Australian news, and some related international items

Scarce Royal Commission Report urges nuclear waste dump – “as soon as possible”

Scarce wastes moneyScarce urges SA nuclear waste dump – “as soon as possible”, INDaily, SENIOR JOURNALIST Tom Richardson, 9 May 16 

South Australia will take a leap into the unknown with a nuclear future firmly on the agenda, after the release today of the final report of the Scarce Royal Commission. The report emphasises the “safety” of increased participation in the nuclear fuel cycle – with a high-level global repository for spent fuel now a viable prospect – and the “significant and enduring economic benefits” to the local community.

“SA can safely increase its participation in nuclear activities,” the report summary begins – before again re-emphasising that a nuclear waste dump could generate a potential “$100 billion income in excess of expenditure”.

That would include a $32 billion reserve fund for facility closure and ongoing monitoring.

However, given the significance of the potential revenue and multi-decade timeframes under consideration, the commission – headed by former Governor Kevin Scarce – concluded such an enterprise “must be owned and controlled by the State Government”, and the wealth “preserved and equitably shared for current and future generations of South Australians”……

“The commission’s firm conclusion is that this opportunity should be actively pursued, and as soon as possible.”…..

His report concluded that “the risk of an accident occurring that could breach a cask of used fuel and cause radiation to be released is very low”……..

It also urges the Government to remove state prohibitions on the licensing of further processing activities, “to enable commercial development of multilateral facilities as part of nuclear fuel leasing arrangements” – and to push for similar removals at a federal level.

In a sign of further nuclear expansion in years to come, the report also recommends pursuing the removal of federal restrictions on nuclear power generation – “to allow it to contribute to a reliable, low-carbon electricity system, if required”.

The commission report was – like its February missive – bullish about the economic benefits of a waste dump, with its modelling estimating such as facility would grow the gross state product by “an additional 4.7 per cent – or $6.7 billion – by 2029-30”, adding 9600 full-time jobs to the workforce.

May 9, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Submissions to #NuclearCommissionSAust show up 10 things wrong with its case

Scarce thanks experts 110 holes in the Royal Commission’s pro nuclear dump case, Independent Australia   Noel Wauchope 9 May 2016, IT WOULD BE no surprise that South Australia’s questionable Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) is recommending that Australia become the world’s nuclear waste import hub.

That has been the intended outcome from the beginning, when the Commission was set up, over a year ago.

The questionable integrity of the NFCRC was discussed in a submission by Yurij Poetzl  over a year ago. Poetzl pointed out Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce‘s conflict of interest, as a shareholder in Rio Tinto, and as a member of the Committee for Economic Development In Australia (CEDA).

CEDA’s Policy Perspectives of November 2011 clearly supports and promotes the growth of South Australia’s nuclear industry. The Royal Commissioner selected predominantly pro-nuclear experts for the Commission’s Expert Advisory Committee. The Expert Advisory Committee had no involvement from health or medical professionals. Poetzl went on to list 22 significant questions that were not addressed in the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference.

Speaking in November 2014 at Flinders University, Scarce acknowledged being

an advocate for a nuclear industry.

This doubt is raised again, in the latest batch of submissions, which were published on the Royal Commission’s website on 2 May. In a submission that is neutral, not anti-nuclear, Gary Rowbottom notes that:

Mr. Scarce, in his delivery of the tentative findings, a mere day after the release of these findings, seemed to be critical of any comments made in opposition to deepening Australia’s involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle, often citing lack of evidence for viewpoints expressed.

there is a fair bit of evidence that the commission members themselves are in the majority, clearly quite pro nuclear. I am not happy at the lack of subjectivity that may have brought to the findings, particularly on the waste issue. Whilst Mr. Scarce did say that they did look at the negative sides of all the Issue papers, there is not much evidence of that in the Tentative Findings.

Kevin Scarce, would, I am sure, dismiss such criticisms as just “opinion” or “emotional”, “not fact-based” or “formed upon fear”.

The Royal Commission’s problem is that criticisms of its findings are fact-based.

The latest batch of submissions brings up many unanswered questions

1. Aboriginal rights……. ~ Anggumathanha Camp Law Mob, ……

. ~ Ngoppon Together Inc

2. Economics…….The Royal Commission’s Tentative Finding, that substantial economic benefits could be obtained at low risk from the storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel in South Australia, is not soundly based……. Dr Mark Diesendorf,

…..The proposal is that we should accept waste before the repository has been completely built and tested. This proposal is so reckless, as to be negligent. We would face the very real risk of being left with high-level nuclear waste, and no technology to properly handle it. ~ Dr Andrew Allison
…..If this is such a great deal, how come no other country has grabbed it before now? ~ South Australian Greens…….
In the event of a disaster the Government (and therefore, the taxpayer) will be required to sort out the mess. ~ Graham Glover.

3. Safety……We are asked in the Tentative Report to take these recommendations “on faith” given that the proposed high-level waste dump is not operational anywhere on earth  and, further, that the dump proposed for our state is twenty times larger than that planned (not actual) for Finland. ~ Mothers for a Sustainable South Australia

4. Transport dangers…… I do not accept that road transport from port to repository site will be perfectly safe, even on a dedicated purpose built road. ~ Paul Langley

……..We are concerned at the obvious dangers of transporting overseas high level radioactive wastes into our state and country. Catholic Religious South Australia 

5. Climate change…..

Has the NFCRC incorporated the potential impacts of climate change on the ecology and geology the State? ….~ Trisha Drioli…….  There is no analysis of the potential impacts on the environment into the future…….~  Mark Parnell

6. Health ….  Factual evidence is given in this submission by Dan Monceaux

7. The legality of the Commission under question ……THE WASTE REPOSITORY PROPOSAL VIOLATES EXISTING AGREEMENTS AND AUSTRALIAN LAWS ~ Dr Andrew Allison 

8. Lack of transparency…….there is no transparency. Local get-togethers do not equal public engagement. These are serious matters which are of national concern. ~ Anne McGovern 

9. Impact on other industries ……The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Tentative Findings Report contains many generously overstated ambitions, almost no analysis of the environmental, tourism or agricultural consequences with its focus on narrowly supported economic benefits…. ~ Holly-Kate Whittenbury …….

 SAWIA notes that its members have genuine concerns about the potential risks to the reputation of the South Australian wine industry in the event of a nuclear accident occurring on South Australian soil…..South Australian Wine Industry Association Incorporated

10. Deceptive spin about medical wastes… Even if the waste depot did only receive low level, medical waste, the facility would not be economically viable; medical waste, as described by physician Louise Emmett, only needs to be stored for such a short time that it would hardly make it to the waste facility for dumping, before it breaks down;‘In the vast majority of nuclear medicine practices the storage issue is not particularly current in terms of what we keep. It’s waste products have a short half life, up to eight days half life, so it would be difficult to take that long distances for storage.’ (Baillie, R. 2012.)

‘It is at best misleading and at worst a lie to claim that a large-scale nuclear waste repository such as what is being proposed would be solely justified to handle the minuscule amounts of nuclear medicine waste generated in Australia.’ (Parnell, M.2015.) ~ Holly-Kate Whittenbury,8966

May 9, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Today – Nuclear fuel cycle royal commission final report to be made public

Scarce wastes moneyNuclear fuel cycle royal commission: Final report expected to reiterate support for dump, ABC News 9 May 16 By Daniel Keane The final report arising from South Australia’s nuclear fuel cycle royal commission is almost certain to leave crucial questions about possible future dump sites unanswered, an anti-nuclear spokesman says.

Key points:

  • Final report to be made public after commissioner Kevin Scarce briefs Government
  • Report expected to reiterate support for waste dump
  • Bipartisanship by major parties could benefit Greens, political expert says

The report was handed down to the State Government on Friday, but its contents will not be made public until later today, after royal commissioner Kevin Scarce briefs State Cabinet.

Tentative findings released in February recommended the creation of a high-level waste nuclear dump that would store 138,000 tonnes of spent fuel from around the world, as well as a separate “above-ground interim storage facility”.

Friends of the Earth’s national nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green said South Australia could end up with “the biggest waste stockpile in existence”, but said it was the interim storage site that could prove the greater security concern.

“The plan is to import the waste and store it above ground – perhaps on the Eyre Peninsula, perhaps somewhere further north – for some decades before they even begin to consider the option of ultimate disposal of this waste,” he said.

“The reason they’re configuring it that way is because it will cost so many tens of billions of dollars to build a nuclear waste dump that they simply won’t have those funds until they’ve imported vast amounts of waste in the first place.”……..

He said the interim report had ignored accidents, such as the closure of a New Mexico waste repository because of a chemical explosion in 2014.

“There was also no mention in the tentative findings report of the royal commission about a fire at a nuclear waste dump in Nevada in the US last year,” he said.

“There’s no mention of a nuclear waste dump in Germany where they’re in the process of exhuming 126,000 barrels of nuclear waste because of water infiltration and corrosion.”…….

May 9, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment