Australian news, and some related international items

Katrina Koch happy with the Kimba nuclear waste dump selection process

Katrina Koch (Submission No. 28)- Kimba SA Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia

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

Ms Koch is sure that the financial compensation is not extravagant, as indeed, agricultural use would bring in more. The waste dump will not affect the neighbours.

b) On community support.

To define community – it is the people that live here in the Kimba district. “ the main thing about the current process to date in Kimba is that it is open, transparent and everyone gets to have a say “

She is happy with the processes, involving the District Council of Kimba, and the Australian Electoral Commission vote. As regards neighbours –

“Of the two sites in Kimba there is 90% ‘direct neighbour’ support.” “I truly believe that any number over 50% is an indication of support for the project “

She considers that indigenous leaders will support the project, though she is vague about this. The Bangarla people should be consulted in the same way as for any mining project.

“ Traditional owners have not expressed opposition to the project. “

A town vote unanimously decided to move into Phase 2 (the consultation stage)  Ms Koch is very happy with the Community Benefit Fund.

The nuclear waste facility will benefit the community and the country as a whole.”

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

Donna Johnson – enthusiastic about the Kimba Nuclear Waste Dump Selection Process

Donna Johnson  Senate Standing Committees on Economics  Subject: Submission on Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia (Submission No 27)  Regarding a) the financial compensation offered to applicants for the acquisition of land under the Nominations of Land Guidelines;   she believes that  compensation offered is appropriate.  She knows the people who nominated  their land, and believes that their offers were made solely for the community benefit.

On (b) community support, She believes that  a 50% plus 1 vote for a site is adequate, and that neighbour support should be ‘factored in’ for the ultimate decision.  While the early surveys were inadequate, Ms Johnson believes that

Australian Electoral Commission poll provided surety, independence and an indisputable final result. I support the AEC vote and that process as a whole; it was beyond reproach. ‘

She is confident that the department has listened to our community and  will  help the community come to an informed decision.

On c) indigenous support, Ms Johnson believes that the process has been satisfactory –

“The Department should keep reaching out to the right spokespeople for the traditional owners to get this information.”

Ms Johnson is concerned for the economic future of the community’s children.  She is enthusiastic  about the plan ;

“The Community Benefits Program is breathing new life into our community and is an appropriate recognition for the journey and commitment that has been made by Kimba and its people in this search that is in the best interests for ALL Australians. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a country with facilities such as ANSTO’s Lucas Heights and its nuclear reactor providing life saving diagnosis and treatment options for vulnerable Australians. I understand more than one in two Australians will benefit from nuclear medicine in their lifetime. Make no mistake, this is a very noble cause with benefits for our entire nation.”

On e) whether wider (Eyre Peninsular or state-wide) community views should be taken into consideration and, if so, how this is occurring or should be occurring;

“I support the AEC vote and that process as a whole. A change of boundaries after an initial voting result would destroy the integrity of the process.

“The boundaries used for that vote were fair, and it is entirely appropriate that those living in our community should be those who get a vote on this. If this potential facility were to come to our District it would have nothing to do with a fisherman in Port Lincoln nor anyone behind a desk in Adelaide. It affects those living in the Kimba District and it is a decision for those people alone.”

Ms Johnson is proud  that “Our community has made a significant investment in learning, researching and meeting experts to form considered and knowledgeable views”  – and compares it to the rest of the State, which has not bothered to learn about the Nuclear Waste Management Facility plan.

There is no grounds for them to now have influence over our choice to vote on an opportunity that can deliver higher sustained employment and important economic diversity for our community.”

  1. f) any other related matters

The result of the AEC vote is clear demonstration of the maturity of the Kimba community.  The education and information that has been provided has increased as we all learned together of the intricacies of radioactive waste and its safe use, transport, storage and disposal. It must be noted the final result showed a 57.4% YES vote for our community to take another step in ths process and receive more information and closer consideration.


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

Uranium industry in Australia – stagnant at best – Department of Industry

Dept of Industry, Energy Quarterly, June 2018

Predicts stagnant production/export of Australian uranium over the next few years.

Expects growth from Olympic Dam, no new mines, doesn’t even mention Ranger.

Uranium exploration almost non-existent: “Only $1.9 million was spent on uranium exploration in the March quarter 2018: a drop from an already-low level of $2.9 million spent in the December quarter. Uranium exploration is now largely confined to South Australia, tailing off in all other states.”

July 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

“Community Consent: for nuclear waste dump site? Minister Canavan further muddies the waters

Katrina Bohr No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia   When asked in Question time,Matt Canavan said ‘Submissions and views of people that live  outside the formal regions, with an interest, will also be part of broad community consent.’

The elusive “broad community consent” continues. yes

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

Voting in Flinders Ranges Council is open to a broad range of people

Barb Walker shared a post. NO Nuclear Waste Dump For South Australia , 1 July 18 
Flinders Ranges residents, Adnyamathanha Yura and property owners, please read this carefully and make sure you are eligible to vote in the upcoming Ballot in August. This notice is specific to the October Council elections but you will still need to do the same checking for the August Ballot before July 31st.

The Flinders Ranges Council  June 15 at 3:58 PM

Voting in council elections is open to a broader range of people than state and federal elections.

The voters’ roll for council elections consists of two components – the House of Assembly (State) roll, and the council supplementary roll.

If you are on the State (House of Assembly) electoral roll you will automatically receive a voting pack in the mail in late October 2018.

If you are not enrolled on the House of Assembly roll you may be eligible to register on the council supplementary roll if:

You have been resident at your current address for one month and are not on the State Electoral Roll;
You are a sole owner/occupier of rateable property;
You are NOT an Australian Citizen but you have been a resident at your current address for one month;
You are a landlord for rateable property;
You are an organisation/business owner or occupier of rateable property; or
You are a group of owners or occupiers of rateable property.

To register for Council’s Supplementary Voters Roll please download the appropriate form from Councils website here:

July 2, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Following vague summit agreement with Donald Trump, North Korea is probably making more nuclear bomb fuel

North Korea agreed at the summit to “work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but the joint statement signed by Mr Kim and Mr Trump gave no details on how or when Pyongyang might surrender its nuclear weapons.

Ahead of the summit, North Korea rejected unilaterally abandoning an arsenal it has called an essential deterrent against US aggression.

Where can North Korea’s missiles reach? 

North Korea likely making more nuclear bomb fuel despite Trump-Kim talks, report says

US intelligence agencies believe North Korea has increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months and may try to hide these while seeking concessions in nuclear talks with the United States, NBC News has quoted US officials as saying.

Key points:

  • Unidentified US officials told NBC North Korea had stepped up production of enriched uranium
  • North Korea may have three or more secret nuclear sites
  • Mr Trump said last week North Korea was blowing up four of its big test sites

Continue reading

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

Holtec’s storage plan isn’t worth the risk


By John Buchser / Water Issues Chair, Rio Grande Chapter, Sierra Club, Sunday, July 1st, 2018  Holtec International has proposed placing used fuel rods from all U.S. nuclear reactors in a shallow burial site near WIPP. Two recent editorials by the Albuquerque Journal feature the point of view of Holtec executives, who painted too rosy a view of the safety issues this proposed facility could present.  risk 

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

The sneaky war against renewables in the bush — RenewEconomy

If you live in a remote area of Victoria the government will subsidise your off-grid fuel needs … and not if you power your off-grid home with solar.

via The sneaky war against renewables in the bush — RenewEconomy

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

Problems in Holtec’s casks for interim nuclear waste storage

Fatal flaws in Holtec’s plan, By John Buchser, 1 July 18 

Holtec International has proposed placing used fuel rods from all U.S. nuclear reactors in a shallow burial site near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Recently, The New Mexican reprinted a Carlsbad Current-Argusarticle featuring the point of view of Holtec executives, who painted too rosy a view of the safety issues this proposed facility could present.

There is pressure from the public to move used fuel rods away from their current locations — the reactor sites — especially when reactors have been shut down. The risks of storage in casks are low, the risks of transport are higher; in either case, the failure of a single cask, whether through natural degradation processes or terrorism, could release more radiation than did the accidents at Chernobyl or Fukushima.

After removal from a reactor, the fuel rods are placed in pools of water, which allow this high-level waste to cool. After several years of cooling, they are placed into casks. Radioactivity given off by these fuel rods remains dangerous to all life for at least 10,000 years. They are much more radioactive than the waste at WIPP.

The canister design approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that Holtec proposes is a thin-walled design, with an interior five-eighth-inch stainless-steel cask holding fuel rods. That is placed into another stainless-steel cask, with lead and boron in between to abate radiation. Two vent holes in the exterior cask allow cooling air to flow. Casks need to cool to 400 degrees Celsius to allow safe transport.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates very low risk of cask failure for at least 20 years. However, it will take 20-30 years for the casks to cool enough for transport. Given that cask cracking has been observed after 10 years, ultimate failure seems likely.

The long-term solution is likely to be underground burial at a well-researched location. It is unlikely that this high-level waste will be cool enough for a long-term underground repository until about 60 years after it is removed from the reactor.

The proposed Holtec interim storage facility has numerous fatal procedural and structural flaws. Alkaline soils there are corrosive. Fencing the site will not protect the area from armor-piercing artillery launched by terrorists from either of the two roads surrounding the site. There will be no continuous monitoring program to detect leaks. There is no plan on how to deal with leaking canisters. The data on radiation exposure to workers is proprietary. Transport vibration could cause cracking of the fuel rods, after which they cannot be safely transported at all. The best transport is via rail at low speeds, but the railroads have not been contracted. The transportation casks have not been tested to failure: What about a head-on collision of two trains, or trains falling off of a bridge?

The storage plan should be an integrated one, which industry experts admit is not the current approach. The movement of casks should be minimized. Unless a permanent repository is developed, the proposed interim site could become permanent. WIPP was studied as a transuranic radioactive waste site, not a high-level waste site, and no high-level waste repository exists.

It is no wonder that pecan farmers, dairy farmers and the oil, gas and tourism industries are worried. One accident could shut down the entire region. After 10,000 canisters have been sent to southeast New Mexico, at least one serious accident is likely to occur, based on Department of Energy analysis performed by Sandia engineers regarding shipping high-level waste to Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Your grandkids might never get to visit Carlsbad Caverns. Are the 50-100 jobs that Holtec would bring worth the risk of 10 centuries of contamination?

The deadline for comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is July 30. Submit comments to:

For further information, go to   John Buchser of Santa Fe is the immediate past chairman of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. He is interested in seeking solutions to sustainable use of our water in New Mexico and West Texas.

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

July 1 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “India’s huge solar ambitions could push coal further into shade” • India says it intends to launch a tender for 100 GW of solar power, 10 times the size of the current largest solar tender in the world, which is also Indian. These and other green power promises from Delhi have serious implications […]

via July 1 Energy News — geoharvey

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

Tesla Powerpack installed at Sydney depot, as part of Transgrid network trial — RenewEconomy

City of Sydney adds 500kWh Tesla battery to new solar council depot, both to make the depot self sufficient and as part of Transgrid demand management trial.

via Tesla Powerpack installed at Sydney depot, as part of Transgrid network trial — RenewEconomy

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

Corrosion risks in nuclear waste tanks

an inspection in 2017, after most of the waste was retrieved from the tank, found widespread pitting on the bottom of the inner shell, allowing waste to seep through. The finding pointed to a corrosion problem.

Experts don’t know enough about the issue yet to tell if the thinning is recent or definitely say what caused it.

More Hanford nuclear waste tanks at risk of leaking, 

July 2, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Concern in Canberra over World War 1 explosive ordnance waste

Explosive WWI waste concerns but doesn’t need environmental assessment  Canberra Times, By Steven Trask, 

A major government housing development was exempted from environmental assessment requirements despite sewage contamination and concerns over explosive ordnance waste.

Last year ACT Environment Commissioner Kate Auty said she was uncomfortable with moves to exclude the same project from the environmental impact statement process.

In May, Planning Minister Mick Gentleman signed-off on an application to exempt the project from preparing an environmental impact statement.

Stage three of the ACT government’s Molonglo Valley urban development, located behind the National Arboretum, is expected to house about 27,000 people over 800 hectares………


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

The toll of AREVA’s uranium mining on a forgotten village in Niger

A forgotten community  The little town in Niger keeping the lights on in France, Beyond Nuclear By Lucas Destrijcker & Mahadi Diouara, 1 July 18 
Reprinted with kind permission from African Arguments

Welcome to Arlit, the impoverished uranium capital of Africa.

From Niamey, the capital of the landlocked West African nation of Niger, we call ahead to a desert town in the remote north of the country.

“Journalists? On their way here? It’s been a while”, we hear down the phone from our contact. “We welcome you with open arms, but only on the pretence that you’re visiting to interview migrants on their way to Algeria. If they find out you’re poking your nose in their business, it’s a lost cause.”

That same evening, the public bus jolts as it sets off. Destination: the gates of the Sahara.

The stuffy subtropical heat gradually fades into scorching drought and plains of seemingly endless ochre sands. About two days later, we pass through a gateway with “Arlit” written on it in rusty letters.

The town of about 120,000 inhabitants is located in one of the Sahel’s most remote regions, not far from the Algerian border. The surrounding area is known to be the operating territory of numerous bandits and armed groups, including Islamist militants. It is like an island in the middle of the desert, an artificial oasis with only one raison d’être: uranium……… Continue reading

July 2, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

The British campaigners who shed light on deadly nuclear fuel reprocessing

Children were dying. They took action 

The British campaigners who shed light on deadly nuclear fuel reprocessing, By Linda Pentz Gunter , 1 July 18 

The road winds steeply up through bucolic countryside, some of the most spectacular in Britain. There are sheep bleating in the distant meadows. Then suddenly, you are out on the fell, stripped almost barren, black, empty. But still there are sheep, their wool the same smoky color as the landscape, dotted like the rocks that are scattered across these bleak tops, the hallmark of the storied Lake District. Then down we go again, past a stone-walled pub, up another hill, and we are pulling up in front of a whitewashed cottage straight from a Beatrix Potter film.

And indeed, that is where we are — in Potter country — about as far removed in atmosphere and idyll as it is possible to be from the ugly, industrial, and deadly blight that sits just a few miles away on the Cumbria shore. That would be the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing facility, which spews radioactive waste into the sea, pumps it into the air, and has accumulated 140 tonnes of plutonium to absolutely no purpose.

A sheepdog runs out to greet us. A pair of elderly cats languish contentedly on a warm stone wall, basking in some late afternoon sunshine. Later, we are introduced to a small flock of Herdwick sheep who are “pets,” and a flock of pigeons, of which more later.

The people who live in the house are Janine Allis-Smith and Martin Forwood, the heart of the aptly named small activist group CORE — Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment. They have dedicated more than three decades to challenging the continued operation of Sellafield and calling out the harm it has caused. 

Martin and Janine, partners in life as well as activism, embody the longstanding and tenacious anti-nuclear fight in Cumbria, the most nuclear county in the United Kingdom. Without their watchdog vigilance and their educational advocacy, far less would be known about the dangers posed by the British nuclear industry, and particularly by the Sellafield reprocessing and nuclear waste site.

Martin and Janine have been at the heart of the struggle against the Sellafield operations since the mid-1980s. They have exposed the facility’s clandestine activities, especially emissions of radioactive wastes into the environment. For Janine, formerly from the Netherlands, this hit home especially hard when her own son was diagnosed with leukemia in 1983. He survived, but as Janine began to look into the issue, she found far too many other instances of childhood leukemias among children living close to Sellafield, many fatal.

The pair began to suspect that radioactive discharges from Sellafield were contaminating local beaches and tide pools where children loved to play. And, as Allis-Smith, recounted, “it was not just leukemia, but other cancers. Some were stillborn, while other suffered unexplained deaths at a very young age.”

This launched Janine and Martin on a relentless campaign to expose the on-going violations at the Sellafield site where radioactive discharges have made the Irish Sea one of the most radioactively contaminated bodies of water in the world. In 2017, CORE released a damning report which showed how, “during the 1995-2013 period, the radioactive discharges to the marine environment from Sellafield’s reprocessing facilities B205 (magnox) and THORP (oxide) have dominated those from all other UK facilities and are recognized as being the major contributor to the levels of radioactive substances recorded in the Irish Sea and wider oceans.”

Both Martin and Janine were new to the issue when they began their work. But they quickly educated themselves, then others. They perfected an ideal and complementary presentation style — with Martin offering a simple, lay explanation of reprocessing itself, then Janine describing its impact, especially on the health of children. They quickly moved hearts and minds in equal measure. Politicians, the media, and the public at large were forced to take notice.

Over the years, the pair have collected numerous mud samples from local beaches and estuaries that have been analyzed for radioactive contamination, confirming their suspicions.

The pair uncovered scandals involving illegal activities at the Sellafield site. They fought the THORP reprocessing plant, due to close permanently in 2018; the rash decision to develop a MOX fuel manufacturing plant, which closed after just 10 years of operation; and the global transport of radioactive materials.

In 1990 Martin gave his first guided “Alternative Sellafield Tour”, highlighting the spots where the reprocessing plant endangers the environment.

More recently, the pair were part of a successful effort to prevent the Nuclear Waste Agency NIREX from building a subterranean depository for British and international nuclear waste at the edge of the Lake District National Park.

Currently, they are at the forefront of the fight to block new nuclear power plants planned for Moorside adjacent to Sellafield. Their landmark 2015 report, “Moorside Build & Job Projections – All Spin and No Substance,” has proven an essential tool for the broad opposition to this deadly scheme.

The couple are not without a sense of fun either. In 2005, Martin made and delivered a radioactive “Pizza Cumbriana” to the Italian Embassy in London — Italy was shipping radioactive waste to Sellafield for reprocessing at the time. The box was marked “Best before 26005”, a reference to plutonium 239, which has a half-life of 24,400 years. The pizza was immediately seized by the Environment Agency, stored, then buried eight years later at the Drigg nuclear waste dump in Cumbria, adjacent to the Sellafield site.

Also buried as radioactive waste was the garden of two elderly ladies living along the sea front in the drab town of Seascale adjacent to the Sellafield plant. The sisters had devotedly fed flocks of pigeons who visited their garden — birds that also roosted on the Sellafiled roofs. After the guesthouse next door complained about excessive bird poop and called for the birds’ removal, the entire garden had to be excavated down to several feet and hauled away as radioactive waste. Martin and Janine took in a few of those pigeons. Their descendants still live with them today and appear each morning and evening on the garage roof for feeding time.

Last year, Forwood and Allis-Smith received some long-overdue recognition for their commitment to a safer, cleaner, greener environment when they received the Nuclear-Free Future Award in the category of Education, a prize that carries a $10,000 cheque, a rare and much needed boon in a movement largely deprived of meaningful or consistent funding. (Disclaimer, I nominated them for the award.)

The couple were unable to attend the ceremony, but wrote in a press release: “We are honoured to have received NFFA’s Education Award for 2017 and humbled to be joining the list of diverse and distinguished winners of the past. Since the 1980s, when Sellafield was preparing to double its commercial reprocessing activities, we have focused not only on acting locally but also being the ‘eyes and ears’ for the many interested parties world-wide on Sellafield and its many detriments which include site accidents, environmental contamination, health risks, plutonium stockpiles and nuclear transports.

“With decades of uniquely difficult decommissioning yet to come, and with plans for new-build at Moorside, we still have much to do and will face the challenges with the same determination that has seen us through the many highs and lows experienced over the last thirty years in our campaign against an industry we believe still has much to answer for.” (You can view their full acceptance remarks in the video higher up in this article.)

This article was adapted from its original publication in The Ecologist.


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