Australian news, and some related international items

To the end of June – nuclear news Australia

Things appear to be  quiet on the global nuclear news scene. Lulled by the present stalemate in USA-North Korea nuclear tensions, the world’s media complacently reports on the nuclear weapons build-up going on in USA, Russia,  India, Pakistan , and China to a much lesser degree.

The main focus of media about things nuclear is the hype about “new nuclear” – Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, (SMRs). So many news items in praise of SMRs – all sounding suspiciously as if copied from industry handout sheets, and all claiming that nuclear is the cure for climate change. Do these journalists ever bother to check on the facts about this claim?

The world’s many pollution problems are at last being recognised as a global malaise, with the horror stories of epidemic plastic rubbish in oceans and on beaches. Climate change is manifested in various ways: it’s affecting migration patterns, changes in Arctic seas, wildfires, bees, water, hotspots in South Asia.


July will be a critical month, as the Australian govt gears up for making a decision on 20 August to set up a nuclear waste dump in the iconic Flinders Ranges. Never mind that both South Australian and Federal Law prohibit this!

It is almost certainly intended as a step towards making Australia the world’s garbage bin for nuclear waste, – the 2016 plan that South Australia rejected. But The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the wider Australian and global nuclear lobby never give up!

The process is secretive as far as Australia at large is concerned, even secretive from South Australians. It’s being pitched as just a local matter, for decision by small rural communities, encouraged by bribes that are fairly stingy, considering the huge and long effect it will have on the region

A Senate committee is considering this, but they don’t report until 14 August –  too late to influence the decision.

The waste dump is being pitched to the locals as a “medical necessity”, though it is really intended for long-lasting and highly toxic nuclear reactor wastes from across the continent, at Lucas Heights, Sydney.  The Australian media silence about this is either due to cowardly and criminal cowering before the government  – or are they just stupidly ignorant?

Nuclear enthusiast Matt Canavan keen to quickly wrap up waste dump site in Flinders Ranges.

Submission to Senate InquiryBrett Stokes-Submission on “community consultation” and the illegality of the campaign for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia. Brett Stokes shows how plans for nuclear waste dumping in South Australia have breached S.A. law.

Regina McKenzie’s detailed letters to Minister Matt Canavan ask the hard questions about the proposed Barndioota nuclear waste dump.

Geologists warn that the Barndioota region is a dangerous site for nuclear waste dumping.

South Australian top university big-wigs are nuclear industry promoters.

Restoring Kakadu to its former glory (now that uranium mining is finished).

CLIMATE. Hypocrisy in Australia – our truly awful climate policy.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Major 200MW + battery solar farm approved in outback South Australia. Tesla batteries arrive for world’s first wind-solar-battery project.  Renewables replaced more than half Hazelwood capacity. Australia solar costs hit “extraordinary” new lows – $50s/MWh.  How Australia will get to 33% renewable energy by 2020 . Big business lobby declares war on wind and solar.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Brett Stokes challenges the ABC to investigate the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility project. 

From: Brett Stokes <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, 29 June 2018,
Subject: ANSTO – Lucas Heights – covert poisoning of pregnant women – miscarriages
I have just read your story about a breakdown at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor operated by ANSTO.

ANSTO, as part of normal operations, manufacture and release radioactive poisons into the air.
These radioactive poisons are known to cause miscarriages (and other problems).

ANSTO give no warnings of these “controlled emissions” and justify this by claiming that they are not a health hazard – this claim is based on dodgy seventy year old data from Japan plus a bunch of dodgy number crunching.

Australian women suffer many many thousands of “unexplained” miscarriages (and many Aussies get “unexplained” cancer dementia etc etc).

And this is not the only dodgy aspect of ANSTO’s operations – the reactor is not needed at all for medicine – as in Canada, cyclotrons can be used to produce the required isotopes safely and reliably and without creating problematic “radioactive waste”.

ANSTO are using the lie that “nuclear medicine requires a nuclear waste dump” as a central part of the taxpayer funded bribery and deception program called the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility project. 

The taxpayer funded National Radioactive Waste Management Facility project is illegal under South Australian law and is clearly a “foot in the door” for the (now decades old) nuclear industry campaign to make South Australia a nuclear waste repository as per the dodgy recommendations of the dodgy Scarce Royal Commission.

I encourage you to look in to this horror story of taxpayer money funding nuclear fanatic traitors.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy in Australia – our truly awful climate policy

Australia’s history on climate policy is so awful it makes the NEG look like a victory  Australia is headed for a fifth-best climate and energy policy — and we’ll be told it’s a triumph. Bernard Keane, Politics editor     If, as seems more likely than not at this point, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg manages in the next three months to bring the states and territories on board for the his National Energy Guarantee (NEG) proposal and secure both federal Labor and joint party room support, the headlines will be glowing about his achievement. He’ll be the new golden-haired boy of the government, his leadership credentials burnished, the man who delivered us from a decade of policy paralysis on energy and climate action.

The plaudits will be well-earned, if only for Frydenberg repeatedly enduring the silliness of fossil fuel advocate and rabid coal-seam gas opponent Alan Jones. But they’ll in effect be celebrations of a profound policy failure, Australia’s worst since John Howard lied us into the Iraq War.
For a short while (two years), Australia had a high-quality climate action policy, one that lowered our emissions while having a minimal impact on inflation. That was abandoned in 2014 when the Abbott government repealed the Gillard government’s carbon-pricing scheme. Gillard had also taken some tentative steps to addressing the relentless gaming of the electricity market by participants — especially state-owned distributors — which were, in retrospect, entirely inadequate. We’d have to wait several more years for a government to take real action to stop the gaming.

The carbon pricing scheme, which was by no means perfect, was “replaced” by a kind of joke policy, a back-of-the-envelope idea devised in a hurry by Greg Hunt after Malcolm Turnbull was rolled in 2009, in which the government would hand billions to corporations and farmers to undertake energy efficiency projects they would have done anyway, or plant trees and otherwise conjure “soil magic”.

More sensible figures within the Liberal Party hacked this idiot policy back until it eventually appeared briefly as a $3 billion handout program that wasn’t renewed. That left the Renewable Energy Target, investment by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation — which Abbott was desperate to abolish — and various state renewable energy targets as Australia’s climate policy — even as the Abbott government signed itself up a hard commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28% on 2005 levels.

But Abbott had an informal policy, too, one of relentlessly demonising renewable energy, which drove a 90% fall in renewable energy investment. Malcolm Turnbull’s ascension to the prime ministership changed this dynamic. Indeed, there’s a fair argument that Turnbull’s primary contribution to energy policy as Prime Minister has been his signalling that the war on renewable energy that had been launched by his predecessor was over. Renewable energy investment has surged since he became Prime Minister, such that we’re on track to comfortably beat the Renewable Energy Target for 2020. It’s the one positive in climate-energy policy — to the extent that we actually have any “policy” other than the remnants of former government’s targets, state government one-out commitments and an energy market regulatory framework that’s in recovery phase from the over-optimism of neoliberal policy design.

After being tempted by an emissions intensity scheme, which was strongly backed by business and backed by the opposition, Turnbull backtracked from that under pressure from the right. The subsequent Finkel Review recommended a Clean Energy Target, which Turnbull was initially keen on, but again was forced to abandon under pressure from the right. Then came the National Energy Guarantee, effectively a requirement for retailers to back on-demand (not baseload) power, with a figleaf of emissions reductions thrown in.

Julia Gillard’s carbon-pricing scheme was never perfect, but if that was the closest to best policy we got, an emissions intensity scheme would have been second best policy. A renewable energy target, or a Clean Energy Target a la Finkel, would have been third best. To the extent that a NEG pitched at Australia’s woefully low Paris Accord targets slows the surge in renewables investment, it will be clearly fourth best in policy terms. But the Nationals and some of the Neanderthal faction Liberals like Abbott want to make the NEG worse by tacking on government intervention (because that worked so well with Soil Magic) in the form of billions in funding for state-controlled coal-fired power, because the private sector won’t ever touch coal again.

That would give us fifth-best policy — and be portrayed as a remarkable political achievement. That says a lot both about the government and the media.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Huge climate changes for South Asia in the coming decades

Half of South Asia living in vulnerable climate ‘hotspots’: World Bank Menon– 29 June 18 

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Changes in temperature and rainfall will impact almost half of South Asia in the coming decades, reducing economic growth in one of the world’s poorest regions, the World Bank said.

A World Bank report released on Thursday analyses two scenarios – “climate sensitive”, based on collective action by nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and “carbon intensive”, which assumes no action on climate change.

The report combines future changes in temperature and rainfall with household survey data linking living standards to weather conditions for the first time.

More than 800 million people now live in areas predicted to become moderate-to-severe “hotspots”, or affected areas, by 2050 under the carbon intensive scenario, with India accounting for almost three quarters of them, the report said.

Moderate hotspots are areas where projected consumption spending declines by 4-8 percent and severe ones are where the drop exceeds 8 percent.

“There seems to be some kind of correlation between climate hotspots and water stressed areas,” Muthukumara Mani, a World Bank economist, said.

The World Bank’s expectation of about half of India living in moderately or severely-affected areas by 2050 tallies with a federal think tank’s report two weeks ago. This warned that 600 million Indians could suffer high to extreme water stress as the country faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history.

Rising temperature and changing monsoon rainfall patterns from climate change could cost India 2.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and depress the living standards of one in every two Indians by 2050, the World Bank report said.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA nuclear tests’ radiation affected people far away (What about UK tests in Australia?)

Cold War Weapons Testing Made People Sick. Now, More Mountain West Residents Could Be Compensated  • JUN 28, 2018 

Nuclear testing during the Cold War sent radioactive fallout far away from the actual test sites. Politicians are moving to expand who can be compensated by the government for getting sick after exposure to that fallout.

The tests mostly happened in Nevada but winds sent radioactive materials far and wide. Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo said one detonation in 1952 was particularly memorable to his constituents.

“Idahoans that I’ve spoken to in Emmett and elsewhere have

shared their memories of waking to find their pastures and orchards covered with a fine grey-white dust that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. It looked like frost, yet it was not cold to touch,” Crapo said in a Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing Wednesday.

In 1990 Congress created a program to compensate people who became seriously ill after radiation exposure.

According to the Department of Justice, since the programstarted more than $2 billion has been given in compensation. People like miners who worked directly with radioactive materials can get $100,000, people who were on site during nuclear tests get $75,000 and people who lived downwind of a major test site in Nevada get $50,000. So-called “downwinders” have to have lived in certain counties within Utah, Nevada and Arizona at the time of testing to be considered eligible.

“Unfortunately, the science at the time failed to recognize that radioactive fallout is not restricted by state lines,” said Crapo.

According to the National Cancer Institute, some of that fallout landed on fields across the country and especially in the Mountain West. It was consumed by animals like cows and eventually made it into milk cartons. Because of that, people who were milk-drinking children at the time are considered to have a higher risk of thyroid cancer.

Senators, including Crapo, have sponsored a bill that would expand the group of eligible “downwinders” to people who lived in parts of Idaho, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Guam at the time that tests were conducted.

The bill would also establish a grant program for further research into the health impacts of uranium mining and would extend the deadline for filing claims from 2022 to the late 2030s.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Restoring Kakadu to its former glory (now that uranium mining is finished)

Kakadu at a crossroads: Traditional owners welcome call to restore park to its former glory  By Felicity James  

June 29, 2018 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

French anti nuclear activists convicted but not imprisoned as the nuclear industry had wanted

Greenpeace France 28th June 2018 The verdict of the trial of Privas, where Greenpeace France, one of his employees and 22 activists were judged on May 17 following an intrusion into the Cruas-Meysse nuclear power plant, fell. Despite EDF’s will to attack our activists, none of them have been sentenced to imprisonment.

Yannick Rousselet, a nuclear campaigner prosecuted for complicity, was released. EDF’s strategy to demand heavier prison sentences and colossal damages to Greenpeace to dissuade us from denouncing nuclear risk has failed.

The lawsuit against Greenpeace France, his campaign campaigner, Yannick Rousselet, and 22 activists of the organization was held May 17 at the tribunal de grande instance Privas in Ardeche. The verdict was made public six weeks later.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Dramatic shift in Arctic sea – 1.5 degrees Celsius warmed in just 18 years

Huge part of Arctic ocean is shifting to an Atlantic climate, study finds
The northern Barents Sea has warmed 1.5 degrees Celsius in just 18 years,
Independent, Chris Mooney 28 June 1

4.41 GB (29%) of 15 GB used
Last account activity: 27 minutes ago


June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

June 29 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “These Are the Toughest Emissions to Cut, and a Big Chunk of the Climate Problem” • Efforts to tackle climate change typically focus on renewable energy or cleaner cars. Without improving shipping, cement, and steel, however, major greenhouse gas pollution sources will be locked in for generations, new research shows. [InsideClimate News] ¶ […]

via June 29 Energy News — geoharvey

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Major 200MW + battery solar farm approved in outback South Australia — RenewEconomy

Work set to begin on Solar River Project after “Australia’s biggest” PV farm approved for 220MW solar, 120MWh lithium-ion battery.

via Major 200MW + battery solar farm approved in outback South Australia — RenewEconomy

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear enthusiast Matt Canavan keen to quickly wrap up waste dump site in Flinders Ranges

Resources Minister ‘hopeful’ in plans for nuclear power 

 There is a glimmer of hope Australia might one day see nuclear power in its energy mix.Resources Minister Matt Canavan is hitting the fast-forward button and wants the destination of Australia’s first nuclear site settled before the next election.

“I would be chuffed if we can find a solution, we’re very close, we have two communities in South Australia that have voted in favour of considering a site.

“In a couple of months time, they will vote again on whether to accept our detailed proposal.

“I’m quietly hopeful, but it’s now in the communities hands.

“If we can’t find a site for low-level waste… the idea that we build a full-blown nuclear power reactor’s probably a pipe-dream.”

He tells Ben the reason government hasn’t acted on nuclear is that Australia has such easy access to other resources.

“We have cheap coal or gas, or we have in the past… so we haven’t probably needed to look for the alternatives as much as some other countries have been forced to do.

“We are the world’s largest producers of uranium but we don’t have any nuclear power plants here.”

June 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Delay in production of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) at Lucas Heights

Fault at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor halts production of medical isotope, Guardian, 28 June 18 
Spokesman says no safety risk but there are fears patients could face delays in cancer diagnosis   “….. 
production of the most commonly used isotope in nuclear medicine was halted at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney’s south.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) usually produces about 10,000 doses a week of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is used to diagnose a variety of heart, lung and musculoskeletal conditions, as well as cancers.

An Ansto spokesman said production was temporarily suspended on Friday “after a mechanical fault was identified with a piece of equipment”. There was no safety risk due to the stoppage, he said………


June 29, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Australians are told that Finland successfully completed nuclear waste dump: but No – it will be in the trial phase for years!

Nucnet 25th June 2018, A full-scale in-situ system test for spent nuclear fuel disposal is
expected to begin this week at Posiva’s planned final deep geologic
disposal facility at Olkiluoto, Finland. Posiva’s owner Teollisuuden
Voima Oyj (TVO) said the test will be the first of its kind and means that
Posiva is making progress towards the operational test phase of its final
disposal system and technology.

According to TVO, the test will last for
several years. It aims to prove that the prototype processes for geological
storage at Posiva’s repository are “all working concepts”. The test
has been in preparation since December 2017, TVO said. The processes
include placing fuel assemblies packed in copper-steel canisters inside
holes drilled in the bedrock tunnels. This is followed by backfilling the
tunnels with bentonite clay and sealing them with a cast plug. Two test
canisters will be equipped with thermal resistors simulating the residual
temperature of spent nuclear fuel, TVO said. A TVO official said the
temperature and pressure in the canisters, test holes and the surrounding
bedrock, and the behaviour of the backfill of the tunnels, will be
monitored by some 500 sensors over several years.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Cancer increase near St Louis radioactive waste dump

Radioactive St. Louis–Government Nuclear Waste Scandal Exposed with Dawn Chapman

Radioactive waste from Coldwater Creek could have contaminated neighborhoods  By Russell Kinsaul, Reporter, NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY ( –

A new report draws a close connection between cancer and Coldwater Creek in north St. Louis County.

A two-year health assessment by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry concluded that radioactive waste in the creek could have increased the risk of developing bone, lung, skin or breast cancer as well as leukemia for those who lived nearby or who played in the creek as children.

“Our street was right next to the creek. My parents moved there when I was two and I moved away as an adult,” said Kathryn Fults Ward.

Ward was diagnosed with leukemia in August.

“I had been healthy all my life but then boom, all of a sudden leukemia,” she said.

Ward was one of many who attended Wednesday’s public meeting at St. James United Methodist Church held by the federal agency, known as ATSDR, to explain the results of the study and answer questions.

Radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project was stored north of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport starting in 1946. Some of it was in piles that were uncovered. It’s widely believed that wind and rain carried some of the radioactive waste into nearby Coldwater Creek. Some of that waste was later moved to another location near the creek on Latty Avenue.

Those contaminated sites have been cleaned up and currently, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is testing for contamination along the creek and removing soil with elevated levels of radioactivity. The contamination removed during the current efforts has been below the surface and not posing a risk to the public.

“I lost my son, he was born with a brain tumor. It’s a brain tumor that occurs in 60-year-old men,” said Kim Visintine.

Visintine was one of the original members of a group of former north St. Louis County residents concerned about the frequency and types of cancers diagnosed in loved ones and former classmates they grew up with. They worried cancer could have a connection to contamination in the creek.

“So what this health assessment is for us is a validation of everything we’ve been working for since 2011,” said Visintine.

The ATSDR health assessment recommended further testing for dangerous levels of radioactive contamination in homes that flooded, along tributaries of Coldwater Creek and areas where likely contaminated soil was taken from near the creek was used at construction sites.

The agency is also recommending those who lived or played near the creek to talk to their doctor about their potential exposure.

Another public meeting will be held Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. James United Methodist Church at 315 Graham Road in Florissant.

You can read the entire report here.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Norway shuts down its costly nuclear research reactor, on safety and environmental grounds

Bellona 27th June 2018 , In a major victory for radiation safety in Europe, the Norwegian government announced Wednesday that it would be permanently shutting down the financially and technically troubled Halden research reactor, which experienced a leak in 2016. The 25 megawatt installation, which is the world’s oldest heavy-water reactor, is located in a mountain cave in the southern Norwegian town of Halden, and has been under a temporary closure since March due to a valve failure. It is the second of Norway’s two reactors, the first of which is the Kjeller reactor, near Oslo, which began operations in 1951.

Bellona has for three decades questioned the Halden reactor’s sometimes hazardous operations, and demanded that the government stop subsiding its continued use.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment