Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian Federal Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey wants nuclear waste dump in Grey electorate

Lib MP happy to store nuclear waste 9 News 6 Mar 15 Federal Liberal backbencher Rowan Ramsey says he’d happily store nuclear waste on his South Australian farm.


The federal government has called for landholders to nominate sites for a national dump to store nuclear waste generated by medical, research and industrial processes.

Mr Ramsey, whose massive electorate of Grey covers almost 92 per cent of SA, says there’s nothing to fear about nuclear waste.

 He suggested that plans to store the waste near Woomera in central SA could be revived, and flagged that his own 2400ha farm could even be an option.

“I am very relaxed about the idea that they might find a good site in my electorate again,” he told ABC radio on Thursday……

The state Labor government’s royal commission into the nuclear industry is looking at the prospects of nuclear waste facilities in SA.

But with the inquiry set to stretch into 2016, it’s unlikely SA will endorse a site before the federal government’s nomination process closes on May 5.


March 6, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Federal government calls for nominations, by May 5, to host radioactive waste

wastesNuclear waste dump search restarts  3 Mar 15 The federal government has called for voluntary nominations of sites for a national nuclear waste dump.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says any landholder could nominate a site to store intermediate level radioactive waste and dispose of low-level waste.

Australia has 4248 cubic metres of low level and 656 cubic metres of intermediate level waste in temporary storage across more than 100 sites.The waste has been generated by medical, research and industrial processes.

An independent advisory body will assess the nominated sites against a number of criteria.

These include community well-being, stable environment, environmental protection, health, safety and security and economic viability. At the end of the assessment and public consultation the government will negotiate with the landholder of the selected site.

Site nominations close on May 5.

The South Australian government’s royal commission into the nuclear industry is looking at the prospects of nuclear waste facilities in that state.

Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles has also shown an interest in putting forward a site.But last year he said it would not be done without “full information and dialogue with Territorians”.

In June 2014 the Northern Land Council withdrew its nomination for a section of Muckaty Station, north of Tennant Creek, as the site for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump amid a legal dispute.Further talks on alternative sites failed, triggering the new selection process.

Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney says the decision should not be rushed. “We have time to get this issue right,” he said.

“The minister’s revised process is significantly better than the previous one, but we are still a long way short of where we should be.”

The first concerted effort to build a dump occurred under the Labor government in 1992, identifying a site near Woomera in SA.

March 4, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear spin hides the real motive behind South Australia’s Royal Commission – a nuclear waste import industry

The real motive….  the Royal Commission is not about nuclear power. It is another attempt to establish a waste-dump in South Australia.

South Australia’s broad-brush nuclear review is meant to sideline opponents, The Conversation, Peter Burdon 27 February 2015, Senior lecturer at University of Adelaide The draft terms of reference for South Australia’s planned Royal Commission on the nuclear industry, which are open for public consultation until the end of next week, are deliberately broad.

When announcing the commission last month, SA Premier Jay Weatherill said it would “explore the opportunities and risks of South Australia’s involvement in the mining, enrichment, energy and storage phases for the peaceful use of nuclear energy”.

The move caught many by surprise, not least federal opposition leader Bill Shorten, who – unlike his Labor colleague Weatherill – remains opposed to nuclear.

The announcement also generated huge amounts of free PR for the nuclear industry, as shown in the avalanche of media coverage that ensued – some deliberately balanced, some sceptical of the commission and its value, but much of it highly favourable, especially in the business press.

It is not hard to see why. As Naomi Klein contends, nuclear power is an industrial technology, organised in a corporate manner. And as psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton points out, no technology does more to underline humanity’s dominion over nature than our ability to split the atom.

The positive spin Continue reading

February 28, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia, spinbuster, wastes | 1 Comment

Highly respected South Australian Aboriginal, Yami Lester, speaks out on nuclear waste dump plan

I’m hoping  you will support us with this very important issue which has arisen from SA Goverenment regarding a Royal Commission into Nuclear Energy and proposal to store high-level nuclear waste at Maralinga, South Australia

Please read. With thanks,  Yami Lester, Yankunytjatjara Walatinna Station, South Australia (08) 8670 5077

Lester, YamiStatement on Royal Commission into Nuclear Energy and proposal to store high-level nuclear waste at Maralinga, South Australia:

In 1953 I was just ten years old when the bombs went off at Emu and Maralinga, I

didn’t know anything about nuclear issues back then, none of us knew what was happening. I got sick, and went blind from the fallout from those tests, and lot of our people got sick and died also.

Now I’m 73 years old and I know about nuclear issues, and I have some friends who know about nuclear waste, and they will fight the South Australian Government on their plans to put high-level nuclear waste at Maralinga and to develop nuclear energy in South Australia.

Why does the government keep bringing back nuclear issues when we know the problems last forever?

The Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia (1984-85) revealed

what happened at Maralinga but it never told what happened to Aboriginal people; the findings were left open.Lawyers proved that there was radiation fallout over Walatinna, but because wenever had any doctors records to document what happened to us, (the closest clinic was Ernabella, 160km away as the crow flys and we didn’t have any transport to get there), we only had our stories and they were never written down.

A few years ago they cleaned up Maralinga from the waste that was leftover from the bomb tests; they spent $1 million, and now they’re going to put more waste back there?

That’s not fair because it’s Anangu land and they won’t be able to use that land.

Members from the APY, Maralinga-Tjarutja and Arabunna, Kokatha lands say we don’t want nuclear waste on our land.

The best thing the government can do is the leave the uranium in the ground, stop mining it.

We ask the South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, to talk to Aboriginal people on the lands, and to everyone who has been directly affected by the atomic tests and nuclear industry in Australia before he makes any decisions for South Australia.


February 28, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste generated at Lucas Heights is a very small amount – Ziggy Switkowski

text-wise-owlNuclear waste dump needed, SA could fill gap, ABC Radio P.M  February 23, 2015  Natalie Whiting reported this story

“……….NATALIE WHITING: Is the Federal Government going to need a sight for waste storage earlier than when we might see this royal commission wrap up?

ZIGGY SWITKOWSKI: Yes it will, there is waste being continuously generated from the one research and production reactor that we have at Lucas Heights and there are agreements in place to that some of that waste has been sent overseas for reprocessing, but with the understanding that it would be returned to Australia.
Now it’s a very very small amount. I mean a small amount that might… would be hard-pressed to fill a truck, but obviously you have to handle it very carefully and so between the management of the so called intermediate level waste as well as the very low level waste associated with nuclear medicine and radioactive therapy, you need a small repository and frankly the engineering – the technical challenges of that sort of storage is trivial. But as we’ve found in Australia, no matter which government is in power, the ability to make a decision to identify a storage site and then to commission it has proven to be very difficult politically and socially.

NATALIE WHITING: Nuclear fuel rods from France are set to be returned to Australia before the end of the year

More nuclear waste, which is being reprocessed in the UK, will be sent back by 2020……”

February 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australian Labor – a nuclear waste dump to fix money problems?

text-cat-questionIsn’t that just a lovely idea?  Have South Australia’s labor politicians no brains? It”s like advocating cigarette smoking in order to fix obesity ( an idea I pinched from that great South Australian, Dr Helen Caldicott)

South-Australia-nuclearLabor eyed outback nuclear waste ‘windfall’ to wipe out state debt    SA Bureau Chief ADELAIDE  Political Reporter
 AN outback nuclear dump was considered by the South Australian Labor government in 2012 as a “silver bullet” to solve the state’s debt problems. An internal cabinet document obtained by The Australian reveals the government considered a plan to use the billions in revenue from a waste-storage facility to pay off debt and establish an infrastructure fund. It also proposes that, over time, nuclear waste could be tapped as a new source for power generation, and flags a public relations campaign to sell the idea.

The revelation comes after Premier Jay Weatherill last week announced a royal commission into nuclear power, saying it was time for a “mature” discussion about the potential to expand the state’s role in the fuel cycle.

However, the most senior South Australian Liberal, Christopher Pyne, yesterday rejected Mr Weatherill’s inquiry, putting him at odds with Tony Abbott.

“We have all the energy we need here in Australia … whether it’s coal energy — I do not support an extension to nuclear energy,” the Education Minister told ABC radio.

The Prime Minister has backed the royal commission, saying Mr Weatherill had offered “a gale of common sense”.

Mr Weatherill was Premier when then employment minister Tom Kenyon presented the “silver bullet” proposal to a cabinet planning day, arguing that a pro-nuclear policy to build on the state having one of the world’s largest uranium mines, Olympic Dam, would turn around the state’s finances. It flags the problems of spiralling debt of more than $10 billion, “no sign of a turnaround in budget” and flagging confidence in the economic future of the state as reasons for building a nuclear storage facility.

“Rather than suffering a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ in the lead up to 2014, a single decision could turn the budget on its head,” the document says.

A series of bilateral deals with targeted nations such as Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and the US are flagged to provide “an unprece­dented revenue windfall” in exchange for taking thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste.

“It is proposed this windfall be used to wipe out state debt, and implement a state infrastructure fund to enable a huge program of building works to drive the economy and deliver a boom to the state well in excess of any ‘mining boom’,” the report says.

Hosting Australia’s low-level waste would be conditional on ­allowing imported waste — a “non-negotiable aspect of the ­arrangement”.

Yesterday, Mr Kenyon — who remains a backbench MP — said all ministers received the ­November 2012 document, but he would not comment on cabinet deliberations.

“I think it has a lot of ­potential for the economy and I will ­certainly be putting that to the royal commission,” he said.

Mr Weatherill told The Australian yesterday that Mr Kenyon had been a “long-time advocate for increased involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle”.

“There are many views both in the Labor Party and in the wider community on this issue and I would ask anyone interested to make a submission to the royal commission,” Mr Weatherill said.

Mr Kenyon’s proposal raises the idea of locating the storage ­facility at sites previously earmarked by the commonwealth for a nuclear dump site, despite these being fiercely opposed by former Labor premier Mike Rann in 2004

February 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Concern that the Nuclear Royal Commission is really about a radioactive trash import business

MARK PARNELL: Giving one week is a ludicrous short time frame. 

WASTES-1NATALIE WHITING: The Premier, Jay Weatherill, has said he thinks it would be more likely that the commission recommend the establishment of a waste dump rather than power station.

Craig Wilkins from Conservation SA says that’s concerning.

CRAIG WILKINS: The only real market gap in the nuclear cycle is around receiving the world’s top nuclear waste. Certainly nuclear power and nuclear enrichment are just not feasible in the short term in our state. So that’s a big conversation. So I suppose part of our concern is that this inquiry is a bit of a Trojan horse for that agenda.

NATALIE WHITING: He says it has been difficult getting a submission up in the time frame

AUDIO Nuclear Royal Commission moves forward in SA MARK COLVIN: A royal commission is the biggest, most thorough, but often most expensive way Australia has of investigating an issue.  ABC Radio P.M. 

But in South Australia, just a week after the surprise announcement that of a royal commission into developing a nuclear industry, submissions on what the terms of reference should be are already closing. There’s been some criticism of that short time frame. Continue reading

February 18, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Recalling the Liberal Party’s push for importing foreign nuclear wastes

the previously secret deal followed the Liberal Party’s federal council meeting in June at which it unanimously supported an international waste dump being built in Australia.

logo-IFNECAustralia next ‘nuclear dump’ The Wilderness Society has warned a deal between Prime Minister John Howard and US President George W Bush to join an exclusive global nuclear club would ensure Australia became the dumping ground for the world’s nuclear waste. Source: 20 JUL 2007 UPDATED 22 AUG 2013 

 The Wilderness Society has warned a deal between Prime Minister John Howard and US President George W Bush to join an exclusive global nuclear club would ensure Australia became the dumping ground for the world’s nuclear waste.

The ministers for foreign affairs and resources had urged Mr Howard to announce the joint nuclear energy plan during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation visit in Sydney in September, Fairfax newspapers reported.

The statement

“The proposed action plan would help to open the way for valuable nuclear energy co-operation with the United States,” the briefing note says.

“It would also be consistent with the government’s strategy for the nuclear industry in Australia. Continue reading

February 4, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies, wastes | Leave a comment

Nowhere to put Lucas Heights nuclear waste – but they still keep making it!

text-wise-owlNuclear waste returning to Sydney from France  State Politics Editor, The Sun-Herald   A shipment of radioactive waste being returned to Sydney from France by December has raised concerns Lucas Heights is becoming a “de facto” national store.

Federal government plans to build a national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory collapsed last year, and a new search for a site will begin in March.

With no permanent national repository, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has been forced to build an interim waste store at Lucas Heights for the French shipment. It will include 28 stainless steel canisters of reprocessed waste, and six cemented drums of technological waste, including gloves and protective clothing worn by French nuclear workers.

The waste will be shipped from La Hague from July, immobilised in glass in canisters and shielded inside a specially designed forged steel transport container with 20-centimetre thick walls.

Australia sent the radioactive material from its nuclear research reactor to France in the 1990s for reprocessing, but under legal agreements, it must be removed from France by December 2015. More waste will be returned from Britain in 2017. Continue reading

January 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Western Sydney residents again face threat of radioactive waste dump at Kemps Creek

protestControversial radioactive clean-up to go ahead,SMH January 18, 2015  State Politics Editor, The Sun-Herald A bitter fight over radioactive waste between Sydney’s western and northern suburbs is set to be reignited by the Baird Government on the eve of the state election.

The NSW government will push ahead this year with a $12.4 million clean-up of Hunters Hill land contaminated by a uranium smelter 100 years ago, a government report has revealed.

But the only site in Australia identified by a string of government studies as the best option to store the waste – Kemps Creek near Penrith – is in a marginal Liberal seat where sitting MP Tanya Davies campaigned against the dump while in opposition. Continue reading

January 19, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, Opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

BHP wants Australian Government to allow bigger radioactive waste dam at Olympic Dam

BHP-on-Aust-govtBHP Billiton wants to increase radioactive waste storage at Olympic Dam, but opponents say leakage rates will rise, SMH,  January 12, 2015 –  Resources reporter BHP Billiton believes it can increase the amount of radioactive waste being stored in ponds at Olympic Dam without seepage rates rising, under the new development plan for the famous mineral deposit in the South Australian outback.

Continuing the rollout of new plans for the giant uranium, copper and gold mine, BHP has sought permission from the federal government to raise walls around an important waste or “tailings” dam at the mine from 30 metres to 40 metres.

The change would increase the volume of radioactive fluids that can be held in the dam – which is one of four on site – from 48.4 million cubic metres to 64.8 million cubic metres, with the work expected to be complete by September 2023.

Storage of the tailings, which include radioactive materials and acids, has been controversial since Olympic Dam’s previous owner, Western Mining Corporation, confirmed in 1994 that 5 billion cubic metres of the tailings fluids had leaked out of the storages and into an aquifer underground.

Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Dave Sweeney said increasing the volume of tailings under storage would probably cause more leakage.

“There is no question that increased pressure would add to the chances of increased seepage,” he said.

“We see tailings management as one of the big, unspoken problems with uranium mining. It is an unresolved environmental management problem.”……..

The push to increase the amount of tailings storage comes just months after BHP revealed a new strategy to develop Olympic Dam by putting a heap leach operation at the start of the existing processing cycle.

BHP will conduct a three-year trial of the heap leach concept, before deciding whether it warrants further expansion.


Confirmation of the heap leach trial was the first sign of progress at Olympic Dam since mid 2012, when BHP axed a $30 billion plan to develop the entire Olympic Dam deposit using the world’s biggest open-pit mine.

That $30 billion plan would have required the construction of eight new tailings dams, each requiring a 65-metre-tall embankment, and each covering two square kilometres.

January 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane calls for volunteers to host radioactive trash dump

wastesIndustry Minister Ian Macfarlane says bidding for nuclear waste dump to begin in March ZACH HOPE NT NEWS DECEMBER 14, 2014   BIDDING to host Australia’s nuclear waste dump will begin in March, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has said. It comes after Northern Territory land councils lost exclusive nomination rights because they failed to meet two deadlines of September 30 and November 10 to offer a site.Landowners, pastoralists and indigenous groups across the country will now have the opportunity to submit a tender…………..

December 14, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Traditional Aboriginal owners at Muckaty gear up for renewed fight against nuclear waste dumping

MuckatyhandsoffMuckaty landowners say nuclear dump fight is ‘back to square one’   in Darwin The owners feel the only way to protect the station is for it to be within the borders of the neighbouring Central Land Council The proposal of a second site for nuclear dumping at Muckaty Station sends the fight “back to square one,” traditional landowners say. They feel the only way to protect the area is to be within the borders of the neighbouring Central Land Council, which decided not to make a nomination last week due to local opposition.

Last week the case for a storage facility on Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory was reopened when one of the clan groups proposed a second parcel of land, just months after a bitter seven-year dispute appeared to have ended.

The Northern Land Council (NLC) had abandoned its nomination to the federal government to store low and intermediate radioactive waste in the area north of Tennant Creek as part of a settlement reached outside the federal court. It is now considering the new proposal.

One of the traditional owners, Dianne Stokes, told Guardian Australia the new proposal takes the fight “back to square one.” Continue reading

November 15, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, wastes | Leave a comment

Public comments closed on nuclear waste plans: need for a national inquiry

WASTES-1Unproven and unfinished: Time for a new approach to managing Australia’s radioactive waste November 10, 2014 National civil society groups have urged federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane to display an open mind and an open door with a new approach to radioactive waste management.

The call comes as public comment closes today on a planned federal government move to start a national nomination process for potential waste dump sites.  This move follows the failure of a long federal push for a waste facility in the Northern Territory.

National environment groups, the ACTU, public health and Aboriginal representatives have urged the Minister to stop searching for a postcode for a remote dump and instead initiate an inquiry into the best way to manage this waste.

Australia has never had an independent, expert review of responsible management options. Continue reading

November 12, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Rum Jungle uranium mine- its pollution still a costly problem over 60 years later

$200m sought to rehabilitate former Rum Jungle uranium mine, ABC News 31 Oct 14 By Joanna Crothers    The Rum-Jungle-mineDepartment of Mines and Energy is seeking $200 million from the Federal Government to rehabilitate the former Rum Jungle mine site.

Attempts to rehabilitate the site, Australia’s first uranium mine, stem back to the 1970s.

Scientists from the Department of Mines and Energy (DoE) have been drilling at the site over the past three weeks and analysing rock samples.It is estimated that five million cubic metres of rock will need to be relocated or re-buried in two of the mine’s deepest pits.

The process is likely to take three years and cost millions, scientists say…….Uranium and copper were mined at the site from the 1950s until the site closed in 1971. Waste rock at the site was buried but it started releasing acid and metals into the nearby East Finniss River. Ms Laurencont said the rocks were larger and more oxidised than was thought.

The Department said a purpose-built facility was needed to store the waste, so there was no further damage to the environment.

Last year the Federal Government allocated $14 million for developing a rehabilitation plan, in addition to $8 million already spent on a preliminary plan.

Acidic drainage has plagued the site since it closed and the Finniss River is a significant fishing sport for Indigenous people and Territory anglers.

The recreational reserve now known as the Rum Jungle South Recreation Reserve was shut from 2010 until 2012 by the Northern Territory Government where some low-level radiation was detected.

The Department will present its plan of rehabilitation to the Treasury in March next year.Other plans to rehabilitate include cleaning up other areas of the site and reintroducing vegetation onto the site.

November 3, 2014 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment


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