Australian news, and some related international items

The week to 8th May, in nuclear news

a-cat-CANThis should be mercifully short, because I have been preoccupied with the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission South Australia, and mostly paying attention only to the 170 recent Submissions that have at last (May 2nd) been published on the Commission website.

Contrary to Commissioner Kevin Scarse’s dismissal of criticisms as ‘just opinion’ ’emotional’, ‘not  fact-based’, many critical Submissions are thoughtful, reasoned, and evidence based.

On this website can be found significant extracts from a number of these Submissions.

Submissions came from individuals and organisations. Their criticisms focussed mainly on economic issues, and on indigenous rights. Other issues were safety, especially regarding transport of radioactive trash, security, employment, legality, climate change effects, environment, health, and democratic rights.

A pro nuclear group from Adelaide, anticipating the Commission’s Report, (to be published on Monday 9th May) went to Finland, and came back ecstatic about the prospect of South Australia setting up a nuclear waste import industry.

Woman arrested in SA nuclear protest   Locals at nominated nuclear dump site share concerns in fiery public meeting

Just the mere $2000 – $4000 for every single Australian – the cost of submarines purchase from France. Liberal coalition plans nuclear submarine fleet so that we can fight China. Australia buying submarines from notoriously corrupt French firm

Liberal and Labor will downplay nuclear waste issues, until the election is safely over.

May 7, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Nuclear Commission Special this week – some other news, too

Nuclear dump investigation by Committee For Adelaide backs SA waste storage plan, ABC News, 6 May 16  By Nathan Stitt and Simon Royal An Adelaide team has returned from an overseas investigation of a nuclear fuel dump having concluded South Australia has an extraordinary opportunity to follow the same path.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the science is safe (!!) ,” delegation leader Matt Clemow said. The former journalist and political adviser now heads up the Committee For Adelaide, a group of community and business leaders which promotes investment in Adelaide.



They visited Finland to investigate the handling of nuclear waste, visiting facilities which deal with low and medium-level waste. “The high-level [facility] is yet to be built (!!)  alongside the site. We went into the facility 448 metres underground and were standing where the waste would be delivered into,” Mr Clemow said.

“It was a warehouse-type facility, largely computer-operated.” Mr Clemow said safety standards were high. “You essentially have a fuel rod which is put in a canister, which is then embedded into a type of clay which is scientifically proven to last hundreds of thousands of years (!!) ,” he said.

Mr Clemow said it remained vital the wider community became as convinced of the benefits as the delegation had been…….

Woman arrested in SA nuclear protest , 9 News 6 May 16 An anti-nuclear protester has been detained by security as South Australia’s nuclear royal commission handed over its final report.

The 65-year-old woman attempted to walk through the gates of Adelaide’s Government House shortly before Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce delivered his final report to Governor Hieu Van Le on Friday.Police said the woman had been reported for trespass and would be summonsed to face court at a later date….. The ceremonial handover marked the end of SA’s nuclear fuel cycle royal commission……..

Locals at nominated nuclear dump site share concerns in fiery public meeting, ABC Radio AM Natalie Whiting reported this story on Saturday, May 7, 2016  ELIZABETH JACKSON: It’s been a week now since the Federal Government named a South Australian cattle station as the preferred site for its nuclear waste dump. Last night, the first public meeting since the announcement was held in the nearby town of Hawker – and it was at times a fiery event.

Government representatives faced a barrage of questions from people opposing the proposal, including several traditional owners who say important cultural sites will be put at risk.

It’s the start of an extended consultation period, but some locals are concerned that the waste facility is already a done deal, despite Government assurances to the contrary. Our reporter, Natalie Whiting, attended the meeting and filed this report from Hawker:……

May 7, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Senator Scott Ludlam – jobs, economics, national aspects of Nuclear Royal Commission’s findings

Ludlam-in-SenateSENATOR SCOTT LUDLAM  AUSTRALIAN GREENS  SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA   – Response to  the Tentative Findings of the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission

“………I would like to point to some research conducted by the Climate Institute that was done in collaboration with Ernst and Young and identifies that there is potential in South Australia to produce enough renewable energy to power 3,000,000 homes, remove pollution equivalent to 450,000 cars, and create close to 5,000 new jobs.

The report suggests that if a renewable energy industry were pursued there could be the creation of 5,178 new jobs including 1,300 permanent ongoing jobs, 2,688 jobs during construction and over 1,189 jobs in manufacturing.

It was very encouraging in December 2015 to see the South Australian Government release the “Low Carbon Investment Plan for South Australia” which looked at a $10 billion investment in low carbon energy – with the hope that by 2025 renewable energy would power 50% of South Australia and 100% by 2050ii . It seems that South Australia is making leaps and bounds, even without this significant investment. It was also encouraging to hear Premier Jay Weatherill’s commitment to renewable energy at the Paris climate summit. Being at the cutting edge of renewable energy technology suits South Australia. I welcome the commitment, enthusiasm and the exciting opportunities this presents to the state……..

While we welcome the preliminary finding that there are no prospects for nuclear power it is disturbing the preliminary findings ignore many serious and ongoing issues with the industry. While the economics are a clear barrier to nuclear power there are a range of safety issues that should be considered as well as suite of safeguards and proliferation considerations that do not appear to have been addressed by the NFCRC……..The world’s only deep geological repository that contains waste is the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, USA. The Onkalo facility in Finland has been in the pipeline since 1983, and the total  expected costs for the waste disposal is upward ofAUD $4.4 billion. The Sure facility in France is still under construction but earlier this year there was a collapse in the tunnel killing one worker and injuring and trapping another.

The WIPP facility, designed to contain radioactive waste for 10,000 years had a major radiological incident due to a chemical explosion within the first decade. 21 individuals received low level internal contamination; and there was a measurable leak of waste from the site discharged directly into the environment. The trial facility cost $19 billion to establish and will cost another half a billion to clean up after the 2014 radiation leak. The facility is still closed as the clean-up continues two years later.The preliminary findings of the NFCRC make no mention of the issues at WIPP or other facilities. This lack of consideration of real examples of waste management failures is a clear diversion from the fact based premise of the Royal Commission.Consideration of deep borehole waste storage also relies on optimism rather than evidence. There is no operating or trial deep borehole waste storage globally. There is one proposed trial in the US that will not be using radioactive waste.

The economic scenario put forward by Senator Sean Edwards to take International waste has been heavily criticised. Some of the issues with the Senator Edwards proposal identified by leading Australian economists include:• There is no plan for the management o fthe 56,000 tonnes of waste out of the 60,000 tonnes of waste proposed to be imported.

• There is no plausible case for the suggestion that another country would pay Australia US $lmillion per tonne to dispose of waste

  • The proposal to convert nuclear waste into fuel for PRISM reactors is not warranted given that PRISM reactors don’t exist, and trials of PRISM reactors have been abandoned due to unacceptable risks

Over the last 30 years Australia has failed to come up with an acceptable solution for managing our own nuclear waste. The proposal to store international radioactive waste relies on Australia doing what other countries have failed to do since the inception of the industrial nuclear industry.

This issue is not just an issue for South Australia but has relevance for all Australians and for people globally.

May 7, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May | Leave a comment

Adelaide University questions the Nuclear Royal Commission’s attitude to Aborigines

submission goodhandsoffComments on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Tentative Findings of 15 February 2016 – University of Adelaide , Consent and the Siting of a Nuclear Waste Storage Facility By Mr John Podgorelec*, Dr Alex Wawryk and Dr Peter Burdon†

“……Given many Indigenous communites have already expressed opposition to a storage facility, potential conflict lies ahead. While the finding that free, prior and informed consent must be obtained is welcome, the question remains as to whether this will be followed by the existing, or future, governments. Although intended to guide government, the Tentative Findings arguably provide no strong assurance to communities. For example, they fall well short of making a finding that specific legislation be passed, or the Native Title Act be amended, to provide a right of veto over nuclear activities, including the storage of toxic wastes. ….

In the Commission’s own words, the siting process must be transparent (and by inference fair). Crucial then to the Commission’s final report is to make an unambiguous statement as to where Indigenous communities stand in the event that the only suitable land to site a nuclear waste facility falls within an Indigenous community and consent is withheld. How will the Commission recommend such a deadlock be broken? Is it by mothballing the project until actual consent is granted, or will it recommend the government force the matter to the courts? If it is the latter, then regardless of the government’s best intentions by applying the international standard of FPIC, the Commission’s first sentence in respect of consent should read “community consent must be obtained – unless it is an Indigenous community”….

May 7, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May | Leave a comment

Michael Wallis-Smith examines indigenous, ethical, economic aspects of the Nuclear Royal Commission’s findings

“……SOCIAL/ENVIRONMENTAL/CULTURAL REASONS FOR NOT SUPPORTING THE WASTE FACILITY Sec 103-115. Social and community consent The decision not to allow the transport and disposal of high level nuclear waste was embodied in legislation some years ago. SA decided not to grant a social licence for a waste facility. The interim report does not provide compelling findings to change the decision.
Submissions to date provide evidence the community does not wish to change its mind. A number of Indigenous Communities, environment and conservation groups have indicated they do not support a disposal facility for high level waste in SA.
 We have no ethical right to ignore or over rule cultural concerns raised by our First Australian’s about development on Native Title Lands. Apart from not wanting high level waste on areas of cultural significance Aboriginal wishes to be fully consulted and listened to on all matters affecting their culture and way of life is paramount……
Economic impacts will extend beyond the tourism, transport, construction and training sectors. There will be impacts across the entire economy. Not all will add to productivity.
The Project will take scarce capital resources away from alternative infra-structure projects and cause a significant re – ordering of State priorities. Our States current image and brand could be tarnished.
Do we want to rely on nuclear waste to reinvigorate our Economy?
After our experience with over reliance on the car and mining sectors we need to think carefully about the potential impact of investing so much in a capital intensive, high risk venture.  Do we want to change current investment, employment trends? We are emerging in the Pacific Basin as an 5 international leader in renewables and energy efficiency. Why change the emphasis to become a State reliant on the risky nuclear waste disposal field?
Cash Flow Cash flows are negative for many years. There is no revenue in the first few years only outgoings. The outflow for the first 2 years with accumulated construction costs is estimated to be about $2.4billion. This means the SA public must carry the impact of the outflow for the period. How was this figure calculated? Does it include all the initial costs? How will this be paid for?…..
What is the probability of an accident? Could the financial impact be modelled? Even with a relatively low probability the impact could be substantial in terms of loss of reputation with costly remedial action. We do not want any accidents in the rich marine waters of the Gulf. The Projected Annual Revenue $5.6b puts the project as one of major potential impact for SA not only in terms of gain but also in terms of loss if the project fails, or is shut down in the first 10- 15 years. Does SA want the potential for long term nuclear liability on its books? I expect many tax payers do not……

May 7, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May | Leave a comment

A sad little Submission to the Nuclear Royal Commission – from Terrestrial Energy

Response to the Tentative Findings of the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission – Terrestrial Energy

(Terrestrial Energy is a company marketing the not yet existent Generation IV nuclear reactors, such as , the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR))

renew world 1

“……There is little in the Tentative Findings to reflect the exciting commercial and manufacturing opportunities available in advanced nuclear technologies. South Australia might be well-positioned to proactively engage with this sector yet it appears to have been overlooked.

Terrestrial Energy strongly disagrees with the statement that innovative, non-lWR designs will not be

available for the foreseeable future…….

May 7, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May | 1 Comment

Humphrey Hunt calls for a federal referendum on The Royal Commission’s nuclear waste import plan

text don't nuclear waste AustraliaHumphrey Hunt’s Hand- written submission – recommends that there should be a federal  referendum on the question of importing nuclear wastes, and he warns of the dangers to prsent and future generations

May 7, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May | Leave a comment

Nuclear Royal Commission: it is a National, not a State matter – Robin Foley

text don't nuclear waste AustraliaNuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Response – Robin Foley 

“……-Management & Storage and Disposal of Waste 63
66 The decision to have a Nuclear Waste disposal site should be a Commonwealth decision. No State should have the ability to import nuclear waste from other countries. The proposal to import and store Waste nuclear material has impact on the whole nation and they should be consulted.
83 Assisting countries lower their carbon emission by taking their nuclear waste and maintaining security and costs until the “end of time” to get the SA Government a few years of spending money.
89 Controlled and owned by Government forever does not guarantee safety and good management neither does commercial or contracted management.
93 a Only covers income and costs for 70 years. This facility will have to be maintained forever …

May 7, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May | Leave a comment

Nuclear Royal Commission downplays the safety and environmental risks of importing nuclear wastes – Gil Anaf

safety-symbolGil M Anaf Response To: Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission 18 submission goodMay 2016
“….42. Yet there can be no guarantee that accidents will not occur again. While the consequences are severe,…. It seems remarkable to me that, while it is acknowledged that accidents cannot be prevented, there is at the same time a disavowal of the extremity of the consequences of any accident involving this nuclear storage facility. The very nature of the risk, of extreme long term contamination of food and water supplies, and of aquifers, seems oddly denied, which is concerning.
63. The safe management, storage and disposal of Australian and international waste require both social consent for the activity and advanced technical engineering to contain and isolate the waste. Of the two, social consent warrants in planning and development much greater attention than the technical issues. As stated above, this point seemingly downplays the risks inherent in the venture, making the technology sound more persuasive than in reality it can be deemed to be.
77. Engineered barriers are designed to work in combination to greatly delay the exposure of the fuel to groundwater and ensure that if the radionuclides migrate into the natural environment, the level of radioactivity would be below that produced by natural sources. Again and with respect, this is an astonishing assertion. This seems to exaggerate the expertise required to establish the facility to such an extent that even reference to “exposure” does not raise the very obviousissue of risk: ie, what on earth are we doing even considering any possible leakage? Are we really so expert that we can foresee and manage any leakage, with its attendant extreme risk?…..
90. Further, because the society would carry the risks of the activity in the long term, it is entitled to the significant benefits. This does not mean the government would be precluded from sourcing appropriate private sector operational expertise. In my view, the acknowledgement of “carrying risks” is not easily reconciled with the potential extremity of the risk involved. It therefore is highly questionable whether society should carry this risk, since it potentially also affects future generations who may well be burdened by decisions we make in the present.
That private expertise may be sourced too, seemingly ignores the probable (in my opinion) conflicts of interest that will necessarily arise when private profit agendas are pitted against the wider interests of original and subsequent land owners, and the rights of the citizenry.
In conclusion, having read the Tentative Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, I feel obligated to say that the style in which these findings are presented seem to me to seriously down-play, and minimise, the quite significant and potentially catastrophic scenarios the community is being asked to accept.
This defies common sense; the risks and burdens to current and future generations are much more significant than our short-term economic troubles. In regard to the latter, it is unclear how sustainable the economic benefits are, compared with maintenance costs.

May 7, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May | Leave a comment

Royal Commission seems unaware of the toll of nuclear industries on scarce water supplies

nuke-tapDeidre Allen  – response to Nuclear Fuel Cycle Tentative Findings

“………Nuclear energy requires extreme amounts of water in every stage of development.

Given that SA is the driest state in the driest continent we can not use this essential resource wastefully. http://www.answers.comlQlIs_South_Australia_the_driescstate_in_Australia.…..

  1. 56. 95. 141.

The idea of planning changes to current regulations in advance of public acceptance for any part of the nuclear industry is premature,

Surely parliament must first deliberate and decide whether to accept the nuclear industry, before changes are made to legislative requirements; that would allow the industry to proceed with any new developments….


There is no substantiated evidence that ‘Finland or Sweden have successfully developed long term domestic solutions’, neither project has begun.

There is no opportunity to say that their models are proven safe for a ten or even a fifty year period; let alone for the extended time of 250,000 or several hundred thousands of years, that is required…..

I’d like to submit that you have neglected to consider the impact of climate change. Sea water levels are predicted to rise. Land that for millions of years has been dry could again become submerged.

Without having to factor in climate change, an article in the Sunday Mail on Feb 21 quoted a Flinders University groundwater scientist, Professor Craig Simmons who has said “we need to think much longer term, 10,000 plus years, which is actually on geological time scales… Sea levels go up,

not one metre but hundreds of metres on these time scales, it’s totally different.”….


With a 20- 30 year period of construction the likelihood of future politicians reversing any decision must not be prevented.

If a better safer option for disposing of nuclear waste was known to exist and to be achievable then it must be allowed to be adopted.

150 If the nuclear waste repository was breached and irradiated vast areas of land and water, all royalties earned by the SA Government would be lost in trying to repair the disaster. Indeed the cost to both the SA and Federal Governments would be inexhaustible……

May 7, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May | Leave a comment

Biased Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission – will it sink like a rock?

Scarce poisoned chaliceTo make Australia the toilet for the world’s radioactive trash – this is an extraordinary aim!

To pretend that it’ s just a little local issue – to (supposedly) bring jobs to south Australia – is ludicrous!

By the way – those dirty and dangerous jobs wouldn’t come for decades. Meanwhile South Australia would miss out on its opportunities to be a hub of jobs in renewable energy and clean agriculture, fisheries wine-making, tourism.  If South Australia were to become that global radioactive trash toilet – goodbye to its clean green image!

Of course it’s a National issue – however much our bought politicians of both Liberal and Labor pretend that it doesn’t matter –  not  an election issue – keep it hush hush till December.

Look out for all the pro nuclear tripe from those drinking at the corporate trough.



May 7, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment