Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear Royal Commission puts up barriers to community participation

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINConservation Council of South Australia, 22 May 15 The SA Nuclear Royal Commission is putting huge barriers in the way of the community to formally participate in the current submission process, with Aboriginal people, people from remote, regional or rural areas, youth, and those with language difficulties particularly affected.

The Royal Commission is currently calling for public input in response to a series of Issues Papers. However, in the Submissions Guidelines they insist that submissions must be typed (not hand-written), and before lodging, a person has to swear in front of a Justice of the Peace (or equivalent) that it is their work.

“This requirement to find a JP will make it very difficult for many in remote areas, and especially for Aboriginal people of South Australia,” said Karina Lester, Yankunytjatjara Anangu Traditional Owner.

“How many JP’s live on the APY Lands or Maralinga Tjarutja Lands. How far does one have to travel to track down a JP?

“This is very unfair of the Commission to put these requirements in place as this will disengage the community and it will be all too hard to put in a submission.

“All South Australians need to contribute into this Royal Commission and feel that they have been consulted the right way.

“Anangu and the Aboriginal people of South Australia have been the ones directly impacted by the Nuclear Industry in the past.  The Government of SA are not learning from the past and hearing and respecting the voices of those who have lost loved ones, lost their sight, skin infections, cancers, and the list goes on,” said Ms Lester.

A sworn oath in front of a Justice of the Peace to lodge a submission is:
– NOT required under the Royal Commissions Act 1917
– NOT required for equivalent Federal or State Parliamentary inquiries

“ Requiring a member of the public to travel to a JP and swear an oath in front of them before they can lodge a submission is a highly unusual, unnecessary and surprising restriction which will stop people getting involved,” said Conservation Council SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins.

“If they are concerned about fake or spam submissions, all they need is for individuals to self declare and sign a coversheet. To be forced to swear an oath in front of a JP just to have your say is simply not necessary.

“Rather than creating a genuine community conversation as the Premier hoped, barriers like this will directly prevent a large number South Australians from participating and submitting their views.

“We urge the Commission to change their rules to allow as many South Australians as possible to participate, ” he said.

The last of 3 public information sessions about the Royal Commission will be held today at Adelaide University at 1pmMedia Contact: Meg Sobey, Communications Officer, 0411 028 930


May 22, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

For decades, a strong grassroots movement against radioactive waste dumping

 clear need to engage with the targeted communities from the early stages and throughout the whole duration of the project. Failing already during this essential first part of the process might actually poison the whole of it and leave the Government with nothing but another failed attempt to deal with Australia’s radioactive waste

Don’t waste the homelands Community opposition to a national radioactive waste dump has enjoyed a strong grassroots movement for decades. Now, the latest battle is in Western Australia. By  Anica Niepraschk 20 MAY 2015 WESTERN AUSTRALIAN IRON ORE COMPANY GINBALBIE METALS’ NOMINATION OF A SECTION OF ITS LAND TO HOST AUSTRALIA’S PROPOSED RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY COMES AS THE THIRD KNOWN NOMINATION IN WA. THE TWO-MONTH NOMINATION PERIOD FOR THE PROJECT CLOSED ON MAY 5.


Another known nomination comes from a landowner in Leonora, against local opposition but supported by Leonora Shire. The Shire had been keen on nominating freehold land itself but could not identify any suitable land.

The third revealed nomination from WA involves land in Kanpa, near Warburton in the eastern part of the state, and lacks support from the Ngaanyatjarra elders.

Similarly, Ginbalbie Metals’s nomination of a land near Badga station in the mid west of the state faces opposition from the traditional custodians of the land. Neither the local community nor Yalgoo shire had been consulted on the nomination. The site is even subject of a current native title claim by the Widi Native Title Claimant Group. The group expressed its strong opposition to Federal Industry Minister Macfarlane, stating that ‘the proponent has displayed an appalling level of disrespect’ for the traditional owners by failing to consult them. They generally reject radioactive waste dumps and uranium mining on their homelands.

This opposition to hosting a radioactive waste facility follows failed attempts by Canberra to impose a facility on communities in South Australia (1998-2004) and the Northern Territory (2005-2014). Community trust in the federal government’s handling of the process has eroded drastically over this period of time. Continue reading

May 22, 2015 Posted by | wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission needs to learn about AREVA’s financial and safety gloom

A negative learning curve on steroids What to make of the EPR saga? Areva is backing the wrong horse − the outcome of current political debates will result in a declining role for nuclear power in France, coupled to the growth of renewables.

A new report by ADEME, a French government agency under the Ministries of Ecology and Research, concludes that a 100% renewable electricity supply scenario is feasible in France. The report estimates that the electricity production cost would be €119 per megawatt-hour in 2050 in the 100% renewables scenario, compared with a near-identical figure of €117/MWh with a mix of 50% nuclear, 40% renewables, and 10% fossil fuels.

AREVA-Medusa1Areva has also backed the wrong-sized wrong horse: a giant reactor with a giant price-tag. That said, the backers of ‘small modular reactors‘ are having no more success than Areva. And Areva isn’t having much luck with its mid-sized ATMEA pressurised water reactor………

The EPR saga shows that developing modified versions of conventional reactors (in this case pressurised water reactors) can be complicated and protracted and can end in failure. How much more difficult will it be to develop radically new types of reactors? The French government’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety has recently produced an important critique of Generation IV nuclear power concepts. It states that there “is still much R&D to be done to develop the Generation IV nuclear reactors” and it is sceptical about the safety claims made for Generation IV concepts.

Feeling the pressure: Bumbling nuclear’s negative learning curve Jim Green, 21 May 2015, Climate Spectator

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN French state-owned nuclear giant Areva is offering to sell its ‘world leading’ nuclear technology to South Australia. The offer is being reported in the South Australian media without a hint of irony. A reality check is in order.

Areva has posted losses in each of the past four years including a €4.83 billion loss in 2014. Continue reading

May 22, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear reprocessing- not what it’s cracked up to be

Sellafield-reprocessingNuclear Reprocessing Pay more, risk more, get little,scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 21 May 15  Hui Zhang“…… Lately, advocates for fast neutron reactors have been arguing that breeders and reprocessing can reduce the long-term hazards associated with burial of high-level waste. But these long-term benefits are offset by short-term risks and costs.

For example, breeder advocates argue that the risks surrounding leakage in geological repositories could be reduced if all the long-lived isotopes of plutonium and other transuranics contained in spent fuel were transmuted (or fissioned), thus significantly reducing the doses of radioactivity that could escape due to any leakage. But studies show that long-lived fission and activation products in spent fuel—not isotopes that could be fissioned through breeders and reprocessing—dominate the radioactivity doses that leakage could release.

Plutonium, in fact, is quite insoluble in deep underground water. So, reprocessing delivers no obvious long-term benefits in reducing leaked doses of radioactivity—but it does involve routine releases of long-lived radioactive gases from spent fuel. Reprocessing also increases the risk that tanks for high-level liquid waste might explode.

(In a similar vein, advocates for fast neutron reactors argue that reprocessing, by reducing the need to mine uranium, can reduce human radiation exposure. But any such benefit is canceled out because plutonium reprocessing and recycling themselves expose workers and the public to radiation. In short, the net effects may well be negative.)

Meanwhile, all reprocessing and fast neutron reactor programs currently under consideration significantly increase the economic costs of nuclear energy. This means that nuclear decision makers must choose between achieving rather insignificant reductions in the long-term hazards associated with nuclear waste—and achieving short-term gains in the areas of safety, security, human health, and the environment.

The choice seems rather clear-cut. The US National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1996, based on a review of the costs and benefits of reprocessing and fast neutron reactor programs, that “none of the dose reductions seem large enough to warrant the expense and additional operational risk of transmutation.” That assessment remains valid today…….

May 22, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Royal Commission makes it hard for remote area people to make submissions

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINNuclear submissions tough for some  MAY 22, 2015 SOUTH Australia’s royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle is putting barriers in the way of community participation, particularly for Aboriginal people, people from remote areas and those with language difficulties, the Conservation Council says.

IT says the commission requires all submissions to be typed and not hand written and says they must be sworn in front of a justice of the peace.

The council says the requirement to find a JP will make it difficult for many in remote areas and especially for Aboriginal people to present their views.

May 22, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste dumping not just a local issue – Canada

antnuke-relevantDeep Ground Repository for nuclear waste has local support and regional opposition,  Radio Canada International By Carmel Kilkenny | 18 May, 2015, The Deep Ground Repository (DGR) proposed for Kincardine in Southwestern Ontario, will be the topic of many conversations over this annual Victoria Day holiday weekend….

A kilometre from the shore of Lake Huron,


The Bruce power station is the largest operating nuclear power plant in the world, with 4,000 employees drawn from several small communities around it.  The majority here support the DGR, which will store over 200,000 cubic metres of low and intermediate radioactive waste from the Bruce, as well as the Pickering and Darlington nuclear power stations.

But farther away, and in the large urban centres of Toronto, and Chicago, the DGR is the subject of a divisive debate with thousands signing petitions and filing official objections to the proposal. The biggest complaint is the proximity of the DGR to the Great Lakes basin.

Rolling Stewardship

At just over a kilometre from the shore of Lake Huron, many fear the future of 40 million people, on both sides of the Canada-US border, could be at stake in the event of an accident or an unforeseen event.

Mayor Keith Hobbs of Thunder Bay, Ontario, a vocal opponent, said in a recent interview with the London Free Press, “If you contaminate that source, we’re done.  That’s life, that’s life itself.”……

May 22, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Southern Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet now collapsing?

ice-sheets-melting‘Stable’ Antarctic ice sheet may have started collapsing, scientists say, Guardian, , 22 May 15  Southern Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet losing ice 8,500 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza every year, satellite data shows A vast slab of Antarctic ice that was previously stable may have started to collapse, according to new analysis of satellite data.

Research published in the journal Science on Thursday found the Southern Antarctic Peninsula (SAP) ice sheet is losing ice into the ocean at a rate of 56 gigatons each year – about 8,500 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza. This adds around 0.16mm per year to the global sea level.

The sheet’s thickness has remained stable since satellite observations began in 1992. But Professor Jonathan Bamber of Bristol university, who co-authored the study, said that around 2009 it very suddenly began to thin by an average of 42cm each year. Some areas had fallen by up to 4m.

“It hasn’t been going up, it hasn’t been going down – until 2009. Then it just seemed to pass some kind of critical threshold and went over a cliff and it’s been losing mass at a pretty much constant, rather large, rate,” said Bamber……

May 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Exhibition JAPANESE ART AFTER FUKUSHIMA – Melbourne until 30 May

see-this.wayStasis and climate cataclysm explored at RMIT’s After Fukushima exhibition, SMH May 19, 2015 Robert Nelson

​RMIT Gallery
Until May 30

Rosemary Laing
MoMA at Heide
Until May 31 “….Called Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations, the works relate our age to the celebration of aesthetic manufacturing in the 19th century.

These chilling pieces hang within Japanese Art After Fukushima, an exhibition of artistic reactions to the melt-down of the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011.  It contains marvellous work, such as Yutaka Kobayashi’s Absorption Ripples – Melt down, melt away, which uses a motif of the traditional Japanese garden, suggesting that radiation remains for millennia but the consciousness of it is transient.

The Fukushima disaster has inspired memorable actions, such as the Finger Pointing Worker, where a man menacingly accuses the Fukuichi​ live camera by pointing his finger at it. The unknown performer in the viral video is disguised in a radiation protection suit, but it might be Kota Takeuchi​, who worked at Fukushima and included the video in an exhibition at in Tokyo.

Despite invoking Godzilla – the mutant monster of destruction awoken after Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the exhibition is collected and thoughtful, including quiet works such as Manabu Ikeda’s rococo drawing of an industrial cooling tower.

Japanese Art After Fukushima is part of an excellent festival, Art + Climate = Change, which gathers local and international artists working with environmental ideas. It has spanned numerous venues across the state and is an important initiative of Guy Abrahams from the non-profit-making Climarte​.


May 22, 2015 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Labor Party firmly supporting price on carbon

Abbott-chicken-littleChris Bowen puts carbon tax back in play for Labor, The Age  May 20, 2015  Mark Kenny, Gareth Hutchens  Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has ruled out reviving Labor’s unsuccessful and politically corrosive mining tax under a future Shorten Labor government but has committed the ALP to putting a fully formed carbon pricing policy before voters at the next election….

a price on carbon remained central to the ALP’s platform.

“We continue to believe firstly that climate change is real,” he said.

“Secondly, that it’s caused by humankind and thirdly, the best way of dealing with it is a price on carbon. We continue to believe that, and that will be reflected in our detailed policy that we announce and seek a mandate to implement.”

The declaration means the political fight at the next election will in some senses be a carbon copy of the carbon-dominated 2013 race after Prime Minister Tony Abbott managed to abolish Labor’s fixed-price scheme last year……..

May 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Here’s how the states can dodge Canberra’s renewable roadblock

Dylan McConnell & Anne Kallies: Here’s how the states can dodge Canberra’s renewable roadblock Labor and the Coalition government have now agreed to cut the federal renewable energy target (RET) from 41,000 gigawatt hours in 2020, to 33,000 GWh – a reduction of almost 20%. This agreement has been hailed as restoring stability to the industry, after a year plagued with uncertainty and featuring two reviews.

However, this is still a significant cut, particularly as the target is a significant part of Australia’s policy response to climate change.

Meanwhile, Victoria has committed to restoring its own renewable energy target, the VRET, following other states in developing renewable energy policy. However a clause the federal legislation prevents schemes similar to the federal RET.

How can the states get around this and support their industries?


May 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment