Australian news, and some related international items

National Radioactive Waste Management Project is deceiving local communities

EnuFF[SA, 14 Feb 18, Many people are aware of the approx 10 cubic metres reprocessed spent fuel classed as ILW & returned from France in 2015. Not more generally known is the fact that there is much much more ILW destined for ‘temporary storage’ above ground (contrary to IAEA best practice) in the proposed suppository.
Trying to get current figures is nigh on impossible. If anyone has access to such then please share that knowledge with us….

One abject failure of the National Radioactive Waste Management Project to fully inform local communities, the State Parliament, or even their own Federal Minister, are facts about the so-called Intermediate Level Waste (ILW). Even those who are following the issue may only be aware of the approx 10 cubic metres of reprocessed fuel returned from France in 2015. However, there is much much more ILW. Below is an extract  table of Australia’s ILW inventory from 1999 (now 2018 & there could be more):

Waste forms to be accepted at a long-lived intermediate level waste store

ANSTO Radioisotope Production solid waste

ANSTO-HIFAR spent fuel reprocessing waste COGEMA glass matrix DOUNREY cemented Yet to be returned

ANSTO-HIFAR decommissioning waste Care & maintenance

ANSTO-OPAL Operational waste Prior to OPAL start Spent fuel reprocessing Yet to eventuate Eventual decommissioning Yet to eventuate

Over 600 cubic metres of ILW initially placed in a ‘temporary’ above ground store & each year another 7 added with an open-ended time frame – could be for decades to come. 1 Primary source: “National Radioactive Waste Repository Site Selection Study – A Report on Public Comment”, Department of Industry, Science and Resources, June 1999, page 48 viewed 13/02/18

February 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The machinations of Australia’s military-industrial-nuclear complex macho men

Claudio Pompili Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 14 Feb 18, 

By Andrew Farra, a former diplomat, trade adviser, and international lawyer…

The most articulate and informed assessment of the machinations by and aspirations of Australia’s military-industrial machine to align our foreign ‘defence’ policy with that of the US and, insidiously, surreptitiously create an environment for the potential acquisition of tactical nuclear weapons, either in our own right or by proxy. The new proposed ‘state secrets’ legislation by the LNP government is a necessary step in this direction.

This explains the persistent campaigns in Australia over recent decades to develop nuclear power generation programs that are acknowledged, critical enablers of military nuclear programs. The nuclear aspirations of the Menzies LNP governments of the 50s to own ‘the bomb’ are alive and well in Canberra.

The recent purchase of French-design nuclear submarines converted to diesel-powered drives is an obvious contender for such initiatives. Inexorably, the pro-nuclear cheer squad and its strategists, both in military-intelligence, such as the Australia Strategic Policy Institute, or in civil society, such as Ben Heard’s ‘nuclear will save the environment’ astro-turfing initiatives, will be clamouring to have the ‘real deal’ nuclear-powered subs.

SA’s NFCRC, led by former Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, was an active promoter of nuclear military weaponry. His NFCRC demurred on outright recommending nuclear power generation, for now, but instead pushed for the world’s first international high-level nuclear waste dump in SA, based on a single, spurious economic cost-benefit analysis coupled with an illegal, publicly-funded propaganda juggernaut stemming directly from Premier Jay Weatherill’s department. This push was supported by powerful sectors of the Adelaide business establishment including Big Miners, such as BHP and Santos, and promoted by Murdoch’s The Adelaide Advertiser tabloid. A temporary reprieve in the nuclear industry campaign was effected by the majority report of the Second Citizen’s Jury that recommended ‘no expansion of the nuclear fuel cycle under any circumstances’.

Premier Weatherill has declared the nuclear dump initiative “dead” but Blind Freddy would add “for now”.

From the back-reaches of the ‘hidden state’ has come this latest batch of suppressive legislation ostensibly to protect our secrets and to counter surreptitious foreign influences. Instead it will …

February 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK’s Cumbria Trust point to serious concerns about nuclear dump plans and “Working with communities”

“Working with communities” – we have serious concerns  Posted on February 14, 2018 

As Cumbria Trust reported previously a consultation which aims to define how communities will work with the siting process for geological disposal was launched in January.  We have serious concerns about this consultation.  It appears that areas which volunteer are potentially trapped within the process for up to 20 years.  For all the talk of volunteers having a continuous rights of withdrawal, the document paints a much darker picture of coercion and a supposed partnership where the real power rests with one party.  We have highlighted four examples of paragraphs which are of particular concern below: Continue reading

February 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Kimba or Wallerberdina Station could be stuck with Stranded Radioactive Trash

Noel Wauchope,  , 8 Feb 18 I am feeling quite uneasy about the over-confident tone of the latest statement about the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.The General Manager of the National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce Bruce McCleary says:

“We have the right experts and the right staff in place to advance this project through various decision points this year.”

Just who are these “right experts”, and what is their agenda?

We, the public, have been given to understand that this radioactive waste facility is all about promoting medicine, by storing “medical” wastes. Medical radioactive wastes are almost entirely are classified as “low level” – especially as, for the vast majority, their radioactive half-lives are so short – a matter of hours or a few days. It stands to reason that these wastes don’t need to be transported about 3200 Km across the continent.

Now we learn that the South Australian dump site will “temporarily store our intermediate level radioactive waste”. This sounds awfully like the reprocessed nuclear wastes that are returning to the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor site from France, and England. The vitrified waste we received back from France has a radioactivity over one Billion Becquerels per gram (one GigaBq/gr). France considers this High Level Waste…/2006_summar…/files/docs/all.pdf

The fact that this facility, planned for Kimba or other sites in the region is to be stored “temporarily”, means that the plan is to send it to Kimba or Wallaerberdina Station BEFORE there is any plan for its permanent disposal.

Kimba or Wallerberdin a Station, or whoever is the “successful” applicant is likely to be stuck with that problem already hitting American communities – having “stranded n clear wastes”. This would be a very bad outcome for an area that has previously been known as agricultural, clean and green

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Julian Assange loses bid to have UK arrest warrant withdrawn 


Why is the Australian government giving no help to this Australian citizen?

 ABC News 14 Feb 18A British judge has upheld an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, saying the WikiLeaks founder should have the courage to come to court and face justice after more than five years inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

Key points:

  • Mr Assange can seek to appeal, though his lawyers did not say whether he would
  • He faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador’s London embassy
  • His attorney argues that arresting him was no longer proportionate or in the public interest

Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected arguments by Mr Assange’s lawyers that it is no longer in the public interest to arrest him for jumping bail in 2012 and seeking shelter in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Prosecutors there were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women, which Mr Assange has denied.

Judge Arbuthnot did not mince words in her ruling at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, saying that by jumping bail, Mr Assange had made “a determined attempt to avoid the order of the court”.

She said Mr Assange appeared to be “a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice”.

Mr Assange can seek to appeal, though his lawyers did not immediately say whether he would.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation last year, saying there was no prospect of bringing Mr Assange to Sweden in the foreseeable future.

But the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands, and Mr Assange faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.

Mr Assange’s lawyers had asked for the warrant to be withdrawn since Sweden no longer wants him extradited, but the judge rejected their request last week.

His attorney had gone on to argue that arresting him was no longer proportionate or in the public interest.

Lawyer Mark Summers argued the Australian was justified in seeking refuge in the embassy because he had a legitimate fear that US authorities want to arrest him for WikiLeaks’ publication of secret documents.

Judge Arbuthnot dismissed another plank of Mr Assange’s case — a report from a UN working group which said the 46-year-old was being arbitrarily detained.

“I give little weight to the views of the working group,” the judge said, noting that Mr Assange had “restricted his own freedom for a number of years”.

Julian Assange’s bid for freedom
While court hearings for Julian Assange’s bid for freedom are interesting steps in a long running saga, the end game is far more complicated, writes Lisa Millar.

Mr Assange’s lawyer had argued that the five-plus years Mr Assange had spent inside the embassy were “adequate, if not severe” punishment for his actions, noting that he had health problems including a frozen shoulder and depression….

..The ruling leaves the long legal impasse intact. Apart from the bail-jumping charge — for which the maximum sentence is one year in prison — Mr Assange suspects there is a secret US grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition.

Mr Assange’s lawyers say he is willing to face legal proceedings in Britain, but only if he receives a guarantee that he will not be sent to the US to face prosecution. That is not an assurance Britain is likely to give. ……


February 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

Fringe opening night – join us to make the nuclear waste dump a state election issue!

The Federal government still wants to build a nuclear waste ‘facility’ in SA. Some of this nuclear waste is toxic for hundreds of years and some for thousands of years. All of it all poses risks to the environment, to nearby communities and to many thousands of people along transport routes. We continue to say no to a nuclear waste dump in our state.

With the South Australian elections coming up, we need to put the pressure on politicians to act against this waste dump! There are going to be plenty of people in the Mall on the 16th for the Fringe, so join us to hand information leaflets and have discussions with people. We’ll have radiation suits and placards, so it should be an attention grabbing demonstration.

Friday, February 16, 2018, 5 pm in Rundle Mall (King William end), Adelaide, Kaurna Land. #dontdumponsa

February 14, 2018 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

ICAN summary of the Peace Boat and Making Waves speaking tour.

Last week we cruised into Sydney Harbour aboard Peace Boat for the final leg of the Making Waves speaking tour. Peace Boat, an ICAN partner organisation, visited Australia for the first time in 10 years. Equipped with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and a Nobel Peace Prize, Japanese and Australian nuclear survivors joined forces to demand both governments join the treaty without delay.

Hibakusha from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, former dairy farmers from Fukushima and nuclear test survivors from South Australia travelled aboard the “floating university” from Fremantle to Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and finally Sydney. The Making Waves tour combined public forums with political meetings, workshops and press conferences.

Thank you to everyone who participated in Making Waves, and especially all of the organisations that worked with us to amplify the message. Check out a couple of our favourite media reports from SBS News and the Guardian.

You can also click here to see more photos of the Making Waves tour

The “Doomsday Clock” was recently re-set to two minutes to midnight, the closest it has been to global catastrophe since 1953. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the custodians of the Clock, justified their decision on the current nuclear landscape and the threat of a new arms race. The new US Nuclear Posture Review reinforces that concern, by increasing the range of situations to which the US Government would consider responding with nuclear weapons.

Prime Minister Turnbull has not responded to these dangerous developments. As a country that claims protection from the US nuclear arsenal, Australia has a vital role to play. We can and must remove our consent for the US to threaten to use weapons of mass destruction on our behalf. The nuclear ban treaty is a vital part of the process to stigmatise and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Building political support for the nuclear ban treaty is especially important with an election nearing. While the current government is hostile to the treaty, two-thirds of federal Australian Labor parliamentarians have joined the Parliamentary Pledge in support. All Greens parliamentarians have joined the Pledge, along with a range of other cross-benchers. Please help us grow the list of signatories, which is updated regularly at

It is inevitable that Australia joins the nuclear ban treaty, let’s make it sooner rather than later.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

As nuclear power is decommissioned globally, uranium price falls yet again

Uranium Week: The Nuclear Challenge FN Arena, Feb 13 2018

As the spot uranium price fell again last week, Morgan Stanley questioned the role of nuclear power in the future global energy mix.

-Nuclear power being decommissioned globally
-Uranium spot price falls as markets suffer a risk-off episode

By Greg Peel, As the world’s legacy nuclear plants age and the economics of renewable energy sources improve, the role of nuclear power in the future global energy mix is under question. New nuclear plant construction is highly expensive while the cost of renewables continues to fall. In key nuclear power countries, public policy has turned against nuclear energy.

Morgan Stanley assumes that by 2030, -23% of existing nuclear power will be decommissioned in key nuclear power countries.

Natural gas and renewables are already posing an issue for nuclear power. In the US, the abundance of natural gas made available through modern fracking technology means gas-fired power generation is an increasingly cheap option. As renewable technology improves and economies of scale are achieved, renewables offer another cheaper source.

In the case of renewables, carbon reduction targets have led to government subsidies. Renewables are zero carbon (once up and running). Gas-fired generation emits carbon, but far less than traditional coal-fired. Nuclear energy is also zero carbon (once up and running, but a significant emitter in the construction phase and in the mining of uranium).

February 14, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Natalie Cromb The case for treaty

Natalie Cromb is a Gamilaraay writer and social justice advocate who lives in Sydney.’

‘One of the foundational principles of a treaty in Australia would need to be self-determination. Without communities in the driving seat of their futures, the gap will continue to widen.’

‘It is clear that, despite the symbolic Stolen Generations apology
and the campaign for constitutional recognition, structural change needs to occur to ensure Indigenous interests are at the forefront of governmental policies affecting Indigenous people.
And the best means with which to ensure that the above structures can occur is through a treaty where principles of sovereignty, self-determination, right to language and culture, and land rights can be enshrined and protected.

‘I support treaty. I hope non-Indigenous Australians join calls for treaties
so that we can approach the future as a united and mature nation,
well aware of our past and committed never to repeat it.’

Read more of Natalie Cromb‘s insightful, justice-oriented, comprehensive & well-researched article:

February 14, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA nuclear waste dump – will damage tourism, endanger communities due to transport of radioactive trash

Trump budget contains $120M to restart licensing of Yucca Mountain  By Gary Martin Review-Journal Washington Bureau

February 12, 2018
  “……..Trump included $120 million to restart licensing on the geologic site north of Las Vegas, as well as to establish an interim storage program to address the growing stockpile of nuclear waste produced by power plants in states across the nation….

“Despite Congress’ refusal to fund the Yucca Mountain project, the administration is once again prioritizing it,” Heller said. He claims the project poses a threat to the people of southern Nevada and could have a catastrophic impact on the tourism economy.

“I’ve made it clear why Nevada does not want to turn into the nation’s nuclear waste dump,” Heller said.

……..  congressional lawmakers from Southern Nevada said opposition to the project would continue……Titus said the $120 million would be “a tiny down payment on a project that will cost $100 billion and ship nuclear waste through hundreds of congressional districts across the country.” ……

February 14, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Wangan Jagalingou oppose Adani coal mine expansion – NO EXTINGUISHMENT OF NATIVE TITLE

Letter to the QLD Premier – there should be no extinguishment of Native Title, by Wangan Jagalingou

There should be no extinguishment of Native Title without our consent

‘The W&J Council received its most recent mandate at a meeting of the W&J claim group on 2 December 2017.
The letter informed the Government that the W&J claim group opposes the Adani Mining Pty Ltd project because of the damage that it will cause to the culture, and the lands and waters,
of the Wangan and Jagalingou People.

W&J council also oppose the registered Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani Mining Pty Ltd
purported to be authorised by the Wangan and Jagalingou People
in controversial circumstances (“the Adani ILUA”).

W&J council uphold the decisions of the claim group who,
on four separate occasions (the last being at the authorisation meeting of 2 December 2017),
have rejected the Adani ILUA. …

February 14, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

India’s nuclear power programme was always intended to be a nuclear weapons programme too

The Nation 11th Feb 2018, Indian army chief calls our strategic and tactical nuclear capability `a bluff’. His view may be rooted in India’s own bitter enrichment experience (1980-1985).

Ramana points out during initial operations that India’s enrichment plant `had frequent breakdown as a result of corrosion  and failure of parts’. `Many leaders of Indian Department of Atomic  Energy held that uranium enrichment was very difficult and were skeptical of Pakistani claims that they had succeeded in enriching uranium to weapons grade levels’.

From day one, India’s nuclear programme has been dual-use oriented. Nehru never ruled out the nuclear option for India . He wrote to Homi Bhabha `Apart from building power stations and developing electricity there is always a built-in advantage of defence use [of nuclear enrichment] if the need should arise’. According to Srinivasan, former head of Indian Atomic Energy Commission, `Nuclear technology was developed by a country for its own benefit, whether for peaceful purposes or military applications’.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Close the Gap and Apology are band-aid measures – a far cry from treaties & decolonisation

Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia, Asserting Australia’s First Nations Sovereignty into Governance,, 12 February 2018, 

Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union, last surviving member of the founding four of the Aboriginal Embassy and Leader of the Euahlayi Nation said from Goodooga today:

“I don’t believe a modern treaty process will get any further than the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC) did, unless Sovereign First Nations declare sovereign independence through UDIs and force decolonisation through a united front. Understandably, First Nations’ assertions of sovereignty have been honed in the intervening 30 plus years. I constantly remind our people that our reality is we hold the continental Common Law, but are occupied by a foreign power ruling in right of the British Crown. Until this changes through decolonisation, Close the Gap, Apology and other government policies remain as band aid measures.”

Statement in full:

“So long as a Rhodes Scholar is running this country the vested interests of the British Crown are paramount and remain in line with mining magnate Cecil Rhodes’ legacy of educating scholars to run and exploit a country for Britain’s benefit. PM Malcolm Turnbull, a Rhodes Scholar with a Bachelor of Civil Law from Brasenose College, Oxford is the latest agent of the coloniser to ensure First Nations’ inherent sovereign rights to lands, waters and natural resources are quashed.

This is consistent with Turnbull’s continuing fiasco of the Closing the Gap agenda, which has clearly failed, despite minor improvements announced today. In reality, the Turnbull government wants to either abandon the Close the Gap program, or water down the targets, despite recent recommendations from the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), to do otherwise and properly engage with ‘Indigenous people’. [ ] & [ ]

Turnbull may talk about ‘refreshing’ Close the Gap to appear in line with the CERD recommendations of 2017, but fails to provide the requested ‘disaggregated data’ for a proper evaluation. In fact, the Turnbull government is belligerently ignoring the CERD’s 2017 findings, which were strategically released on Boxing Day, 26 December 2017. CERD was highly critical of Australia’s treatment of First Nations and Peoples and failure to address remedies.

At para 19 the CERD states:

  1. … despite statements by the State Party that it rejects the principle ofterra nulliusgrounded in the “discovery discourse”, the State party continues to conduct its relations with indigenous peoples, in a manner that is not reconcilable with their rights to self-determination and to own and control their lands and natural resources.

Once again the CERD recommends Australia ‘enter into good faith treaty negotiations’ [para20]. This is, in fact, a recognition of First Nations’ pre-existing and continuing sovereignty because the only meaning of treaty in modern international law is an agreement between sovereign Nations.

The CERD also recommends ‘that the State party move urgently to effectively protect the land rights of indigenous peoples, including by amending the Native Title Act 1993, with a view to lowering the standard of proof required and simplifying the applicable procedures. It also urges the State party to ensure that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is incorporated into the Native Title Act 1993 and into other legislation, as appropriate, and fully implemented in practice.’ [ CERD/C/AUS/CO/18-20 ] (emphasis added)

Read more of this Statement by Ghillar when it becomes available

February 14, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

If a regulator needs to go, it should be AEMC, not AEM — RenewEconomy

The problem in Australia’s energy market is that – uniquely in the world – we have separate rule making and operating statutory bodies. Only one of them is based in reality.

via If a regulator needs to go, it should be AEMC, not AEM — RenewEconomy

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar plus storage beats out “cheap” gas peaking plants – again — RenewEconomy

First Solar bid for solar and storage peaking power plant in Arizona beats out “cheap” gas and sets new milestone for dispatchable renewables.

via Solar plus storage beats out “cheap” gas peaking plants – again — RenewEconomy

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment