Australian news, and some related international items

Submission Points to Royal Commission Issues Paper 1 EXPLORATION, EXTRACTION AND MILLING

Submissions to this Paper are due by July 24  POINTS TO CONSIDER

They want you to direct your answers to the points they have set out in    SO: here are a few ideas:

1.1 and 1.2. (economics of uranium industry) Australia’s uranium production of 5,000 tonnes in 2014 was the lowest for 16 years. The industry generates less than 0.2 per cent of national export revenue and accounts for less than 0.02 per cent of jobs in Australia. (1)

Nowhere in this Issues Paper is information given on Government funding of the nuclear industry either directly in the form of grants and through government supplied services.

1.12  (Uranium enrichment) and 1.7  (Future of uranium market) The 2006 Switkowski Review concluded that “there may be little real opportunity for Australian companies to extend profitably” into enrichment. (2) Conditions are no more conducive to the establishment of an enrichment industry now than they were in 2006. Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd noted in July 2014 that “the world enrichment market is heavily over-supplied”.(3)

1.8. (health effects) There is a well established link between uranium mining and lung cancer. (4) Exposure to even low-level radiation is a health hazard. That is the position of all relevant expert bodies such as the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. As the the US National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation states, “the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and … the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans.”

1.10 (risks) Enrichment plants can produce both low-enriched uranium for reactors and highly-enriched uranium for weapons.

1.13 (effects on other industries). South Australia’s remarkable success in renewable energy, and its reputation for clean agricultural produce would clearly be threatened by further development in the uranium/nuclear industry



(3) Nuclear Engineering International Magazine, May 2014


Scarce and Brooks

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Christina themes, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | 1 Comment

 Missing Fiscal information that should be key to any Energy generation decision

burning-moneyCaptD, 7 July15  I think it would be very helpful to begin to publish both near and long term comparisons between the money spent on all forms of Energy R&D and the money spent on actually installing different types of Solar (Renewable) Energy Generation. This information would enable a much needed discussion about where to best invest limited Energy capital to maximize its return while at the same time also benefiting mankind.

For example, the money spent on a new Nuclear reactor, like Hinkley C or SMR reactor R&D could instead be spent immediately on new Wind or some other form of Solar that would then start generating Energy (and start paying for themselves) in the very near future!

I would suggest that a 10, 20 and 30 year analysis would provide both decision makers and the public with a glimpse of their Energy future that few if any can now visualize. Today very few, if any, really understand what the long term “costs” are of new Energy R&D vs Solar Energy generation, which is why I believe this data will lead to not only a transformation in the Energy marketplace but also the way it is discussed from now on.

Since nobody that I know of is now providing this fiscal comparative information, which I believe should be key in any Energy decision, perhaps you would like to help model the way by starting to connecting the dots, so that everyone can better picture future Energy generation.

If I am right, then future shock will be provided by Renewables!

If half of the money spent on NEW Nuclear Energy Generation was spent on NEW Solar (of all flavors) then the World would be an order of magnitude safer than it is now, since far more people would be far less dependent upon traditional Energy sources not to mention that the air would be cleaner!

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Answer Points to Nuclear Royal Commission on Importing Nuclear Waste

Submissions Issues Paper 4 (Storage and Disposal of Waste)- Noel Wauchope 
Issues Paper 4
4.1 Are the physical conditions in South Australia, including its geology, suitable for the establishment and operation of facilities to store or dispose of intermediate or high level waste either temporarily or permanently?
Earthquake hazard: For either temporary or permanent storage of radioactive wastes, South Australia poses great risks.  While the whole State has a small earthquake hazard zone, there are large sections which have an increased earthquake hazard. Particularly in the South of the State (1) 
Risk to precious artesian water.  While the South of the State has earthquake risks, almost the entire of the rest of the State covers the Great Artesian Basin. (2) 
Effectively, this means there is almost no part of South Australia that could safely store radioactive trash for  decades, let alone for thousands of years.
4. 3 What would the (overseas) holders of radioactive wastes be willing to pay for  disposal and storage of radioactive wastes in South Australia? 
This question really has no answer. At present every country with nuclear facilities is struggling with the unanswered question of what do do with their radioactive trash. Even Finland, which has built a 500 metre deep burial place, will not have enough space for their accumulating radioactive trash.  So far, there is no room for Fennovoima’s waste in the Onkalo repository in Olkiluoto. (3) 
At this stage there are no proposals for exporting nuclear waste. Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce, in his recent report on the Commission’s overseas visit, said “We haven’t done the financial study”. When anyone does do the financial study, they will need to factor in the financial costs of insurance, of security for hundreds, thousands,  of years, as well as of environmental degradation.
Another factor would be the comparison of the commercial value of renewable energy not pursued, tourist and agricultural opportunities lost as government money went into fostering nuclear schemes rather than  South Australia’s more positive activities.
4.4 What sorts of mechanisms would need to be established to fund the costs associated with the future storage or disposal of either Australian or international nuclear or radioactive wastes?
A mechanism has been put forward by Oscar Archer. (4)     In Archer’s  words  “it goes like this. Australia establishes the world’s first multinational repository for used fuel – what’s often called nuclear waste” he wants the funding to be provided by “our international partners”, on condition that “This is established on the ironclad commitment [my emphasis] to develop a fleet of integral fast reactors to demonstrate the recycling of the used nuclear fuel”  This would be a highly unsatisfactory arrangement. As the nuclear industry now struggles to fund these as yet not developed Generation IV reactors – South Australia would find itself locked in – in a sort of blackmail position, to buying a technology that very likely has no future.
4.5 What are the specific models and case studies that demonstrate the best practice for the establishment, operation and regulation of facilities for the storage or disposal of nuclear or radioactive waste?
The massively expensive 500 metre deep bunker being developed in Finland is so far the only facility that has appears to have relative safety, but that  can accomodate only some of  Finland’s radioactive trash .   Meanwhile in USA, the   Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been as disaster. (5) 
4.6 What are the security implications created by the storage or disposal of intermediate or high level waste at a purpose-built facility?
In the short term (i.e a period of decades) the above ground concrete containers are vulnerable to terrorist attack.  In the long term , i.e. thousands of years, deep waste reposiitories run risk of climate and seismic events, as well as possible terrorism. They need to to be guarded virtually forever, or else, as they are forgotten, pose risks to future generations.
4.9  Bearing in mind the measures that would need to be taken in design and siting, what environmental risks would the establishment of such facilities present?
Climate change continues to  increase risks of extreme weather events, and it is possible that seismic activity, already a risk, would increase.
4.10 What are the risks associated with transportation of nuclear or radioactive wastes for storage or disposal in South Australia?
Extreme weather, transport accidents that would spread ionising radiation , terrorist attack.
4.12  Would the establishment and operation of such facilities give rise to impacts on other sectors of the economy?
In the past, countries like France accepted the risks of nuclear power, and their other industries thrived. Now, even in France, there is concern about polluting industries. For some time  after the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe,  the French wine industry was severely depressed., because the wine growing regions were squarely in the path of the ionising radiation fallout. (6)  There is concern in Washington State about the impact of Hanford nuclear waste facility on the wine industry. (7)  
(5)  1 6 June 2014, ‘Fire and leaks at the world’s only deep geological waste repository’, Nuclear Monitor #787, 222 27 Nov 2014, ‘New Mexico nuclear waste accident a ‘horrific comedy of errors’ that exposes deeper problems’, The Ecologist,

July 6, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

The nuclear-lobby-stacked Royal Commission faces stiff opposition in South Australia

protest-2Renewables now! Nuclear not an option, Green Left, July 4, 2015 What about the new South Australian royal commission into the nuclear industry?

“……..South Australia has a nuclear industry the government wants to expand. There is uranium enrichment, but that is an economic non-starter, and then there is nuclear power, which is theoretically possible but very expensive and controversial.

text-relevantThe nuclear lobby is driving the idea that if you import other countries’ high-level waste, those countries would pay billions of dollars to get it off their hands. So there is all sorts of nonsense flying around South Australia, especially in the Murdoch press, that these billions of dollars would cover the entire cost of building nuclear reactors and would also allow the abolition of all state taxes.

But even with that sort of propaganda being circulated in the Adelaide Advertiser — a Murdoch tabloid — they found that fewer than one in six South Australians want a high-level nuclear waste dump.

It is a massive challenge, as the royal commission is stacked by pro-nuclear lobbyists. So it will issue a pro-nuclear report and we are doing the best we can to dull their enthusiasm.

We are building a separate campaign against the expansion. Traditional owners held a meeting in Port Augusta in April and this is the starting point to building an ongoing campaign.

A lot of these traditional owners have already experienced a track record of the industries of pollution and lies and they don’t want to be a part of it. They have seen the outrageous divide and rule tactics used by Heathgate against Adnyamathanha traditional owners. Then there is the long history of Olympic Dam uranium mine, and attempts to dump nuclear waste on Aboriginal land despite their ferocious opposition. Or go back to the Maralinga bomb tests in South Australia — there is a lot of history with people still suffering the varied impacts of that.

There is a lot of campaign strength in South Australia. Certainly we are putting in submissions to the royal commission but we don’t want to get sucked into their campaign too much because it is a fraud and the more important thing for us is to build campaigns and support Aboriginal people who want to build campaigns…..”  https: //


July 6, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Telstra Business Award goes to Family-owned business Country Solar NT

solar-panels-localFamily-owned business Country Solar NT named 2015 Telstra Northern Territory Business of the Year CRAIG DUNLOP NT NEWS JULY 04, 2015

A FAMILY-owned business has taken out the Territory’s most prestigious business prize just five short years after opening its doors.

Country Solar NT, which is owned by husband and wife team Jeremy and Pam Hunt, was named 2015 Telstra Northern Territory Business of the Year at a gala ceremony at the Darwin Convention Centre last night.

The company, which began with the couple selling solar panels from the back of their ute, now has clients all across the Top End, including schools, supermarkets and remote communities.

Mr Hunt said the business was committed to providing a high quality local service.

“We’re local and we want to ensure that locals are getting the best renewable energy products available at the best prices to meet their energy needs,” he said.

“Amid the ever-changing rules about solar PV and the past performance of fly-in fly-out solar contractors, we have provided a stable alternative for the home, business and government markets.”

Mr Hunt said the business was committed to the local community and providing sustainable energy………

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Northern Territory, solar | Leave a comment

French nuclear companies EDF and AREVA in terminal decline

text-cat-question DO THEY EVEN KNOW? It’s an awful worry to consider that Kevin Scarce and the scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN

South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission might not even be aware of the plight of nuclear reactor companies in France (and Canada)  –  who are desperate to sell their product, because of their failing economic position

The Royal Commission is just back from getting itself “informed” by the AREVA and EDF companies, and are about to take off for Canada to be “informed” by Canada’s nuclear busineses – which are all too well known for corruption.

Burdened by losses, EDF’s foreign activities are currently unable to finance the increasing requirements at home, where the production costs of nuclear plants are rising by around 5% each year and investment needs are increasing.

The international trend is not for a nuclear renaissance but for a boom in renewable energy, and France will not be able to export significantly more reactors, or to develop new reprocessing contracts abroad under profitable conditions.

To understand just how far the French nuclear industry has fallen in recent years, look no further than the value of EDF and Areva. Since 2007, EDF’s stock price has fallen more than 70%; Areva’s by more than 85%. If Areva weren’t 83% government-owned, it almost certainly would have declared bankruptcy by now.


plants-downhighly-recommendednuClear News July 15 The deep crisis which the French nuclear industry is experiencing is not new, although it seems to have shocked some commentators. It actually represents the outcome of a strategy launched at the end of the 1990s which was always flawed. The project involved an aggressive export policy which it was hoped would disguise predictable difficulties at home, according to a report by WISE Paris for Greenpeace. (1)


 Faced with declining overseas markets and increasing expenditure at a domestic level, EDF and Areva appear to be heading for a terminal decline. The recent industrial restructuring will not save the industry. Only a genuine reorientation can prevent further disaster for the French economy.
Areva has now suffered four years of losses, including a record figure of €4.8 billion in 2014 and debts of €5.8 billion against a turnover of €8.3 billion. The group is facing bankruptcy and cannot sidestep a far-reaching redistribution of its business operations. Despite less worrying results, the EDF group, whose fifty-eight nuclear reactors operated in France provide more than 75% of the country’s electricity, is also experiencing difficulties. Boosted by its turnover of €72.9 billion, the electricity company recorded net profits of €3.7 billion in 2014. But its debt situation – now at €34.2 billion – is increasingly a matter of concern.
In the era of the energy transition, in which France has set itself the objective of lowering the share of nuclear power in its electricity generation to 50% by 2025, the future looks grim for the two companies.

Continue reading

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Radioactive Exposure Tour highlights the declineof the uranium /nuclear industry

The only logical reason why you want to go down the nuclear path is that you want to have the nuclear industry here as a stepping stone to developing nuclear weapons at some stage in the future. But not even the nuclear fuel lobby or the right-wing military types are proposing that.

logo-FOERenewables now! Nuclear not an option, Green Left, July 4, 2015 The radioactive exposure tour — the RadTour — organised by Friends of the Earth and the Anti-uranium and Clean Energy collective (ACE), was on again this year from June 27 till July 8. Twenty-five people travelled from Melbourne through south and western NSW then onto South Australia.

Green Left Weekly‘s Rachel Evans caught up with the RadTour at Lucas Heights and spoke to Dr Jim Green from Friends of the Earth. How has the campaign to make Australia nuclear free been going?

Well, we have lost ground in the last decade unfortunately, with the ALP repealing the ban on uranium mining and several state governments overturning bans on uranium mining. In NSW they have started uranium exploration mining so that’s been a disaster.

Meanwhile, the economics of nuclear power are getting worse and worse, with fewer countries building nuclear reactors. The Fukushima disaster has given the industry a massive hit. So there is less demand for Australian uranium and mines keep closing.

Uranium mining has come to an end in Kakadu National Park after 40-odd years of massive controversy, so all they are doing at the Ranger mine at the moment is processing what has already been mined. In the past couple of weeks ERA has given up on the proposed expansion of the mine on the back of the famous campaign that stopped the Jabiluka mine.

So all of that is really extraordinary.

The other uranium mine is Roxby Downs. BHP Billiton cancelled the planned mega-expansion of Roxby and a bunch of others have been stopped as well.

Last year’s uranium production was the lowest in 16 years. Globally we have been hearing about this so-called nuclear renaissance, but there are actually fewer reactors now than there were a decade ago. So if that is a nuclear renaissance then I say bring it on.

The recent victory in the anti-nuclear campaign was the Muckaty win. Can you explain the ramifications of that win? Continue reading

July 6, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The writing is on the wall for coal-fired power in Australia

fossil-fuel-industrySay goodbye to coal power in Australia, The Age  July 5, 2015 Mark Diesendorf The writing is on the wall for coal-fired power in Australia. Despite federal government attempts to stop the growth of renewable energy, all they can do is delay the inevitable transition.

Tasmania already has almost 100 per cent renewable electricity, based on hydro supplemented by wind. The ACT is on track to reach its target of 90 per cent net renewable electricity by 2020, based on solar and wind.

text-relevantSouth Australia, with no freshwater hydro-electric potential, is the leading mainland state in the transition to renewable energy. Last year 33 per cent of its annual electricity consumption was generated by the wind and 6 per cent from rooftop solar. Furthermore, its electricity system has already operated reliably and stably for hours when the contribution of variable renewable energy reached two-thirds of demand. Recently wind power and gas coped admirably when the coal-fired Northern power station went unexpectedly offline.

Coal power will soon disappear from SA and eventually from the whole country. Because wind has no fuel cost, it can bid the lowest price into the electricity market and so is ranked higher in operating order than coal. The result: coal is displaced from operating as base-load (24/7) power, coal’s economics become worse and incidentally the wholesale price of electricity decreases.

This is the real reason our Prime Minister is trying to stop the growth in wind power. It has nothing to do with aesthetics or the sham ‘wind turbine syndrome’, but everything to do with Mr Abbott’s misguided commitment to coal.  Continue reading

July 6, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point C Nuclear Project – the last days?

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINSouth Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Commission visited nuclear officials in UK, and France – in exactly the failing nuclear projects discussed in this article. To listen to Kevin Scarce’s report at  you would think that these projects – Hinkley and Flamanville were are glowing success. Not so!

The UK Government is now said to be deeply concerned about the future of the Hinkley project following revelations about problems at the similar reactor being built at Flamanville


Nuclear needs a blank cheque Now that it is plain that nuclear power has failed miserably to compete with renewable energy even on the somewhat skewed playing field represented by the (proposed) Hinkley C deal, nuclear supporters are trying to engineer a ‘blank cheque’ to be given to nuclear developers

nuClear News, July 15  There is a growing chorus of critics calling for Hinkley Point C to be scrapped altogether, according to the Sunday Times.

 It would be one of the most expensive man-made objects ever built in the world. At a cost of £24.5bn it would tie British households into paying for astonishingly expensive electricity subsidies until 2060. The world has changed since 2010 when Hinkley was first named as a site for new reactors. The price of renewables has plummeted.
 Peter Atherton, an analyst at Jefferies and long-time critic is unequivocal: “This project is an abomination,” he said. “It’s going to cost £16bn to build, plus another £6bn in financing costs. Either of those numbers alone should have made this unthinkable. We’re building a power station, not the pyramids.”
 Since 2010 the cost of solar power panels has plummeted by 67%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The price of onshore wind turbines has shrunk by 5%, though the government’s decision to slash subsidies will curtail new developments.

Continue reading

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Government’s Agriculture White Paper -lack of vision on climate change

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmLabor, Greens slam Agriculture White Paper for lack of strategic vision or climate change consideration ABC Rural  By Anna Vidot , 5 July 15 “…the Opposition has criticised the plan, saying it failed to deliver the broad strategic plan that Australian agriculture needs, while the Greens have slammed the absence of climate change considerations in the document……..

Climate change considerations absent from White Paper: Greens The Greens’ agriculture spokeswoman Senator Rachel Siewert said the absence of climate change considerations from the White Paper meant the document was “fundamentally flawed”.

She also flagged concern about the environmental impact of major dam expansions, which she says “doesn’t seem to be factored into the thinking” in the White Paper.

“But more importantly, they haven’t considered the impact of climate change on water supply and dams,” she said.

“Of course we need to be bettered prepared for drought, but drought isn’t the only thing that we address in climate change. Extreme weather events need to be factored in properly, planning for what our agriculture will look like in a drying climate and in a changing climate, but that’s not there,” she said.

“(As for) the significant investment investment that’s needed in R&D, while (the White Paper) put a little bit more in, it’s not enough to address how our agriculture is going to change under climate change.

“Climate change will shape the future of agriculture and it is fundamentally missing in here. The fact that it’s not acknowledged says a lot about where this government’s head is at.”

July 6, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Don’t Nuke the Climate

globalnukeNOhighly-recommendednuClear News, July edition,   On June 16, seven international clean energy organizations launched a major new campaign aimed at keeping nuclear power out of all negotiations at the upcoming UN climate talks in Paris. The UN Climate Change Conference (‘COP-21’) will be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11.

The seven initiating groups are the two organisations behind the Nuclear Monitor − the World Information Service on Energy (WISE-Amsterdam) and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service (NIRS) − along with Sortir du Nucleaire (France), Ecodefense (Russia), Global 2000 (Austria), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), and Burgerinitiative Umweltschutz (Germany).
Some of the same groups were critical to a similar effort at the UN negotiations in The Hague in 2000, which succeeded in barring nuclear power from the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. And some of the groups also organized the large Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free contingent to last year’s People’s Climate March in New York City.
Peer de Rijk of WISE-Amsterdam said: “We are calling on 1,000 civil society organisations to join us for a campaign to block the nuclear industry’s lobby activities at COP-21 and instead ensure the world chooses clean energy.” 
  • Nuclear Power is Not a Silver Bullet: Nuclear power could at most make a modest contribution to climate change abatement. The main limitation is that it is used almost exclusively for electricity generation, which accounts for less than 25% of global greenhouse emissions. Even tripling nuclear power generation would reduce emissions by less than 10% − and then only if the assumption is that it displaces coal. 
  • Greenhouse Emissions from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Claims that nuclear power is ‘greenhouse free’ are false. Nuclear power is more greenhouse intensive than most renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures. Life-cycle greenhouse emissions from nuclear power will increase as relatively high-grade uranium ores are mined out. 
  • Nuclear Power – A Slow Response to an Urgent Problem: The nuclear industry does not have the capacity to rapidly expand production as a result of 20 years of stagnation. Limitations include bottlenecks in the reactor manufacturing sector, dwindling and ageing workforces, and the considerable time it takes to build a reactor and to pay back the energy debt from construction. 
  • Nuclear Power and Climate Change Countries and regions with a high reliance on nuclear power also tend to have high greenhouse gas emissions. Some countries are planning to replace fossil fuel-fired power plants with nuclear power in order to increase fossil fuel exports − in such cases any potential climate change mitigation benefits of nuclear power are lost. 
  • Climate Change and Nuclear Hazards Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to threats which are being exacerbated by climate change. These include dwindling and warming No2NuclearPower nuClear news No.75, July 2015 22 water sources, sea-level rise, storm damage, drought, and jelly-fish swarms. ‘Water wars’ − in particular, disputes over the allocation of increasingly scarce water resources between power generation and agriculture − are becoming increasingly common and are being exacerbated by climate change.  
  • Weapons Proliferation and Nuclear Winter Civil nuclear programs have provided cover for numerous covert weapons programs and an expansion of nuclear power would exacerbate the problem. Nuclear warfare − even a limited nuclear war involving a tiny fraction of the global arsenal − has the potential to cause catastrophic climate change. 
  • Renewables and Energy Efficiency: Global renewable power capacity more than doubled from 2004 to 2014 (and non-hydro renewables grew 8-fold). Over that decade, and the one before it, nuclear power flatlined. Global renewable capacity (including hydro) is 4.6 times greater than nuclear capacity, and renewable electricity generation more than doubles nuclear generation. A growing body of research demonstrates the potential for renewables to largely supplant fossil fuels for power supply globally. Energy efficiency and renewables are the Twin Pillars of a clean energy future. A University of Cambridge study concluded that 73% of global energy use could be saved by energy efficiency and conservation measures − making it far easier to achieve a lowcarbon, nonnuclear future.
Sign the Petition Ten Reasons Not to Nuke the Climate

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment