Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear and Climate News as June ends

a-cat-CANAs June ends, Australians have just a few weeks in which to put in submissions to the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission. (Submissions due by 24 July and 3rd August)  They’ve made it as difficult as they can – it’s complicated, and you have to sign before a JP etc. The nuclear lobby’s subtle spin implies that it’s for South Australians only – and the mainstream media goes along with that.

But wait! It’s OK if you happen to be an overseas nuclear company. Then you’re invited to submit – and – best of all – submissions from nuclear companies need not be published – they’re “commercially sensitive”

If you’re Aboriginal – no worries – the Commission will coach you, (like a fox coaching the chickens)

Through July please look on this website for guidance summaries and links for submitting, and for latest news.



CLIMATE CHANGE Australia’s New Climate Roundtable. World is watching Australia’s pathetic performance on Climate Change. Australian farmers urge Liberal Party to defeat climate denialism

LEGAL WIN for Australia’s nuclear veterans

Trans Pacific Partnership – putting Australia’s democracy in a noose.

Lynas Rare Earths shares at all-time low.

URANIUM.  Pro Nuclear Expert John Carlson warns on selling uranium to India   Rio Tinto fears that the uranium market will not pick up. The game is up for uranium miners ERA and Paladin?. Half of ERA’s board quits.  It’s the end of big uranium mining projects in Australia.

ABORIGINAL ISSUES. Rallies across Australia protesting shutdowns of remote Aboriginal communitiesMelbourne city’s hub stops as protestors rally. Aboriginal People Need A Treaty First– Forget constitutional recognition. British musician Antony Hegarty joins the Martu people in their struggle against uranium mining

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Weakened Renewable Energy Target legisation passed in Parliament : still, big economic benefits to regional communities, from new wind and solar farms.  South West Victoria’s wind farm goes ahead  General Electric ready to spend $billions on renewable energy in Australia. Wind farm research: Tony Abbott’s strategy to delay development by creating uncertainty.


June 29, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Why Australians should take Senator Jacqui Lambie seriously

a-cat-CANIt is tempting to laugh at Senator Jacqui Lambie’s way out outburst on climate change, wind energy, and nuclear power.

BUT – Australia’s outrageously ignorant and idealogical government loves her for this.

This brings about what I think of as the “Pauline Hanson effect”.  By this, I mean that the Howard government was pretty far to the Right anyway, but the extreme right wing campaign run with some success by Pauline Hanson made it easier for Howard to move even further that way.

And not just the Liberal Party.  As the whole political discourse in Australia shifted further away from the interest of the public good, and towards corporate interest, and towards xenophobia, – the Labor Lambie,-JacquiParty moved with it.

Now with the already absurdly right-wing Abbott government, we have Jacqui Lambie’s extremism. There is a real danger that she can help to make Liberal and Labor policies – on energy, on climate, on nuclear issues, on asylum seekers – look reasonable and mainstream .


June 19, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

No wonder this scurvy newspaper does not make a profit.

Only THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper could do this –  they go on to twist this event into a plug for the uranium industry

Rio uranium bombshell kills Ranger
Ranger uranium producer Energy ­Resources of Australia suffered a nasty shock this week. (subscribers only)

June 19, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

The latest Australian nuclear news

a-cat-CANGood news for Australia’s environment, and for the Mirrar people of the Northern Territory.  Energy Resources of Australia has finally pulled the plug on its uranium mining activities  in Kakadu National Park. Of course it is financial unviability that forced this decision. And Rio Tinto the “parent company” is not  a bit happy that it will probably have to fork out $millions to rehabilitate the site.

Much credit has to go to the Mirrar people for their continued monitoring of this project. And to the heroic Jeffrey Lee, who donated his land to Kakadu so that it would not be mined for uranium by AREVA.

But how long can white Australia expect the Aborigines to carry the fight against this toxic nuclear industry threatening Australia?

Comical moment for the South Australian Nuclear Fool Chain Royal Commission. Exactly on the day that the Commission arrived in France for extensive talks and tours of AREVA’s advanced nuclear technology – came the French government’s action – splitting up AREVA, effectively killing it off as a nuclear power giant – due to its utterly disastrous financial state.     Funny it it weren’t serious – how South Australia’s greedy nuclear enthusiasts are ready to suck up to international nuclear business incompetents!

Good prospects on the renewable energy scene – Victoria making it easier to develop wind power .Yackandandah goes for 100% renewables – South Australia’s chance to replace coal with renewables. Queensland’s Millmerran solar farm to go ahead – biggest in Australia?  Bundaberg – Queensland’s solar capital.

Tony Abbott. My God, that man is an embarrassment to Australia! Even Environment Minister  Greg Hunt sees the writing on the wall – in Abbott’s daft policies on climate.


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

Will South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission take up the UK idea of ‘beautifying nuclear’ facilities?

Rudd, Amber UKI just couldn’t resist publicising Britain’s latest pro nuclear tactic. The UK government is obviously getting  a bit desperate about the political situation – with their new nuclear power programme bogged down in financial uncertainties (or rather – certainties that it’s unaffordable).

On another tack – the UK government is getting a lot of flak about its ugly (dirty, dangerous, super-expensive) nuclear facilities and plans for the Lake District , Cumbria.


Well – you can bet that South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission will be listening intently to all the pro nuclear PR from UK –  I wonder, will they take up the idea of prettying up nuclear facilities for South Australia?

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

THe latest in nuclear and climate news – Australia


South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission has gone very quiet.  They are now in Japan, then to Taiwan, Finland, Austria, France and the United Kingdom.  It’s all quite secretive – no idea what their global junket is costing the South Australian tax-payer. Why is no media covering this?

South Australia’s agriculture in danger from nuclear developments

Meanwhile the pretense continues that it’s just a State matter – ignored by the media in all other States. Except for The Saturday Paper in which Dr Helen Caldicott dissected the propaganda for South Australia’s Nuclear Chain Royal Commission.

Australia’s nuclear lobby never lets up. Their social media propaganda has lately stepped up its vilification of Dr Caldicott. I guess that could be seen as  a tribute to her expertise, and to the impact of her splendid article – which I urge you all to read.

Some people who care are quietly organising their Submissions to the Royal Commission, due by 24 July, and 3 August. The Conservation Council of South Australia gives helpful advice .  They put out a long IssuesPaper and a summary one.

Senators David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day salivate over thought of free nuclear-powered electricity and want nuclear powered submarines.

Nuclear waste. ANSTO’s problem of mounting radioactive wastes at Lucas Heights.

Uranium Paladin – the ugly Australian in Malawi faces opposition, as its uranium pollution takes its toll. Paladin (apparently not Australian owned) signs Western Australian uranium deal.

Rare earths AND URANIUM company allying with Clean Energy Council!

Big mining companies are losing the public opinion battle.

Climate Change. Universities can get tax-payer funding for a Bjorn Lomborg climate centre.

Renewable Energy:



June 4, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Nuclear news in Australia this week.

a-cat-CANPolitics. Pro uranium policy in the Draft ALP Conference Platform. Federal parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties deliberating on uranium sales to India.    Senator Leyonhjelm & Senator Day – nuclear power is fine: wind power is the danger! Senator Bob Day wants nuclear submarines built in South Australia

Revealed – America’s long term push to make Australia accept nuclear waste.

White man’s greed for uranium mining behind closure of remote Aboriginal settlements? Aboriginal cultural heritage depends on remaining on homelands.

Australia’s nuclear lobby keen to “educate” schoolchildren

South Australia. Agricultural scientist warns that South Australia’s agriculture will be endangered by nuclear fuel chain developments. Aboriginal concerns over South Australia’s plans to store nuclear wastes.

South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.

Renewable Energy  Labor, Coalition agree on new renewable energy target.  Australia leads the world in percentage of homes with solar power. BHP funded think tank Grattan Institute unfairly critical of solar energy. Australians overwhelmingly prefer solar energy – survey results.  Solar trams for Melbourne. Small scale solar power from Australian company transforms slum life in India. Australian breakthrough solar technology built in Cyprus in five weeks. Tasmania keen to fast track electric vehicles – and become 100% renewable energy powered

Climate change. Australia’s public sector now losing its climate change experts. Tony Abbott likes the Bjorn Lomborg recipe for inaction on Climate Change.   Bjorn Lomborg remains confident about his climate action delaying centre. Labor Party firmly supporting price on carbon

Environment. Environmental powers handed to the States – will mean falling standards.  Federal and Western Australian govts’ systematic attack on environmental critics.

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

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. There is complete avoidance of legal issues.

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.  Kevin Scarce was able to deflect very deftly any difficult questions. His two best techniques –  to point out that matters are “not in the Terms of Reference” and to urge the questioner to seek the answer and “put in a submission”.

A concern that showed up in Adelaide meetings was that of bias – questioners wanted to know about the agendas, the interests of the staff and expert advisers on the Commission. They also wanted to know about the companies involved, and their submissions to the Commission – will the Commission be transparent about this?


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


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