Australian news, and some related international items

Were those French submarines chosen so that t they could later be NUCLEAR submarines?

submarine,-nuclear-underwatWhy did we agree to pay too much for French submarines? THE AUSTRALIAN
APRIL 29, 2016  Robert Gottliebsen,Business Spectator columnist Melbourne   The evidence now mounting shows that the submarine tender is one of the most irregular ever conducted in Australia. Defence officials in the US, Japan and Germany are shocked at what is now being revealed.

Within 24 hours of the tender being announced, both sides are saying different thingsso, as anyone experienced with tenders knows, that means the deal has every prospect of becoming a disaster. (The good, the bad and the ugly of the submarine tender process, Apr 29)

There is mounting evidence that the French do not want to build the first two submarines in Australia. They need to make the first two submarines back home.

In Paris, they were shocked that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was so definitivein his statement that all 12 submarines would be built in Australia.

To understand how this bizarre situation developed and the implications that stem from it, we need to go back to the defence white paper which estimated the cost of the 12 submarines at $50bn (we learned later that this is an inflation-adjusted figure).

At the time, the Japanese were mystified because they knew their tender was less than half that and the German “all local” tender was even lower — probably under $20bn…….

Why would you need 4,000 French workers — three times the number of Australian workers required for the German bid — when 12 submarines are to be built in Australia?

The other strange aspect of the submarine tender is that the submarines are not going to be delivered until 2033 or 2034. The Germans were offering to have submarines available around 2028.

But maybe there was something about doing the deal with the French that has not been disclosed. Perhaps a group of defence officials believe longer term that Australia needs nuclear submarines because of their greater range. Given its 15 years before the first submarine arrives, everyone would have forgotten what Malcolm Turnbull said this week. Indeed, he will have retired.

To build a nuclear submarine in Australia requires a change in the legislation, and a nuclear industry, which we don’t have, although the climate is changing and South Australia looks set to become a nuclear hub.

When the tender was first announced, I noted that there might be a nuclear agenda but at that stage I had no idea of the tendering mess (Australia’s defence options open up, April 27).

If it’s a nuclear submarine that Australia wanted, then it would have only been fair the other tenderers know about it and be given an opportunity to include a nuclear option.

April 29, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners will fight nuclear waste dump plan

handsoff  29 Apr 16, The federal government has announced that the Flinders Ranges has been selected as the preferred site for a national nuclear waste dump. The land was nominated by former Liberal Party Senator Grant Chapman and his nomination has been endorsed by the Liberal government in Canberra.

Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Regina McKenzie, who lives at Yappala Station near the proposed dump site and is a member of Viliwarinha Yura Aboriginal Corporation, said:

“Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners weren’t consulted about the nomination. Even Traditional Owners who live next to the proposed dump site at Yappala Station weren’t consulted. The proposed dump site is adjacent to the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area. On the land with the proposed dump site, we have been working for many years to register heritage sites with the SA government. The area is Adnyamathanha land. It is Arngurla Yarta (spiritual land). The proposed dump site has countless thousands of Aboriginal artifacts. Our ancestors are buried there. The nominated site is a significant women’s site. Throughout the area are registered cultural heritage sites and places of huge importance to our people.

“There are frequent yarta ngurra-ngurrandha (earthquakes and tremors). At least half a dozen times each year, we see and feel the ground move. It is flood land. The water comes from the hills and floods the plains, including the proposed dump site. Sometimes there are massive floods, the last one in 2006.

“We don’t want a nuclear waste dump here on our country and worry that if the waste comes here it will harm our environment and muda (our lore, our creation). We call on the federal government to withdraw the nomination of the site and to show more respect in future. We call on all South Australians − all Australians − to support us in our struggle. Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners and Viliwarinha Yura Aboriginal Corporation will fight the proposal for a nuclear waste dump on our land for as long as it takes to stop it.

“Last year I was awarded the SA Premier’s Natural Resource Management Award in the category of ‘Aboriginal Leadership − Female’ for working to protect land that is now being threatened with a nuclear waste dump. But Premier Jay Weatherill has been silent since the announcement of six short-listed dump sites last year. Now the Flinders Ranges has been chosen as the preferred site and Mr Weatherill must speak up. The Premier can either support us or he can support the federal government’s attack on us by maintaining his silence. He can’t sit on the fence.”

Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Enice Marsh said:

“Vulnerable communities are suffering from lack of vision from our government and industry ‘leaders’ and should not be the government’s target for toxic waste dumps. This predatory behaviour is unethical and is an abuse of human rights. An Indigenous Protected Area is a Federal Government initiative, but it seems that in the case of Yappala this means nothing to the government. We ask you to honour this commitment to protect, not pollute and damage our land. This facility will cause immeasurable damage to the whole area which is covered with thousands of artefacts, home to people, animals, birds and reptiles. The building of this facility will cause widespread damage. It will scar the area and break the spiritual song-lines like never before in the 60000+ years of human occupation. We don’t want this waste in our country, it’s too toxic and long lived.”

Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Jillian Marsh said:

“The First Nations people of Australia have been bullied and pushed around, forcibly removed from their families and their country, denied access and the right to care for their own land for over 200 years. Our health and wellbeing compares with third world countries, our people crowd the jails. Nobody wants toxic waste in their back yard, this is true the world over. We stand in solidarity with people across this country and across the globe who want sustainable futures for communities, we will not be moved. We challenge Minister Josh Frydenberg on his claim that this waste is just “gloves, goggles and test tubes” – the intermediate-level waste is much more toxic so why not talk about it? What about the damage to the area that construction of this site will cause? You can’t compensate the loss of people’s ancient culture with a few dollars.”

April 29, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Scrapped radioactive waste sites supporting Flinders community campaign

29 Apr 16 Since November 13, six communities across Australia have been waking with a nuclear cloud overhead, after individual landholders in their region nominated sites to host the national radioactive waste facility.

This morning Minister Josh Frydenberg announced that only one area would be further pursued: Barndioota, in the iconic Flinders Ranges in South Australia.

Though relieved their regions have now been scrapped from the list, representatives from each of the other five sites have all reiterated support to their counterparts in the Flinders.

Statements from each of the communities are below.

BARNDIOOTA, Flinders Ranges, SA Jillian Marsh- Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner This morning we awoke to a sickening announcement from the Federal government of its intention to continue burdening our lands and our peoples with this toxic nuclear industry.  Our lives are as caretakers of the land, as neighbours to other leaseholders, as friends and family to the people who love this region.  Once more our communities are split, and our well-being is jeopardised by relentless money makers who can’t think past their own personal or business gains.

Successive Australian governments continue to operate under world’s worst practice in managing toxic nuclear waste, and sadly the Australian public is tested once more for its resilience.  Regrets from past Ministers and swapping sides on environmental issues haunt all sides of government, but Traditional Owners remain vigilant.

The onslaught from industry and government is blatant in its colonialism, but the Traditional Owners, the Adnyamathanha men women and children of this region who love their country will not be silent or be silenced.

We thank those who have and continue to support us. Together we are strong.

OMAN AMA, Qld  Susan Campbell and Mark Russell- Friends of Oman Ama.The Friends of Omanama stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends and colleagues in the community of Barndioota. This has been an appalling process and we are saddened that they will continue to suffer from its shortcomings.

We will be meeting next week to discuss how we can best provide moral and practical support to them in the next phase of this campaign.

HILL END, NSW The radioactive waste management process has been flawed from the start. From day one ordinary people have had their lives turned upside down. It’s hard to be excited to have been removed from off the list because we know our fellow proposed site of ‘Barndioota Station’ in Flinders Ranges and friends we have made there through this process have woken to the most devastating news this morning.  Their site to them is as precious as Hill End is to us.  We will continue to support them as best we can.  It’s important to note that all sites have supported each other through this process.

What we have learnt? That the Government doesn’t care about ordinary Australians who elect them and vote for them.

It’s not appropriate to hear about being a proposed site on the radio on the morning of 13 Nov 2015 and it’s not appropriate again to hear about our removal from off the list again via media this morning. It shows our fellow elected constituent John Cobb lacks the fortitude to treat his electorate with the respect we deserve.

I’d like to thank our community for giving us their support, especially all the councils within the Central West.  The Government has made it difficult to define what is a community but to know that your community is with you in good times and bad is what has made this achievable.

When we have had no alternative to fight as hard as we have, our friends have been what has gotten us through this. Community means everything they couldn’t break us and it goes to show that people power is all we have when our backs are to the wall.



KIMBA (Pinkawillinie and Cortlinye) , SA, Peter Woolford, Toni Scott and Kellie Hunt- No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA committee.

The No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA committee together with our members are extremely happy with today’s announcement removing Kimba from the final shortlist to host the nations radioactive waste.

We are pleased the government has acknowledged that there is not broad community support in our district. Eyre Peninsula is an export reliant region, and the decision this government has made to remove Kimba through from the next stage of this process ensures we will maintain our clean green reputation.

However we are disappointed and concerned that the nominated site at Barndioota has been selected for the final shortlist and we will continue to support their opposition wherever we can. This process has been flawed from the beginning and all sites were hopeful that Minister Frydenberg would acknowledge this and seek an alternative solution. Our hearts go out to our friends at the shortlisted site- we understand the uncertainty they are now facing.


HALE, NT Loyola Jones and family- Oak Valley  The LeRossignol and Kenny families would like to thank the wonderful people who helped us find our voice and supported us through this process and the Traditional Owners (our family) from Santa Teresa and Tjitjikala for the strong and united stand against this proposal.

We are thankful that all our collective hard work paid off and the Hale site is off the list. But we can’t forget that there is still one of the six sites under threat. My family acknowledge our connection and relationship with Regina McKenzie and the Adnyamathanha mob. They don’t stand alone.

Our hearts ache that they still have to fight this. We stand with them and will offer whatever support we can. We stand in solidarity.




April 29, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

National radioactive waste search: one site, limited vision

radioactive trash29 April 2016  Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg’s decision to short-list a single site in SA’s Flinders Ranges as a possible home for Australia’s radioactive waste is disturbingly familiar to past failed federal approaches, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.

Minister Frydenberg has declared the Barndioota region, 45 kilometres west of Hawker, as the only one of six possible sites to progress to the next stage of assessment.

The government maintains says this does not mean the final facility siting decision has been made and broad community support is needed for the project to proceed.

“None of the six sites that were under consideration satisfied the basic pre-condition of community consent, so to progress with only one is a mystery and a mistake”, said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“One horse races generally and understandably attract the steward’s attention”.

“Adjacent Aboriginal landholders, a key Elders’ group and the Native Title representative body, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, have all expressed concern and opposition in submissions, correspondence, public forums and the media.

“The government’s new process flowed from the failure of the government’s old process,” Dave Sweeney said. “Two years on, it looks like little has been learned.”

Meanwhile, the SA nuclear industry Royal Commission is set to open the door to active consideration of the state hosting around 15 per cent of the world’s high level radioactive waste.  The inquiry is due to issue its final report next week.

“The government has said that the Flinders Ranges waste plan is not a done not a deal despite it being the only deal on the table,” Dave Sweeney said.

“We urge the government to give effect to its oft repeated commitments to community consent, to the right of the affected community to say no and to a genuine and robust process.  ACF will work alongside affected community members to hold the government accountable in the coming assessment and engagement period.”


April 29, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nice little bonanza for former SA Liberal Senator Grant Chapman in choice of nuclear waste dump site

uranium-enrichmentMr Frydenberg said Barndioota, owned by former SA Liberal Senator Grant Chapman, had been chosen ahead of others because of broad community support

If Barndioota is chosen, Mr Chapman and his business partner would get four times the land value for the 100ha excised for the repository from the 6357ha section of their station which has been nominated.

National low-level nuclear waste dump earmarked for Barndioota, near Wilpena Pound  April 29, 2016   The Advertiser

 A CATTLE station west of Wilpena Pound has been earmarked as the site for a national radioactive dump for medical and laboratory waste. In a surprise pre-election move, federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg will on Friday reveal that South Australia’s Barndioota has been pinpointed for the dump ahead of five other voluntarily nominated sites.

Mr Frydenberg emphasised that the short-listing was not a final decision to put the national facility at Barndioota, 35km northwest of Hawker, but it now represents the only option.

In a significant development, Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the State Government was supportive of the site’s short-listing and he called the process rigorous.

Overwhelming state and community opposition in 2004 forced the-then prime minister John Howard to abandon plans for a similar national radioactive waste dump near Woomera.

Mr Frydenberg, who will face voters at a July 2 double dissolution election, said he would make a final decision on the site within a year — after design, safety, technical, environmental and indigenous heritage assessment at Barndioota. He had previously been expected to nominate two SA sites — one near Kimba and Barndioota — on a shortlist of two or three ahead of a final decision later this year.

Traditional land owners say the site, near the Flinders Ranges and the famed Wilpena Pound, is home to countless sacred sites and culturally important landmarks that would be destroyed by a radioactive waste dump……. Continue reading

April 29, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission was a nuclear lobby set-up from the beginning

There is no logical reason to believe that the SA government would perform any better than the U.S. government. On the contrary, there are good reasons to believe that nuclear waste management would be more difficult here given that the U.S. has vastly more nuclear waste management expertise and experience than Australia.

Royal Commission tentative findingsSA nuclear Royal Commission is a snow job Jim Green, 29 April 2016

The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (RC) will release its final report on May 6. It was established to investigate opportunities for SA to expand its role in the nuclear industry beyond uranium mining.

Before his appointment as the Royal Commissioner, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce said little about nuclear issues but what he did say should have excluded him from consideration. Speaking in November 2014 at a Flinders University guest lecture, Scarce acknowledged being an “an advocate for a nuclear industry”. Just four months later, after his appointment as the Royal Commissioner, he said the exact opposite: “I have not been an advocate and never have been an advocate of the nuclear industry.”

Other than generalisations, and his acknowledgement that he is a nuclear advocate, Scarce’s only comment of substance on nuclear issues in his 2014 lecture was to claim that work is “well underway” on a compact fusion reactor “small enough to fit in a truck”, that it “may be less than a decade away” and could produce power “without the risk of Fukushima-style meltdowns.” Had he done just a little research, Scarce would have learnt that Lockheed Martin’s claims about its proposed compact fusion reactor were met with universal scepticism and ridicule by scientists and even by nuclear industry bodies.

So the SA government appointed Scarce as Royal Commissioner despite knowing that he is a nuclear advocate who has uncritically promoted discredited claims by the nuclear industry. Scarce appointed an Expert Advisory Committee. Despite claiming that he was conducting a “balanced” RC, he appointed three nuclear advocates to the Committee and just one critic. The bias is all too apparent and Scarce’s claim to be conducting a balanced inquiry is demonstrably false.

Given the make-up of the RC, it came as no surprise that numerous questionable claims by the nuclear industry were repeated in the RC’sinterim report released in February. A detailed critique of the interim report is available online, as is a critique of the RC process.

The RC’s interim report was actually quite downbeat about the economic prospects for a nuclear industry in SA. It notes that the market for uranium conversion and enrichment services is oversupplied and that a spent fuel reprocessing plant would not be commercially viable. The interim report also states that “it would not be commercially viable to generate electricity from a nuclear power plant in South Australia in the foreseeable future.”

In a nutshell, the RC rejected proposals for SA to play any role in the nuclear fuel cycle beyond uranium mining. But that still leaves the option of SA offering to store and dispose of foreign high-level nuclear waste (HLW) and the RC strongly promotes a plan to import 138,000 tonnes of HLW for storage and deep underground disposal.

 SA as the world’s nuclear waste dump The RC insists that a nuclear waste storage and dumping business could be carried out safely. But would it be carried out safely? The RC ought to have considered evidence that can be drawn upon to help answer the question, especially since Kevin Scarce has repeatedly insisted that he is running an evidence-based inquiry.

So what sort of evidence might be considered? The experience of the world’s one and only deep underground nuclear waste dump ‒ the Waste Isolation Pilot Plan (WIPP) in the U.S. ‒ is clearly relevant. And Australia’s past experience with nuclear waste management is clearly relevant, with the clean-up of nuclear waste at the Maralinga nuclear test site in SA being an important case study.

But the RC completely ignores all this evidence in its interim report. We can only assume that the evidence is ignored because it raises serious doubts about the environmental and public health risks associated with the proposal to import, store and dispose of HLW. Continue reading

April 29, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference | Leave a comment

Idaho’s nuclear waste danger: call for protection of Idahoans – “nuclear lab animals”

radioactive trashFlag-USAIdaho must be protected from nuclear waste   HTTP://WWW.IDAHOSTATESMAN.COM/OPINION/READERS-OPINION/ARTICLE74125087.HTML  BY WENDY WILSON, 28 Apr 16, Houston, we have a problem.” Although engineers and workers at the Idaho National Laboratory in Southeast Idaho have always tried to handle nuclear material safely, it doesn’t always work. Since 2005, accidents and inadvertent releases have happened with alarming regularity. In 2012, Department of Energy investigators told the Snake River Alliance that they had significant concerns and that INL was not handling plutonium safely.

Although the DOE has failed to meet countless deadlines to clean up what is already here, new proposals to import spent nuclear fuel from commercial power plants have swept safety concerns under the rug. DOE’s reputation for missed deadlines once led former Gov. Cecil Andrus to compare the agency to the Boise used car dealership “Fairly Reliable Bob’s.”

The most current missed deadline is that the DOE has failed to treat 900,000 gallons of intensely radioactive liquid waste stored at INL. Recent failures at the plant have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns and the system may never work.

In the meantime, this extremely dangerous waste is stored in buried tanks decades old. INL’s tanks have never leaked, as far as we know, but the pipes and valves connecting them have. The waste from those leaks may never be cleaned up and may always be in our soil and groundwater.

The McClatchy News Agency, parent company of the Idaho Statesman, recently reported that there have been nearly 400 nuclear-related deaths associated with the INL. Far more people have been sickened by their work there.

Twenty-five years ago, a Magic Valley fish farmer raised the alarm about plutonium shipments from Colorado to be buried on top of the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. The public was outraged. Former Gov. Andrus stepped up and Gov. Phil Batt forged a nuclear waste agreement with the DOE banning future imports of spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants until specific timetables for clean up were met.

Today, the Byron nuclear waste proposed to come to INL falls under this ban. It is being stored safely in Indiana and it is unfathomable why Idaho would sign a “waiver” to allow the feds to bring it here and put Idahoans at risk.

Our land and water will continue to be contaminated until our political leaders put the health and safety of Idahoans ahead of DOE’s broken promises. There is still plutonium buried above the Snake River Aquifer, perhaps till the end of time. Let’s not forget.

Idahoans shouldn’t become lab animals for nuclear malfunction. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is doing the right thing forcing the DOE to follow its own deadlines. Without a permanent national repository for nuclear waste, what comes to Idaho will stay here for decades, if not forever. Idahoans should stand together and tell the federal government to focus on INL’s existing nuclear experiment — cleaning up what is already here.

Wendy Wilson is interim executive director of the Snake River Alliance, Idaho’s nuclear watchdog and advocate for clean energy, found at

April 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First site chosen for nuclear waste dump – a former Liberal Senator’s property

Former Lib senator’s property first pick for nuclear dump, Fin Rev, by Fleur Anderson Simon Evans  29 Apr 16   A remote South Australian outpost on a cattle station part-owned by former Liberal senator Grant Chapman has been short-listed as the possible site for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump.

Barndioota station, one of six short-listed properties for the dump which would store nuclear waste from hospitals, universities and other locations, will be announced on Friday as the leading contender and there will now be further consultation for the site’s technical suitability and Indigenous heritage.

Barndioota Station

The Barndioota community, listed as having a population of three people, will receive up to $2 million for local projects that create lasting economic or social benefits and “in recognition of any short-term disruption that this detailed assessment may involve”, Resources and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said.

Mr Chapman is one of the owners of the long-term lease over a large 25,000 hectare outback pastoral property near Barndioota, which is about 45km north-west of the town of Hawker in the lower Flinders Ranges.

He chaired a Senate-select committee studying radioactive waste dangers and in 1996 proposed a national repository.

The site which Mr Chapman put forward is understood to only be about 100ha of the pastoral property at the northern end. The site is on dry, arid land where only saltbush grows and is about 440km north of Adelaide, and close to a railway line…….

The nuclear dump process is separate to the Nuclear Royal Commission headed by Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce who is due to hand down his final report on May 6, but in preliminary findings in February outlined the economic benefits of SA becoming involved in nuclear storage.

The current federal Liberal Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey, whose electorate covers a vast area on the Eyre Peninsula, in the initial stages of the process had nominated his own property as a potential site but later withdrew from the process because of perceptions of a conflict of interest……

April 29, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Not with a bang but a whimper – how BANKS, NOT PROTESTORS, are ending the nuclear power era

highly-recommendedCentral Bankers Stimulate Nuclear End That Evaded Activists  April 26, 2016 — 

  • Interest rates near record lows cut funds for decommissioning
  • Industry faces $1 trillion of liabilities from retiring plants
  • Central banks may accomplish what a generation of anti-nuclear activists have failed to do: Force operators to finally decommission almost 150 reactors now sitting in limbo across the globe.


    The plants have been shut down, either because they’re too expensive to run or because of concerns about their safety or age. They can’t send electricity to the grid, and they’ll need the special funds saved over decades for formal decommissioning and clean-up of radioactive waste.

    In the past, many operators delayed decommissioning to allow growth in the clean-up funds. As the global economy weakened, however, and central banks kept interest rates low, the principal in some of those funds shrank. Last year in the U.S., seven of the 10 biggest funds lost money, falling to $43.7 billion, a drop of 1.1 percent. Now, with projected costs rising, industry advocates say owners are more likely to opt for full decommissioning before the funds decline further.

  • “One can’t rely as much on fund growth as in the past,” said Patrick Joseph O’Sullivan, a decommissioning specialist with the International Atomic Energy Agency. “It’s actually pushing utilities to think about bringing forward all this work because they’re not able to rely anymore on assuming high returns on investments.”
  • The change in emphasis comes 30 years after the April 26, 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl reactor spread radioactive fallout across Europe. That event, followed 25 years later by meltdown at the Fukushima plant in Japan, undercut nuclear as a power generator as low-cost options like natural gas and renewable energies became increasingly available.A 2005 report by the IAEA forecast costs to shut a 1,000 megawatt reactor would range from 150 million euros ($169 million) to 750 million euros. In the U.S., the country with the most decommissioning experience, actual costs have ranged from $307 million to $819 million, according to the Nuclear Energy Agency.Twenty-four U.S. decommissioning projects with site-specific estimates will require average clean-up funds of about $750 million per reactor, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported. Those costs jive with an estimate by Exelon Corp., which operates reactors at 15 U.S. nuclear power plants.
  • Exelon estimates it will take $1 billion to decommission its 2-unit plant in Zion, Illinois. It told shareholders in February that “sustained low market prices or depressed demand” could accelerate “asset retirement obligation expense related to future decommissioning activities.” Exelon’s clean-up fund fell 2 percent to $10.3 billion last year.Utilities operating in Germany including EON SE, RWE AG and Vattenfall SE have set aside funds deemed “acceptable” by regulators to cover 47.5 billion euros of estimated costs to decommission the country’s 17 reactors. Shares of those utilities jumped in February after reports that the German government would kick in an additional 17.7 billion euros to help store the radioactive waste.“Understanding of these costs is fundamental for the development of estimates based on realistic decommissioning plans,” the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency said last month in a 260-page report prepared for regulators and utilities. “More and more questions are raised over the adequacy of the necessary infrastructure and human resources, as well as the ability and mechanisms to finance the costs.”

    There are 438 nuclear reactors in operation worldwide and less than 4 percent of the power reactors built have been fully decommissioned. Fewer still have figured out how to store waste for the thousands of years it will remain dangerous.

  • “For us, the trend toward early dismantling has important advantages,” said the IAEA’s O’Sullivan. “It will contribute to better burden sharing between current and future generations.”About $200 billion will be spent worldwide in the next 20 years on decommissioning the world’s aging fleet of reactors, Thomas LaGuardia, an American nuclear engineer who is helping the IAEA to establish decommissioning guidelines, said in an interview. Nuclear operators that haven’t saved sufficient decommissioning funds may opt to put plants in safe storage until their accounts bulk up, he said.
  • Project management and environmental remediation companies in the U.S. and Europe could see their markets grow as utilities draw down decommissioning funds to shut aging reactors, Swedish radiation safety analyst Simon Carroll said in an interview.“One person’s cost is another man’s income,” he said.Sweden’s decommissioning fund fell 0.5 percent last year, Carroll said in an e-mail. The country reported on Tuesday that returns on it’s 59.3 billion krona ($7.3 billion) Nuclear Waste Fund also dropped 0.5 percent in 2015.

April 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First-ever council solar farm for Queensland – on the Sunshine Coast

map-Sunshine-CoastSunshine Coast builds Queensland’s first-ever council solar farm Brisbane Times, Tony Moore, 28 Apr 16, Queensland’s first large-scale solar farm run by a local government – saving that council $22 million in electricity costs over 30 years – is now being built on the Sunshine Coast.  It will provide green power on the Sunshine Coast by mid-2017 and will slash the council’s costs of buying electricity for everything including streets lights, sports facilities, buildings, galleries, parks and libraries.

The council expects to be able to sell excess electricity from the solar farm, with documentation showing the farm will generate more electricity than the council needs.

Queensland’s Local Government Association says nine local governments are also investigating geothermal energy plans.Redland City Council is also exploring a solar farm.

The Sunshine Coast will build the 15-megawatt solar farm on 50 hectares behind Coolum, making it the first local government in Australia to finance a solar plant itself……. More than 57,800 solar panels will be built on stands three to four metres high above an abandoned canefield owned by the council.

They will generate power by early 2017. The Sunshine Coast Council will fund the $48.5 million to build the solar power plant and awarded the contract to construction firm Downer Utilities.

About 60 jobs will be created during construction and a 10-metre buffer will be planted around the solar farm, which will include a solar research centre…….

“Where we originally planned to save our ratepayers $9 million over the 30-year life of the project, we are now forecasting we will save $22 million,” Cr Jamieson said. Solar energy is popular on the Sunshine Coast, with 30,000 homes installing solar system in the past five years……

April 29, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Approval of Adani’s Queensland coalmine faces another legal challenge

text-relevant‘Conservationists claim the state government failed to ensure the planned Carmichael mine was ecologically sustainable’

Joshua Robertson | The Guardian Australia

coal CarmichaelMine2“Adani’s plan for Australia’s largest coalmine faces yet another snag, with a conservation group mounting what is now the eighth legal challenge to the  contentious project. …

The Coast and Country spokesman, Derec Davies, said the decision to grant environmental authority to the Galilee basin mine “ignored climate change totally and failed to properly take account of the true jobs figures – 1,464 net jobs not the 10,000 advocated”. …

The federal court  is yet to rule on an Australian Conservation Foundation appeal against federal
environmental approval of the mine. … representatives of the mine site’s  traditional owners, the Wangan and Jagalingou people, have several legal actions under way to challenge a land use deal with Adani … “

April 29, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

6 reasons why Australia’s Liberal Coalition government’s climate scare campaign is wrong

USA election 2016Labor, and those in the Coalition who understand that climate change is a thing, are actually converging in their ideas about what policies Australia should adopt. They are moving towards sectoral, and maybe intensity-based, trading schemes and towards using a suite of policies (energy efficiency, vehicle standards, regulations) to get to our targets. And every interest group with a stake in this argument – business, environment groups, investors – are desperately willing the major parties to find some kind of consensus. The Business Council of Australia said Labor’s policy could be a “platform for bipartisanship”. They are right.

And the barren, stupid climate wars and dumb fact-free scare campaigns are a guaranteed recipe for a terrible economic and environmental failure.

Map Turnbull climateWhy Coalition climate scare campaign is not credible and makes no sense,  Guardian, 

Malcolm Turnbull is attempting to discredit Labor’s new emissions plan. Here are six reasons the government’s campaign is wrong

1. The prime minister says that by promising to cut emissions by 45% by 2030, rather than 26% to 28% (as the government has pledged) Labor is “doubling the burden” on Australians. But modelling commissioned by the Coalition from leading economist and former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbinshowed that a 45% cut would shave between 0.5% and 0.7% from gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030, whereas a 26% cut would shave between 0.2 and 0.3%. In other words the difference in the economic cost of the Coalition’s target and Labor’s target is about 0.3% of GDP in 2030. That’s 0.3% of an estimated GDP of over $3.5 trillion. It’s not hard to work out that is not doubling an economic burden. Continue reading

April 29, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2016 | Leave a comment

A likely boost to community-owned renewable energy projects in regional Australia

text-community-energyCommunity-owned renewable energy projects to receive boost thanks to federal election, advocates say, ABC News, 28 Apr 16,  By Bridget Judd An increased political emphasis on climate change will drive more community-owned clean energy projects in Victoria, renewable energy advocates say.

There are more than 70 community groups across Australia currently involved in the development of self-sustaining renewable projects, such as the Hepburn wind farm, west of Melbourne. Hepburn Wind is the owner and operator of Australia’s first community-owned wind farm, providing clean energy for more than 2,000 homes.

The Community Power Network’s Nicky Ison said renewed support for renewable projects ahead of the upcoming federal election would help bolster similar projects across the state. “We have amazing renewable energy sources, and most of those resources are located in regional Australia, particularly in south-west Victoria” she said.

“These projects, they provide greater levels of local employment and greater levels of investment opportunity, which means more money from the renewable energy boom stays circulating in regional economies.”

Ms Ison said a direct investment in Community Power Network’s, as outlined in the federal Opposition’s wider Climate and Energy policy package announcement, could help prospective community-run projects navigate legal and technical challenges.

“It will help them negotiate a good power purchase agreement, and allow them to have some of that upfront funding to get through the riskier stages,” she said………

April 29, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Large numbers of Belgians to get potassium iodide pills

potassium-iodate-pillsBelgium Considers New Steps to Confront Nuclear Radiation Fears More people near nuclear plants could receive potassium iodide pills under government plan, WSJ, By NATALIA DROZDIAK April 28, 2016, BRUSSELS—Belgium is considering handing out potassium iodide pills to large swaths of its population to help protect them from diseases caused by radioactivity in the event of a nuclear accident, a spokeswoman at the health ministry said on Thursday.

The review comes as neighboring countries including Germany and the Netherlands have complained about the poor safety standards at Belgium’s nuclear plants.

Concerns have centered on the discovery several years ago of thousands of tiny cracks in the steel walls of pressure vessels in some of Belgium’s reactors.

Potassium iodide pills can minimize radiation risks, including preventing thyroid cancer, the most common serious outcome of a major nuclear accident.

The Belgian federal government is considering recommendations by the national health council this year to expand the radius for potassium iodide distribution to those living within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of each of the country’s nuclear plants, covering most of the population……

April 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An intentional’ Chernobyl nuclear disaster is now a real possibility

terrorism-targets-2Unfortunately, we may have to await an intentional Chernobyl to take place first to galvanize this sort of preventive action.   

The next nuclear disaster may be intentional BY  REUTERS LONDON – Chernobyl’s 30th anniversary on Tuesday came against the backdrop of growing apprehension that nuclear reactors may become a terrorist target.

Serious concern arose during the recent Islamic State attacks in Brussels. Evidence suggested that the assailants were considering a nuclear-related incident. The terrorists had a senior Belgian nuclear official under surveillance, and two former nuclear power plant employees were reported to have joined Islamic State.

This may help explain why Belgian authorities rushed military forces to protect its nuclear plants.

The scare provided a reminder that nuclear reactors are radiological mines that terrorists could exploit. Destruction of a plant would mark a zenith of terrorist violence. Radioactive elements would spread across national boundaries. It would endanger the lives of many, while creating economic and environmental havoc mimicking the Chernobyl or Fukushima explosions.

How concerned should the West and other regions be? And if the peril remains so serious, why doesn’t the international community impose mandatory security standards?

Actually, Washington has tried to do just that. Continue reading

April 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment