Australian news, and some related international items

Eloquent Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust – an Aboriginal Perspective

West Mallee Protection strongly urge the Royal Commission to take an investigative approach in regards to alternatives to underground repository or disposal sites and instead of discounting the well
founded concerns of people in remote areas, look at ways that confidence could be built in
the broader Australian public for the far less risky option of managing nuclear waste at the
site of production or in well monitored above ground facilities.
submission goodSubmission to: Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission South Australia Prepared by Breony Carbines on behalf of West Mallee Protection

“West Mallee Protection are a conservation group made up of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginalmembers based in Ceduna on the west coast of South Australia. Our On country work includes cultural maintenance of water rock holes and monitoring of biodiversity in the last stretch of intact stunted mallee country. WMP also works to ensure that this area is protected now and well into the future.”

I found it very hard to select an extract from this submission, because  I didn’t want to exclude any of it. This submission  is expressed with clear and forceful logic: it contains excellent references and recommendations.

Here’s what they had to say about the Commission’s question onsetting up a nuclear waste dump:

RC 4.7 What are the processes that would need to be undertaken to build confidence in the community generally, or specific communities, in the design, establishment and operation of such facilities?
WMP finds this question superficial and offensive. It is a fact that many people have dedicated their time and energy to investigating and thinking about nuclear waste. It is a fact that even elderly
women that made up the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta – a senior Aboriginal women’s council committed
years of their lives to stand up to the proposal for a low-level facility at Woomera. They didn’t do this
because of previously inadequate “processes” to “build confidence” as the question suggests but
A) Individuals held a deep commitment to look after country and protect it from a substance
known as ‘irati’ poison which stemmed from long held cultural knowledge
B) Nuclear impacts were experienced and continued to be experienced first hand by members
and their families predominately from nuclear testing at Emu Fields and Maralinga but also
through exploration and mining at Olympic Dam
C) They epitomized and lived by the worldview that sustaining life for future generations is of
upmost importance and that this is at odds with the dangerous and long lasting dangers of all
aspects of the nuclear industry.
The insinuation that the general population or target groups such Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta or the
communities in the Northern Territory that succeeded them and also fought of a nuclear dump
for Muckaty were somehow deficient in their understanding of the implications and may have
required “confidence building” is highly offensive. Continue reading

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

#NuclearCommissionSAust’s plan to bring radioactive trash to Australia – by Leasing

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINNext Thursday’s (Oct 15)  Adelaide public hearing at  the Nuclear Fuel Chain  Royal Commission  (NFCRC) could be an interesting one.

It will be about the concept of leasing uranium –   the idea that Australia continues to “own” uranium , so contracts to take back all radioactive trash.

It’s not a new idea – pushed for decades by  Dr John White


and by the former Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP)  and the current  International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC)


Topics to be addressed at this public session:  Concept of nuclear fuel leasing and potential demand for those services. The international and commercial arrangements necessary to establish a fuel leasing operation


October 12, 2015 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Dr Caldicott’s submission concerning radiation #NuclearCommissionSAust

submission goodDr Helen Caldicott  Submission to the Nuclear Fuel Chain  Royal Commission

 Excerpt  – Types of ionizing radiation

  1. X-rays are electromagnetic, and cause mutations the instant they pass through the body.
  2. Similarly, gamma radiation is also electromagnetic, being emitted by radioactive materials generated in nuclear reactors and from some naturally occurring radioactive elements in the soil.
  3. Alpha radiation is particulate and is composed of two protons and two neutrons emitted from uranium atoms and other dangerous elements generated in reactors (such as plutonium, americium, curium, einsteinium, etc – all which are known as alpha emitters and have an atomic weight greater than uranium). Alpha particles travel a very short distance in the human body. They cannot penetrate the layers of dead skin in the epidermis to damage living skin cells. But when these radioactive elements enter the lung, liver, bone or other organs, they transfer a large dose of radiation over a long period of time to a very small volume of cells. Most of these cells are killed; however, some on the edge of the radiation field remain viable to be mutated, and cancer may later develop. Alpha emitters are among the most carcinogenic materials known.
  4. Beta radiation, like alpha radiation, is also particulate. It is a charged electron emitted from radioactive elements such as strontium 90, cesium 137 and iodine 131. The beta particle is light in mass, travels further than an alpha particle and is also mutagenic.
  5. Neutron radiation is released during the fission process in a reactor or a bomb. Reactor 1 at Fukushima has been periodically emitting neutron radiation as sections of the molten core become intermittently critical. Neutrons are large radioactive particles that travel many kilometers, and they pass through everything including concrete and steel. There is no way to hide from them and they are extremely mutagenic.

So, let’s describe just five of the radioactive elements that are continually being released into the air and water at Fukushima. Remember, though, there are over 200 such elements each with its own half-life, biological characteristic and pathway in the food chain and the human body. Most have never had their biological pathways examined. They are invisible, tasteless and odourless. When the cancer manifests it is impossible to determine its aetiology, but there is a large body of literature proving that radiation causes cancer, including the data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Continue reading

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Australia’s doctors campaign for action on climate change

climate-AustDoctors urge climate action  One of Australia’s peak medical bodies says political leaders must act on climate change to reduce serious health impacts. AAP
 Australia’s doctors will begin a campaign on Monday to warn world leaders that failure to make meaningful cuts to carbon dioxide emissions will cause a serious increase in heat-related illness and infectious diseases.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians will hold a Global Day of Climate Action to put pressure on leaders at the coming United Nations climate talks in Paris in December.

Infectious diseases physician and senior lecturer at the Australian National University medical school, Dr Ashwin Swaminathan, said doctors are trying to raise awareness of serious health impacts caused by climate change. “Doctors want the community and our government representatives to know that health is at stake with climate change,” Dr Swaminathan said.

“The college recognises that climate change poses a risk to the health of all Australians across all regions.”

Health professionals have seen a spike in ambulance call-outs, hospital admissions and deaths during heatwaves, which are projected to increase further without checks on global emissions.

Dr Swaminathan said there will also be increases in water-borne and mosquito-borne diseases, with Australian disease specialists worried in particular about diarrhoea-causing bacteria and disease-carrying mosquitoes. Higher temperatures expand the areas in which these disease carriers can thrive.

Dr Swaminathan said the species of mosquitoes that can carry dengue fever, Ross River fever and Barmah Forest virus will be able to move further south in Australia under changed climate conditions.

Disease and climate change is attracting more attention from doctors. “It’s something that is becoming more discussed at infectious diseases forums,” Dr Swaminathan said.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has begun a Doctors for Climate Action campaign which, with the support of 50 medical organisations, is calling on world leaders to commit to meaningful targets for emissions reduction at the United Nations COP 21 Climate Change Conference in Paris.

October 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Solar cars for Australia

R** Solar cars tested in tough NT conditions ahead of World Solar Challenge 2015

On a remote road an hour out of Darwin, dozens of solar-powered cars have been pushed to the limits for the past two weeks.


R** Solar car on track to become Australia’s first road-legal solar vehicle.

3 October 2015. This group of students are the latest in a long line of undergraduates from the University of New South Wales that have been working on solar cars.


October 12, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, Northern Territory, solar | Leave a comment

UK’s Dr Paul Dorfman explodes the myth of nuclear power combatting climate change

flag-UKHinkley C’s claimed benefits evaporate under scrutiny, Guardian, Dr Paul Dorfman 6th October 2015 


Ramping climate change means we need to de-carbonise quickly. Osborne has reframed nuclear as a response to climate change. But Hinkley, together with its radioactive waste stores, including spent fuel, will be sited on the coast, increasingly vulnerable to sea-level rise, flooding and storm surge from climate change.

Sorry to say that, as the UK Institute of Mechanical Engineers state: “Nuclear sites based on the coastline may need considerable investment to protect them against rising sea levels, or even abandonment or relocation in the long term.” [5]


Osborne maintains that nuclear is low-carbon. Yet serious analysis shows that, factoring in the full nuclear life-cycle from uranium mining, through transport, fuel enrichment, plant construction and operation, decommissioning and waste management, nuclear CO2 emissions have a mean value of 66g CO2e/kWh.

That’s significantly higher than for wind (2,8-7,4 g/kWhel), hydropower (17-22 g/kWhel), photovoltaic (19-59 g/kWhel), and energy efficiency measures (which are at least ten times more cost effective) [6]…….


Dr Paul Dorfman is Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Energy Institute, University College London (UCL); Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) Nuclear Policy Research Fellow; Founder of the Nuclear Consulting Group (NCG); Executive Board Member of the International Nuclear Risk Assessment Group (INRAG)  scrutiny

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Britain’s govt helps the nuclear lobby to downplay Fukushima catastrophe

news-nukeflag-UKRevealed: British government’s plan to play down Fukushima Internal emails seen by Guardian show PR campaign was launched to protect UK nuclear plans after tsunami in Japan

• Read the emails here  Guardian , , 1 July 2011  British government officials approached nuclear companies to draw up a co-ordinated public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and before the extent of the radiation leak was known.

Internal emails seen by the Guardian show how the business and energy departments worked closely behind the scenes with the multinational companiesEDF EnergyAreva and Westinghouse to try to ensure the accident did not derail their plans for a new generation of nuclear stations in the UK.

“This has the potential to set the nuclear industry back globally,” wrote one official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), whose name has been redacted. “We need to ensure the anti-nuclear chaps and chapesses do not gain ground on this. We need to occupy the territory and hold it. We really need to show the safety of nuclear.”

Officials stressed the importance of preventing the incident from undermining public support for nuclear power.

The Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who sits on the Commons environmental audit committee, condemned the extent of co-ordination between the government and nuclear companies that the emails appear to reveal.

“The government has no business doing PR for the industry and it would be appalling if its departments have played down the impact of Fukushima,” he said.

Louise Hutchins, a spokeswoman for Greenpeace, said the emails looked like “scandalous collusion”. “This highlights the government’s blind obsession with nuclear power and shows neither they, nor the industry, can be trusted when it comes to nuclear,” she said…….

Tom Burke, a former government environmental adviser and visiting professor at Imperial College London, warned that the British government was repeating mistakes made in Japan. “They are too close to industry, concealing problems, rather than revealing and dealing with them,” he said.

“I would be much more reassured if DECC had been worrying about how the government would cope with the $200bn-$300bn of liabilities from a catastrophic nuclear accident in Britain.”……

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

World preparing for big El Nino weather event

As monster El Niño looms, the world rushes to get ready, New Scientist By Michael Slezak, 7 October 2015 The world is preparing for a massive El Niño that could be the strongest since 1998. That event led to the deaths of an estimated 20,000 people and caused almost $100 billion of damage. The economic and human cost of this year’s event is already starting to mount.

El Niño emerges when winds blowing west across the Pacific weaken, and warm water spreads out east towards South America, dragging rainfall with it. As a result, chunks of Asia and Australia dry out, and rain is dumped on much of the Americas. The effects are felt further afield too, especially in Africa. El Niños are irregular, developing at intervals of two to seven years and lasting between nine months and two years……..

California, which is currently burning with the worst wildfire season in the state’s history, is expected to see more rain as El Niño develops, but it could go too far and cause floods, as it did in 1998.

“The worst is yet to come,” says Wenju Cai at CSIRO, Australia’s national research agency in Melbourne. Some of the most severe effects will likely be in the form of tropical storms, he says, which are not only caused by El Niño but exacerbated by its strength.

The El Niño will intensify in the coming months and probably peak around February. The rains are yet to hit Africa and South America; marine impacts such as coral bleaching are expected to begin around December.

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory inviting Tesla Motors to research renewable energy

Canberra asks Tesla Motors to host research presence in ACT , ABC News 10 Oct 15 The ACT Government is pitching to one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, asking it to consider establishing a research hub in Canberra. Chief Minister Andrew Barr last week sat down with executives at US giant Tesla Motors at the company’s headquarters in California.

Tesla are already selling electric cars in Australia – as well as developing new storage technology for renewable energy. Mr Barr wants the company to set up a research and development presence in Canberra, highlighting the city’s investment in renewables.

A spokesman for Mr Barr said it was a “productive meeting”, and a formal letter had been sent to the company. In the letter to Tesla management, Mr Barr said Canberra offered a “unique location advantage” for the renewable energy industry.

“The ACT has the most aggressive renewable energy and emissions reductions targets in the nation, by a significant margin, and amongst the most aggressive in the world,” he said. “Our region also includes a world-class expertise in renewable energy and energy storage technology research and development, across both public and private organisations.

“Employment in the ACT renewable energy sector grew over 400 per cent during the last five years.”

From next year, Tesla’s wall-mounted Powerwall batteries will be available in Australian homes.

The company will be utilising software from Canberra start up firm Reposit Power when Powerwall is launched, allowing solar panel owners to sell power back to the grid. Mr Barr used the Canberra-based company’s success was an example as to why Tesla should make further ties with the capital.

“I understand Reposit Power’s technology is unique and is an example of the innovative environment in Canberra,” he said……

October 12, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar, storage | 1 Comment

GetUp!: Tell Josh Frydenberg: No money for Adani!–3/tell-josh-frydenberg-no-money-for-adani/tell-josh-frydenberg-no-money-for-adani
“Without federal assistance, Adani’s Carmichael coal mine  and Abbot Point coal port are as good as cooked. When  asked about funding Adani’s coal project on Radio National  this morning, Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg suggested,  “Adani needs to stand on its own two feet… it wouldn’t be
a priority project for the Commonwealth.”

They’re  encouraging words, but it’s far from a concrete promise. If  enough of us reach out right now, we can show Minister  Frydenberg just how popular a solid commitment would be.
It could be enough to get him over the line. Can you email Josh Frydenberg’s office and ask him to
rule out Government handouts for Adani? … “

October 12, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New York Times Editorial: Teaching the truth about climate change

climate-change10 Oct 15 Misinformation about climate change is distressingly common in the United States – a 2014 Yale study found that 35 percent of Americans believe that global warming is caused mostly by natural phenomena rather than human activity, and 34 percent think there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether global warming is even happening….

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment