Australian news, and some related international items

IMPOSITION of ANSTO reactor nuclear wastes onto South Australian community

28 May 2017, Submission by David Noonan, B.Sc., M.Env.St.  To:Senator The Hon Matthew Canavan  RE: Proposed Federal government imposition onto community in South Australia of an illegal “100 year” Store for ANSTO’s “10 000 year” irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes.

Storage of nuclear wastes affects the rights, interests and safety of all South Australians and is prohibited in our State under the Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 2000.

Proposed imposition of ANSTO reactor nuclear wastes is a major public interest concern in SA and detracts from public trust and confidence in the Federal government, in ARPANSA and in ANSTO.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) comprises two co-located waste management facilities: an above ground 100 year Store for wastes that ARPANSA states require isolation for 10 000 years, AND a Disposal Facility for wastes requiring isolation for up to 300 years.

This submission focuses on the proposed imposition of the illegal Store & consequences thereof.

The Store is primarily for ANSTO irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes (NFW) and other existing and proposed reactor wastes, with only minor projected future arising’s of Intermediate Level Wastes (ILW) from States & Territories or from other Commonwealth agencies.

ARPANSA’s CEO (May 2015) has formally considered the proposed NRWMF Store and stated:

This plan will have the provision for ILW storage above ground for approximately 100 years.”

This indefinite storage plan compromises safety in importing nuclear waste to SA without a waste disposal capacity or even a requisite program for disposal of NFW and ILW.

ARPANSA’s Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council (April 2010) has provided formal advice which concluded: “that Australia’s current policy of indefinite storage for intermediate level waste does not appear to be consistent with International best practice.”

The import, transport, storage and disposal of ANSTO irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes is illegal in SA and was prohibited under the leadership of Liberal Premier John Olsen in 2000:

“The Objects of this Act are to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia and to protect the environment in which they live by prohibiting the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in this State”

Since April 2016 the NRWMF project has exclusively targeted community and environment in SA in an attempt to again impose an illegal Store for ANSTO’s irradiated Nuclear Fuel Waste in our State. 2

The Minister’s release “Kimba 90-day consultation begins”(20 March 2017) invited submissions on potential approval under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 of two nominated sites near Kimba for assessment as potential sites for the proposed NRWM Facility.

This is in-parallel with the Federal government targeting the iconic Flinders Ranges on the country of the Adnyamathanha people in a serious threat to their human rights and cultural interests.

These are fundamentally State level public interest issues and represent a multi-generational threat to community in SA: including intended Federal requisition of an as yet unnamed SA port for imposition of decades of irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes imports, along with affected stakeholders on transport routes, in addition to the rights & interests of community around a potential Store site.

The Federal government has unacceptably failed to take up the recent Advice of the ARPANSA Nuclear Safety Committee (4 Nov 2016) for transparency and for the essential “ongoing requirement to clearly and effectively engage all stakeholders, including those along transport routes”.

This Store also exposes SA to unresolved security and potential terrorist risks in shipping, transport and indefinite above ground storage of irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes and other reactor wastes.

However, Lucas Heights is Australia’s best placed institution and facility to responsibly manage ANSTO’s Nuclear Fuel Wastes and can do so through-out the operating period of the Opal reactor.

An “Interim Waste Store” built at Lucas Heights in 2015 has a design life of 40 years and an approved purpose to take both the Nuclear Fuel Waste from France (NFW received Dec. 2015) and NFW to be received from the UK in circa 2020. The ARPANSA license for this Store “is not time limited” and has Contingency options to retain these NFW’s at ANSTO “until the availability of a final disposal option”.

The policy agenda to impose a NFW Store in SA is a flawed, unnecessary, contested and unsafe plan.

A broad public interest campaign protected SA rights and interests from prior Federal government attempts to impose nuclear waste facilities onto our State over 1998 to 2004 – and can do so again.

That “National Store Project” was abandoned – just as this NRWMF Store will have to be set aside.

Further, the Federal government’s flawed policy agenda for imposition of nuclear waste effectively precludes a long term resolution to Australia’s “low level” radioactive waste responsibilities.

The Minister has an obligation to learn the lessons from experience in failure of prior projects in Australia and internationally and not to deny or override key public interest community concerns.

My background includes experience as an Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Campaigner over 1996 to 2011 based in Adelaide.


May 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

USA’s billionaires’ nuclear front group Breakthrough Institute spinning in Australia

Todays’ AUSTRALIAN touts a nuclear promotion by Jessical Lovering:
“Jessica Lovering is director of energy at The Breakthrough Institute, a US environmental and energy think tank. She is visiting Australia to discuss nuclear innovation with energy policy experts, parliamentarians and government agencies.”
Just let’s be clear on who Jessica Lovering represents, and who is paying for her visit.
Well, the visit is paid for by  the Minerals Council of Australia, also sponsored by the breakthrough Institute.
The Breakthrough Institute is a pretend-environmental group that propagandises for new nuclear power It’s interesting that Jessica will be speaking in Sydney on May 30th, and in Adelaide on May 31st –   coincidentally, just as the Parliamentary Committe is about to give its blessing to Australia signing up to join in developing new :”Generation IV”  nuclear reactors
The Breakthrough Institute  launched the Breakthrough Energy Coalition at the start of the COP21 climate talks in Paris, with collective wealth of three hundred and fifty billion dollars.
The Breakthrough Institute is a billionaire’s club of “new nuclear” proponents, (to name just a few):
  • Bill Gates who owns Terra Power LLC,  a nuclear design and engineering company
  • Richard Branson, publicly touts nuclear energy and put his name on Pandora’s Promise as executive producer.
  • Mukesh Ambani an investor in Terra Power
  • Jeff Bezos investor in  nuclear fusion
  • Chris Hohn’s TCI hedge fund invested in J-Power, a Japanese utility company whose assets included nuclear power stations.
  • Vinod Khosla loves nuclear power and is on record blaming environmentalists rather than nuclear energy’s obviously disastrous economics, for its failure.Chinese billionaire
  • Jack Ma of Alibaba, involved in  China’s investment in the UK’s planned Hinkley-C nuclear power plant.
  • Ratan Tata  investing in nuclear energy in India



Last time the Breakthrough Institute send a macho man to spin to Australia. Lately they’ve turned to using trendy young women –  a case of handing over the poisoned chalice?

May 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Until June 21 – Submissions received by Australian govt on nuclear waste dumping in South Australia

RE: Proposed Federal government imposition onto community in South Australia of an illegal “100 year” Store for ANSTO’s “10 000 year” irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes.
Public submissions are open till 21 June 2017, to:
The Minister’s release “Kimba 90-day consultation begins”(20 March 2017) invited submissions on potential approval under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 of two nominated sites near Kimba for assessment as potential sites for the proposed NRWM Facility.
E-Address To: Senator The Hon Matthew Canavan
The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia
c/o The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
National Radioactive Waste Section
The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) comprises two co-located waste management facilities: an above ground 100 year Store for nuclear wastes that ARPANSA states require isolation for 10 000 years, AND a Disposal Facility for a range of radioactive wastes requiring isolation for up to 300 years.

May 29, 2017 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Queensland govt dumps support for $1 billion rail loan to Adani

Adani’s coal mine dealt fresh blow as Queensland shunts $1 billion rail loan role, Brisbane Times, Peter Hannam 28 May 17, 
Prospects for the controversial Adani coal mine have dimmed further after the Queensland government said it wanted no role in any federal loan to support the project.

In a statement on Saturday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that “consistent with our election commitments, cabinet has determined that any [Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility] loan needs to be between the federal government and Adani”.

If the NAIF does provide funds for the 388 kilometre, $1 billion-plus rail link to support the proposed Carmichael mine, it will do so without the support of the state government. The NAIF’s guidelines say loans should “align” with a state’s needs.”If [Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull wants to spend his money in this way, that’s his decision,” a source said, requesting anonymity.
David Barnden, a lawyer for Environmental Justice Australia, said Queensland’s move appeared to block any NAIF loan to Adani under the current laws.”The Commonwealth’s legal power to fund projects through the NAIF is granted by a constitutional power for the provision of financial assistance to the states,” Mr Barnden said.
“If Queensland is not a part of any agreement for NAIF funding, then, in our view, Adani’s railway line cannot receive NAIF concessional loans under the current legal framework.”The NAIF abstention comes a day after the state government called a snap cabinet meeting to settle on the royalty plan to be offered to the Indian-owned miner. Adani says it will consider the plan.

Fairfax understands the cabinet agreed on a capped payment for the first six years of $5 million annually. Any delayed payments would be made up in later years with interest.While touted as a $16.5 billion project – excluding the railway and port expansion – the mine is looking increasingly less ambitious, if it gets built at all. Rather than 60 million tonnes, annual output is likely to be much less than the “mega” scale promoted, and a price tag is closer to $4 billion at least for the start.Ms Palaszczuk defended the royalty plan on Saturday, saying there was no “holiday” and that Adani would have to pay “every cent … in full”.By avoiding involvement in the NAIF loan, the government will argue it has kept its pre-election promise not to provide financial support for the mine. ……

Environment groups have applauded Queensland’s decision to avoid serving as a go-between for the NAIF funds.”Today Queensland Labor are holding firm to their promise at the last election not to throw taxpayer funds at Adani’s coal rail line, by refusing to hand over money from Senator Canavan’s slush fund,” GetUp national director Paul Oosting said.”The pressure is now on the federal government to put an end to special treatment for the megamine, and stand with Australians to say no to Adani.”






May 29, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Trump telling close associates that USA will quit Paris climate deal

Trump tells confidants U.S. will quit Paris climate deal,  AXIOS, \ Jonathan SwanAmy Harder, 29 May 17, 

President Trump has privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave the Paris agreement on climate change, according to three sources with direct knowledge.

Publicly, Trump’s position is that he has not made up his mind and when we asked the White House about these private comments, Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks said, “I think his tweet was clear. He will make a decision this week.”

Why this matters: Pulling out of Paris is the biggest thing Trump could to do unravel Obama’s climate policies. It also sends a stark and combative signal to the rest of the world that working with other nations on climate change isn’t a priority to the Trump administration. And pulling out threatens to unravel the ambition of the entire deal, given how integral former President Obama was in making it come together in the first place. Continue reading

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Conflict of interest in federal government bodies considering $billion loan to Adani coal company

Adani: Government body board members considering rail loan ‘linked to companies who may benefit’ Mark Willacy and Alexandra Blucher, ABC News 29 May 17, Conflict of interest concerns have been raised about two board members of federal government bodies involved in the consideration of a billion-dollar loan to Indian mining giant Adani.

Adani is seeking the loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for a rail line linking its proposed Carmichael coal mine to the port of Abbot Point in north Queensland.

Green group Environmental Justice Australia said the two board members had connections to Queensland mining companies that could benefit financially if the Adani mine is approved and as such have a potential conflict of interest.

They have written to the NAIF and to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), the government credit agency, which is helping to evaluate the loan.

Environmental Justice Australia said Annabelle Chaplain was a board member of Efic but also a director of Downer EDI, which has a $2 billion commercial arrangement with Adani.

It also said Karla Way-McPhail was a NAIF board member as well as being the chief executive of two companies that do work in the mining industry. One is Undamine Industries, which hires out labour and machinery to support mining operations.

The second is Coal Train Australia, a mining training company based in central Queensland.

Efic board member Ms Chaplain is listed as an independent non-executive director of Downer EDI, whose $2 billion arrangement is to conduct drilling, blasting and coal haulage at the Carmichael Mine, if it goes ahead.

According to Downer EDI’s last annual report, Ms Chaplain held 74,000 shares in the company, putting her stake at more than $450,000. Downer EDI chief executive Grant Fenn told The Australian Financial Review last year the company was a “supporter” of the Adani mine and that the Indian giant was “a very large potential customer”.

‘Clear connections’ to companies that could gain from loan

Environmental Justice Australia said both Ms Way-McPhail and Ms Chaplain had clear connections to companies that could benefit financially if the Adani project was approved.

“We understand NAIF is considering proposals by an [Adani company] and Aurizon Holdings Ltd for Galilee Basin rail projects that would cart thermal coal to the Great Barrier Reef Coast,” Environmental Justice Australia wrote in its letter to both government bodies.

“There is a perception that Ms Way-McPhail could gain an advantage if either project were to proceed.”

Efic told the ABC Ms Chaplain was unavailable for interview…….

The NAIF has been accused of excessive secrecy over the operation of its board and the board’s deliberations. The ABC reported earlier this year the NAIF rejected a freedom of information request for the dates and locations of its upcoming board meetings. The NAIF chief executive said the “disclosure of the dates of board meetings could reasonably be expected to adversely affect the NAIF’s operations” by creating media attention and protest activity……

May 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Massive implications for Australia, in new report on sea level rise

New data has coastal communities all at sea 
28 May 2017, New modelling on sea level rise caused by climate change shows that what was once considered the worst-case scenario, only four years ago, is now more likely if we continue on a high-emissions path. In January, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US released a report detailing global and regional mean sea level rise.

Scientists found that a rise of up to 2.7 metres by 2100 is in fact plausible, whereas the previous high scenario from the 2013 report – from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change – was around 74 centimetres for the same year.

So why the increase? This year’s NOAA report includes the latest science on the rapid ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica as well as the latest results regarding Antarctic ice sheet instability and how these factors will contribute to global mean sea level rise.

These results align with other data. According to NOAA, in 2016 we experienced the warmest global surface temperature on record, having set new records for the previous two years.

In April this year there was record-low Arctic and near-record-low Antarctic sea ice.

These events have massive implications for Australia. Our coastal communities will be impacted by sea level rise and billions of dollars of infrastructure will be at risk.  To quote Barrack Obama, “we are the first generation to experience climate change and the last generation that can do something about it”.

We now have a picture of what our worst-case scenario looks like for our coastal communities. Reducing emission levels will limit the impact of sea level rise. But sea level rise will happen and we need to understand the level of local risk to our coastal communities so that we can invest in protecting them.Nathan Eaton is Principal Consultant for NGIS and creator of the website, Coastal Risk Australia

May 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Crisis without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe

Review: Crisis without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, Helen Caldicott et al. 4.0 out of 5 stars Vital Detailed Truth, Lacks Compelling Visualization, July 9, 2015 This review was written by Robert David Steele and has been reposted with permission. The original page can be found here.   This book stems from a conference and is a very nicely presented double-spaced precis of the world-class contributions from the conference.

HELEN CALDICOTT QUOTE (3): The Fukushima disaster is not over and will not end for many millenia. The radioactive fallout, which has covered vast swaths of Japan, will remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years.”
NAOTO KAN QUOTE (19): Considering the risk of losing half our land and evacuating half our population, my conclusion is that not having nuclear power plants is the safest energy policy.
DAVID LOCHBAUM: Fukushima was result of multiple foreseen but dismissed hazards. The cost of the recommended safety measures would have been a tiny fraction of the final cost of the total disaster that will be adding costs for a century into the future.
HISAKO SAKIYAMA: Virtually all hospitals included in today’s nuclear reaction plans are themselves so close as to be rendered victims themselves in the event of any real nuclear disaster. Continue reading

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Florida waking up, as climate change adds to the dangers of nuclear reactors

Critics have pointed to the rising seas from climate change, risks of storm surge, radioactive waste and threats to drinking water and wildlife at the site, nestled near Everglades National Park, as reasons to stop nuclear expansion.

Complaints have also centered on the difficulty of evacuating the densely populated area around the plant in case of emergency. Miami-Dade County is home to 2.6 million people.

“Investing tens of billions of dollars on a power plant that will be underwater one day, along with the highly radioactive waste it will produce, makes no sense,”

Why nuclear could become the next ‘fossil’ fuel, Afp, Homestead, United States, Daily Star 29 May 17  A gray dinosaur statue outside south Florida’s largest power plant is meant to symbolize two decommissioned fossil fuel reactors, but it also could be seen to represent a nuclear industry crumpling under mounting costs.

Almost a decade ago, Turkey Point was aiming to become one of the country’s largest nuclear plants.Florida Power and Light had argued that such expansion was needed to maintain diverse energy sources and to supply Florida’s booming population for years to come, while touting nuclear as a clean form of energy.

But now, just three reactors are in operation – one natural gas and two nuclear reactors, built in the 1970s. And plans to build two more nuclear reactors — first announced in 2009 — are essentially on hold for at least four years, according to filings with the state’s Public Service Commission……

The project has been controversial from the start, and casts the spotlight on wider concerns about nuclear power. Continue reading

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China: world’s largest floating solar power plant now operational

THE WORLD’S LARGEST FLOATING SOLAR POWER PLANT JUST WENT ONLINE IN CHINA By Dallon Adams  May 23, 2017 China has announced that the largest floating photovoltaic (PV) facility on earth has finally been completed and connected to the local power grid. Long reviled for its carbon emission record, this is the Chinese government’s latest achievement in its ongoing effort to lead the world in renewable energy adoption.

Located in the city of Huainan in the Anhui province, the 40-megawatt facility was created by PV inverter manufacturer Sungrow Power Supply Co. Ironically, the floating grid itself was constructed over a flooded former coal-mining region.

Floating solar farms are becoming increasingly popular around the world because their unique design addresses multiple efficiency and city planning issues. These floating apparatuses free up land in more populated areas and also reduce water evaporation. The cooler air at the surface also helps to minimize the risk of solar cell performance atrophy, which is often related to long-term exposure to warmer temperatures.

This is just the first of many solar energy operations popping up around China. In 2016, the country unveiled a similar 20MW floating facility in the same area. China is also home to the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, a massive 10-square-mile, land-based facility touted as the largest solar power plant on earth.

This transition to solar is in large part due to the rapidly plummeting cost of the technology itself. By 2020, China could reduce prices offered to PV developers by more than a third with solar power plants projected to rival coal facilities within a decade. The nation has also announced plans to increase its use of non-fissile fuel energy sources by 20 percent.

An annual report released by NASA and NOAA determined that 2016 was the warmest year on record globally, marking the third year in a row in which a new record was set for global average surface temperatures. That said, if we as a species hope to reverse this dire trend, initiatives like this and others will need to be adopted around the globe.

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sea level rise threatening Australia’s East Coast holiday beaches

South Coast 2100: what sea level rise could do to Canberra’s beach getaways  Stephen Jeffery   Canberra holidaymakers at the end of this century could drive down the Kings Highway to find the villas and waterfront homes of Batemans Bay below the high tide line.

Updated mapping from Coastal Risk Australia has estimated the effect of plausible sea level rises on the south coast by 2100.

Earlier this year, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this year lifted the “plausible” sea level rise to as high as between 2 and 2.7 metres by 2100 if emissions remained at their current levels.

The map showed the highest risk scenario, a two metre rise during the highest tides, would engulf most beachfront properties and promenades in Batemans Bay and Batehaven.

    • Further north, the Shoalhaven River would claim much of the low-lying farmland between Nowra and the ocean, stranding Shoalhaven Heads, Greenwell Point and Culbarra Beach.

      The canal properties that front Sussex Inlet would go underwater, while the Princes Highway would be cut at Dolphin Point and on either side of Moruya.

    • Merimbula Airport would be inundated, according to the forecast, as would the marina and Market Street bridge over Boggy Creek.

      The worst effects of the sea level rise would be felt elsewhere in the state, including in the Illawarra, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Ballina and Byron Bay.

Parts of Sydney, including two airport runways, would also be adversely affected, based on the estimates.

NOAA estimated sea levels rose 0.65 millimetres per year between 1886 and 2010 in Sydney, with a global mean rise of about 3.2 millimetres per year between 1993 and 2014.

NGIS, which developed the mapping tool, used Google technology and local tide measurements to create Coastal Risk Australia.

The NOAA report, published in January, was developed through analysis of the expected melting rate of Greenland’s and Antarctica’s ice sheets.

“Recent results regarding Antarctic icesheet instability indicate that such outcomes [higher sea level rises] may be more likely than previously thought,” the report said.

“There has been continued and growing evidence that both Antarctica and Greenland are losing mass at an accelerated rate.”

Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla councils developed a south coast regional sea level rise policy in 2014.

Shoalhaven adopted a projected 36 centimetre sea level rise by 2100 in 2015, but agreed to conduct revised projections every seven years.

Eurobodalla has adopted a 50-year planning period for residential development and 23 centimetre sea level rise by 2050, but will also revise the guidelines every five to seven years.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s climate change strategy warned of a rise of up to 91 centimetres by 2100.

The strategy recommended future risk assessments, a coastal strategy and the incorporation of sea level rise consideration into environmental planning, infrastructure development and emergency management.

May 29, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

New South Wales EPA must review procedures for managing contaminated land

I wonder if the radioactively polluted area in Hunter’s Hill is included in this.   Also, just how clean is the Lucas Heights area?  Or should I say Baren Ridge – sounds cleaner than Lucas Heights, doncha think?
Land contamination review follows Fairfax Media Toxic State investigation, SMH, 28 May 17 , James Robertson,  The state government will urgently review procedures for managing contaminated land in NSW, following a Fairfax Media investigation that revealed suspected contamination in residential areas was not being made public to protect house prices.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced the review on Saturday after Fairfax Media revealed that the Environment Protection Authority had been keeping “significant” chemical contamination hidden to protect residential property prices.

“There will be an independent urgent review into the procedural guidelines for contaminated land management,” Ms Upton said in a statement…..

An independent review last year found the authority had decided “not to routinely declare all sites where the contamination is significant enough to warrant regulation”.

The authority wanted to avoid “blighting” land prices but its head, Barry Buffier, denied that property prices were the “driving factor” in the organisation’s decision-making.

Environmentalists and the state’s opposition said they were alarmed that residents throughout the state could be unknowingly living on top of dangerous chemicals.

Fairfax also revealed the EPA was struggling to assess and prioritise many thousands of sites that had been reported as contaminated.  …..

May 29, 2017 Posted by | environment, New South Wales | Leave a comment