Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear waste dump site decision an all-Australia matter , says Independent and Peaceful Australia Network South Australia

Stephen Darley – Co-ordinator, Independent and Peaceful Australia Network IPAN (SA) SUBMISSION ON PROPOSED NUCLEAR WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITIES IN South Australia  We wish to respond to your Terms of Reference in relation to the appropriateness and thoroughness of the site selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility at Kimba and Hawke in South Australia, noting that the Government has stated that it will not impose such a facility on an unwilling community.

Our first response is to query whether your committee has given cognisance of the results of the recent Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle held in Adelaide in 2015, where the Citizens Jury (representing citizens selected at random and given comprehensive, expert information), overwhelming voted that they wanted NO part of the nuclear cycle developed here. This included nuclear waste management facilities.

The SA government agreed to abide by this decision. Consequently we would like to know under what legislation the Commonwealth can now override this decision and welcome your response to this query.

We make the following comments in response to your terms of reference :

a) The financial compensation offered to applicants for the acquisition of land under the Nominations of Land Guidelines:

This is a vexed issue as we would prefer that this proposal does not proceed, but should it do so, we believe that an independent panel should recommend the appropriate compensation where required and no land should be compulsorily acquired without the full consent of the owner and the surrounding community agreeing to any facility placement in their vicinity.

b) How the need for “broad community support” has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including:

i)The definition of ‘broad community support’ and

It is imperative that the broadest possible support be obtained before proceeding further as this is a national project that could affect other States where waste material is transported from. Transport, whether by sea, rail or road, will be a major hurdle for the proposed project as many communities have actively campaigned against waste material being trucked or shipped through their community (ie the sustained Port Adelaide and South Australians opposition to earlier proposed nuclear waste facilities). Not only is safe transport a major concern, but also the water table being contaminated if a spill occurs or the facility is not secured safely underground. We have no details of the type of facility proposed but all proposed waste management facilities, even low and intermediate level nuclear waste are recommended to be stored in very stable rock at considerable distance underground. How can people make a decision when they have no details of the actual storage being proposed ? To ask people to consent to transport and storage of toxic waste (which could conceivably increase to high level nuclear waste at some future date) is disingenuous.

Citizens must have all the proposed site facts put before them so that they can make a well informed decision on how this could/would impact on their State and/or community.

We recommend that both local, state and nationwide support be sought with all the above pertinent facts on the proposed structure, transport and guarantee, including exactly what level nuclear waste would be housed, with a firm guarantee that this would not be increased over time. A response level of 90% YES vote would be appropriate to ensure this proposal does have wide, genuine support – perhaps a postal vote would be the way forward. This process should also be carried out by an independent body.

  1. How broad community support has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage. Our response is incorporated in the above recommendation.

    c) How any need for Indigenous support has played and will continue to play a part in the process including how indigenous support has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;

    We believe it is paramount that the Australian government fully outline and commit to whatever level of nuclear waste material would ever be stored at these sites. There is talk of intermediate level waste (and perhaps even high level). These levels require very stringent and specific storage sites which we doubt are available at the areas selected ie stored in stable geological rock for thousands of years with no possibility of leaching into any water table – mindful that the Artesian Basin is close by which stores most of Australia’s underground water. Your proposal needs to cover all the levels of waste and how they will be stored in full compliance with international standards.

It is paramount that indigenous peoples, especially around the proposed sites, should be in agreement first, before proceeding to canvass wider state and national support. Our local knowledge and experience, doubts that this will occur as we are mindful of the sustained and successful campaigns opposing any nuclear waste facilities in South Australia in the past, especially the Kunga Juta Aboriginal Women’s successful campaign to stop nuclear waste facilities on their land in the 1990s. They remember the consequences of the Maralinga Tests which adversely affected many of their communities, so there is a strong resistance to any nuclear waste facilities. Their combined support for such a facility would need to be evident through signatures and spokespeople standing up publicly to support any proposal, before canvassing this idea further.

  1. Whether and how the Government’s community benefit program payments affect broad community and indigenous community sentiment;

    We are not cognisant of the community benefits program but suggest that they should be disentangled from this issue, as any monetary or community program inducement would be seen as a bribe to ensure support for a nuclear waste facility. Indigenous people should be provided with all the community services they require, without tying them to this proposal.

e) Whether wider Eyre Peninsular or state-wide community view should be taken into consideration and, if so, how this is occurring or should be occurring,

As mentioned above it is imperative that such an important and long lasting project gets overall support from first the local indigenous people, then the local communities, South Australians and lastly Australians overall. All the salient facts need to be published and people invited to vote. This information should the fact that waste is currently being stored successfully on-site where it is subject to regular scrutiny. People would need to have all transport routes identified and a guarantee that this project will not escalate into high level waste from overseas being shipped and stored here.

The project should only proceed if it has an overall majority vote of 90% in favour as what is proposed, once begun can not easily be undone.

f) Any other related matters. As seen above there is a lot more information and project management work to be drawn up before this proposal should be taken any further. At the moment it seems in the “wish list” category but serious information and planning needs to occur before this proposal cam be taken further. The first matter to be solved being the right of the Australian government to override the SA legislation which opposes any nuclear waste facility here. We would appreciate your response on this matter.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Petition to Minister Canavan: Say NO to nuclear waste dumping in South Australia

Please sign and share our new petition
Minister Canavan recently announced that an AEC vote for Kimba and Flinders Ranges on the waste dump would begin on August 20th.  This announcement came in the midst of a Senate Inquiry into the site selection process and the vote is planned for just after the Senate report is due. There are many community voices expressed in the submissions that you can read online here.
Communities in Kimba and Hawker are being asked to go to the vote on whether to advance the process to establish a nuclear waste dump.
As Minister Canavan hears from the communities on this issue, we want him to hear from you too. We have started a postcard petition that we will deliver to him later this year. Please go online to sign the online postcard or pick up a bundle to distribute from The Joinery, 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Australia, France, in support of Iran nuclear deal

Emmanuel Macron, Malcolm Turnbull fear looming demise of Iran nuclear deal  Financial Review 1 May 18 by Andrew Tillett

Last-ditch efforts to prevent the Iran nuclear agreement from completely collapsing will feature in talks between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, amid the growing likelihood Donald Trump will ditch the deal.

Australia has expressed its support for retaining the agreement, which requires Iran to curtail the development of nuclear weapons in return for economic and diplomatic sanctions being lifted, in a rare split with the White House.

During Mr Turnbull’s recent European visit, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg both pressed upon him their concerns that Mr Trump will not certify the agreement by the May 12 deadline.

Both Ms Merkel and Mr Macron pushed Mr Trump not to abandon the agreement during their separate visits to Washington DC last week, with the French leader conceding he expected Mr Trump would cancel the deal because of US domestic politics.

A senior government source said Mr Turnbull would offer Mr Macron support for keeping the agreement alive when they meet in Sydney on Wednesday.

Mr Macron’s visit will be dominated by security and defence, including greater cooperation between Australia and France on development in the South Pacific to serve as a counterweight to China’s rise.

……Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia’s position was that the agreement – formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – should remain in place until such time as an alternative could be negotiated.

“I have made our views clear to the Trump administration and again during my recent discussion with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” Ms Bishop told The Australian Financial Review.

“Our ongoing political support for the JCPOA is based on advice from the International Atomic Energy Agency that the deal is providing verifiable assurances on Iran’s nuclear program.

…..Lowy Institute non-resident fellow Anthony Bubalo said Australia was a peripheral player in the debate but Canberra would be “very conscious of any implications” a US withdrawal would have for negotiations with North Korea. Far from sending the “right message” to Kim Jong-un, it signalled to North Korea not to trust a deal struck with an US administration.

“It undermines efforts to strike a deal with North Korea,” he said.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Unanswered questions: what does ANSTO do with the high level nuclear waste canisters at Lucas Heights?

Michael Skeet Kilowsky   Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA
April 30    I am enquiring if any good reader knows what happens to the Areva HL Reprocessed Nuclear Fuel stored in this very canister in temporary storage (shed) at Lucus Heights when the 40 year canister license runs out.. is the license renewed..or is the canister sent away to France or the UK for the fuel to be extracted and placed in another canister? Or will this transfer of fuel take place in Australia? and will it be transported back to Lucus Heights from possibly the proposed SA Nuke Dump site? I’m Curious.. I’d have asked the National Nuclear Waste Facility team.. but they seem too busy, often failing to reply at all to my questions and comments.

Gary See They’ve made an arbitrary date where waste has to leave Lucas Heights so they can argue for the first dump. The they’ll have intermediate level waste there that needs to move so that will be the argument for the next dump which will likely temporarily store high level waste so that makes the argument for the high level dump.

Once they have that they can go for new nuclear reactors and look at importing waste for money.
It’s just a low level waste dump though, they say 

Barb Walker Therefore do we surmise there is no forward plan past a 40 year licence on a 10,000 year legacy?

Michael Skeet Kilowsky Yes Barb, my point exactly… how is a 40 year license acceptable for 10,000 years containment of this deadly shite.. how are they to transfer the waste continuously as licenses expire and/or deterioration of canisters becomes apparent? I’m keen to know.. 
         Scott asks ANSTO chief questions about repatriation of nuclear waste from Europe
        Barb Walker  We as Australian citizens employ our government so we are all entitled to know the future of this.   This youtube video from 2014 talks about 3 casks? Two of which were said to be returning to Aust in 2016, and yet only one returned?
Now we are told the next shipment from England will be returned to Australia in 2020 -21 and shipped directly to the ‘new’ facility.
Steve Dale They probably hope to drill bore holes and drop the 23 shiny stainless steel canisters down them (note the empty canister shown in picture on the left). They already have an incredibly expensive and secure facility to hold that stuff there at Lucas Heights – why don’t they want to keep it there? It’s just seems to be a Trojan Horse for their dreams of a profitable world wide nuclear waste dump. 
  Barb Walker  I think you are right on track there, Steve. And the medical reasoning for nuclear waste is not so convincing anymore. People are becoming more aware of the increased use of cyclotrons and how much safer and cleaner they are.
I agree, nuclear waste dumps are the trojan horse of the nuclear industry, pushing vunerable communities into believing it is for ‘the good of all’ with bribes and bullshit. A waste host town will just be that. A town that hosts deadly poison for hundreds and (probably) thousands of years. There’ll be no end to it.

Gary See There will be a proposal for an intermediate level facility and then a high level one after that.

At least that is the plan as far as I understand it.


May 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia can be the first 100 per cent renewables-powered continent

‘Captain Sunshine’ says Australia is not living up to its solar potential,   By Cole Latimer Australia can be the first 100 per cent renewables-powered continent, but it needs the political will to do so, a global solar expert says.

“Australia is not living up to its potential for power generation. It should be aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy, but Australia is up against the older, entrenched fossil fuel industry,” renewable energy entrepreneur and the chief executive of energy investor Energiya Global Capital, Yosef Abramowitz, said.

Dubbed “Captain Sunshine”, Mr Abramowitz is considered a global authority on the application and commercialisation of solar energy technology and has raised millions of dollars to build solar energy projects in Israel and East Africa.

Currently, solar energy accounts for just over 5 per cent of Australia’s total power generation despite it having the world’s highest average solar radiation – the potential for solar energy – of about 58 million petajoules of energy, or about 10,000 times the nation’s annual energy consumption. The size of a solar farm needed to power all of Australia would cover about 6270 square kilometres or approximately 0.1 per cent of the country.

“It’s a myth that the technology is not quite there yet. The time is now to scale towards 100 per cent given Australia’s amazing solar, wind and land resources,” Mr Abramowitz told Fairfax Media.

One of the major hurdles for the integration of more wind and solar power into Australia’s energy mix is the intermittency of the generation. For example, what to do when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Overcoming this requires more consistent generation, known as “reliability”, in the grid, which can be provided through gas- and coal-fired generation as well as pumped hydro storage. This need for reliability is one of the main pillars of the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee, which has limited the levels of wind and solar in the future energy mix to ensure a secure grid.

A solar farm large enough to power all of Australia would only cover 0.1% of the country.

Earlier this week, the head of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman, also warned of flow-on economic effects caused by rising levels of rooftop solar. She said as more people installed rooftop solar, the proportional costs increased for those who still relied solely on grid power for their electricity.

Mr Abramowitz said while the task of shifting to complete renewable generation seemed gargantuan, it was possible.

“In Israel, we wanted the whole southern tip of the country to be 100 per cent powered by solar energy during the day, from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, – it seemed unlikely,” Mr Abramowitz said. “Today, that region is 70 per cent powered by solar energy during the day and can be 100 per cent by 2020.”

He said Australia lacked the political will to make the push for more renewable energy but added that it was a two-way street and the people needed to demand a shift in energy.

“Political leaders will follow the people’s will, we’d like to see more green audacity,” he said.

He said with more political support and policy frameworks solar markets could strengthen in Australia.

“Australia has had an on/off progress in solar –  investors need to see a horizon,” he said.

“It’s difficult for the investment community to go ahead now, Australia needs to project a long-range horizon that investors can get excited about.

Australia needs to re-examine its coal-fired power plants and consider the costs of phasing them out; the timing is a political decision but the economic decision is simple.”

He added that Australia’s vast gas resources could also be utilised to aid this shift away from coal power.

Mr Abramowitz said solar power could provide a massive economic opportunity for the Northern Territory, particularly in remote communities. “When you have people living off the grid they tend to be poorer, as there is a real correlation between a lack of access to energy and a lack of economic development,” he said.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Community disturbed at prospect of hosting “temporary” Holtec nuclear wastes

Meeting on Holtec proposal fills conference room; Opinions polarized on plan to store nuclear waste in southeast New Mexico, Roswell Daily Record  By Vistas 

These two words demonstrate how polarized opinions were at a public meeting Monday night at ENMU-Roswell hosted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to hear comments on a proposed interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel: “Benign” and “genocide.”

A conference room in the Campus Union Building was filled to its capacity of 95. There were around 50 people who requested to speak, each given four minutes to offer their support for the project or say why they want the NRC to deny the application by Holtec International, the private corporation requesting a 40-year license to store solid nuclear waste on a site in Lea County about halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the initial request is for storage of up to 8,680 metric tons of waste.

But according to a Holtec official, the “ultimate target” is for up to 100,000 metric tons of spent rods. If the company’s application is approved, the high-level nuclear waste would be stored at the interim facility “until a permanent storage option is available”

Both sides of the issue were represented at the open house.

Bobbi Riedel, a doctoral student in nuclear physics attending the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, was there with five other UNM students to speak in favor of the proposed storage site.   “We’ve come down here from Albuquerque to inform people about nuclear safety,” she said. “I think this is a perfectly safe project.”  She said storing nuclear facility at the site would save taxpayers about $30 billion a year.

Wearing a blue T-shirt that said, “No Holtec International,” Melanie Deason of Roswell said she is against the project.

“I can sum up Holtec in one word — ‘genocide,’” she said.

Deason said that among her concerns were transportation, geology, water issues and the Rio Grande Compact, an interstate compact to equitably portion the waters of the Rio Grande Basin between New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.

“I don’t think Texas wants radioactivity in their food chain,” she said. Deason also was on the list of speakers…

John Heaton, a spokesperson for the pro nuclear from the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance,  said while Holtec’s proposal is not a permanent solution to nuclear waste storage, when a permanent site is built in will most likely be in the western U.S., possibly Nevada, and not in the east …

“It is going to be benign,” Heaton said. “It just sits there and gets cooler.”…

Al Squire, a member of the Dairy Producers of New Mexico who said he was attending as a private citizen, had a much different opinion on the self-ventilating cooling system. He said the temperature of the fuel rods stored at the site would be between 200 to 700 degrees.

“What happens if it plugs up?” he said. “Murphy’s Law says it will happen. We could have another Chernobyl or Fukushima (a nuclear disaster that occurred in Japan in 2011..

Helen Henderson, a rancher from Chaves County, stressed the impact the facility could have agriculture and gas and oil, which are the stalwarts of the economy in southeast New Mexico.

She said while the Holtec facility would only provide 55 permanent jobs in New Mexico, ranching, farming, gas and oil combined provide 23,000.  If an accident occurred, Henderson said, “It would destroy New Mexico.”….

The first speaker was Sister Joan Brown, a Franciscan nun from Albuquerque.

She said in the Christian tradition the desert is a place where people find God and not a wasteland.

She then spoke of “environmental justice,” not just for humans but for all living things.

“A life is a life and it is not dispensable,” she said. “In this state we have a history of not respecting that.”

Brown referred to a group who call themselves the “Downwinders,” who say that they, along with their preceding generations, have been contaminated by the radioactive fallout from the 1945 test explosion at the Trinity Site near Alamogordo. She added that uranium workers in New Mexico also have been harmed by radiation and that Holtec’s proposed facility is located in an area with predominantly low incomes and a majority Hispanic population.

Founded in 1986, Holtec provides solutions for managing the backend of the nuclear power cycle for commercial nuclear power plants.

The company is headquartered in New Jersey and has locations throughout the world, including Pennsylvania and Florida.

Another public meeting will be held today in Hobbs tonight and third meeting will be held Thursday in Carlsbad.

The public also can mail comments to the NRC at One White Flint North Building, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852–2738, or post comments online at The deadline for public comments is May 29.

NRC officials said a transcript of the meetings should be posted on their website within two or three weeks.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com

May 2, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The beleaguered nuclear industry fights on

Given that offshore wind is expected to continue falling in price and is being built at the moment, unlike nuclear, the economic case for new reactors in the U.K. appears to diminish by the day.

Similar challenges face nuclear elsewhere in Western Europe.

But the situation in the U.S. is even worse.   In America it is now no longer economically viable to keep existing plants running, let alone build new ones. 

How the Nuclear Industry Is Fighting Back, The beleaguered nuclear power sector has launched a charm offensive in a bid to stay relevant. Greentech Media , The West’s nuclear industry has embarked on its biggest public relations push ever in a bid to stay relevant to policymakers increasingly focused on renewables.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Renewable energy jobs up by a third – Australian Bureau of Statistics

27 Apr 18, The number of jobs in Australia related to renewable energy production grew by one-third in 2016-17 to 14,820 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS Director of Environment and Agriculture Statistics, Lauren Binns, said the 33 per cent increase on the previous year was mainly due to a number of major wind and solar energy projects starting their construction phase.

“The increase in employment in 2016-17 was driven primarily by three states, Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia ” said Ms Binns.

Queensland had the largest increase in renewable energy employment, gaining an extra 1,220 FTE jobs, as a result of construction of large scale solar farms.

New South Wales and South Australia, on the other hand, realised most of their increases from new wind farm construction.

“In recent years, Australia has experienced growth in the amount of energy derived from renewable sources. While the proportion of energy from renewable sources remains relatively small there is considerable interest in renewable energy activities and associated employment,” said Ms Binns.

While roof top solar employment accounts for nearly half of the renewable energy jobs, the numbers have declined substantially over time, from a peak of 14,300 in 2011-12 to 6,430 in 2016-17.

The ABS publication, Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, provides experimental estimates of the levels of employment in renewable energy by state and territory, and by types of renewable energy activities. 
The scope of employment estimates in this publication is employment in activities principally motivated by the production of renewable energy, and/or by the design, construction and/or operation and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure.

Further details can be found in Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4631.0), available for free download from the ABS website

May 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

The shocking truth of Australia’s Indigenous incarcerated

~ Gerry Georgatos 1 May 2018   ‘Gerry Georgatos explores the reasons behind Australia’s devastatingly high Indigenous imprisonment rate.

‘AS A PREDOMINATELY experiential researcher and journeyer to homeland communities,
and having worked for more than two decades alongside the incarcerated, homeless and suicide affected,
I have looked at the national prison population numbers during the last two decades,
and disaggregated an estimated minimum 100,000 of First Nations people having been to prison.
In comparing global data, it is the highest rate of racialised incarceration in the world.

‘More than 500,000 Australians still living have been to prison.
Therefore one in 50 Australians have been to prison. However,
of the 500,000, more than 100,000 are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders
— First Nations persons. Up to 120,000 have been to prison.
With more than 700,000 Australians identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander,
more than one in seven have been to prison.
From a racialised lens this is the world’s highest gaoling rate.
Australia’s First Nations peoples are gaoled at a higher rate than the Black American gaoling rate. … ‘Overall, the authentic pathway to significantly reduce offending and the prison population
are to lift people out of poverty,
to improve life circumstances.

‘More than one in three of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders
living below the poverty line have been to prison.

‘Nationally, one in seven Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders have been to prison,
one in three of those who live below the poverty line. … ‘,11451

May 2, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Images of the Day: Australia top solar postcodes, from the sky — RenewEconomy

A unique view – from the sky – of Australia’s accelerating uptake of renewable energy, and rooftop solar in particular.

via Images of the Day: Australia top solar postcodes, from the sky — RenewEconomy

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CEFC and Pro-Invest reach for the stars with first clean energy investment in the hotels sector — RenewEconomy

A new Melbourne hotel will set new design standards in energy efficiency to help cut as much as 25 per cent of its energy consumption, drawing on a $39 million investment commitment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

via CEFC and Pro-Invest reach for the stars with first clean energy investment in the hotels sector — RenewEconomy

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sapphire wind farm turns on for ACT’s 100% renewables target — RenewEconomy

Sapphire wind farms turns on 100MW of capacity to help meet ACT 100% renewables target, with more wind and solar to come.

via Sapphire wind farm turns on for ACT’s 100% renewables target — RenewEconomy

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Major Arctic Warming Event Predicted For the Coming Week — robertscribbler

It’s been consistently, abnormally, warm in the Arctic for about as long as any of us can remember. But during recent years, the changes — caused by a massive and ongoing accumulation of heat-trapping gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere — appear to be speeding up. (Far above normal temperatures are expected to invade the Arctic […]

via Major Arctic Warming Event Predicted For the Coming Week — robertscribbler

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gupta signs up solar farm to power Victoria steelworks — RenewEconomy

Sanjeev Gupta signs contract with Neoen to use new solar farm to power Laverton steel mill in Victoria and slash costs. Turnbull and Macron were on hand to witness signing, and the promise of a cheaper energy future via renewables.

via Gupta signs up solar farm to power Victoria steelworks — RenewEconomy

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment