Australian news, and some related international items

Dennis Matthews on the agendas and style of submissions to the draft ToR of the Nuclear Royal Commission

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionDennis Matthews, 23 Apr 15 I have just finished reading submissions to the draft terms of reference of the inquiry into the so-called “nuclear fuel cycle”. I was struck by the fawning attitude of many submissions from those who have a vested interest in the nuclear industry, and by the derogatory language used to describe those who oppose the nuclear industry.

One submission from an organisation with an apparent vested interest offered to help the commission with “independent” experts, whilst another claimed to be neither “pro nor anti-nuclear”.

Concerns about the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters were dismissed as based on ideology.

news-nukePro-nuclear submissions referred to “every anti-nuke zombie” “lurching out of their coffins”, to “an ignorant and anti-scientific audience”, to “fear mongers”, to the “anti-nuclear lobby fear industry”, to “anti-nuclear propaganda”, and to “emotive arguments”.

The confidence with which supporters of the nuclear industry addressed their inappropriate remarks to the inquiry does nothing to allay fears that there is a strong pro-nuclear undercurrent to the inquiry.


April 23, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

Australia breaches international law in evicting remote Aboriginal communities

handsoffIn 2011, Barnett’s government displayed a brutality in the community of Oombulgurri which the other homelands can expect. “First, the government closed the services,” wrote Tammy Solonec of Amnesty International:

It closed the shop, so people could not buy food and essentials. It closed the clinic, so the sick and the elderly had to move, and the school, so families with children had to leave, or face having their children taken away from them. The police station was the last service to close, then eventually the electricity and water were turned off. Finally, the 10 residents who resolutely stayed to the end were forcibly evicted [leaving behind] personal possessions. [Then] the bulldozers rolled into Oombulgurri. The WA government has literally dug a hole and in it buried the rubble of people’s homes and personal belongings.

In South Australia, the state and federal governments launched a similar attack on the 60 remote Indigenous communities.

The closure of Indigenous homelands breaches Article 5 of the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Evicting Indigenous Australians from their homelands is a declaration of war John Pilger, Guardian 23 Apr 15  Australia occasionally interrupts its ‘normal’ mistreatment of Aboriginal people to deliver a frontal assault, like the closure of Western Australia’s homelands   

Australia has again declared war on its Indigenous people, reminiscent of the brutality that brought universal condemnation on apartheid South Africa. Aboriginal people are to be driven from homelands where their communities have lived for thousands of years. In Western Australia, where mining companies make billion dollar profits exploiting Aboriginal land, the state government says it can no longer afford to “support” the homelands.

Vulnerable populations, already denied the basic services most Australians take for granted, are on notice of dispossession without consultation, and eviction at gunpoint. Aboriginal leaders have warned of “a new generation of displaced people” and “cultural genocide”.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, has revived this assault on a people who represent Australia’s singular uniqueness. Soon after coming to office, the federal government cut $534m in Indigenous social programs, including $160m from the Indigenous health budget and $13.4m from Indigenous legal aid. …….

In announcing that the Australian government would no longer honour the longstanding commitment to Aboriginal homelands, Abbott sneered, “It’s not the job of the taxpayers to subsidise lifestyle choices.” Continue reading

April 23, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, Western Australia | Leave a comment

France’s involvement in South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission

scrutiny-Royal-Commission-1This Nuclear Royal Commission is becoming a bigger farce with each passing day!

We already knew that the Royal Commission was seeking help from Canada- notorious for the corruption in its nuclear industry

The Advertiser (South Australia’s voice for the nuclear industry) has informed us , apparently with joy and delight, that:

“The French want to sell the state their world-leading uranium enrichment and electricity-generating nuclear technology.”

“Suggestions proposed by the French have already been incorporated into its terms of reference”

“the French Ambassador, Christophe Lecourtier, also briefed Mr Weatherill on the transformation of the regional economy of Normandy, as host to significant sectors of French’s nuclear industry.

The ambassador argued parallels could be found with the South Australian economy if it were to become the home of a fledgling Australian uranium enrichment and nuclear energy industry.

Normandy has the French government’s most modern and main export reactor design, the so-called European pressurised reactor (EPR), which is currently under construction.”

It all sounds so very fine and dandy.


1 France’s Nuclear Financial Crisis France’s State owned nuclear company AREVA now a costly burden  France’s nuclear corporation AREVA in deep financial trouble – needs tax-payer bailout.

2. France’s Nuclear Safety Crisis UK nuclear strategy faces meltdown as faults are found in identical French project.  Future of the entire Flamanville-3  project in doubt, with more problems at EPR nuclear reactor


April 22, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

South Australia faces job losses if Renewable Energy Target is cut

Map-South-Australia-windgreen-collarRenewable Energy Target: Conservation Foundation warns cut would threaten potential SA jobs The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says South Australia could lose up to $6 billion worth of investment, if the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is reduced.

The Federal Government wants to cut the target from 41,000 gigawatt hours to less than 32,000 gigawatt hours by 2020.

The foundation’s energy analyst, Tristan Knowles, said leaving the target as is would have huge benefits for South Australia.

“The bigger picture here if the RET isn’t weakened is that there’s 10 wind projects across South Australia that have been approved and the investment potential for those is about $6 billion and if they went ahead there’d be over 6,000 construction jobs and 31 ongoing jobs,” he said.

“So there’s a lot of potential.”

“South Australia was the only state that saw a drop between 2009 and 2014, so if these projects go ahead, they will generate jobs in construction and in ongoing maintenance and operations.”

April 22, 2015 Posted by | employment, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

First Nuclear Royal Commission Issues paper indicates an expensive farce

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionThe paper appears to be totally confused by what is a cyclic process. For example, the phrase “once-through” cycle is an oxymoron and reprocessing spent fuel is just that, not recycling. These terms come from the nuclear industry’s spin doctors.

Nowhere in this Issues Paper is information given on Government funding of the nuclear industry either directly in the form of grants and through government supplied services such as exploration, testing, environmental, and occupational health and safety services or indirect in the form of administrative services associated with the nuclear industry. We have no way of telling, for example, whether government expenditure has been recouped through royalties.

EXPLORATION, EXTRACTION AND MILLING (of Uranium and Thorium),  critique by Dennis Matthews, 20 Apr 15 

This, the first issues paper of the SA Government’s commission into expanding SA’s role in the nuclear industry, will confirm the worst fears of those who suspect that this commission is an expensive farce funded by the taxpayers of SA , and that the decision to expand the nuclear industry in SA is an ALP-LP-nuclear industry done deal.

The issues paper is the product of the SA Government’s mining bureaucracy, a bureaucracy that has a long history of a gung-ho environmental vandalism in the name of development. In the days when uranium mining was being considered at Roxby, Beverley and Honeymoon it was called the Dept of Mines & Energy but was known in the environment circles as the Dept of Mines & Mines, there never was any interest in anything form of energy other than coal, gas, oil and uranium.

Thanks to the Australian Democrats we got the Renewable Energy Target (RET) which overnight led to significant investment in wind energy in SA. We then got an even better result in the form of rooftop solar, the ultimate challenge to the fossil-nuclear fuel lobby and to multinational energy corporations in general. Not surprisingly the Liberal-Labor duopoly is now trying to reverse this challenge to big business’ control over electricity generation. To a ruling duopoly, which has given us widespread privatisation of essential services, consumer control over electricity generation is anathema.

The issues paper has four sections. Continue reading

April 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, reference, South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear Royal Commission needs balance – Jim Green

Green,Jim20 Apr 15 The SA government’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission kicks off in Mount Gambier  today Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia, said:

“Kevin Scarce promised a ‘balanced’ royal commission but three of the five members of his ‘expert panel’ are pro-nuclear, with just one critic. There’s nothing wrong with including nuclear advocates on the panel but there should be balance.

“One way or another Kevin Scarce needs to act to restore credibility to the Royal Commission. Otherwise it will be treated with the same ridicule as the Switkowski Review, which was comprised entirely of ‘people who want nuclear power by Tuesday’ according to comedian John Clarke.”

Despite its bias, the 2006 Switkowski Review was sceptical about proposals to expand Australia’s role in the nuclear fuel cycle, as was BHP Billiton in its submission to the Switkowski Review (see attachment below). Conditions are no more favourable now than in 2006. Despite the hype about a nuclear ‘renaissance’, the number of reactors has declined over the past decade.

Dr Green said: “Presumably the Royal Commission sees Mount Gambier as a potential site for a nuclear power reactor. The local community should consider the legacy of high-level nuclear waste that would remain in the Mount Gambier region indefinitely since there is no disposal site for high-level nuclear waste in Australia − or anywhere in the world for that matter. The only deep underground nuclear waste repository in the world − in the US state of New Mexico − has been shut down following an underground chemical explosion that spewed radiation to the outside environment and contaminated 22 workers.

nuke-tap“Nuclear power is incredibly thirsty − a single reactor requires 35−65 millions litres of cooling water daily. The huge water intake pipes destroy marine life by the tonnes.”

The local community should also consider scientific research linking nuclear reactors to increases in childhood leukemias. UK radiation biologist Dr Ian Fairlie notes that over 60 studies have examined cancer incidence in children near nuclear power plants and more than 70% of those studies found increased cancer rates. Dr Fairlie concludes that “the matter is now beyond question, i.e. there’s a very clear association between increased child leukemias and proximity to nuclear power plants”.1

text-risk-assessment“The community of south-east SA also needs to consider the small risk of a catastrophic accident. The costs of the Fukushima disaster in Japan will probably exceed $500 billion − more than enough to ruin not only the local economy but the entire state’s economy,” Dr Green concluded.

Contact: Jim Green 0417 318 368,



ATTACHMENT Continue reading

April 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia | 2 Comments

Be aware of the Pro Nuclear Royal Commission’s publicity meetings in South Australia

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionThe Commissioner will be undertaking a series of community engagements during the Royal Commission.

The first of these community engagement visits are listed below.

  •    20 April 2015:  Mount Gambier
  •    30 April 2015:  Port Augusta
  •    01 May 2015:  Port Augusta/Port Pirie
  •    05 May 2015: Berri
  •    11-14 May 2015: Remote Aboriginal Communities (locations to be confirmed).

Further information will be posted on this site when available.

April 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Guide to submissions to South Australia’s Pro Nuclear Royal Commission

scrutiny-Royal-Commission-1Submissions to the Royal Commission have to be in by July 24.

Well, they seem to be making this as difficult as possible for the ordinary peasant.  You have to register at the website, you have to read the Issues Papers, and abide by their guidelines.  (So far, only one Issues Paper is  available Exploration, Extraction and Milling, with 3 more supposed to come later – Further Processing and Manufacture  Electricity Generation  Management, Storage and Disposal of Waste) Anything you want to say outside of their stated questions must not go into your submission, but be attached as an Appendix.

The submission must be in their stated form, as an affidavit, witnessed as a legal document.

Most of the stated questions are worded in such a way that they invite positive opinions about the industry. Having said all this – there still is scope to raise some pertinent questions to the Commission. For example – these 3 curly ones:

1.7 Is there a sound basis for concluding that there will be increased demand for uranium in the medium and long term? Would that increased demand translate to investment in expanded uranium production capacity in South Australia (bearing in mind other sources of supply and the nature of South Australia’s resources?). Figure 4: World Uranium Production and Demand 10 Figure 5: Traded price for uranium 

 1.10 Would a future expansion of exploration, extraction and milling activities create new environmental risks or increase existing risks? If so, are current strategies for managing those new risks sufficient? If not, in what specific respects? How would any current approach need to changed or adapted?

1.13 Would an increase in extraction activities give rise to negative impacts on other sectors of the economy? Have such impacts been demonstrated elsewhere in Australia or in other economies similar to Australia?”

April 19, 2015 Posted by | ACTION, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | 2 Comments

Kevin Scarce kicks off the SA Nuclear Royal Commission with a warning about people being “emotional”

Scarce,--Kevin-glowKevin Scarce expects debate around the future of the nuclear fuel cycle in SA to be ‘emotional’ CAMERON ENGLAND THE ADVERTISER APRIL 17, 2015 “……. Commissioner Scarce said he expected there to be a lot of “emotion” associated with the debate, and he was committed to running a transparent process.

“Today really is the start of business,’’ Commissioner Scarce said. “We are issuing our first issues paper which covers the opportunity to expand mining and exploration, and also the risks and costs of doing that……..

“I think there’s going to be a lot of emotion about the nuclear industry. We can’t walk away from the factcartoon- emotional that when there are accidents they are catastrophic and I would expected there will be a lot of emotion about the risks, the impact on the environment, and I want to encourage people, again in an evidence-based way, to give us their views on that, but at the end of the day, the purpose of a Royal Commission is to inquire and to get evidence-based information back…….

The issues paper addresses issues around exploration, mining and milling uranium, and poses 13 questions for discussion around what could be done to foster more activity, whether that is economically viable, and what the environmental and social costs might be.

Three further issues papers will be released over the next two to three weeks, looking at fuel management and storage, fuel enrichment and power generation.

Commissioner Scarce said once all of the issues papers were released there would be 90 days for companies, organisations and individuals to make submissions.

“The we’ll take all of that evidence, bring it together in a report, and then we will engage the community in the outcomes of all of the reports that come to us through the issues papers.’’

Commissioner Scarce will spend the next month travelling to areas such as Aboriginal communities including the APY Lands, and Maralinga and regional areas including Port Pirie and Whyalla……

April 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Jetsetting for South Australia’s Pro Nuclear Royal Commissioner, and who else?

Scarce,--Kevin-glowInternational nuclear-site visit on cards for royal commissioner MEREDITH BOOTH THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 18, 2015

South Australia’s nuclear fuel cycle royal commissioner Kevin Scarce will visit nuclear sites in Finland, France, Britain and Japan as well as prioritise talks with indigenous people before reporting his findings on May 6 next year……
Later this year, the commission would visit countries successfully using nuclear power and storage, as well as Japan, which was hit by the devastating nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant in March 2011…….


April 18, 2015 Posted by | politics international, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian Commission chief Kevin Scarce already aligns himself with the nuclear industry

Scarce,--Kevin-glowDennis Matthews 17 April 15 Commissioner Kevin Scarce has made an unconvincing start to his inquiry into the nuclear industry, now officially “The Nuclear Fuel Cycle” Royal Commissioner.

By accepting the nuclear industry spin that it is a nuclear fuel cycle he has immediately identified himself with the nuclear industry. Do we talk about the coal fuel cycle or the gas fuel cycle? No, like nuclear fuel these are one way processes – fuel in, heat and waste out.

It is typical of the nuclear industry that they would like to give the impression that it is otherwise – fuel in, more fuel out – a mirage fostered by its so-called fast breeder programme, itself another example of nuclear spin. The only thing fast about fast breeders is that they use fast neutrons to attempt to slowly produce nuclear fuel in a nuclear reactor. This technology has not only failed to produce significant amounts of nuclear fuel but has rapidly consumed huge amounts of tax payers money.

If Kevin Scarce and the SA Government want to retain any skerrick of credibility then they will take immediate steps to change the name to the “Nuclear Industry” commission.


April 17, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

S.A. Nuclear Royal Commission to Mt Gambier: note the issues that will NOT be on the agenda

They don’t mention the health and environmental aspects of the nuclear fuel chain. They don’t mention the national laws that will have to be overturned. They don’t mention the existing problems from Australia’s history of uranium mining.

And then there’s the continuing nuclear radiation crisis at Fukushima – you can bet that will not be on the agenda. Nor will they be talking about the global nuclear decline in the nuclear industry, and the fact that the new geewhiz nuclear reprocessing reactors (a) don’t exist yet and (b) nobody wants to invest in them

scrutiny-Royal-Commission17 APRIL 2015 – NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE ROYAL COMMISSION VISITS MOUNT GAMBIER The first public forum of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission will be held in Mount Gambier on Monday 20 April – the formal start of a three month state-wide community engagement program.

The public meeting to be held at City Hall at midday is an opportunity for community, industry and other interested stakeholders to hear more about the Royal Commission and how they might take part in the process. It will also be the first time the Commission’s Issues Papers will be presented to the public for comment.

While in Mount Gambier, Royal Commissioner Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR (Rtd) will also meet with city representatives and community leaders.

Key areas of discussion will include those activities relating to the potential for the expansion of exploration and extraction of minerals; the undertaking of further processing of minerals and manufacture of materials containing radioactive substances; the use of nuclear fuels for electricity generation; and the storage and disposal of radioactive and nuclear waste……


April 17, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

David Noonan’s Submission to the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission, proposed Terms of Reference

scrutiny-Royal-Commission-1Monday 9 March 2015, David Noonan, B.Sc., M.Env.St

To: The Attorney-General’s Department of South Australia

Re: Public submission to the SA Nuclear Royal Commission, proposed Terms of Reference

Nuclear is not ‘peaceful’. Nuclear waste imposes unique risks and unacceptable impacts. Nuclear actions before this Commission are National issues affecting the rights and interests of all Australians. No State administration has a right to impose nuclear risks and impacts on others.

Proposed Term of Reference to direct the Nuclear Royal Commission:

To inquire into and report on the Democratic and Legal Rights, and the Civil and Human Rights, including to Environmental Protection, to Sustainability, to Health and to Non-Imposition of Nuclear actions, that are at stake and subject to nuclear actions before this Commission.”

Political Leadership in South Australia by Liberal Premier John Olsen in 2000 prohibited International and key National nuclear wastes. Nuclear waste proposals before this Commission are illegal in SA.

Under the “Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000”, the import, transport, storage and disposal of any wastes derived from nuclear reactors, or uranium enrichment plants, or from the conditioning and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, is prohibited. The construction and operation of such nuclear waste facilities is against the law in our State. The Objects of this important 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.”
Continue reading

April 15, 2015 Posted by | ACTION, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian government gives funding for mining exploration

South-Australia-nuclearSA Government commits $2 million to mining exploration projects
The South Australian Government says now is the time to invest in exploration projects, after granting a range of mining companies funding for exploration drilling. …

Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said it would enable those companies to stimulate the next crop of greenfield discoveries.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

“This is the way to build our extensive knowledge of what deposits we have in South Australia, we spend a lot of money on pre-competitive data, going out doing geological surveys to try and understand where the copper is, where the uranium is, where the iron-ore is,” he said.

April 15, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Federal funding for South Australia’s remote Aboriginal communities

Future of remote Aboriginal communities secured by deal between SA and federal governments ABC Radio The World Today  By Natalie Whiting, 13 Apr 15 Nicola Gage & staff The future of remote Aboriginal communities in South Australia has been secured by a deal between the state and federal governments.

There were concerns communities could close because of Federal funding cuts to essential services, including rubbish collection, sewerage, power and water.

However, a compromise announced this morning will see the Federal Government continue to pay for services in the APY Lands, for the time being. Continue reading

April 15, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment


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