Australian news, and some related international items

Time to take a stand against nuclear waste dumps

a-cat-CANThis is not just a South Australian issue – no matter how much the Weatherill govetnment, F3ederal government, and spineless mass media pretend that it is.

People who care will be demonstrating in other States, too, against making Australia the world’s nuclear toilet.

Australia nuclear toilet

Parnell, MarkMark Parnell, 10 October 16 With the South Australian State Labor Government pushing on with its plans to make our state the world’s dumping ground for nuclear waste, there are just a few short weeks left for you to have your say.

The Government is set to make a decision whether or not to proceed with planning for the dump before the end of the year. They want feedback before November, so the next few weeks will be vital. Please send a message to the State Government if you don’t want SA to become a nuclear waste dumping ground.

You can use the Government’s on-line survey, email or ring 1800 842 563 to have your say in person.

Also, this weekend I hope you can join me at Adelaide’s rally for the National Day of Action Against Nuclear Waste Dumps in SA:

11am, Saturday 15 October 2016

Parliament House steps, North Terrace, Adelaide

I’ll be speaking, and standing alongside fellow concerned South Australians who know that nuclear waste is the wrong way for SA. You can click ‘Attending’ on the Facebook event page to show your support and let others know it’s happening this Saturday.

Please invite your friends and family to make sure we leave the Government in no doubt about how many South Australians share our vision of a nuclear-free future for SA.


October 10, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

South Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

Wednesday 12 October, Constitution Room, Parliament House   Members of the public wishing to attend should report to reception in Centre Hall of Parliament House and they will be escorted to the meeting room.

9am – 10am
Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)

Kerry Colbong – Chief Executive, Aboriginal Lands Trust


A Joint Committee of the South Australian Parliament has been established to consider the findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, focusing on the issues associated with the establishment of a nuclear waste storage facility, and to provide advice, and report on, any South Australian Government legislative, regulatory or institutional arrangements, and any other matter that the Committee sees fit. Submissions and expressions of interest to give oral evidence were invited before 1 July 2016.

October 10, 2016 Posted by | ACTION, politics | Leave a comment

Will South Australia’s Nuclear Citizens’ jury be fed lies and half-truths?

Parnell, MarkNuclear waste storage plan prompts more citizens’ jury debate in South Australia, ABC 7
Oct 16, 
Greens leader Mark Parnell is worried members of the South Australian Government’s citizens’ jury are not getting all the facts as they consider whether the state should pursue a nuclear future.

The Government is considering a royal commission’s recommendation that SA store high-to-intermediate-grade nuclear waste, most likely in the outback.

A citizens’ jury of more than 300 people is meeting in Adelaide this weekend to hear a range of expert views, the second such process after a first jury pondered the business case at a weekend forum back in July.

Mr Parnell said he was worried the citizens were not getting the best information, especially as the Government pointed out other countries with nuclear waste storage facilities.

citizen jury

“The Government seems keen on promoting this idea that Finland have got all the answers,” he said. “The Finland facility isn’t finished, it’s been 30 years in the making, it’s at least six or eight years away from taking any nuclear waste.

“What’s proposed for South Australia is 20 times bigger.”……..

SA senator Nick Xenophon said citizens’ juries might have a role, but could not replace taking the nuclear issue to the wider community.

“The ultimate citizens’ jury to decide an issue so big, so momentous for SA has to be 1.2 million South Australian voters at a referendum,” he said…….

[Mark Parnell said] “I’m worried that the [current] parliamentary committee won’t have finished its work, and the most important bit of work that is needed I think is a second and third economic opinion.”………

October 10, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Inconvenient responses on the South Australian govt’s Nuclear Your Say site

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankruptSarah Huang “……… I have fell in love with the beautiful diverse ecosystem and landscape we preserve. Australia is known for its beautiful nature …… Infact the government should already know that we receive a large chunk of income from tourism after agriculture….

By taking the sum of money for this nuclear waste will not improve the economy on the long term. South Australia cannot take the risk, the risk is too great. If, even with the slightest chance of 0.001%, just if there was a leakage, the damage will be irreversible, South Australia will turn into my nightmare…..

Honestly, I doubt that sum of money not make any significant impact to benefit us individually. There are many better ways to establish and improve the economy…… Whatever the solution is, making our sanctuary, South Australia a nuclear dumpsite shouldn’t be one of them….

Rosanna Cappelluti “……they say that there would be no leakage, no problems with how they are stored – but how do they know? Its only been since what?, the 60’s that this stuff has been needing to be stored, that’s only 50+ years – its not hundreds of years, thousands of years…. how do they REALLY know and they will never know because THIS government won’t be around to know – its leaving an uncertain, unwanted legacy to future children who will not have made this decision.

There are articles out there that say that the containers that are meant to prevent leakage and keep people safe ARE leaking and not keeping people safe and no one is following proper procedures to ensure safety… what makes SA Government think they are going to get this right!!! when other countries who actually deal with nuclear waste cant even get it right ..

October 10, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Comments on the SA govt’s Nuclear Your Say site

safety-symbolSteve Charles Today the Premier said regarding yesterday’s state-wide power outage that “no infrastructure can be built that will withstand a catastrophic event”, yet he is expecting us to believe that the building of a massive high level nuclear waste dump in SA will be safe. What planet is he on? Power was restored to most of the State within a few hours, but an event that would disrupt the nuclear dump will take millions of years to recover from and potentially ruin the economy of SA.
Anonymous Hiroshima and Nagasaki were tiny bombs in comparison the the huge accumulation of high level waste that will be stored in a facility that will eventually crumble anyway and release its contents into the environment. We are also talking about transporting this material from around the world to SA, a process that will continue for many years. As with yesterday’s power event, you can’t predict what could go wrong so it would be foolish to expose the population of SA to such risks.From what I understand the plan is to store nuclear waste above ground until they can afford to build the underground facilities.
Does anyone believe they will actually get around to building the underground facilities in their lifetime? There will always be more important things to do like topping up politicians retirement funds.

Now consider this if you support the concept of above ground nuclear storage. What would it take to turn the storage plant into a massive dirty bomb?

Not much I am afraid an ICBM will do it. North Korea has those. Never mind the super powers.

October 10, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Turnbull government has misused clean energy funds

corruption 1Unlawful reallocation of clean energy investment by the Coalition, Independent Australia, 8 October 2016,  John Ward discusses the Turnbull Government’s misuse of Clean Energy Finance Corporation funds. 

THERE IS NOW clear evidence of misleading and deceptive conduct by members of the Coalition Government.

This crookedness needs to be exposed.

The sectional interests of our government ministers’ corporate donors are taking precedence over the national interest and the sustainability of financing for the renewable energy industry.

In 2015, then treasurer Joe Hockey and finance minister Mathias Cormann directed theClean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to exclude investments in household and small-scale solar from the $10 billion fund in the future. The draft investment mandate called for ‘mature and established clean energy technologies … including wind technology and household small-scale solar’ to be excluded from the Corporation’s activities.

Interestingly, the authority to make such changes can only come from the Parliament, not the executive. The Executive Council cannot change an act of parliament. The Parliament also authorises the government to spend public money — not the other way around.

Any change, such as the revocation of a part and/or a new investment mandate to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012, may only be modified by amendments made, requested or agreed to by the senate. Stephen Keim SC has provided advice to environmental groups about the government’s ability to direct the CEFC. He said the government had the power to put in place an investment mandate but it had to “tread a fairly thin line”.

During 1998, American Petroleum Institute (API), the USA’s largest oil trade association (member companies include BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon-Mobil and Shell) planned a “roadmap” for a climate of deception, including a plan to have “average citizens” believe that the realities of climate science were vague and uncertain.

Australians have been subject to fraudulent and misleading representations regarding climate change over the past ten years by the people we elected.

The direct effect of the CEFC responsible ministers acting as de facto or shadow directors of the CEFC has been to create the perception that Australian policy support for clean energy is uncertain or diminished.

These are the same negative outcomes envisaged by the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) 1998 campaign.

A third entity involved in this deception is lobby group the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). The IPA was founded by a conglomerate of like-minded groups at the same time as the Liberal Party formed in 1943-44, after the break-up of the United Australia Party. The policy agenda of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has been linked directly to Coalition policy ever since…….

Prime Minister Turnbull, Deputy Prime Minister Joyce, Former Prime Minister Abbott, Ministers Pyne, Hockey, Cormann and Hunt are attempting to falsely convince the public that the Cabinet can re-purpose and re-direct legislation without going back through the Parliament. These changes to the CEFC Act 2012 are still to be legislated. ……..

Let’s consider the limits the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012 imposes on the responsible ministers’ mandate.

Section 65 states:

The responsible Ministers must not give a direction under subsection 64(1):

(a)  that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of directly or indirectly requiring the Board to, or not to, make a particular investment; or

(b) that is inconsistent with this Act (including the object of this Act).

The object of  Act is to facilitate increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector.

Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann attempted to skirt around the law. If this gross ideological interference had not happened, the growth and jobs in the clean energy industry might have delivered some real balance to the downturns in other parts of the economy.

The Coalition Government is in contempt of Parliament. Its ministers have betrayed our trust. The Caolition and the IPA are still using the same script and still following the API’s line of climate deception.

There are strong connections between the API and the IPA’s disinformation and the Coalition’s campaign aims.

The links are there. The wrongs have been done. Let’s promote public debate on this matter.,9567#.V_loHsmJvtk.twitter

October 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Another ceiling collapse at America’s nuclear waste dump

WIPPWaste Isolation Pilot Plant sees third ceiling text-relevantcollapse, Aiken Standard,  By Thomas Gardiner

The first collapse was discovered Sept. 27, and the following two happened this past week. The third collapse was identified on Friday morning and was found to have followed the cave-in earlier in the week.

According to a WIPP update sent Friday evening, the area of the collapse continues to remain restricted for workers and employees. According to SRS Watch Director Tom Clements, who has been inside the facility, material regularly comes off of the walls and ceiling.

WIPP is an underground facility, cut into salt beds. Over time, groundwater and other natural forces are designed to form the salt deposits around the waste containers. He said the facility was designed to encase the nuclear waste buried there to permanently dispose of the material…

The WIPP facility was shut down in 2014 after a containment leak and an underground salt-truck fire. The facility is set to reopen in December 2016 and shipments are expected to resume in the fall of 2017.

WIPP is the intended resting place for some of the nuclear material at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site near Aiken. The Energy Department is currently disposing of plutonium through a process called dilute and dispose. That material is among those eventually intended for WIPP disposal.

According to the WIPP update, emergency evacuation routes were also out of date. The routes were still based on the facility before sections were closed, including the areas where the cave-ins occurred. The update said, “The Department of Energy identified a deficiency in the WIPP Mine Escape and Evacuation Plan, which still relied on evacuation routes established before some areas had been posted as prohibited. NWP had identified compensatory measures – immediate changes that could be made while the Evacuation Plan is formally updated.”

October 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Comments on Facebook about the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury

Citizens' Jury scrutinyPenny Campton  No High Level International Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia    What I saw as an observer left me very disturbed. An Orwellian process where opposition to this is constantly belittled- and much credence given to the pro lobby as the only people who ‘really understand’ the process. Emotion is seen as a total negative- sociopathic logic rules- a sleepless night after seeing this strange circus masquerading as democracy in process….Really hope i am proved wrong and that the 350 jurors can see this for what it really is and not get swayed by the hype of the pro nuclear mob….

Brett Burnard Stokes

 “…… hopes are a big crowd next Saturday – spread the word …

and for the Citizens Jury to turn into a real jury and convict these nuclearist traitors Scarce Weatherill and Winter-Dewhirst.

A real jury would see this as an open and shut case.

The money spent (over ten million so far) has been spent in breach of SA law.

The dodgy alibi is that the process is objective and unbiased – clearly a lie and Aussies do not like being lied to.

I hope that the CJ will convict the perpetrators.

No, I give you no permission
No, I give you no submission
I challenge your authority
Your threats are of such gravity
That the ties that bind are tearing
Warning sirens loudly blaring
You do not stop, you just want war
Stop the madness, enforce the law

October 10, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste canisters far from secure for long term

text-relevantPremature failure of U.S. spent nuclear fuel storage canisters, San Onofre Safety,  

“……. The dry cask systems …..may fail within 30 years or possibly sooner, based on information provided by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) technical staff.
There is no technology to adequately inspect canisters.
There is no system in place to mitigate a failed canister…
Canisters may need to be replaced within 30-42 years or sooner.


Recent information provided by the NRC technical staff indicates dry storage canisters may need to be replaced within 30-42 years or sooner, due to stress corrosion cracking of the thin (1/2 to 5/8 inch) stainless steel canisters (due to our coastal environment). Similar stainless steel materials at nuclear plants have failed within 16 to 33 years.  The concrete overpacks also have aging issues that are accelerated in coastal environments…….
Recent information provided by the NRC technical staff indicates dry storage canisters may need to be replaced within 30-42 years or sooner, due to stress corrosion cracking of the thin (1/2 to 5/8 inch) stainless steel canisters (due to our coastal environment). Similar stainless steel materials at nuclear plants have failed within 16 to 33 years.  The concrete overpacks also have aging issues that are accelerated in coastal environments………
No canisters approved for high burnup fuel for more than the initial 20 years.
High burnup fuel cladding damage  The NRC has not extended licenses past the initial 20 years for storage of high burnup fuel (>45GWd/MTU) due to unknowns about high burnup fuel in storage and transport. This fuel is over twice as radioactive and hotter than lower burnup fuel.  The NRC has allowed nuclear plants to burn fuel longer, without the research to show that it is safe in storage and transport. The protective fuel cladding can become brittle and crack; resulting is higher risk for radiation exposure, if the canisters fail……

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

Premier Jay Weatherill on the right track regarding renewable energy and electricity blackout

Public on Jay’s side for blackout reason
South Australians want more money spent on upgrading the electricity network in the wake of the statewide blackout, and largely accept the Premier Jay Weatherill’s claim that renewable energy sources aren’t to blame. (subscribers only)

Jay sweats on blackout truth as political heat looms Daniel Wills  
PREMIER Jay Weatherill is winning the early politics of the statewide blackout but, like the original storm that triggered the event, there are dangerous factors outside his control still swirling.(subscribers only)

October 10, 2016 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

National electricity review headed by a nuclear power enthusiast, Alan Finkel

a-cat-CANDon’t forget: Alan Finkel is a nuclear power enthusiast, and the Grattan Institute is largely funded by BHP.  This all sounds good, but be wary.  “ The Chief Scientist will, amongst other things, bring to the review his knowledge of current and likely future developments in energy technologies.”


Climate change must be part of Australia’s electricity system review, The Conversation  Program Director, Energy, Grattan Institute,October 8, 2016 On Friday, Australia’s federal and state energy ministers met for an extraordinary meeting following the complete loss of power in South Australia on September 28. The COAG Energy Council announced a wide-ranging independent review to provide advice to governments on a coordinated, national reform blueprint. The review will be chaired by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel.

Dr Finkel has been challenged with steering Australia’s energy system around some big potholes while keeping his eye on the horizon. And all in about six months.

The review will consider work already being done around maintaining the security, reliability and affordability of electricity as delivered by the National Electricity market (NEM) (which covers all states except Western Australia and the Northern Territory)…..

The review is expected to deliver a blueprint via a final report early in the new year. It is likely to include specific actions, both physical and financial, that respond to recent events such as South Australia’s price shock in July and blackout in September. …….

The council has highlighted the significant transition underway in the Australian electricity market. The drivers include “rapid technological change, the increasing penetration of renewable energy, a more decentralised generation system, withdrawal of traditional baseload generation and changing consumer demand”. The blueprint will address all of these issues in a comprehensive and coordinated way not previously a feature of the council’s output.

There is much uncertainty to how some of these drivers will evolve over the next two decades. To be really effective, the blueprint will need to consider a range of plausible long-term scenarios but focus on near-term options that can be adapted to evolving developments on all fronts.

The Chief Scientist will, amongst other things, bring to the review his knowledge of current and likely future developments in energy technologies. This will be important in considering policy, legislative and rule changes that favour the adoption of technologies that could address both low-emissions and reliability but are otherwise technology-neutral……..

October 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

In Western Australia, retirees trading solar power

solar-panels-on-roofTrading solar power: Retirees test way to beat shrinking feed-in tariffs‘plan-for-the-future’/7914736?section=environment By Kathryn Diss  Retirees in the West Australian town of Busselton are trialling a new system which allows them to sell excess energy they have generated from their solar panels direct to their neighbours.

The system bypasses the state’s energy utility Synergy, saving consumers money and increasing returns for solar adopters. Continue reading

October 10, 2016 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

More safety problems in canisters for storing nuclear wastes

Premature failure of U.S. spent nuclear fuel storage canisters, San Onofre, by  “……Stainless Steel Dry Canister Problems   Darrell Dunn, an NRC materials engineer, stated stainless steel dry storage canisters are vulnerable to failure within about 25 – 42 years. If any of the fuel cladding in the canister fails, there is no protective barrier and we could have a serious radiation release.


The NRC said they have no current mitigation plan for that consequence.  They suggested we MIGHT be able to put the fuel back in the spent fuel pool.  However, Edison plans to destroy the spent fuel and transfer pools. And there is no technology to repair the canisters. The NRC said they HOPE there will be a solution for mitigation in the future. Even an NRC May 2nd High Burnup Fuel letter admits there are mitigation problems.

No Inspections of Stainless Steel Canisters EPRI 2012 presentation To make matters worse, these stainless steel canisters are not inspected after they are loaded into the unsealed concrete overpacks (Areva NUHOMS) or concrete casks (Holtec and NAC Magnastor).  The NRC proposed having each nuclear plant inspect the outside of only ONE stainless steel canister before they receive a license renewal and then do that once every 5 years.  The industry balked at having to even check one canister at every plant. The problem with the stainless steel canisters is they do not protect against gamma rays; so it’s not a simple task to remove a canister from the concrete overpack/cask to examine the exterior for corrosion or other degradation. And since welded canisters do not have monitoring for helium leaks, we may not have any warning of an impending radiation release.

Concrete Overpack Corrosion Problems  Darrell Dunn discussed serious corrosion problems with the concrete overpacks/casks, especially in coastal environments……..

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

Deep borehole (close to point of nuclear generation) best solution for high level wastes

Bury nuclear waste down a very deep hole, say Sheffield scientists

Technologies that will enable nuclear waste to be sealed 5km below the Earth’s surface could provide a safer, cheaper and more viable alternative for disposing of the UK’s high level nuclear waste. Scientists at the University of Sheffield calculate that all of the UK’s high level nuclear waste from spent fuel reprocessing could be disposed of in just six boreholes 5km deep, fitting within a site no larger than a football pitch.


The concept – called deep borehole disposal – has been developed primarily in the UK but is likely to see its first field trials in the USA next year. If the trials are successful, the USA hopes to dispose of its ‘hottest’ and most radioactive waste – left over from plutonium production and currently stored at Hanford in Washington State – in a deep borehole.

University of Sheffield researchers presented the latest findings relating to these trials and new concepts for sealing the waste into the boreholes at the American Nuclear Society (ANS) conference in Charleston  Continue reading

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

Wind power fast beating nuclear

wind-nuclear-Reports Show U.S. Renewables Rapidly Beating Out Nuclear, NA Windpower,   Betsy Lillian on October 05, 2016 Nuclear power is rapidly losing the race with renewable energy sources in the U.S., according to the SUN DAY Campaign, which cites two new reports from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

EIA’s latest Monthly Energy Review (with data for the first half of this year) notes that during the first six months of 2016, renewable sources – e.g., biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind – accounted for 5.242 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) of domestic energy production, according to the nonprofit group.

This includes thermal, liquid and electrical forms of energy. By comparison, nuclear power provided only 4.188 quads – that is, renewables outpaced nuclear by more than 25%, says SUN DAY.

Meanwhile, FERC’s latest Energy Infrastructure Update (with data through the end of August), says the total available installed generating capacity in the U.S. from the combination of utility-scale – i.e., greater than 1 MW – hydropower, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal has grown to 215.82 GW, or 18.39% of total generating capacity.

On the other hand, says SUN DAY, nuclear power’s installed capacity is only 107.06 GW, or 9.12% of the total. Thus, renewable energy generating capacity is now more than double that of nuclear…….

October 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments