Australian news, and some related international items

Government rules out public funds for #Adani coal project, activists claim

coal CarmichaelMine2WWF Australia says it has been advised by the federal director of the Liberal party,
Tony Nutt, that no taxpayer money will be sunk into the venture’ Joshua Robertson | The Guardian Australia

“A top Liberal party official has given “unambiguous” assurance that a future Turnbull government will not
sink public funds into Adani’s Queensland coal mining project, conservation groups have claimed. …
A spokeswoman for Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS)Imogen Zevothen, said
conservationists “strongly welcome this commitment from the Liberal party to rule out any public funding for Adani”. …
Zevothen said this meant “both major parties have now ruled out any public funding for Adani” after a
similar commitment from the opposition leader, Bill Shorten. Adani has most key project approvals in place
but has struggled to gain financial backing for the $16bn project amid a coal market slump … “

June 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

The past week in nuclear news

a-cat-CANWith 3 weeks to go until the federal election, watching the performance of our major parties is  a pretty unedifying sight.  If I hear the words “Jobs and Growth” one more time, I will do an Elvis Presley, and throw  a tomahawk at the TV set. (Did Elvis really do that?  But I digress) Today PM Turnbull mouthed a few motherhood statements about climate, but no policy there.  Labor is better, with a promising renewable energy policy.  (Of course, neither are breathing a word about Australia importing nuclear waste. Nor is Nick Xenophon, the rising star who might hold the balance of power after the election) ) The Greens have an economically  sound renewable energy plan.

I have emailed all Labor MPs, Senators and Candidates, asking each if they want to hold to Labor’s strong anti-nuclear policy, which bars importing nuclear waste, or if they would agree to change it. Few replies, so far, and most replies simply dodge the question Australians!  You could send your own t or use the sample at the end of this email.  Contact details for Australian politicians and candidates are here.

On the State scene, South Australian Labor Premier Weatherill and Liberal Opposition Leader Steven Marshall are off together for a little  nuclear lovefest in Finland, to look at Finland’s (not yet operative) nuclear waste repository.

The planned South Australian high level nuclear waste one will need to be up to 28 times the size of Finland’s. That’s around 112 square kms or 5,500 Adelaide ovals, 400 metres underground – and that’s not taking into consideration the 470,000 m3 of low and intermediate level nuclear waste.



Sample email  to Australian Labor politicians 

Dear Member of Parliament for the Australian Labor Party   (or Dear Labor Senator or Dear Labor Candidate)
Our  organisation is dedicated to maintaining Australia as an environmentally clean and progressive country. We are appalled at the idea of this country becoming a hub for receiving nuclear waste from foreign countries.
 As the Federal Election approaches, we are anxious to be sure of the Labor Party’s position on nuclear issues.
The 2015 National Policy Platform states:
  1. Labor will:
  • Vigorously and totally oppose the ocean dumping of radioactive waste; 
  • Prohibit the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia; 
  • Fully meet all Australia’s obligations as a party to the NPT; and 
  • Remain strongly opposed to the importation and storage of nuclear waste that is sourced from overseas in Australia.
The South Australian Labor government is promoting a move to import nuclear wastes.  In view of this, the National Labor Party will surely be re-examining the national policy.
Before deciding on our votes, we need to be sure of Labor policy on this issue.
 Will you vote to keep the present Labor policy as above, or will you vote to change it?
Address and phone number

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | 1 Comment

Some even more disturbing numbers on folly of South Australia nuclear waste import plan

Kim Mavromatis  10 June 16 MORE NUMBERS – 138,000 tonnes of high level nuclear waste in 69,000 high level radioactive waste canisters equates to a permanent underground nuclear waste dump size of around 112 square kms or 5,500 Adelaide ovals, 400 metres underground – and that’s not taking into consideration the 470,000 m3 of low and intermediate level nuclear waste.

waste burial Olkiluoto Island

You can’t seriously tell me they will be able to build one nuclear waste dump that big?? in ground where there is no seismic activity in SA. Say yes to one and we will have many – say yes to one and we will end up with a toxic white elephant that will do us in or an economic white elephant that will do us in.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Nick Xenophon Team has NO policy on nuclear wastes

How long can Senator Nick Xenophon sit on the fence regarding the plan for Australia to import the world’s nuclear waste?

Xenophon sitting on fence

Xenophon has said that he wants a referendum in South Australia, on this issue – BUT ONLY AFTER a dump site has been selected. 

Nuclear waste dumping was the main focus of questions at a recent Nick Xenophon forum.

The nuclear waste import plan is not just a matter for South Australia. It is  a critically important issue for all of Australia. With the federal election looming, it’s becoming apparent that the Nick Xenophon Team could well hold the balance of power, post election.

There’s no mention of nuclear issues in their national policy. Not good enough. Time Xenophon came clean  on whether or not he will fall in with the nuclear lobby’s plans.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2016 | Leave a comment

South Australia’s proposed nuclear waste import dump would be massively larger than Finland’s

Kim Mavromatis, 10 June 16  THE NUMBERS TELL A STORY
At the Royal Commission NFC event at the Hawke Centre in Adelaide (Wed June 1), Kevin Scarce made reference to Finland’s permanent underground high level Nuclear Waste dump, currently being built at Onkalo, which will have a capacity of 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes. Onkalo is featured in the must see doco “Into Eternity”( The Royal Commission NFC final report specifies a capacity of 138,000 tonnes of high level nuclear waste for the proposed Nuclear Waste dump in SA and Kevin Scarce highlighted this figure at the Hawke Centre Nuclear event.

Comparing the Nuclear Royal Commission numbers with Onkalo, it’s clear that the proposed Nuclear Waste dump in SA will be of mammoth proportions.

waste burial 3

Onkalo (Finland), permanent underground high level Nuclear Waste Dump :
• Capacity 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes high level nuclear waste,
• or 2,500 to 5,000 high level nuclear waste canisters.

Proposed SA Nuclear Waste Dump :
• Capacity 138,000 tonnes high level nuclear waste or 69,000 high level nuclear waste canisters.
• Capacity 390,000 m3 intermediate nuclear waste.
• Capacity 81,000 m3 low level nuclear waste.
• Above Ground Temporary facility Capacity 72,000 tonnes high level nuclear waste.
• Above Ground Temporary facility Capacity 175,000 m3 Intermediate nuclear waste.

Just for high level nuclear waste alone, it will require a waste dump 14 to 28 times the size of Onkalo (69,000 high level nuclear waste canisters). And for decades, half of the high level nuclear waste will be stored above ground in a temporary facility. Imagine the risk of nuclear holocaust with all that high level nuclear waste in the one location?

And the preferred site for the proposed Federal govnt’s low and intermediate level nuclear waste dump, in the Flinders Ranges, is in an area where there is regular earthquake activity.

How smart are these people?????

I suspect if the state govnt say yes to one Nuclear Waste Dump (low, intermediate, high), the floodgates will open and there won’t just be one Nuclear Waste Dump site in South Australia, there will be many (50, 100 ????). And saying yes in SA will also open the floodgates to the rest of Australia. And I question whether they’ll stop at 138,000 tonnes (69,000 canisters) of high level nuclear waste????? If the state govnt takes us down this path and we become the world’s nuclear waste dump, there is no turning back

June 10, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, South Australia, wastes | 3 Comments

South Australia’s Labor and Liberal leaders for nuclear jaunt together to Finland

Tweedle-NuclearWeatherill, Marshall to make bipartisan trip to permanent nuke waste dump in Finland June 9, 2016 , Daniel Wills and Luke Griffiths,The Advertiser

PREMIER Jay Weatherill and Opposition Leader Steven Marshall will make a bipartisan trip to Finland in August and visit the world’s first long-term nuclear waste storage facility……

The bipartisan delegation to Finland will also include members of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency Advisory Board, which is overseeing statewide consultation on the proposal as the State Government considers whether to proceed.

It will visit the Onkalo nuclear waste facility in northern Finland, where the country plans to bury its own spent fuel in a labyrinth of tunnels 520m under the ground for permanent storage.  Onkalo is expected to accept fuel for 100 years before being sealed for eternity. The facility is currently under construction is expected to become operational within a decade.

Mr Weatherill said it was critical to see first-hand the kind of facility SA could build.

“The research and evidence shows SA can safely deepen its involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle,” he said. “I want to see first-hand what this might look like and see what lessons Finland can share with us, should this be something South Australians want to consider.”

“To make an informed decision later this year, it’s important that I understand the concept of deep geological disposal. This bipartisan visit to the Onkalo site will allow us to learn valuable lessons from the Finnish experience, which we will share with the SA community.”

Mr Marshall said it’s important there is a bipartisan investigation of the opportunity and co-operation during the community consultation process.

 Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride,…….was part of a Committee for Economic Development of Australia panel on Thursday that discussed the pros and cons of a nuclear waste facility.

Also on the panel was Greg Ward, chief of staff to the Nuclear Royal Commission…….

June 10, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Australian researchers call for more coastal monitoring in the face of expected climate change impacts

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Bob Berwyn–June storms highlight impacts of rising seas, shifting storm patterns.

Just after the Australian government announced massive cuts to the country’s science agency, researchers are warning that there’s more of a need than ever to track climate change impacts.

A series of recent storms that lashed Australia’s east coast are reminder that rising sea level presents a growing threat to coastal communities, according scientists with the University of New South Wales.

“The damage we’ve seen is a harbinger of what’s to come,” said Ian Turner, director of the Water Research Laboratory at the University of New South Wales. “Climate change is not only raising the oceans and threatening foreshores, but making our coastlines much more vulnerable to storm damage. What are king high tides today will be the norm within decades.”  Continue.–Australian researchers call for more coastal monitoring in the face of expected climate change impacts |…

View original post 5 more words

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Greens move to prevent vested interests profiting from Federal nuclear waste dump

greensSmFederal election 2016: Greens would put nuke dump on hold, THE AUSTRALIAN, JUNE 10, 2016  The Greens are pushing to stockpile radioactive waste in suburban Sydney, pending an independent inquiry that would expressly ­exclude evidence from anyone who might profit from a dedicated ­nuclear dump.

The party’s nuclear policy would cancel the process led by Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg that has identified farmland at Barndioota, 400km north of Adelaide, as a potential nuclear waste site, despite objections raised by some traditional owners.

Under the policy, exports of Australian nuclear medicine to overseas patients would be curbed and research would be funded to find alternatives to radiotherapy.

The proposed independent ­inquiry would be charged with recom­mending a long-term solution to storing nuclear waste — typically, used medical equipment and spent fuel rods from Sydney’s Lucas Heights reactor — without imposing a dump site on reluctant communities.

In the meantime, intermediate-level nuclear waste would contin­ue to be warehoused at the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney’s south.

The inquiry would hear from community groups and experts in engineering, social science, envir­onmental science, community consultation, radiation and medicine, the policy says.

However, witnesses deemed to have a “conflict of interest” — that is, those who might profit from the storage of nuclear waste — would be excluded from the process.

“The Greens policy delivers a way forward by redirecting existing funding of $30 million from the current process to a new deliberative public inquiry focused on transparency and evidence to come up with the best possible ­solutions,” South Australian Greens senator Robert Simms said.

The policy adds to the growing list of demands that Bill Shorten would face in exchange for the minor party’s support in the event of a hung parliament……..

The Greens’ proposed inquiry would run alongside a separate royal commission into British ­nuclear testing in South Australia and Western Australia in the 1950s and 1960s.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | election 2016, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

The Great Barrier Reef and the subtle power of ‘psychological distance’

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

This photo released on 20 April, 2016 by XL Catlin Seaview Survey shows a turtle swimming over bleached coral at Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Don HIne.–If the federal government wants Australians to ignore the Great Barrier Reef as it dies beside us, it has done a masterful job by scrubbing all mentions of the reef from the latest UN climate change report.

The government’s actions have been described as Soviet in style and intent but the political thuggery pales compared to the activation of a subtler and more powerful effect known as psychological distance.

Psychological distance is a construct that measures the “distance” of an event or object in terms of geography, time, cultural similarity and factual certainty. If something is nearby, likely to occur soon, involves people like you, and the facts are certain, that “something” is considered psychologically close. The closer…

View original post 44 more words

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is this what Australia will need? Nuclear waste guards with assault rifles

policeman i assault rifleSecurity Guards at San Onofre, 5 Other Nuclear Power Plants Now Allowed to Carry Assault Rifles, JUNE 8, 2016, BY ,  U.S. nuclear regulators have granted Southern California Edison permission to arm private security guards at the defunct San Onofre power plant with assault rifles and “ammunition feeding devices.”

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted Edison and five other nuclear power plants the special exemptions as a way to secure the facilities and the spent nuclear waste they store on-site…….

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chernobyl radiation still causing Thyroid cancers 30 years later

The authors conclude that it is likely that radiation exposure from Chernobyl has affected residents of countries much further afield than Belarus and Ukraine including Belgium, potentially increasing the incidence of thyroid cancer in those exposed as children over the last 30 years.

thyroid-cancer-papillaryChernobyl radiation could be linked to rising number of thyroid cancers in Belgian children  Source:Taylor & Francis

Exposure to radioactive fallout from the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Belgium may have increased the incidence of thyroid cancer in those exposed as children.
Exposure to radioactive fallout from the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Belgium may have increased the incidence of thyroid cancer in those exposed as children, according to new research published in the journal Acta Chirurgica Belgica.

Thyroid cancer is usually rare among children, with less than one new case per million diagnosed each year. However, after the Chernobyl accident a striking increase in the disease was reported in children and teenagers in the most contaminated areas of Belarus and Ukraine. Now, this new research from Belgium suggests countries further afield were also affected. Continue reading

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radiation levels at Bikini Atoll have not dropped. as was expected

Bikini-Atoll-bombBikini Atoll radiation levels remain alarmingly high
New measurements made decades after Pacific island used to test nuclear bombs 

Radiation from the 23 nuclear tests conducted near Bikini Atoll in the 1940s and ’50s has lingered far longer than previously predicted.


Scientists had predicted that, by now, radiation levels would have dropped to 16 to 24 millirems per year. But those estimates came from extrapolating from measurements made in the 1970s. The mismatch probably stems from incorrect assumptions about how rapidly radioactive material washes off the island, proposes study coauthor Emlyn Hughes, a physicist at Columbia University.

Whether the higher radiation levels pose a serious health risk to caretakers who live on the island for part of the year depends on how long they stay on the island and whether the local fruit they eat is safe, Hughes says.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Over 400 American sailors made ill by Fukushima radiation

Radiation-Warning1Flag-USASpike in number of US sailors dying after Fukushima radiation exposure — Now over 400 veterans suffering serious illnesses — Former Japan Prime Minister breaks down crying, “This can’t be ignored any longer… The number of sick people is increasing and their symptoms are worsening” (VIDEOS)

Kyodo, May 19, 2016: Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has thrown his support behind a group of former U.S. sailors suing the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant… Speaking at a news conference Tuesday in Carlsbad, California, with some of the plaintiffs, Koizumi said, “Those who gave their all to assist Japan are now suffering from serious illness… I learned that the number of sick people is still increasing, and their symptoms are worsening,” he told the news conference… According to lawyers for the group, seven of its members have died so far, including some from leukemia [Three deaths had been reported as of last July].

Asahi Shimbun, May 19, 2016: Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi broke down in tears as he made an emotional plea of support for U.S. Navy sailors beset by health problems… More than 400 veterans who were part of a mission called Operation Tomodachi… filed a mass lawsuit in California against [TEPCO]. They are seeking compensation and an explanation for theirhealth problems… Koizumi said: “U.S. military personnel who did their utmost in providing relief are now suffering from serious illnesses. We cannot ignore the situation.” Apparently overcome with emotion, Koizumi started crying… Theodore Holcomb [was] diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. He died in 2014 at age 35. TheDepartment of Veterans Affairs later cut off a study into the causal relationship between his exposure to radiation and his illness… Ron Wright, 26, worked on the deck [and] developed a swelling of the testicles and underwent surgery four times… A military doctor told him there was no relationship between his illness and exposure to radiation.

CBS San Diego, May 18, 2016: Sick sailors meet with Japan’s former prime minister… The USS Reagan sailed through a nuclear plume and crews had to spend hours decontaminating the vessel. Sailors now say they are suffering from radiation exposure. “Honestly, I just want to feel better,” said Chad Holt, who served on the USS Ronald Reagan… “A lot of people, they can’t physically see something wrong with you. They think there is nothing wrong with you. That is not the case what we are living with on a daily basis,” said Daniel Hair, who is now retired from the Navy… “I realized this is something that can’t be skipped over, can’t be ignored any longerThe three claims of being safe, cheap and clean were all lies,” [Koizumi] said.

NBC San Diego, May 18, 2016: Many of the sailors say doctors refused to connect their illnesses with the radiation exposure. “You have to experience it,” said William Zeller. “You have to experience the doctor telling you to your face. You have to experience the years of pain when everyone tells you ‘You know you’re fine.’”… “I realize this is not something that can be just skipped over and can’t be ignored any longer,” [Koizumi] said. “Everyone played a role in not shedding more light on this problem…” Koizumi said… The sailors’ attorney said they have won their case against Tokyo Electric Power Company twice, however the company has appealed the judge’s decisions. It is still unclear how exactly the sailors will be compensated…

San Diego Union Tribune, May 17, 2016: Koizumi [said] he believes the service members’ illnesses, reported to include leukemia and tumors, were caused by the 2011 exposure, despite U.S. government findings to the contrary… Koizumi said the Japanese government and [TEPCO] should support the radiation-exposed U.S troops financially and “across the board.”

Watch broadcasts here: CBS | NBC

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s environment must remain an issue for NATIONAL, not just STATEs’ oversight

This week the Greens announced an ambitious policy for new national environment laws and an independent body to oversee and enforce them. The Greens’ policy on environmental democracy and its commitment to resource Environmental Defenders Officers would enable communities to hold government decision makers to account based on the merits of their decisions.

The truth is Australia’s nature protection laws are not adequately protecting our air, water, wildlife and places we love. The laws that protect nature are the foundations of a thriving Australia, but it’s clear they are not strong enough to keep the places we love safe and healthy.

The environment is not merely a matter for state governments Why is the federal government so keen to give up national oversight of the environment, asks James TreziseIn regional Australia, coal mining and coal seam gas have altered landscapes forever, polluted water supplies and divided communities.

This came into sharp focus on Monday night’s Q&A program – shot in front of a live audience in Tamworth, NSW – where national environment laws came bursting right into the election frame.

From the get-go Barnaby Joyce was pegged down by a ropable community in Tamworth, frustrated at government failure to protect their farms and water supplies from invasive mining projects.

The Deputy Prime Minister tried to crab walk away from the awkward reality that his government approved the development of the Shenhua coal mine, a highly unpopular proposal at the edge of his New England electorate.

The crowd was unimpressed by Mr Joyce’s attempts to downplay the federal government’s ability to influence decisions on the environment. He claimed the states had all the power.

Former longstanding New England MP Tony Windsor appeared to be the local favourite on the night.

In 2013 Mr Windsor played a key role in having a “Water Trigger” added to our national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The rationale for the legislative change was that state government had not been sufficiently protecting groundwater resources. This has been clear for all to see at Chinchilla, where groundwater has been polluted by an experimental underground coal gasification project.

Three decades prior to the introduction of the water trigger the federal government’s role in protecting Australia’s environment was cemented by the historic Franklin Dam case. Continue reading

June 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Election 2016: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders unite

Launch of the #RedfernStatement 2016
“The #RedfernStatement at a glance:
The Statement calls on the next Federal Government to:
– Restore the $534m cut from the Indigenous Affairs Portfolio by the 2014 Budget.
– Commit to better and ongoing engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through their representative national peaks.
– Recommit to Closing the Gap by:
i. setting targets to reduce rates of family violence, incarceration and out-of-home care and increase access to disability support services; and
ii. securing national funding agreements to drive the implementation of national strategies.
– Commit to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to establish a Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the future.
– Commit to address the unfinished business of reconciliation.”

June 10, 2016 Posted by | election 2016 | Leave a comment