Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia as radioactive trash dump our best nuclear bet – Kevin Scarce

Scarce blahNuclear power option years away: royal commissioner Kevin Scarce
OCTOBER 5, 2015 Michael Owen SA Bureau Chief Adelaide There is a decade of regulatory and legislative change required before any real work can begin on establishing a nuclear energy ­industry in Australia, royal commissioner Kevin Scarce says.

Those changes would ­require federal and state bipartisanship, meaning tangible economic benefits of expanding nuclear activity would not be ­apparent until at least 2030. We need to be realistic about what the opportunities will be,” Mr Scarce, a former South Australia governor, told The Australian. “If we do decide to participate (in the nuclear cycle), you’d want to grow some jobs, some ­expertise, and grow the technical know-how to go into other elements of ­nuclear — it has to have some economic benefits, and part of this royal commission is to look 10-15 years into the future and see what else is being developed to see if there is a need for nuclear in our power-generation mix.”

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was established by Labor Premier Jay Weatherill to look at South Australia’s ­involve­ment in the mining, enrichment, energy and storage ­phases in the life cycle of nuclear fuel, given the state has one of the world’s biggest uranium deposits and has been involved in uranium production for more than 25 years.

Mr Weatherill’s government is grappling with the worst unemployment rate of any state amid the decline of manufacturing. The Premier is keen to explore the economic benefits of a deeper ­involvement in the nuclear ­sector.

Mr Scarce said it might be that, given Australia’s energy ­demand was decreasing, coupled with an abundance of renewables, ­nuclear generators were not necessary. This would leave a ­nuclear waste dump as the most likely source of economic benefit.

toilet map South Australia 2

Mr Scarce said it was “absolutely” the case that there was a decade of bipartisan legislative and regulatory change that had to occur before any nuclear industry could be up and running. “One should not think that if we turn the switch on at the end of this royal commission after the government has had a look at it that benefits will be delivered within the decade — they won’t be,” he said.

“In order to provide the investment certainty that would be ­required, because of the length and cost of this industry, if you don’t have bipartisan support at both the state and federal level, an industry will not go anywhere.”

Mr Scarce said the state opposition had been very supportive, as had the government, which ­established the inquiry. However, there could be major hurdles under any future federal Labor government. A ­decision to change the ALP national platform opposing a ­nuclear industry has been delayed until after the release of the commission’s report, due on May 6.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has said there was no need for Australia to pursue nuclear energy because of the nation’s large coal and gas ­reserves, ­although he said nuclear energy would help cut carbon pollution.

Mr Scarce, who has visited several countries on fact-finding missions this year, will begin 30 days of public hearings until December.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | 1 Comment

Nuclear safety regulations slacker in China: Bill Gates to export ‘new nuclear’ there

nuclear-marketing-crapBill Gates Making Progress On Next Generation Of Nuclear Power — In China, Forbes James Conca, 2 Oct 15, “…….Washington State exports more stuff to China than to any other nation. ……Now nuclear reactors will enter that list. Bill Gates’ nuclear power company, TerraPower, signed an agreement with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) allowing the two companies to collaborate on advanced nuclear technologies that address safety, environmental and cost issues. The MOU was signed by TerraPower CEO Lee McIntire and CNNC President Qian Zhimin, as Washington’s Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen and Bill Gates looked on……..

TerraPower’s version of this reactor is called the Traveling Wave Reactor (TWR), a liquid sodium-cooled fast reactor that uses depleted or natural uranium as fuel, and can even burn spent fuel from our old reactors.

TerraPower plans to build a 600 MWe plant first by the early 2020s, followed by a larger 1,150 MWe commercial plant……Unfortunately, the regulatory environment in America is so glacial that TerraPower and CNNC will build the first unit in China and then deploy commercial versions of this new reactor to global markets within fifteen years…..
TerraPower’s CTO, John Gilleland feels that, “They’re very serious. In some ways, they’re more serious than we are.” He knows that China believes in climate change and wants to reduce the smog that’s choking its cities and threatening their emerging health care system…….
Gates climate lie
It’s imperative that clean energy, like new nuclear, dominate that growth – not coal.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA nuclear weapons industry behind China’s push for thorium nuclear reactors

The U.S. government lab behind China’s nuclear power push HONG text thoriumKONG |REUTERS  Dec 20, 2013 Scientists in Shanghai are attempting a breakthrough in nuclear energy: reactors powered by thorium, an alternative to uranium.

The project is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a government body with close military ties that coordinates the country’s science-and-technology strategy. The academy has designated thorium as a priority for China’s top laboratories. The program has a budget of $350 million. And it’s being spearheaded by the influential son of a former Chinese president.

But even as China bulks up its military muscle through means ranging from espionage to heavy spending, it is pursuing this aspect of its technology game plan with the blessing – and the help – of the United States. China has enlisted a storied partner for its thorium push: Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The U.S. government institute produced the plutonium used for the Manhattan Project and laid important groundwork for the commercial and military use of nuclear power.

The Tennessee lab, as it happens, helped pioneer thorium reactors. The Pentagon and the energy industry later sidelined this technology in favor of uranium……..

Thorium’s chief allure is that it is a potentially far safer fuel for civilian power plants than is uranium. But the element also has possible military applications as an energy source in naval vessels. A U.S. congressman unsuccessfully sought to push the Pentagon to embrace the technology in 2009, and British naval officers are recommending a design for a thorium-fueled ship.

In a further twist, despite the mounting strategic rivalry with China, there has been little or no protest in the United States over Oak Ridge’s nuclear-energy cooperation with China……..

Although it does not yield byproducts that can be readily used to make weapons, thorium does have military applications.

The fuel could be used to power Chinese navy surface warships, including a planned fleet of aircraft carriers. China’s nuclear submarine fleet has struggled with reactor reliability and safety, according to naval commentators, and thorium could eventually become an alternative.

Top British naval engineers last year proposed a design for a thorium reactor to power warships. Compact thorium power plants could also be used to supply reliable power to military bases and expeditionary forces.

Thorium also has military potential for the United States, experts say……..

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

#NuclearCommissionSAust – An Aboriginal group slams its processes

monetary compensation via Native Title is not the solution – don’t insult us by simply hying to buy our consent and silence our concerns


Extract  Why we are not satisfied with the way this Royal Commission  has been conducted:  Yaiinidlha Udnyu ngawarla wanggaanggu, wanhanga Yura Ngawarla wanggaanggu?
always in English, where’s the Yura Ngawarla (our first language)?
The issues of engagement are many. To date we have found the process of engagement used by
the Royal Conuuission to be very off putting as it’s been run in a real Udnyu (whitefella) way.

The lack of an intelpreter service means we are forced to try  and engage using English (or rely on the goodwill of caring community members), and often this means we cannot be part of the engagement process. Even a Plain English summary of the four papers would have been helpful, and more opportunity for people to give oral submissions in their first language with a translator to interpret. We say that govemment and industry have a moral and ethical obligation to include us as citizens of Australia, and as Traditional Owners of our Country. We suspect that many other Australians would have benefited from a Plain English version of the papers and this was suggested by many people who went to the first lot of community meetings held by Kevin Scarce and his team. Not everyone has good English literacy.

Requiring a JP’s signature is a barrier to participation and suggests that ordinary people cannot
be trusted; not everyone has easy access to a JP, and the timeline puts pressure on people to do
this. We feel this is likely to intimidate people and discourage many from participating.We strongly recommend that the Royal Commission do more work on the following issues:

  • Provide the public with better understanding of the health, cultural, and social impacts in other
    countries of an expanding nuclear industry (including public anxiety, contaminated areas, effects 0n public health);
  • Provide adequate resources to enable all Australians to be part of an informed process – put
    people before profit;
  • The lack of advertising, and very short notice on several occasions suggests that government and
    industry and not serious about wanting to engage with public opinion and don’t value our input.
  • Many people think this suggests the proposal is ‘a done deal’ and that it will go ahead anyway.
  • Timelines are short, information is hard to access, there is no interpreter service available, and
    the meetings have been very poorly advertised.
  • Engagement opportunities need to be fair and equitable (readily available to all people) and the Native Title interest is no more important than the wider community.
  • A closed and secretive approach makes engagement difficult for the average person on the street, and near impossible for Aboriginal people to participate.
  • Government continue to use an assimilatory process; they ignore us by refusing to translate
    information into our first language, and they make no effort to understand our views in our
    languages as the First Australians. The lack of a well-thought out engagement strategy tells us that our views are not important, that government and industry will do what they want regardless of public wishes.
  • Develop a compensation package for the likely economic impacts from the negative associations of nuclear industry on local and regional economy – ego Loss of prices in crops, housing, land, as a result of contamination threats, accidents and breaches of EPA regulations;
  • Develop actual measures to counter threats from terrorist organisations re: protection to avoid nuclear site attacks, and local capacity to deal with emergency situations;
  • Tell the public what risk management plans need to be developed for communities impacted by transportation along the travel routes – for example, who will respond to a truck accident and are they equipped to deal with it; Informed awareness among communities that live along the designated travel routes so they can make decisions about their future.
  • The nuclear industry must find ways to show respect for the rights of Traditional Owners who are concerned about or opposed to the nuclear industry – monetary compensation via Native Title is not the solution – don’t insult us by simply hying to buy our consent and silence our concerns;
  • water-radiationProvide means for ongoing and independent monitoring of dangerous levels of airbome and water-based contaminants in groundwater, along transportation routes, after accidents, and among food sources used by Aboriginal people ego Nguri, urdlu and warratyi varlu, awi. We have a right to measure and monitor levels of radiation like other people do in countries such as the USA. We know from the Kakadu mine in NT that there is a major problem there with water management that is yet to be resolved.

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment