flexibility and resilience of Australia’s electricity distribution systems for the future. The project is supported by $878,000 funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
On reflection: Why Australia should not give up on renewables, Wind Power Monthly, 27 February 2015 by Alicia Webb ,
As the government battles to reduce the current renewables policy, the Australian wind industry is experiencing lost jobs and dwindling economic opportunities. Yet, there is a clear economic case for continuing renewables support.
Uncertainty and missed opportunity have been the recent themes for the Australian wind industry. While the country’s renewable energy target (RET) had enjoyed well over a decade of bipartisan support from the major political parties, the federal government plan to slash the level of the policy froze investment and resulted in many lost jobs and economic opportunities last year.
But the government does not have enough support to change legislation, and so the debate drags on. And, while the government looks for support from the opposition or a rag-tag alliance of senators from various smaller political parties, the RET’s uncertain future means the country is squandering billions of dollars in potential investment while interest in wind power and other renewables flourishes across the globe…….
The review undertook comprehensive modelling of prices. It found that any scenario in which the RET is cut would result in higher power prices for consumers from 2020, and that the scenarios that would deliver the most renewable energy were those that would also result in the lowest power prices over the life of the legislated policy. With the RET as it is, more than 18,000 jobs would be created and power bills would be lower in the long-term than they otherwise would be. Cut the RET to 27TWh by 2020, and 6,200 jobs will be lost and the average power bill will go up by A$42/year. Remove the RET altogether and by 2020, 11,800 jobs will be lost and the average power bill increases by A$56.
One of the reasons for this is that there is direct evidence of wind energy pushing wholesale electricity prices down. The Australian Energy Market Operator found in 2014 that in South Australia, the state with the highest wind penetration, wind farms have “low operating costs and tend to offer energy to the market at low prices”…….http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1335304/reflection-why-australia-not-give-renewables
Backyard solariums creating a dangerous market, The Saturday Paper, MAX OPRAY FEB 28, 2015
A recent ban on commercial solariums has seen many turning to backyard operations, ignoring the cancer risk. “……On January 1 commercial solariums were banned in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, after a raft of studies confirmed indoor tanning was a particularly carcinogenic way to pass the time. According to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, sunbeds are responsible for an average of 43 melanoma-related deaths and 2572 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma every year in Australia.
Commercial use of these machines was banned, yet home use was left legal………
The Cancer Council strongly backs the ban, and in its position statement on solarium use cites a study published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2011 that, according to the council, found one in six melanomas in Australians aged 18-29 years “would be prevented if solariums were shut down”……. regular solarium users appeared six times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 30, and that 16 per cent of melanoma cases of those aged 18-29 would be prevented by avoiding sunbed exposure. …..http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/health/2015/02/28/backyard-solariums-creating-dangerous-market/14250420001552#.VPDRw3yUcnk
Renewable energy projects, including solar energy schemes i are staging a revival in Victoria under the new Andrews Labor government.
The Woodend local sustainability group is launching two green energy projects: a new solar energy scheme and the resurrection of a longstanding plan for three community-owned wind turbines.
Today, at the Sustainable Living Festival in Woodend, Energy and Resources Minister Lily D’Ambrosio will announce a $100,000 grant for a 30-kilowatt solar farm.
The panels will be installed at the old timber mill, where the tenants’ ongoing electricity bills will be reinvested in more solar panels. It will create a “perpetual fund” for community renewable energy, says Ralf Thesing, president of the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group.
Last week, D’Ambrosio announced a $200,000 grant for the central Victorian town of Newstead to become fully powered by renewable energy.
She says the Labor government will “support and stand alongside” communities such as Newstead and Woodend, who are planning “to better control how their energy is made and where it comes from”.
“Everywhere I go, whether it’s metro Melbourne or regional and rural Victoria, people love renewable energy,” D’Ambrosio says. “That’s why we’re seeing many communities coming up with plans to make renewable energy part of their everyday life. They’re bottom-up approaches and they’re a terrific boon for local jobs.”
The Andrews government is preparing a “renewable energy action plan” and finalising the guidelines for its $20 million “new energy jobs fund”. It will also release a discussion paper on community-owned wind power.
For the clean energy advocates in Macedon Ranges shire, the election result was transformative. “It changes our situation completely – from being banned, we’re now unbanned,” says Barry Mann, who is helping co-ordinate the wind power project……….
The Victorian Liberal party appears to have had a change of heart under the leadership of Matthew Guy. For the first time, the state has a “shadow minister for renewables”, David Southwick. He says Victoria has the opportunity to be a leader in renewable energy. “We want an industry that can deliver more clean energy and clean energy jobs.”
Will South Australia’s Royal Commission be genuinely independent, or just excuse for importing radioactive trash?
If the Royal Commission brings a genuine spirit of independence and rigour, and is willing to take evidence on the nuclear sector’s performance in Australia and overseas, the report will provide a valuable contribution to domestic energy and industry policy.
An inquiry into how to get to zero emissions electricity as cheaply and rapidly as possible would have made a far more timely and valuable contribution to debates over energy policy and rebooting South Australia’s manufacturing sector than another rake through the slowly cooling ashes of the nuclear dream. Nonetheless, the lid has been lifted once again, and we can only hope that the Royal Commissioner is willing to take an unblinking look at the evidence, so that the failed hopes and broken promises of the atomic age can be set to rest once and for all
the probability that this whole exercise is designed to build the case for a national or international radioactive waste dump.
Nuclear Industry On Trial? Scott Ludlam Hopes So, New Matilda, 26 Feb 15 The debate about nuclear power in South Australia needs to be had, if only to put the issue to bed once and for all, writes Scott Ludlam.
At first glance, the decision to call a Royal Commission into nuclear technology in South Australia seems like a curious aberration from the ‘Yes Minister’ rule of inquiries: never call one unless you know in advance what it will tell you.
At the outset of this most polarising of debates, I’d like to propose a truce; particularly with those whose pro-nuclear views are motivated by the overwhelming imperative of climate change. If we respect that not all nuclear advocates intend to contaminate the gene pool and plunge us into nuclear winter, I’d ask in return that you consider the possibility that the anti-nuclear case is based on rational assessment of risks and performance, rather than pure emotion as is sometimes asserted.
For those whose motivation is a safe climate, this is a disagreement over means, not ends. Continue reading
Local mayor unhappy with city counterpart’s nuclear comments, The Transcontinental, 27 Feb 15 Port Augusta has been suggested as a “convenient” site for a nuclear reactor, just weeks after the state government announced it will establish a Royal Commission into nuclear power in SA.
Port Augusta mayor Sam Johnson is not happy, saying the suggestion treats those living in regional areas like Port Augusta as second-rate citizens……
Port Augusta mayor Sam Johnson said he’s open to an informed debate on nuclear power, but hit fiercely back at the Port Adelaide mayor’s comments, labelling the idea a “cop out”. (picture from The Transcontinental )
He said there’s no reason to consider putting nuclear power in Port Augusta, given the city is already leading the way in renewable energy.
“Why in the hell would we want nuclear power in Port Augusta when we’ve done so much work on renewable energy, in particular the solar thermal plant?” Mr Johnson questioned.
“We’ve had international experts actually say to us, why isn’t the government in Australia exploring renewable energy such as solar thermal given we have the best geographical climate in the world to do it?
“If the government wants to talk about nuclear, fine, happy to talk about it – but we’re already heading down a successful path…they can go and build the nuclear power plant in Unley or Norwood for all I care.”
Repower Port Augusta chairperson Gary Rowbottom suggested nuclear power is a higher risk option than renewable energy, and doesn’t see why it’s worth exploring when there’s a better option on the table for the city.
“Our current belief is that it is simply not required to take the risks and overcome all the implementation difficulties involved in ‘going nuclear’,” Mr Rowbottom said.
“We can substitute a suite of proven and developing renewable technologies in place of any need to go down the nuclear path…the commercial, health and environmental risks of nuclear are too high to justify it.
“It can be taken as somewhat offensive that the Port Adelaide/Enfield areas (Mr Johanson) are clearly saying that they are not prepared to have a nuclear reactor in their area but it is ideal and more convenient for Port Augusta to have one.”……
What do you think about having a nuclear reactor in Port Augusta?
Send your thoughts to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/2903676/local-mayor-unhappy-with-city-counterparts-nuclear-comments/
End is nigh for NT environmental advocacy groups as funding runs out, ABC News 26 Feb 15 By Elliana Lawford Two environmental advocacy groups in the Northern Territory are set to close as government funding cuts announced last year start to bite.
The Environment Centre NT (ECNT) has told the ABC a number of staff were laid off last week and the centre has limited their operating hours from five to three days a week.
The organisation has led campaigns against uranium mining, pollution, gas exploration and water extraction licences. ECNT chair Tony Young said he was worried there would be no-one to fight for environmental issues in the Northern Territory if the centre closed.
“If there is no independent voice to point these things out then the problems continue and they are exacerbated,” he said. “The range and complexity of the environmental problems the Northern Territory faces really deserves a properly funded, independent, science-based voice … that’s what is in danger.”
The ECNT lost $185,000 in last year’s Territory budget.
The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is also struggling and has announced it will close on June 30, after it lost $450,000 in Federal Government funding. EDO chair Kirsty Howey said the office could not operate without financial help.
“With the cutting of federal funding at the EDO, we are looking at shutting the doors on June 30 this year,” she said.
“We just don’t have the money to survive any longer.”
NT Environment Minister Gary Higgins said he was unperturbed by the looming closures of the ECNT and the EDO……..
Labor spokeswoman Nicole Manison said both organisations were needed in the community.
“We need to have a full and independent voice for the government out there in the community,” she said.
“They bring up some pretty tough issues for governments and a good government would actually listen to them.”
Both organisations are still trying to secure independent funding that could delay their closures. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-26/environment-agencies-nt-for-the-chop/6262720
Nuclear Industry On Trial? Scott Ludlam Hopes So, New Matilda, 26 Feb 15 “……The unthinkable consequences of a well-executed terrorist attack on an operating reactor or high-level waste store keep national security planners awake at night, with the potential for nuclear power plants to be used as pre-deployed radiological weapons by those with malevolent intent.
It seems likely that in the face of this evidence, the Royal Commission will see the industry play its last remaining card: an invitation to set aside the actual performance of existing reactors and imagine the potential of a new generation of nuclear technology: safe, clean, reliable, cheap, modular, proliferation-proof; reactors that consume only nuclear waste and emit only unicorn dust.
Forgive the scepticism: no-one has ever come remotely close to designing and building such a device, and commercial application of imaginary Generation IV reactors lies well over an indefinitely receding horizon; always just a few more years and decades away.
Perhaps more to the point, it may be that there are simpler ways to boil water or induce electrons to flow down a wire than the absurdity of plutonium-burning fission reactors cooled by liquid sodium.
Turning to face the timeless abundance of free solar energy presents a much simpler way forward. It is time that advocates of terrestrial nuclear power instead used their efforts to advocate for better use of the celestial nuclear reactor that sustains rather than threatens life on Earth.
The very qualities of scale, baseload delivery and centralisation that so appealed to energy planners of the 1950s make nuclear technology uniquely unsuited to the realities of the 21st century.
Emerging industrial economies like India, Africa and China’s rural hinterlands are vastly better served by decentralised renewable generators feeding local or regional-scale microgrids.
The plunging costs of solar, wind and micro-hydro generators are combining with cheap, decentralised energy storage technology – driven largely by developments in the IT and automotive industries – to drive the final nail into the fallen potential of nuclear power.
In March 2013 the cover and feature piece of the Economist magazine put the case succinctly: Nuclear Power – the dream that failed.
For the indefinite future, there will still be a need for reliable, dispatchable utility-scale power plants, but even here clean-technology has emerged to checkmate atomic energy: large-scale concentrating solar thermal plants have come online in Spain and the United States, paving the way for vastly more ambitious developments in South America and the Middle East combining cheap photovoltaics with heliostat fields heating overnight molten salt energy storage.https://newmatilda.com/2015/02/26/nuclear-industry-trial-scott-ludlam-hopes-so