Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia’s Weatherill govt still allout for the nuclear industry

weatherill-martyrNuclear royal commission: Uranium exploratory drilling flagged by SA Government Drilling for new uranium deposits across South Australia will be pursued by the State Government as it declares its support for increased participation in the nuclear industry.

The Government said it would support nine of 12 recommendations made earlier this year by former SA governor, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, when he released his Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission report.

They include developing a “state-wide mineral exploration drilling initiative to support the discovery of new deposits”.

They also include collaborating with the Federal Government on commissioning feasibility work focussed on the commercialisation of new, economically viable, nuclear reactor designs.

One of Mr Scarce’s most discussed recommendations included pursuing an intermediate to high-level nuclear waste dump to dispose of international waste for a fee.

But a 300-strong citizens’ jury set up by Premier Jay Weatherill to debate the proposal has since announced it had deliberated against the idea of a dump.

Mr Weatherill responded yesterday by announcing he wanted a state-wide referendum on the issue, provided he could get bipartisan support.

The Government’s announcement today, however, did not support a recommendation to pursue a legislative change that would actually allow for a nuclear waste dump to be established in SA.

“Having considered all of the community feedback, the Government has decided that discussion should continue on a proposed nuclear waste facility,” Mr Weatherill said.

“Continued public debate about SA’s role in the nuclear fuel cycle is important and ultimately it is a matter that the people should decide, not political parties.”

The announcement prompted feisty scenes during question time in Parliament today, with many members of the Opposition, including leader Steven Marshall, being kicked out of the House of Assembly.

In a tweet, the SA Liberal Party accused Mr Weatherill of “flip flopping” because he “won’t change policy or legislation to create his nuclear dump”.

“Weatherill only wants a nuclear referendum if it’ll give him the result he wants. He never wants to listen to South Australians,” @SaLibMedia tweeted.

Other recommendations accepted by the Government included promoting and increasing the use of nuclear medicine at the SA Health and Medical Research Institute.

It also wanted to work towards a national energy policy to create a low carbon electricity network using all technologies, including nuclear.

“We can position ourselves as leaders in developing a national energy policy, playing a greater role in transforming Australia’s energy sector towards a low carbon energy sources, such as exploring emerging renewable technologies and advancements in nuclear energy,” Mr Weatherill said.

November 15, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

The Guardian view on climate change: Trump spells disaster #auspol


Reaching a global agreement on climate change took more than 20 years of tortuous negotiations. Signed just under a year ago, the insufficient but workable Paris agreement at last constructed a legally binding framework for the principle of cutting carbon emissions.

It was to be the foundation of a sustained ratcheting up of ambition that would hold global warming below 2C.

Last Tuesday night, as one by one from east coast to west the United States went Republican red, that progress was wiped out.
Donald Trump is the first self-declared climate denier to lead of one of the world’s biggest emitters.

Even President George W Bush, though he surrounded himself with sceptics, did not publicly disavow climate science.

He even managed a few helpful moves. But Mr Trump has pledged to unpick the Paris agreement. In Marrakech, where delegates are meeting for the first time since Paris, they are putting…

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November 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear scientist group aims to boost influence amid growing defense research fears

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


Japanese scientists are trying to make Pugwash Japan, the domestic arm of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs — an international organization working toward the abolition of nuclear arms and war — more active and influential amid concerns that the defense industry and scientific community are growing increasingly closer.

The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs held its first world meeting in the small fishing village of Pugwash, Canada, in 1957 during the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, and has since worked on and advocated for the elimination of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction. Japanese physicist and 1949 Nobel Prize laureate Hideki Yukawa had actively participated in Pugwash meetings, including the first session, and Japan has hosted international Pugwash conferences, but the number of Japanese scientists involved in the movement has been dropping in recent years.

Since individual scientists join the conference based…

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November 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

VOX POPULI: Nuclear disaster surely taught us not to export this technology

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

nov 13 2016.jpg

The town of Futaba, which co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, used to boast signage promoting nuclear power generation.

One sign proclaimed, “Genshiryoku–Akarui Mirai no Enerugii,” which translates literally as “Nuclear power: The energy of a bright future.”

This and other signs were removed in the aftermath of the March 2011 nuclear disaster. They were relocated last month to the Fukushima Museum in the city of Aizuwakamatsu, according to the Fukushima edition of The Asahi Shimbun.

The museum is said to be considering an eventual exhibition of these acquisitions, which include a panel bearing the slogan, “Genshiryoku Tadashii Rikai de Yutakana Kurashi” (Proper understanding of nuclear energy enriches life).

These upbeat messages convey the hope, once held by the town of Futaba, that hosting the nuclear power plant will bring prosperity to the community.

But now, the reality gap is all too stark. Completely evacuated in the…

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November 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


text-cat-questionPresumably “everything” means after the government and nuclear lobbyists had negotiated secretly with overseas nuclear companies and defence industries?


after they have as quietly as possible (with bipartisan support?) amended or scrapped the South Australian Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition). Act 2000, and the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)?


Mr Weatherill refused to expand on when the referendum would be held or how the question would be questionphrased, saying only that it would be held be “at the end of the process”, after everything had been worked out.

South Australian referendum to be a plebiscite on nuclear plebiscitewaste  Peter Martin, 15 Nov 16, 

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has committed his state to a referendum on whether to host Australia’s first nuclear waste dump, saying he will push ahead despite lukewarm public support.

The referendum will effectively be a plebiscite, because it will seek an opinion rather than change the state’s constitution. Mr Weatherill’s announcement comes ahead of the Labor state government’s formal response to its royal commission on the nuclear industry and after a “citizens’ jury” appointed by the government rejected the idea two to one, saying the dump should not be built under any circumstances.

Liberal Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has abandoned his earlier tentative support for the idea, saying the jury verdict rendered it “all but dead and buried”.

A report prepared for the royal commission found the dump would cost $145 billion to build and operate, but bring in $257 billion in revenue, boosting budget income by a third.

But two of the report’s authors have been named by the ABC as lobbyists, serving as president and vice-president of the Association for Regional and International Underground Storage, which promotes the underground storage of nuclear waste.

The report said the waste would be stored above ground in the outback for 17 years while the permanent underground repository was being built, and much would remain above ground while the repository was expanded with the income that would come from holding fees. Only after 120 years would all the waste be permanently stored.

South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon was scathing of the findings, saying they assumed that no other countries would compete with Australia to provide cheaper underground storage and that any extra income received by the state would be kept rather than shared with the rest of Australia through the Grants Commission process.

“I supported a referendum when it looked as if both sides of politics wanted the dump, but now that they don’t there is no point,” Senator Xenophon said. “The next state election will be in 2018 and will itself be a referendum if Labor continues to pursue the idea.”

Mr Weatherill refused to expand on when the referendum would be held or how the question would be phrased, saying only that it would be held be “at the end of the process”, after everything had been worked out.

“I could have easily come here and said it’s all over,” he said on Monday. “We will not pursue a change to our policy, but if the mood in the community shifts and bipartisanship is re-established we will remain open to the question.”

November 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | 1 Comment

Can new atomic power reactors really help cut CO2 by 2050?

climate-its-a-lieNuclear Power Is Not “Green Energy”: It Is a Fount of Atomic Waste Monday, 14 November 2016 00:00 By Arnie GundersenTruthout | News Analysis  “…….Can new atomic power reactors really help cut CO2 by 2050? Unfortunately, what is past is prologue. The World Nuclear Association claims that 1,000 new nuclear power plants will be needed by 2050 to combat CO2 buildup and climate change. The MIT estimate also assumes 1,000 nuclear power plants must be in operation by 2050. Using the nuclear trade association’s own calculations shows that these new power plants will offset only 3.9 gigatons of CO2 in 2050; 3.9 gigatons out of 64 gigatons is only 6.1 percent of the total CO2 released to the atmosphere in 2050, hardly enough for the salvation of the polar bears.

If those 1,000 nuclear power plants were cheap and could be built quickly, investing in atomic power reactors might still make sense. However, Lazard Financial Advisory and Asset Management, with no dog in the fight, has developed a rubric which estimates that the construction cost of those new power plants will be $8,200,000,000,000. Yes, that’s $8.2 trillion to reduce CO2 by only 6 percent.

21st-Century Opportunities    Surely, that huge amount of money can be better spent on less expensive alternatives to get more bang for the buck. Lazard also estimates that solar or wind would be 80 percent less expensive for the equivalent amount of peak electric output.

Atmospheric CO2 releases are not going to go on vacation while waiting for those 1,000 plants to be built. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2016, the average construction time for 46 nuclear plants that began operation between 2006 and 2016 was 10.4 years, not including engineering, licensing and site selection.

Contrast that with a two-year design and construction schedule for a typical industrial-scale solar power plant. Atmospheric CO2 levels will increase by almost 70 ppm during the 35 years it will take to construct those 1,000 new nuclear power plants, an increase that they will never eliminate — if they ever operate.

Proponents of nuclear power claim that somehow, sometime in the future, atomic power reactor construction costs will be much lower and construction delays will be a thing of the past. There is no shortage of atomic reactor power ideas, according to the nuclear industry and its lobbyists, when government subsidies are used to fulfill their pipe dreams.

Global climate change is a contemporary problem that requires contemporary solutions. Governments would make the CO2 problem worse by allocating precious resources for nuclear energy to reduce CO2 when the cost of such proposals is unknown and when implementation only begins in 2030. Fortunately, lower-cost renewable solutions are readily available and can be implemented on the necessary time scale needed to reverse the rapidly increasing atmospheric CO2.

Building new nuclear power plants applies a 20th century technology to a 21st century problem. Moreover, building nuclear reactors in a trade-off for CO2 reduction creates a toxic legacy of atomic waste throughout the world. Proponents of nuclear power would have us believe that humankind is smart enough to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but at the same time, humankind is too ignorant to figure out how to store solar electricity overnight.

Let’s not recreate the follies of the 20th century by recycling this atomic technology into the 21st century. The evidence proves that new nuclear power plants will make global climate change worse due to huge costs and delayed implementation periods. Lift the CO2 smoke screen and implement the alternative solutions that are available now — faster to implement and much less expensive.


November 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global Nuke Dump – a Dead Plan Walking

logo-ccsaConservation SA, the state’s peak environment body, has reacted with dismay at today’s announcement by the Premier that he intends to continue his nuclear waste dump push in the face of mounting opposition with a referendum.

“This is a Dead Plan Walking,” said Craig Wilkins, Conservation SA’s Chief Executive.

“With so much opposition across the community and across Parliament this plan is going nowhere.

“This will fall over through a lack of support in Parliament for a referendum, or a failed state-wide vote. Either way it is doomed.

“Community opposition will only grow.  We intend to fight it all the way.  Because, ultimately, we know there is a better way for SA.

“Nothing divides communities like nuclear.  Rather than showing respect for Aboriginal communities and their clear and consistent opposition, the

Premier is doing exactly what his Citizen Jury said he shouldn’t: ignore the views of Aboriginal people.

“Every day we spend needlessly debating the option to turn ourselves into the world’s rubbish tip is one less day we have to crack on with creating jobs and turning our state around,” he said.

For the same-sex marriage plebiscite, the Federal Government agreed to provide equal financial support to both sides of the debate.

“If the Premier is genuine about his support for democracy through this referendum, he will guarantee equal financial support for those who are for and against this proposal.

“We are proud citizens of a proud state.  A referendum will fail because we citizens know we can do so much better than become the world’s toxic dump site,’ he said.

November 15, 2016 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Premier Weatherill’s vague promise of a nuclear waste “referendum”

referendumPremier Jay Weatherill effectively buries nuclear waste dump proposal with vague promise of statewide referendum, Adelaide Now  Adam Langenberg, Political Reporter, The Advertiser, 14 Nov 16  PREMIER Jay Weatherill has effectively mothballed his plan to establish a high-level nuclear waste storage facility in the state, announcing nothing would happen without bipartisan support.

November 15, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment