Australian news, and some related international items

The Lizard is biting back at Olympic Dam uranium mine

Lizards-revenge1Lizard’ bites back with new message 10-Feb-2016 Patrick Glover  Hundreds of protestors are set to descend on Olympic Dam for a three-day festival in July.

The Desert Liberation Front previously visited the area in 2012 with its Lizard’s Revenge event.
This year’s gathering, which will run from July 1-3, is being called The Lizard Bites Back.

“The first time, we were very focused on the expansion with the announcement having only been made a few months prior to our visit,” said event co-organiser Nectaria Calan.

“The mine is still there, and it’s four years later now, so we thought it was time to go back to the source.
“The mine is always an issue. It was not just when the expansion was going ahead – it is one of the largest uranium mines in the world, so for us it is already having an impact.

“Now there is the Royal Commission (into nuclear energy) on”
Ms Calan said the event was still in the early planning stages and no activities had been planned yet.
However, she said the group was hoping to hold educational workshops and other activities as part of the ‘protestival’.
The group is also aiming to reach out to more locals this time around. It is inviting anyone interested to visit the campsite during the event.
Ms Calan said she was hoping for a similar attendance to the previous festival’s crowd of hundreds.
Senior Sergeant Terry Boylan said South Australia Police (SAPOL) was well under way with planning for this year’s protest, as extra officers may need to be called in.
A BHP Billiton spokesperson told The Monitor the company wished to make no comment regarding the protestors’ visit at this point in time.

February 10, 2016 Posted by | ACTION, South Australia, uranium | 1 Comment

Environmental Defenders Office (SA) outlines critical issues in proposal for nuclear waste facility

radioactive trashPossibility of a high level nuclear waste facility in SA  Environmental Defenders Office (SA) IncThe environment’s legal team since 1992 – protecting the public interest – evening the odds 10 Feb 16 

As our nuclear industry, insofar as it exists is principally focused on mining and not on the generation of electricity there would have to be a large amount of new legislation that would have to be enacted in order to establish a high level nuclear waste facility in SA.  There are issues regarding environmental impacts, workplace safety, the imposition on aboriginal land, the impact on future generations, the potential for technological changes and security concerns.

 Some of the major issues.
Continue reading

February 10, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

South Australia – decision on nuclear expansion at end of 2016

South-Australia-nuclearSA govt to hold off on nuclear call South Australia’s government won’t decide whether to expand its nuclear industry until the end of the year, despite a royal commission preparing to release tentative findings.

Former governor Kevin Scarce will on Monday reveal his initial response to whether SA should play a bigger role in the mining, enrichment, energy and storage aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle before releasing his final report on May 6.

Premier Jay Weatherill told parliament on Tuesday that the government will consult with the community and the Commonwealth and provide its response before the end of the sitting year in December.

February 10, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill’s Statement to Parliament on Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission

Weatherill glowPremier Jay Weatherill tabled a Statement (9/02/16) outlining the progress and next steps for the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain (sorry, they call it “Cycle”) Royal Commission.

Following the release on February 15, of its “tentative findings“, the Commission will hold  a five week “comment period”, during which  public meetings will be held in:

Adelaide, Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Whyalla, Port Lincoln, Mt Gambier, Ceduna, Renmark, and Aboriginal communities in the Far North and West Coast.

On 6 May, the Commission will present its final report.

Next – community discussion between May and August.

“Once we have the findings, I would anticipate some engagement with the Commonwealth Government about the final report” 

Then “a period of decision making where Government will need to assess the evidence gathered by the Commission, and the feedback from the community before outlining its full response to the Royal Commission

I expect to provide a full response to the Royal Commission to the Parliament before the end of sitting this year.”


February 10, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia Riverland farmers get new crop – harvesting the sun

solar leasngSolar venture in SA Riverland aims to make abandoned crop land productive again, ABC News, 10 Feb 16  By Isabel Dayman Solar energy might be a saviour for some South Australian Riverland fruit growers who abandoned their crops and land during severe drought late last decade.

Key points:

  • Solar test site has 800 panels on the roof of an old storage depot
  • Proponent Mark Yates says all profits would stay in the local community
  • Many fruit blocks were abandoned at the end of last decade due to severe drought

A test site with 800 solar panels on the roof of an old storage depot at Renmark has been set up by Yates Electrical Services director Mark Yates to show what might be possible.

“We wanted to use this as a test case to see what the viability of the small-scale generation plants could be and whether they could be implemented in a community,” he said.

“We’d like to get 12 months of full data — that way we can draw a really clear picture and be really transparent to show people what the costs are and what the returns are.”

Mr Yates said the owners of vacant fruit blocks might be able to generate a profit from the abandoned land, which he said would be preferable to letting big investors set up large-scale solar operations and take any profits elsewhere.

“With our small-scale solar farms, 100 per cent of the profits that the system generates can be retained by the local community,” he said.

“Traditional methods of generating income are always going to [be there], but I suppose this is just a way we can introduce a completely new market to the area.”…….. The Renmark solar test site is expected to start generating power from the region’s abundant sunshine by the end of this month, and it is planned to be sold into the electricity grid.’s-former-fruit-growers/7149150

February 10, 2016 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Port Augusta Council to consider DP Energy’s big solar/wind project


solar,-wind-aghastDP Energy seeks approval for big solar/wind project near Port Augusta as public urged to have say ABC News2 Feb 16  Port Augusta’s council is encouraging the public to share their views on a renewable energy park proposed to the south of the city, along the Augusta Highway.

Map Spencer GulfDP Energy has submitted an application to the state Development Assessment Committee for the project, which contains up to 59 wind turbines and 1.6 million solar panels, to be built in stages south of Port Augusta.

Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson said the project fits in well in the region, which aims to be a centre for renewable energy.

“It’s been demonstrated in Port Augusta through Sundrop Farms using the technology which they’re using, in this case yes we know that wind turbines do exist around the world and around the countryside and in South Australia as well as solar PV [photovoltaic], but this one is the first of its kind in linking the two together,” he said.

The proposal is now out for public consultation and councillor Johnson is encouraging people to have a say……..

February 3, 2016 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

AUSTRALIAN NUCLEAR ASSOCIATION wants nuclear reactors on Spencer Gulf

Submission pro nuclear

THE AUSTRALIAN NUCLEAR ASSOCIATION (ANA) put in a submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust devoted only to promoting NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION. Of course, they made no attempt to consider renewable energy generation, let alone compare the costs. Heaven forfend, as that would have blown their argument right out of the water!

Anyway, they selected recommending Upper Spencer Gulf Area as the site for South Australia to get nuclear  reactors:

“The sites are · Site 1 – Fleurieu Peninsula · Site 2 – Upper Spencer Gulf Crag Point · Site 3 – Kadina site, Spencer’s Gulf east coast”

Map Spencer Gulf

ANA went to great lengths comparing the different types of nuclear reactors – large, small and medium reactor types.

They were hesitant about  Generation IV   (new nukes) stating that emerging technologies would be available too late to be effective against global warming.

As for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, ANA sees hurdles, and is not enthusiastic:

“their deployment is highly dependent on: 1. An order book which matches factory scale manufacture to ensure their economic competitiveness 2. A new regulatory regime which enables operations and security personnel to be deployed in reduced numbers to match the scale of power output”

So, ANA wants to put existing types of nuclear reactors on Spencer Gulf coast:

“the Westinghouse AP1000, the Russian VVER1000 and the Enhanced Candu 6”

Their conclusion?

“nuclear power is a realistic option to connect the grid in SA provided the interconnector to Victoria is upgraded.”   (Nary a word about how there’s have to be a nuclear waste dump site set up first. )

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | 1 Comment

South Australian community in Kimba alarmed: nuclear waste site “at Minister’s discretion”

radioactive trashCommunity shortlisted for nuclear waste site says consultation is driving community apart ABC Radio PM 1 Feb 16   “……..NATALIE WHITING: Three of the six sites shortlisted for Australia’s nuclear waste dump are in the federal seat of Grey in South Australia.

Two of those are in the small farming community of Kimba. Local farmer Peter Woolford says consultation about the proposal is taking its toll.

PETER WOOLFORD: The stress that’s there is quite evident, and the community is fractured…….

The Commonwealth’s consultation team has visited Kimba three times since the shortlist was announced in November.  They’ll be back again this month.

PETER WOOLFORD: They meet with groups, they meet with individuals, so to me it’s a pretty divisive thing doing it separately, and in small groups, but you know, that’s what they have to do.  They say they’re trying to get word to everybody, and I guess that’s the consultation process.

NATALIE WHITING: The Federal Government has said the shortlist will be whittled down further in March. But across the border in New South Wales, a shortlisted community has already been told they won’t be getting the dump.

The Federal Member for Calare, John Cobb, assured a packed community meeting in Hill End on the weekend that it wouldn’t be the site. He said he had already spoken with the Minister, and it would be ruled out because of community opposition. That’s frustrated some people in Kimba……..

PETER WOOLFORD: The consultation team cannot tell us what percentage is against, you know, we’ve asked that question to them, you know, what percentage against will stop this? But at the end of the day they keep saying to us that it’s up to the Minister’s discretion. And they said to us they will find a site.

NATALIE WHITING: The Commonwealth process has been running alongside South Australia’s Royal Commission into the Nuclear Cycle.

The Royal Commission will hand down its tentative findings in a fortnight. It has been investigating all possible involvement in the industry – from waste storage to power generation.

The country’s chief scientist Alan Finkel told Radio National he looks forward to advising the Commonwealth when it responds to the findings.

ALAN FINKEL: The primary focus I anticipate from the report will be on storage: is there an opportunity for Australia, in particular South Australia, to have a role in a global nuclear fuel cycle by taking the role of long term storage.

NATALIE WHITING: That goes well beyond the waste plans currently being discussed by the Government……..

February 3, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Peter Burn, Australian Industry Group’s Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust – is weakly pro nuclear

Submission pro nuclearThis is one of those pro nuclear Submissions that carefully hedges its bets, while coming out as weakly pro nuclear.

It comments on – “future world demand for nuclear fuels. We recognise that this is highly uncertain”

It even warns on the effect on Australia’s uranium industry, if nuclear reprocessing were to be adopted:   “would alter the dynamics of the world market for nuclear fuels and potentially reduce the prospects for expanded uranium mining”

Peter Burn’s Submission comes up with that interesting bit of ?logic that I keep meeting. Acknowledging that currently there is  a poor market for nuclear electricity, then his argument goes that we’d better get cracking on setting up a nuclear industry in case there’s  a big demand later!

“these facts and uncertainties mean that any investment commitments are likely to be many years away – and that now is a good time to start preparing  our energy options, including a potential nuclear generation sector.”

Like all the pro nuclear proponents, this AIG Submission calls for “review of the legal context of these developments” – i.e change Australia’s Environmental Laws.

This is not  a very enthusiastically pro nuclear Submission. It lists 7 recommendations, all of which come straight from Australia’s pro nuclear front group “Think Climate Consulting”, headed by Barry Brook.

The two major ones are a “cost benefit” study of South Australia importing nuclear waste, and of setting up nuclear recycling.  Left to Barry Brook’s nuclear lobby group, we can guess what the outcome of that study would be.

February 2, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | 1 Comment

Charles Waite’s Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust wants tax-payer to buy Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Submission pro nuclearEnergy.Proj.AU presents: C. M. Waite’s CONSOLIDATED PAPER A Submission to SA’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission C. M. Waite, M Sc, B Sc Ed .

Charles Waite’s Submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission is  a hymn of praise to new nuclear technology.

“South Australia has before it a great opportunity to PIVOT into Nuclear Energy”

“SA Government announced its $20 Billion plan to PIVOT the State to a Nuclear Energy economy”

“Molten Salt Reactors have been proven safe, viable & reliable”

And also a hymn to to those new nuclear companies, – Bill Gates’ Terra Power, Terrestrial Energy, Transatomic Power etc

Emperor's New Clothes 3

Interestingly, he does not recommend GE-Hitachi’s IFR PRISM reactor as too expensive.

Waite wants the South Australian government, i.e: the taxpayer to buy “new nukes”

“It seems to me “best” for SA to own+run some WAMSR’s, so that it has at least some customers for its processed Fuel Rods.”

“SA should consider owning some MSRs, ie, rather than being dependent on the whims of a private generator; since SA Govt’s announcement of a plan to PIVOT the State to a Nuclear Energy economy”

Waite’s chosen location for these new, untested Molten salt Nuclear Reactors?  – near South Australia’s desalination plant ?(Port Stanvac)

February 1, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | 1 Comment

AFL Footee Chief Gillon McLachlan a neanderthal anti-wind crusader

wind-farm-evil-1AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan to fight massive Mid Murray wind farm development in court, Th eAdvertiser January 30, 2016 9:50pm

Ben HydeSunday Mail AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has launched court action over the approval of a massive wind farm on the doorstep of his family’s historic Rosebank property, near Mt Pleasant.

Mr McLachlan has appealed against the approval of the $700 million wind farm, to feature 114 turbines standing up to 165m high dotted along the ranges between Palmer, Tungkillo and Sanderston.

The appeal is listed against wind farm developers Trustpower, the Mid Murray Council, Environment Protection Agency, the Planning Department and the Environment Minister.

A preliminary conference is scheduled to be heard in the Environment, Resources and Development Court by Commissioner Lolita Mohyla at 3.30pm tomorrow.

Mr McLachlan’s is one of four appeals filed against the wind farm, which was approved by the Mid Murray Council’s development assessment panel on December 18. He yesterday declined to comment about the appeal.

In December, he submitted a video message to the development assessment panel opposing the wind farm being built.

Even if it were to be conclusively established wind farms do not produce health problems, it’s annoying and affects quality of life,” he said.

“I was frankly heartbroken that this land will be forever marred by enormous man-made structures.”

 Mr McLachlan also said any wind farm would cause significant damage to the land, would hinder potential tourism opportunities and “cause extreme division in the community”………

January 31, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, wind | 1 Comment

Legal Aspects of Australian Government Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust

Submission pro nuclearThe Australian Government put in a lengthy Submission. For now, I will select just one part – what the Australian government wants, in legislation.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW In a submission that is in its overall theme, favourable to the nuclear industry, Government wants some legislative changes, quietly giving the nod to to changing Australia’s environmental laws that prohibit Australia’s  further involvement in the nuclear fuel chain:

 “Whether or not immediate opportunities exist, the Commonwealth considers that any possibilities that do emerge should not be closed off by governments where they have a demonstrated net benefit, and the risks can be managed effectively. We are working with the States and Territories on improving the regulation of nuclear industries, including by responding to technical developments and streamlining or removing unnecessary regulation.”

“Commonwealth legislation prohibits some of the activities under consideration by the Royal Commission, including construction or operation of nuclear reactors for generating electricity or facilities for enriching uranium, fabricating nuclear fuel or reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. The Commonwealth Government looks forward to considering the Royal Commission’s report, the response of the South Australian Government and the implications for Commonwealth policy and regulatory framework.”

LIABILITY LAW Secondly, the Government points to the need for laws covering liability in the case of nuclear accidents:

“Nuclear liability The IAEA and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency have developed an international regime covering compensation for damage from nuclear activities – civil nuclear liability.  Most countries undertaking nuclear activities have developed national legislation consistent with that regime, irrespective of whether they are parties to the relevant international conventions.  

Exceptionally, Australia has no special legislation covering civil nuclear liability. There are significant differences between liability under general law and liability under the international nuclear liability regime, particularly in relation to the responsibility of the facility operators and the standard of proof required.

Further involvement in the fuel cycle would require the adoption of nuclear liability legislation to ensure operators are held liable for incidents and are able to provide adequate compensation, and that claims for compensation for an accident in Australia are dealt with in Australia.”


January 31, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | 1 Comment

Christopher Camarsh Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust touts underwater nuclear reactors

Christopher Camarsh  Submission to South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

Mr Christopher Camarsh is an investment manager and Managing Director of AIXI Investments. His lengthy submission is  a detailed promotion for a company selling underwater nuclear reactors.

“The Blue Energy System (BES) is a new production system for global power generation and distribution. It utilises transportable submerged power stations produced at a central facility that can be located off shore from energy consuming centers.”

underwater nuclear reactor


Like all the company promotions to the RC, this submission sticks to its role, so of course, no attention  to comparisons to non nuclear energy systems.

However, Camarsh does give an opinion approving of South Australia as nuclear dump site

” MANAGEMENT, STORAGE AND DISPOSAL OF NUCLEAR AND RADIOACTIVE WASTE We believe that a waste, storage, disposal strategy is ultimately a sovereign matter but have strong convictions that the commission should recommend South Australia engage in this activity as it contains in our view the most suitable locations globally”

January 29, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | 1 Comment

Business South Australia wants nuclear waste import, worried about public opinion.

Submission pro nuclearBUSINESS SA’s Submission to  South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

“South Australia’s clearest economically viable expansion opportunity in the nuclear fuel cycle will be in the form of used fuel storage and disposal” 

“South Australia must focus on what the world needs, particularly in the case of used nuclear fuel storage or disposal.”

“In order to build community confidence, it is likely that a pilot storage site would need to be constructed first and this should form part of the Royal Commission’s deliberations.”

Business South Australia’s Submission clearly promotes the nuclear industry, with a commercial argument that completely ignores the negative effects that this would have on other industries in that State.

While its main focus is on the benefits of nuclear waste importing, (as a way of creating jobs, and fixing the budget deficit), Business South Australia is in fact favouring the whole nuclear fuel chain:

“the opportunity to recycle used fuel as technology advances will be lost if South Australia only considers its complete disposal. Storing used nuclear fuel in a deep geological repository will at least enable us to take advantage of advances in areas such as Generation IV nuclear reactor design”

It supports nuclear fuel reprocessing, with touching faith that a safe method will be found, some time in the future:

“Purex technology was developed in the 1950’s and the future of re-processing through the next generation of reactors should not be overlooked on the basis of the pros and cons of this technology alone. Furthermore, there is a view that in future a different process could be used to recover all anions together, including plutonium, to reduce the risks associated with Purex.”

Their submission is  ambivalent about uranium enrichment, conversion and fuel fabrication, and  nuclear power, but keen on the idea of South Australia developing  a shipping industry geared to transporting nuclear fuels and wastes.

They are reassuring about any anxieties over safe transport of radioactive materials, especially shipping, but also about air transport:

“we request the Royal Commission to investigate the practicality of using air freight to deliver used nuclear fuel to a dedicated air strip adjoining a storage or disposal site.”

The State Government’s Industry Participation Advocate is seen to be an important aid to their case for South Australia expanding its nuclear industry role.

Business South Australia is worried about public opinion – it seems that they would like to have nuclear matters decided on by nuclear experts, rather than by the people of South Australia:

“ the Royal Commission should not be fixated on just what the general public prefers, but rather what is in the best interests of the State.”

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | 1 Comment

Anti nuclear atomic physicist is South Australia’s Senior Citizen of The Year

Oliphant, Monica copyAustralia Day: Scientist Monica Oliphant powers on to realise renewable energy vision, ABC News, By Nicola Gage  25 Jan 16,  Age seems to be no barrier for pioneering scientist and South Australia’s Senior Citizen of the Year Monica Oliphant. After more than half a century dedicating her life to the renewable energy sector, she has hardly slowed down, at a time when clean energy has become very much mainstream.

“There’s no limit almost to what they can be used for,” she said. “Power generation, charging electric vehicles, charging up your mobile phone, lots of applications.”

But when the passionate physicist began working in the sector, all of those applications were just a thought bubble.

So too were women in science. In the early 60s, Ms Oliphant was the only female in her class to complete her honours in physics. That is where she met her husband Michael, the son of Australia’s pre-eminent scientist and former South Australian governor, Sir Mark Oliphant. She said her father-in-law pushed her to continue with her work.

“I was in awe of him but he did inspire me to always say your mind and to not be frightened of saying what you think,” she said.  It was advice she held on to throughout her 18 years at South Australia’s Electricity Trust, when renewables were viewed with suspicion…….

Renewable energy vision becomes mainstream

Slowly, she worked her way out of the corner, with her research helping to prove the worth of solar panels, as the sector became more financially viable.

“I would think that the big break was the German-introduced feed-in tariff,” Ms Oliphant said.

“South Australia was the first to pick up in Australia and that has helped reduce costs and it has taken off since then…….

Last year she travelled overseas to help with a renewable energy project in China.

Ms Oliphant considers herself a tree-hugger and despite beginning her career in atomic energy, she said there was no need for South Australia to invest in nuclear energy.

A royal commission is currently underway into the state’s nuclear fuel cycle.

“For South Australia, with 41 per cent of intermittent renewables on our energy mix, we just don’t need nuclear energy,” Ms Oliphant said.

She said from the beginning, she was confident renewable energy would one day move from the fringe, to the mainstream. “I was sure that it would eventually, not sure why, but I was sure and I wanted to be with it all the way,” she said….

January 28, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Australia | 2 Comments


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