Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian nuclear waste plan – “dead and buried” say Liberals

exclamation-logo-LiberalPremier fails to garner support from SA public for nuclear waste dump claims Opposition leader Marshall Sheradyn Holderhead Political Reporter, The Advertiser November 10, 2016   THE push to establish a nuclear waste dump in South Australia is “all but dead and buried”, Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has declared.

Before returning from visiting the world’s most advanced nuclear disposal facility, Mr Marshall told The Advertiser it was clear from Finland’s experience that the public had to be on board.

“Personally, I have a much greater ambition for SA than becoming the world’s nuclear dump,” he said.

Mr Marshall said the decision that two-thirds of the citizen’s jury did not want the proposal pursued under any circumstance was “a complete failure to get the public onside”.

“Finland is the world leader in creating a permanent repository for nuclear waste. They have spent 40 years getting to this point. And that’s just for their own waste,” Mr Marshall said.

“The clear message here is that this policy from (Premier) Jay Weatherill — that he could receive a Royal Commission report and then make a decision within a matter of months — was ill-conceived. The things they (Finland) have achieved took decades, not months.

“The Citizen’s Jury result showed that Jay Weatherill could not be trusted to deliver on such a significant project. He couldn’t even get Gillman right.”

Today, a group of environmentalists will hand Mr Weatherill a petition with 35,000 signatures calling on the Government to abandon plans for a nuclear waste dump.

The group includes indigenous leaders Enice Marsh, Lesley Coulthard, Regina and Vivianne McKenzie, Tony Clark, Karina and Rose Lester and representatives from conservation groups.

Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney said burying nuclear waste in SA would leave an “unwelcome toxic legacy for hundreds of thousands of years”.

Mr Marshall said Finland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility was “impressive”.

He said that while he was not worried about the safety of such a facility, he had “serious concerns” about economic return. “The longer we look at this issue, the more questions are raised about the viability of this project,” he said.  “Nothing I saw in Finland waylaid those concerns.”

A Liberal joint party room meeting would be held on Monday to discuss Mr Marshall’s report from Finland and to hear from Liberal MPs Rob Lucas and Dan van Holst Pellekaan, who were members of the parliamentary committee investigating the proposal.

Earlier this week, Mr Weatherill said the Government would wait for a community views report that includes results from 30,000 online surveys and in-person feedback provided by 16,000 people, before making a decision on how to proceed.

He said the jury decision would be given “substantial weight” in the final government position to be announced to Parliament before the end of the year.

The Government expects to receive the community views report, compiled by consultants, early next week.

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

A blow to nuclear front group “Ecomodernists” -South Australian Citizens Jury verdict

EcoModernist Manifesto

 No way! South Australians reject international nuclear waste dump  http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988308/no_way_south_australians_reject_international_nuclear_waste_dump.html  Jim Green, The Ecologist, 9 November 2016

An officially convened 350-strong Citizens’ Jury has decisively rejected South Australia’s plans to import over half a million tonnes of high and intermediate level nuclear waste for long term storage, writes Jim Green. This has dealt a powerful blow against the project from which it is unlikely to ever recover, and represents a major victory for campaigners, indigenous Australians and economic sanity.

On Sunday November 6, two-thirds of the 350 members of a South Australian government-initiated Citizens’ Jury rejected “under any circumstances” the government’s plan to import 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste and 390,000 cubic metres of intermediate-level nuclear waste as a money-making venture.

The Jury was a key plank of the government’s attempt to manufacture support for the dump plan, and followed the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission which released its final report in May 2016.

The Royal Commission had a strong pro-nuclear bias in its composition but still rejected – on economic grounds – almost all of the proposals it considered: uranium conversion and enrichment, nuclear fuel fabrication, conventional and ‘Generation IV’ nuclear power reactors, and spent fuel reprocessing.

Australia’s handful of self-styled ‘ecomodernists’ or ‘pro-nuclear environmentalists’ united behind a push to import spent fuel and to use some of it to fuel ‘integral fast reactors’. They would have expected to persuade the stridently pro-nuclear Royal Commission to endorse their ideas.

But the Royal Commission completely rejected the proposal, noting in its report

  • that advanced fast reactors are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future;
  • that the development of such a first-of-a-kind project would have high commercial and technical risk;
  • that there is no licensed, commercially proven design and development to that point would require substantial capital investment;
  • and that electricity generated from such reactors has not been demonstrated to be cost competitive with current light water reactor designs.

The ecomodernists weren’t deterred. They hoped that the nuclear waste import plan would proceed and that it would lay the foundations for the later development of fast reactors in SA. Now it seems that the waste import plan will be abandoned, and the ecomodernists are inconsolable.

 The SA government will come under strong pressure to abandon the waste import plan in the wake of the Citizens’ Jury’s vote. Roman Orszanski, climate and energy campaigner with Friends of the Earth Adelaide, said: “Three thousand people protested against the proposed nuclear waste dump outside Parliament House on October 15 and there will be more protests and bigger protests if the SA government attempts to push ahead.”…… http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988308/no_way_south_australians_reject_international_nuclear_waste_dump.html 

 

November 10, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste would be stored above ground long before underground facility is built

strandedSA nuclear waste dump plans based on questionable assumptions and lacks public support  support http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-08/should-south-australia-be-storing-nuclear-waste-above-ground/8003156 ANALYSIS By Stephen Long  Did you know that South Australia is proposing to store high-level radioactive waste above ground for more than 100 years?

Neither did I, until very recently.

You could be forgiven for not knowing, since this fact has received little, if any, news coverage in South Australia — let alone the rest of the country.

Even the royal commissioner whose inquiry enthusiastically recommended the plan seems to have been unaware of this crucial detail.

Asked on ABC radio back in April whether nuclear waste would be stored above ground “for decades”, Scarce blahthe royal commissioner, retired Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce replied: “That’s not true. That’s not what the scenario is”.

He went on to dismiss a claim about waste being stored above ground for “hundreds of years” that nobody ever made.

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINYet the facts are clear, and set out in detail in the consultants’ report the royal commission relied upon and the royal commission’s report itself.

Under the plan, South Australia will begin importing used nuclear fuel — one of the most hazardous materials made by man — 11 years after giving the go ahead to a nuclear waste depository.

It will import used nuclear fuel at a rate of 3,000 tonnes-a-year for 30 years, then at a rate of approximately 1,500 tonnes a year for the next 50 years or so.

The waste will be stored above ground in a so-called “interim storage facility” (ISF).

Not until year 28 of the project will the process of burying the high-level radioactive waste underground begin; it will continue, at a rate of 1,500 tonnes per annum, for 92 years.

Do the simple maths: the first barrels of high-level waste arrive in year 11 and the last barrels are buried in year 120.

That’s 109 years in which high-level radioactive waste will sit above-ground in “interim” storage.

For many decades, tens of thousands of barrels of highly dangerous material will remain above ground awaiting burial in a “geological storage facility” or GDF.

Why store the waste above ground for so long?

Scarce thanks experts 1This was the only scenario on which the consultants or the royal commission could find that a nuclear storage facility would possibly be financially viable.

Building an underground storage facility in advance of taking the waste would be a prohibitively expensive and loss-making proposition.

Premier Jay Weatherill has preferred not to emphasise the reality that waste would remain above ground for so long as he exhorts the public to “keep an open mind”.

But it may be one reason why a 350-strong “citizens’ jury” voted overwhelmingly to reject the storage of nuclear waste — after hearing from critics a clear explanation of what is involved.

Despite its illustrious title, this jury, unlike a normal one, does not get to decide the verdict.

A thumbs down from the jurors has not convinced Premier Weatherill the proposal is dead.

The royal commission and the State Government have sold the idea on the basis of a consultants’ finding that taking the world’s nuclear waste may deliver, in today’s dollars, more than $51 billion in revenue to South Australia over the 120-year life of the project.

Yet that estimate rests on some questionable assumptions, including that South Australia would receive the high price of $1.75 million dollars a tonne for taking the world’s nuclear waste but that high price would encourage no competition from alternative facilities.

Who came up with the numbers?

conflict-of-interestWould you believe me if I told you the report that the commission has solely relied on was co-authored by the president and vice president of an advocacy group for the development of international nuclear waste facilities?

Dr Charles McCombie and Neil Chapman of the consultants MCM head the advocacy group ARIUS — the Association for Regional and International Underground Storage. They prepared the report in conjunction with Jacobs, a global engineering and consulting firm which has a lucrative nuclear arm and boasts of its “more than 50 years of experience across the complete nuclear asset cycle”.

When I interviewed the royal commissioner last week, he initially denied that the consultants who prepared the modelling — that is the sole basis of the commission’s recommendation in favour of a nuclear waste dump — faced any conflict of interest.

He then said there would have been a conflict of interest had it been the only material the commission had relied upon, but said it was “reviewed by our team of experts and found to be an appropriate estimation of what the costs, risks and benefits might be if we were involved in the storage of waste”.

That is the same “team of experts” who, apparently, recommended the consultants in the first place.

“Our role was to guide [the royal commissioner] on the choice of consultants who would do the work, the methodologies they would use, not to get into the data,” Adelaide University professor Mike Young, who headed the team of experts, told the citizens’ jury.

Weatherill nuclear dreamProposed nuclear dump may never proceed

Even if the South Australian Government could convince the voting public in its state, the plan would require federal approval and changes to the law.

Despite these obstacles, and the questionable economics of the project, Premier Weatherill appears undaunted.

Around the world, those with an interest in the nuclear industry will be keeping a weather eye on his progress.

The lack of geologically-stable facilities for storing nuclear waste is holding back the development of the nuclear power industry worldwide.

If South Australia were to create a repository for the world’s used nuclear fuel, it could provide a huge fillip to global advocates of nuclear power.

South Australia has about 30 per cent of the world’s known uranium reserves.

And a far bigger global nuclear industry would potentially mean a far bigger market for uranium from BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine in South Australia, the largest known single uranium deposit in the world.

There are powerful commercial interests that would benefit if South Australia imports the world’s high-level nuclear waste.

The strength of public opinion stands in their way.

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

It will be hard for Trump to wind back international and domestic action on climate change

trump-worldDonald Trump: Paris climate change delegates hopeful presidency will not derail agreement http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-10/trump-will-not-derail-paris-climate-agreement-delegates-say/8013386 The World Today  By Katherine Gregory Delegates at annual climate change talks in Morocco are hopeful Donald Trump’s presidency will not derail progress made on action.

Representatives from 200 countries are at the Marrakech summit finalising the details of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which commits governments to keeping a global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Tina Johnson from the US Climate Network said the movement had its work cut out for it now.

“I think if we have a scenario where the action that he takes is contrary to where we feel it needs to be going, it will impact us, of course, because it means we have to do more work to make sure that he actually is moving in the direction that we need him to move in,” she said.

Mr Trump is a well-known climate change sceptic and has threatened to remove America from the treaty.

But Australia’s Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said it was going to be difficult for him to do that. “It’s also important to note that the US climate action has come from the states,” Ms McKenzie said. “California has been driving much of the climate action and support for renewable energy in the US.

“As well as [US President Barack] Obama’s work has through regulations — which are very hard to unwind once they’re changed and in place and have impacts on the community. “So it’s very hard for Trump to wind back international or domestic action on climate change.

“That said, of course it is a blow if he does want to take the US out of the Accord, but we need to remember this agreement is more than just one country.” Continue reading

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

At last – Australia to ratify Paris climate change agreement

logo Paris climate1Australia to ratify Paris climate change agreement, despite concerns Donald Trump will withdraw, ABC News, 9 Nov 16 

The 2015 agreement came into force last week and has been ratified by 103 countries and covers 70 per cent of global emissions.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the agreement as “a watershed and turning point” that spurred international action on climate change……

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the agreement was in Australia’s national interest and would provide opportunity for Australian businesses.

“We believe through the use of technology and research and science and innovation, there will be many opportunities for Australian businesses,” she said……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-10/federal-government-to-ratify-paris-climate-change-agreement/8012696

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

Human-induced climate change has already impacted every aspect of life on Earth


Climate change already dramatically disrupting all elements of nature https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161110115540.htm  
Source:  Wildlife Conservation Society

Summary:
Global changes in temperature due to human-induced climate change have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth from genes to entire ecosystems, with increasingly unpredictable consequences for humans, according to a new study.
climate-change-vital-signs

Global changes in temperature due to human-induced climate change have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth from genes to entire ecosystems, with increasingly unpredictable consequences for humans — according to a new study published in the journal Science.

The study found a staggering 80 percent of 94 ecological processes that form the foundation for healthy marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems already show signs of distress and response to climate change.

Impacts to humans include increased pests and disease outbreaks, reduced productivity in fisheries, and decreasing agriculture yields.

“There is now clear evidence that, with only a ~1 degree C of warming globally, very major impacts are already being felt,” said study lead author Dr Brett Scheffers of the University of Florida. “Genes are changing, species’ physiology and physical features such as body size are changing, species are rapidly moving to keep track of suitable climate space, and there are now signs of entire ecosystems under stress.”

Said the study’s senior author, Dr. James Watson from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of Queensland: “The level of change we have observed is quite astonishing considering we have only experienced a relatively small amount of climate change to date. It is no longer sensible to consider this a concern for the future. Policy makers and politicians must accept that if we don’t curb greenhouse gas emissions, an environmental catastrophe is likely.”

But the study also points to hope as many of the responses observed in nature could be applied by people to address the mounting issues faced under changing climate conditions.  For example, improved understanding of the adaptive capacity in wildlife can be applied to our crops, livestock and fisheries. This can be seen in crops such as wheat and barley, where domesticated crops are crossed with wild varieties to maintain the evolutionary potential of varieties under climate change.

November 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Citizens Jury exposed the bias and vested interests in Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal commission South Australia

 No way! South Australians reject international nuclear waste dump  Jim Green, The Scarce poisoned chaliceEcologist, 9 November 2016  “……Bias exposed The Citizens’ Jury produced a raft of evidence to justify its distrust of government. The SA government’s handling of the current nuclear waste debate is a case in point. The government repeatedly said it wanted a balanced, mature debate on the issue.

 But the government chose a nuclear advocate to head the Royal Commission, and the Royal Commissioner stacked his Expert Advisory Committee with three nuclear advocates and just one critic.

 The Royal Commission relied on just one economic report, written by Jacobs MCM, a consultancy with deep links to the nuclear industry. The lead authors of the report were Charles McCombie and Neil Chapman from ARIUS, the Association for Regional and International Underground Storage.

 ARIUS is a lobby group promoting nuclear waste dumps (which it calls ‘multinational facilities’) and nuclear power. As the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) noted, ARIUS’s motto is: “The world needs nuclear power – nuclear power needs multinational facilities.”

ropyal-commission-vested-interests

 ARIUS is the successor to the infamous Pangea Resources, an international consortium that secretly developed plans to build an international high-level nuclear waste dump in Australia. Pangea’s existence wasn’t known until a corporate video was leaked to Friends of the Earth in 1998. Pangea set up an office in Australia but gave up in 2002 – A$600 million poorer – in the face of overwhelming public and political opposition.

 Charles McCombie, co-author of the Jacobs MCM report, was heavily involved in Pangea Resources. Likewise, former Pangea chief Jim Voss is heavily involved in the current push for SA to accept foreign nuclear waste, as an ‘Honorary Reader’ at UCL Australia and a member of UCL Australia’s Nuclear Working Group.

 In the late 1990s, Voss denied meeting with federal government ministers when he had in fact met at least one minister – Wilson ‘Ironbar’ Tuckey (‘ironbar’ because he once assaulted an Aboriginal man with a steel cable). A Pangea spokesperson said at the time: “We would not like to be lying … we very much regret getting off on the wrong foot.”

conflict-of-interest Nuclear advocates employed as ‘independent consultants’

 Needless to say, the conflicted economic report produced by Jacobs MCM predicted that South Australia would become filthy rich if the state agrees to import vast amounts of nuclear waste.

 The farcical and dishonest engineering of a positive economic case to proceed with the nuclear waste plan was neatly exposed by ABC journalist Stephen Long on November 8:

“Would you believe me if I told you the report that the commission has solely relied on was co-authored by the president and vice president of an advocacy group for the development of international nuclear waste facilities? Charles McCombie and Neil Chapman of the consultants MCM head the advocacy group ARIUS – the Association for Regional and International Underground Storage.

“They prepared the report in conjunction with Jacobs, a global engineering and consulting firm which has a lucrative nuclear arm and boasts of its ‘more than 50 years of experience across the complete nuclear asset cycle’.

“When I interviewed the royal commissioner last week, he initially denied that the consultants who prepared the modelling – that is the sole basis of the commission’s recommendation in favour of a nuclear waste dump – faced any conflict of interest.

“He then said there would have been a conflict of interest had it been the only material the commission had relied upon, but said it was ‘reviewed by our team of experts and found to be an appropriate estimation of what the costs, risks and benefits might be if we were involved in the storage of waste.’

“That is the same ‘team of experts’ who, apparently, recommended the consultants in the first place.”

 Economic projections based on ‘unsubstantiated assumptions’

 The Citizens’ Jury was deeply unimpressed by the economic propaganda produced by Jacobs MCM and promoted by the Royal Commission and the SA government. The Jury’s report said“It is impossible to provide an informed response to the issue of economics because the findings in the RCR [Royal Commission report] are based on unsubstantiated assumptions. This has caused the forecast estimates to provide inaccurate, optimistic, unrealistic economic projections.”

 South Australian economist Prof. Richard Blandy said“I congratulate the Second Citizens’ Jury on their overwhelming decision against the proposed nuclear dump. They have shown courage and common sense. A large majority could see that the bonanza that the dump was supposed to bring to the State was based on very flimsy evidence. They saw that the real path to a better economic future for our State is based on our skills, innovative capabilities and capacity for hard work, not a bizarre gamble based on guesses. I am proud of my fellow South Australians on the Jury – including those who were in the minority. I would like to thank them all for their efforts on behalf of their fellow South Australians.” http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988308/no_way_south_australians_reject_international_nuclear_waste_dump.html

 

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

Nuclear marketers disappointed in Southeast Asia

market-disappointed

despite the news here and there about the conclusions of new nuclear cooperation agreements by ASEAN nations, it is very difficult to conceive that a nuclear power plant will actually be built in one of these countries

Nuclear Energy in Southeast Asia: A Bridge Too Far?
Hopes for a nuclear renaissance in Southeast Asia have proven overly ambitious.
The Diplomat By Viet Phuong Nguyen November 09, 2016 In the late 2000s, energy forecasts began to use the term “nuclear renaissance” to refer to the fast-growing nuclear power program of China, and to the emergence of the so-called “nuclear aspirants” embarking on their first nuclear power projects. Many among these newcomers are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). For this reason, nuclear suppliers like the United States, Russia, Japan, and South Korea have been particularly active in signing cooperation agreements with ASEAN nations or supporting these countries to explore the feasibility of nuclear energy.

However, after almost a decade of pondering the nuclear option, no ASEAN state has made the decision to go nuclear. This article will discuss the evolution of the nuclear endeavor in Southeast Asian nations in order to show that ASEAN may not be a potential market for nuclear energy as the major vendors hoped. Continue reading

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

Will People Power End Japan’s Nuclear Plans? The Niigata Effect

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

hjhkjlklmlm.jpg

In Japan, energy policies may not go the way the government and the nuclear industry want, Pablo Figueroa writes.

There was a common concern in the mind of voters during the recent poll to elect a new governor in Japan’s Niigata prefecture: to be in favour of or against restarting nuclear reactors. The triumph of nuclear-cautious Ryuichi Yoneyama shows that people in that area of the country are distrustful of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the infamous electric utility that owns the Kashiwasaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant.

Currently shut down for inspections, Kashiwasaki-Kariwa is a massive seven-reactor power station and the largest nuclear complex in the world. Across Niigata prefecture, local residents are worried about the safety of the reactors looming in their backyard. And they should be. TEPCO is one of the main parties responsible for the 2011 nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi. The company’s systemic falsifying of safety…

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

Zero-nuclear policy can lead opposition to victory: Koizumi

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

hjkjklklm.jpg

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, center, appears at a Niigata gathering on Nov. 4 with Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama, right, and Niigata Mayor Akira Shinoda.

NIIGATA–An anti-nuclear stance taken by opposition parties could lift them from their doldrums and defeat the ruling coalition, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said, pointing to the recent Niigata governor’s election.

We now know that the ruling parties will lose if the opposition parties back a unified candidate and focus on a nuclear-free energy policy in the campaign,” Koizumi said at a gathering here on Nov. 4. “The effects of this have not yet surfaced but they are huge.”

Koizumi cited the victory by Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama, who was backed by the opposition Japanese Communist Party, Social Democratic Party and Liberal Party. Running on a plank urging caution about restarting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in the prefecture, Yoneyama defeated a candidate supported…

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