Australian news, and some related international items

Likely Recommendations of the #NuclearCommissionSAust

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINDan Monceaux , Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Watch 19 Jan 16  List of what I believe are possible or likely recommendations (in no particular order):

– the repeal of state and federal prohibitions blocking nuclear industrial development

– the consideration of the establishment of a nuclear waste repository in SA

– the development of a ‘nuclear fuel leasing scheme’, whereby Australian miners (inc. BHP Billiton & Rio Tinto) receive spent fuel which was created from Australian uranium, and profit from its receipt

– the establishment of an advanced research centre to support the development of next generation ‘nuclear waste recycling’ reactors
(most likely via the newly formed Future Industries Institute, UniSA)

– the consideration of nuclear energy as a ‘low-carbon energy source’ in the future replacement of coal-fired power plants in Australia’s Eastern states

– the relaxation of safety regulations for nuclear industrial workers (inc. uranium miners) including, potentially, the rejection of the LNT hypothesis

January 19, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

February 15 #NuclearCommissionSAust’s tentative findings & feedback available

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINTim Bickmore Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Watch 19 Jan 16  The Tentative Findings will be available to download from the from 11am, February 15, 2016 or by contacting the office on 08 8207 1480.

Feedback on the Tentative Findings can be provided to the Commission via its website, email or through traditional mail delivery. Details on this process will be on the NFCRC website soon. 16

January 19, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

South Australian Cabinet gets two new pro nuclear enthusiasts

Nuclear lobby on South Aust govt copyLeesa Vlahos’ elevation to the Cabinet of South Australia in the Jay Weatherill government was announced on 18 January 2016.

  Vlahos was described by the Australian Financial Review as ‘staunchly pro-nuclear’ and advocated for nuclear power in Australia during the lead-up to the Royal Commission into South Australia’s future role in the nuclear fuel cycle.  In her 2015 submission in response to the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission she stated that she had been an advocate for a “modern and safe” nuclear industry for South Australia “for years”. She also encouraged an investigation of the possibility of developing Thorium-fueled nuclear power.

Peter Malinauskas’ elevation to the Cabinet of South Australia in the Jay Weatherill government was announced on 18 January 2016.

In February 2014, Malinauskas expressed his openly pro-nuclear position to the media. At the time, the Labor party remained opposed to the establishment of a new nuclear waste repository or nuclear power plant in South Australia. He told The Advertiser:

“I believe climate change is a real challenge we need to face up to, and nuclear energy can be a safe source of base load power, with zero carbon emissions… We should have a mature debate based on science and economics to determine if a nuclear industry is viable in SA.”

That gives the Weatherill gov’t at least 3 spokespeople within Cabinet (including Koutsantonis) who can sing the praises of the Commission’s findings when released next month.

January 19, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

For the public good: Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust from Robert Eastman

submission goodRobert Eastman’s Submission to South Australia Nuclear fuel Chain Royal Commission – on the issue of Nuclear Waste Importing. Eastman provides documentary information on various requirements.

Eastman, Robert antinuke Sub


January 19, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Mongolia secret [but failed] nuclear waste deal – a model for Australia?

This article relates to Mongolia, but the principles would also apply to Australia, on the basis that anywhere will do. The waste in question is not only Japanese waste, but also waste produced in nuclear power plants exported by Toshiba/Westinghouse

secret-agent-Smwhile ostensibly the negotiations were between the three governments, the plans for the deal were drawn up by the U.S. and Toshiba with the aim of selling nuclear power plants to emerging economies under a scheme called Comprehensive Fuel Service.

According to this scheme, vendors assure potential customers that they will handle any future nuclear secret-dealswaste produced by power plants the customers buy, which is why Mongolia’s acceptance of such waste is so important. Due to local resistance, neither the U.S. nor Japan has anywhere to dump spent fuel, even their own.

The reason Yamada became so interested in this topic years after the fact is that in the meantime, Toshiba has been caught up in financial scandals that have brought the company to its knees, and he wanted to explore the connection between Toshiba’s nuclear energy business and its fiscal woes.

the U.S., desperate to find a friendly country to accept nuclear waste, was pushing Japan to make a deal with Mongolia.

The elephant in the room for Toshiba is nuclear

Japanese press outlets often cover scoops from competing outlets, but it’s rare to build on a competitor’s story with original reporting, especially when the scoop is a few years old. In December, the weekly magazine Aera, which is affiliated with the Asahi Shimbun, ran an article about a secret meeting that took place between representatives of Japan, Mongolia and the United States almost five years ago. This meeting was first reported by Haruyuki Aikawa in the May 9, 2011, issue of the Mainichi Shimbun.

What interested Aera reporter Atsushi Yamada about the article was Aikawa’s assertion that Toshiba Corp. was on hand for the negotiations. Continue reading

January 19, 2016 Posted by | secrets and lies, wastes | Leave a comment

A song of praise for Synroc – Roger Smart’s Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust

Submission pro nuclearRoger Smart’s Submission to South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.

 a very short submission on the subject of nuclear wastes. It canned be summed up as a Song Of Praise for the Synroc Technology for storing nuclear wastes.

EXTRACT: “The safest and cheapest option available for  disposal of high level nuclear waste”

Nuclear Waste  Management  (NWM) — an Adelaide  based  Company  founded  in  1985……..

In 1991 NWM signed a Heads of Agreement with Mayak Production Enterprise, owned by the Russian Ministry of Power and Energy and Greenlawn Association of the Russian Federation to commence a study for the construction of a SYNROC plant. The Russians selected SYNROC as their preferred waste form for the treatment and disposal of their high level waste. They also commenced geological studies to find sites for the disposal of SYNROC in deep drill holes.

………. it proved impossible to find the political/financial  and corporate leadership to secure the funding.  The reasons were many but during the 80’s and 90’s, the nuclear industry was on the defensive and investment, other that in programs already in place, was greatly reduced. Consequently, NWM ceased operation in 1998

…….  A detailed brochure and other material on SYNROC and NWM have been provided to the Executive of the Royal Commission”


safety-symbolNuclear accident much worse than reported , April 28, 1993  The nuclear accident at the Tomsk-7 reprocessing plant in Siberia on April 6 was much bigger than first reported, and now may seriously impede expansion of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia.

Spokesperson John Hallam for the antinuclear groups Friends of the Earth and Movement Against Uranium Mining said, “Proposals to build a replacement research reactor in Sydney and a nuclear waste repository in the NT based on Synroc technology would be compromised by a public realisation that both projects depend on the same sort of technology for waste handling that failed so badly at Tomsk”.

Hallam said that information from Russian green groups indicated that the accident was not a 3 on the international nuclear event scale, as earlier claimed, but at least a 5. Chernobyl was a 6…

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Oh my God! Global Warming Is Affecting The TENNIS!

fearAccording to Malcolm Tulloch, director of entertainment, crew and sport at the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the hotter climate is having an impact on the hundreds of people working at the tournament.
“Global warming is already having a big impact in Australia and the effect on both professional and local community sportspeople and sports clubs is significant,”
heatRising temperatures at Australian Open ’caused by global warming’ Hot temperatures at the Australian Open tennis tournament may be down to global warming, according to some climate experts.
 The Australian Conservation Foundation reported that in recent years players have complained about the heat at the first grand-slam tournament of the year, including Canadian Frank Dancevic, who collapsed during a match in 2014.

Analysis from University of Melbourne Atmosphere and Ocean researcher Ben Hague shows January temperatures in Melbourne have risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius each decade since 1987, but in the two weeks of the Australian Open the increase has been 1.25 degrees.

The Bureau of Meteorology 2015 Climate Statement showed days of extreme weather are on the increase across Australia.

A number of tennis clubs have implemented extreme heat policies to fulfill their duty of care to players, including Victoria based Australasian Academy of Tennis Coaches. Continue reading

January 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Queensland launches solar storage battery trial

battey TeslaQueensland installs Australia’s first Powerwall battery for solar trial, map-solar-QueenslandGuardian, , 18 Jan 16 Energex, which is owned by the state government, launches a 12-month trial of solar batteries to investigate ways to integrate them into electricity supply

Queensland government-owned power company has installed the country’s first solar battery storage system from Tesla as it begins a year-long trial into how it can reward consumers who cut their reliance on the electricity grid.

Energex, which has installed a Tesla Powerwall and another storage system from Californian company Sunverge at its Brisbane training facility, will collect data to work out how to integrate solar batteries into the network with financial incentives for customers.

The trial, which will extend monitoring of systems in Energex employees’ homes to those in outside consumers’ in coming months, follows lobbying by the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, of Tesla executives in the US six months ago.

Queensland boasts one of the highest rates of household solar panel systems in the world, although uptake in recent years has been inhibited by a dramatic cut in the rate consumers are paid for power that they return to the grid.

The commercial release of the Powerwall this year is widely expected to drive popular take-up of a system that at best would supply about seven hours of nightly power for televisions, air-conditioning and other appliances……..

Terry Effeney, the chief executive of Energex, said information about the effect of solar batteries on peak demand could allow power network operators to defer costly infrastructure investments or reduce generation where possible.

Contrary to the idea of consumers being able to quit the grid, Effeney said the 12-month trial would “demonstrate that in fact the best way to use batteries and solar is to integrate them into the grid to deliver the best possible outcome to the customers”.

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, storage | 1 Comment

The Ugly Australian – Peninsula Energy uranium mining in South Africa

Already today, the environment around Beaufort West is contaminated close to the previous mine sites. First field studies by the author show unprotected nuclear wastes with 10 to 20 times the background radiation.

Dust and Radiation – Two Deadly Impacts…… a particular direct relationship between occupational exposure to uranium and its decay products and lung diseases.Mining uranium ore in the Karoo will invariably create huge plumes of contaminated dust. Dust clouds are unavoidable during drilling, blasting and transporting.

Dust suppression by spraying water is only partially effective and creates new problems with contaminated slimes, adding to the environmental cost of groundwater abstraction

dust from mining
Uranium Mining Threatens the Karoo, Karoo Space, 18 Jan 16  By Dr Stefan Cramer  [Excellent] Images sourced by Dr Stefan Cramer Just as the threat of fracking seemed to recede in the Karoo, the danger of uranium mining has arisen – and it is even more frightening and more likely than shale gas extraction.

The Karoo has long been known to harbour substantial sedimentary uranium deposits. Now an Australian company [Peninsula Energy , through it’s wholly owned subsidiary Tasman Pacific Minerals Limited] with Russian funding is planning to get the radioactive mineral out of the ground on a major scale.

The company has quietly accumulated over 750 000 hectares of Karoo properties and concessions around Beaufort West and plans to set up a large Central Processing Plant just outside that town.

While the nation is still debating the pros and cons of fracking, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as the precursor to mining licences is nearing finalisation. During 2016 the Department of Mineral Resources will make a decision on the industry’s application……….

extensive studies on the risks of uranium mining over many decades are available today….yet so far there is no public debateno strategic assessment process in place in the Karoo.No advocacy groups balance the glossy claims of the industry against sobering experiences on the ground….. Continue reading

January 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international | Leave a comment

Queensland moves to solar energy in a planned way

map-solar-QueenslandQueensland searches for a solar fix, THE AUSTRALIAN,  JANUARY 18, The acid test for governments, here and everywhere, in the post-Parisian energy environment is turning talk in to meaningful action……Annastacia Palaszczuk’s regime in Brisbane is embarking on a year in which it must put its policies where its mouth was in January 2015, when it scored an upset win in the state elections.

Committed to being the nation’s standard bearer on advancing solar power, the government has sensibly thrown the ball to its new Productivity Commission before it acts…..

The commission’s official role is to come up with a “fair price for solar exports” — that is, the surplus power from householders’ rooftop PV arrays flowing in to the southeastern Queensland grid.

The commission’s draft report is due next month and the final version in May.

Its impact will be felt beyond Queensland’s borders as policymakers elsewhere also have a keen interest in riding the wave of solar enthusiasm that sees the number of Australian homes with PV on their rooftops creeping up towards 1.5 million, a penetration rate of 16 per cent nationally…….

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

The almost forgotten disaster – America dropped 4 nuclear bombs on Spain

text-historyThe day America dropped 4 nuclear bombs on Spain, [excellent photos] Daily Mail, 19 Jan 18  … but the disaster, 50 years ago, has been forgotten by all but its surviving victims 

  • On January 16 1966, a U.S. B-52 Stratofortress took off from Seymour Johnson Air Force base in North Carolina 
  • Bombers were continually flown on 24-hour missions across the Atlantic, to provide the States’ nuclear capability 
  • It was a routine mission for the crew but then disaster struck over Palomares, Andalucia, as the aircraft refuelled
  • Four hydrogen bombs plummeted to earth at horrific speeds, which would have killed millions had they exploded 

By GUY WALTERS FOR THE DAILY MAIL18 January 2016   “……the B-52 had overshot and the boom had missed the fuel nozzle in the top of the plane. Instead, the boom had smashed into the bomber with such force that its left wing was ripped off.

Fire quickly spread up the fuel-filled boom and ignited all 30,000 gallons of the tanker’s kerosene, causing it to plummet to the ground. Meanwhile, the bomber started to break up, and the crew did their best to get out of the plane using parachutes.

As for the hydrogen bombs, there was nothing that could be done. In less than two minutes, they would be crashing into the Earth at an enormous speed — potentially destroying much of the regions of Andalucia and Murcia.

What in the name of God are doing, Pepé? Get away from there! This could be dangerous.
Pedro de la Torre Flores’ wife, Luisa

Hundreds of thousands of people could be about to die, and the nuclear fallout would have the capacity to kill millions more all over Europe — not just from radiation poisoning but from cancers for decades to come……..

The nuclear payloads of the four American B28 hydrogen bombs mercifully did not detonate when they landed, even though the conventional explosives in two of the bombs did explode, showering some 500 acres around the fishing village of Palomares with three kilograms of highly radioactive plutonium-239. Continue reading

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK’s search for nuclear waste dump – an abuse of democracy


antnuke-relevantflag-UKHardest sell: Nuclear waste needs good hom
e By Greig Watson BBC News 18 January 2016″………Steadily produced since the end of World War Two, the question of what to do with the nuclear waste from civil, military, medical and scientific uses has been causing equal measures of fear and frustration for decades.

Campaigner Eddie Martin says: “It’s very worrying, scary even. They have been looking for somewhere to put this material for decades and it keeps coming back to Cumbria.

“…….This is basically an engineering project like no other. Its timescale will dwarf the oldest cathedrals.

“We also need to ensure we can guarantee the records will be kept of what is down there and where. It has to last for hundreds of years and how many records have we lost since the Tudors? Or the Romans?”

So, from the carefree days of dumping it in the Irish Sea there dawned a realisation the predicted 650,000 m3 of nuclear waste needed a more permanent solution. So where are we in the process? And how did we get here?……..

After much local protest, permission to proceed with detailed geological surveys was refused by Cumbria County Council in January 2013.

Dusting itself off, the government restarted the process, in the meantime passing legislation that left any final decision about a location in the hands of ministers……

“The only thing which stopped it last time was the balance of local interest and scrutiny that the county council brought.

“Now they are running the same search again, which will come up with the same result, only this time they have legislation in place to make sure the county council can’t stop it. It’s an abuse of democracy…..

It is expected the surface buildings alone will cover 1km sq. The underground tunnels will stretch for 10-20 km sq. On a Cumbria scale, that is bigger than Carlisle.

It will take decades to build and predicted costs are almost unguessable – but most estimates agree on billions of pounds.

But before these technical issues are tested, RWM must do something that has eluded the authorities for decades. Find a volunteer community.

This has not been made an easier by the US disposal site being temporarily shut down after leaks and continued doubts over GDF designs……..

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Alarming fast warming of world’s oceans

climate-changeWorld’s oceans warming at increasingly faster rate, new study finds
Ocean water has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels,
Guardian, , 19 Jan 16,  The world’s oceans are warming at a quickening rate, with the past 20 years accounting for half of the increase in ocean heat content that has occurred since pre-industrial times, a new study has found.

US scientists discovered that much of the extra heat in the ocean is buried deep underwater, with 35% of the additional warmth found at depths below 700 meters. This means far more heat is present in the far reaches of the ocean than 20 years ago, when it contained just 20% of the extra heat produced from the release of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution.

The paper, published in Nature Climate Change, sheds further light on the vast quantities of heat being absorbed by the world’s oceans.

Ocean water, which has a much higher heat capacity than air, has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels. The vast Southern Ocean sucked up 1.2bn tonnes of carbon in 2011 alone – which is roughly equivalent to the European Union’s annual carbon output…….

As the oceans warm, storm intensity increases and aquatic species are forced from their traditional ranges. Absorption of carbon dioxide has also made the oceans 30% more acidic, which is when the pH of the water drops, making it harder for creatures such as coral, oysters and mussels to form the shells and structures that sustain them.

Scientists have already declared that a third global coral bleaching event is currently underway, where corals whiten and die off due to extreme heat. An analysis of more than 620 studies last year found that the food chains of the world’s oceans are at risk of collapse due to climate change, overfishing and localized pollution.

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment