I’m betting that this has always been and still is the main purpose of South Australia’s expensive and biased pro nuclear Royal Commission.
The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission (RC) will soon deliver its ‘tentative’ recommendations – (findings available to download from the www.nuclearrc.sa.gov.au from 11 am, February 15, 2016).
No. 2 on his list is: “the consideration of the establishment of a nuclear waste repository in South Australia”
I believe that the real drivers for this one are twofold:
- the desperate push of the global nuclear lobby. Nuclear reactor companies know that no new nuclear reactors can be built until there is a dump set out to take the wastes.
- the greed of some rather ignorant people in South Australia who simplistically see waste importing as a bonanza for themselves and their mates. – oh and of course – for South Australia, they add.
Fortunately, South Australia has a fine history of resisting the nuclear lobby’s push to make that State the world’s nuclear toilet.
From 1998−2004, the Howard government did its best to dump Australia’s nuclear waste on Aboriginal land in South Australia but faced fierce resistance from traditional owners and many others. In 2003, the government used the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 to seize land for the dump. Native Title rights and interests were extinguished with the stroke of a pen.
The SA dump plan was abandoned in the face of overwhelming public opposition. www.greenleft.org.au/node/57065
The start was America’s Manhattan project – developing the atomic bomb. Then came the horror of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then came – the shock and guilt, and the attempt to turn the nuclear project into something good – “atoms for peace’ “electricity too cheap to meter”.
Of course the costing for “cheap” nuclear energy did not include the health and environmental toll of uranium mining, which, as always, was to be paid by indigenous people. Costing also did not include the virtually eternal toll of the cleaup of radioactive trash. And of course, there would be no accidents, (no Chalk River, Rocky Flats, Windscale, Mayak, Lenin icebreaker, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Tomsk, Hanford, Fukushima Daiichi)
Meanwhile, the military-industrial complex continued its production of nuclear weapons. Other countries adopted the “peaceful nuke”, so that they could develop nuclear weapons. The nuclear arms race was underway.
FROM THE ARCHIVES For this month, each week we’ll be posting an item from the past. Lest we forget.
Australian Map of Nuclear Sites, Overview Jim Green Sept 2012 Some of the recurring patterns in Australia’s nuclear history are discussed here under the following headings: children exposed to radiation; racism; struggle; unresolved radioactive contamination issues; deceit; whistleblowers; secrecy; rhetoric versus reality; lessons not learnt; and surveillance, intimidation, and police brutality.
Children exposed to radiation – (at Port Pirie, Rum Jungle, Kalgoorlie, Yeelirie , Hunters Hill, Lucas Heights, and, of course, Maralinga)
Due to the lack of fencing, the contaminated Port Pirie Uranium Treatment Complex site was used as a playground by children for a number of years. The situation was rectified only after a six-year community campaign.
After mining at Rum Jungle in the NT ceased, part of the area was converted to a lake. As a crocodile-free water body in the Darwin region, the site became popular despite the radioactivity. Continue reading
Australia has a secret and scandalous nuclear history. But at the same time, Australia has a fine history of successes by the nuclear free movement. Aboriginals have been at the forefront, but not alone, as Australia also has a proud record of environmental and anti nuclear activism.
From the archives. Each week, this site will be reposting items from the past. Lest we forget:
U.S. military bases made Australia a nuclear target
Australia feared nuclear attack over US ties: archives ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Emma Rodgers 1 Jan 2011, Malcolm Fraser’s cabinet was warned in 1980 that boosting its military ties with the US could put Australia at risk of a nuclear attack and expose it to involvement it in American operations contrary to its national interest, secret cabinet documents show. Continue reading
The sinister side of the push for “New Nuclear” is that it is a justification for doing nothing about the accumulating toxic wastes and the toxic nuclear weapons and reactors. Such a comfortable temptation – leave this nastiness for our grand and great granchildren to fix.
The present entire reptilean assembly of nuclear industry chiefs and wannabe chiefs, and executives and lobbyists, and the bought politicians and media, will be dead then, having enjoyed their comfortable well-paid lives.
It is up to the ‘alternative’ and ‘social’ media to expose their lies and to highlight the compelling three present day challenges:
– to close down the global nuclear industry, and especially to expose and prevent the ‘New ‘Nuclear’ deception.
– to deal with the existing masses of radioactive trash – interim above ground storage, then burial near to the site of production – the ‘least worst’ option.
-to dismantle the useless nuclear weapons empire, including the poisonous depleted uranium weapons. (Today’s enemies effectively use much simpler and cheaper weapons)
A nuclear free Australia : White Australia must join Black Australia in fighting for this – theme for Dec 15
How I would like to present a positive message of Australia’s prospects for a becoming a climate action country, and a nuclear-free country!
With some reservations, I believe that this is the desire of most Australians.
Some of our media is doing good work, in explaining the impacts of global warming on Australia, and our duty to be global citizens, and care about our Pacific neighbours, and climate refugees, and all refugees.
When it comes to the nuclear issue, the media is all too subservient to the nuclear lobby. My awful realisation is that the mainstream media, including the ABC, is not merely subservient to the nuclear industry, but abysmally ignorant about nuclear issues.
The disgraceful push by the cashed-up nuclear lobby is now on at COP21 – to portray nuclear as “clean” and the solution to climate change. In tandem with that, the lobby promises a renaissance for nuclear – because – guess what? – AUSTRALIA will provide the solution to everybody’s radioactive trash. It will of course, go on Aboriginal land.
We cannot expect Aboriginal people to be the sole heroes of resistance – particularly as they will be offered bribes – to have the health education and other services that the rest of us get anyway – in exchange for hosting an international nuclear waste importing industry .
Paris offers a chance at a different story. Ambitions are more modest, and more realistic. No one is expecting the agreement to comprehensively achieve the 2-degree target. In fact, documents already released suggest it would allow temperatures to rise at least 2.7 degrees.
Success at Paris will be more subtle. It will be measured by whether incremental steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue to be seen as a priority for the world, long after the excitement of the conference has passed away.
It will be the intangible measure of how the world’s attitude on climate change has shifted.
Don’t rely on grand treaties from the Paris climate summit http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-27/phillips-don’t-rely-on-grand-treaties-from-paris/6979176
Calm your farm, Greenies. Paris is an amazing city, but the United Nations conference on climate change to be held next week is not going to save the world. Continue reading
The lucky country. But our luck might be running out. Now, for the first time ever, Australia faces the challenge of working for a nuclear-free, fossil-fuel free nation. All the climate science forecasts predict Australia as being particularly impacted by climate change.
It’s time now to shut down the coal industry, and that silly little nuclear reactor in Sydney, (it is not needed for medical isotopes, which can be obtained in safer, cleaner ways) and to open up this country to the tremendous opportunity that we have in renewable energy.
Australians have always had a fine reputation as environmentalists. We elected the Howard, then the Abbott governments – and quickly became an environmental international pariah. We now must retrieve our fine older reputation, and fast.
Australia needs now, more than ever, to become a positive member of the global community, and that includes recognising that we’re part of Asia – not Europe or USA. How much we need to learn Asian languages, and talk with our neighbours!
How much we need to show compassion and welcome to our Pacific Island neighbours, as their homes become uninhabitable.
It cannot be too late to change – because the price of climate change and nuclear danger is just too high for Australians to just sit back, watch the footee and the Melbourne Cup, and do nothing to adapt to climate change, and to get rid of the nuclear danger.
Like the tobacco and asbestos industries before them, the nuclear lobby will ruthlessly promote any lie to keep their industry going.
Of course it’s all about getting tax-payer money. How? By promoting the lie that nuclear energy is a solution to climate change, so should get financial incentives from government.
Explode that lie, because:
- The entire nuclear fuel chain releases greenhouse gases.
- The nuclear fuel chain is in itself a grave danger because weather extremes with climate change could cause nuclear disasters.
Even if nuclear power were clean and greenhouse gas free, (which it’s not) it would not be ready in time to have any real effect on climate. It would require the very quick build of some 2000 large reactors – or of millions of the much touted Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.
On this, the hypocrisy of nuclear front groups is breath-taking. The Breakthrough Institute and UK’s Alvin Weinberg Foundation know perfectly well that their touted nuclear power is no solution to global warming.
Australians are being conned by the global nuclear lobby and a few of its sycophants in Australia. The shonky South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Commission is part of the current push to get nuclear accepted as clean and as fixing climate change. It’s a push that’s aimed at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 11 – Paris November 30 to December 11.
Nuclear facilities are so dangerously vulnerable to weather extremes – with potentially catastrophic effects on them.
But also, it’s because time, energy, money going to nuclear activities means that time, energy and money are not going to what is really needed – energy efficiency and renewable energy.
As the world prepares for the Paris Climate Talks, the nuclear lobby aims to get its status approved there as clean, green and the solution to climate change.
In September we pointed out that new nuclear reactors do NOT solve the radioactive trash problem, despite the nuclear lobby’s pretense on this.
In October we point out that the nuclear lobby is intensifying its lies about ionising radiation, with the cruel lie that it is harmless, even beneficial. The nuclear liars claim that radioactive isotopes like Cesium 137 and Strontium 90 are the same as the harmless Potassium 40 in bananas. They espouse the quack science of “radiation homesis” – i.e. a little more ionising radiation is good for you.
Ionising radiation is the most proven cause of cancer. The nuclear industry from uranium mining through nuclear power, nuclear weapons, nuclear waste, is the planet’s recent new source of ionising radiation. Even medical radiation has its cancer risk. Radioactive minerals left in the ground are a minor source.
The nuclear industry is desperate to get itself recognised at the Paris climate talks as a beneficial ‘low carbon’ technology.
Simultaneously, the nuclear lobby is desperate to promote its shonky South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.
Lie No.2 is their story that low dose ionising radiation is harmless, even good for you. (LieNo. 1 was that ‘new nuclear’ solves the radioactive trash problem – that lie addressed here in September) . They dismiss the message of the World Health Organisation that there is no safe level of ionising radiation. They promote the quack theory of ‘radiation hormesis”, and confuse the public with completely inaccurate comparisons with Potassium K in bananas (an extremely lower radiation intensity than Cesium 137, strontium 90 etc from nuclear fission).
The nuclear lobby’s lies on radiation are promoted by Australian nuclear lobbyists such as Barry Brook, Ben Heard, Oscar Archer.
Over the next 3 months, the nuclear lobby’s focus will be on 3 major lies – 1. the lie about Gen IV reactors, esp thorium and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) solving nuclear wastes, 2. the lie about “harmless” low dose ionising radiation, 3. the lie about nuclear solving climate change.
The nuclear lobby’s goal is to resuscitate their dying industry – to create a new nuclear renaissance.
For September, we focus on Nuclear Lie No. 1 – “New Gen IV reactors, esp thorium and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) WILL SOLVE THE NUCLEAR WASTE PROBLEM.”
That lie is terribly important, because new nuclear power cannot go ahead until they have convinced the world that radioactive trash is a”resource” not the garbage that it really is.
“Generation IV” nuclear reactors do not exist. The dream of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors remains a mirage. The Small Modular Nuclear Reactor has been shown to be uneconomic (has to be ordered en masse , has to be funded by tax-parers), vulnerable to terrorism, and wouldn’t be ready for decades. All of them still leave toxic wastes – smaller amounts, but so toxic and long-lasting that they require the same volume of deep burial space as the wastes that they purport to remove.
That hasn’t stopped the nuclear enthusiasts from conning governments for funding, and in the UK, even getting themselves classed as a charity!!
Australia has both an extraordinary opportunity to lead on climate change action, and an extraordinary role in promoting the polluting coal and nuclear industries. Australians can take their pick.
The choices before us:
To develop renewable energy, energy efficiency, and phase out coal and gas, and be a voice for action internationally. This can happen only with a change of government. We need a double dissolution. Australia has a uniquely strange Prime Minister, who doesn’t care if he is kicked out in the 2016 federal election, which he surely would be. Abbott is happy to carry out the corporate agenda of the Institute of Public Affairs, and then retire to comfortable well-funded complacency, knowing that he has served his IPA masters well.
To go along with the Abbott agenda – quite a complex business, involving ramping up the coal and gas industries, while now suggesting that well, perhaps there is a greenhouse gas problem – so therefore we need nuclear power.
Think about the illogicality of that. If nuclear power were, in fact, an answer to climate change (which it’s not – too slow, too polluting in itself) then there might be some argument for a little chilly country like Sweden to use nuclear power. For a big sunny, windy country like Australia – nuclear power makes no sense at all.
Look out for the Australian nuclear lobby, headed by the supposed
environmentalist Barry Brook, which is now enjoying global fame, a leadership position in the world’s pro nuclear campaign for 2015.
The latest propaganda from Australia’s nuclear lobby came from the BHP-funded Grattan Institute’s submission to the Energy White Paper, (due in September). They suggest a chain of small modular nuclear reactors along the East Coast.
Nuclear power and sea level rise – All reactors on sea coasts endangered by sea level rise Over the next hundred years there will be significant sea rises, one meter or more, and many closed nuclear reactor sites could be flooded, including the stored nuclear waste. That could contaminate much of the coast lines for decades.
Nuclear power and water shortage – Climate Change is already bringing droughts and changed rainfall patterns. Even if the vloume of rain might be the same, or greater, with the warming planet – it’s not much help if it falls in the oceans, or if it falls intermittently – in flooding torrents.
As water becomes scarcer, and more expensive, nuclear power becomes a very uneconomic way to use it.
As temperatures rise, nuclear reactors will more and more often be forced to shut down – adding to the already well known diseconomics of nuclear power
But – let’s pretend that nuclear reactors really could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
TIME: To do that, 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed within a few yeas to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology Study on “The Future of Nuclear Power” projected that a global growth scenario for as many as 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation. Average 115 built per year would reduce our CO2 use by only 16%.
When we talk about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – that 1500 reactors needed translates to millions, (and these SMRs are already shown to be more costly than large ones,)
COSTS: historically and now, the costs of the nuclear industry are staggering. Cost estimates have increased in the past decade from $1,000 to $7,000 per kW installed. And that’s before additional costs – e.g new safety measures, decommissioning are added. U.S. Vogtle project originally budgeted at $660 million, by 2013 cost $9 billion. Rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly “credit positive”.
Meanwhile – if the nuclear “climate cure” were to be pursued, the enormous costs and efforts involved would take away from the clean, fast, and ever cheaper solutions of energy efficiency and renewable energy.