Australian news, and some related international items

Aboriginal women will fight on against nuclear waste dumping in South Australia

Aboriginal women reaffirm fight against nuclear waste dump in South Australia ABC Radio National,  The World Today  By Natalie Whiting 16 Oct 15 The first shipment of Australia’s nuclear waste to be returned from re-processing in France has now left a French port, and will arrive on our shores by the end of the year. The return of the 25 tonnes of nuclear waste is putting renewed pressure on the Federal Government to find a location for a permanent waste dump.

The shipment began its journey just a day after senior Aboriginal women gathered in Adelaide to mark their fight against a proposed dump in South Australia in the 1990s.

The women say they will fight against any new move to put the waste on their land…..


SA Aboriginal women remember waste dump victory A Federal Government plan to build a Austin, Emily (centre)nuclear waste dump in the South Australian outback in 1998 attracted fierce opposition, especially among local Aboriginal people.

An event in Adelaide last night celebrated the work of a group of women called kupa piti kungka tjuta, who campaigned against the dump. Emily Austin from Coober Pedy was one of them. (centre in picture)

“We used to fight, we travelled everywhere – we went to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide,” she said.
“We were telling them that’s poison and you’re going to bury it in our country? “That’s no good.”

The women campaigned for six years until a Federal Court challenge from the South Australian government put an end to the dump. Ms Austin said she could remember the day the court found in South Australia’s favour.

“I was out in the bush hunting and I heard it on the radio in the Toyota. We were all screaming, ‘We won’.

“All the kungkas (women) were happy.”

While the Federal Government is in the midst of a voluntary process for finding a site for a dump, South Australia’s outback is still seen as an ideal location.

The South Australian Government’s attitude to the industry has been shifting.

It has launched a royal commission to investigate possible further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.The royal commission is looking at everything from mining uranium, processing, waste storage and nuclear power.

The organiser of last night’s event, Karina Lester, is the granddaughter of one of the women who campaigned and her father was blinded by the British nuclear tests at Maralinga half a century ago.

She said the Aboriginal people in South Australia’s north have a long and tortured history with the nuclear industry. “Maralinga’s had a huge impact because people speak from first-hand experience,” she said.

“People like the amazing kupa piti kungka tjuta, many of those old women who are no longer with us today, they were there the day the ground shook and the black mist rolled.

“It’s an industry that doesn’t sit comfortably with Anungu community.”

Ms Lester said it was good to see the royal commission consulting with people before a decision is made.”Credit to the royal commission that they’ve made an effort to engage with a broader community of Aboriginal communities,” she said.

“But how many of those Anangu are really understanding he technicality of this royal commission and what industry really means?” Ms Austin said she was ready to fight any future attempts to set up a waste dump in the region.

“Oh yeah, I’ve still got fight yet. They might stop yet, they might listen, I dunno,” she said.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Radioactive trash returning to Lucas Heights by ship from France

radioactive trashShip carrying nuclear waste heads to Australia, West Australian  CHERBOURG, AFP October 16, 2015 A ship carrying 25 tonnes of reprocessed nuclear waste is steaming to Australia despite protests from activists about an “environmental disaster waiting to happen”.

The BBC Shanghai left the northern French port of Cherbourg after approval from local officials, who carried out an inspection on Wednesday, and is due to arrive by the end of the year in NSW. It is laden with radioactive waste from spent nuclear fuel that Australia sent to France for reprocessing in four shipments in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation says.

The reprocessing involves removing uranium, plutonium and other materials, with the remaining substances stabilised in glass and stored in a container…….

Greenpeace, French environmental campaign group Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) and a leading Greens MP have called for the shipment, sent by Areva, to be halted. “Areva, almost bankrupt, are using a dustbin ship to carry waste, without any serious inspection!” Denis Baupin a senior MP with the French green party, tweeted.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific said the ship, owned by German firm BBC Chartering, was an “environmental disaster waiting to happen”, claiming the Shanghai was “blacklisted by the United States because of its safety record”……

But Areva’s external relations director, Bernard Monnot, said the ship was “not banned from ports in the United States but banned from transporting material for the American government”.

Nathalie Geismar from Robin des Bois said other ports had found it had a “staggering number of flaws”……

ANSTO said the material would be kept at the Lucas Heights facility in southern Sydney until a nuclear waste dump site, which has yet to be chosen, is found and constructed……


October 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Mt Isa Council, Queensland, considers inviting in radioactive trash

Mount Isa council considers late bid for north-west Queensland to host radioactive waste dump, ABC News By Zara Margolis The Mount Isa City Council is considering applying to the Federal Government to develop a radioactive waste management facility in the region.

Earlier this year, the Department of Science and Industry invited states and territories to nominate land for a facility to safely store Australia’s radioactive waste.


Nominations officially closed in May but Tony McGrady said he was only made aware of the process on Wednesday and the council still wanted to apply……

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, wastes | Leave a comment

Outcry in France over nuclear waste shipment to Australia

radioactive trashflag-franceNuclear shipment bound for Australia sparks outcry, Splash 24/7 OCTOBER 16TH, 2015 A ship described by one French MP as a “dustbin” has set off from France to Australia carrying a controversial cargo of nuclear waste.

Greenpeace and French environmentalists had campaigned for the shipment to be stopped. However, French authorities said the BBC Shanghai (4,900 dwt, 2001 built) was in good condition and allowed it to go, carrying 25 tonnes of nuclear waste from Areva’s reprocessing plant in Beaumont-Hague, near the port of Cherbourg, from where the ship set sail on Thursday.

Shortly before the cargo ship set sail, French Green MP Denis Baupin tweeted (in French) that Areva was “using a dustbin ship to carry waste, without any serious inspection”………

October 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Safety concerns over transport of radioactive trash returning to Australia

Ship laden with nuclear waste heading to Australia despite safety concerns, Guardian, , 17 Oct 15  The 25 tonnes of waste was originally generated by Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and sent to France in 2001 for reprocessing. A ship laden with nuclear waste is heading to Australia from France, despite concerns raised over its safety record.

The BBC Shanghai, flagged to Antigua and Barbuda, is on its way to Port Kemblain New South Wales from the French port of Cherbourg with a cargo of reprocessed nuclear waste.It’s outrageous the BBC Shanghai is heading towards Australia and is not outfitted to safely carry nuclear waste. -Emma Gibson, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

The 25 tonnes of waste was originally generated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and sent to France in 2001 for reprocessing.

Environmental groups have raised concerns over the safety of the BBC Shanghai, pointing out it has been blacklisted by the US due to its record. Continue reading

October 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Wind farms seek contracts in Australian Capital Territory

Wind turbines in Azerbaijan. Fifteen wind farms vie for ACT contracts as second auction round closes, Canberra Times, October 16, 2015   The Canberra Times reporter Environment Minister Simon Corbell believes the ACT is still a strong renewable energy “buyers’ market” after receiving 15 proposals to supply Canberra with 200 extra megawatts of wind power from 2018.

The territory government’s second large-scale wind energy auction closed bidding on Wednesday, having attracted only three fewer proposals than the last round in February.

The closure of bids in the “reverse auction” process, in which wind farms compete to be among two or three to supply the ACT with energy in exchange for a feed-in tariff, comes as the Department of Environment and Planning’s annual report showed 18.5 per cent of the territory’s energy was supplied from renewable resources in the last financial year.

The figure, up from 14.2 per cent in 2010/11, showed a major acceleration in renewable power uptake was needed if the government was the reach its target of green energy supplying 90 per cent of the ACT’s needs by 2020. But the document also notes successful wind farm bidders from the first auction are due to come online between 2016 and mid-2017, contributing to about 25 per cent of the ACT’s expected electricity demand in 2020.

Mr Corbell said the winning farms from the most recent auction would contribute an additional 25 per cent of forecast 2020 demand to the supply, while solar farms launched between 2014 and 2016 would provide an additional three per cent.

“This second wind auction will cut over half of the emissions associated with electricity usage in each and every Canberra household,” he said.”Our early review of bid pricing indicates we are still in a very strong buyers’ market.”………

The government plans for the bulk of renewable energy infrastructure to be in place by 2018, with a target of green energy supplying 80 per cent of electricity in that year.That would leave only 10 per cent of power to be switched to renewables in the final two years before the target is achieved.

An interim report released earlier this year showed the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions had fallen 8 per cent between 2011/12 and 2013/14.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | ACT, wind | Leave a comment

Global warming set to disappear vast Alpine glacier

Vast Alpine glacier could almost vanish by 2100 due to warmingReuters, Reporting by Alister Doyle; Editing by Frances Kerry GREAT ALETSCH GLACIER, SWITZERLAND | BY DENIS BALIBOUSE One of Europe’s biggest glaciers, the Great Aletsch, coils 23 km (14 miles) through the Swiss Alps – and yet this mighty river of ice could almost vanish in the lifetimes of people born today because of climate change.

The glacier, 900 meters (2,950 feet) thick at one point, has retreated about 3 km (1.9 miles) since 1870 and that pace is quickening, as with many other glaciers around the globe.

That is feeding more water into the oceans and raising world sea levels…….

even the Great Aletsch glacier, the biggest in the Alps and visible from space, is under threat from the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from factories, power plants and cars that are blamed for global warming.

Glacier great-aletsch-glacier-valais-switzerland

Andreas Vieli, a professor who heads the University of Zurich’s group of glaciology experts, said the Aletsch may lose 90 percent of its ice volume by 2100, with the lower reaches melting away.

“My kids are going to see a very different scenery in the Alps,” he said.

And on the ice, Aletsch guide Richard Bortis said, “if I stay on the glacier for several days … I can even see the changes myself.”

The glacier is a vast water reserve, important for irrigation and hydroelectric power……For glaciers around the globe, from the Andes to Alaska, rising temperatures mean that the volume lost from the summer melt exceeds snows that replenish the glaciers’ ice in winter. The Aletsch flows downhill at about 180 meters (590 feet) a year.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service says “the rates of early 21st-century mass loss are without precedent on a global scale” at least since measurements began around 1850.

Representatives from almost 200 governments will meet in Paris from Nov. 30-Dec. 11 to try to agree ways to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Nations’ panel of climate scientists says sea levels are set to rise by between 26 and 82 cm (10 and 31 inches) by the late 21st century, after a gain of about 20 cm (8 inches) since 1900, partly fed by water from melting glaciers. Rising oceans are a threat to places from San Francisco to Shanghai, to low-lying Pacific atolls and large parts of Bangladesh……

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Global warming affecting Bangladesh’s coastal communities – rising salinity

a-cat-CANNot proud to be Australian – we don’t act genuinely to stop global warming. We don’t treat refugees decently – and of course – we won’t be taking any climate refugees



climate-changeRising salinity threatens Bangladesh’s coastal communities – experts Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – Tue, 13 Oct 2015  Author: Pantho Rahaman Reporting by Pantho Rahaman; editing by Jumana Farouky and Laurie Goering -the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women’s rights, trafficking and corruption. Visit

“……..Climate change-induced alterations to sea level, temperature and rainfall are affecting freshwater supplies in low-lying coastal areas around the world, scientists and environmentalists say.

With more than a quarter of its population living in 19 districts facing or near the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is especially vulnerable, they say.

If access to fresh water continues to decrease at current rates in Bangladesh, experts warn, the country faces worsening drinking and irrigation water scarcity in the next few decades.

“Left unattended, 2.9 million to 5.2 million poor (people) in southwest coastal Bangladesh will face serious river salinity problems by 2050,” said Susmita Dasgupta, the lead environmental economist of the World Bank’s research department, in an email interview.


A study by the World Bank and Bangladesh’s Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) published last year paints a dire picture of the future of freshwater supplies for the country’s coastal communities.

In a worst case scenario, the study predicts that the area served by freshwater rivers – those whose salt levels measure less than 1 part per thousand – in the country’s 19 coastal districts will drop from 41 percent to 17 percent by 2050.

Researchers believe sea-level rise, rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and a reduction of water flow in the country’s rivers could add to river salinity.

Losing freshwater could mean “significant shortages of drinking water” and a lack of irrigation water for dry-season agriculture, the study said.

“The impact of the increase in salinity is already being felt by the local communities, as they now have to purchase water from water treatment plants run by commercial operators,” said Ainun Nishat, a noted Bangladeshi environmentalist and one of the researchers on the World Bank study.

A dramatic decrease in the area served by freshwater rivers would also do damage to the region’s fishing industry, which supports approximately a half million families, researchers said…..

Of Bangladesh’s 19 southwestern coastal districts, the study pinpointed nine already in danger of being unable to protect their freshwater resources.

Even in the best case, by 2050 four districts – Barguna, Jhalokoti, Khulna, and Patuakhali – may no longer have regular access to fresh water from rivers. And in a worst-case scenario, Pirojpur district could lose 100 percent of its fresh river water, while Bagerhat and Barisal could lose over 90 percent, the study said.

In addition, the study said, five districts will suffer a serious shortage of water for dry-season agriculture.

“This worrying change might lead to a migration of people from southwestern Bangladesh,” Nishat said……

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3 compelling reasons why Adani’s Mega Coal Mine Is Still In Trouble

Thom Mitchell, New Matilda:  Three Reasons Adani’s Mega Coal Mine Is Still In Trouble 16 Oct 15:  “Australia’s most controversial coal mine continues to face  huge challenges, in spiteof the remonstrations sure to  follow the re-issuing of its Federal environmental approval
this afternoon, writes Thom Mitchell. …
So how far are the shovels from the Galilee Basin ground  where Adani wants to dig 60 million tonnes of coal each year?  After more than five years in the planning stage the reality is that, from Adani’s perspective, they’re still about as remote as the proposed inland Queensland project site.

Here are three of the most compelling reasons why.
The Mine Does Not Have State Approval
Adani Needs To Find Mountains Of Cash, And It’s Having A Hard Time
The Federal Environmental Approval May Be Challenged … “

October 16, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

‘Dustbin’ ship takes N-waste to Australia

radioactive trash  A ship carrying 25 tonnes of reprocessed nuclear waste was steaming to Australia yesterday despite protests from activists about an “environmental disaster waiting to happen”.
The BBC Shanghai left the northern French port of Cherbourg after approval from local officials, who carried out an inspection on Wednesday, and was due to arrive by the end of the year in New South Wales state.
It was laden with radioactive waste from spent nuclear fuel that Australia sent to France for reprocessing in four shipments in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) said yesterday. The reprocessing involves removing uranium, plutonium and other materials, with the remaining substances stabilised in glass and stored in a container.
“The container will be placed on a nuclear-rated ship, brought to an Australian port, and trucked to Lucas Heights (nuclear facility) with an appropriate security operation,” ANSTO said in a statement.
“The ship was selected by (France-based nuclear company) Areva, and after a full inspection carried out by both French maritime safety authorities and by the French nuclear safety regulator on October 14, the ship’s seaworthiness was confirmed and certified.”
Greenpeace, French environmental campaign group Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) and a leading green lawmaker called for the shipment, sent by Areva, to be halted.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

New York nuclear plants can’t afford the costs of shutting down !

Flag-USAhighly-recommendedNew York nuclear plants phase out, challengingly  One doesn’t have look hard in New York and throughout the region to see that the nuclear power industry has hit a rough patch.

The James FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Oswego County may be closing. The Ginna plant is on life support. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he wants to close Indian Point.

Those closings and potential closings, combined with closure of Vermont Yankee in December and the announcement this month that Pilgrim in Massachusetts would be shuttered, herald what nuclear experts say is a denouement to the story of nuclear power in the United States.


“I would call it an organic phaseout,” said Mycle Schneider, a nuclear consultant based in Paris, during a conference at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on Thursday. “Nuclear’s position is threatened by a number of factors.”

Among those threats, he and others said, are the increasing costs of safely providing nuclear power, stagnant demand, a decrease in electricity use, and “ferocious competitors,” including natural gas and renewable power.

The question for state and federal regulators becomes how to safely and efficiently retire the nation’s nuclear fleet, a task infinitely more complex than getting rid of a typical power plant. Continue reading

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Conservationists consider a new appeal against Adani coal mine

Carmichael coal mine:  Conservationists look at further appeal against $16 billion Adani mine in central Queensland 16 Oct 15:
“The law firm acting on behalf of the main challengers  against the $16 billion Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin may lodge another appeal. The  Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) acts of behalf of the  Mackay Conservation Group, which has fought the approval of
Indian mining giant Adani’s Carmichael mega-mine. …
Early signs another appeal warranted:
EDO lawyer Sue Higginson said they had 28 days to lodge an appeal.  “We would only commence a proceedings in the Commonwealth Court if we thought there was a good legal basis,” she said.
“We’re not in the business of holding up projects.”  She said there were early signs that another appeal is warranted. … “

October 16, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Holtec Nuclear Fuel Storage Raises Concerns; US NRC Says Comments “Outside the Scope”; Still Lets Slip Interesting Facts Suggesting False Advertising by Holtec

This is the company that wants to sell small nuclear reactors to Australia

Mining Awareness +

Holtec casks Diablo Dec. 26 2005 or 2006
Holtec Dry Casks for Spent Nuclear Fuel (i.e. High Level Nuclear Waste) Diablo Canyon Dec. 2005 or 06; NRC or DOE. These are full of hot and lethally radioactive nuclear waste. They are huge, as can be seen in the picture. The sealed containment is only one half inch thick! The outer shell is vented.

This gives a comparative idea of the levels of deadly radionuclides found in “spent fuel” at closed nuclear power stations, and which are to go in these flimsy canisters. Cesium 137 is but one of them.
San Onofre Cesium 137 vs. Chernobyl by Donna Gilmore SanOnofreSafety
San Onofre Cesium 137 vs. Chernobyl by Donna Gilmore SanOnofreSafety
One Curie is 37 Billion Becquerels (37 billion radioactive shots per second).

A lot of important concerns, found in the Federal Register, below, led to the US NRC response: “The comment is outside the scope of this rulemaking…“, which appears automated.

Even so, the NRC let slip…

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October 16, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scientists identify climate ‘tipping points’#Auspol 


In the new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), the scientists analysed the climate model simulations on which the recent 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports are based.

They found evidence of 41 cases of regional abrupt changes in the ocean, sea ice, snow cover, permafrost and terrestrial biosphere. Many of these events occur for global warming levels of less than two degrees, a threshold sometimes presented as a safe limit. However, although most models predict one or more abrupt regional shifts, any specific occurrence typically appears in only a few models.

“This illustrates the high uncertainty in predicting tipping points,” says lead author Professor Sybren Drijfhout from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton. “More precisely, our results show that the different state-of-the-art models agree that abrupt changes are likely, but that predicting when…

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October 16, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quick roundup of Australia’s nuclear/climate news

a-cat-CANTry as I may, I can’t seem to make this weekly news roundup shorter. I don’t expect that people will read it all, or go to all links.  However, just the 3 top links here are very much worth reading. They deal with the subject of ionising radiation.  On October 7 Dr Helen Caldicott is speaking at Sydney University on this subject. Meanwhile the global nuclear lobby is intensifying its propaganda lie that ionising radiation is harmless.

  1. Three Nobel Prize winners calculated the genetic damage of nuclear energy.
  2. Biological Consequences of Nuclear Disasters: From Chernobyl to Fukushima.
  3. Film ‘The Martian” gets it really wrong about ionising radiation.


USA’s Small Nuclear Reactors lobby turns to Australia, as safety rules too strong in USA.

Australia needs a new national identity – blending black and white – Paul Keating. There needs to be a stronger framework for Aboriginal property rights.

CLIMATE CHANGE. Narrow chance left to prevent catastrophic collapse of Antarctic ice shelves.  Adani coal mine approval ‘grossly irresponsible’. Turnbull govt postpones effort to stop environmentalists using legal avenues. To meet climate goals, Australia must double decarbonisation. Australia’s doctors campaign for action on climate change. Doctors plan global day of climate action.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA.    South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.  Anti nuclear opinions excluded from #NuclearCommissionSAust’s hearings’   Eloquent Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust – an Aboriginal Perspective.  #NuclearCommissionSAust’s plan to bring radioactive trash to Australia – by Leasing. Dr Helen Caldicott’s submission concerning radiation #NuclearCommissionSAust.

NORTHERN TERRITORY. ERA concedes defeat on Ranger uranium mining extension. Fall in quarterly production for uranium miner ERA. ERA should be made accountable for fire in Kakadu National Park.

RENEWABLE ENERGY.  network of micro-grids for Australia’s energy future?     Solar cars in Australia . South Australia: subsidy for large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.NSW. Broken Hill’s solar mega-plant operational this year.    Australian Capital Territory inviting Tesla Motors to research renewable energy.  VictoriaAustralia’s govt urged to push renewable energy – ‘All Energy Australia’ in Melbourne.


October 16, 2015 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment