Australian news, and some related international items

Now, focus on the unnecessarily large, and unnecessary, Flinders nuclear dump proposal.

scrutiny-  — Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, Good news …., but don’t lose the momentum. People need to focus the blow torch on the Flinder’s dump proposal. It is much bigger than needed for just Lucas Height’s waste and will be used as a Trojan Horse for any future international dump attempt. Lucas Heights should be able to store the small amount of waste it produces on it’s own site or somewhere in NSW.
David Noonan Need keep going to stop National nuclear dump targeting SA… Premier Olsen made the National Store illegal in 2000 and Premier Rann made the National Repository illegal on his election in 2002 – so run this through State election to pressure Fed’s to stop targeting SA 

November 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Don’t let’s get complacent that the nuclear waste import battle is over.

thinking Steve Dale Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 12 Nov 16When McBride says it’s dead – I get worried. I think it is a ploy to get the “anti” campaign to quieten down for a while – so they can have some quiet time leaning on the Liberals. Judging by some of the “suspect” pro-dump calls to 891 this afternoon, I think they hope to persuade the Liberals to allow “minor” changes to the dump Prohibition Act, supposedly to keep options open for economic investigations. I don’t trust them. I’m sure they have something sneaky planned for “Simplify Day”
 Zac Eagle Agree, I think we need to keep the pressure on. The enemy is relentless. It’s strange that they all seemingly conceding it’s dead but Jay saying government has a final say. We must contact liberals and make sure that they don’t allow any law changes. If they do before next election than they can’t be trusted.
Darrin Briggs I’ve always said that this is just a ploy and it’s a long game that they are playing. I agree we must keep the pressure up there must be no law changes.

November 12, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

NO FURTHER PUBLIC MONEY should be spent on nuclear industry, by the South Australian taxpayer.

text-NoSouth Australian ‘citizens’ jury’ rejects nuclear dump, Green Left  RENFREY CLARKEAdelaide, November 11, 2016   “………Lack of confidence Also striking is the complete lack of confidence voiced by the jurors in the ability or willingness of the state’s politicians to manage radioactive materials responsibly. “No evidence of regulatory bodies … to act independently and to be funded properly to adequately regulate an industry,” the report observes. As evidence, the report cites examples that include a radioactive tailings site at Port Pirie on which children were allowed to play for decades, and which was prone to flooding by high tides.

Dealt with brusquely is an issue that promises to be highly contentious in coming months. “There was agreement that … NO FURTHER PUBLIC MONEY should be spent by the South Australian taxpayer.”

Weatherill, however, shows signs of planning to do exactly that.

The jury’s verdict is not binding on the government. After months of implying that the jury’s recommendation would be viewed as definitive, the Premier has now switched to stressing the “fifty thousand” South Australians whose views his “roadshow” supposedly canvassed.

The dump process, Weatherill made clear in his address to the jury on receiving its report, is not yet dead.

“Mr Weatherill said the ‘very clear position’ of the jury would be combined with other government research about the state-wide views of the nuclear industry, as Cabinet considers whether to push ahead,” the Advertiserreported on November 7.

“All of those perspectives need to be weighed up,” Weatherill said. “We don’t expect that this is a debate that will be concluded any time soon.” Weatherill is now due to present a formal position to parliament on the dump proposal, probably around the end of November. But if he tries to force the scheme through as he has suggested, the political costs for his government will be dire.

On the question of the dump, South Australians seem overwhelmingly to accept the verdict of their Citizens’ Jury peers. On November 7 an informal Channel 7 poll asked: “Should the state government now abandon its nuclear storage plans?” The response was: Yes 86%, No 14%.

Charged with legitimising the dump, the jury has very likely ended the scheme. But anti-dump activists would be foolish to quit their campaigning just yet.

November 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Time for Premier Weatherill to listen to the jury on radioactive waste -Traditional Owners

logo ANFA

Traditional Owners and members of the Aboriginal-led Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) have welcomed the Citizen’s Jury’s recommendation to reject an international high level radioactive waste dump for South Australia.

Throughout both the Royal Commission and Citizens Jury processes concerns of potential bias have been raised. The consultancy firm hired by the Royal Commission, Jacobs MCM, has clear links to the nuclear industry. The economic report was written by Charles McCombie and Neil Chapman, the president and vice president of the Association for Regional and International Underground Storage (ARIUS). A further example of bias was that the Citizen Jurors were asked to nominate ‘witnesses’ they wished to speak to, but DemocracyCo added three people to the witness list ‒ all of them pro-nuclear ‒ without the Jurors’ knowledge or consent.

ANFA members are concerned by SA premier Jay Weatherill’s suggestion that he may not heed the jury’s recommendations: “This jury doesn’t believe the present proposal should be taken forward but we need to take into account a whole range of other broad community views[1]“.

Kokatha-Mula woman Sue Coleman-Haseldine is a co-chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, in response to Premier Weatherill’s comments she said “The jury has listened to us, it’s time for the premier to listen to the jury. We don’t want this waste in South Australia. Not here, not anywhere”.

Aboriginal people travelled to Adelaide from across the state to share their concerns with the 350 jurors at the Indigenous session held on Saturday 5th November.  Many others who would have liked to have been there were unable to attend but those present were able to convey their heartfelt concerns for protecting country and culture.

Vivienne McKenzie, Adnyamantha elder who has been campaigning to protect her traditional lands from radioactive waste told the jury “If you make the decision to let a waste dump be in this state, you will go down in history and have this on your conscience.  What are you going to tell your children? ‘I was a juror, I gave the decision to have a waste dump.’  We will be history in the making. Really think about it, think from your heart, don’t think about money, there is no money in this.  They are tricking everybody.”

In its recommendation, the jury stated “There is a lack of Aboriginal consent. We believe that the government should accept that the Elders have said no and stop ignoring their opinions. The Aboriginal people of South Australia (and Australia) continue to be neglected and ignored by all levels of government instead of being respected and treated as equals.”

Sue Coleman-Haseldine concluded:” ANFA members are pleased that the Jurors listened to the voices heard at the Indigenous session. Now it’s time for the Premier to listen too.”

Today’s statement is also on the ANFA website

November 12, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Nuclear Citizens Jury, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear dump now South Australia 2018 election issue

text politicsNuclear fuel cycle: Opposition says Jay Weatherill’s dream of SA nuclear dump ‘is now dead’, ABC News, 11 Nov 16  By Leah MacLennan Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has announced he will not support the building of a high-level nuclear waste facility in South Australia, saying there is too much at risk…….

November 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Jay Weatherill must respect the process and take notice of Citizens Jury ”NO WAY” vote

Weatherill glowMargaret Henry No High Level International Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia, 11 Nov 16Latest quote from Jay, after Steve Marshall ditches nuclear dump idea – “I think what this demonstrates is the leader of the opposition is not respecting the process.”

Well Jay, how about you respect the process and take notice of the 70% ”NO WAY” vote that the citizens jury gave you. Steve is respecting the process more than you !!!!

November 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Marrakech climate talks are battling through a Trump tsunami

logo Paris climate1The Paris Agreement is now in force after a speedy ratification, the US share of global emissions has declined, and renewable energy is now much cheaper. Many US states, cities and businesses will continue to work towards reducing emissions, and many Republican politicians have let go of their aversion to renewable energy in response to public and business pressure.

In short, much of America and the rest of the world will continue to build momentum under the Paris Agreement, despite the changing of the guard in Washington DC.

Meanwhile, after the initial pause to digest the shock of Trump’s victory, the negotiators at Marrakech have got back down to their business, which is to fill in the implementation details of the Paris Agreement.

The view from Marrakech: climate talks are battling through a Trump tsunami, The Conversation, November 11, 2016  Stunned. Shocked. Speechless. Devastated. Political tsunami. These were the key words rising to the surface of the babble of conversations that took place in the corridors of the climate negotiations in Marrakech on Wednesday 9 November – the day Donald Trump won the US presidency. Continue reading

November 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Former liberal leader John Hewson urges Turnbull govt to switch to a bright renewable energy future

Australia-solar-plugWith our natural assets of solar and wind, and our capacity to educate, innovate and adapt, we can lead the world and enjoy genuine new “Jobs and Growth”.

If Malcolm Turnbull flicks the switch to renewable energy, a bright future will dawn, The Age,  John Hewson, 10 Nov 16

The transition from fossil fuel-based power to renewables is inevitable if Australia is to meet its Paris commitments on emissions reductions.

It is irresponsible, it could be said immoral, for government to play short-term politics around this, as the Howard/Abbott/ Turnbull governments have done, attacking the renewables industry and the ALP/Greens for seeking to facilitate and accelerate this transition.

Irresponsible, for example, to blame renewables for the recent blackout in South Australia, where an extreme weather event brought down that state’s transmission system, such that it didn’t matter how the power was generated, it simply couldn’t be transmitted, and to score political points around the recently announced closure of the Hazelwood brown coal-fired power station.

It is not to say that there are not problems with renewables relating to capacity and the “intermittency” of supply, but these are being addressed rapidly as technology is developed for cost effective heat and battery storage, and so on.

The fundamental question is: just how long will it take? How many more extreme weather events, and Hazelwood-style closures, will have to occur before government develops a longer-term energy policy and a transition strategy?

How many more jobs will need to be lost, how many more businesses and industries will need to close, how many more new businesses and new jobs will need to be squandered, how far will they let power costs rise, before they act?  Continue reading

November 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Trump administration will appoint fossil fuel superfans

fossil-fuel-fightback-1Meet the Fossil Fuel Superfans Tipped to Run Energy and Climate Under Trump Truthout, Friday, 11 November By Zachary Davies BorenJoe Sandler Clarke and Emma HowardEnergydesk | Report “…….Trump, an avowed climate change denier and fossil fuel champion, looks set to stack his key energy and environment positions with oil and gas men and free market zealots.

Using documents leaked to Buzzfeed, sources at Politico and beyond, we’ve done a rundown of who’s in line for a top energy and climate job in the US government.

Harold Hamm (Possible Energy Secretary)  Tipped for energy secretary in a Trump administration, oil and gas billionaire Hamm has been showered with praise by the new President-elect, who said with classic hyperbole that Hamm understands energy “better than anybody else”.

As chief exec of Oklahoma-based fracking firm Continental Resources, Hamm would represent the first cabinet appointee directly plucked from the fossil fuel industry since 1977. Continue reading

November 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Citizens’ Jury effectively exploded South Australian Labor govt’s nuclear plans

Citizens' Jury scrutinySouth Australian ‘citizens’ jury’ rejects nuclear dump, Green Left  RENFREY CLARKEAdelaide, November 11, 2016 To the fury of business spokespeople, South Australia’s “Citizens’ Jury on Nuclear Waste” has effectively exploded plans by the state Labor government to host the world’s largest nuclear waste dump.

The jury was intended by Premier Jay Weatherill to lend his scheme a garnish of popular consent. But in their final report on November 6, the jurors instead concluded that the dump plan should not go ahead “under any circumstances”. The vote was overwhelming, with two-thirds of jury members opposing the government’s projections.

Both as science and public policy, the jury’s finding made superb sense. But the verdict was more than that.

From the ordinary working people of South Australia, it was a message to their “betters”: “Be damned. We don’t trust you to defend our interests. Given the chance, we’d send you to hell.”

It was like Brexit. Or the street parties held when Margaret Thatcher died.

To reach their verdict, the jurors — initially numbering 350 and chosen as a representative slice of society — defied an intensive propaganda campaign mounted by the state authorities over several years at a reported cost of $10 million.

The government, Weatherill insisted from the outset, would never go ahead with its dump scheme unless the population, including indigenous people, was shown to be solidly behind the plan. To make the case for the proposal, a Royal Commission on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle was held, headed by former South Australian Governor Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce. The commission’s final report, key sections of it drafted by nuclear industry consultants, was delivered in May.

As anticipated, the commission urged constructing a “deep repository” to house as much as a third of the world’s current stock of high-level reactor wastes. Most of the immense cost, South Australians were promised, would be borne by client countries anxious to rid themselves of a growing mountain of spent nuclear fuel. The eventual net flow of revenues to the South Australian government was put at a dazzling $51 billion.

Nuclear spruikers

Following the royal commission was a “consultation” program dubbed by critics the “nuclear roadshow”. For months, teams of pro-nuclear spruikers toured the state’s urban centres. Supposedly seeking the views of the population on nuclear issues, program staffers mounted slick presentations uncritically promoting the commission’s findings.

Pounding still broader numbers of South Australians into line was a drum-beat of pro-nuclear articles in the Murdoch-owned Adelaide Advertiser.

Within the government’s strategy the role of the Citizens’ Jury, which met for the first time in June, was to produce a report voicing at least conditional assent to the dump plans. Weatherill and his cabinet would then have claimed public support for beginning the process, predicted eventually to cost taxpayers $300–600 million,  that would see the sites for interim and final dumps chosen, the location selected for a dedicated port, and prospective clients scouted.

Though strong on the rhetoric of “consultative leadership” and “deliberative democracy”, the Weatherill government clearly did not mean to let in-depth debate get in the way of a suitable jury verdict. Control over the jury process was handed to a team of “facilitators” put together by the firm DemocracyCo. The latter compiled a list of 160 “expert witnesses”, skewed strongly towards nuclear advocates, to address the jurors.

A script drawn up by the facilitators would rush the jurors through hurried workshops, many held simultaneously. Jurors would have little chance to question witnesses at length, or to gain a feel for the broad progress of the discussion.

The government’s ploys seemed watertight. But on November 6, they were shown to have failed completely.

“Multiple threads of concern are present that undermine the confidence of jurors in the Royal Commission report’s validity,” the jury’s final report stated. “These concerns collectively combine to affect a powerful NO response.”

“Green activists kill inquiry”

What had gone wrong? In the view of Nigel McBride, chief executive of the peak association Business SA, the jurors had been got at by “green activists determined to kill further inquiry”.

“They ran an absolutely undiluted campaign of fear and misinformation,” McBride was quoted by the Advertiseras saying: “The people who were going to die in a ditch over this were the naysayers, the rest of us were calling for an informed investigation … It’s disappointing. An extraordinary amount of effort and resources and time has gone into it.”

The truth is less sinister. Chief Executive of the Conservation Council of SA Craig Wilkins pinpointed it in a press release:

“The nuclear industry likes to push a myth that the more people get to understand nuclear issues, the more supportive they are. Well, 350 South Australians have spent over 40 hours hearing about a nuclear dump for SA and the more they heard about it, the less they liked [it].”

The real problem that brought the nuclear dumpsters undone was simple: before a demanding audience that had other sources of information, the pro-nuclear side was incapable of putting forward convincing arguments.

Dissatisfied with the witnesses on offer, the jurors invited experts of their own choice, to talk to them, including Friends of the Earth anti-nuclear campaigner Jim Green, Australia Institute Chief Economist Richard Denniss, and University of South Australia Adjunct Professor Richard Blandy, all incisive public critics of the dump scheme.

The jury’s final report is not a polished document. Those who worked on it, however, obviously took their task with enormous seriousness. Their rejection of the pro-dump case, it is fair to say, rested on two main grounds: the refusal by the dump’s proponents to address the objections of traditional indigenous landowners and the gross flaws in the economic case for the dump as put forward by the royal commission.

As related by the Adelaide Independent, Weatherill in the past had “told a national television audience that a dump would ‘require essentially the explicit consent of traditional owners’ and that ‘if it did not exist, it wouldn’t happen’.”

In a two-hour session before the whole Citizens’ Jury, more than a dozen well-known Indigenous elders made it plain that no consent was being given or ever would be.

“Indigenous, community and social consent is absolutely required,” the jury’s report notes. “Currently not provided and a resounding ‘No’…”

The economic case for the dump, prepared for the royal commission by the nuclear industry consulting firm Jacobs MCM, is savaged in the report. “Many (jurors) have no confidence in the economics of the project. … The assumptions made (as) to potential income are based on assumptions with little support.”

Eighty-two per cent of the jurors, the report notes, were inclined to view the economic risks of the scheme as too great.

November 12, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

With President Trump – the first steps towards WW III?

President Trump?, ALTERNATING CURRENTS Jim Reeves, Visalia1 November 9, 2016“………Elections have consequences, and we don’t have a clue what they will be this time around. If President Trump delivers on the things he said as candidate Trump, we may have just taken the first steps to WW III.

I have been afraid for some time now that climate change would lead to global war by the end of the 21st century. Now I’m concerned we’ve moved that date up to the middle of the century, or even sooner. The unraveling of the tapestry that has held the world merely on the brink of nuclear war since 1945, and Trump’s idea that climate change is a Chinese hoax, could cause us to ignore the increasing stresses from unrest, displacement, famine and drought, until it’s too late.

At some point, possibly in India and Pakistan, political failures and social unrest due to millions of displaced people (and the absence of a strong, respected political leadership in the United States) could lead to an actual nuclear war. North Korea might decide to nuke Japan.  Israel might decide the United States is an unreliable partner, and that it needs to take the ultimate sanction against Iran. Instability around the world will increase as the planet warms, and the United States may be increasingly impotent to do anything about it.  Global flashpoints will become conflagrations.  Our only leverage will be nuclear, and that’s not really an option.

All this might come to pass because half the people in this country ignored the endless examples of why Donald Trump should not be President of the United States, Continue reading

November 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment