Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear Royal Commission puts up barriers to community participation

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINConservation Council of South Australia, 22 May 15 The SA Nuclear Royal Commission is putting huge barriers in the way of the community to formally participate in the current submission process, with Aboriginal people, people from remote, regional or rural areas, youth, and those with language difficulties particularly affected.

The Royal Commission is currently calling for public input in response to a series of Issues Papers. However, in the Submissions Guidelines they insist that submissions must be typed (not hand-written), and before lodging, a person has to swear in front of a Justice of the Peace (or equivalent) that it is their work.

“This requirement to find a JP will make it very difficult for many in remote areas, and especially for Aboriginal people of South Australia,” said Karina Lester, Yankunytjatjara Anangu Traditional Owner.

“How many JP’s live on the APY Lands or Maralinga Tjarutja Lands. How far does one have to travel to track down a JP?

“This is very unfair of the Commission to put these requirements in place as this will disengage the community and it will be all too hard to put in a submission.

“All South Australians need to contribute into this Royal Commission and feel that they have been consulted the right way.

“Anangu and the Aboriginal people of South Australia have been the ones directly impacted by the Nuclear Industry in the past.  The Government of SA are not learning from the past and hearing and respecting the voices of those who have lost loved ones, lost their sight, skin infections, cancers, and the list goes on,” said Ms Lester.

A sworn oath in front of a Justice of the Peace to lodge a submission is:
– NOT required under the Royal Commissions Act 1917
– NOT required for equivalent Federal or State Parliamentary inquiries

“ Requiring a member of the public to travel to a JP and swear an oath in front of them before they can lodge a submission is a highly unusual, unnecessary and surprising restriction which will stop people getting involved,” said Conservation Council SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins.

“If they are concerned about fake or spam submissions, all they need is for individuals to self declare and sign a coversheet. To be forced to swear an oath in front of a JP just to have your say is simply not necessary.

“Rather than creating a genuine community conversation as the Premier hoped, barriers like this will directly prevent a large number South Australians from participating and submitting their views.

“We urge the Commission to change their rules to allow as many South Australians as possible to participate, ” he said.

The last of 3 public information sessions about the Royal Commission will be held today at Adelaide University at 1pmMedia Contact: Meg Sobey, Communications Officer, 0411 028 930


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

South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission Community Consultation Coober Pedy 14 May 2015

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN Transcript by Noel Wauchope, 20 May 2015   This transcript is a reliable account of the proceedings, but is not word for word accurate. As far as possible, I have used the exact words.

KEVIN SCARCE:  My name’s Kevin  I have also here members of my team – Greg  Ward, Wes Taylor, Mary – .  About three months ago the governmnet decided that they wanted an inquiry into the nuclear fuel cycle, so they decided on  a Royal Commission. I have the Terms of Reference..I am responsible to investigate this. My job is to answer the four questions in the Terms of reference. By the end of this process I will deliver a Report to government, by 6th May 2016.
The reasons for this Royal Commission are:
1. It’s an independent inquiry
2. The second reason for a Royal Commission is that it is evidence-based. There is a lot of feeling in the community, about the nuclear fuel cycle. It is important to unearth the facts and also to examine the risks, – so that we have a basis for progress. We can think of this as an opportunity for the future.
3. Thirdly – the purpose to unearth facts. Royal Commissions are  a trusted venue for unearthing facts.
 First I’ll talk about we mean by the nuclear fuel cycle, and what we are attempting to do n this year long examination of the nuclear fuel cycle. I’ll talk about the processes of that cycle.Then about how you can help. I’ll talk about the process we are going to use to engage the community. The nuclear fuel cycle entails  the mining and processing of uranium,  manufacturing of nuclear fuel, and power generation , and storage of wastes – the costs and the risks – 

Continue reading

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors touted to the South Australian Royal Commission

SA inquiry hears of new breed of small nuclear reactors, Financial Review, by Simon Evans, 19 May 15   “…………..The nuclear royal commission being headed by former South Australian governor Kevin Scarce will examine the suitability of small reactors in the Australian energy market and will also scrutinise emerging technologies known as fast neutron reactors. The commission started in mid-April and Mr Scarce has held several community forums across South Australia in the past few weeks and is holding open sessions at the state’s three universities, including Adelaide University, over the next three days starting on May 19.

SMRs Australia

 Those fast neutron reactors are referred to in the industry as Generation IV reactors………….

 The issues paper says some of the new-generation reactors are “designed to use thorium as a fuel”. …………

Mr Scarce also points out that in Britain, which has a deregulated electricity market like the NEM, a new nuclear power generation project for Hinkley Point in Somerset had developed a regulated “contract for difference” model for the purchase of the electricity supplied by the facility to retailers. The £16 billion ($31.30 billion) project, which is being developed by French utility EDF, has started earthworks but there have been delays because of uncertainty around the final investment decision for what would be Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in two decades……..

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | 1 Comment

South Australia’s Pro Nuclear Royal Commission to visit Fukushima and elsewhere

Fukushima deformed  structureNuclear Royal Commission to visit Fukushima disaster area, Adelaide Now PAUL STARICK CHIEF REPORTER THE ADVERTISER MAY 17, 2015  FORMER governor Kevin Scarce will inspect the Fukushima region, which was ravaged by a nuclear power plant accident, as part of the Royal Commission he is leading.

His three-person delegation next week will study the failed processes which resulted in a significant amount of radioactive waste being released into the atmosphere at the Daiichi Nuclear Plant in March, 2011.

They expect to go inside the 30km nuclear disaster exclusion zone, from which more than 150,000 people were ordered to evacuate as a result of the accident, caused by coolant loss following a tsunami.

“We’ll be looking at technologies in Japan and we’ll also be looking to talk to people who are against the nuclear fuel cycle,” Rear Admiral Scarce said.

The fact-finding mission is part of a global study tour of more than a fortnight, which also includes Taiwan, Finland, Austria, France and the United Kingdom……..

The delegation also will visit the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations agency which promotes the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies……..

he said SA needed to examine future economic opportunities as car and component manufacturing closes or declines……

Rear Admiral Scarce has completed community meetings across the state in venues including Mount Gambier, Port Augusta, Berri, Coober Pedy, Maralinga, Oak Valley and Umuwa on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands.

The Royal Commission’s community meetings this week will be held at UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus tomorrow, Flinders University’s Tonsley Park campus on Wednesday and Adelaide University’s Bonython Hall on Friday. See for details.

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

Senator Bob Day wants nuclear submarines built in South Australia

Day, Bob nukes  9 February 2015 Family First Senator Bob Day today welcomed the South Australian Government’s move for a Royal Commission into the nuclear industry, saying the decision has enhanced prospects for submarines to be built in South Australia….

“On nuclear-powered subs, since 1 July in Federal Parliament I’ve been urging the Senate to follow the example of the late Norm Foster, the former Labor MP who had the courage to cross the floor to support uranium mining at Olympic Dam.  Now the Government is going a step further to investigate how the nuclear industry would benefit South Australia.”

“This opens the door to nuclear submarines.  I’ve been an advocate for nuclear submarines for many years, and the former Defence Minister welcomed my ‘opening the nuclear submarines debate’ during Question Time late last year [video]. One of the major obstacles to Australia considering nuclear submarines has been the absence of a domestic nuclear industry.”……


May 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Canadian nuclear manufacturer to make submission to #NuclearCommission SAust



The Australian pro nuclear Thorium lobby has asked the Canadian firm Terrestrial Energy to put in a Submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.  This company is trying to market the  Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR).

Australians need to be aware of the agressive marketing methods of the purveyors of these new, untested highly expensive nuclear gimmicks.


May 14, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

Crystal ball-gazing in South Australia’s Nuclear Commission ISSUES PAPER No. 3

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionDennis Matthews, 13 May 15 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE (sic) ROYAL COMMISSION ISSUES PAPER THREE


Once again we have an issues paper full of pro-nuclear conjecture and crystal ball-gazing with statements like “research has been undertaken”, “under development”, “are proposed”,   “soon to demonstrate”, “could potentially”, “could, if commercialised”, “may be”,” might encourage” and “could have”.  The history of the nuclear industry is a history of overstated optimism. Policy makers would do well to stick to the facts rather than optimistic forecasts from vested interests.

Ionising has been constantly dropped from “ionising radiation”, especially in the section on operational health and safety.  At best this is sloppy science but given the history of the nuclear industry, it might well be considered mischievous.

The word “nuclear” is frequently dropped especially when talking about nuclear reactors. This demonstrates the sensitivity of the nuclear industry to its image. Ironically, the nuclear industry appears to be loathe to admit that it has anything to do with its own scientific and technical foundation. Continue reading

May 13, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment


Should SA accept high-level nuclear waste from overseas?
How much money might be made by taking nuclear waste from other countries? There is no precedent to base an estimate on. It is doubtful whether it would generate any more
than a fraction of the revenue that some lobbyists claim it might. There are many constraints, such as the fact that some countries with significant nuclear power programs − such as Russia, France, and India − operate reprocessing plants so would be unlikely to want to send spent fuel to Australia. BHP Billiton’s submission to the Switkowski Review states
that the utilities to which it sells uranium “generally regard their spent fuel as an asset”.
Prof. John Veevers from Macquarie University states: “Tonnes of enormously dangerous
radioactive waste in the northern hemisphere, 20,000 kms from its destined dump in
Australia where it must remain intact for at least 10,000 years. These magnitudes − of
tonnage, lethality, distance of transport, and time − entail great inherent risk.
scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINSOUTH AUSTRALIA’S NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE ROYAL COMMISSION ISSUES- SUMMARY -May 2015 Prepared on behalf of the Conservation Council SA by Dr Jim Green, Friends of the Earth, Melbourne. The Conservation Council of South Australia (Conservation SA) is the peak environment group in the state, representing around 50 non-profit environmental organisations.
Conservation SA does not support an expansion of South Australia’s role in the nuclear cycle. Uranium mining in SA has a history of very significant environmental impacts that show no signs of abating. The nuclear industry has caused suffering and displacement of Aboriginal communities over many decades, from the toxic legacy of Maralinga nuclear testing, uranium mining operations and attempts to impose unwanted nuclear waste dumps.
All forms of energy generation have some environmental impact. To determine the lowest impact options, we need to assess each technology across its entire life cycle. Unfortunately, this is rarely done. Emissions from the nuclear fuel cycle will increase as relatively high-grade uranium ores are mined out and are replaced by the mining of lower-grade ores. Nuclear power brings with it a range of unavoidable risks to public health and safety that other energy options simply do not. Nuclear is also a high-cost option that has never been viable without generous taxpayer support.
The Royal Commission provides an opportunity for all of the impacts of the nuclear fuel cycle to be assessed, and Conservation SA will be actively participating to ensure that it does. This document outlines a summary of our thinking. For more information see the full issues paper.

Continue reading

May 13, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

Millions are being wasted on a commission dominated by pro-nuclear interests

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINDennis Matthews 11 May 15 The energy and capital intensive, economically and environmentally disastrous, desalination plant fiasco (The Advertiser, 11/5/15) epitomises the mental bankruptcy of the South Australian Liberal-Labor duopoly.

Hard on the heels of the desalination disaster comes an equally desperate proposal by the Liberal-Labor duopoly – the expansion of the nuclear industry in South Australia. This capital intensive, environmentally and economically disastrous proposal comes at a time when South Australia could be capitalising on its natural advantage in renewable energy.

Millions are  being wasted on a commission dominated by pro-nuclear interests whilst essential services such as regional hospitals are being closed thereby shifting health costs onto taxpayers in regional areas.

And amongst the ideas being discussed by the Scarce Commission is guess what – a nuclear powered desalination plant.

Talk about slow learners.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

Govt secretive about 4 sites volunteered in South Australia for nuclear waste storage

secret-agent-AustRemote sites in South Australia offered for nuclear dump , THE AUSTRALIAN, 9 May 15   Up to four sites in South Australia’s far north have been put forward as potential radioactive waste dumps.

The federal government, however, is officially remaining tight-lipped about the response to its call in March for voluntary site nominations for a national radioactive waste facility, which closed on Tuesday.Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane’s office refused yesterday to say how many nominations had been received or where they had originated.

“There won’t be details or a breakdown of nominated sites released­ at this early stage,” a spokeswoman said. “Information about shortlisted sites will be released after an initial assessment period and after consideration by the minister. That is expected to be completed around July.”

A preferred site is not expected to be identified until at least the middle of next year.

This week the government released a request for tender on Austender, seeking expressions of interest from “suitable companies to undertake the necessary site characterisation work”.

The request also seeks the successful tenderer to assist in the “development of a detailed business case which will inform the government’s decision as to whether to proceed with the project and its cost”.

Federal Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey said his vast electorate of Grey, in South Australia’s far north, was anRamsey,-Rowan-nuclear ideal site for a radioactive waste dump as it was remote, sparsely populated and geologically stable. He said he had tried to nominate his own 2400ha farm, but was asked not to by Mr Macfarlane because of concerns of a potential conflict of interest.

“But as a consequence my understanding is there have been a number of other properties nominated in my community. I’ve encouraged people right across the board to nominate,” Mr Ramsey said. “I understand as many as four sites have been nominated in my electorate.”

The search for a site intensified last year after the federal government failed to convince a Northern Territory community to build a facility on its land.

This comes as South Australia’s royal commission into an expansion of the state’s role in the nuclear cycle picks up pace. Among other issues, the commission will examine whether to store international radioactive waste……..

May 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia Nuclear Royal Commission Issues Paper 4 – misleading and serious omissions

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN

the issues paper appears to be talking about a so-called public-private-partnership (PPT).

 There is no mention of “user pays” or “polluter pays” principles. Nor is there any discussion of the role of Government economic regulation of such a venture.




Once again, the word “ionising” has been omitted from “ionising radiation”. It is hard to believe that this is an oversight and appears to be a deliberate move by the nuclear industry to play down the fact that radiation from radioactive substances is very different in its effect on living tissue from other forms of radiation such as visible light and radio waves.

In addition a new ploy has emerged, not only has nuclear waste been differentiated from radioactive waste but in the majority of cases it is simply referred to as “waste” and we end up with terms like “waste disposal facility”.

I anticipate that in the near future the nuclear industry, its fellow travellers, and the unsuspecting public will be using these sterilised and  misleading terms. For example, it would be a simple matter to quote sections of the issues papers out of context in such a way that terms like “radiation”, “waste” and “waste disposal facility” can be bandied about until they become the standard.

As previously, there is widespread use of terms like “proposed”, “under development”, “being developed”, “would involve”, and research is “ongoing”. Such terms have no place in a document that is being used to determine government policy, especially on such a contentious issue as expansion of the nuclear industry.

This issues paper is in three sections: Nuclear and Radioactive Waste, Facilities and Techniques for the Management, Storage and Disposal of (nuclear and radioactive) Waste, and Risks and Opportunities.


Continue reading

May 8, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | 1 Comment

Dennis Matthews exposes South Australia Royal Commission “Issues Paper 2″ spin

In relation to the dangers of ionising radiation the issues paper refers simply to “radiation” thereby lumping it together with electromagnetic radiation including such innocuous things as visible light and radio waves.

radiation spectrum

Dennis Matthews, 8 May 15  NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE (sic) ROYAL COMMISSION

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionISSUES PAPER TWOhighly-recommended


Two things stand out in this the second Issues Paper for the Scarce Nuclear Industry Commission.

One is the consistent use of pro-nuclear jargon/spin, the other is the frequency with which statements are accompanied by provisos.

The pro-nuclear jargon/spin started right from the beginning of this whole process with the name of the Commission. Instead of using the neutral, straight forward term “nuclear industry”, the value –laden, scientifically incorrect, misleading phrase “nuclear fuel cycle” was chosen. This was accompanied by similarly misleading, nuclear industry, feel-good phrases such as “value adding” and “enrichment”.

The most obvious nuclear industry ploy used in this discussion paper is to refer to “radiation” rather than “ionising radiation”. This is unscientific, misleading and potentially confusing to many readers who are familiar with the fact that “radiation” includes microwaves, radiowaves, visible light, and infrared radiation, none of which is ionising.

This issues paper makes frequent use of vague terms such as “may allow”, “ongoing”, “possible”, “currently being developed”, “may be”, “could be influenced”, “being developed”, and “emerging technologies”. These are hardly encouraging or appropriate terms for producing serious policy, especially on such a contentious issue as expanding the nuclear industry in SA.

This issues paper is in four sections: Further Processing, Manufacture, Viability, and Risks and Opportunities. Continue reading

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

South Australia gets world class floating solar system – by an Australian company

highly-recommendedAustralian company creates world-first floating solar system NEWS.COM.AU MAY 02, 2015 AN AUSTRALIAN company is leading the way for renewable energy after creating a world-first floating solar system.

Infratech Industries selected the Northern Areas Council Waste Water Treatment Plant in South Australia as the first location to implement the new system.

Director Felicia Whiting said it is expected the innovative technology will generate an estimated 57 per cent more power than fixed land-based systems.

solar floating S Aust

“The proprietary tracking, cooling and concentrating technology uses water to counteract the gradual loss of output caused by overheating solar panels to create a better performing and more efficient system,” she said.

“The Northern Areas Council will reap additional economic benefits with a cost saving of approximately 15 per cent on their current energy expenditure, plus an additional one per cent margin on the excess energy provided to the local community.”

  • Ms Whiting said the biggest challenge in implementing the technology was changing the mindset of government officials and bureaucrats who questioned the need for renewable energy.

    “Just how strong Australia’s post-2020 emissions reduction targets remain unknown, however we do know solar innovation is a milestone towards Australian councils, communities and businesses making a difference,” she said.

    “As Australians evangelise this type of technology, it is our hope that renewable energy becomes the mainstream rather than niche solution.

    “Change is not beyond us and this is definitely a strong step forward.”………

May 6, 2015 Posted by | solar, South Australia | 2 Comments

Next Australian stock exchange winner could be renewable energy

solar-panels-and-moneyCould Renewable Energy be the Next Big ASX Winner?  5 May 15 On Wednesday, Infratech Industries announced their intention to list on the ASX. It’s a bold move for the fledgling renewables company, which was established in April 2012.

The company is behind the $17.5 million floating solar panels project currently being expanded in South Australia. They say their tracking and cooling technology produces 57% more power than land-based solar panels. It’s a big deal for the entire solar industry.

Chief executive Raj Nellore says that soon, more capital will be required to keep up with demand. Of listing on the ASX, he said ‘once we get to a certain size, [it] makes sense’.

Infratech has partnered up with the Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology at Flinders University (CNST) for research. CNST has backing from the South Australian state government. So their funding — and the partnership with Infratech — is subject to budget changes.

There are other forces that might pressure Infratech to go public sooner rather than later. For example, they may need to raise money to expand their US operations too. Their US entity was opened in June 2014. They signed their first US customer — the City of Holtville, California — in November. That’s pretty much all they’ve done there.

Whenever they do float, they won’t be alone. A small group of renewable energy companies are already listed on the ASX.

Which renewable energy companies are currently on the ASX?

Wave power  Carnegie Wave Energy [ASX:CWE] ………

Solar   Dyesol [ASX:DYE] ……Enviromission [ASX:EVM]……..

May 6, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Recycling of rare earths – an industry already under way

Recycling gives old electronics new life JAMIE DUNCAN AAP MAY 01, 2015  Herald Sun 

IMAGINE a world in which billions of dollars of gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals are thrown into a pit like rubbish.

recycle rare earths A

IT seems unlikely, but it’s happening now at landfills around the globe.

      A recent United Nations University report found consumers threw out 41.8 million tonnes of unwanted electronics, or e-waste, in 2014 but recycled only 6.5 million tonnes.That discarded e-waste included an estimated $US52 billion ($A65.78 billion) of precious and other metals.Rose Read, recycling manager with MobileMuster (MobileMuster), says recycling components from e-waste is good for the economy and the environment.”The benefits are massive, and not just in terms of dollar value, but also the environmental benefits of slowing the rate of mining,” Ms Read told AAP.”The amount of energy it takes to recover product materials from a mobile phone is a tenth of digging them up.”MobileMuster is a federal government-accredited product stewardship scheme funded voluntarily by a range of mobile phone manufacturers and retailers that collects unwanted mobiles to recycle components.A similar scheme operates for end-of-life televisions.Consumer thirst for the latest technology is forcing the need to recycle e-waste, Ms Read said…….

        Recycling e-waste entails significant costs, hence the need for industry-funded stewardship schemes, but Ms Read says Australia could build a new, self-sustaining e-waste industry.
            Already, a lead smelter in South Australia is considering expanding to recycle circuit boards locally rather than send them overseas, she said.”There is a whole range of opportunities to create a new industry and employment,” she said.”A lot of new jobs could come out of this. There is some innovative new technology that we can use.”


May 4, 2015 Posted by | rare earths, South Australia | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 789 other followers