Australian news, and some related international items

18 March Australian Nuclear News

a-cat-CANAs I write, the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission is officially closing its request for “Responses to its Tentative Findings”.  The Commission allowed only a short time for responses, and it was not well publicised. As before, the process was not that easy, either, – so it should protect  the Commission from getting too many pesky comments from Aborigines and other disadvantaged groups.

Still the indigenous people are seasoned anti-nuclear fighters, and will keep right on opposing the plan for inviting the world’s nuclear waste in to South Australia.

Some people did manage to respond (myself included, under my proper name Noel Christina Wauchope).  Amongst several fine Response Submissions, I single out a really compelling argument from Paul Langley. I bet that the Commission would like to ignore that one!  And also would like to forget the previous Submission from Yurij Poetzl.  Response Submissions will be published later on the Royal Commission’s website.

The Commission will complete its report on 6 May 2016.

Meanwhile, in the pro nuclear South Australian Labor Party, some of the natives are restless. Surely the plan to make Australia the world’s nuclear toilet is not going to become a political issue? What bad taste, when we can all rabbit on about gay marriage as THE issue. (Don’t get me wrong. I think that gays and lesbians deserve the right to be as miserable as everyone else)

CLIMATE Turnbull govt missing the chance for Australia to lead on climate change action. Mary Robinson criticises Australia’s cuts to CSIRO climate research.

CIVIL LIBERTIES New South Wales Parliament passes anti-protest laws.

March 18, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Royal Commission comment period ends but Aboriginal resistance to radioactive dump grows ever stronger

18 Mar 16 Traditional Owners and members of the Aboriginal-led Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) have today reaffirmed their opposition to the suggestion that South Australia should host a high level international nuclear waste dump. This announcement comes as the submission period closes for comments on the tentative findings of South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission

A major recommendation of the Commission to date has been that South Australia could host an international waste storage and disposal facility. This suggestion is strongly rejected by Aboriginal people across the state because of the risks posed to country and culture. Several Aboriginal communities throughout South Australia live with the negative impacts of the nuclear industry through uranium mining and nuclear weapons testing and are committed to resisting any further nuclear proposals.

Buzzacott,-Kevin“We have long memories; we remember the atomic weapons tests at Maralinga and Emu Fields and the ongoing denial around the lost lives and health impacts for Aboriginal people. We don’t want any nuclear projects here in South Australia and we won’t become the world’s nuclear waste dump,” said Arabunna elder and Australian Nuclear Free Alliance president Kevin Buzzacott.

Diagram SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Enice Marsh, senior Adnyamathanha woman and Australian Nuclear Free Alliance member said:
“Any kind of radioactive waste dump would put our groundwater at risk. Groundwater is about survival; we don’t want to be faced with another huge risk like this.”

Sue Coleman-Haseldine is a Kokatha-Mula woman and co-chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance. She has recently travelled to Vienna to share her family’s experience with the nuclear industry: “They’ve poisoned us once and there’s no way in the world they’re going to do it again.”

“This problem doesn’t stop at South Australia’s border, there is nowhere that should be designated an international waste dump,” Ms Coleman-Haseldine concluded.
For comment contact: Sue Coleman-Haseldine: 0458 544 593


March 18, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia | Leave a comment

Kevin Scarce dodges the vital questions of debt & safety from #NuclearCommissionSAust plan

ferretNuclearCommissionFerret, 18 Mar 16  A meeting was organised by ALP MPs Frances Bedford and Tom Kenyon for their constituents in the north east suburbs of Adelaide. Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce was the only speaker, there was no balance with a nuclear critic speaker.

Kevin Scarce was asked the question:

” what happens if we accept high level nuclear waste for interim storage, then don’t have enough money when it comes time to build the deep geological dump.  We’ll either end up with waste we can’t store to the safest extent possible, or a debt.”

Scarce dodged the question 5 times, twice when he was asked in the group and 3 times when the questioner approached him one on one. When our nuclear critic reporter joined in and seconded in asking the question,  he said “you can second him all you like” then he got angry and turned and walked off.
I also asked the same question on the form where they will get written answers for you.
The presentation was totally different to the Town Hall one, totally different slides. Scarce was very practiced as he spoke without looking at the slides.
I asked Tom Kenyon MP if he was going round all the SA ALP branches with the same presentation and he said no, Scarce was too busy. So that’s something. He also said he wouldn’t be opposed to a referendum and it would cost $4-5 million which is not unreasonable for a project this big.
The mood of the room was generally skeptical and anti, and there were no pro nuke questions.

March 18, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

A South Australian Labor MP has the guts to speak out against nuclear waste dump plan

“I don’t want nuclear dump”: Labor MP, Tom Richardson, 18 Mar 16 

Jay Weatherill could face a divided party if he forges ahead with a proposal to establish a high level nuclear waste dump in South Australia, with a long-time Labor MP telling InDaily the idea is “quite worrying” – and suggesting several colleagues share the same view.

The tentative findings of Kevin Scarce’s nuclear royal commission handed down last month found an unambiguous economic case to establish a repository, with the Premier already moving to amend the law to facilitate broader debate on the issue.

Key, StephBut the debate is heating up in the corridors of parliament, with former Labor minister and Ashford MP Steph Key joining Greens MLC Mark Parnell – a vocal opponent of increasing SA’s nuclear involvement – in sponsoring a briefing for interested MPs by a noted critic of the waste dump push.

An email went out to all MPs this week, reading: “Dear colleagues, there’s been so much said about an economic bonanza from building a global nuclear waste facility – but what if the economics don’t stack up?”

“Come and hear from Dr Richard Denniss, Chief Economist, The Australia Institute,” it concluded.

The briefing will be held on Tuesday, after a public briefing by Denniss together with economist and InDaily columnist Richard Blandy, both of whom have argued against the economic case for a waste dump.

“I think it would be fairly well known that I’m an anti-nuclear person,” Key said when contacted by InDaily. “I have been for the last 40 years, and I still am.” She said she was “interested to know what [Denniss and Blandy] have to say about the costings that have been put forward so far”.

“People are saying it could help us economically [but] I don’t actually want to have a dump at all,” she said. “I’m just interested to know whether these billions of dollars cited actually stack up – Mark and I decided we’d try and offer something to people that can come along.”

Key says she believes SA should “store our own waste [and] I do have some sympathy for low level or intermediate level repository”, but she has grave misgivings about a high-level global storage facility.

“I want to know all about it… the study I have done, I think it’s quite worrying,” she said, citing concerns over transportation. “We keep getting things across the sea and then by train, presumably, and truck… what does all that mean? What’s the risk analysis of all that? There’s quite a bit to consider.”

Labor right-winger Tom Kenyon has argued passionately in favour of the repository, but Key – a Left-faction stalwart – says: “I want to have a look at all the facts before I come out and argue in a very public way about this issue.”

“And I want to talk to my colleagues, but I get the impression that quite a few of them have a lot of sympathy for my way of thinking,” she said. “I’ve spoke quite passionately at both convention and state council – and national conference – over the years, so I don’t think anyone would be surprised that I don’t think this is a good idea.

“I just remember Fukushima – five years on and there’s still just people helping with the cleanup, let alone the natural disaster that it was… it just seems like a very big risk to me, and if it doesn’t stack up financially I think people are starting to run out of arguments.”

March 18, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Greens call on Nuclear Royal Commission to “get real”

greensSmThe Greens SA’s submission to the Nuclear Royal Commission’s Tentative Findings rejects the suggestion that an economic bonanza awaits our State if South Australians would only resign ourselves to becoming the world’s nuclear garbage bin.

graph S Aust waste dump costs

“The Royal Commission has been blinded by imaginary wealth and sucked into believing that a project that has never succeeded anywhere else in the World is South Australia’s for the taking”, said Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.

“The most obvious question is being ignored: If this is such a great deal, how come no other country has grabbed it before now?

“The Greens are urging the Royal Commission to “get real” and critically examine the supposed economic benefits alongside the ongoing economic, social, environmental and reputational costs.

“Washing your hands of responsibility for a toxic legacy left to future generations is just immoral.

“The solution to South Australia’s current unemployment problems won’t be solved with mythical jobs that are decades into the future with the creation of toxic liabilities that last hundreds of thousands of year.

On releasing the “Tentative Findings” Report to the media on 15th February 2016, Commissioner Kevin Scarce stated, “The community needs to understand the risks and the benefits.”  The Royal Commission’s “Tentative Findings” highlights many purported benefits but is scant on detail when it comes to the profound risks.

According to the Greens’ submission, the “Tentative Findings” suffer from:
1.Unrealistic expectations of the magnitude of the project;
2.Failure to appreciate 6 decades of international failure to solve the nuclear waste problem;
3.Missing costs, unfunded liabilities, missing contingencies and failure to recognise inevitable cost blow-outs
4.Heroic assumptions of other countries’ willingness to pay for SA to take their nuclear waste;
5.Lack of recognition of the potential for irrecoverable sunk costs and unlimited future liabilities;
6.Failure to address reputational damage and impact on other sectors of the economy; and
7.Naïve expectations that South Australia would get to keep all the profits from a nuclear waste dump in our State, without having to share them with other States.

“The Commission’s final report due on 6th May should recommend that the folly of South Australia’s increased involvement in the nuclear industry be abandoned.

“In relation to the other Terms of Reference, increased uranium mining, uranium processing or nuclear power were never really an option for SA and the Royal Commission was an expensive way to tell us what we already knew”, concluded Mark Parnell.

March 18, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment