Australian news, and some related international items

Huge Melbourne rally kicks off Australia’s marches for climate action

climate Melbourne 15

Thousands gather at Melbourne CBD rally ahead of Paris climate summit, The Age, [excellent photos and video] November 27, 2015 -Chloe Booker, Timna Jacks, With Tom Cowie and AAP

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Melbourne’s CBD to demand world leaders take strong action to protect the planet at the Paris climate change conference.

The so-called People’s Climate March was one of hundreds of rallies being held around the world in the lead up to the crucial meeting. Members of The Cat Empire performed for the crowd, which included Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Greens Senator Richard Di Natale.

 Organiser Victoria McKenzie-McHarg estimated the crowd was at least 60,000 strong. “This absolutely is the largest climate change rally we have ever seen in Australian history,” she said to cheers from the crowd.  Chanting “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now”, the demonstrators marched from the State Library to Parliament House.

A sea of placards stretched down Bourke Street from Spring Street to Swanston Street and along Swanston Street from Bourke Street to La Trobe Street. There was a stand-off between banked-up traffic and protesters at Exhibition Street as frustrated drivers honked their horns and the crowd erupted in cheers and shouts.

Stunned diners observed the march from outside Bourke Street cafes, and some heckled the demonstrators. Sections of the crowd were more like a party, with some dancing and clapping to a marching band dressed in green-glittered uniforms, while others swayed to the strumming of a guitar. ……..

Andy Parsons, an Environment Victoria volunteer who attended both rallies, said environmentalists supported the right of Aboriginal people to live independently.”The Aboriginal people lived sustainably for thousands of years. Us white people could learn a lot from them,” he said.

Aboriginal man Robbie Thorpe said he saw a parallel between the “genocide” of his people and what he called the  “ecocide” of Australia’s natural environment. “We are the custodians of the land and the language. Only we know how to talk to our land. Without the Aboriginal people the land can’t survive and without the land, we can’t survive.”

November 27, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australia’s sorry history of deception about action on climate change

Australia is not the only country to have tried to use international rules to its domestic advantage. But Australia’s history of special deals now raises some big domestic policy questions.

the accounting rules may not come to our rescue another time. It is not clear whether we will be able to “carry over” again, although Hunt has indicated we would like to. But the task is now also bigger than any “carry over” could massage.

After decades of fighting and fudging, Australia will have to really do something about its greenhouse emissions this time

Turnbull climate 2 facedWelcome to the wonderful world of climate talks, where less means more, Hunt-direct-actionGuardian 
Lenore Taylor, 27 Nov 
The maths doesn’t add up – Australia’s emissions are trending up and yet we are meeting pledges to cut them. But it all makes sense in the complicated and chaotic world of climate negotiations  T
he numbers look clear. In 1990, Australia emitted 564m tonnes of carbon dioxide. In 2005 that rose to 611m. By 2014-15 that had fallen a bit to 565m. But in 2029-30, the latest published projections say we will emit 724m tonnes.

They have gone up and down and they might not be rising by as much as if we’d never heard the words “climate change”, but in absolute terms our greenhouse emissions are trending up, not down.

And yet over those same decades we will have solemnly given three different national pledges to reduce our emissions and, as the environment minister, Greg Hunt, keeps enthusiastically reminding us, in every case we will “meet and beat” our pledges.

How can it be possible for national emissions to rise over 30 years while a country “meets and beats” successive promises to reduce them? The answer takes us first deep into the complicated and chaotic world of international climate negotiations and then to the dizzying heights of political spin. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

For Australia, Paris is a starting point for climate action, not the end game.

logo Paris climate1Paris offers a chance at a different story. Ambitions are more modest, and more realistic. No one is expecting the agreement to comprehensively achieve the 2-degree target. In fact, documents already released suggest it would allow temperatures to rise at least 2.7 degrees.

Success at Paris will be more subtle. It will be measured by whether incremental steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue to be seen as a priority for the world, long after the excitement of the conference has passed away.

It will be the intangible measure of how the world’s attitude on climate change has shifted.

Don’t rely on grand treaties from the Paris climate summit’t-rely-on-grand-treaties-from-paris/6979176OPINION

By Sara Phillips If we want to avoid the disappointment we felt after the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, we need to accept that the Paris meeting next week won’t be about signing some grand treaty, but about keeping up momentum for change, writes Sara Phillips.

Calm your farm, Greenies. Paris is an amazing city, but the United Nations conference on climate change to be held next week is not going to save the world. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment



SA NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE ROYAL COMMISSION SPEAKERS: DR MARK NUTT Argonne National Laborator WEDNESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2015 DAY 27 – excerpts from transcript

“……COMMISSIONER: can you tell us where the current US plans are for a high-level waste facility?

DR NUTT: As of right now, I would say they’re a little bit uncertain……So right now it’s really doing groundwork activity, open storage and disposal, to essentially be ready for when a decision is made to proceed with national policy towards disposal and storage. [ed: USA doesn’t know what to do with the wastes]

….DR NUTT: In terms of low-level waste generation it is probably – it is the biggest contributor. We have 100 – roughly 100 operating reactors that – the maintenance of the reactors, the clean up of the cooling systems all generate low-level waste that has to be disposed of. There are smaller contributions 45 from medical, industrial applications of radioactive materials that then become .SA Nuclear 25.11.15 P-1460 Spark and Cannon low-level waste. So by far in terms of volume it’s the nuclear industry that dominates the low-level waste disposal….. [ed: mdical wastes are not the problem, as ANSTO pretends]

…….it’s this inter-generational equity that people of today are gathering the benefits from nuclear electricity or nuclear energy and should deal with the problems of today and not pass the problems down…..[nuclear industry pretend to care about future generations, but no thought of stopping producing radioactive trash]

…there is a general consensus that it’s indeed temporary, that the ultimate 35 solution should be disposition of it in a geologic repository. There may be – there is countries that are considering fuel cycles where you might reprocess and recycle materials back to the reactor but either way you are going to generate high-level waste that would need to be disposed of. [ed: so new reactors that supposedly ‘eat wastes’ still produce wastes]

….We’ve gone towards interim dry storage at the reactor sites because all of the spent fuel pools for the US fleet are essentially full….[ waste pools full BUT THEY STILL KEEP MAKING THE STUFF!]

COMMISSIONER: Can I just pick up on the dry storage Dr Nutt? What sort of studies have been conducted in the US to look at the longevity of these dry storage casks and is there a view about – conservative view about how long they will last? S

R NUTT: I don’t – no one has done a study to put a – what I’ll call a line in the sand for how long they can last. Our regulatory framework allows storage up to 60 years, dry storage. We have studies underway within the Department of Energy’s programme, the Electric Power Research Institute which is our utilities research arm. It’s also investigating various aspects associated with 15 extended storage. The Electric Power Research Institute runs a group called the Extend Storage Collaboration Project which is involved in – a number of countries are involved with it that are dealing with the same issues that we are. So there is a lot of work going on looking at extended storage and what it entails. There has been several gap analyses done to identify what the key 20 issues are and the R&D’s under way to try to resolve those, so that there is confidence in extended storage. (there seems no reason for this confidence: sound like blind faith]

Waste Confidence 1

… When you get in to disposals, where I believe things get a little bit different because you are 20 dealing with long timeframes, you’re dealing with geologic systems, you are a large – sometimes large areas or footprints for the disposal facility and it leads to a little different type of safety case that one needs to consider to help build confidence in the safety of – the long term safety of the facility……[means they’ve got to convince the public somehow?]

DR NUTT: I’ll say it’s not possible to validate the long-term disposal models in the traditional sense. In that you can’t do an experiment and then run the 30 model and validate the experiment for the repository itself. You can do a variety of techniques to again demonstrate your confidence in the models and their ability to reasonably predict or estimate exposures out in the future…[ that doesn’t make ME feel confident] 

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

New report rules out nuclear power for Australia, on economic grounds

nuclear-costs1Nuclear priced out of Australia’s future energy highly-recommendedequation in new report By  on 26 November 2015

Australia’s official economic forecaster has finally admitted that the cost of nuclear energy is more than double other clean energy alternatives, suggesting it would likely play no role in a decarbonised grid based around lowest costs.

The Australian Power Generation Technology Report – a 362-page collaborative effort from more than 40 organisations, including the CSIRO, ARENA, the federal government’s Department of Industry and Science and the Office of the Chief Economist – clearly shows that solar and wind will be the cheapest low carbon technologies in Australia.

It comes at a critical time, with the nuclear lobby, supported by existing coal generators, pushing nuclear generation heavily, on the basis of previous technology cost assessments that had unrealistically optimistic views of its costs.

But the APGT report has essentially ruled out nuclear power for the whole of Australia, revealing that the technology is becoming more and more prohibitively expensive, at around double the capital cost estimated three years ago – and double the cost of competing technologies. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics | Leave a comment

Firefighters will march for climate action: global warming increases their dangers

firefighters for  climate actionIdeology aside, firefighters find themselves at the front line of climate impacts, and we are well aware that something is going on and conditions are gradually worsening. Of course climate change is not the only factor making firefighters’ work more and more challenging, but there’s no question that increasing temperatures and increasing drought conditions are a big part of the problem.

the United Firefighters Union will join with tens of thousands of Australians this weekend at the People’s Climate Marches taking place all over Australia.

More dangerous bushfires in our future if we don’t take action on climate change  November 26, 2015 Peter Marshall and Victoria McKenzie-McHarg There are no climate change sceptics at the end of a fire hose.

Australia’s firefighters know from first-hand experience that climate change has led to more frequent and more intense fires. It has also made our fire seasons longer.

Every day, firefighters go into situations as others flee in the opposite direction. Firefighters’ jobs are already dangerous. But we are increasingly concerned that changing climate conditions are increasing this danger.

firefighters Queensland

This summer is on track to be one of the worst on record for fires. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rates it as a 97 per cent chance that 2015 will be the hottest year on record – and it looks like it will be the hottest by quite a wide margin. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel report – boost renewables, No to nuclear

map solar south-australiaLow Carbon Economy Expert Panel report recommends South Australia move quickly to 100 per cent green energy productionSheradyn Holderhead Political Reporter The Advertiser November 25, 2015 SOUTH Australia should produce 100 per cent green energy “relatively quickly” using a mix of solar, wind and other sources but not a nuclear power station, a report recommends.

On releasing the Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel report today, Premier Jay Weatherill said the State Government would adopt a target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

But Mr Weatherill is yet to map out exactly how the state will reach that target, as the Government is still to respond to more detailed recommendations in the report.

They include:

SET a goal of 100 per cent renewable electricity within, a timeframe to be decided, that could be done relatively quickly, capitalising on the abundance of solar, wind, oceanic, geothermal and bioenergy resources.

EXPAND the state’s renewable energy generation to the point where a significant amount is exported interstate.

DEVELOP and manufacture cost-effective energy storage technology, which is critical for a stable renewable electricity supply and could also become a new industry for the state.

SIGN the Under 2 memorandum of understanding, making SA a part of the growing group of sub-national governments making a commitment to contribute to limiting global warming to 2°C.

CONSIDER implementing a state-based emissions trading scheme linked to California’s ETS, which could be politically and economically attractive to California and provide significant benefits for SA.

INTEGRATE curriculum in schools, universities and TAFE colleges about carbon pollution, green energy and related technologies.

The report also noted that nuclear power stations generally need to be of a certain size to be cost effective and should not be considered for use in smaller states such as SA.

Former Federal Liberal leader John Hewson headed the panel, which also included Anna Skarbek of ClimateWorks and Australian National University’s Frank Jotzo……

November 27, 2015 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Residents near proposed Northern Territory nuclear dump site will oppose it

radioactive trash

questions about what kind of intermediate-level waste would be stored 15 kilometres from their house and garden have not been answered.

“Originally it was just low-level and then they brought in intermediate and when we queried what intermediate was we couldn’t get an answer,” Mr Rossignol said.

“Then halfway through a conversation they said intermediate and low level,” he said.

Neighbours of proposed NT nuclear waste dump upset at ‘lack of consultation‘ By Rosa Ellen Neighbours to a proposed nuclear waste site south of Alice Springs are upset they were not consulted by the property’s owner and say they will oppose it.

The Aridgold date farm in Hale, 75 kilometres from Alice Springs, is one of six sites shortlisted to house the country’s low-to-intermediate level radioactive waste.

Bordering the date farm is a land trust made up of three homesteads, the closest of which is the Oak Valley Outstation owned by Mary Le Rossignol and her husband Robert, who are also traditional owners.

Ms Le Rossignol said she first heard Tim Micklem, their neighbour of 30 years, had nominated his property as the country’s next nuclear waste dump on ABC Local Radio.

“I was angry because we live right next door to him,” Ms Le Rossignol said. “It just hit me hard, because I honestly expected people to go around and talk to your neighbours and let them know what was going on.

“But that didn’t happen here.”  Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Northern Territory, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

The hypocrisy of Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt at Paris climate summit

Turnbull climate 2 facedParis 2015: Hunt says climate change action at Paris talks a ‘deeply personalHunt-direct-action goal’
Clinching a global deal in Paris to keep global warming below two degrees is a “deeply personal goal” and climate change inaction is “not an option”, Environment Minister Greg Hunt is expected to say on Wednesday. – Sydney Morning Herald, 25/11/15

Don’t be a climate coward PM – Greens
The Greens have warned Malcolm Turnbull not to be a “climate coward” at global talks in Paris.

The prime minister had one last chance to prove he was not a weathervane on climate change like his predecessor Tony Abbott, Greens MP Adam Bandt told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“He’s going to Paris with a big black rock around his neck,” he said, citing the government’s approval of the southern hemisphere’s biggest coal mine Adani Carmichael.

Michael Brull: Before Adopting Them As PM, Malcolm Turnbull Called Bullsh*t On The Coalition’s Climate Change Plans
In 2010 Turnbull helped launched a report calling for a zero emissions future. He understands the threat climate change poses, he just doesn’t seem to care anymore

‘Captain’s call’ plea as more CSIRO job cuts loom on eve of PM’s address to Paris climate summit Some of Australia’s leading climate research programs are under threat even as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prepares to address world leaders at next week’s global climate summit in Paris.

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Economics stack up well for the Greens’ renewable energy plans

greensThe Greens’ plan for 90% renewables by 2030 sounds hard, but it stacks up, The Conversation,  Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSES) , Australian National University, November 24, 2015 The Australian Greens this weekend announced a target of 90% renewable electricity by 2030 – pledging to go further than Labor, which has already backed a target of 50%. How hard is it to reach these targets?

The Abbott government made plain its dislike of renewable energy by reducing the renewable electricity target (RET) for 2020 to 33 terawatt hours (TWh) of new renewable electricity.

Under this target, about 24% of electricity will come from renewable sources in 2020, comprising existing renewables (mostly hydro-electricity with some biomass) and new renewables (mostly wind energy and photovoltaic (PV) solar energy). It’s straightforward to calculate the annual additions (gigawatts, GW) of wind and PV required to hit a 50% or 90% RET in 2030……..

The corresponding figures for Labor’s target of 50% by 2030 are 1.2 GW of PV and 0.8 GW of wind per year.

An achievable prospect

Labor’s target is a straightforward prospect. In years gone by, Australia has installed this much PV and wind in a year, and can readily do so again. It is not much more than the installation rate needed to meet the 2020 RET.

The Greens’ target, meanwhile, is about 2.5 times more challenging than Labor’s, but still readily achievable. The Australian Capital Territory and South Australia have shown the way by adding new renewable electricity capacity equivalent to 90% and 40% respectively of their annual electricity consumption – mostly over a period of about 5 years. There are no practical constraints in terms of land because of Australia’s vast solar and wind resources.

Australia’s electricity system is becoming increasingly renewable. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

South Australian govt has already ruled out nuclear power

arclight-Smfrom “Adelaide Arclight”, 25 Nov 15 ,  There is barely  a mention of nuclear power in the 53 page  Panel’s final report  from the South Australia  Low Carbon Economy Experts Panel. You have to hunt to find:

on page 22:

“In the high-level analysis for South Australia undertaken for the Panel, the CCS and nuclear scenarios were not considered, and all data was derived from the 100% renewable scenario.”

“Given South Australia’s abundance of wind and high solar rating (DNI), South Australia has the capacity to move to 100% renewable energy more quickly than other States and has already made significant progress in decarbonising its electricity supply utilising these advantages.”

On page 24 it states:

“The modelling for the Panel did not include consideration of whether the nuclear and carbon capture and storage scenarios modelled at the national level are a cost-effective means to move to low carbon electricity for South Australia. The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways modelling found that nuclear power stations generally need to be of a certain size to be cost effective and thus precluded their consideration for use in smaller States such as South Australia.”

Can we take it from this that the nuclear scenario is already off the table entirely? The Premier’s and Minister Hunter’s joint press release is vague talking about “zero net emissions” and “low carbon economy”, but in context their endorsement of the report would seem to undercut any push for nuclear energy, leaving the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission with just an expansion of uranium mining and nuclear waste dumps to consider.

Given that the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is in progress and that one of the report’s authors gave evidence at a public hearing, it can hardly be an oversight that nuclear was not considered.

Renewable  energy is the star – throughout the report:

map solar south-australia“…….South Australia can greatly expand its renewable energy generation, to theMap-South-Australia-wind point where on balance over the year all of the State’s electricity comes from renewables and a significant amount is exported interstate. According to the Panel’s preliminary analysis, this could occur relatively quickly. South Australia can therefore set an indicative goal of 100% renewable electricity with the timeframe to be decided. The timeframe will depend on expansion of interconnectors, costs of renewables and extent of support for renewable energy federally. The share of renewables in South Australia is expected to be double that in the National Electricity Market at any point in time up to 100%. Action….”

November 25, 2015 Posted by | energy, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment


2015   November 2015  With an economy in transition, changes in the national and international policy environment, and key strengths in renewable energy, South Australia has the opportunity to transition to a low carbon economy.

To maximise this opportunity, the South Australian Government appointed a panel of experts to provide independent advice about climate change targets and objectives for the State to 2050. The Panel was also asked to recommend key strategies to meet these objectives and ensure that the SA economy is best placed to adjust to a carbon constrained future. The Panel members were Dr John Hewson, Anna Skarbek and Frank Jotzo.

The Panel’s final report was released on 25 November 2015. The Panel found that it is feasible for South Australia to achieve a target of net zero emissions by 2050 and that a commitment to this target will position South Australia well in a low carbon world.


November 25, 2015 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia to aim for zero emissions by 2050

South-Aust-govtPremier Jay Weatherill   Minister Ian Hunter Minister for Climate Change , 24 November, 2015

South Australia will adopt a target of zero net emissions by 2050, as recommended in a report by the Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel released today. The Panel consisting of John Hewson, Anna Skarbek of ClimateWorks and Frank Jotzo of the Australian National University recommends that South Australia:

SIGNALS the transition to a zero net emissions economy by 2050

SUPPORTS the community and industry to transition to a zero net emissions economy

IMPLEMENTS the transition by taking action now

PremierJay Weatherill said being the first to signal this intention to Australian and overseas investors will give South Australia a competitive advantage. “As we head towards the Paris Climate Change Conference, South Australia has an opportunity to place itself at the forefront as a leader in transitioning to a low carbon economy,” Mr Weatherill said. “The Expert Panel’s report is a roadmap for our State to reduce emissions in a way that supports job growth in new and emerging green technologies. “

One example is the potential for South Australia to be a low carbon electricity powerhouse and a net exporter of renewable energy. “The state’s abundant renewable electricity combined with its rich resource base and existing manufacturing expertise mean that the state could be a natural base for energy intensive mining and manufacturing industries in a low carbon world.”

Minister for Climate Change Ian Hunter said the Expert Panel also identified the state’s strengths in education and the potential for these to be applied to developing the skills and workforce for a carbon constrained future. “This means providing assistance for workers moving from industries in decline into new opportunities is critical as is support for communities affected by rapid change,” Mr Hunter said.

map solar south-australia“There are also significant innovative market opportunities for energy storage solutions from the state’s high penetration of solar PV, with the potential to attract and develop technology suppliers and expertise in the state.” Minister Hunter said the Government would not seek to implement a State based emissions trading scheme – favouring a national scheme

“Consensus for global action on climate change should be a trigger for the Federal Government to revisit the important issue of a nationwide ETS,” Mr Hunter said. “We believe this is the most practical approach to this question and will not seek to implement an ETS at the State level.” Further details of South Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change, including responses to the other recommendations, will be detailed in the soon to be released new Climate Change Strategy for the State. The South Australian Low Carbon Experts Panel report is available at

November 25, 2015 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Senator Scott Ludlam in Parliament, on the sale of uranium to India

“……One of the most striking differences between the uranium market and those other commodity markets which Australians might be more familiar with and the one which the industry is most determined to deny is the link with weapons of mass destruction. In September this year this parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties handed down a unanimous report on the proposed nuclear cooperation agreement with India…..

The unanimous recommendations, in essence, say that there should not be uranium sales to India by Australia at this time under the terms of the current agreement. They made those recommendations on the advice of, among others, very senior former Australian officials from within the nonproliferation world who cautioned that the nuclear cooperation agreement:

… has a number of loopholes which mean that under the terms of the NCA India could use our uranium in the production of material that could end up in bombs……..

India is engaged in an active nuclear weapons arms race with its neighbour Pakistan, and just under one and half billion people live in these two countries.

Australia seems determined to circumvent and undermine the only disarmament and nonproliferation framework that the world has, just in order to open up another market for the desperate uranium sector…… Far away, on the other side of the world, in United Nations meetings in Geneva and New York, which our government assumes will never filter back to Australia, we are quietly sabotaging the first hopeful signs in a long while of global resolve in this area. The UN General Assembly’s First Committee recently voted overwhelmingly in favour of an Austrian sponsored resolution to fill the legal gap for the staged prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. This resolution was based on the careful study of the unthinkable humanitarian consequences of the use of these weapons. As a result, early in 2016, serious negotiations will get underway in Geneva to scope the elements of a global treaty banning these weapons. Why did Australia vote against this initiative? How many people in this country are even aware that that is what Australia’s diplomats were instructed to do by the Turnbull government?……

The third issue that the miners would probably prefer that we did not point out is that their industry, even at the primary end, at the mining end, is in very deep trouble not just because of the catastrophe that overwhelmed Japan’s Pacific coast on 3/11 but because peak nuclear was in the year 2002. Europe is on its way out. Japan is out. France is trying to work out how to drawn down and not have to replace the nuclear reactors it built in such a rush in the 1970s and 1980s. Germany is getting out. Italy has already got out. These are the things the uranium miners would probably prefer we did not talk about. The Beverley uranium mine is over. The Honeymoon mine in South Australia is over as well. The Roxby Downs expansion is cancelled. The Ranger 3 Deeps proposed expansion in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, which I had the good fortune to visit about this time last week, is cancelled. The Jabiluka deposit will never be mined. The Koongarra deposit has been reincorporated into Kakadu National Park. Colleagues, are you seeing a pattern here because I am? This is an industry that is on its last legs and it is just as well.

November 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Hosting nuclear waste – a liability in the long run, and a dangerous one

radioactive trashWasting Australia’s future, Green Left , November 20, 2015 By Jim Green“………Profits from nuclear waste?

It is no secret that the driving force behind the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is the idea that the state could make billions from storing or disposing of high-level nuclear waste from power reactors around the world.

Accepting nuclear waste might be profitable. Or it might not. Most likely, it would be profitable in the short-term and a liability in the long-term.

Proponents are talking up the billions that might be made by making Australia the world’s nuclear waste dump, but they have said little about costs. Since the volume of waste would presumably be large, the cost of a deep underground repository for high-level nuclear waste would likely be in the tens of billions of dollars. Plans for a high-level waste repository in Japan may be comparable: the estimated cost is ¥3500 billion (A$40.8 billion).

The US wasted $10 billion on the plan for a deep geological repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada before abandoning the project. In 2008 the US Department of Energy estimated that the cost of construction and operation of Yucca Mountain over a 150 year period would be US$96 billion (A$135 billion).

The waste would need to be monitored and problems addressed for millennia: it takes about 300,000 years for the radioactivity of spent nuclear fuel to fall to that of the original uranium ore. The annual cost of monitoring waste might be modest; the costs over millennia would be anything but.

Explosion in deep underground repository

The idea that nuclear waste can be safely disposed of in a deep underground repository has been shot to pieces by an explosion in the world’s only deep underground repository for nuclear waste: the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in the US state of New Mexico. Continue reading

November 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment


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