Australian news, and some related international items

Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management Board – response to Nuclear Royal Commission

submission goodhandsoffThe Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management Board  – reponse to Tentaive Findings of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission

“…..This letter of response relates to all four of the Tentative Findings the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, but has specific relevance to the findings for ‘Further processing and manufacture’ and ‘Management, storage and disposal of waste’.
The Board members are community leaders who represent the people and communities of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands, Maralinga Tjarutja (MT) lands, and the Yalata lands. The members want to reaffirm to the commission that their communities are strongly opposed to nuclear waste being stored on their lands and would not provide consent for this activity.
As outlined in the Board’s previous submissions, the communities in Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resource Management (AW NRM) region have suffered significant personal, cultural and social harm as a result of nuclear weapons testing. The living memory of this casts a long shadow over any conversation regarding the nuclear fuel cycle.
The Board also wishes to highlight that it is currently illegal to store nuclear waste in South Australia (through the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000), and any attempts to change this legislation without community consultation would erode trust in the entire process.
The Tentative Findings state that community consent would be essential to the successful development of any nuclear fuel cycle activities. This is consistent with Article 29 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:
`States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent’
If nuclear fuel cycle activities are to be considered in further detail for areas which are in or near the AW NRM region, it will be essential for the Commission to undertake a much deeper and more extensive level of consultation and engagement with the Anangu people and communities.
The AW NRM Board plays an important role in facilitating conversations between communities and government, and is willing to support and advise on any future engagement with Anangu people and communities by the Commission.
Yours sincerely, Parry Agius Presiding Member Alinytjara Wilurara NRM Board

May 14, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May | Leave a comment

A referendum might be held to decide on nuclear waste import plan

referendumDaniel Wills: Voters’ nuclear reaction can avoid meltdowns in future May 13, 2016  The Advertiser  

EVERY South Australian has been assured they can join a grand debate over a high-level nuclear waste dump for the state, but it’s no certainty that voters will get to directly decide.

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s final report this week included a strong call for the state to urgently pursue the opportunity and usher in a golden era of new wealth for SA.

Premier Jay Weatherill is holding fire until the end of the year. The State Government’s formal position is that its mind is not made up, and a combination of statewide consultation and two citizens’ juries made up of average people will help chart the course to be taken from here.

But ultimately, he’s indicated the final decision will be taken by the Cabinet, Government and 69 members of State Parliament who are put in place to make decisions on behalf of all.

The prospect of a referendum, which could be held concurrently with the 2018 state election and would effectively offer every South Australian a direct say on what would be an irreversible decision, is not being ruled out at the highest levels either major party.

If it were to occur, the electoral dynamics in two years’ time would be dramatically altered………

if a simple change to an Act of Parliament is all that’s required for a future government in coming decades and centuries to shift course, South Australians have reason to be wary.

A business case penned by Jacobs & MCM for the commission shows the state would be swimming in cash for 75 years, and then serious bills would start rolling in for the next 50……..

It’s easy to imagine a future where short-term politics triumphs over today’s best intentions…..

The next six months — with two citizens’ juries and a statewide consultation process — will shake out some of these questions and may even formally recommend a nuclear referendum…… 

May 14, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Electoral suicide for Labor? The nuclear waste dump plan.

Weatherill glowfrom “Sanity” “Mr Weatherill is understood to be favouring a political decision taken without the delay and additional hassle of a referendum.” Sorry Jay, but it is reasonable to go to the “hassle of a referendum” when the the decision has such a significant impact upon our state and citizens.

Tom Koutsantonis threatened the Liberal party with a referendum on the issue (a nuclear waste dump in SA) so it would be beyond hyporitical (even for a politician) for him not to require one now.

Daniel, could you publish the results of the ‘Advertiser -Galaxy’ poll here too?

Earlier this week a survey of ‘AdelaideNow’ readers gave the following results:

Are you in favour of a nuclear waste dump in SA?

No:    61.04%  (1,648 votes)

Yes:   35.63%  (962 votes)

Undecided: 3.33%  (90 votes)

Which indicates certain electoral suicide for any party that allows SA to become a nuclear dump.

May 14, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australian Labor could leave a terrible mess with this push for nuclear waste importing

questionfrom R  Do we seriously believe that a nuclear dump will bring in the billions of dollars promised and be as safe as they pretend?

Do we really believe that countries will pay up front years before getting rid of the waste by shipping it to us?

Do we really believe that the state government won’t mismanage any money so when the time comes to build the expensive hole in the desert, that we will have run out of the money and will either need to go into debt to build the hole or keep the high level waste stored above ground for thousands of years?

This whole thing smacks of a desperate last minute straw clutching exercise by Jay Weatherill and now he has commenced his brainwashing oops consultation campaign to convince us that he has finally come up with a good idea.  Voters are not convinced Jay.

The risks are too big that the money won’t flow and we’ll be stuck with another Labor mess , this time a dangerous high level nuclear one that will last thousands of years.

May 14, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Terrestrial Energy nuclear salesmen sent packing by indigenous community in Canada

Protest-No!flag-canada‘Go home!’ N.W.T. residents tell Ontario nuclear power advocate, Presentation met with hostile responses Thursday night in Yellowknife By Mitch Wiles, CBC News  May 13, 2016 A Thursday evening forum in Yellowknife about bringing nuclear energy to Canada’s North quickly turned hostile, with local aboriginal people telling one presenter to “Go home!”

Robin Rickman of Oakville, Ont.-based Terrestrial Energy attempted to present a new design of a nuclear reactor to a packed room of N.W.T. residents interested in lowering the cost of energy, but he was repeatedly shouted down.

“Where are the chiefs?” yelled Dehcho region resident Roxanne Landry. “You are not welcome on Dene land!”……

Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly was at the presentation and says too many questions were left unanswered. “There are still lots of issues of what do you do with the waste,” he said. “It’s nowhere near a feasibility stage. None of these facilities have been built anywhere. I don’t know where the financing would come from. Lots of problems.”

O’Reilly said he doubted whether the project could be safely regulated.That concern was echoed by Landry. She pointed to the contaminated Giant Mine site, just outside of Yellowknife, as a hard lesson in putting too much trust in the industry or regulators……..

May 14, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sydney Peace Prize to go to Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein to be awarded 2016 Sydney Peace Prize, SMH,  May 14, 2016


  Naomi Klein is not someone you might think of foremost as a peacenik, per se.

The iconoclastic author, perhaps the most prominent leftist thinker of her generation, has been a dogged proponent of other political crusades during her career – from the anti-globalisation movement virtually defined by her 2000 manifesto No Logo, to Occupy Wall Street, and later and most prominently, the climate-change activism of her 2014 tome This Changes Everything, which made a forceful case for not only why climate change was an urgent crisis, but why systemic change to global capitalism is the only solution.

But six months from now, Klein will travel to Australia to be named the recipient of the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize.

The Sydney Peace Foundation, which is located within the University of Sydney and receives support from the City of Sydney, chose Klein, the jury said, for “exposing the structural causes and responsibility for the climate crisis, for inspiring us to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to demand a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality”………

Naomi Klein will deliver the 2016 City of Sydney Peace Prize lecture at Sydney Town Hall on November 11.

May 14, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Corporations rejoice as The Age sacks a top investigative journalist

A pity that I can’t read the full article. Being on a low income, I don’t subscribe to any paid journal or newspaper. Well, I did, until today, subscribe to Fairfax’s The Age.  But not any more.

It is a sad sacking of many staff, and I feel for all of them.

However, it says something a bit more about Fairfax, when they pick out a top investigative journalist. Michael West not only has confronted the big end of town with some very inconvenient facts, but  – a worse crime – he has written about them in lively language that the peasantry can understand.

Watch now as the Business Pages of the Age become more obscurely written, and even more pro business. And along with that. The Age particpates in the general dumbing down of the Australian media.

 Michael West among Fairfax redundancies,, Myriam Robin Media Reporter, May 13, 2016  Hard-hitting business journo Michael West is among those saying goodbye to Fairfax.  Senior business reporter Michael West, whose work appeared in the Business Day sections of the Sydney Morning Herald and Age, is leaving Fairfax today.West confirmed his compulsory redundancy, but declined to comment further. In a tweet after this piece was published online, west wrote “told my skillset not aligned with fairfax strategy going forward”….. subscribers only


May 14, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

The British nightmare that is Hinkley nuclear power project

Nuclear dream becoming nightmare over Hinkley Point C By WMN_MartinF  May 13, 2016 By ALLAN JEFFERY  Some dreams come true; others turn into nightmares. Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been a dream to many politicians. Is it about to come true?


Margaret Thatcher was one of the first to dream of building Hinkley C. It was to be the second of 10 nuclear power stations she would build, to rescue the country from the menace of those socialist, coal-dependent generators, providing most of the UK’s electricity and too often holding the country to blackout ransom.

Her dream started well! At public inquiry, at Cannington in 1988/89, despite the hundreds of people and organisations arguing against the build, the inspector gave permission to build Hinkley C.

But her dream turned sour as her privatisation of the nation’s nuclear electricity production bankrupted British Nuclear Energy. The government had to bail out the privatised company. Even worse, the world’s largest nuclear accident at Chernobyl occurred, and the radioactive pollution spread over many countries in Europe. Mrs Thatcher gave up on her nuclear dream. Nuclear was too risky and dangerous and too expensive.

The dream passed to the French government. The dream was to sell all around the world hundreds of a new-generation nuclear reactors, of French design: the EPR. Areva designed the reactor and offered the first one to a group of energy hungry companies in Finland, STK.

It would be built in four years, for 3 billion euros.The dream continued well, the French government were going to build another two EPRs in France, China said they would build two, and many other countries showed interest, even the UK.The French then sold the dream to Labour’s prime minister, Tony Blair, convincing him that building the new French-designed EPR reactors would solve all the UK’s energy problems.

A new nuclear renaissance dream started, though this time there would be no long public inquiries. New national energy policy papers would make sure there would be no planning hold-ups, and allow EDF to build the first two EPR reactors at Hinkley.

There councillors were sold on the dream promises of thousands of jobs and the huge amounts of investment spent in the local economy. EDF ploughed on as quickly as it could; delays would increase costs. Local residents would not be allowed to question the dangers of nuclear power.

The councillors started to notice the environmental problems of such a gigantic building project. Lacking the power to challenge, they started to promote it as a dream for the local economy. They encouraged local firms to prepare for the good economic future, and young people a dream future in Hinkley apprenticeships.

Problems then started to occur with the building of this untried and untested new design of reactor. First at Olkiluoto in Finland and then at Flamanville in France, construction problems multiplied, causing long delays and causing costs to double and then treble. Energy companies in Italy, America and the UK pulled out from investing in this disastrous reactor. Western banks and investment funds all started to advise their clients not to invest in Hinkley C.

They realised that the costs of renewables are falling rapidly; the costs of nuclear are rising fast.The nightmare of problems for the funding of the most expensive power station on earth continued. The UK government, lacking Western private investments, reluctantly accepted that Hinkley has to be subsidised. Whether this financing arrangement is legal under European free-market rules is being strongly challenged in the courts.

EDF cannot fund its share of the building cost of Hinkley C, even though the Chinese government is providing a third of the investment building costs. The energy company has large debts and huge cost commitments of its own.Will EDF finally agree to finance the building of Hinkley C? The growing number of problems, constructional, technical, legal, environmental and financial, of building Hinkley C are beginning to change the dream into a nightmare.

The nuclear dreams of many people will turn to disaster, whatever EDF decides on the final investment decision.If the decision is yes, France could lose its national electricity generator and the French taxpayers will rue the day they tried to follow the nuclear dream.If EDF says no, the UK’s energy policy is in tatters leaving the hopes and dreams of politicians, councillors, aspiring businesses and some British trade unions regretting the day they put all their eggs into one nuclear basket, following the Hinkley C dream.

My dreams are coming true. All around the world I see rapidly growing investment into a decentralised, renewable, truly sustainable future for our children.This is article has been abbreviated. The full version can be read at  Allan Jeffery is assistant co-ordinator at Stop Hinkley

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May 14, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment