Australian news, and some related international items

The week in nuclear news – Australia

With regret, this newsletter is now going to focus mainly on nuclear issues. Climate change is no less important – indeed the harsh reality of climate change  is worse than we thought.  Climate change is being covered brilliantly by excellent websites, such as Radio Ecoshock and Global Weirding with Katharine Hayhoe. Renewable energy and energy efficiency are being left out, too, despite their huge importance.  The new, narrower, focus is just because it’s all been getting, too much, too hard, and – newsletter too long.

My thanks to Lonnie Clarke of The Age of Fission– radio programme, (Missouri) for her information service, and for interviewing me this week .  Also thanks to  David Archer (TMI Podcasts) (Toronto) for the interview today.

With the Trump government now overturning net neutrality laws, it becomes ever more important for all the avenues of independent media to work together to spread information on the nuclear threat.


Dr Margaret Beavis on the value of United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Nuclear wastes. Revealed – Some politics behind the failed South Australian push to import nuclear wastes- MPs paid by Taiwanese government to travel to Taiwan to discuss funding of nuclear waste facility. Taiwanese government denied claims by Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith’s that Taiwan  would fund the building of a waste facility.

Is the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Protection Agency (ARPANSA) dedicated to promoting the nuclear industry rather more than promoting public safety?

Aboriginal anger over lack of action to stop Scots nuclear waste transfers.

Cabinet papers reveal:

Rare earths mining in Central Australia approved

Micro grids taking off in a big way In Australia.

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Net Neutrality, the Open Internet, and Nuclear Information – theme for January 2018

Before the Internet, information to the public was very much controlled by the established media – print, radio, television. With the world wide web came the opportunity for just about anyone to set up a site, just like this one, and to provide information on any generalist or specialised subject. (Of course, there are disadvantages – e.g. the new sites could lack the fact checking rigour expected of professional journalism).

From the point of view of examining nuclear issues, the Internet provided a timely opportunity to bypass the propaganda that is fed to the public via the mainstream media.  That has become more important now, as investigative journalists lose their jobs in the shaky world of commercial media.  The secretive nuclear industry has been having  a field day, or a field few decades, in handing out propaganda to mainstream journalists, who most often swallow it uncritically.

It was only  a matter of time before corporations worked to gain the same kind of control over the Internet, as they used to have over the media in pre-Internet days.

It’s in this context, that, on December 15th, the Republican-dominated Federal Communications Commission voted to end the 2015 Open Internet Order which protects net neutrality in the United StatesNet neutrality requires all internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all data equally, without blocking, “throttling” or censoring services or websites.

There is opposition in Congress to this move. So – it’s early days, to find out what effect it will have.

Still, I think that this is the first clear salvo in what could become a corporate war against independent media. A second salvo just arrived – as Glenn Greenwald reported on Facebook now obeying USA government, in censoring Palestinians’ posts.

The nuclear lobby would love that. They have the money, the corporate and government connections, to make a renewed campaign to stifle the truth about nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and the real state of affairs in Fukushima, as the 2020 Olympic Games approach.


January 6, 2018 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Aboriginal anger over lack of action to stop Scots nuclear waste transfers

Ms McKenzie said: “Australian Aboriginal people live in a land that they are the first people, yet our culture belief, our religion is ignored, our heritage and burial sites desecrated, we have never been acknowledged in the constituion. This act of placing a nuclear waste dump on the Adnyamathana nations country is cultral genocide.

“The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 29.2 says that governments must get consent from traditional owners to place any toxic substances on country, which never happened 
“Please dont impact Aboriginal people like Britons did with Maralinga, when they tested the atomic bomb. Don’t destroy culture.

Video: Aborigine anger over lack of action to stop Scots nuclear waste transfers
Martin Williams ,January 2018…/15808815.Video__Aborigine_…/
CAMPAIGNERS have accused the Scottish Government of a lack of decisive action following protests over plans to dump nuclear waste from Dounreay at a sacred Aboriginal burial place.
Ministers have come under fire for failing to review proposals for a sacred area of Wallerberdina, 280 miles north of Adelaide, to become a potential location for Australia’s first nuclear dump.

It came despite Aborigine tribes people providing a video appeal to the officials to stop the dumping.
Campaigner Gary Cushway, a dual Australian-British citizen living in Glasgow, pressed the point in a meeting with the Government which was arranged after he wrote to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over the controversy.
Wallerberdina is said to include Aboriginal burial mounds, fossilised bones and stone tools.
But it has been earmarked as part of a deal that returns spent fuel processed at the nuclear facility currently being decommissioned at the nuclear site in Caithness to its country of origin.
Mr Cushway said he was “disappointed” by the “lack of decisive action” after asking that the Government review the agreement.

Aborigines provided a video appeal to the Scottish Government to stop the dumping in an area identified as a potential location for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump as part of a deal that returns spent fuel processed at the nuclear facility currently being decommissioned in Dounreay, Caithness, to its country of origin.
The video, which came in the form of a documentary, highlighted one Aborigine speaking in the Adnyamanthatha language saying, “the poison, leave it alone” and “we don’t want it”.

The proposed dump site is next to an indigenous protected area where Aborigines are still allowed to hunt, and is part of the traditional home of the Adnyamathanha people, one of several hundred indigenous groups in Australia.
The Dounreay Waste Substitution Policy, agreed in 2012, sees waste from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy processed at the Scottish facility to make it safe for storage after being returned to its country of origin. Continue reading

January 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The politics behind the nuclear push in South Australia is complicated indeed.

 Some nuclear-free sleuths on the Facebook site Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia– help unravel the complexities.

While the South Australian Liberal Party’s official position was opposition to the Labor government’s 2016 plan to import nuclear wastes, Liberal politicians as well as Labor were funded by the Taiwanese government for trips to Taiwan to promote the cause of importing nuclear wastes.

MPs and MLCs visiting Taiwan:

During the financial year 2014-2015, Tom Kenyon and his wife received travel, accommodation and food courtesy of the Government of Taiwan. The Members Register of Interests for that year contains the information in the clipping below.

UPDATE – Other Parliamentarians to visit Taiwan and discuss nuclear industry include:

– Tom Kenyon (Newland) in 2006 (funding: GoT)
– Liz Penfold (Flinders) in 2007 (funding: unknown)
– Trish White (Taylor) in 2006-2007 (funding: GoT)*
– Michael Atkinson in March 2011 (funding: GoT)*
– Stephen Griffiths in March 2011 (funding: GoT)*
– Tom Kenyon (Newland) in 2014-2015 (funding: GoT)
– MLC Tung Ngo in 2016 (funding: unknown)

* Those marked with ‘*’ have not had the purpose of their travel confirmed.

Tom Kenyon’s visit to Taiwan in 2006, during which he claims he embraced the idea for South Australia to import spent nuclear fuel for storage and disposal, was paid for by the Government of Taiwan.

The supporting evidence was found in the 2007 Members Register of Interests, held by the SA Parliament.

Thanks to Sandra Kanck for suggesting that the Register might contain such details, and to the administrators at the SA Parliament for making past Members Registers of Interests available at my request.

Dan Monceaux  , 6 Jan 18   Trish White also travelled to Taiwan in 2006-2007 at the expense of the Government of Taiwan. It was documented in an Erratum to the Members Register of Interests for that year.

More recently, White was a signatory on the latest Open Letter hosted by Bright New World, calling for the door to be kept open on the consideration of spent nuclear fuel importation to SA.

Her Wikipedia biography states that she was an engineer and project manager before entering the SA parliament. She also worked with DSTO. After leaving the Parliament, she became a senior exec. with engineering consultants, WorleyParsons.

I wonder if she traveled with Tom Kenyon on this occasion?

Taiwanese energy firm rejects Martin Hamilton-Smith’s claim it would help set up SA nuclear waste dump, Daniel Wills, State political editor, The Advertiser, 15 Dec 2016  TAIWAN’S state-owned energy company has bluntly rejected Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith’s claim the country would consider paying to help set up a nuclear waste dump in SA, saying in a letter that it “hereby declares this is a false information”.
Just days after Premier Jay Weatherill’s citizens’ jury last month overwhelmingly dumped on plans for nuclear storage in SA, amid concerns about trust, Mr Hamilton-Smith insisted he had met with Taiwanese officials who expressed a “clear message” of interest in investment.
“There’s clearly a demand and our neighbours may be in a position to put hundreds of millions, if not billions, into infrastructure and then paying to dump waste on an ongoing basis,” he said.
However, correspondence from state-owned power company Taipower and the country’s Atomic Energy Council to government party MP Su Chih-Feng rejects Mr Hamilton-Smith’s claim.
While they note there was a meeting with Mr Hamilton-Smith on November 10, Taipower says his spin of the events in Adelaide three days later was “a false information”.
The translation from Mandarin to English was done by a Taiwanese NGO and provided to The Advertiser by antinuclear activists Friends of the Earth Australia. It states Taipower was interested in using a dump which had been established, but not paying to help set one up.
“A foreign solution is one of the options for Taipower. However, foreign solution is also sensitive case in terms of international relationships,” the letter states.
“Therefore, foreign solutions should carefully consider both domestic and foreign regulations.
“Foreign solutions is a sensitive case with a lot of uncertainties.
“Taipower will consider to be a ‘customer’ after the country has developed a disposal facility.”
Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council also said Mr Hamilton-Smith’s claim was “a false information”………/87d59e1b045388a83ead14d..

In an earlier Advertiser report  –  “Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said he was delivered a “clear message” that the tiny island nation would be interested in investing in nuclear storage infrastructure and making ongoing payments to dump waste overseas.”    “our neighbours may be in a position to put hundreds of millions, if not billions. into infrastructure” –

January 6, 2018 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Protection Agency (ARPANSA) all about protecting the nuclear industry?

Paul Waldon, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA Jan 18 Dr Carl Magnus Larsson is the CEO of ARPANSA, and the man that signs off on a nuclear waste dump, but has he a vested interest in the proposal to abandon such waste?

Is ARPANSA wrongfully regulating and promoting the project? Why did ARPANSA fail to address the safety issues at Lucas Heights that Comcare bought to their attention?
Why does ARPANSA have trouble dealing with people in group discussions?

Is ARPANSA being strong-armed by DIIS, and ANSTO to push a radioactive dump on a community of unwilling people?
Is ARPANSA listening to the majority that are saying “NO”?
Is ARPANSA insensitive to native heritage.?  Is ARPANSA ignoring the science of nuclear waste being abandonment in a environment that fails on all the criteria put forward by DIIS?
Is ARPANSA honest and forthcoming with all the issues pertaining to the toxic proposal?

January 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

How the science of radiation protection was subverted to protect nuclear bombs and nuclear power

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

From Richard Bramhall

Low Level Radiation Campaign

This article was originally written for Radioactive Times in 2008. I didn’t set out to write the whole history of radiation protection – just to highlight the turning point when the bogus concept of absorbed dose was foisted on the world.

The nonsense of Absorbed Dose

Absorbed doses of ionising radiation are defined as an average of the energy that is transferred into large volumes of body tissue. This approach is valid for considering external exposures, like X-rays or natural gamma (cosmic rays) but not for situations where radioactive substances inside the body irradiate microscopic volume of tissue selectively. Particles of Uranium and Plutonium are examples; the range of their alpha emissions is so tiny that all the energy is concentrated into a few hundred cells. Some call this kind of situation “pinpoint radiation”. Using absorbed dose to assess the potential health damage…

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January 6, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rare earths mining in Central Australia approved

EPA approves $900m rare earths mine in Central Australia despite radioactive risk, ABC News, By Ben Millington,  5 Jan 18,A proposed $900 million rare earths mine in Central Australia has been recommended for approval by the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (EPA), after an assessment process lasting more than two years.,

Arafura Resources’ Nolans Project at Aileron, 135 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, would mine rare earth materials such as neodymium and praseodymium, used to manufacture strong magnets for wind turbines and electric vehicles.

The EPA identified several long-term environmental risks and impacts with the project, but found they could be managed.

“There will have to be a high level of operational management control for this project over a couple of generations, and there’ll have to be a high level of regulatory scrutiny, there’s no two ways about that,” EPA chairman Paul Vogel said.

The primary risks include the permanent storage of naturally occurring radioactive material onsite and the use of significant groundwater resources over the 35 to 55-year lifespan of the project……

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Northern Territory, rare earths | Leave a comment

South Australia’s renewable energy powerhouses to come – Whyalla and Port Augusta

Whyalla and Port Augusta could be a renewables powerhouse, says local mayor, ABC North and West By Tom Rohde  , 4 Jan 18

SA’s clean-energy projects

  • A hybrid power station is being built at Coober Pedy. The hope is that the outback community can be powered solely by solar, wind and diesel energy
  • Investors have funded a $300m solar battery-power plant at Roxby Downs
  • A wind, solar and battery farm is planned at Crystal Brook in the state’s mid north
  • A 100 megawatt solar powered facility is being built at Tailem Bend
  • US-based company Solar Reserve is seeking federal support for a $650 million solar-thermal project in Port Augusta
  • Zen Energy wants to build a solar power plant in the Upper Spencer Gulf

Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer said she hoped her city could team up with Port Augusta 80 kilometres away to make the plan a reality.

Regional South Australian cities have seen several energy projects announced over the past year, with construction on a new solar thermal power station in Port Augusta to start early this year.

In October last year, Whyalla steelworks owner Sanjeev Gupta announced that he had approved a plan worth up to $700 million for solar, battery storage and pumped hydro, with 200 megawatts of solar photovoltaics at Whyalla……..

Port Augusta’s mayor Sam Johnson said he believed the region was already becoming a hub for renewable energy.

“Port Augusta will, and I believe actually is becoming the renewable capital of Australia and there’s no doubt that Whyalla is a direct link into that.

“There’s some really great synergies between Port Augusta and Whyalla in what’s becoming a new and exciting industry.”….

January 6, 2018 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Treaty Yeh, Treaty Now! Long March for ‘Justice through Treaty’

‘In Commemoration of the 1988 Long March for Peace Justice and Hope,
where 40,000 people showed their support for Aboriginal rights’

‘And also commemorating 80 years since the 1938 Day of Mourning’

Indigenous Peoples Organisation

‘Aboriginal people across this country are calling for a Treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
that recognises Aboriginal sovereignty as the First Peoples was never ceded,
address the stark disparity in economic social conditions of Aboriginal communities poverty
and the structural racism that continues to repress Aboriginal people.

‘The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
now endorsed by the Australian Government, asserts in Article 3:
Indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination.

‘Yet Australia remains the only commonwealth colonised country
without a Treaty with its Indigenous peoples.

‘Calls for a Treaty were repeatedly raised by Aboriginal communities
during the recent Constitutional Recognition consultations
as a practical means to recognize Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
as the First Nation Peoples and to implement the structural changes
required to establish self-determination.

‘A Treaty builds on the Statement from the Heart’s call for a ‘Makarrata’,
a Yolgnu word for coming together after a conflict, to move forward together.
It also builds on several State based Treaties currently being developed.

‘A Treaty sets a process to legitimately move forward in partnership
between Aboriginal people and the Australian State.’

Read more from IPO’s comprehensive, informative & interesting website:

January 6, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Radiation Dose Is Meaningless

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Dose is meaningless.jpg

In other words, where hot or warm particles or Plutonium or Uranium are located in body tissue or where sequentially decaying radionuclides like Strontium 90 are organically bound (e.g. to DNA) “dose” means nothing.

This is massively significant. Official radiation risk agencies universally quantify risk in terms of dose. If it means nothing the agencies know nothing and can give no valid advice.
Their public reassurances fall to the ground. They can no longer compare nuclear industry discharges with the 2 millisieverts we get every year from natural radiation, or the cosmic rays you’d receive flying to Tenerife for a holiday.
See this link for supporting quotes from the International Commission on Radiological Protection, Institut de Radioprotection et de Securite Nucleaire, the European Committee on Radiation Risk, the UK Department of Health, ICRP again (2009), and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.
See this link for an account of how…

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January 6, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adani not likely to succeed in its efforts to get tax-payers’ $1b loan for giant coal mine development

Adani $1b loan bid was likely to fail key criteria for NAIF approval, ABC News, By Josh Robertson,  5 Jan 18, Adani’s bid for a $1 billion taxpayer-funded loan may have been doomed even before it was scuppered by Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government, the Productivity Commission has said.

Key points:

  • Qld Govt vetoed critical $1 billion loan for Adani mine
  • Productivity Commission says mine may have failed loan criteria anyway
  • Qld Govt could also veto rail company loan bid

The miner’s proposed Galilee Basin rail line faced rejection by the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) because it may have failed key hurdles, the commission’s latest bulletin suggested.

However, the commission is yet to analyse a rival NAIF loan bid by rail operator Aurizon, which the State Government will also consider blocking in line with an election promise relating to Adani.

It comes as environmental activists plan to target Aurizon over its rail proposal, which would set up an export route for Adani.

State Labor told lobby group GetUp! during the election campaign in November it would veto “any NAIF loan” that enabled Adani’s coal project.

The Productivity Commission’s December newsletter noted that projects seeking low-interest loans from NAIF must “not otherwise be able attract finance, but would be commercially viable once constructed”.

There must also be “a public benefit from the infrastructure [to justify the cost to the taxpayer of the short-term assistance provided]”.

“Many of the projects suggested in the media as candidates for NAIF funding — such as the rail line to the Galilee Basin and various large irrigation dams — may fail at least one of these criteria,” it said.

This raised the risk of taxpayers throwing good money after bad, the commission suggested.

“If the return on the investment does not cover the operational costs of the infrastructure and the costs of servicing the loan at market rates over the life of the asset, the small initial level of assistance provided by a concessional loan may simply become another case of inefficient resource allocation,” it said……

January 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment