Australian news, and some related international items

Disappearance of Submissions from the Nuclear Royal Commission website

The very short time allowed for people to submit for the draft Terms of Reference nevertheless was enough for over 1000 submissions to be sent – the overwhelming majority raising issues that I bet the
keep-it-secretnuclear lobby would not want raised.  No surprise then that the promised web page of all these submissions just vanished within  a day or two.

However, here below is  a sample of some of these excellent submissions. It is from  DR. PETER BURDON ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ALEXANDER REILLY MR. PAUL LEADBETER of the University of Adelaide


To Whom It May Concern, RE: Royal Commission – Our role in nuclear energy

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into South Australia’s nuclear industry potential. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

NARROW Terms of Reference for Royal Commission on South Australia’s further participation in the nuclear fuel chain

Below are the Terms of Reference.  You will note how very few related issues are included.nuclear-fuel-chain3

The Terms cover:

  • feasibility of expanding mining of radioactive materials
  •  feasibility of conversion, enrichment, fabrication or re-processing in South Australia
  • feasibility of generating electricity from nuclear fuels
  • feasibility of establishing facilities in South Australia for the management,
    storage and disposal of nuclear and radioactive waste
  • and a little nod to the impact on economy, environment, and community

Australia, Governor in and over the State of South Australia:
GREETING Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby influence – Australian Industry Group Defence Council wants nuclear submarines

submarine,-nuclear-underwatNuclear submarine option pushed by industry Financial Review  by John Kerin, 24 Mar 15,  Australia’s peak defence industry group has urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to reconsider buying or leasing a nuclear submarine fleet to replace the ageing Collins class, saying the absence of a supporting domestic nuclear power industry no longer presents a hurdle.

Australian Industry Group Defence Council chairman Chris Jenkins, who is also the Australian chief of French industry giant Thales, said today’s submarine nuclear power plants were so efficient and required so little maintenance that an onshore nuclear power industry was hardly a requirement.


He said nuclear submarine powerplant technology was constantly improving and you would need a trained workforce but not necessarily a power industry to support it.

The defence council is the peak body representing the’s $8 billion 24,000 strong defence sector. “That’s been said [you need a nuclear power industry] but I think nuclear energy these days is much more modularised than people think….like anything else [the submarine] powerplant is manageable,” Mr Jenkins said.

“The idea of a nuclear industry as a fundamental necessity, I am not convinced, but I did think it was quite a good thing that there was a call for a really deep review from South Australia in to nuclear energy,” Mr Jenkins said.

Mr Jenkins was referring to a royal commission called by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill into the development of nuclear power.

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews will deliver the opening address at a major two-day summit on Australia’s Future Submarine, where experts are expected to fiercely debate the competitive evaluation process given ongoing concerns over the future of Adelaide based ASC and jobs in Adelaide……..

the French firm DCNS has offered a diesel powered version of its 5000 tonne Barracuda submarine.The nuclear version of the Barracuda will be in service with the French Navy from 2017.

 Prime Minister Tony Abbott commissioned advice from his own department last year on nuclear submarine options including the 8000 tonne US Virginia class but the government continues to rule out the option.

But its understood DCNS could offer the nuclear version of the Barracuda from around 2030 if Canberra wished to go down that route……..

Mr Jenkins said. “Given the concern over jobs, South Australia should be as keen to know the answer as anyone because it would undoubtedly be the centre of Australia’s nuclear industry,” he said.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Family First Senator Bob Day gets Senate support for SA nuclear commission

Day, Bob nukesSenate backs SA nuclear commission AAP MARCH 18, 2015

THE Senate has backed South Australia’s royal commission into expanding the nuclear industry.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill launched a royal commission to investigate if the state, home to world’s largest uranium deposits, should embrace production, enrichment and storage of nuclear power.

SA Family First senator Bob Day won enough Senate support to formally welcome the commission, with his motion passing 34 to 33.


March 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear Royal Commission will ignore the elephant in the room

20 Mar 15, The biggest hole in the nuclear Royal Commission isn’t the proposed open cut pit at Olympic Dam, but rather the omission of any consideration as to whether South Australia should be LESS involved in the nuclear industry, rather than MORE involved, according to Greens SA State Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.

“Despite the Premier’s assurance that he has an “open mind”, the most fundamental question of SA’s role in the global nuclear industry won’t be considered at all.  The Royal Commission is only charged with considering NEW ADDITIONAL involvement or expanding our existing involvement; it won’t be looking at whether SA should extract itself entirely from the nuclear cycle.” said Mark Parnell.

“If you don’t ask all the questions, you won’t get all the answers.

“Clearly, there are many South Australians who are opposed to South Australia’s involvement in the nuclear cycle.  With our natural advantages and nation-leading performance in wind and solar, South Australians see that the future is to embrace clean renewable energy, rather than flirting with dangerous, dirty and expensive nuclear power.  Becoming the nation’s or world’s nuclear waste dump is not most people’s vision for our State’s future or the legacy that we want to leave our children.”


Now that the Royal Commission is underway, the next critical decisions will be around the selection of key staff including “Counsel assisting the Royal Commission” and any technical or other research staff.

“Choosing people who are partisan or have vested interests will be seen by the public as evidence of a biased process and the credibility of any findings will be diminished.”

The Royal Commission also needs to announce how it intends to conduct its inquiry, including opportunities for personal submissions, public hearings, site visits and how all South Australians can engage with the process.

“The Greens will engage with the process, but we won’t hesitate to publicly criticise the Royal Commission if it becomes secretive, biased or otherwise limits the ability of South Australians to have their say on their State’s future.” said Mr Parnell.

March 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

1000 submissions to S. Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission. Kevin Scarce accused of pro nuclear bias

Scarce,--Kevin-glowNuclear royal commissioner officially appointed, denies bias ABC Radio National PM 19 Mar 15 DAVID MARK: The newly appointed royal commissioner for investigating the nuclear industry in South Australia says he is not biased towards the industry. The former South Australian governor, Kevin Scarce, has been accused of speaking in favour of the industry in the past.
The royal commission officially started today.
Mr Scarce says the commission will hold public hearings around the state. In Adelaide, Natalie Whiting reports. 

NATALIE WHITING: In the lead up to the start of South Australia’s royal commission into developing a nuclear industry, there has been some criticism of the man selected to lead it. Some people opposing the inquiry, including Doctor Jim Green from Friends of the Earth Australia, say former governor Kevin Scarce had spoken out in favour of the industry before.

He was officially given the role of commissioner today and has hit back at those suggestions……..

NATALIE WHITING: He says dates for public hearings should be finalised next month. There appears to be a lot of interest in commenting on the commission. One thousand submissions were received on the draft terms of reference. They’ve been altered to include a line about looking at past environmental experiences with nuclear.

Craig Wilkins from the Conservation Council has welcomed that.

CRAIG WILKINS: We actually do have a significant history already in this industry and it’s really important that if the commission is to do its work properly it considers where we’ve come from as well as where we’re going. So we very strongly welcome the fact that the terms of reference have been broadened to include that history.

NATALIE WHITING: But he says he would have liked the terms to also look at minimising the state’s involvement in the industry. South Australia already mines uranium.

CRAIG WILKINS: Surely any decent investigation of an industry should mean that all options are on the table. If there are concerns, which many people do have concerns already with this industry, surely this commission should be looking at what our appropriate role should be in it and that may well be a reduction rather than an increase.

NATALIE WHITING: Kevin Scarce says that has been ruled out……

NATALIE WHITING: A number of staff, including researchers, still need to be appointed to the royal commission.

March 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Weatherill’s Royal Commission hides the connection between nuclear industry and nuclear weapons

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionDennis Matthews, 20 Mar 15 It’s not difficult to find out that the world’s nuclear waste is not neatly segregated into “military” and “non-military”. The processes that create the waste, such as separating out the various isotopes of uranium, chemical processing prior to this separation, and the processing of spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors all occur at facilities that service both the nuclear weapons and the nuclear power industries.

Weatherill’s Royal Commission has been charged with looking into importing nuclear waste but has been explicitly told not to include nuclear use for military or defence purposes. If the Commission doesn’t study the close physical connection between the military and non-military uses then it is closing its mind to one of the reasons why South Australia shouldn’t have anything to do with the nuclear industry.

It’s pretty obvious that Weatherill and the nuclear lobby don’t want to look into this because it would inevitably lead to a result that they don’t want to know about. More the pity for South Australia.


March 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Australian govt starts Royal Commission into Nuclear (it’s a CHAIN not a CYCLE)

Dennis Matthews 20 Mar 15 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is full of contradictions and political spin

Surely if there was a fuel cycle then we wouldn’t need a nuclear waste dump. In fact it is a nuclear fuel chain; dig it up, process it, use it, then dump the wastes in some cash-strapped state.

The terms of reference explicitly state that the military use of uranium is excluded. Yet a former high-ranking member of the military who is sympathetic to the nuclear industry is the commissioner.

The commissioner has urged people to keep an open mind but the terms of reference state that the commission can’t do that because it can only look at expanding the nuclear industry and not the opposite.

It is claimed that the commission will not recommend sites for a nuclear dump but it will investigate whether South Australia has suitable geography. So it won’t be in your backyard but it might be in the valley down the road.


The royal commissioner said any consideration of reducing nuclear industry involvement had been ruled out by the SA Government.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission makes formal start in SA ABC News 19 Mar 15 Public hearings in remote Aboriginal communities are expected to be part of a royal commission in South Australia into nuclear energy issues. Governor Hieu Van Le has signed off to mark the official start of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, which is expected to make its recommendations to the SA Government by May next year.

Scarce,--Kevin-glowIt will examine a range of issues including whether the state should have a nuclear power station or
nuclear waste dump.

Former governor Kevin Scarce will head the inquiry. Continue reading

March 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian voters reject expansion of nuclear industry

protest-2Voters reject Premier Jay Weatherill’s agenda to transform the state, Adelaide Advertiser PAUL STARICK THE ADVERTISER MARCH 13, 2015 A majority of respondents reject plans to switch South Australia’s time zone, downgrade hospital emergency departments, create more “super” schools, expand the nuclear industry and overhaul tax…….

Key findings of the survey, which involved people being interviewed at numerous times and locations across metropolitan Adelaide and regional SA, were:

ALMOST 70 per cent opposed furthering SA’s role in the nuclear industry, including a power station, waste dump or enrichment facility…..

March 14, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, South Australia | 1 Comment

Nuclear waste storage banned by law in South Australia

South-Aust-govtSouth Australia Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 An Act to prohibit the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in South Australia; and for other purposes.

Objects of Act The objects of this Act are to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia and to protect the environment in which they live by prohibiting the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in this State.

nuclear waste means— (a) Category A, Category B or Category C radioactive waste as defined in the Code of Practice; or (b) any waste material that contains a radioactive substance and is derived from— (i) the operations or decommissioning of— (A) a nuclear reactor; or (B) a nuclear weapons facility; or (C) a radioisotope production facility; or (D) a uranium enrichment plant; or (ii) the testing, use or decommissioning of nuclear weapons; or (iii) the conditioning or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel;

nuclear waste storage facility means any installation for the storage or disposal of nuclear waste; public authority has the same meaning as in the Environment Protection Act 1993; radioactive substance means any substance that spontaneously emits ionizing radiation. 5—Act binds Crown This Act binds the Crown in right of the State and, in so far as the legislative power of the State permits, in all its other capacities……..

13—No public money to be used to encourage or finance construction or operation of nuclear waste storage facility Despite any other Act or law to the contrary, no public money may be appropriated, expended or advanced to any person for the purpose of encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State……

March 14, 2015 Posted by | legal, politics, South Australia | 1 Comment

Hans-Peter Schnelboegl’s submission on draft Terms of Reference for Nuclear Royal Commission

the Royal Commission itself may act in breach of the “Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act” by promoting  radioactive waste storage in SA.

Submission on draft Terms of Reference to the SA Royal Commission on our role in nuclear energy

The draft Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission are heavily  leaning in favour of new nuclear ventures rather than investigating the issue impartially:

The first paragraph includes supportive phrases like:
“whether there is any potential for the expansion”
”any circumstances necessary for such an increase”
“opportunities created by expanding”
“the measures that might be required to facilitate and regulate that
increase in activity”

This is balanced by just one cautious phrase:
“any risks … created by expanding”
The other paragraphs of the draft ToR’s show a similar imbalance.

I request that the ToR’s be expanded to explicitly include

Precautionary Principle
Intergenerational Equity
Long-term Consequences
Public and Workers’ Health
Impacts on Freedom and Democracy
Nuclear versus Alternative energy sources – comparison of cost and risks

The reasons are in short:

It is well known that the nuclear industry involves severe dangers  from radiation exposure. Radiation can not be perceived by any of the  human senses. The health consequences of exposure to radiation are,
in most cases, experienced much later when no connection to the  exposure is drawn.

Furthermore, nuclear ventures are characterised by the potential for  severest nuclear accidents and incidents like The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where hundreds of  thousands of inhabitants were incinerated in an instant or slowly died  from burns, cancers …

The explosion of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. Scientists using  mainly epidemiological data have shown that by 2004 already 1 million  people had died from the consequences of the accident. This number is growing.
The meltdown of four Fukushima reactors fuelled by Australian uranium.
The resulting contamination of our oceans, especially the Pacific  Ocean, is steadily increasing.

Uranium mining in Australia has a deadly impact on mine workers,  nearby residents and, most of all, on future generations.
For decades Australian governments have refused to establish a  database for uranium mine workers’ health, and the currently partially  established database seems skewed like the draft terms of this Royal
It seems mining companies are now using highly sensitive blood tests  to detect cancers and weakened defences against cancers early, and  then simply terminate employment.
Much worse than the impact on mine workers will be the impact on  future generations using contaminated groundwater and/or being exposed  to radioactive dust storms dispersing the fine radioactive materials  in tailings dams.

This is compounded by the fact that the hazards of  radiation and the proper maintenance of radiation hot spots will be  forgotten within a few hundred years. Already today local kids and  tourists are swimming in contaminated mining dams.

The Impacts on Freedom and Democracy stem mainly from the strong  public opposition to any nuclear industries and the subsequent  attempts by governments to quell that opposition.
This happened when the French government developed its vast nuclear industry: Widespread opposition and protests were suffocated by  horrendous police brutality permanently damaging French democracy.

In South Australia, police brutality led to the locking up of peaceful  protesters in a shipping container at the Beverley uranium mine site –  in full sun, for hours without water and toilets. This resulted in a
million dollar court verdict against the South Australian government,  i.e. the SA taxpayer.

Those responsible for ignoring the public’s  opposition to uranium mining and approving the hazardous mine, for  brutally suffocating peaceful protests with methods akin to torture,  they were neither jailed nor fined.
Another SA example of destructive impacts of nuclear industries on  freedom and democracy is the special status of the Olympic Dam mine:  A number of public rights have been suspended for the mine.
For example FoI: The SA government is not allowed to pass on information from the mine without the consent of the mine. This is  highly relevant when it comes to the frequent accidents and incidents
at the site. I remember two major fires of very large storage ponds  for used process chemicals (kerosene and the like) and numerous pipes  resulting in a plum of thick smoke passing over SA. There was very
little or no reliable information available about the radioactive  contents of the smoke.

Further, Aboriginal heritage protection and certain environmental  regulations have been suspended for the Olympic Dam uranium mine.

And finally, the Royal Commission itself may act in breach of the “Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act” by promoting  radioactive waste storage in SA.

March 14, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Adelaide Advertiser obligingly publicises pro nuclear shills

media-propagandaDennis Matthews, 13 Mar 15 Whilst belittling socially aware South Australian schoolteachers and environmentalists The Advertiser seems to be totally comfortable with pro-nuclear visiting British professors quoting numbers “suspect to challenge” and Japanese Professors supporting nuclear reactors and nuclear waste storage in Australia (The Advertiser, 13/3/15).

The British Professor is from the University College London, which has a campus in Adelaide, has had very generous funding from the people of SA but looks like closing its doors in the near future, and which appears to be a *Trojan Horse for the uranium mining and nuclear energy lobby.

The Japanese Professor is an “expert on international law” and as far as we can tell has no particular expertise on uranium mining, nuclear reactors or nuclear waste dumps but who claims that Australia could offer a “cradle to grave” solution to the nuclear industry. The people of Fukushima would be experts on that, but neither The Advertiser nor the esteemed professor of international law seems to be in a rush to talk about the reality versus the mirage.



* re UCL – a Trojan horse

see Adelaide’s University College London (UCL) -pro nuclear research funded by nuclear interests


March 13, 2015 Posted by | media, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian nuclear lobby imports UK shill Tim Stone to spruik for nukes

uranium-enrichmentHerald Sun reports –  NUCLEAR energy is “cheap, safe and low carbon’’, world-leading nuclear expert Dr Tim Stone says

Dr Stone is a visiting professor to University College London’s Adelaide campus. (Same Uni Department that sponsored Stefan Simons  – promoter of nuclear submarines for Australia
He will be speaking at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event about the State Government’s royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle tomorrow.
And this is where Tim Stone comes from : -

Office for Nuclear Development  

The Office for Nuclear Development (OND) was created in September 2008/9. ‘It focuses on removing potential barriers to investment, and signals clearly to the industry the serious intent of the Government to push forward nuclear new build
  • Tim Stone, Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State for BERR and to the Chief Secretary of the Treasury on new nuclear power: he is the Chairman and founder of KPMG‘s Global Infrastructure and Projects Group.

Protecting the nuclear industry from bad news

In July 2012, The Guardian revealed OND emails that revealed how it worked closely with E.ON and RWE to soften the impact of a major blow to plans for a new nuclear programme……

Sharing intelligence with the industry

In December 2011, The Guardian revealed how the OND was “quietly exchanging intelligence on key policies with multinational companies in an effort to protect and promote their plans for new nuclear power stations”.

It shared information about the handling of the EDF‘s application to build the first of the new nuclear stations at Hinkley Point, in Somerset.

It also sent EDF and the Nuclear Industry Association details of its court battle against Greenpeace, which is trying to block the Government’s nuclear plans…….

March 11, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | 2 Comments

South Australian protest against expanding nuclear industry

Protesters warn of SA nuclear risks 9 News 11 Mar 15 Protesters have raised the spectre of the Fukushima nuclear disaster to warn against expanding the industry in South Australia.

The SA government has launched a royal commission to investigate whether the state should embrace nuclear enrichment, power production and the storage of waste.

Environmentalists have argued that the industry could generate catastrophic risks for the state.

 About 30 people gathered outside Parliament House on Wednesday, the fourth anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Propping up a giant inflatable “nuclear waste” barrel, the protesters held signs reading “Aus Uranium Fuelling Fukushima” and “SA: Renewable not Radioactive”.

March 11, 2015 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Liberal and Labor MPs want Canada involved in Royal Commission – (pity about Canada’s nuclear corruption)

Tweedle-NuclearSouth Australia to tap Canada’s nuclear know-how THE AUSTRALIAN SA Bureau Chief Adelaide MARCH 07, 2015  SOUTH Australian Labor Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has met Canadian government officials to push for their participation in his state’s royal commission into the nuclear industry.

Michael OwenSOUTH Australian Labor Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has met Canadian government officials to push for their participation in his state’s royal commission into the nuclear industry.

The news came as federal Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey, whose electorate covers a vast area of South Australia’s remote far north, said he hoped a potential site for a national nuclear dump could be found inthe region, and would consider one on his 2400ha farm……..

Mr Koutsantonis, also the state’s Energy Minister, is a strong proponent of developing a nuclear energy industry in South Australia.

He was in Canada this week for the world’s largest mining convention, the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada International Convention.

He told The Weekend Australian that South Australia’s planned royal commission into nuclear power was a hot topic in meetings at PDAC, held in Toronto with more than 25,000 attendees from 100 countries………

Mr Koutsantonis met senior government officials, in particular those from the provinces of Saskatchewan and Ontario, to talk about the potential of the nuclear fuel cycle in South Australia…….

Mr Koutsantonis said the reaction to Premier Jay Weatherill’s announcement of a royal commission had been “overwhelmingly positive”. He said that federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb, also in Canada promoting Australian mining interests, had reaffirmed the Abbott government’s support for the royal commission.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | politics international, South Australia | Leave a comment


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