Australian news, and some related international items

BHP not interested in nuclear waste import – Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust

BHP’s Submission on wastes is very short.  Two major points –BHP-on-Aust-govt

  • reiterates call to remove uranium mining from being listed as a  Matter of National
    Environmental Significance 9NES) in the Federal Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
  • doesn’t want to have any involvement in storage or disposal of nuclear waste. 

BHP Billiton Submission to Royal Commission

EXTRACT “Management, Storage and Disposal of Nuclear and Radioactive Waste    BHP Billiton’s experience with radioactive waste management and storage at Olympic Dam is limited to the storage of tailings and other low level contaminated materials generated during the treatment of ore……

Tailings storage and management is common in mining operations throughout the world, and in this respect the management of tailings at Olympic Dam is no different to that of other BHP Billiton operations not involving uranium (e.g. copper or nickel), or indeed other mining operations worldwide.

Given this similarity, the demonstrated level of environmental management and the low level of radioactivity involved, the treatment of tailings from uranium operations should be considered as akin to that of other metal mining operations. Correspondingly, it does not warrant being considered a matter of national environmental significance that triggers the requirements of the EPBC Act.

BHP Billiton does not handle or manage intermediate and high-level radioactive wastes. Nevertheless we understand that current thinking is toward long term storage rather than disposal, as it is foreseeable that the contained energy may be able to be harnessed in the future.

Irrespective of whether storage or disposal is preferred, BHP Billiton considers that either option would be inconsistent with our core business of mining and the production of high quality copper and associated by-products at Olympic Dam.”

January 16, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Change Australia’s Environmental Protection Laws – ANSTO”s submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust

Nuclear lobby  on Aust govt

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINEXTRACT from ANSTO Submission

Legislative and regulatory

Significant legislative changes would be required in order to develop a South Australian nuclear power industry. At present, nuclear power is prohibited in Australia. At the Commonwealth level, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) effectively prohibits the construction or operation of nuclear fuel fabrication plants, nuclear power plants, enrichment plants or reprocessing facilities.

In addition, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (Cth) prevents the CEO of ARPANSA from licensing the siting,construction or operation of such facilities by Commonwealth entities. At the South Australian level, there is a conditional ban on conversion and enrichment (see section 27 of the RadiationProtection and Control Act 1982).

In addition to the removal of those legislative barriers, legislation would also be required in order to upgrade the existing regulatory structure or create new a regulatory structure capable of performing the functions required for the licensing of nuclear power reactors. There would

also need to be legislation governing nuclear liability in order to bring Australia into line with international norms……..

January 16, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

BHP’s Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust – “No particular health risks from uranium mining”

health-uranium-workerA not very exciting Submission, in which BHP outlines its work at Olympic scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINDam.  The major point is that BHP wants to remove uranium mining from being listed as a  Matter of National Environmental Significance 9NES) in the Federal Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).

BHP maintains that the health risks from uranium mining are not really different from the risks in any other type of mining.

On the future for the uranium market, BHP is cagey, pointing out that copper is the major money-spinner from Olympic Dam

BHP Billiton – Submission to RC  ISSUESPAPER 1  Exploration, Extraction and Milling


“…..We believe this Commission to be an important opportunity to seek changes that will reduce barriers to entry into uranium extraction and exploration. We make two important recommendations: Continue reading

January 16, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Australian Workers Union complacent about health, sends pro nuclear Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINNot surprisingly, the AWU Submission concentrates on JOBS. They quote (to my mind) some rather ambitious and over-confident forecasts on the employment future, with the nuclear fuel  chain.

AWU enthusiasm focuses on the opportunities in uranium mining, – says little about o the other phases of the full nuclear chain. Confident of the economic benefits of that chain, and keen for nuclear waste importing.

Notably, their Submission says very little about health: it is very complacent about radiation safety.



Scott McDine- National Secretary The Australian Workers’ Union Level10, 377-383 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Phone: 02 8005 3333 1 Fax: 02 8005 3300 Website: I Email:


“……This submission asserts that the potential economic and employment benefits of the nuclear fuel cycle are vast, and that failure to act would represent a lost opportunity for South Australia. It also acknowledges Australia’s capacity to manage the safety, environmental and security risks associated with the nuclear industry…… Continue reading

January 16, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | 1 Comment

AREVA’s published Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust

AREVA EDF crumblingThe RC published only one Submission, from AREVA Australia  I think scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINthat we can be pretty confident that AREVA sent in other Submissions , including one on waste management.

The published Submission is pretty boring – deals only with uranium mining and exploration.  AREVA does acknowledge the current poor uranium market, but looks to future growth, without any convincing reason.  I list some extracts below, – they are not very notable.

I thought that the relatively large time that the RC spent with AREVA was more interesting. Ironically, the RC in France met with AREVA on the day after President Hollande ordered AREVA to merge with EDF, to save it from bankruptcy.

4 June 15 Visit to AREVA Tricastin, France.

  • Explanation of AREVA’s conversion plant and the development of the project;
  • Tour of conversion plant construction site;
  • Explanation of AREVA’s Georges Besse II operating enrichment plant;
  • Tour of GB II enrichment plant facilities.

Visit to AREVA Melox, France.

  • Explanation of AREVA’s operating mixed oxide fuel fabrication plant and the use of mixed oxide fuels;Tour of mixed oxide fuel fabrication facilities.

5 June 15   Visit to AREVA La Hague, France.

        Visit to EDF Flamanville, France.

 8 June 15  Meeting with AREVA.

  • Discussion of future nuclear energy demand, barriers to investment in the nuclear fuel cycle and the economics of investment.




AREVA Resources Australia Pty Ltd A.B.N. 44 009 758 481 68 Greenhill Rd Wayville SA 5034 Tel: + 61 8 8292 9300 Fax: + 61 8 8377 7903 Email:


AREVA is at present the world’s largest, integrated company in the nuclear cycle”….     (Ed. note.  -That’s  no longer true)


January 16, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

ANSTO’s Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust – not keen on Thorium

Thorium fuelled nuclear power reactors are often put forward as a possible alternative to uranium Thorium-pie-in-skyfuelled reactors on the basis of a number of arguments, not all of which are accurate. For example, proponents of thorium reactors often claim that the thorium fuel cycle is resistantto proliferation risks.

However, the production of uranium‐233 during the thorium fuel cycle presents a potential proliferation risk that would require similar safeguards to those in place for the uranium fuel cycle today (ANSTO 2013).

Although the thorium fuel cycle is a theoretically feasible source of energy, there is limited evidence that significant investment in future thorium technologies would improve on the well established technologies and systems in place for the uranium fuel cycle, for which Australia is already one of the world’s largest exporters…..

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINANSTO’s Submission (on all 4 Issues papers) says surprisingly little about nuclear waste management. It directs those remarks to how expert ANSTO itself is at managing nuclear waste.

It is enthusiastic about the future for nuclear power, but I note that it uses that “escape” word “potential” when predicting that good future. No author is named.


“nuclear power, in countries with limited potential for hydropower, is the most efficient and cost‐effective low emissions fit‐for‐service base‐load electricity generation option……

 new generation nuclear power plants under construction across the world represent a mature and safe technology; and future nuclear technology has the potential to further improve safety while reducing cost and up‐front capital investment requirements…..

“Safety Continue reading

January 16, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment