Australian news, and some related international items

Macho Madness – nuclear power nuclear weapons – theme for February 2018

The “Me Too” movement exposed the sexual exploitation of women at work, and the men in authority who make the decisions to cover this up.

Men in authority have forever been making decisions to cover up the exploitation of women, children and men in every arena of society. But in no arena more than in violence and war.

Without “Me Too” in decisions on nuclear power and nuclear war – we are all finished.


February 10, 2018 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Submission to ARPANSA on the draft Code for Disposal of Solid Radioactive Waste

Submission 1 to  Code for Disposal of Solid Radioactive Waste (RPS C-3) By Noel Wauchope, 24 Feb 18

Regarding the type of radioactive wastes discussed

The big change in this Code is that it now applies to all types of disposal facility – meaning that higher level nuclear wastes are planned for. The draft Code states on page 9:

– “Australia has no high level waste (HLW) and is unlikely to possess any in the foreseeable 108 future”

But the plan is obviously to include reprocessed nuclear wastes returned to Lucas Heights, from France, where they are classified as High Level Wastes, not Intermediate Level Wastes (ILW) The vitrified waste we received back from France has a radioactivity over one Billion Becquerels per gram (one GigaBq/gr). France considers this High Level Waste…/2006_summar…/files/docs/all.pdf

Many people are aware of the approx 10 cubic metres reprocessed spent fuel classed as ILW & returned from France in 2015. Not more generally known is the fact that there is much much more ILW destined for ‘temporary storage’ above ground (contrary to IAEA best practice) in the proposed repository

Currently there is no official determination about what is actually to be accumulated there – hence the delay in remediating the leaking drums at Woomera and failure to properly inform the local communities, also thereby wrongfully expecting them to sign off on an unknown quality/quantity.

Regarding the containers for transport and interim storage of radioactove wastes 

CASKS. No detail is given in the draft Code, which calls for

“appropriate selection of waste forms and packaging”.
There are problems both in transport and in storage above ground for hundreds of years

For example – accidents, includng fires. The Mont Blac Tunnel was one fire in 1999 that had temperatures of 1000 degrees celsius, while dry cask tests only reach 760 degrees for no more than 20 minutes…/Infrastructural…/mont.htm

There is no detail on the containers for radioactive waste. This is becoming an issue overseas. The Swedish Environmental Court has ruled against their planned radioactive waste repository because of concerns about the copper canisters planned.…/
USA’s The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) allows U.S. nuclear plants to store or transport spent fuel waste in thin walled welded stainless steel canisters designed to withstand a crash at 30 miles per hour…/a-pact-with-the-devil/Content…

Britain has similar concerns.…/swedens-problem-is-al…/ February 21, 2018by cumbriatrust

Regarding the transport and interim storage of radioactive wastes

TRANSPORT.  In all its 65 pages has just the bare 2 lines, which refer the reader to another document. The dangers in transporting nuclearwastes for over 2000 km across the continent are glossed over. But it is well known that such transport over very long distances is risky. Washington, D.C. Mayor Carolyn Goodman – “Anywhere it’s transported is at risk because of the tunnels, the bridges, the railroads, the roads,” she said. “An accident … puts millions and millions of people around the country at risk for loss of life, cancer and everything else.” ,…/in-dc-goodman-highlights-dangers…/

INTERIM STORAGE. This is a nice phrase for what is likely to turn out to be STRANDED WASTES. Page 43 of the draft Code – “Near surface disposal facilities are generally designed on the assumption that 1295 institutional control has to remain in force for a period of time. For short lived waste, 1296 the period will have to be several tens to hundreds of years following closure.”

This Code will approve and give the go-ahead for the plan to have this temporary above-ground storage set up BEFORE there is any building of a permanent deep disposal repository.

Regarding the discussion of COMMUNITY 
COMMUNITY . Page 17 of the draft Code defines “Community” In this Code the term ‘community’ is used to define the level of spatial and social organisation at which the issue of demographics must be addressed by the license applicant in terms of ‘the impact of the facility on the community in which the facility is, or is to be situated’. In general usage ‘community’ refers to a geographical area defined for the purpose of consultation.”

The Code thus eliminates the interest of the broader community – in rural South Australia, in the State of Sout hAustralia, and in the whole country.

Even while considering just the immediate local community, the Code states, on page 23, that one criterion for the location is that it must be a site “which has little or no potential for agriculture or outdoor recreational use”. I wonder what the farming community in the Kimba area think of this?

February 24, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

To 24 February – past week in Australian nuclear news

Not much has changed this week: the simmering North-Korean -USA nuclear continued to simmer  quietly while the Winter Olympics were on: the global nuclear waste anxieties ratcheted up a little.

We got an insight into Donald Trump’s mindset about how to deal with  teenage gunmen, (or anyone difficult?) . He suggests giving bonuses to teachers who carry guns into the classroom. As a former teacher, I shudder to think what might happen in some classrooms with a bunch of obstreperous kids.

Climate change: global sea level rise is inevitable, but more emissions will make it worse. Arctic temperatures soar 45 degrees above normal, flooded by extremely mild air on all sides.


NUCLEAR.  The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency asks for submissions,  by 2nd March, on its draft Radioactive Waste Disposal Code.  So far, they’ve published 16 submissions, all opposing the planned nuclear waste dump, except for one, from Denise Carpenter (  member of the Barndioota Consultative Committee. This Committee’s role is to help determine which is the best site for a National Radioactive Waste Dump.)

Meanwhile submissions to the Senate Inquiry into Selection for Nuclear Waste Dump Site close on 3rd April. The membership of this Committee is not known, but  The Medical Association for the Prevention of War has written to Senators, outlining concerns  about the dump site process.

Brewarrina residents step up campaign against proposed nuclear dump.

Hunters Hill residents still waiting on government to clean up uranium contaminated land.

Eleven members of the Turnbull Government openly support nuclear power for Australia.

Longterm slump in uranium industry looks like being permanent.

CLIMATE: ADANI COAL PROJECT  Labor’s doublespeak about Adani coal mine plan. Townsville City Council censors documentary about Adani coal megamine plan.  Ex-Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce bought up land near Inland Rail project.

ABORIGINAL ISSUES. Australia’s shocking cruelty to Aboriginal people with disabilities:  Solitary confinement.

RENEWABLE ENERGY A renewable energy jobs boom is sweeping across regional Australia.  Premier Jay Weatherill says that South Australia’s election will be a referendum on renewables. S.A. Labor shoots for 75 per cent renewables by 2025.  Mark Parnell outlines The Greens environment policy for the coming South Australian election. Liberal Federal MP Warren Entsch urges Queensland Govt to promote renewable energy.  Miles more at

February 24, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science appoints giant American corporation AECOM to assess nuclear waste dump sites

AECOM   (formerly known as AECOM Technology Corporation) is an American multinational engineering firm…AECOM traces its origins to Kentucky-based Ashland Oil & Refining Company,

Successful Tenderer To Conduct Site Characterisation    2 February 2018

Successful tenderer to conduct site studies.

THE Department of Industry, Innovation and Science today announced AECOM is the successful tenderer to assess technical suitability of sites being considered for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

The “site characterisation” works that they undertake under the contract will be conducted on all three of the nominated sites, currently being considered: two in Kimba and one at Wallerberdina Station……..

AECOM was the successful tenderer of five applicants, based on factors including its engineering and radioactive waste management experience, combined with specific experience operating in South Australia.

Radioactive waste is currently stored in more than 100 locations around Australia, and the Site Characterisation is part of Phase 2 of a process to establish a single, safe facility to consolidate the waste.

The facility will be the permanent repository for Australia’s low level radioactive waste, and it will also temporarily store our intermediate level radioactive waste………

“While these assessments are underway, our extensive community consultation will continue.

“Additionally, within the next week we will see the closing of applications for the Community Benefit Program for both communities, on Monday 5th February 2018.

“We have the right experts and the right staff in place to advance this project through various decision points this year,” McCleary said.

February 24, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to set up another pro nuclear ‘Economic Working Group’ (EWG)

Kimba residents to be involved with nuclear economic investigation

Kimba residents have the chance to be directly involved in investigating economic opportunities and issues relating to the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

As part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s ongoing consultation, an Economic Working Group (EWG) consisting of local community members will be established to consider the proposal.

 The department is asking community members who want to get involved to submit an expression of interest.

Working group members will consider how economic benefits could be realised, or issues addressed, if Kimba is selected as the location for the national facility.

Opportunities that could come from the facility may include contracting works in construction, ongoing work during operation, and flow on roles in everything from the service industry to tourism.

Head of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce Bruce McCleary said the project had economic potential.

“This project has potential to generate significant local economic opportunities and this committee will give locals the chance to directly explore that,” he said.

“We know that local community members are best placed to highlight where there are local opportunities, and where more opportunities need to be created.

“Members of the Economic Working Group will work with the Kimba Consultative Committee and the department’s project team to discuss the ways the proposed facility could enhance the local community.

“The committee members will also be tasked with identifying any economic activities that could be impacted by the facility.”

The group will be based on the model already implemented in Barnidoota.

“I encourage all interested local community members – those for, against or undecided on the proposal, to put in an Expression of Interest in joining the Kimba Economic Working Group,” Mr McCleary said.

The Kimba Economic Working Group will consist of a maximum of 10 members, including a Chairperson.

Expressions of interest are now open and close at 5pm EDT on March 13 2018.

For more information on the selection criteria and how to apply to be a member of the Economic Working Group, go to

February 24, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Landmark Swedish Court Judgment against Nuclear Waste Repository

Landmark Swedish Court Judgment against Nuclear Waste Repository: Read the English Translation

MKG, the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review has made an unofficial translation into English of the Swedish Environmental Court opinion on the power industry’s Nuclear Waste Company SKB’s license application for a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark, Sweden.

The court said no to the application because it considered that there were problems with the copper canister that had to be resolved now and not later. The translation shows the courts judicial argumentation and why it decided not to accept the regulator SSM’s opinion that the problems with the integrity of the copper canister were not serious and could likely be solved at a later stage in the decision-making process.

The main difference between the court’s and the regulator’s decision-making was that the court decided to rely on a multitude of scientific sources and information and not only on the material provided by SKB. It had also been uncovered that the main corrosion expert at SSM did not want to say yes to the application at this time that may have influenced the court’s decision-making. In fact there appear to have been many dissenting voices in the regulator despite the regulator’s claim in the court that a united SSM stood behind its opinion.

The court underlines in its opinion that the Environmental Code requires that the repository should be shown to be safe at this stage in the decision-making process, i.e. before the government has its say. The court says that some uncertainties will always remain but it sees the possible copper canister problems as so serious that it is not clear that the regulator’s limits for release of radioactivity can be met. This is a reason to say no to the project unless it can be shown that the copper canister will work as intended. The copper canister has to provide isolation from the radioactivity in the spent nuclear fuel to humans and the environment for very long time-scales.

 It is still unclear how the process will proceed. The community of Östhammar has cancelled the referendum on the repository, as there will be no question from the government in the near future. The government has set up a working group of civil servants to manage the government’s handling of the opinions delivered by the court and SSM. SSM has told the government that it is ok to say yes to the license application.

The court has stated that there are copper canister issues that need to be considered further. The nuclear waste company SKB has said that it is preparing documentation for the government to show that there are no problems with the canister. Whether the government thinks that this will be enough remains to be seen. This is likely not what the court had in mind. The government would be wise to make a much broader review of the issue. There is a need for a thorough judicial review on the governmental level in order to override the court’s opinion. Otherwise the government’ decision may not survive an appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court.

There are eminent corrosion experts that are of the opinion that copper is a bad choice as a canister material. There is also increasing experimental evidence that this is the case. One problem for the court was likely that SKB has hesitant to do the required corrosion studies that show that copper does not corrode in an anoxic repository environment. The 18-year FEBEX field test shows that copper corrodes relatively rapidly with pitting corrosion. SKB says that all corrosion is due to in-leaking oxygen but it is now clear that experimental systems containing copper and clay become anoxic within weeks or months so this explanation is not valid. 

MKG has for long wanted SKB to retrieve the next experimental package in the LOT field test in the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory. SKB had refused. The remaining packages have now been heated for 18 years. When a 5-year package was retrieved in 2006 it was discovered that there was “unexpectedly high corrosion”. There is clearly a need for more lab and field test results to decide whether copper is a good and safe choice for a canister material.

The court’s decision-making shows the importance of a democratic and open governance in environmental decision-making. It is important that the continued decision-making regarding the Swedish repository for spent nuclear is transparent and multi-faceted.

February 24, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

America puts a good-looking young woman as nuclear weapons chief

She may be very smart, and even have a bit of integrity. I hope so. But are we here seeing the macho nuclear weapons lobby copying the “nuke nukes” gimmick of appointing a good-looking young woman to front their dangerous operation?

First woman in history takes helm of US nuclear weapons arsenal, Washington Examiner by John Siciliano | Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday swore in the first woman in history as head of the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty was sworn in as administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which under President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal would comprise nearly half of the Energy Department’s funding.


“The selection of Gordon-Hagerty, who [came] to USEC without any experience operating a company, surprised some enrichment industry analysts,” USEC Watch commented December 22, 2003. “But some sources suggested that the new COO [would] concentrate on improving USEC’s relationships with DOE and with the national security community.

February 24, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Urgency of USA’s nuclear waste problem – Diablo Canyon Power Plant as an example

Are Australia’s radioactive waste experts paying attention to the issues raised here?   The so-called “Intermediate” Level Wastes (ILL) from Australia’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor will face the same problems, albeit on a smaller scale, as Diablo’s.

What about the type and strength of canisters transporting highly radioacyive wastes from spent nuclear fuel rods?

What about the risks of transport accidents, over a 2000 km trail, past towns?

What about setting up “interim”nuclear waste dumps -, without any final deep repository existing – to become stranded nuclear waste dumps?

A pact with the devil,, BY AMY HEWES , 22 Feb 18 

Diablo Canyon Power Plant is due to shut down in 2025, maybe earlier, but the radioactive waste it has generated will threaten our lives for another 200,000 years.

Society owns this Pandora’s box—but we haven’t owned up to the responsibility.

“For 30 years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has kept its head in the sands,” U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) said.

To his credit, Carbajal understands the urgency of the nuclear waste problem and has co-signed a bipartisan bill, HR 3035, that he hopes will provide a temporary solution.

Unfortunately, that legislation is seriously flawed. Without amendments or follow-up legislation, the bill threatens huge population centers in the event of likely unavoidable transportation accidents. It also establishes unsafe consolidated waste dumps without mandating a permanent, geological repository.

Having lived in the shadow of Diablo Canyon since 1985, most of us on the Central Coast have become inured to the dangers that lurk there. But even after decades of decay, it takes just a few minutes of exposure for spent fuel rods to deliver a killing dose of radioactivity. According to the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), “Certain radioactive elements (such as plutonium-239) in ‘spent’ fuel will remain hazardous to humans and other living beings for hundreds of thousands of years. Other radioisotopes will remain hazardous for millions of years. Thus, these wastes must be shielded for centuries and isolated from the living environment for hundreds of millenia.”

“Today, there are 100 reactors operating at 59 sites in the U.S., and 35 permanently shut-down reactors at 25 additional sites,” noted Tim Judson, NIRS executive director.

How many tons of highly dangerous waste has accumulated at these sites? “The last reliable estimate was 74,000 tons in 2015—more than the 70,000-ton mandated capacity limit for Yucca Mountain [the stalled U.S. geologic repository located in Nevada],” said Judson.

On average, the industry generates about 2,000 tons of additional irradiated fuel each year, bringing the total tonnage to 80,000 tons.

Just over the hill from San Luis Obispo, approximately 2,200 metric tons of toxic waste is stored onsite at Diablo Canyon. By the time the plant closes, we’ll face a 2,690-metric-ton, 200,000-year-long local problem.

No wonder Carbajal has embraced HR 3035, which would authorize mass transportation of waste to parking lot dumps, supposedly “interim” consolidated storage sites—now proposed in Texas and New Mexico. Under the bill, our mountain of waste would become someone else’s problem.

Or would it? Why does NIRS, the Union of Concerned Scientists, San Onofre Saftey, Beyond Nuclear, and SLO-based Mothers for Peace, among others, oppose the bill?

First, consider transportation of the world’s deadliest waste. Shipments would travel through 45 states, exposing millions of people to murderous radiation in an accident.

And accidents do happen. Amtrak’s latest derailment in December sent train cars plummeting onto the interstate in DuPont, Washington. Meanwhile, in 1999, the American Petroleum Institute reported that heavy truck accidents occur approximately six times per million miles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2015 alone there were 57,313 fatal and injury crashes involving large trucks on our highways. Of those accidents, at least 154 resulted in the release of hazardous material.

Imagine if that hazardous material was radioactive.

OK, but aren’t the shipment casks built to withstand accidents?

Nope. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) allows U.S. nuclear plants to store or transport spent fuel waste in thin walled welded stainless steel canisters designed to withstand a crash at 30 miles per hour. Do you want to bet lives that they would hold up in a calamity at 80 miles per hour?

Before HR 3053 is approved—and before any more thin-walled canisters are stored at earthquake-prone Diablo Canyon—there needs to be legislation mandating upgraded, thick-walled casks such as those used in Europe and Japan. We should also demand continuous, long-term monitoring and inspection of all transportation containers and/or dry storage casks, whether they’re stacked at Diablo Canyon or at consolidated the “interim” sites envisioned in HR 3053.

And let’s be honest: The Nuclear Waste Policy Act currently disallows “interim” nuclear waste storage at consolidated sites unless a permanent U.S. geologic repository is built. HR 3053, however, does away with that mandate. Without that leverage—and in light of the enormous political and scientific challenges to establishing a permanent repository—in all likelihood, “interim” will de facto become “permanent.”

What to do? Carbajal and his congressional colleagues should listen to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which has testified that “spent fuel can be managed safely at reactor sites for decades, but only if … the security of dry cask storage is enhanced.” UCS told a House committeee last year that interim facilities should not be allowed unless a permanent repository is established. And, finally, the science-based group has called for Congress to fully support the technical work needed to build a safe and secure permanent repository.

Carbajal agrees that HR 3053 is only a temporary fix and that Mothers for Peace and other opponents have legitimate concerns. But we cannot let what he terms a “Sophie’s choice” bill to become a pact with the devil.

Carbajal and Congress must address the problems before this legislation goes forward. Because, as Mothers for Peace spokesperson Linda Seeley said, “Diablo Canyon is our baby—a horrible, poisonous monster—but we have to take care of it. It’s morally wrong to do otherwise.” Δ

Amy Hewes is actively involved in grassroots political action. Send comments through the editor at


February 23, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Arctic temperatures soar 45 degrees above normal, flooded by extremely mild air on all sides

This latest temperature spike is another striking indicator of the Arctic’s rapidly changing climate…. (registered readers only)

February 23, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

 MILITARY PLUTONIUM To be manufactured at Hinkley

 “MILITARY PLUTONIUM To be manufactured at Hinkley”

The charade of Atoms for Peace, Dr David Lowry , 23 Feb 18, “……Atoms for Peace ( in reality a cynical project promoting  US  global nuclear technology  dominance launched by President Eisenhower at the UN in New York in December 1953)   using a special atomic train  taking nuclear scientists around the country promoting nuclear power.

But it was a charade. The first public hint came with a public announcement on 17 June 1958 by the Ministry of Defence, on:   “the production of  plutonium suitable for weapons in the new [nuclear ] power stations programme as an insurance against  future defence needs…” in the UK’s  first generation Magnox (after the fuel type, magnesium oxide) reactor.

A week later in the UK Parliament, Labour Roy Mason, who incidentally later became Defence Secretary, asked  (HC Deb 24 June 1958 vol 590 cc246-8246) why Her Majesty’s Government had

“decided to modify atomic power stations, primarily planned for peaceful purposes, to produce high-grade plutonium for war weapons;  to what extent this will interfere with the atomic power programme; and if he will make a statement.?” to be  informed by the Paymaster General, Reginald Maudling

“At the request of the Government, the Central Electricity Generating Board has agreed to a small modification in the design of Hinkley Point and of the next two stations in its programme so as to enable plutonium suitable for military purposes to be extracted should the need arise.
The modifications will not in any way impair the efficiency of the stations. As the initial capital cost and any additional operating costs that may be incurred will be borne by the Government, the price of electricity will not be affected. Continue reading

February 23, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Lawsuits against USA agencies and companies, over Widespread radioactive contamination in St Louis, Missouri

HBO documentary, “Atomic Homefront” at St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase

Lawsuits: Widespread radioactive contamination in north county
The lawsuits seek relocation and financial awards for thousands of people  Grant Bissell, February 22, 2018 

February 23, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Tesla big battery results suggest local storage better than “monster” projects — RenewEconomy

New analysis says performance of Tesla big battery shows advantages of distributed storage rather than a single “monster” project like Snowy 2.0.

via Tesla big battery results suggest local storage better than “monster” projects — RenewEconomy

February 23, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Battery storage: Are Australian households about to charge into market? — RenewEconomy

Further rises in Australia’s already ridiculously high grid prices, South Australian incentives, and the first battery storage manufacturing plant in the country suggest the battery storage market is about to take off.

via Battery storage: Are Australian households about to charge into market? — RenewEconomy

February 23, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Electric vehicles: SA Labor proposes no stamp duty, free rego for zero emissions cars — RenewEconomy

SA Labor promises to waive stamp duty, five years of registration costs, on purchase of zero emissions cars, if it wins election.

via Electric vehicles: SA Labor proposes no stamp duty, free rego for zero emissions cars — RenewEconomy

February 23, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


1) The process is very divisive. Repeated, highly damaging processes imposed on previously cohesive communities are causing significant harms.
2) Considerable amounts of persistently misleading information have been and continue to be presented to communities. Incorrect and incomplete information does not result in genuine consent.
3) There is a failure to observe international best practice standards for the highly radioactive long lived intermediate level waste (ILW) management. There is no disposal plan whatsoever for ILW, leaving the problem for many future generations.

1) There is a lack of demonstrable “Net benefit”. The proposed 40 year-long expansion of medical isotope production needs genuine cost/benefit analysis to make sure this is not a heavily subsidised product being sold into the global market at the expense of the Australian community both now and in the future. Independent NEA/OECD economic modelling finds only 10-15% cost recovery of isotope manufacture when there is genuine inclusion of all costs.
2) The expansion will create 40 years of significantly increased production of ILW.
3) ANSTO has a narrative of global shortages, yet given falling demand and increasing global supply there is no shortage of Mo99. The NEA/OECD predict a significant oversupply.
4) Again, there is no plan whatsoever for disposal of the additional ILW generated.

Both processes are unacceptably flawed.

Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW)  urges

* A halt to the current NRWMF process until such time as world’s best practice is followed. There is sufficient capacity at the Lucas Heights facility, once regulatory approvals are met, to store Low Level Waste (LLW) and Intermediate Level Waste  (ILW) well into the next decade.

* Cessation of expansion of nuclear medicine for export, and a phase out of exports, until there is demonstrated, publicly available, clear analysis of cost/benefit and plans for appropriate disposal of the substantial amount of ILW this process will generate.

* Transparent evaluation of “net benefit” to the Australian community. This as a whole must underpin the process, and be based on cradle to grave impacts of production.

* Recognition that currently the information provided to communities is riddled with so much misinformation it calls into question the underlying validity of any community consent process.

In closing, it is clear there is an urgent need for an independent inquiry into the production and management of Australia’s nuclear waste.

February 23, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Longterm slump in uranium industry looks like being permanent

Very few mines could operate at a profit at current prices. Some mines are profitable because earlier contracts stipulated higher prices, while many mines are operating at a loss.

And with the cost of a single power reactor climbing to as much as $20 billion, proposals to introduce nuclear power to Australia seem more and more quixotic and are now largely limited to the far right ‒ in particular, Australians Conservatives’ luminary Senator Cory Bernardi and the Minerals Council of Australia.

BHP marketing vice-president Vicky Binns said in December 2017 that uranium markets would remain oversupplied for close to a decade, with downward pressure remaining on uranium prices 

Uranium industry slumps, nuclear power dead in the water  Jim Green, Online Opinion,  23 F

……….These days, the market exhibits multiple levels of weirdness, all stemming from the growing acknowledgment that nuclear power and the uranium industry face a bleak future.

The uranium market has a “subdued outlook” and Cameco’s uranium is now “more valuable in the ground” according to Warwick Grigor from Far East Capital, because the cost of production is higher than the prices currently being offered. Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel agrees, saying in January 2018 that at current prices “our supply is better left in the ground.” So uranium industry executives and market analysts are finally coming around to rallying cry of the anti-uranium movement: Leave it in the ground!

We’ve also had the odd situation over the past year of nuclear lobbyists arguing repeatedly that the nuclear power industry is in “crisis” and wondering what if anything can be salvaged from “the ashes of today’s dying industry“. Usually such claims come from the anti-nuclear movement ‒ sometimes more in hope that expectation.

And we’ve had the odd situation of industry bodies (such as the US Nuclear Energy Institute) and supporters (such as former US energy secretary Ernest Moniz) openly acknowledging the connections between nuclear power and weapons ‒ connections they have strenuously denied for decades.

Such arguments are now being used in an effort to secure preferential treatment for uranium mining companies in the US. Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels have lodged a petition with the Department of Commerce seeking a mandated requirement for US power utilities purchase a minimum 25% of their requirements from US mines. Uranium is “the backbone of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and fuels ships and submarines in the U.S. Navy”, the companies state………

Another miserable year for the uranium industry  Nuclear power has been stagnant for the past 20 years. Although power reactors account for an overwhelming majority of uranium demand, uranium production ‒ and prices ‒ have been up and down and all over the place.

Uranium mine production increased by 50% from 2007 to 2016. The increase was driven, initially at least, by expectations of the nuclear renaissance that didn’t eventuate. Mine production plus secondary sources (e.g. stockpiles and ex-military material) have consistently exceeded demand ‒ 2017 was the eleventh consecutive year of surplus according to the CEO of uranium company Bannerman Resources.

Stockpiles (inventories) have grown steadily over the past decade to reach enormous levels ‒ enough to keep the entire global reactor fleet operating for around eight years. Supply from mines and secondary sources in recent years has exceeded demand by about 18%.

Those dynamics have put downward pressure on prices. After six years of steady decline, uranium prices were flat in 2017. The spot price as of 1 December 2017 was less than one-third of the pre-Fukushima price and the long-term contract price less than half the pre-Fukushima price.

Countless would-be uranium mining companies have given up, some trying their luck in other areas such as property development or growing dope. Some mines have closed, others have been put into care-and-maintenance, and others have reduced output. But supply has continued to exceed demand ‒ and to exert downward pressure on prices.

Very few mines could operate at a profit at current prices. Some mines are profitable because earlier contracts stipulated higher prices, while many mines are operating at a loss. Many companies have been loathe to close operating mines, or to put them into care-and-maintenance, even if the only other option is operating at a loss. They have been playing chicken, hoping that other companies and mines will fold first and that the resultant loss of production will drive up prices. “We have to recognise that we over-produce, and we are responsible for this fall in the price,” said Areva executive Jacques Peythieu in April 2017.

Current prices would need to more than double to encourage new mines ‒ a long-term contract price of about US$70–$80 is typically cited as being required to encourage the development of new mines.

The patterns outlined above were repeated in 2017. It was another miserable year for the uranium industry. A great year for those of us living in uranium producing countries who don’t want to see new mines open and who look forward to the closure of existing mines. And a great year for the nuclear power industry ‒ in the narrow sense that the plentiful availability of cheap uranium allows the industry to focus on other problems.

Cut-backs announced

The patterns that have prevailed over the past five years or so might be changed by decisions taken by Cameco and Kazatomprom (Kazakhstan) in late 2017 to significantly reduce production. Continue reading

February 23, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium | Leave a comment