Australian news, and some related international items

Australia – nuclear news this week

In the coming week the “nuclear summit” meeting between USA President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will be a diplomatic conference like no other has ever been. It is remarkable because, between these two dominating national leaders, trading threats and insults, the world has been brought so close to the brink of nuclear war. It is remarkable for being a meeting between two exceptionally narcissistic, sociopathic personalities.

And, behind the scenes, one, Kim Jong Un, risks the loss of his domestic support, even his life endangered, if he should be seen to be weak, or to give up North Korea’s proud achievement of becoming a nuclear weapons State. The other, Donald Trump, proudly ignorant of co-operative negotiating processes, is being advised by a number of belligerent personalities in his closest associates. The world should be relieved if this meeting even comes about, and relieved if there is no outcome, other than pleasant waffle.

A new study suggests several future scenarios – outcomes for the world because of climate change.  Most predict collapse of civilisation.   One, more optimistically, predicts sustainability in both population and global temperatures rise – but only if populations switch to “low-impact” resource use.  It’s  now”Aspiration” rather than a genuine plan for limiting global warming to 2 degrees. Read Climate and Ecological Delusions and Contradictions That Will Rapidly End HumanityAnd listen to Radio Ecoshock. 


Australia needs a more consistent and rational approach to China.

The Australian government at last giving Julian Assange some help?  US activist Kevin Zeese calls for demonstrations against the persecution of Julian Assange.

Senate Committee Says Further Regulatory Burden on Charities Unnecessary.

A cry from a brave indigenous heart.

CLIMATE Malcolm Turnbull mouths platitudes about climate change, but his government has no clear policy on climate action. Queensland Govt considering funding $100m road for Adani mine.

NUCLEAR. Jim Green exposes the Warren Centre’s fake “debate” on The Future of Nuclear Energy in Australia.

Decades overdue Ranger Uranium Mine rehabilitation plan released The world is watching. Ranger mine closure and rehab to cost $1bn.

More submissions to Senate Inquiry on Site Selection Process for Nuclear Waste dump:

National Geographic promotes the nuclear industry , with support from Flinders University Adelaide.

ANSTO‘s secret transport of spent nuclear fuel assemblies through Sydney’s streets. ‘Safety breaches and lack of management support’ at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights nuclear facility.

Aboriginal issues.  South Australian government decides against process towards Aboriginal Treaty.  Victorian lower house passes treaty legislation  after Greens accept Labor deal.  Australia’s frontier war killings still conveniently escape official memory. Aboriginal sovereignty – mere symbolism will never be accepted.

RENEWABLE ENERGY   National Energy Guarantee (NEG) final draft due next week, reliability mechanism may never be triggered. Gupta’s stunning deal to supply cheap solar to South Australian industry“Time to take control of rooftop solar” industry says . Wind and solar farms face tough new connection hurdles.


June 9, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Nuclear politics – theme for June 2018

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimate the “Doomsday Clock” at two minutes to midnight–  meaning that the chances of a catastrophic nuclear war are very high:   Major nuclear actors are on the cusp of a new arms race, one that will be very expensive and will increase the likelihood of accidents and misperceptions. Across the globe, nuclear weapons are poised to become more rather than less usable because of nations’ investments in their nuclear arsenals.

For whatever reason –   because  national political leaders tend to be sociopaths, or because they’re beholden to the nuclear and weapons industries, and to the military – they are in the main, focused on distrust, hostility, and confrontation with each other.

USA, formerly the most influential world power, is now stuck with an incompetent negotiator, and a dangerous narcissist, in Donald Trump. The North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is consequently looking more reasonable, by comparison. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and China’s Xi Jinping are watching as the Korean Peninsula crisis unfolds. South Korean leader Moon Jae-in continues to try desperately for a peaceful solution.

Meanwhile, animosities continue between India’s President Modi  and Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain.

Iran and Europe try to hang on to the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  Middle East conflicts involve “proxy wars” between not only USA and Russia, but also Iran versus Saudi Arabia and Israel.  Israel has nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates almost certainly aim to get nuclear. weapons.


All this is joy to the global nuclear power industry, which is now publicly recognised as an essential part of nuclear weapons development, as well as delight for the military top brass, and for the nuclear weapons industry, – both now receiving out of control amounts of tax-payer  money

June 9, 2018 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Ruth Tulloch: “community consultation” by National Radioactive Waste Management – ” a huge, expensive marketing exercise “

I have found this whole process to be not much more than a huge, expensive marketing exercise by a government department desperate to force this facility on to a small outback community

The information that was being given out was also changing. It started as being a low level waste facility and maybe a small amount of temporary low-intermediate waste, to what we now know to be more about intermediate level waste to possibly higher grade waste.

If this facility is so safe and as low impact as claimed then why not place it nearer to Lucas Heights which would cause less cost in transportation, less chance of accidents en-route and easier access for workers etc.

Ruth Tulloch Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia  (Submission No. 62) 

 I have been a resident of Quorn for around 23 years and moved to this beautiful part of the state to get away from the congestion, smog and the increasingly impersonal city. I have been involved in the tourism and hospitality industry during my time in Quorn and believe I have a fairly good idea of what people expect to find when visiting The Flinders Ranges. Generally that is natural, un-spoilt and healthy environs to enjoy outdoor pursuits.

I am writing this submission as I am concerned about the lack of real consultation and information with-in the Quorn community.

I have tried to keep informed as best as I can regarding the siting of the Radioactive Waste Management Facility (Dump) in the Flinders Ranges area and am totally opposed to it as I believe it is the most inappropriate area to place such a facility on several grounds including; –

The way the process has been conducted and is being conducted

– (expenditure and marketing) – Not a suitable area – geologically etc – Aboriginal cultural sensitivities

 – How it would affect the image of the area i.e.; tourism and the clean, green agricultural image of South Australia and the local area.

 I went to the original meeting at the Quorn Town Hall back in early 2016 and was also included in the phone survey.

I was against the dump in that survey which was very confusing, as they would ask a question and then expect an answer on a variant scale for or against without my having any or very little background information as to what was being asked of me or the facility being proposed. I then went to the information meeting where they had glossy brochures and a power point presentation about how wonderful it would be to have a facility nearby. It seemed to be a purely PR and marketing exercise. I was not convinced and unfortunately (or fortunately for the Dept of Innovation, Industry and Science – DIIS) the SA government was also embarking on their own, now apparently defunct, investigation into a nuclear waste depository which made for quite a bit of confusion for many people, which by the way, still exists in the community.

The DIIS people then started having so called meetings in the Quorn Council chambers on a weekly basis whereby 3 or 4 representatives would come over from Canberra and sit in the office in case some-one wanted or happened to walk in and have a chat to them. I did venture in on a couple of occasions and found it at times quite intimidating with these experts ready to throw all their knowledge at me and assure me that all my questions or fears were basically unfounded and unnecessary with no basis to my doubts. I found this attitude extremely dismissive and often derogatory. They were also holding these ‘information sessions’ during office hours when most younger people are working and unable to get there even if they wanted to. A large percentage also work in Port Augusta (approx 40km away) so couldn’t even drop in during a lunch break etc.

This went on for many months at what enormous cost to the taxpayer? Also if they were compiling visitor stats then I would suggest that they may not be accurate, as many of the people who visited them went multiple times, like myself.

The information that was being given out was also changing. It started as being a low level waste facility and maybe a small amount of temporary low-intermediate waste, to what we now know to be more about intermediate level waste to possibly higher grade waste. This depends on who is saying what and what there grading perceptions are…… who should we believe????

DIIS then arranged for a French delegation to come out to assure us of how safe these types of facilities were and how the equivalent in France was operating.

I duly went to the meeting to find out more. Again it was during the day so the majority of the few people that were able to get there were of the older age bracket. During that meeting the head of the facility run by ANDRA (the French equivalent of ANSTO) made a presentation of their process. ANDRA specified that during their selection process there were four essential criteria for their site selection. They were:

Clay base as a natural barrier,

 Low risk related to natural environment,

Low seismic activity,

 Low risk of flooding

After his presentation I queried these points and asked if the site had a sand base, constant seismic activity, a sensitive natural and native cultural environment, prone to severe flooding events plus a natural and vital underground aquifer, – all the opposites to what he had stated as essential and which are present at the Barndioota site – would he place a facility there? His simple answer was NO!!! I asked a further couple of questions along this line of thought and also directed them to ( ) the DIIS rep and the discussion was immediately dismissed and firmly shut down as “we are not here to discuss that but to listen to the French delegation’s presentation.” In other words… shut up and don’t ask questions that we can’t or don’t want to answer!!!!!!

DIIS then set up the Barndioota Consultative Committee (BCC) as a liaison link to both Quorn and Hawker communities. I am of the belief that this is not the case as I have asked questions of members and on occasion either not had an answer or no answer or explanation has been forthcoming or they were not allowed to discuss issues.

On one occasion, a couple of people I know who visited one of the BCC meeting as observers – which I believe is normal public meeting procedure – were forced to leave the meeting with no plausible explanation as to why they could not stay.

Another concern of mine is the amount of taxpayer’s money that has been spent – in my view wasted – on this process. The cost of sending people from Canberra every week for months/year, the cost of various committees with paid members that have been formed for spurious reasons, the $2 million community grants, the cost of sending anyone who wants to go to Sydney to visit the Lucas Heights Facility to be assured “how safe it is” – which of course it is safe otherwise people wouldn’t be able to work there, plus NO-ONE would be given access to unsafe and or controlled areas any way!!!! I also believe there was an initial offer for expense paid trips to France to view their facility.

A perfect example of my comments is the forming of an Industry Working Committee (whose members are paid), who are in the process of organising ‘The Hawker Industrial Expo’ for May and in their promotion blurb state –

“This will assist the local community and businesses to better prepare for the potential arrival of the NRWM facility”.

A particularly biased statement!

The only contacts for this event are an events management company in Adelaide (who “specialise in Special Events, Conferences and Incentives for corporate, government and non-profit clients”) and the DIIS. More wasted money????

Considering a vote of the communities involved has yet to be undertaken to determine if this will go ahead or not, I find this arrogant and contemptible that it is even being planned this far out from a decision and it appears to already presume that the building of this dump will go ahead. Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia Submission 62 This, to me, smacks of bribery and a vast marketing campaign to ‘win over the locals’.

There has also been quite a bit of discussion around the facility providing new jobs for the area. Again this appears to be misleading as there is no information or guarantees as to how many jobs, who would be skilled for those jobs, would they be given to locals or just advertised to the general population, whether they would be full time part time etc etc etc…… Many questions to be answered and yet many loose or false promises provided.

We have also been constantly told that the facility would be run on ‘World’s Best Practice Principals’. Whilst this is somewhat reassuring in the short term, there are no guarantees that can be given re natural disasters happening or human error factors which are both more likely than not to happen in the long term. Plus DIIS are talking about long term as this waste has a very long half life (ILW) and even though it is supposed to be a temporary facility there are, at this stage, no plans for a permanent waste disposal facility. I understand this to be a critical requirement of having a license issued by ARPANSA.

Wouldn’t it be a more practicable and sensible idea to find a place for a permanent repository for all waste rather than shift it again some time in the future? As we now know, some of the radioactive waste that was dumped at Woomera (SA) some 20 years ago is now leaking and will need analysis and restoring which will take time and a great expense to re-secure and possibly transport again.

Lastly I would like to address the fact that DIIS has a belief that a majority of people in the area are for this ‘dump’ to progress. Again I believe this to be incorrect as nearly 100% of people I have talked to about this are against having it in the Flinders. They may not be going to meetings or jumping up and down in the streets for many, varied and legitimate reasons but they still care and are not in favour of it going ahead. I also Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia Submission 62 feel it divides the community making people less likely to discuss this issue in case they get into arguments with friends and or family.

In summary…I have found this whole process to be not much more than a huge, expensive marketing exercise by a government department desperate to force this facility on to a small outback community with no consideration for what is here and the likely loss of income that would surely follow from having a radioactive waste facility in what is a relatively pristine, clean, green, beautiful environment which is also on the verge of being placed on the World Heritage List. This would have an enormous impact on agriculture and tourism which are the main income streams for this area.

 If this facility is so safe and as low impact as claimed then why not place it nearer to Lucas Heights which would cause less cost in transportation, less chance of accidents en-route and easier access for workers etc. Also why were all the other offered sites so quickly dismissed as being unsuitable without the same processes that we are enduring???

 SA also has a law prohibiting any nuclear/radioactive waste facility and transportation of such waste through and in the state. Will this mean that the Federal Government will over-ride the wishes of the people of SA who very recently overturned any and all suggestions of a nuclear waste facility?

This should be a decision for all South Australians, and maybe all Australians, to decide not just a few hundred people in 2 small towns. After all it will affect the whole state and country for hundreds of years to come.

I have one last concern and that is regard to the proposed vote for consent to be put to the community sometime (this also varies) this year. Will it be a simple transparent question or like many surveys contain an ambiguous question that is written to get an outcome favourable for the departments Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia Submission own purposes and will it be able to present an unbiased case that all residents can understand.

This submission is not so much about not wanting this facility in our/my backyard so to speak but rather the lack of suitability of the proposed site and the lack of respect, discussion and research by the people conducting the process (DIIS). I hope you have read this submission and take my concerns seriously. I appreciate the opportunity to make my feelings known.

June 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | 1 Comment