Australian news, and some related international items

NARROW Terms of Reference for Royal Commission on South Australia’s further participation in the nuclear fuel chain

Below are the Terms of Reference.  You will note how very few related issues are included.nuclear-fuel-chain3

The Terms cover:

  • feasibility of expanding mining of radioactive materials
  •  feasibility of conversion, enrichment, fabrication or re-processing in South Australia
  • feasibility of generating electricity from nuclear fuels
  • feasibility of establishing facilities in South Australia for the management,
    storage and disposal of nuclear and radioactive waste
  • and a little nod to the impact on economy, environment, and community

Australia, Governor in and over the State of South Australia:
GREETING Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Flooding danger to uranium tailings at proposed Wiluna uranium mine

exclamation-Chapple says water could increase the risk at Toro,  Kalgoorlie Miner, 26 Mar 15  Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple has expressed concerns about plans to mine uranium in Wiluna after the “flooding” of Lake Way.

His comments came this week after a flyover revealed what Mr Chapple termed flooding on the lake bed. Toro Energy plans to store radioactive tailings from the proposed Wiluna uranium mine — up to 100 million tonnes — in the mined-out Centipede and Millipede pits, which will also be on the lake bed and are now underwater. The company has cited flooding as a non-issue, claiming the lake to be a natural drainage point, according to Mr Chapple.

Mr Chapple said the extensive flooding at Lake Way raised serious concerns about Toro’s ability to manage water effectively while mining on a lake bed. “I do not believe this company has properly accounted, nor planned, for potential flooding to the extent we have seen this week at Lake Way,” he said

“Not only would floodwaters of this magnitude carry radioactive material to other parts of the ecosystem, but on drying out could potentially release large quantities of oxidised uranium … into the atmosphere.

Mia Pepper Nuclear Free Campaigner Conservation Council of Western AustraliaAbout the flooding of Lake Way – the proposed site for the “Wiluna uranium project” including three pits on Lake Way. We’ve raised the issue that Toro Energy want to store about 100 million tonnes of radioactive tailings in two mined out pits on the lake bed (Centipede and Millipede) – the Department of Mines and Petroleum haven’t yet approved or even seen a tailings management plan from the company. We are focused on making sure the tailings don’t end up in this lake!

Conservation Council of Western Australia (Inc.) City West Lotteries House, 2 Delhi St, West M 0415 380 808 T (08) 9420 7291 F (08) 9420 7273

March 27, 2015 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Committee for Future Generations stops nuclear waste dumping in Saskatchewan

antnuke-relevant“The powerful Nuclear Waste Management Organization with all their money and all their experts could not beat back the duty we have to protect our future generations”

there has been strong Indigenous opposition in Ontario for years. Both the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), representing 49 First Nations in northern Ontario, and the Anishinabek Nation, representing 39 member First Nations across Ontario, have formally declared their opposition to nuclear waste in all of their traditional territories……

“This is what happens when people stick together and fight for what they believe in,” said Fred Pederson, a Pinehouse resident and member of the Committee for Future Generations

Protest-No!VICTORY! SASKATCHEWAN TO REMAIN NUCLEAR WASTE FREE, Intercontinental Cry by  March 26, 2015 Residents of northern Saskatchewan are celebrating an important victory this month after a four-year, hard-fought campaign to keep the province free of nuclear waste.

On March 3, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) announced that Creighton was no longer a contender in the organization’s siting process. It was the last of three Saskatchewan communities in the running to host a deep geological repository for the long term storage of spent fuel bundles from Canada’s nuclear reactors in Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick.

“This announcement is the culmination of four years of research, sacrifice, networking and hard work by a group of dedicated people with one goal: to keep nuclear waste out of Saskatchewan,” said Candyce Paul, a founding member of the Committee for Future Generations. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grave consequences could result from Australia’s unwise uranium deal with India

Australia and India face a graver test than cricket Against the backdrop of Australia and India squaring up in the World Cup cricket, the two nations now face a test with much graver consequences, write Dave Sweeney and Jim Green. SBS News, 26 Mar 15 When Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed a uranium deal with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last India-uranium1September, he praised India’s “absolutely impeccable non-proliferation record”. This praise came despite the reality that India is actively expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal and its missile delivery capabilities.

Mr Abbott declined to answer serious questions about India’s nuclear weapons program or the inadequate safety standards in and inadequate regulation of its civil nuclear program. Instead, he offered a cricketing cliché, declaring that Australia and India trust each other on issues like uranium safeguards because of “the fundamentally ethical principle that every cricketer is supposed to assimilate – play by the rules and accept the umpire’s decision”.

Gaining comfort from clichés while ignoring inconvenient truths might work for those in Canberra and mining company boardrooms but it fails any real world test.

The proposed India uranium agreement is currently being considered by federal parliament’s treaties committee, and it has yet to be ratified by parliament. Submissions to the treaties committee have raised many serious concerns − and not just from the usual suspects.

Those raising concerns and objections include John Carlson, former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office; Ron Walker, former Chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors; Prof. Lawrence Scheinman, former Assistant Director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Princeton University physicist Dr M.V. Ramana; and nuclear arms control expert Crispin Rovere.

The uranium agreement with India weakens Australia’s nuclear safeguards standards, increases the chances of Australian uranium finding its way into Indian weapons and would lead to further undermining of nuclear checks and balances. If the uranium agreement is approved there will be sustained pressure for Australia to apply equally inadequate standards to other uranium customer countries. As John Carlson notes in his submission: “If the Government does compromise Australia’s safeguards conditions, inevitably this will lead to other agreement partners asking for similar treatment.”

Mr Carlson’s critique carries particular weight given that for over two decades he was the head of Australia’s nuclear safeguards office……..

March 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Getting Aboriginals off their land, to facilitate mining industries

Anderson,MichaelGhillar Michael Anderson, leader of the Euahlayi people and ambassador of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, wrote an open letter to the United Nations on March 3, in which he states that the proposed closures of remote communities are to open up the land for mining.

“For the Western Australian government to now dispossess and displace the peoples of these homelands is designed to facilitate an expeditious expansion of mining interests and other developments,” he wrote.

The announcement of the closures coincides with the introduction of the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill by the Barnett government last November. The bill, which is about to be debated in state parliament, proposes changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. These simplify the process of gaining permission to develop Aboriginal sites, as the chief executive of the DAA will have sole discretion over whether to deem heritage protection. This would continue a DAA trend over recent years of site assessment which is beneficial to industry.

Are Mining Interests Behind Western Australian Remote Aboriginal Community Closures? March 20, 2015 by Paul Gregoir Yesterday, 18,000 people turned out at rallies across Australia in protest of the Western Australian government’s proposal to close up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities.



Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

8 Facts that you need to know about Fukushima

6. In Japan, the only radiation from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactors that is being measured is the radioactive cesium. However large amounts of strontium 90 and tritium are spreading all over Japan. Strontium and tritium’s radiation consists of beta rays, and are very difficult to measure. However both are extremely dangerous: strontium can cause leukemia, and tritium can cause chromosome disorder.

8. ……Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose said .“It is not under control now.”

Some Facts You Must Know About Fukushima Takashi Hirose | CounterPunch, 26 Mar 15 “………Here are eight things you need to know. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian farmers lobbying Abbott government for emissions trading scheme

climate-AustClimate change: farmers urge Coalition to restore emissions trading scheme, Guardian, , 26 Mar 15 Failure to acknowledge the problem is ‘doing the industry a disservice’ and harming Australia’s international standing, says farming group  A delegation of farmers has called for the Abbott government to act on climate change by restoring an emissions trading scheme, maintaining the current renewable energy target and spending on rail infrastructure to improve inland transport and reduce carbon emissions.

The farmers have spent two days lobbying the Coalition to start implementing a suite of policies to deal with the effects of climate change, warning of dire consequences for the agriculture sector if the threat was not addressed.

They have told the government MPs, including John Cobb and the staff of the treasurer Joe Hockey, that the Direct Action policy, which provides incentives for polluters to reduce carbon emissions, will not work to ameliorate climate change, “but if the government wants to give away money, people will keep taking it”.

The delegation said the lack of climate policies was being exacerbated by the cuts to research and development funding for applied climate science and the Bureau of Meteorology.

The visit came as intense negotiations between the government and Labor continued over the RET, which currently requires the government to source 41,000 gigawatt hours of energy from renewables by 2020. The latest government offer to Labor is 32,000GWh.

It also follows a report by University of Melbourne researchers called Appetite for Change, which charted the detrimental effects of climate change on Australia’s food production.

The farmers, organised by Earth Hour Australia, said the Abbott government needed to show leadership on the issue and it could start by using the term climate change, rather than “climate variability”………

March 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Farmers go to Canberra for Earth Hour to discuss climate change

Earth-hour-1Farmers from around Australia travel to Canberra to put the spotlight on climate change ahead of Earth Hour ABC Rural 24 Mar 15  WA Country Hour  By Bridget Fitzgerald A group of nine farmers will meet with key members of Federal Parliament this week to discuss their first hand experiences of climate change.

The group, from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, have travelled to Canberra ahead of Earth Hour this Saturday.

The annual Earth Hour event sees people all over the world switch off their lights for one hour, to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on farmers and food production…….

March 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s lost credibility in international climate talks, thanks to Tony Abbott

Ultimately, Australia’s diminished influence could have an impact on its economy, in ways that the Australian public, and the Australian media, did not understand. (Indeed, RenewEconomy has been the only Australian media at the last three climate talks, Doha, Warsaw and Lima).

Parkinson-Report-Abbott throwing away Australian influence at climate talks, report says, REneweconomy, By  on 25 March 2015

A damning report written by a former senior negotiator has castigated the Abbott government for its stance on international climate talks, saying the Coalition had thrown away influence and momentum, and could lose the opportunity to frame an agreement that could favour Australia.

The Lowy Institute report – written by Howard Bamsey, Australia’s former special envoy on climate change, and Kath Rowley, the general manager of reviews at the Climate Change Authority – says climate change negotiations should be at the top of Australia’s priorities. If not, Australia risks losing the ability to influence the shape of a new global climate treaty that could have major consequences for its own economy. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Three USA nuclear promotional Bills : Small Reactors, Education, and Nuclear as Renewable

SMRs-mirageNuclear power measures face questions   CrossCut WEDNESDAY 25, MARCH 2015  by  The big topic at the House Technology & Economic Development Committee hearing was whether Washington should find a place to build small modular reactors, which would be produced for utility customers. Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, is sponsoring this proposal and the two other nuclear-related bills that the committee examined. The Senate passed the small modular reactor bill 27-21, mostly along party lines.Tri-Cities leaders envision a Boeing-style assembly plant to build small modular reactors. This is a long-range plan and is predicted to take several years to develop……

The concept is still on the drawing board. No one has built a commercial small modular reactor yet……

At the hearing, critics cited the lack of any track record on cost or safety for small modular reactors, plus concerns over the nation’s lack of a permanent place to store used nuclear fuel.

“Small nuclear reactors are still in the prototype stage. … The prototype has never been tested in power production yet,” said Thomas Buchanan of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“I don’t think that the Department of Commerce should work on this until it has a design that passes the NRC,” said Chuck Johnson of the same organization.

Johnson argued that a single small-modular reactor would not generate enough electricity to efficiently recover its construction and operating costs…..

Deborah Wolpoff of Olympia pointed to the cancelation of the nation’s proposed nuclear fuel repository inside Yucca Mountain, with no replacement lined up. “I think it is irresponsible to promote this technology that produces this waste that we have no solution for,” Wolpoff said.

Committee member Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Seattle, wondered why the Legislature should support a new nuclear industry while Hanford’s Cold War nuclear wastes are decades from being cleaned up….

nuclear-teacherAnother Brown bill, which the Senate passed 44-5, would create an education program aimed at providing nuclear science lessons to students in the eighth through 12th grades. Qualified American Nuclear Society members would be brought in for classroom sessions. Also, science teachers would receive instruction on nuclear science in order to teach the subject in the classrooms…….

Mary Hanson of Physicians Social Responsibility argued that the bill would give the nuclear industry influence over students, while other energy industries would not have the same access. She said American Nuclear Society members might be less versed in nuclear power’s health issues than its technical ones.

nuke-greenwashThe third Brown bill, which the Senate passed 29-20, would add nuclear power to the list of alternative power sources that certain utilities can use to meet a state requirement to offer their customers voluntary participation in alternative energy purchases. The current list of green sources includes wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy….

Physicians for Social Responsibility opposed it, contending nuclear energy is not a renewable power source….

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Abbott govt’s Direct Action policy to give privileges to heavy-polluting electricity industry

Greens Leader Christine Milne said the policy would not raise revenue because the baselines were Milne,-Christine-1being set so high that no company would breach them.

“It’s just a joke of a policy which will do nothing to reduce emissions and nothing to drive energy efficiency or more innovative practices,” she said.

highly-recommendedPower sector to get special treatment under Direct Action, The Age March 27, 2015 Peter Hannam and Lisa Cox The Abbott government has proposed a major concession to the heavy-polluting electricity industry in its direct action climate change policy by exempting individual companies from caps on emissions. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

AUDIO Bypassing Big Power

Hear-This-wayAUDIO Bypassing Big Power, Radio National  The government, the opposition and the senate crossbenchers continue to wrangle on what level the Renewable Energy Target should be.

But, as technology improves, how widespread is the move by consumers to bypass big power?
A look at the current state of consumer-driven renewable energy.

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

Labor and Liberal happy to get donations from coal seam gas companies

TweedleDum-&-DeeLee Rhiannon: Future mortgaged to the mining past, Online opinion 26 Mar 15 Last week, Federal Labor voted with the Liberals and Nationals to block a Senate motion calling for a ban on political donations from mining and coal seam gas companies.

It seems that Labor is not prepared to back up Luke Foley’s recent comments about a post-coal future by ending its own reliance on mining donations.

Data recently released by the Australian Electoral Commission shows that political donations in the lead up to the 2013 election quadrupled. Mining companies are big donors, contributing hundreds of thousands to the Liberal, National and Labor parties.

Santos, Woodside Energy and Hancock Coal were some of the companies that donated more than $1.1 million to the major parties. The implications for democracy are deeply concerning.

March 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Abbott government leads resistance to Obama’s efforts to combat climate change

Obama-and-windAbbott government resists US moves against coal power, The Age March 26, 2015 – Lisa Cox, Mark Kenny The Abbott government has again put itself on a collision course with US President Barack Obama, this time over government funding for coal-fired power plants.

After adopting a contrary position to the US on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, about which a final decision is expected within days, the Abbott government has been leading international resistance to White House moves to strip back subsidies for fossil fuels.A leaked briefing paper, obtained by Fairfax Media, shows the government is using an international forum to frustrate efforts by the US, the United Kingdom and France to wind back export subsidies for new but environmentally harmful coal stations in third world countries.

The revelations call into question Canberra’s readiness to cooperate with other major economies in the lead-up to global climate talks in Paris in December.

Environment groups believe Australia is running interference in order to protect its own coal export markets in Asia……..the Australian government is arguing that limiting financial assistance to non-coal based power plants would send the wrong message to developing economies………

>Doug Norlen, a senior economic policy manager with Friends of the Earth, US, said the Abbott government was putting itself at odds with President Obama, who was using international forums to push other world leaders to reduce fossil fuel use in the lead-up to the Paris talks.

“This is interesting in several contexts, including in the recent context of the G20 where President Obama gave a very strong speech on the need to protect the Great Barrier Reef from damage from fossil fuel exportation,” he said.

“As we go forward, the Paris meetings become an important place where countries need to stand up and declare their seriousness about climate change or shirk their responsibility.”……..

March 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Malcolm Fraser’s plan for a green Australian republic

Malcolm Fraser’s unrealised manifesto – an Australian republic with green credentials, The Age  March 27, 2015  Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent  The political party Malcolm Fraser was working to set up when he died was to stand for an Australian republic which was reconciled with its first peoples through a treaty, with a larger population, a more independent foreign policy and a post-carbon economy…….

Fairfax Media reported last week the former prime minister would not have led the party, which had the working name Renew Australia, but had led the development of its platform.

In a draft “statement of values and purposes” for the future party published by news website Crikey on Thursday, Mr Fraser argued a new “modern, independent and progressive political party of national purpose” was needed to deliver the “intelligent and enlightened leadership, inspired by a belief in justice, integrity and a sense of the fair go” that the nation demanded.

“We do not take this step lightly or impulsively,” the statement reads. “Our party has been created in the belief that the major political parties … have repeatedly failed Australians on the big issues”……..

The document says the party accepts “the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change” and recognises that “nothing short of a profoundly different way of structuring the global economy will avert the catastrophic effects of a warming planet.”

“Despite the un-extracted riches in Australia’s coal reserves, the imperative of moving to a post-carbon economy is clear, and the urgency of government intervention to achieve it is compelling,” it reads……….–an-australian-republic-with-green-credentials-20150326-1m8hyt.html

March 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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