Australian news, and some related international items

Assessment of Kevin Scarce’s Royal Commission forums

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINMy impression is that the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission community forums are pretty formulaic. Kevin Scarce has got it all down pat , and does not stray from his agenda of the 4 Issues in the Terms of Reference.  A bit of lip service is paid to Renewable Energy, but it is clear that this will not feature in the serious examination of energy technologies.

The thing that gets me about Kevin Scarce and the Royal Commission, and the media coverage – is theScarce,--Kevin-glow pretense that this is all just a South Australian affair – despite the fact that these nuclear developments are illegal under national law. Of course this whole idea of making South Australia the world’s nuclear hub and waste dump concerns all of Australia.

The meeting at Coober Pedy (14/5/15) was quite a lively one, and the audience showed a degree of knowledge and sophistication that The Royal Commissioners might not have expected to find, in such a remote location. Concerns aired in questions included the problems of nuclear wastes – problems handed over to future generations, environmental concerns, and support for renewable energy rather than nuclear .

At University of South Australia – Mawson Lakes, (19/5/15) about 50 people attended. I have no report on this, other than that at least one University lecturer was worried  that harmful affects of tourism and agriculture and food would not be properly addressed, and small businesses would not put in submissions about the potential harm to their business.

At Adelaide University(22/5/15) around 250 people attended, and pro nuclear people were slightly in the majority – as evidenced by  a show of hands when asked for this. David Noonan of Wilderness Society didn’t get to ask his question – that the proposed activities the RC is investigating are currently illegal in Australia!

At Flinders University (20/5/15)  – (see report on this page) there was some pretty lively questioning, which Kevin Scarce was able to deflect very deftly.



May 27, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews, Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

Iodine pills for South Australians- is that in the Nuclear Royal Commission’s planning?



Will South Australian communities and nuclear workers get iodine pills, once the State launches into its role as the international nuclear hub?

Canada’s communities near nuclear facilities ware getting them.  Kevin Scarce’s Nuclear Fuel Chain scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINRoyal Commission will be getting Submissions from Canadian nuclear companies. Perhaps the potassium-iodate-pillsCommission will be visiting Canada, as part of its international junket.

Presumably the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Commission will be keen to keep up with all the safety requirements that Canada has.

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews, Nuclear Royal Commission | Leave a comment

This week – in Australian nuclear and climate news

a-cat-CANSouth Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission. Australia’s top nuclear commentator Jim Green summarises the themes involved in the Commission.  Vague and confusing Issues Paper No 3 released – ELECTRICITY GENERATION FROM NUCLEAR FUELS. 

Nuclear wastes. Iron ore miner and Councillor in Western Australia apply to host  low level nuclear waste facility Community opposition to a national radioactive waste dump in Western Australia. Morawa Shire not happy about Gindalbie Metals nuclear dump proposal, and no right to veto. Australia IS obligated to take back wastes originating from Lucas Heights nuclear reactor

American military buildup  in Australia

Politics. Greg Hunt, Australia’s Environment Minister makes moves towards removing the tax exempt status of donations to environment groups , with a Committee to inquire into and report on the Register of Environmental Organisations. Submissions addressing the Committee’s terms of reference are due by by 21 May 2015 

Aboriginal Land Councils distrust Northern Territory Government, reject it for running Indigenous outstation services. Uranium mining companies are selectively buying off Indigenous people

Australia’s uranium companies overseas. World Bank warns Malawi not to re-open Paladin Australia’s uneconomic uranium mine. In Greenland , environmental groups oppose Australian uranium/rare earths mining project.

Renewable energy. Labor and business groups say No to reviews of Renewable Energy Target. Queensland government pledges 50% renewable energy by 2030. Victoria wants its own renewable energy target, in light of Abbott govt’s anti climate policies.   Australia has the most affordable solar systems in the developed world.Electricity utility Origin launches solar energy leasing programme. We need a proper judicial investigation of wind farm danger claims.

Climate change. As CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology warn on extreme weather, Federal Budget ignores climate change. University of Western Australia praised for ditching Bjorn Lomborg Consensus Centre. Climate Council exposes Bjorn Lomborg’s climate fallacies. Sea level rise a serious consideration for Mid North Coast councils.


May 16, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby’s global media spin focussing on United Nations Climate talks

a-cat-CANThe global nuclear lobby is getting a bit desperate, especially with nuclear’s ever-escalating costs and delays, and renewable energy’s rapidly declining costs, and speed of set-up.

This extract from an investment advisor shows us just what strategy the nuclear lobby is now adopting – a hypocritical story about nuclear power being “renewable” “clean” and the “answer to climate change”

Uranium’s Glow Still Smothered by Safety Concerns Wall Street Daily,  Fri, May 15, 2015  |  , Commodity Strategist 

“……..If you’re in the uranium market, it’s best to be short and nimble.

spin-media-nuclearThe first thing to do is stay focused on the United Nations Climate talks later this year in Paris. While France will likely insist that nuclear reactors are the preferred, low-carbon source, the more important issue is whether or not they can demonstrate that modern nuclear power plants can be built on time, on budget, and convincingly address the issue of radioactive waste. As it stands now, the deck is stacked against them….

This is a tug-of-war between fossil fuels and clean energy. If clean proves to be a winner, it’ll then be a battle between the more traditional solar and wind power and nuclear……

MY COMMENT on that strategy

All very well – except that nuclear energy is NOT clean.

For one thing – the total nuclear chain from uranium mining to the burial of dead reactors – emits large amounts of CO2 – and that’s without mentioning all the transport involved.

For another thing – while coal and other mining do emit radioactive isotopes, no industry other than nuclear  produces virtually eternal highly carcinogenic radioactive wastes.

No other industry runs the risk, however small, of catastrophic accidents that make large areas of land unlivable for decades.

It’s not merely a joke to call nuclear energy “clean’. It’s a lie

May 16, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | 1 Comment

“Consensus”- a sneaky way of preventing action on climate change.

a-cat-CANIt sounds so good – so democratic and lovely – doesn’t it – CONSENSUS -?

In many circumstances, consensus IS good. However in science, it is not necessarily so.

What about medicine?  If you are diagnosed with a particular disease – you might ask for a second, even third,  medical opinion – but would you delay treatment until the whole of the general community agreed on diagnosis and treatment?   If you did, you might well be dead before such agreement is reached.

All reputable scientific bodies world-wide accept that human-caused climate change is under way, and that action should be taken to limit this, and adapt to this threat to life on Earth. Surely it is prudent to heed their message?

But I am being churlish. For a long time, I have thought that the Earth is flat. I believe that I have the right to a University place on this – at least to have a Consensus Centre on this. I demand an equal hearing with the advocates of a spherical Earth.

sea level flat earth

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australia: nuclear and climate news this week

a-cat-CANNuclear waste dump Govt secretive about 4 sites volunteered in South Australia for nuclear waste storage. Beyond Nuclear Initiative (BNI) calls for Australian government transparency on nuclear waste site nominations.  Australian Labor Party to roll over on nuclear policy and become indistinguishable from Liberal

Australia at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference 2015 – embarrassing disarmament double-speak 

South Australia’s Nuclear Chain Royal Commission released all 4 Issues Papers 

  1. First Nuclear Royal Commission Issues Paper indicates an expensive farce  
  2. Dennis Matthews exposes South Australia Royal Commission “Issues Paper 2″ spin   
  3.   Issues Paper 4 misleading and serious omissions
  4. Critique of Issues Paper 3 is being developed

Even the pro Nuclear Royal Commission admits the threat of the nuclear industry to precious groundwater

Climate changeAbbott advisor Maurice Newman has embarrassed even our climate sceptic government, by insulting Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework on Climate Change. Figueres laughs it off.   Public and academic outcry force Uni of Western Australia to ditch Bjorn Lomborg centre. But Australia’s Education Minister Pyne seeks new home for this climate sceptic centre.  Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s hype about “Direct Action” doesn’t ring true

Politics. Magnificent Greens warrior leader Christine Milne resigns – graciously, as Bob Brown did before her. I’m sure that she will continue to be an effective voice for climate action. Richard Di Natale takes over, to continue the Greens political campaign for the health of Australians and their environment. Federal budget due on May 12. We can expect generous handouts to the big polluters. Minerals Council pushes for overturning of Australia’s environmental laws

Renewable Energy.  Abbott govt cutback to Renewable Energy Target (RET) will send solar industry backwards, cost 1000s of jobs, and freeze investment.  inclusion of native wood burning – to further wreck the RET.  Still – there are positive decvelopments:

Aboriginal land. Thousands rally across Australia against closure of Indigenous communitiesUnited Nations forum supports Kimberley Land Council’s plea to save Aboriginal communities from closure.


May 9, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Short-lived medical nuclear wastes not the same problem as long-lived reprocessed wastes

a-cat-CANThis excellent article does not, however, explore the difference between the (generally short-lived) radioactive wastes from nuclear medicine, and the highly toxic and long-lived radioactive wastes that must be accepted from UK, France and Argentina. Australia is bound to take back those wastes, which originated from Lucas Heights, and then went overseas for processing.

As the medical radioactive wastes have relatively short half-lives, it makes sense to dispose of them close to the point of origin. (It also makes sense to (a) reduce the overuse of nuclear medicine, and (b) obtain the necessary radionuclides from other sources, rather than from a nuclear reactor, and (c) shut down the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.)

What the government is rightly concerned about, is the disposal of the high level wastes due to return very soon from overseas. And there’s an argument for storing these near the point of origin – Lucas Heights, along with shutting down Lucas Heights.

Adding to the confusion is the greedy and irrational push of some people in Australia to set our country up as the world’s nuclear waste dump – and import wastes from other countries –  not just the wastes that we are already contracted to have returned from the processing of Lucas Heights’ wastes.

May 4, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | 2 Comments

Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty meeting ignored in media hype about ANZAC Day

Atomic-Bomb-LWhile Australia went into somewhat of  a frenzy about ANZAC Day, over 100 nations were sending  official delegations, and Japan, Mexico, Norway, Canada and other nations sending representatives of their non-governmental peace movements to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Review Conference in New York City, beginning April 27

On April 24 and 25, 800 of these representatives gathered at a Peace and Planet Conference at Cooper Union in Lower Manhattan to explore how to press their governments more effectively for nuclear disarmament. On the 26th there will a march and rally at the UN to encourage the official delegations to work diligently for true nuclear disarmament.

Is Australia sending any official delegation to the conference?  If so, it’s  a well kept secret.

I wonder what the old ANZAC soldiers would think about all this. They might be pleased to be remembered – but perhaps a bit cynical about Australia apparently ignoring the global effort to prevent nuclear war.

April 25, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

This week’s Australian nuclear news.

a-cat-CANANZAC Day It’s a pity that this 100 year commemoration of the soldiers of Gallipoli has turned out to be, in some areas, more of a party, and an opportunity for jingoism.  Still, I visited a small country library, and was impressed with the tasteful and respectful way that the community had acknowledged this day. So I think that for most people, respect, and the desire for a peaceful world, are uppermost in their thoughts .   I felt  a bit sorry for Woolworths – they got into trouble for commercialising ANZAC Day – when heaps of others were doing the same – and all had been encouraged by the government.

Amongst all the ANZAC fuss, a small exhibition in Melbourne and online should not be missed.  FIRST WORLD WAR WOMEN working for peace 1914 – 1919. Primary sources remind us of the strength and influence of the anti war movement 100 years ago.

South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission. Quite  a secretive affair really. We don’t know who are the Commissioners, except for their pro nuclear chief Kevin Scarce. Only one (very narrowly defined) Issues Paper is available, yet Scarce (and we don’t know who else) are visiting country towns for “informed discussion”.  Only 35 people turned up at Mt Gambier. The S.A. govt is keeping it as a State matter, (not National). But when it comes to advice and help – well, that’s coming Internationally, from Canada’s corrupt nuclear industry, and the very troubled EPR nuclear technology of France’s near-bankrupt nuclear industry.

Climate. Tony Abbott – having gone allout to shut down reputable climate science, offered University of Western Australia funding for a climate think-tank – headed by Bjorn Lomborg, who advocates no action on climate change. The international nuclear lobby was delighted – they see nuclear taking over – much later, from coal.   Australia’s crumbling international reputation – questions on climate policy

Uranium. Rio Tinto and ERA passing the buck to each other on who pays for Ranger uranium clean-up

Aboriginal issues. Australia breaches international law in evicting remote Aboriginal communities

Solar power. In Nyngan in New South Wales Australia’s largest solar project is completed.

Australia’s Anti – nuclear fight goes to Canada to  World Uranium Symposium. Australian government aims to shut down critics of its environmental policies.


April 24, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Mercifully short – Australian nuclear news this week

a-cat-CANSouth Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission.  It’s  gone pretty quiet, but South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has been spruiking nuclear expansion at a resources conference. Publicity promotes Australia as becoming the Saudi Arabia of Nuclear Power 

Nuclear promoters quietly lobbying Labor politicians, claim that they have the backing of Labor leader Bill Shorten.They are planning to follow the tactics of USA anti-climate lobbyists – taking their attack to the States. Although the nuclear industry is a Federal issue, and they need to overturn National laws – the idea is to get the States onside first.  Keep up with developments at

Social media. I’m hoping that some people will join me in monitoring Twitter. (I’m quite chuffed at the attacks on me – I tweet as @ChristinaMac1 – shows that my tweets are having an impact. )  The Australian pro nuclear lobby tweets with the hashtag #SANuclearRC. So far that’s just a few shills retweeting old propaganda to each other – nothing new or really relevant.

Former estate agent Senator Sean Edwards has gone out on a political limb, spruiking for the Australian nuclear lobby. He got national media coverage, but Dr Helen Caldicott got the brushoff, from Murdoch media (surprise surprise)

Abbott govt’s Energy White Paper is highly political, as is its stand on Renewable Energy Target, and  ‘wilfully deluded’ on climate change.   Loves coal, hates solar, friendly to nuclear.

Coal. Big investment banks walk away from Queensland’s Galilee Basin coal projects. New South Wales Premier Mike Baird firmly on the side of the coal lobby

Queensland Senator Matthew Canavan wants no tax deductability for environment groups

Thousands of Australians rally against closure of remote indigenous communities


April 13, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

South Australia Royal Commission on Nuclear Fuel Chain – update


 We must keep an eye on the South Australian machinations towards that State becoming the world’s nuclear hub and waste dump.  For that reason I’ve put this new page up on this website –  – it will be regularly updated.

April 6th 2015  South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission is due to report its Recommendations by 6 May 2016

Things have gone very quiet now, since the initial announcement about this Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission on 8th February 2015.

So – what is going on now, about this?    Well, we don’t know.

We don’t know:

– who will be on the Royal Commission panel, (except for pro nuke leader Kevin Scarce) and who will be their “expert” witnesses

– when submissions from the public will be invited

– what will be the closing date for submissions

We do know – that there’s a format for submissions, and that those submissions must relate to the Terms of Reference, and presumably nothing outside of that.

What we can expect.

hired-gunI’m betting on a fairly long period of media silence. During that time, the nuclear lobby will be organising all its well paid industry writers to produce detailed, highly technical arguments in submissions for bringing the whole nuclear fuel chain to South Australia.

I’m expecting that the great unwashed – that’s you and I – will be supposed to be intimidated by the legalistic format for submissions. Meanwhile Australia’s mostly ignorant and mostly subservient mainstream media will – in the fullness of time – trot out all the necessary simplistic pro nuclear dribble provided by the nuclear lobby.

SO – watch this space – watch this page for regular updates on the progress of South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain  Commission. AND – you can sign up to get their emails – from  – click on “Keep me informed” 

April 6, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

The week that was in Australian nuclear news

a-cat-CANTragic action of pilot in deliberately crashing plane in France. Raises the fearful thought of what a similarly minded person might do with a nuclear missile.


South Australia  Despite the indecently short period allowed for submissions the government still received over 1000 submissions on its Draft Terms of Reference for its Nuclear Royal Commission – overwhelmingly requesting uranium mining to be included, and safety, environmental, indigenous, historic aspects. These were to be publicised, but mysteriously vanished from the government’s website in  a day or two.

You can see one submission, from Dr Peter Burdon, Associate Professor, , Alexander Reilly, and Paul Leadbetter of the University of Adelaide, on my website. You can also read the (narrow) Terms of Reference decided on by the South Australian Government .  Nuclear lobby influence – Australian Industry Group Defence Council wants nuclear submarines. (Conflict of interest in its chairman Chris Jenkins, who is also the Australian chief of French industry giant Thales)

Western Australia. Wiluna uranium project not viable due to flooding risks? The planned pit areas for up to 100 million tonnes of uranium tailings is presently under water. Widespread opposition to the State and Federal governments’ moves to get remote Aboriginal communities off their land – conveniently for the uranium industry. The importance of connection to country – the danger of Terra Vacua. Some Good news.- new national park in W.A. – mining excluded

Queensland. Unprecedented Aboriginal stand to stop $16bn Carmichael coalmine, Australia’s largest.

New South Wales. Government  funds Byron Bay’s renewable energy trading plan.

VictoriaMildura’s solar farm – successful without a cent of government money


British report slams Australia for its polluting industries, high carbon emissions. Abbott’s “Direct Action” climate policy – a gift to the big polluters. Australian farmers lobby Abbott government for emissions trading scheme. Both Labor and Liberal happy to get donations from coal seam gas companies. Australian government downplays climate change, invites sceptic to talk on foreign aid

Vale Malcolm Fraser, who, among other fine causes,  worked tirelessly for International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Fraser had a plan for a green Australian republic

The Better Power campaign. Sponsored by GetUp and Powershop electricity retailer, this campaign urges Australians to switch from the big polluting companies Origin, AGL and Energy Australia.  I switched months ago -to Powershop , with entirely renewable energy – also greatly reducing my electricity bill.


March 28, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Is the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission in a Bigger Mess Than We Thought?

incompetenceWe wait to find out just who are to be the experts on South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission, (and what their agendas might be). We already know that the Terms of Reference exclude important issues, – so that the whole thing is likely to end up as just an eminently forgettable PR exercise for the nuclear lobby.

The Royal Commission received well over 1000 Submissions on its Terms of Reference. But now it seems that all have been removed from its website.

Could this be because the submissions were so overwhelmingly critical of the proposed Terms of Reference, that the nuclear lobby is embarrassed?

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australia’s week in nuclear news

a-cat-CANSouth Australia Royal Commission into nuclear industry expansion. Governor Hieu Van Le has signed off to mark the official start of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. Note the word “cycle”.  That word already implies a circular process, which is indeed the intention of the nuclear lobby. Their story is that nuclear waste will be transformed into fuel for fleets of new (untested) Small Modular Nuclear Reactors. Waste problem solved!

But no. The promised geewhiz little reactors that Australia is supposed to buy en masse, DO themselves produce highly toxic wastes, and will themselves eventually become radioactive corpses requiring burial.

So -rather than a nuclear fuel cycle, Premier Weatherill’s plan would mean  a nuclear fuel chain – around our necks!

So far just one Commissioner appointed – the pro nuclear Kevin Scarce. The Term of Reference do not include examining the uranium industry, nor South Australia’s global nuclear role, nor the connection with nuclear weapons. Already it is implied that the proposed nuclear waste dump will be on Aboriginal land.

South Australian voters reject expansion of nuclear industry

A number of articles on these issues are on my website – under the categories “South Australia” and “politics” (Also note – USA Nuclear lobby looking for tax-payer funded guinea pigs to test their new gimmicks).

National. Nuclear waste that originated in Lucas Heights is due to return to Australia soon. Why don’t people realise the distinction between the relatively small amounts of nuclear waste (originating at Lucas Heights) that Australia is contracted to take back, and the greedy dream of some to import nuclear wastes from other countries?

On  a positive note – The Senate voted “Yes” to Greens  Senator Lee Rhiannon’s motion, backing a local Councils’ a solar powered initiative in western New South Wales. On a negative note, Family First Senator Bob Day  won enough Senate support to formally welcome the nuclear commission, with his motion passing 34 to 33. I think that he’s carrying his religious fervour for the nuclear family too far!

Queensland . French nuclear giant AREVa (itself in financial trouble)  has permanently abandoned its plans to mine uranium in Queensland- due to the new government’s policy and to the ever slumping uranium market. New Labor govt says no to uranium mining.  

In New South Wales, only one company has taken up the government’s invitation to get an exploring license.New South Wales’s Labor would turn Hunter Valley into a renewable energy hub

Australian Capital Territory rejects hosting radioactive waste dump

Media. Vanuatu cyclone disaster. Australian media seems to have decided that it’s not nice manners to mention climate change having any connection.

Renewable Energy Target impasse continues. That’s the way the Abbott govt likes it – slowly killing investment for future development. Greens Senator Larissa Waters strongly advocates for keeping the RET

March 21, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

The week in nuclear news – Australia

a-cat-CANSouth Australia: Submissions for draft Terms of Reference  – Royal Commission into nuclear power – closing date March 13. We don’t know who will be on this ?”expert ” panel, headed by pro nuclear Kevin Scarce  .    March 13 leaves a very short time, especially for those who will be most affected – Aboriginal South Australians, many of whom do not speak or write English. But that’s no doubt the idea, in the time honoured tradition of putting radioactive nasties on indigenous land.  

It’s easy to do a submission – go to

 Canada to take part in this Royal Commission,  – invited by South Australian Labor Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis and Liberal federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb.  That’s despite the notoriety of Canada’s nuclear industry . Canada now dominates World Bank corruption list, thanks to its nuclear technology exporter SNC-Lavalin.

Federal Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey wants a nuclear waste dump in his electorate of Grey. Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride sees $billions in a nuclear waste import industry 

Australian-first floating solar farm due to begin construction in SA

Western Australia: Barnett Liberal government has approved Cameco’s Kintyre uranium mine, with (weak) conditions.  Govt is dismissive of environmental concerns, and is also not waiting for the outcome of corruption investigation.

Barnett govt also bringing in new laws to stifle protest.   Premier  planning a “review” of remote Aboriginal communities, but refuses to meet their leaders

National:  Federal govt calls for nominations, by May 5, to host radioactive waste dump .   Govt produces its “Intergenerational Report” – climate change barely mentioned, no policy beyond 2020  .Australia quietly stopped testing of food imports from JapanAbbott govt enjoys dragging on forever about the Renewable Energy Target, as investors give up on renewable energy  – which is, of course, the Govt’s  intention.


March 7, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment


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