Australian news, and some related international items

Adelaide: opportunity to question Nick Xenophon on his nuclear waste (lack of) policy

Xenophon sitting on fenceIf anyone wants to ask Nick Xenophon why he doesn’t oppose nuclear dumps in any part of SA, here’s your chance if you are in Adelaide week after next.


Wednesday, June 1 at 7 PM    Wheatsheaf Hotel  39 George St, Thebarton, South Australia 5031

Join Senator Nick Xenophon, Joe Hill, candidate for Adelaide and Daniel Kirk, candidate for Hindmarsh, for an evening of lively conversation in one Adelaide’s best pokie free pubs.
Free entry – all welcome.
RSVP: Joe Hill – or 0438 894 863
Daniel Kirk – or 0421 692 835

May 23, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

More worrying aspects of the Nuclear Royal Commission’s Final Recommendations

scrutiny-on-costsThere is no existing market to ascertain the price that a customer may be willing to pay for the permanent disposal of used fuel.(CH 5 p 93)

The Commission is very vague on the nature of the public- private partnership that will pay for the capital costs of AS 41$billion (Ch 5 p.100)

The revenue would be paid on delivery of wastes to a South Australian port. That will be after the 20 – 30 years it will take to construct the facility, plus 10 years after the project begins operation.-

“a pre-commitment before project commencement would provide added assurance that capital costs are fully covered before construction began” (But after a commitment 40 years before, a foreign nuclear company could have gone bankrupt” (Ch 5 p. 100 -102)  Finland.

May 23, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Worrying financial aspects of the Nuclear Royal Commission Final Recommendations.

a-cat-CANIt looks as if the customers for the nuclear waste import business could be dodgy Asian and Middle Easter ones, with unstable politics. The Commission does not name any countries as potential customers, but DOES RULE OUT countries that will NOT be – i.e. United States, France, the United Kingdom and Canada, and countries which have national laws that prohibit their export of waste, such as Sweden and Finland.  CH 5 p.93.

toilet map South Australia 2

May 23, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

FORUM: Nuclear Waste Dump – the Wrong WAy for South Australia

text-Please-NoteSouth Australia has become a magnet for nuclear waste.  The Federal Government wants the Flinders Ranges to host a national nuclear waste dump and the State Government is considering opening up our State for an international high level radioactive waste dump.  What’s going on here?  Are they mad?

I’m hosting a public forum on Thursday June 9th so you can hear the side of the debate that is largely being ignored.

Come along to hear three influential Australians expose the hype and untangle the spin. Take part in the Q&A session immediately following the presentations.


Senator Scott Ludlam – Greens Senator for Western Australia and federal party spokesperson on nuclear issues

Dr Jillian Marsh – Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner, Recipient of the Nuclear-Free Future Award 2008

Roderick Campbell – Economist and Director of Research, The Australia Institute

WHEN: Thursday June 9th, 2016 at 7pm – 8:30pm

WHERE: The German Club, 223 Flinders St, Adelaide, SA 5000

This is a free event but seats are limited so please RSVP by clicking here.  All are welcome so please extend this invitation to your family and friends. Continue reading

May 23, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Dr Andrew Allison assesses the FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS of South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINAndrew Allison 23 May 16 Here is my assessment of “NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE ROYAL COMMISSION – FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS Copied from Pg. 169 of the Commission’s final report, and republished here for the purpose of discussion.

Based on the findings set out in this report, the Commission recommends that the South Australian Government:

1. pursue the simplification of state and federal mining approval requirements for radioactive ores, to deliver a single assessment and approvals process

AA: The devil is in the detail for this one. The word “simplification” could be code for reducing environmental standards, or allowing corporations to avoid the consequences of their actions. I am suspicious.

2. further enhance the integration and public availability of pre-competitive geophysical data in South Australia

AA: It depends who owns the data. If a corporation has collected the data then it is part of the intellectual property of that corporation. It is difficult to see how they could be forced to share it, by a state government. If the data were collected by the state government then one would have to ask why she state government is investing in prospecting for nuclear materials. This is in an era where state governments supposedly cannot operate water utilities, banks, gas companies, public transport etc etc…. Why are they breaking their own laws to prospect for nuclear materials?

3. undertake further geophysical surveys in priority areas, where mineral prospectivity is high and available data is limited

AA: This is a matter for the corporations, subject to regulatory approval.…/story-e6frg6n6…

AA: Readers may remember that Marathon resources breached environmental guidelines in The Flinders Ranges in 2012. We cannot allow this. I don’t see why the resources of the state should be spent prospecting on behalf of mining companies.

4. commit to increased, long-term and counter-cyclical investment in programs such as the Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) to encourage and support industry investment in the exploration of greenfield locations

AA: Once again, this is a purely commercial matter. I don’t see why the state government should be investing money in this. There are much more efficient ways of carrying out counter-cyclical Keynesian investment, than exploring for nuclear materials. We could invest in schools, and hospitals and public transport infrastructure, for example.

5. ensure the full costs of decommissioning and remediation with respect to radioactive ore mining projects are secured in advance from miners through associated guarantees

AA: This seems to be very sensible to me. I ask the question: aren’t we already doing this? See the reference to marathon resources, above.

6. remove at the state level, and pursue removal of at the federal level, existing prohibitions on the licensing of further processing activities, to enable commercial development of multilateral facilities as part of nuclear fuel leasing arrangements

AA: In my view, the existing laws are in place to protect public safety and no good case has been made to overturn them. There is currently a glut of Uranium on the world market. The prices are low. To increase the supply of Uranium at this time would only depress the price further and affect the viability of existing producers.

7. promote and actively support commercialisation strategies for the increased and more efficient use of the cyclotron at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)

AA: The limited and controlled use of nuclear technology in medicine has been shown to be beneficial. I don’t see any logic in expanding the program, unless there is a demonstrated need that is currently not being met in South Australia.

AA: The use of cyclotrons should be carefully regulated, since they can be used to enrich fuel, leading to weapons proliferation:

8. pursue removal at the federal level of existing prohibitions on nuclear power generation to allow it to contribute to a low-carbon electricity system, if required

AA: It is very doubtful that nuclear energy is “low carbon”, if one considers the entire fuel cycle.

9. promote and collaborate on the development of a comprehensive national energy policy that enables all technologies, including nuclear, to contribute to a reliable, low-carbon electricity network at the lowest possible system cost

AA: Of course, a centralized government energy policy that was oriented towards the needs of the people would be sensible. Unfortunately state governments were in a rush to privatize their energy assets (or to lease out monopolies on a long-term basis) so the control of the system has been relinquished to corporations, for the time being. The Royal Commission has admitted that there is no commercial basis for nuclear power, in Australia, for the foreseeable future.

10. collaborate with the Australian Government to commission expert monitoring and reporting on the commercialisation of new nuclear reactor designs that may offer economic value for nuclear power generation

AA: I will believe in “Generation IV” nuclear power stations when I see one actually operating. In the mean time, we do have to consider the opportunity cost associated with investing Australia’s limited research dollars on a technology that Australia does not even use, and will not use for the foreseeable future.

11. pursue the opportunity to establish used nuclear fuel and intermediate level waste storage and disposal facilities in South Australia consistent with the process and principles outlined in Chapter 10 of this report

AA: I am very curious to know why the Royal Commission is in such a hurry for South Australia to commit to a facility that may not even work, and will not actually hold any nuclear waste for over eighty years. I think that it would be much more prudent for South Australia to watch technological developments elsewhere in the world before committing to such a great an irreversible development as a nuclear waste dump. We should note that no country has yet completely solved the nuclear waste storage problem, not even the former nuclear superpowers, the USA and Russia.

12. remove the legislative constraint in section 13 of the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 that would preclude an orderly, detailed and thorough analysis and discussion of the opportunity to establish such facilities in South Australia.”

AA: I argue that this legislation serves an important public safety purpose. A convincing case has not yet been made to remove this important piece of safety legislation. The “economic” analysis of the Royal commission is mostly based on the opinion of one consultant, in the Jacobs report. The assumptions that were made in this report are very generous to the pro-dump case.

May 23, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Aboriginal group to take their protest against nuclear waste dump to Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg

heartland-2Fears nuclear dump will end their story, MEREDITH BOOTH, THE AUSTRALIAN,MAY 23, 2016 Australia’s first registered Adnya­mathanha storyline runs 70km from Hawker to Cotebina Spring through pastoral and indigenous lands between Lake Frome and South Australia’s picturesque northern Flinders Ranges, where it is emerging as a battleline ­between anti-nuclear activists and the federal government.

Its landmarks, 440km north of Adelaide, tell the origin of Pungka Pudanha spring, where it is said tears falling from a grieving husband merged with the birth waters of his buried pregnant wife — a story that teaches children about family relationships and provides the basis for deeper women’s business.

Custodian and elder Regina McKenzie, a descendant of the king of five clans known as the Adnya­mathanha or “people of the rock”, said Pungka Pudanha was the first storyline in Australia to be registered with Aboriginal heritage authorities, in 2012.

But it was now at risk of ­destruction since pastoral neighbour Wallerberdina Station was named last month as the preferred site for the federal government’s low and intermediate-level nuc­lear waste dump.

If further technical and envir­onmental testing proves the site suitable, five million litres, or two Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth, of low radioactive waste will be stored in a warehouse and underground facility.

Ms McKenzie’s worry is mostly for the 25 tonnes of intermediate waste, spent fuel from Sydney’s Lucas Heights reactor returned from reprocessing in France and which requires handlers to wear protective clothing.

She said the Adnyamathanha didn’t want the risk of contamin­ation of groundwaters that fed mound springs on the floodplain where Ms McKenzie brought groups to camp, drink from the spring, and hunt and cook kangaroo in trad­itional ground ovens and share stories.

“We want to share the culture so we can promote this region to the world,’’ she said.

“Nobody takes the Aboriginal belief systems seriously — it’s our belief system. I just wish that non-Aboriginal people will look and see the richness in our culture.’’

Ms McKenzie and her sister Vivienne, two of 13 children in the McKenzie clan and part of a wider 200 indigenous people in the area, will take their protest, supported by conservation groups, to federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg in Melbourne on Wednesday to stop a dump at Wallerberdina………

May 23, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

Former nuclear waste workers’ legal action over their radiation caused illness

justiceRadiation-Warning1Former McDonnell Douglas workers, residents file suit over radiation exposure, St Louis Public Radio By • MAY 20, 2016 Three former aircraft workers and seven north St. Louis County residents who say they were exposed to radioactive waste stored near Lambert Airport after World War II, have filed a federal lawsuit against Mallinckrodt and the Cotter Corporation.

They hope to join a larger case, filed in 2012, that represents about 250 plaintiffs who lived or worked near the airport waste siteColdwater Creek, and another storage site in HazelwoodContinue reading

May 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Crooked nuclear company SNC Lavalin. Is this one of the Nuclear Royal Commission’s advisors?

The numerous allegations against SNC-Lavalin and its subsidiaries helped Canada dominate a World Bank blacklist of corrupt companies.

Canadian companies represented 117 of the 600 firms on the list in 2013, that were banned from doing business with the World Bank. Most of them were SNC subsidiaries

corruption textSNC-Lavalin Named In Panama Papers The Huffington Post Canada  |  By  05/19/2016 Canadian construction and engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, already embroiled in corruption scandals in numerous countries around the world, can add one more black mark to its reputation: It has been named in the Panama Papers leak of offshore accounts, according to news reports.

Among the 11.5 million files in the Panama Papers were documents showing SNC-Lavalin paid a company in the Caribbean nearly $22 million to help secure contracts in Algeria, according to an investigation by the CBC and The Toronto Star.

The two news outlets are the Canadian partners of the consortium that has released the Panama Papers.

 SNC landed $4 billion-worth of contracts in Algeria over the span of a decade.

The CBC reports that the setup described in the Panama Papers is similar to how SNC-Lavalin operated in Libya, where the company has been accused of bribery. Continue reading

May 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adelaide prize contest for new green businesses


LONDON: Adelaide has launched a low carbon contest with an AU$250,000 (~US$187,000) prize, which is open to innovative entrepreneurs who can help the South Australian capital become the world’s first carbon neutral city.

South Australia’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur Prize will transform groundbreaking ideas from around the world into real projects, and is the first initiative of the ‘Adelaide to Zero Carbon Challenge’ which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while stimulating opportunities for pioneering green businesses. Continue reading

May 23, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment