Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear lobby targets rural South Australia for an international radioactive trash dump

Outback SA is a target for both International and National Nuclear Wastes”, Coober Pedy Regional Times,  by David Noonan B.Sc., M.Env.St. Environment Campaigner 09 July scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN2015 The Abbott government are short listing sites in SA for a National Nuclear Store as Premier Weatherill’s Nuclear Royal Commission investigates High Level International Nuclear Waste Storage in Outback SA.

Outback South Australia is again a target for Nuclear waste dumping despite the law in our State since 2000 prohibiting the import, transport, storage and disposal of any wastes derived from Nuclear reactors. Liberal Premier John Olsen passed the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000″ to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia, and to protect the environment in which they live” by prohibiting a range of Nuclear wastes.

Political leadership by the Honourable John Olsen AO valued Outback SA more than the vested interests of Nuclear advocates who were trying to push Nuclear wastes on to our State. In the late 1990’s a company Pangea targeted both WA and SA for International Nuclear Wastes and Prime Minister John Howard targeted Arcoona Station for a National Nuclear Store for Spent Nuclear Fuel wastes from the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney.

Today, both Prime Minister Tony Abbott and State Premier Jay Weatherill should respect and not seek to over-ride or over-turn long standing key legislation that protects the public interest in our State.

The Federal government are about to announce shortlisted sites in Outback SA and in WA for a National Nuclear Store for Spent Nuclear Fuel wastes from the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney and a co-located National Repository to bury other radioactive wastes from across Australia.

The Lucas Heights reactor itself will be decommissioned and cut up and trucked across Australia to be dumped at this Repository site if it goes ahead in our State. Continue reading

July 17, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Ill-considered, unconstructive and divisive Nuclear Royal Commission

To date, the Royal Commission has failed to credibly inform or engage the public on these key issues.

This International Nuclear waste agenda appears premised on interim but open ended storage as a pecuniary interest to irrevocably bring nuclear waste to SA without a capacity to dispose of it.

Further, this Commission is failing to address key nuclear waste siting issues and related transport routes and the question of which South Australian port is to be targeted to bring in nuclear wastes.

The Commission fails to address the fact that the north and west of SA is targeted for International Nuclear waste dumping and the country of traditional owners is at the forefront of this agenda.

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINOverview by David Noonan on the SA Premier’s Nuclear Royal Commission 05 July 2015

Dear Commissioner Kevin Scarce

Proposed Nuclear actions before this State Commission are National issues affecting the rights and interests of all Australians, are illegal actions under State and/or Federal law, and lack social license.

This overview presents over-arching reality tests and public interest questions for the Commission. Continue reading

July 17, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Key findings of the World nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR2015)

Nuclear Fades as Renewables Dominate Race to Decarbonize Electricity London, 15 July 2015. In the run-up to the vital Paris Climate Summit in December, new research shows that compared to base year 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change was signed, in 2014 solar power added 26 percent more electricity to the global grid than nuclear power, while wind outpaced nuclear by a factor of five over the same comparison.

This is one of the key findings of the 2015-Edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR2015), released during a launch event at the UK House of Commons by a team of independent experts coordinated by Paris-based international energy and nuclear policy consultant Mycle Schneider. Presentations were also given by the other WNISR lead author Antony Froggatt, Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs) in London and contributing author Steve Thomas, Professor for Energy Policy at Greenwich University.

Convening lead author Mycle Schneider declared: “The gap between the perception of the nuclear sector by decision-makers, the media and the public and the general declining trend as well as the deep crisis that threatens the very existence of some of the largest players is puzzling. A thorough reality check is urgently needed, especially in countries like the U.K., where new nuclear investments—like Hinkley Point C—with huge public subsidies are still on the table.” Lead author Antony Froggatt added: “In this crucial year for a global climate change deal, political leaders need to assess their support  to technologies  such as solar and wind, where costs are falling quickly and deployment rates are escalating.  As investing in new nuclear has shown to be slow and increasingly expensive.”

Key Insights in Brief

• Japan without nuclear power for a full calendar year for the first time since the first commercial nuclear power plant started up in the country 50 years ago.
• Nuclear plant construction starts plunge from fifteen in 2010 to three in 2014.
• 62 reactors under construction—five fewer than a year ago—of which at least three-quarters delayed. In 10 of the 14 building countries all projects are delayed, often by years. Five units have been listed as “under construction” for over 30 years.
• Share of nuclear power in global electricity mix stable at less than 11% for a third year in a row.
• AREVA, technically bankrupt, downgraded to “junk” by Standard & Poor’s, sees its share value plunge to a new historic low on 9 July 2015—a value loss of 90 percent since 2007
• China, Germany, Japan—three of the world’s four largest economies—plus Brazil, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Spain, now all generate more electricity from non-hydro renewables than from nuclear power. These eight countries represent more than three billion people or 45 percent of the world’s population.
• In the UK, electricity output from renewable sources, including hydropower, overtook the output from nuclear.


July 17, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill embraces nuclear lobby, in desperate bid to stay in power

Social Democracy and the nuclear fuel cycle Nick G. (I regret that I have lost the link to this article, and its source) 

SA Premier Jay Weatherill’s Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle is a gift to the big mining and energy corporations.

It is also a sign of the desperation of a state Labor government facing growing state debt and the nation’s highest unemployment rate…….



Weatherill is typical of a Labor leader who identifies the immense problems besetting his state and who wants to be seen to be providing a solution so as to justify remaining in office.  This is particularly so of Weatherill whose team failed to get a majority of the votes in the last election.  The result was a hung parliament in which Labor had 23 seats, the Liberals 22 and with two independents, one of whom died shortly afterwards.  The remaining independent went with Labor, the by-election for the now vacant seat of Fisher went to Labor by a handful of votes, and the government picked up one extra seat when the former Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith defected and was given a Cabinet position.  To say that there is no guarantee of a re-election next time around is an understatement.

Grasping at straws to “manage” capitalism

In the face of the collapse of the car industry in SA and the uncertainty around the shipbuilding and submarine contracts, Weatherill sought straws to grasp……..

Nuclear fool cycle

In between the Forrest Report and NPC address lies the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

Although previously an opponent of the nuclear fuel cycle and a strong supporter of renewable energy (SA leads the nation in energy generation from wind and solar which together account for 39% of the state’s electricity generation), Weatherill has been lured by the pro-nuclear lobby with the twin carrots of income from the storage of Australian and international nuclear wastes, and release from carbon dependency through the allegedly “clean” nuclear alternative.

It appears not to matter that a nuclear waste dump is illegal under SA laws introduced and strengthened by former Premiers Olsen (Liberal, in 2000) and Rann (Labor, in 2003), nor that nuclear reactors, uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing are illegal under Australian law and therefore outside SA’s jurisdiction.

What matters is that this Labor “Left faction” premier can paint himself as a business-, energy- and mining-friendly state premier prepared to rewrite policy on the nuclear fuel cycle via a supposedly independent and impartial Royal Commission.

Weatherill’s problem is that his choice of Royal Commissioner was derided from day one: Kevin Scarce is Scarce,--Kevin-glowa retired Rear-Admiral and former State Governor, and current Chancellor of the University of Adelaide who in December 2014 suggested that South Australia consider developing nuclear industries to compensate for the downturn in manufacturing.   He was addressing the SA Chamber of Mines and Energy at the time.  When Scarce was appointed on February 9, 2015 to head the Royal Commission, he brazenly declared: “I come to this with no preconceived views”! ……..

(The author here failed to mention Kevin Scarce’s ownership of shares in uranium miner Rio Tinto)




July 17, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | 3 Comments

Nuclear Royal Commission a promotional exercise for Nuclear Industry vested interests, targeting rural South Australia

BHP Billiton looked into uranium enrichment and so called ‘value adding’ and ‘fuel leasing’ and rejected these ideas, stating to the Federal government’s Switkowski Nuclear Review in 2006, that: “Enrichment has massive barriers to entry “ including access to technology and approvals under international protocols… We do not believe that conversion and enrichment would be commercially viable in Australia… Nor do we believe any government imposed requirement to lease fuel, as distinct from acquiring uranium would be acceptable to its major customers…

Community are being misled by claims these Nuclear actions are viable. The conduct of this Nuclear Commission risks a promotional exercise for Nuclear Industry vested interests and in effect targets Outback SA and custodian’s country for Nuclear waste dumping. This is an ill-considered and unconstructive Nuclear Commission into Nuclear actions that pose unique and unprecedented long term risks and present significant unacceptable impacts that run contrary to our public interest

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINOutback SA is a target for both International and National Nuclear Wastes”by David Noonan B.Sc., Coober Pedy Regional Times,  by David Noonan B.Sc., M.Env.St. Environment Campaigner 09 July 2015 “……..International Nuclear wastes were made illegal in WA (1999), SA (2000), NT (2004) and Qld (2007). The Parliament of Australia has prohibited nuclear power reactors, uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication, and Spent Nuclear Fuel reprocessing under multiple key legislative powers, in the: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 Section 10 Prohibition on certain nuclear installations; AND Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) Section 140A No approval for certain nuclear installations.

Nuclear actions are “Matters of National Environmental Significance” under the EPBC Act. The ALP and Australian Greens are committed to retain these Decision powers at the Federal level. Further, the ALP National Platform presents policy commitments for the 2016 Federal election: “Labor remains strongly opposed to the importation and storage of nuclear waste in Australia that is sourced from overseas”.

International Nuclear wastes would involve a range of Federal powers and decisions that are outside of SA’s jurisdiction, including under the Customs Act, the EPBC Act, and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act.

To date, the Nuclear Commission that is supposed to be investigating risks and opportunities has itself failed to credibly inform or engage the public on key legal and public policy issues. Information Papers provide only passing reference to ‘prohibitions’ and meetings held at Universities and elsewhere fail to even mention the fact that our State laws prohibit an array of Nuclear wastes that the Nuclear Commission is considering.

The Premier’s Nuclear Commission is arguably an International Nuclear waste storage agenda. Continue reading

July 17, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Gloomy prospects for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Around the World, Nuclear Can’t Compete With Growing Renewables  “What is spectacular is the extent to which the nuclear industry is appearing to ignore reality.”  Katherine Tweed Greentech Media, July 16, 2015  “……..For the reactors that are in operation, many are aging rapidly. ………

Given the cost and time necessary to build large reactors, many in the industry have argued for a move to small modular reactors. Yet SMRs have also suffered from higher-than-expected costs and long development timelines, the report states.

SMRs Australia

The U.S. Department of Energy has been one of the proponents of this technology, yet none of the designs it said in 2001 could be available by the end of the decade were deployed. Of the two companies the DOE chose years later for SMR development funding, one slashed its spending on SMRs in 2014. NuScale, the other SMR manufacturer, is still continuing with development. Even so, “there is no evidence that SMRs will be constructed in the United States anytime soon,” the report states.

The picture is not rosier in other countries that have lent support to SMRs. South Korea, for example, has been developing an SMR since the 1990s, and while it was approved in 2012, no orders have yet been received. Saudi Arabia did say earlier this year it would test the technology in a three-year pilot.

“The static, top-heavy, monstrously expensive world of nuclear power has less and less to deploy against today’s increasingly agile, dynamic, cost-effective alternatives,” wrote Porritt. “The sole remaining issue is that not everyone sees it that way — as yet.”

July 17, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Challenge to Bill Shorten – the Climate Issue at the Labor National Conference

Shorten-unknownLabor conference is Shorten’s next test on climate policy The Conversation,   Professorial Fellow at University of Canberra,  July 15, 2015  The leak to the Daily Telegraph of an options paper on Labor’s carbon pricing policy has been a kick in the guts for Bill Shorten, who was portrayed in the newspaper’s pages not once but twice as a large zombie. It is, however, just an early stage of Shorten’s tough road on this issue………

Whatever the motive, the leak won’t stop Labor having a plan for an emissions trading scheme come the next election. Shorten committed the opposition to that a long time ago.

Labor’s leader has three formidable challenges once the immediate problem of the leak has passed.

Shorten has to see the climate issue managed through Labor’s national conference, held July 24-26 in Melbourne. Then the details of the opposition policy must be brought together. And finally, there will the job of selling it – to an electorate with bad memories of the former ALP government and in the face of a ferocious scare campaign by Tony Abbott.

The draft new ALP platform, to be considered by the national conference, sets out broadly the proposed approach on climate policy. Labor will “introduce an emissions trading scheme which imposes a legal limit on carbon pollution that lets business work out the cheapest and most effective way to operate within that cap”, it says.

It will “develop a comprehensive plan to progressively decarbonise Australia’s energy sector, particularly in electricity generation”.

A Labor government would support high-emitting industries to become more energy efficient; grow renewables; introduce national vehicle emissions standards modelled on successful overseas efforts; and consider the appropriateness of a climate change trigger in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act and a trigger to cover the national parks system.

A group within the party, the Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN), will try to toughen this platform.

Co-convenor Felicity Wade says an amendment will be moved to write in the post-2020 targets proposed by the Climate Change Authority (30% reduction in emissions by 2025 on 2000 levels; 40-60% by 2030). There will also be an amendment put up to commit Labor to having 50% of energy coming from renewables by 2030………

As one Labor man said bluntly on Wednesday: “If we can’t win the climate change debate we don’t deserve to be in government.”

July 17, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Paladin dives as grades decline

 Shares in uranium miner Paladin Energy have fallen back towards their lowest level in a decade…… (subscribers only)

July 17, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear power can’t compete with renewable energy

sun-championAround the World, Nuclear Can’t Compete With Growing Renewables “What is spectacular is the extent to which the nuclear industry is appearing to ignore reality.”  Katherine TweedGreentech Media, July 16, 2015 [excellent diagrams & graphs]

Global investment in new nuclear is an order of magnitude less than renewable energy investment. That is just one of the findings of a newindependent report on the state of the worldwide nuclear industry that was issued on Thursday. No matter which aspect of the nuclear industry is assessed, the picture isn’t pretty.

Despite talk of a nuclear renaissance in the 1990s, no single Generation III reactor has come into service in the past 20 years. Most are delayed three to nine years and are far over budget.

“The impressively resilient hopes that many people still have of a global nuclear renaissance are being trumped by a real‐time revolution in efficiency‐plus‐renewables‐plus-storage, delivering more and more solutions on the ground every year,” Jonathon Porritt, co-founder of the Forum for the Future and former Chairman of the U.K.  Sustainable Development Commission, wrote in the forward to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015. “[The report] remorselessly lays bare the gap between the promise of innovation in the nuclear industry and its delivered results.”

China, which leads the world in new nuclear builds, spent about $9 billion in 2014, but invested more than $83 billion on wind and solar in the same year. China’s non-hydro renewable fleet produces more energy than its nuclear capacity.

What’s more, Germany, Brazil, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and Japan all generate more electricity from non-hydro renewables than from nuclear. Those countries make up nearly half of the world’s population and three of the world’s largest economies.

For nuclear that is being built, the word “boondoggle” seems to come up frequently, especially in the West. “The project is in shambles,” the report said of the U.K.’s Hinkley Point C reactor, which was meant to be the first new nuclear in the country in decades. Now, the company building it, Areva, is bankrupt. Areva’s Olkiluoto 3 project in Finland and Flamanville 3 in France are also both way over budget and still not in operation.

“What is spectacular is the extent to which the nuclear industry is appearing to ignore reality,” the report states. In 2013, Areva’s then-CEO predicted reactors would be coming back on-line in Japan by the end of the year and that his company would be taking new orders in the next few years. In 2015, Japan has been nuclear-free for the first time in more than four decades. Areva has had no new orders.

Despite the issues with Areva reactors, there are more than 60 reactors currently under construction. Of those reactors, most have been under construction for more than seven years. Three-quarters of the building sites are delayed and, amazingly, five have been listed as “under construction” for more than 30 years…………

July 17, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lies and censorship rule discussions on Fukushima and nuclear issues

Lies and censorship have from the very beginning been entwined with all manner of nuclear issues.

The global mass media have remained almost entirely true to their despicable selves and avoided like the plague integrity and quality journalism regarding Fukushima.

The government of Japan has in effect made it a criminal offense to tell the truth about the Fukushima disaster.


Our Nuclear Heritage: The Fukushima Catastrophe, Too Clever By A Half-Life By Robert Snefjella 14 July, 2015

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our mode of thinking and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.”- Albert Einstein

Has the Fukushima nuclear disaster, beginning in March 2011, been extremely harmful and is it extremely ominous? Or will the Fukushima ‘problem’ have negligible health impact, as offered by various ‘experts’ and ‘prominent’ institutions and commentators.

On the one hand, massive numbers and large varieties of lifeforms in the North Pacific Ocean, in the post-Fukushima period, are already extensively destroyed, dead or dying, or deformed. [1] Several large nuclear reactors blew up with, among many other nasty elements, plutonium [2] on board, and have now for four years been melting down and emitting massive amounts of radiation into the global environment. [3] This ensures more mutations, more deformities, more cancers, more health problems. In 2015 the situation at Fukushima is described by Japanese engineers as still out of control. “The chief of the Fukushima nuclear power plant has admitted that the technology needed to decommission three melted down reactors does not exists….” [4]

On the other hand, in support of the contention contained in the second question, we select first a “spokesperson for the Nuclear Energy Institute, who declared three months after the accident ‘no health effects are expected among the Japanese people as a result of the events at Fukushima.’”5] And Gerry Thomas, head of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank at Imperial College. London, in 2013, offered this: “Fukushima is nothing compared to Chernobyl.” [6] And here is George Monbiot at the Guardian in 2011 explaining how the accident has converted him to be pro nuclear: “Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small.” [7]

So what’s going on here? It’s not easy to find out. Let’s take a stroll down explanation lane:

We now live in a geopolitical and cultural environment of global reach where the art and science of ‘public perception management’ has achieved impressive capabilities. Duplicitous and diversionary ‘news’ and ‘information’ via mass media, and censorship of critical information, are now indispensable bulwarks of the dominant global system. [8]

The layman’s definition of insanity is ‘being out of touch with reality’: The crazy person fears a monster that doesn’t exist, or embraces or ignores the monster that does.

‘Public perception management‘ via censorship and lies, when ‘successful’, achieves the embedding of a highly influential multifaceted false reality in the public, and is thus in effect control via manufactured public insanity.

In the nuclear age, this is a fatal step, Continue reading

July 17, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Australia losing its great wind power opportunity

Wind power: European renewable energy expert warns Australia risks missing out on cheaper and cleaner electricity, ABC Radio, 16 July 15 AM  By Michael Edwards A European expert on renewable energy says Australia risks missing out on a huge opportunity for cheaper and cleaner electricity if it does not encourage investment in wind power.

Oliver Joy, from the European Wind Energy Association — the peak body guiding wind power projects across Europe — said a huge shift towards renewable energies were underway in the continent with wind power leading the charge.

He said Europe was on track to get half of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind power by 2050 and had big ambitions when it came to reducing its carbon footprint.

The eurozone has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 95 per cent by 2050 and says this can only be done with all of its electricity coming from renewable sources, with wind power providing the lion’s share.

The Federal Government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to invest in wind farms, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying he finds the giant turbines “visually awful……..

Wind ‘cheaper than fossil fuels’

According to the European Wind Energy Association, wind power is a cheaper way to produce electricity than fossil fuels.

Mr Joy said it also had long-term savings for taxpayers.

“Cheaper than nuclear and gas and almost on a par with coal — that’s purely based on generating electricity,” he said.


July 17, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | 1 Comment