Australian news, and some related international items

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

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

The first of these community engagement visits are listed below.

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

Further information will be posted on this site when available.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

As Abbott govt delays decision on RET, South Africa races ahead with renewable energy

Map-Abbott-climateThe contrast with South Africa, another coal dependent country, could not be greater. It has so far contracted for more than 5,000MW of large scale wind and solar and announced overnight it would look to install another 6,300MW – much of this solar PV and solar thermal, where it has become a leader in the global market.

developers in WA are confident their projects can go ahead, because of the unique nature of that market, and there are numerous smaller projects that could also get the tick of approval, and finance, if a resolution is found

Parkinson-Report-First 100MW solar plant points to missed opportunity in Australia, REneweconomy  By  on 17 April 2015 In a ceremony attended by the heads of AGL Energy and First Solar, and ministers from the NSW government – but not the federal government – the last and 1,366,380th solar panel was installed on the 102MW Nyngan solar farm in western NSW on Friday.

And while it is a welcome thought that Australia has finally made it onto the big solar map, it also highlights just what could have been for big solar in Australia. Continue reading

April 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

New South Wales goes for big solar energy

sunBaird and Nyngan bask in big solar energy switch by  on April 17, 2015 The Federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) may still be in political limbo, but states are voting with their sustainable dollars after New South Wales’ Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts and Minister for the Environment Mark Speakman cut the ribbon on what has been hailed as the installation of the final solar panel at Australia’s largest solar project. Continue reading

April 18, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission appoints prominent pro nuclear advisors

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionSouth Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission:  3 out of 5 of those named for the Expert Advisory Committee are well known pro nuclear industry advocates.

1. Professor Barry Brook purports to be a leader in climate action, but in fact is internationally known as a strident advocate for the nuclear industry

2. Dr Timothy Stone  comes from the Office for Nuclear Development (OND): it  “focuses on removing potential barriers to investment, and signals clearly to the industry the serious intent of the Government to push forward nuclear new build”

3. John Carlson – advocate for An Asia Pacific Nuclear Energy Community Royal Commissioner the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR (Rtd) detailed two key milestones today with announcement of the Expert Advisory Committee and the first of the Commission’s Issues Papers.

The Expert Advisory Committee comprises eminent leaders from academia, law, industry and the community and includes:

  • Visiting professor at University College London Dr Timothy Stone CBE
  • Professor of Environmental Sustainability Professor Barry Brook from Tasmania
  • Past president of the Australian Conservation Foundation and Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Griffith University Ian Lowe
  • South Australian’s chief scientist Dr Leanna Read, who has a medical science background, and Mr John Carlson, former director of the Australian Safeguards and Non Proliferation Office (ASNO).

However, the committee does include Ian Lowe  who has a long and honourable record of pointing out the risks and the diseconomics of the nuclear industry

Commissioner Scarce said the Expert Advisory Committee had been engaged to provide high-level expert advice to him and the Commission’s staff for the duration of the Royal Commission.

“The members of this Committee have been chosen to ensure that the Commission receives a broad range of advice and reflects the diversity of views that the community holds,” he said.

“The membership of the Committee comprises both proponents and opponents of the nuclear fuel cycle, and I believe this type of diverse contribution will ultimately allow the Royal Commission to develop a comprehensive final report.”

Commissioner Scarce said that the release of the first of four Issues Papers today was a key milestone for the Royal Commission and marked the start of the formal engagement process.

“Today is also an important step in the consultation process with the release of the first Issues Paper, which will help guide the community and industry in their understanding of the nuclear fuel cycle and assist them in making their submissions,” he said.

“I want this Royal Commission to be a far reaching enquiry into the nuclear fuel cycle, investigating the associated risks and opportunities.

“I am seeking to engage in a conversation with the South Australian community, speak to people, hear their lived experience and obtain the views of those who wish to have a say on this important matter.”

The Commission also announced its first public forum will be held at Mount Gambier City Hall at noon on Monday, April 20, with future metropolitan and regional meeting dates to be confirmed.

Written submissions can be made through  and must be lodged by July 24, 2015.

April 17, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment

Abbott govt calls for rural landowners to host nuclear trash dump

Lucas-wastesHands up if you want to host a toxic waste dump ROB HARRIS THE WEEKLY TIMES APRIL 16, 2015 LANDHOLDERS  are being asked to volunteer to host Australia’s next radioactive waste dump.

The Federal Government has advertised for landholders in all states and territories to nominate 100ha of land to “safely store and dispose of toxic waste”.The waste is mainly byproducts from medical, research and industrial processes.

The landholder of the select site will be offered “a generous payment”, while the local community will be given a “package of benefits”.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said an Independent Advisory Panel had been established to help assess nominations. The Government said it will undertake “extensive” public consultation during every stage of the project.

Environment groups have urged that radioactive waste storage is not imposed on unwilling communities.

April 17, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Abbott govt funds W.A. centre to stall action on climate change

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, questioned what kind of message the appointment sent to Pacific countries who are deeply concerned about the impact of climate change……

Last year Lomborg spoke at an event on “energy poverty” in the leadup to the G20 in Brisbane, sponsored by Peabody Coal……in a speech to the Grattan Institute in 2013, the then shadow environment minister, Greg Hunt, used Copenhagen Consensus Center findings to support his policy to abolish the carbon tax…..Lomborg will be the co-chair of the Australia Consensus Centre Advisory Board with Prof Johnson, the university’s vice-chancellor.

cartoon-climate-AustAbbott government gives $4m to help climate contrarian set up Australian centre, Guardian,  17 Apr 15  Bjørn Lomborg has been given money from the hard-pressed federal budget to set up a ‘consensus centre’ at the University of Western Australia

A spokesman for the education minister, Christopher Pyne, said the government was contributing $4m over four years to “bring the Copenhagen Consensus Center methodology to Australia” at a new centre in the University of Western Australia’s business school.

The spokesman said the “Australia Consensus Centre” was a proposal put forward by the “university and Dr Lomborg’s organisation”.

Sources have told Guardian Australia the establishment of the centre had come as a surprise even to senior staff in the business school, who were unaware that the centre was being established until shortly before it was announced this month……..

As Lomborg explained in a Freakonomics podcast last year, his consensus centre was defunded by the centre-left Danish government in 2012 and he was searching for a long-term funding solution. Continue reading

April 17, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Professor Penny Sackett points to Australian Capital Territory’s leadership on Climate Change

climate-changeSustainability Symposium: World to learn from Canberra’s climate change policy April 16, 2015   Reporter at The Canberra Times Canberra is a world leader when it comes to climate-change policy, but Australia is still not doing enough to tackle the problem, former chief scientist Professor Penny Sackett says.

Professor Sackett, now deputy chair of the ACT Climate Change Council and an adjunct professor for the ANU’s Climate Change Institute, will join Nobel laureate Professor Brian Schmidt, and ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell at a climate change symposium bringing together about 12 Nobel Prize winners in Hong Kong from April 23.

She said Australia wasn’t the only country that had to catch up with its cities leading the way on climate change.

The invitation extended to Mr Corbell to address the international symposium’s policy challenge session was evidence of Canberra’s reputation as a world leader tackling climate change, Professor Sackett said.

“People are recognising how Canberra is not only stepping up with ambitious targets … but actually already on its way to meeting them,” she said. “I would really love to see the country I live in … do all it can for climate change and I don’t think we are there yet.”……

Professor Schmidt said Canberra’s status as an affluent city with people who had a greater understanding of climate change allowed it to be “more adventurous on a small scale”.

Neither the federal government nor opposition’s policies would solve climate change in the short-term, Professor Schmidt said, instead scientific solutions would take 20 years to develop but work should begin now.

“We don’t actually have that much more carbon to throw up in the atmosphere before we start exceeding two degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century,” he said.

Professor Schmidt said he expects a declaration from the symposium to be taken to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December to help reach a “sensible outcome”.

Professor Sackett said the “very important” summit would be where nations decide whether they will stand with their citizens to do all they can to combat climate change……..

April 17, 2015 Posted by | ACT, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia’s Previous Chief Scientist spells it out on global warming

Repeating this item. What a pity that the excellent full article has been removed from the Australian government website!

Why we must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Australian Government 8 Dec 09 Despite world attention, humans emit more greenhouse gases every year than they did the year before. It’s a situation that Australia needs to help turn around if we don’t want to bear the brunt of climate change, says Chief Scientist Professor Penny Sackett……

..The Greenhouse Effect
The sun continuously bathes the Earth with energy in the form of sunlight. Much of this energy is absorbed by the Earth, and then emitted as infrared radiation, or heat. Greenhouse gases prevent the Earth from discarding as much of this heat as it otherwise would back into space.

Without naturally occurring greenhouse gases, the Earth would be a much colder place, inhospitable to modern human existence. But by the same token, the additional greenhouse gases added to this store by humans is slowly increasing the average temperature of the Earth system.

Due to the quantity in which it is emitted by humans, its longevity in the atmosphere, and its effects in trapping heat, carbon dioxide is the most important of the greenhouse gases currently causing changes in the Earth’s climate……

In Australia, extreme fire danger days are already becoming more numerous in many parts of the country, and floods and cyclones more intense.

Research by the CSIRO indicates that the frequency of days with very high and extreme Forest Fire Danger Index ratings is likely to increase by 15 to 70 per cent by 2050 in southeast Australia…..

Why we must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions | Chief Scientist of Australia

April 17, 2015 Posted by | 1, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy | , , | 1 Comment

Australian government aims to shut down critics of its environmental policies

given the urgency of the environmental crisis, an increasing number of Australians recognise that we need environmental groups who do more than plant trees.

In the run to this year’s Paris climate talks and next year’s federal election, we need laws that encourage full-blooded political participation.

civil-liberty-2smhighly-recommendedGovernment inquiry takes aim at green charities that ‘get political The Conversation, Peter BurdonSenior lecturer at University of Adelaide 16 Apr 15  The almost 600 environmental groups that hold tax-deductibility status in Australia are being scrutinised by a federal government inquiry, with reports that more than 100 of them face being struck off the list.

Some, like the state and territory Conservation Councils and Environmental Defenders Offices, are still reeling from cuts to their programs and core funding. Others, such as Greenpeace, The Wilderness Society, and Friends of the Earth, could lose access to the tax-deductible donations that help sustain their work.

Encouraging donations Deductible gift-recipient status allows eligible organisations, such as those on the environmental register, to receive tax-deductible gifts and contributions. Consistent with similar schemes in the United States and Europe, the environmental register was established as an incentive for citizens and corporations to fund organisations that are active in the public sphere, while also feeding into the logic of small government and shifting the burden of catering for social needs back onto the community.

In Australia, an environmental organisation is defined as a body or society whose primary purpose is to protect the environment or conduct education and research.

Importantly, however, in 2010 the High Court ruled that groups with tax-deductible status also have the right to engage in political debate and advocacy. The judgement described the freedom to speak out on political issues as “indispensable” for “representative and responsible government”.

Moreover, the court pointed out that there is no general rule that excludes “political objects” from charitable purposes. Instead, the key consideration is whether the organisation “contributes to the public welfare”. The ruling has been used as a precedent both in Australia and overseas, such as when Greenpeace won a favourable decision from the New Zealand Supreme Court last year.

Why is Australia holding the inquiry? Continue reading

April 17, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, reference | Leave a comment

Australia’s Anti – nuclear fight goes to Canada

A delegation of Australian nuclear free campaigners has travelled to Canada to present at the World Uranium Symposium being held in Quebec City, April 14-16. The group includes representatives from Aboriginal communities impacted by nuclear projects and national environment groups.

Canadian company Cameco is behind plans for two controversial uranium mines in Western Australia – Kintyre in the Pilbara and Yeelirrie in the Northern Goldfields, which will be at the forefront of issues raised by the Australian delegation alongside the emerging issues with the South Australian Royal Commission into the nuclear industry.

The Symposium will examine the human and environmental impacts of the industry, with the Australian delegation presenting sessions on the nuclear fuel chain legacy in Australia, Indigenous Rights and the nuclear fuel chain and the intergenerational health impacts of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

The Symposium will be followed by the 5th International Uranium Film Festival, which will feature the Australian film “Protecting Manuwangku”, documenting the successful struggle of Warlmanpa Traditional Owners to stop a national radioactive dump at Muckaty in the Northern Territory.

Follow the tour via the ANFA website and via twitter on #uranium2015.

The Australian delegation includes:
•    Barb Shaw, Australian Nuclear Free Alliance co-chair (Alice Springs)
“Nationally we meet once a year with common issues on common ground, we’re now taking that internationally where people are fighting and struggling with the same things we’re facing back at home. My expectations for the next few days is networking and sharing solutions”

•    Peter Watts, Australian Nuclear Free Alliance co-chair (Arabunna Nation)
“What we’re digging up at home has consequences for every corner of the globe. I’m devastated that the uranium dug up from our country has such far reaching consequences globally, not just locally”

•    Debbie Carmody, Tjuma Pulka Radio Station Kalgoorlie (Anangu/Spinifex)
“People don’t always connect the mining with the end result, for example, what has happened at Fukushima”

•    Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation
“People from all around the world are in Canada sharing stories about the dangers and the environmental impacts of all aspects of the nuclear trade. From the land of the maple leaf to the land of the gum leaf, there is no place for the nuclear trade. It is not sustainable and it is not welcome.”
•    Gem Romuld, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
•    Marcus Atkinson, Footprints for Peace, Anti-nuclear Alliance of Western Australia

Contact the delegation
Gem Romuld: (+1) 865 919 4562

Australian Contacts:
Sue Coleman-Haseldine – ANFA : 0458 544 593
Natalie Wasley- Beyond Nuclear Initiative: 0429 900 774
Mia Pepper -Conservation Council WA: 0415 380 808

April 15, 2015 Posted by | ACTION, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment


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