Australian news, and some related international items

David Noonan’s Submissions to Senate regarding Reprocessing Nuclear Fuel and Safety of Intermediate Level Wastes

two David Noonan Submissions to current Federal Parliamentary Inquiry by Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCT) Reprocessing Nuclear fuel – France (to report by 19 June) have been made public,

An ARPANSA Submission (23 Feb, 2 pages) “regarding the safety of intermediate level waste” has also been made public, at:

See below url’s & extracts for DN sub’s & JSCT Inquiry homepage at:

D Noonan Submission (14 Feb): “Public Interest Questions, Scenarios and Consequences of ‘Reprocessing Nuclear fuel – France’ treaty actions & associated nuclear actions”

ANSTO is without a Plan B to address key public interest scenarios which demand answers:

·         Reprocessing in France will not prove to be available throughout the OPAL reactor Operating License to 2057. At most, this treaty covers the first 2 of 5 decades of OPAL fuel wastes;

 ·         AND the proposed above ground Store in SA for ANSTO’s nuclear waste will damage and divide community and fall over and fail just as prior attempts have in SA and in NT.

If the OPAL reactor is to continue to operate ANSTO must address required contingencies:

·         Extended Storage of OPAL nuclear fuel waste on-site at Lucas Heights in secure cask storage. Lucas Height operates a Store for HIFAR nuclear fuel wastes with capacity to do so until availability of a final disposal option and can now set up to do so for OPAL fuel wastes;

 ·         AND to have to manage ANSTO nuclear fuel wastes entirely with-in Australia through to final disposal. Sending OPAL nuclear fuel waste overseas for reprocessing is used as an excuse to produce a burden of further nuclear waste without capacity or answers for its disposal. …

my Supplementary Submission (28 Feb) provides further evidence on three key aspects:

1. Reprocessing is not International Best Practice, is in decline, and may leave ANSTO stranded

… A key Reprocessing review for consideration by JSCT is: ‘Plutonium Separation in Nuclear Power Programs. Status, Problems, and Prospects of Civilian Reprocessing around the World‘ (IPFM, July 2015), see:

France is currently the only country in the world that operates a commercial-scale spent fuel reprocessing plant.”  (IPFM Report, Country Studies Chapter 3 France p.30)

 … ANSTO should disclose the additional cost in Reprocessing compared to dry-cask storage

“The cost of spent-fuel reprocessing also is about ten times the cost of the alternative option for managing spent fuel, dry-cask spent-fuel storage.” (IPFM, Intro p.11)

 2. Extended Storage of ANSTO nuclear fuel waste at Lucas Heights is a viable option

& Contingency to return OPAL reactor Reprocessed fuel waste to Storage at LHs

3. ANSTO failure to provide a disposal strategy for OPAL nuclear fuel wastes flouts best practice


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

Supreme Court appeal lodged against Yeelirrie uranium mining approval decision

9/3 /18  The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) and members of the Tjiwarl Native Title group have announced the filing of an appeal against the Supreme Court’s recent decision which upheld the environmental approval for the Yeelirrie uranium mine proposal.

The Supreme Court challenge brought by CCWA and Native Title holders sought to overturn the environmental approval for the mine issued in the final days of the Barnett Government, against the advice of the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Minister’s own appeal decision. If it goes ahead, the project will cause the extinction of multiple species unique to the Yeelirrie area.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said allowing the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law to go unchallenged would be bad for the environment and bad for democracy.

“The decision to appeal this judgement highlights our commitment to preventing extinction and upholding what we believe are fundamental principles of environmental law.

“If this decision is allowed to stand then the Environment Minister could sign off on the extinction of multiple species with the stroke of a pen, despite what the EPA and appeals processes say.

“According to the Supreme Court ruling, we can have a detailed, thorough, publicly funded environmental assessment process, with all the key information examined in the public domain, followed by a rigorous appeals process, and then the Minister can totally disregard that whole process and make a different decision based on different information that is not available to the public.

“This treats the EPA and its environmental assessment as something to be casually dismissed. Western Australians expect and deserve better government than that.

“CCWA and community groups fought for WA’s environmental protection laws and the EPA. Now, it is again up to community to defend the integrity of those laws and processes in the courts. This is essential to uphold due process in environmental decisions, and to restore confidence in the EPA.

“The WA Environmental Protection Act was never intended to be used to sanction the extinction of wildlife, and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure that it is not used in this way.

“The Yeelirrie approval knowingly allows extinction of multiple species and this should never be contemplated. We must stand up for all creatures, great and small.

“Allowing the extinction of any creature could open the door for other species to be treated in the same way.  Numbats, cockatoos and other wildlife could be next, so we can’t allow it to start here.”

Vicky Abdullah, Tjiwarl Native Title Holder, said, “We have fought long and hard to protect Yeelirrie and to stop the uranium project, so we will not stop now.

 “This appeal shows that we will continue to fight for our country and our people, and hope that the Court of Appeal will see that the decision to approve the Yeelirrie uranium project was wrong”. 


March 14, 2018 Posted by | legal, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Lismore mayor and citizens remember Fukushima, call for an end to uranium mining, and the whole nuclear chain

Fukushima disaster ‘not over’, rally hears,  Harsha Prabhu   ‘The Fukushima nuclear disaster is not over,’ were the chilling words of warning uttered by Toshiko Okada, anti-nuclear activist from Japan, speaking at a gathering to mark the seventh anniversary of Fukushima, at the Channon Market on Sunday.

Scores of people – including members of the region’s Japanese community – attended the gathering, despite the wet weather and the chance of the market being cancelled.

Okada is a member of Ctitzen’s Network for Evacuation from Radiation, which has been promoting the cause of Fukushima children and families affected by radiation.

She said, ‘We are having serious radioactive contamination problems not only in Fukushima but also in Eastern Japan, because life threatening radioactive substances are still discharging from the Fukushima nuclear power plant every day.’

Lethal levels of radiation had been detected at Fukushima’s power plant seven years after the tsunami.  Apart from the release of volatile, gaseous radionuclides,  a recent Manchester University study also noted the presence of micro particles containing uranium, caesium and technetium,  several kilometres from Fukushima.

Plus thousands of gallons of radioactive water and waste are being stored above ground with no safe means of disposal.

Govt forced relocation   While experts were warning of a ‘global disaster’ in the making, the Japanese government was busy normalising the situation by marketing food from Fukushima and stopping subsidies for Fukushima evacuees, thus forcing people to relocate to Fukushima. The government had also unilaterally raised the maximum limit of radiation exposure from 1mSv per year to 20 mSv.

Okada and her group are fighting to promote a Japanese version of Chernobyl Law to ‘protect all people in our country, especially future generations from ongoing critical nuclear issues and future nuclear disasters.’

She said, ‘Such law must be applied to all victims of radiation around the world.’

Okada and her citizens’ group hold protest actions at Shinjuku railway station and the Japanese PM’s residence in Tokyo every month. The banner used for this protest action became a rallying cry for Australia’s rainbow region folk, standing in solidarity with the people of Japan.

OK to speak up Local activist and actress Saya Minami said, ‘It’s important to let all the victims of Fukushima know that it’s ok to be scared, it’s ok to tell the truth, to speak up and say what you really feel. We are here with you in Australia!’

Lismore City Council Deputy Mayor and Greens party member Vanessa Ekins said, ‘It’s the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown and radioactive water is still pouring into the Pacific Ocean.’

Lismore Council has erected signage at the entrances to Lismore declaring the city a nuclear free peace zone. Ekins said, ‘This may seem tokenistic but it raises awareness. The action we need to take as the federal election looms, is to question Australia’s role in supplying uranium to other countries for nuclear weapons and power.’

Uranium moratorium call She said, ‘Lismore’s Mayor visited Japan last year to join Mayors For Peace, initiated in 1982 by Hiroshima Mayor, and now 6,800 cities in 161 countries are negotiating to eliminate nuclear weapons. I question their focus on nuclear weapons when the nuclear industry itself is so damaging.’

Ekins added: ‘Australia needs to stop mining and exporting uranium.’

One activist said, ‘ This is an international crisis that requires an international solution. Instead of attending to this, governments are busy promoting crisis-ridden, failed nuclear technologies. French President Macron is in India today to sign a nuclear deal with Indian PM Modi. Corporations and governments are brazen in their support for the uranium industry. And Australia supplies uranium to India, a country that has not signed the nuclear non proliferation treaty. The whole uranium cycle is lethal – from uranium mines, to radioactive dumps, to leaking reactors, to nuclear weapons.’

He said, ‘We stand in solidarity with people everywhere fighting the military industrial complex and their baby – the uranium industry.’

Art & music   Organisers had set up an art show and all through the rain-soaked day punters were treated to a smorgasbord of music: from soulful kirtans by Mico, Shivam and Armando, to young Belle McGreggor singing ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’; from fiery flamenco by Bart Stenhouse, to happy reggae anthems by JT Rastasamurai; from radical songs by Bo Kaan, to  Brazilian folk by Priscila Rios and Anna Hamard-Lecoeur. By the time the six-piece Latin band Passando started their set the sun finally decided to come out to play.

Organisers called on the crowd to ‘say no to uranium. Leave it in the ground, like the aboriginal elders have been saying in their Dreamtime stories and the hippies have been singing for years gone by’.

‘And help the children and families of Fukushima by dreaming up a nuclear free world.’

March 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Fukushima monkeys damaged by continuing radiation

Stark health findings for Fukushima monkeys By Cindy Folkers

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

The longterm task of cleaning up Fukushima’s radioactive water and rubble

Clearing the Radioactive Rubble Heap That Was Fukushima Daiichi, 7 Years On
The water is tainted, the wreckage is dangerous, and disposing of it will be a prolonged, complex and costly process, 
Scientific American, By Tim Hornyak on March 9, 2018  Seven years after one of the largest earthquakes on record unleashed a massive tsunami and triggered a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, officials say they are at last getting a handle on the mammoth task of cleaning the site before it is ultimately dismantled. But the process is still expected to be a long, expensive slog, requiring as-yet untried feats of engineering—and not all the details have yet been worked out………

In the years since the disaster and the immediate effort to stanch the release of radioactive material, officials have been working out how to decontaminate the site without unleashing more radiation into the environment. It will take a complex engineering effort to deal with thousands of fuel rods, along with the mangled debris of the reactors and the water used to cool them. Despite setbacks, that effort is now moving forward in earnest, officials say. “We are still conducting studies on the location of the molten fuel, but despite this we have made the judgment that the units are stable,” says Naohiro Masuda, TEPCO’s chief decommissioning officer for Daiichi.

Completely cleaning up and taking apart the plant could take a generation or more, and comes with a hefty price tag. In 2016 the government increased its cost estimate to about $75.7 billion, part of the overall Fukushima disaster price tag of $202.5 billion. The Japan Center for Economic Research, a private think tank, said the cleanup costs could mount to some $470 billion to $660 billion, however. ……….

The considerable time and expense are due to the cleanup being a veritable hydra that involves unprecedented engineering. TEPCO and its many contractors will be focusing on several battlefronts.


Water is being deliberately circulated through each reactor every day to cool the fuel within—but the plant lies on a slope, and water from precipitation keeps flowing into the buildings as well. Workers built an elaborate scrubbing system that removes cesium, strontium and dozens of other radioactive particles from the water; some of it is recirculated into the reactors, and some goes into row upon row of giant tanks at the site. There’s about one million tons of water kept in 1,000 tanks and the volume grows by 100 tons a day, down from 400 tons four years ago……….


A second major issue at Fukushima is how to handle the fuel¾the melted uranium cores as well as spent and unused fuel rods stored at the reactors. Using robotic probes and 3-D imaging with muons (a type of subatomic particle), workers have found pebbly deposits and debris at various areas inside the primary containment vessels in the three of the plant’s reactor units. These highly radioactive remains are thought to be melted fuel as well as supporting structures. TEPCO has not yet worked out how it can remove the remains, but it wants to start the job in 2021. There are few precedents for the task………

Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, doubts the ambitious cleanup effort can be completed in the time cited, and questions whether the radioactivity can be completely contained. Until TEPCO can verify the conditions of the molten fuel, he says, “there can be no confirmation of what impact and damage the material has had” on the various components of the reactors—and therefore how radiation might leak into the environment in the future.

Although the utility managed to safely remove all 1,533 fuel bundles from the plant’s unit No. 4 reactor by December 2014, it still has to do the same for the hundreds of rods stored at the other three units. This involves clearing rubble, installing shields, dismantling the building roofs, and setting up platforms and special rooftop equipment to remove the rods. Last month a 55-ton dome roof was installed on unit No. 3 to facilitate the safe removal of the 533 fuel bundles that remain in a storage pool there. Whereas removal should begin at No. 3 sometime before April 2019, the fuel at units No. 1 and 2 will not be ready for transfer before 2023, according to TEPCO. And just where all the fuel and other radioactive solid debris on the site will be stored or disposed of long-term has yet to be decided; last month the site’s ninth solid waste storage building, with a capacity of about 61,000 cubic meters, went into operation.

As for what the site itself might look like decades from now, cleanup officials refuse to say. …….

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

A British mother fights to save environment and future generations from new nuclear reactors

Radiation Free Lakeland 11th March 2018 The government has yet another consultation out on new build – on where to site new nuclear reactors.This entirely vicious consultation to enable new nuclear build has been difficult to reply to as there should be no new reactors anywhere.

Today is Mothers’ Day and this is for all those whose children are no longer here to wish them a happy Mothers’ Day. It is for all those in Fukushima who are suffering 7 years after the tsunami caused a
terrible and ongoing nuclear disaster.

It is for my own peace of mind that I as an individual and as a volunteer with Radiation Free Lakeland, am doing everything I can to protect my family and our water, our air, our earth and our sea from ever more pernicious nuclear developments.

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

The new Trans Pacific Partenership (TPP) just as bad for Australia as the old one

“The deal still includes special rights for foreign investors to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in unfair international tribunals over changes to domestic laws, known as ISDS*,” said Dr Ranald.

Dr Patricia Ranald on the TPP

TPP-11: The same dud deal for most Australians as TPP-12 by Sandi Keane | Mar 13, 2018 

March 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Bill Shorten – so weak and wishy-washy on Adani coal megamine project

Bill Shorten’s stance on Adani coalmine leaves voters cold – Guardian Essential poll
Highest level of support was for Greens’ anti-Adani position with Turnbull government’s position second

Bill Shorten Waffles About Adani Because Labor Is In The Pocket Of Big Coal
Michael Brull
The ALP’s ‘on-again off-again’ position on the Carmichael mega-mine is entirely consistent with the party’s recent history

March 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Concern over containers for nuclear waste – Sweden and UK

The court said no to the application because it considered that there were problems with the copper canister that had to be resolved now and not later. 

the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is to carry out an expert peer review of a Canadian research programme on microbiologically influenced corrosion of canisters that will be used to dispose of used nuclear fuel.

The Copper Corrosion Conundrum  No2Nuclear Power

 The Swedish Environmental Court has rejected the Nuclear Waste Company SKB’s license application for a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark, Sweden. This is a huge triumph for safety and environment – and for the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG), the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), and critical scientists. Now it is up to the Swedish government to make a final decision.

 The Environmental Court took into consideration viewpoints from all parties in the case, including scientists who have raised concerns about disposing spent nuclear fuel in copper canisters. Continue reading

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

UK struggles with the burden of storing radioactive waste indefinitely

The most important immediate step required is to stop producing any more waste as soon as possible.

Indefinite storage would represent a burden for future generations. There would be a significant cost associated with the safe and secure storage of higher activity radioactive waste. In addition, for the long time periods for which waste is radioactive, there would be wider ongoing risks and responsibilities associated with surface storage (e.g. from terrorism or the impacts of climate change).

the proposals appear to weaken the power of county councils making it harder for them to prevent a community from agreeing to host the GDF.

What about the hundreds of miles of ‘affected communities along road and rail routes from radioactive waste stores, to any centralised repository? Are these communities going to be ignored?

Right of Withdrawal Cumbria Trust says it has serious concerns about the right of withdrawal in the new consultation. It appears that areas which volunteer are potentially trapped within the process for up to 20 years.

Implementing Geological Disposal   nuClear News reported in nuClear News No.104, the UK Government has launched two consultations on proposals to develop a nuclear waste repository.

 (1) The first consultation seeks views on how communities should be engaged in a siting process for a Geological Disposal Facility for higher activity radioactive waste.

 (2) (A category of waste which includes: high-level vitrified waste, intermediate level waste, and spent nuclear fuel). The proposals build on commitments set out in the 2014 White Paper ‘Implementing Geological Disposal’, in which the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive jointly set out an approach based on working with communities in England and Northern Ireland that are willing to participate in the siting process for a geological disposal facility. Continue reading

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

It takes a village: How community will make (or break) shift to renewables — RenewEconomy

Two separate reports illustrate the vital role communities will play in the success or failure of Australia’s shift to a renewable powered grid.

via It takes a village: How community will make (or break) shift to renewables — RenewEconomy

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

Polar Anomaly Flip in an Abnormally Warm World: Arctic to Cool as Antarctica Heats Up — robertscribbler

Interesting and concerning climate-change influenced weather in the global forecast for the next ten days. As the Arctic is projected to cool down, it will open a brief window for sea ice to grow above its present track toward a record low maximum. However, any new edge ice will likely be weak and thin relative […]

via Polar Anomaly Flip in an Abnormally Warm World: Arctic to Cool as Antarctica Heats Up — robertscribbler

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

Queensland rooftop solar reaches 2GW, but NSW now biggest market — RenewEconomy

Rooftop solar reaches 2GW mark in Queensland, but latest monthly installations sees NSW pipping sunshine state as biggest market in February.

via Queensland rooftop solar reaches 2GW, but NSW now biggest market — RenewEconomy

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

Right wing push to slash incentives for rooftop solar — RenewEconomy

Right wing politicians and media pushing trumped up figures to call for reduction in rooftop solar incentives in a campaign reminiscent of the “$100 lamb roast.”

via Right wing push to slash incentives for rooftop solar — RenewEconomy

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

Carnegie eyes another 10MW solar and battery project in W.A. — RenewEconomy

Carnegie Clean Energy negotiates plans for 10MW solar farm, with up to 10MWh battery storage, in an industrial estate in south-western W.A.

via Carnegie eyes another 10MW solar and battery project in W.A. — RenewEconomy

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