Australian news, and some related international items

DemocracyCo advises on streaming of Nuclear Citizens Jury hearings in Adelaide

Emily from democracyCo here.
Jury (1)The Lifestream sessions will be up tomorrow on this website. First session will be from 9.20am. We are also transcribing all presentation & Q&A sessions with the Jury – we can’t transcribe workshop sessions though, too tricky! On Facebook & Twitter you will also be able to find updates throughout the day.


a-cat-CANFor any credibility, the hearings with witnesses would need to be available on video and audio, and preferably televised. I fear that NewDemocracyCo  is being played by the Nuclear Royal Commission and the Weatherill government.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

National Labor opposes nuclear waste importing: an obstacle to South Australia’s plan

logo-ALPtext-NoLabor’s national policy against nuclear could create issues for SA’s waste dump proposal By Leah Maclennan Labor may oppose a high-level nuclear waste dump, even if the South Australian Government decides to build one, a federal Labor MP says.

The State Labor Government is consulting on the proposal following the recommendations of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

But Labor MP Nick Champion told a forum in Adelaide that he is against it, and would not want one in his electorate, which covers the northern suburbs and the Barossa Valley.

“I think the transport of it. I think the actual construction of it, the fact that nobody in the world has done it,” Mr Champion said. “Canada hasn’t done it. I think the Fins have only just established one, I think there is a lot more thinking that would have to go into it before we embarked on such a route.”

Mr Champion also raised the issue of the Labor Party’s policies, saying it has a national position in opposition to a high-level nuclear waste dump.

“There’d be some interesting debates at the national conference as there has been for the last three decades on nuclear issues,” he said

“But at the moment our platform opposes a high-level nuclear waste dump and so I suspect that’s the way the policy will be.”

Liberal senator Simon Birmingham told the forum it was the strongest opposition he has heard from a Labor MP.

“I’ve heard Bill Shorten and Penny Wong and Anthony Albanese express reservations about a nuclear waste dump before but I think Nick has put the party platform and position more clearly today than I’ve actually heard from a lot of others,” he said.

“For South Australians who think there is a good opportunity for our economy here, and [Premier] Jay Weatherill appears to be one of them, that’s a concerning proposition that you’ve put that it would seem to be very hard to get cooperation from a federal Labor government if SA is to go down this pathway.”

The federal Liberal Government has said it would work cooperatively with the South Australian Government if it decides to go ahead with the plan.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

S Australia’s Nuclear Citizens Jury – dubious panel, dubious public accessability

a-cat-CANomigawd I can’t believe that they are classing nuclear business lobbyists Nigel NcBride Citizens' Jury scrutinyand Jason Kuchel as “experts” on nuclear science.

This Citizens jury panel is worse than I expected it to be. As for the link to “streaming” – it does not lead you there. It leads you to the Nuclear Royal Commission’s page where you’re invited to “register for discussion”. So much for public access to the hearings. This is a charade of the Citizens Jury Process.

To have any credibility a Citizens Jury on this nationally important matter should be televised, or at very least available as video, audio and transcript.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Greens the only party firmly opposed to an international high level waste dump in South Australia.

greensMark Parnell MLC
State Parliamentary Leader, Greens SA

Renewable Energy
We are currently heading towards a climate catastrophe. Our planet is warming, sea levels are rising, and we are living through hotter summers and more extreme weather events. Australia’s economic future is clean and green and it makes economic sense to act now. The Greens’ plan for a clean energy powered economywill secure all the benefits of lower prices, better technologies, more jobs and significant export opportunities for innovative technologies and services developed and produced in Australia.

Nuclear Waste
With the iconic Flinders Ranges being targeted as a dumping ground for nuclear waste, the Greens are standing alongside the Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners and the wider community to stop this ill-conceived project. The Greens are the only Party with a policy on Nuclear Waste and the only one with a track record on this issue. Managing Australia’s own nuclear waste requires a comprehensive audit and study of all the options, not just dumping the waste on Aboriginal Land.  We’re also the only party standing against the sheer lunacy of an international high level waste dump in South Australia.


June 24, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Nuclear Citizens Jury to have a ?scientific panel

Citizens' Jury scrutinyA businessman, an environmentalist and an oncologist walked into a citizens’ jury… Passionate advocates and fierce opponents of a state-based high-level nuclear waste dump will confront the first Citizens’ Jury debating the issue over the weekend.

Business SA chief Nigel McBride, who last week confirmed his organisation was now “advocating actively and positively for a high-level waste repository” will join a panel of prominent figures to debate the issues and field questions from the 50 jurors on Sunday.

McBride will butt heads with the likes of Conservation Council SA chief Craig Wilkins, who has strongly argued against increasing SA’s involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.

They will join SA’s chief scientist Dr Leanna Read, SA Native Title Services CEO Keith Thomas and ethicist Simon Longstaff on the panel, along with mining lobbyist Jason Kuchel, Kelly-Anne Saffin from the Northern and Yorke Regional Development Australia and Michael Penniment, Director of Radiation Oncology at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency chief executive Madeline Richardson said in a statement the panel was “a dynamic way of exploring some of the big issues in an open and informative way”, with the discussion to be livestreamed to the public.

“It is about letting everyday South Australians frame what the community should focus on, rather than the Government, politicians or lobby groups setting the agenda,” she said.

The jury will meet for four days across two weekends to identify key issues that require further debate.

Jury convenor Emily Jenke, from DemocracyCo, said the panel discussion was “designed to stretch the jurors’ thinking, spark ideas and explore issues through presentations by speakers who can elevate the conversation”.

“We know jurors want to hear from people who have strong opinions, and also people who have specific expertise,” she said.

“The group is made up of a range of people – leaders, experts and people with a specific interest – and that’s the balance we are looking for.”

Topics such as health, Aboriginal heritage, environment, industry, ethics, community, business and potential reputational damage will be canvassed.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Taxpayers $100,000,000 to be spent up front BEFORE any decision on South Australia nuclear waste importing

text-my-money-2Valdis Dunis‎    Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia 24 June 16
 Another A$100,000,000 to be spent on studies for a nuclear waste dump?

Last night on Adelaide ABC TV News, The Royal Commission’s Jacob Engineering Manager Tim Johnson was interviewed after his submission to SA Parliament yesterday. He stated for the government to be certain that a waste dump would be feasible technically and financially would – like any large technical engineering program – require detailed analysis, and given the complexity Jacob’s estimate is about A$100M that the State Government would have to spent upfront BEFORE we could confirm a yes/no to make sure it will work and make money for us.

Should we spend $100M on more nuclear analysis, or spend the money instead on renewables and other services in our state?…/2016/02/JOHNSON-Tim-489-496.pdf

June 24, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia joins the nuclear marketing push to India

India-uranium1Australia backs India to join nuclear supplier club, China hesitates
June 23, 2016 Daniel Flitton Senior Correspondent Australia will formally back India to join the club of nuclear suppliers at a summit in Seoul on Friday, a move that will finally lay to rest a bitter stoush over selling uranium to the nuclear armed giant.

But China has signalled it could veto the bid because India has refused to sign the international treaty to stop the spread of atomic weapons.

Toshiba WestinghouseThe US is strongly backing India to join the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, seen as the last hurdle to allow international trade in nuclear materials to India.

The bid has been complicated by a late application from Pakistan to also join the group. India and Pakistan have each built atomic arsenals, but insist they only want access to nuclear materials to generate electricity. The potential sale of uranium to India has a long history and is seen as a test of great power rivalry in the region.

Australia fell out with India during the Kevin Rudd years after Labor junked a Howard-era deal to sell uranium to New Delhi on a promise the yellowcake would only be used for peaceful purposes. Mr Rudd insisted allowing India an exemption would weaken global rules, with an angry India insisting it had never spread nuclear technology.

A fierce debate later erupted within Labor after Julia Gillard decided to reverse Australia’s position and back the deal.

Labor’s national platform now calls for the export of uranium “only under the most stringent conditions” and to countries signed up to the non-proliferation treaty, which limits the number of nuclear armed nations and pledges to work toward disarmament.

Tweedle-NuclearBut Labor has granted India an exception as “an important strategic partner for Australia” despite concern over an Abbott government deal that safeguards on uranium sales to India are too weak and parliamentary calls for additional controls.

Australian diplomats at the meeting in Seoul will “strongly support” India’s application but have yet to commit on Pakistan’s bid.

There is a wait-and-see approach to Pakistan on how it will control export of nuclear materials, given the record of the country’s former chief scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan in providing nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea.

Any country in the nuclear suppliers group effectively wields a veto as the organisation makes decisions only by consensus. China, one of five countries recognised as nuclear-armed nations under international law, has flagged its objection to allowing India into the group without signing the non-proliferation treaty.

But India has refused to sign on, given this would mean surrendering its nuclear weapons.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Australians have saved $4.4bn in a few years, with solar rooftops

the report estimated solar owners will avoid 6.3m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 – which they found is equivalent to taking a third of all trucks off Australian roads.

logo-Solar-Citizens-Solar Citizens found 80% of federal electorates have more voters with rooftop solar USA election 2016than would be required to change their sitting members. And of the electorates with the highest numbers of solar owners, seven out of the top 10 were now held by Coalition MPs.

Australians have spent almost $8bn on rooftop solar since 2007, says report Solar Citizens says since the 2012-13 financial year, rooftop solar owners have saved about $1bn on their household bills each year, Guardian, , 22 June 16, Australian households and small businesses have invested more than $1bn a year in rooftop solar over the past five years, spending a total of almost $8bn since 2007, new calculations show.


In its latest State of Solar report, Solar Citizens – which campaigns for, and represents the interests of, solar owners – has for the first time estimated Australian’s out-of-pocket investment in rooftop solar, how much money it has saved consumers, and how much carbon it has abated. Continue reading

June 24, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

New South Wales leading the nation with large scale solar farms

solar PV nyngan NSWNSW to double existing solar farm capacity with four new plants approved, SMH,  ENVIRONMENT EDITOR, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD  23 JUNE 16 The Baird government has granted planning approval for four new large-scale solar plants, potentially more than doubling the existing capacity in the state.

The four plants approved for construction have a combined capacity of 175 megawatts (MW), and would generate another electricity for 56,000 homes if built. “NSW is Australia’s large-scale solar leader, with the country’s three largest solar farms and hundreds of megawatts of solar electricity capacity online and in the pipeline,” planning minister Rob Stokes said. Continue reading

June 24, 2016 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear waste dilemma

WASTES-1Flag-USANuclear waste, anyone? Feds look to willing states, The Orange County Register, June 22, 2016  By TERI SFORZA / STAFF WRITER Federal officials unleashed bubbles of hope in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday – we’re developing a plan that can remove deadly nuclear waste from San Onofre earlier than we thought! – while others worked feverishly to pop them.

Speaking to a raucous audience at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center, John Kotek, the U.S. Department of Energy’s acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy, detailed the federal government’s new push for temporary nuclear waste storage in regions allegedly eager for the business.

Several such “consent-based” sites – currently envisioned in West Texas and New Mexico – could be up and running while the prickly question of finding a permanent home for the waste is hashed out……..

Some in Texas and New Mexico say they’ll never consent to importing our deadly castoffs, and they’re ready to do battle.

“Please be aware that many people in Texas and New Mexico are solidly opposed to having high-level radioactive waste stored in our region,” said Karen Hadden of the Sustainable Energy & Economic Development Coalition, a Texas-based nonprofit focusing on clean energy and public health, in a letter to San Onofre officials.

The DOE scheduled eight meetings about consent around the country, but none in Texas or New Mexico, the targeted region. … Dumping this dangerous waste on communities that are largely Hispanic and lack the resources to fight back, people who never had a say in the nuclear reactors to begin with or benefited from any electricity from them, would be an extreme example of environmental injustice.”

The Texas Democratic Party has gone on record opposing the import of nuclear waste, conjuring the stalemate at Yucca Mountain. The federal government spent $10 billion to put a permanent repository there, despite the opposition of Nevada residents. That effort is essentially dead……

Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane explained the tortured landscape: a Congress that only sees two, four and six years into the future, and is satisfied that the waste is safe where it is today, at 75 different sites across the nation; utilities that want to reduce costs, and thus aren’t eager to make changes; a Department of Energy that doesn’t have the legal authority to solve the problem entirely; and a Department of Justice that is paying billions to utilities from a judgment fund of taxpayer money, because the federal government promised the utilities it would permanently dispose of that waste in exchange for payments, but has failed utterly to do so……

Macfarlane,-AllisonIt’s our ethical responsibility to not stick this problem to future generations, Macfarlane said to applause from the audience.

“I’m not hopeful new physics will be discovered to magic this stuff away. We have to grapple with it. It’s there.”

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment