Australian news, and some related international items

Extracts from today’s Webinar about Managing Australia’s Nuclear Wastes

transcribed by Noel Wauchope 10 August 18 

Dr Margarert Beavis : –

“Less than 1% of the total wastes of the nuclear reactor comes from medical use… For Intermediate Level Waste, (ILW) ARPANSA says repeatedly that there is no urgency for a news interim waste facility.  Internationally,  ILW is stored near reactors….

ANSTO is expanding nuclear activities, which will mean massive increases in wastes.

Information about nuclear medicine has been over-blown. It’s very clear that nuclear medicine will continue regardless of the dump”

Cyclotrons are the  fastest growing area of producing nuclear medicine. Canada and UK are phasing in cyclotrons. ANSTO’s massive reactor plans mean not only more ILW, but also massive costs. Selling nuclear medicine gets back only 10% of the costs of managing the wastes”

“for informed consent, people need excellent information. Tours offered to ANSTO, not to Woomera. People told by Bruce Wilson “this site will not leak”

Scott Ludlam

“The argument “that ILW has to be moved – that is contestable.  If it is perfectly safe,as claimed, why the push for moving it far away?  We should not have the process for an interim site before having the process for permanent disposal. Is it a case of ‘out of sight out of mind’ “

“What’s the definition of ‘Broad Community Support’ ? What will you do if both communities (general and indigenous) are not broadly supportive?

The material will be dangerous for 10,000 years. On a politicaland electoral basis- we do have time. You are not letting medicine down if you think that this interim waste dump is not an appropriate thing to do.

Jim Green. –

Reminds about the “-overarching legislation- allows Federal government to override local communities and State governments. Overrides legislation on Aboriginal rights. There’s a need to remove undemocratic aspects of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act” (Bruce Wilson then criticises Jim Green’s ‘very emotive language’)

“About the operation of the facility. It will not be operating all of the time. There will be several dozen jobs over the first 3 or 4 years. .. Wates volume – one truckload every 10 weeks. For 90% of the time, workers would be doing nothing. The fcaility is likley to be opened once every 3-5 years. That was the government plan – it based its estimates on facilites overseas. But they are not comparable, (much greater). At most there’s be a handful of security jobs. (Dr Adi Paterson answered this with an expansive vision of the dump being the centre of a scientific mission, and “a really cool form of tourism”)

Many traditional owners would say that they have been treated disgracefully by the Department”

Dave Sweeney.
it is incumbent on the proponent to demonstrate the need for an activity. There has been no pre-study of the net benefit. The regulator wants 2 separate licenses  – for Low Level Wastes (LLW) and Intermediate Level Wastes (ILW) There should be 2 separate debates. There should be a detailed business case –  We are told that this is an internal matter – a matter for cabinet.

You need to select the pathway (to final disposal) , including the transport route, before selecting the interim waste facility site.  We have 10,000 years lasting wastes, yet the Minister wants a decision on 20 August.  A purpose built national radioactive Waste Facility demands a higher level of scrutiny.”

“Nuclear medicine has been used as the argument, time and time again –  that people who don’t support the nuclear waste dump are not supportive of nuclear medicine”

Sweeney spoke of the”power imbalance” “hard for Aborigines,  for a farmer working 12 hours on a header – to go against detailed information from the State.”

August 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Dave Sweeney urges Federal government to pause and consider, rather than rushing into nuclear waste dumping in Kimba

Slow down nuclear process: Sweeney, Whyalla News, Louis Mayfield 7 August 18  An environmentalist is urging the federal government to slow down their site selection process for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility as a community vote looms for Kimba and Hawker.

August 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

UN chief and Nagasaki mayor warn on need for nuclear disarmament

U.N. chief offers a warning on anniversary of last nuclear attack, CBC News, 9 August 18 TOKYO –– Nagasaki marked the anniversary of the world’s second atomic bombing Thursday with the United Nations chief and the city’s mayor urging global leaders to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the first United Nations chief to visit Nagasaki, said fears of nuclear war are still present 73 years after the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings and that the attacks should never be repeated.

He raised concerns about slowing efforts to denuclearize, saying existing nuclear states are modernizing their arsenals.

“Disarmament processes have slowed and even come to a halt,” Guterres told the audience at the Nagasaki peace park. “Here in Nagasaki, I call on all countries to commit to nuclear disarmament and to start making visible progress as a matter of urgency.” Guterres added that nuclear weapons states should take the lead. “Let us all commit to making Nagasaki the last place on Earth to suffer nuclear devastation,” he said.

More than 5,000 citizens, including Nagasaki atom bomb survivors, and representatives of about 70 countries remembered the victims as they observed a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m., the moment the plutonium bomb Fatman hit the city……..

Guterres said the peace and nuclear disarmament movement started by survivors of the atomic bombings has spread around the world but frustration over the slow progress led to last year’s adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Japan, despite being the only country in the world to have suffered nuclear attacks, has not signed the treaty because of its sensitive position as an American ally protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella…….


August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Says No To Nuclear Ports In South Australia 

MUA Says No To Nuclear Ports In South Australia 8 Aug 18

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is continuing its long-running stance against the shipping of any nuclear material in or out of South Australia.

The Turnbull Government has shortlisted three sites in South Australia that could be used to permanently hold low-level nuclear waste and temporarily store intermediate-level waste.

Two of these sites are at Kimba, on the Eyre Peninsula, while a third is near Hawker, in the northern Flinders Ranges.

Whyalla, Port Lincoln and Port Pirie were named as potential nuclear waste ports in three “Site Characterisation, Technical Reports” released by the Federal Department of Industry in July.

MUA South Australian Branch Secretary Jamie Newlyn said MUA members are long time opponents of Nuclear Waste Storage in Australia and led the charge against the former SA Government’s International Waste Dump Royal Commission and consequent citizens’ jury.

“The Turnbull Government’s recent declaration that sites in Kimba and Flinders Ranges could be used to store intermediate-level nuclear waste is incredibly concerning,” Newlyn said.

“The MUA is further alarmed that the Federal Department of Industry has identified Whyalla and Port Pirie – where our members currently work – as potential ports to unload this toxic and unsafe material.

“The MUA, along with the mayors of Port Pirie and Whyalla, have been blindsided by this announcement yet the safety of port workers and the communities through which this hazardous material is transported is critical.

A postal ballot will begin in Kimba and Hawker on August 20 to determine public support.

Federal Minister for Resources Matt Canavan has said the facility would need “broad community support” to go ahead, noting that he will take into account the views of neighbouring landholders and the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA).

Before the ballot, a Senate inquiry into the site selection process, which includes the impact a community benefits program is having on support, will hand down its findings.

“The Turnbull Government is dividing communities, dividing families and dividing friendships over this decision and are trying to ruin the fabric of these country areas,” Newlyn said.

“The MUA will be discussing this with our members in the region to explain the dangers and we are confident that our decisions will again be on the right side of history.

“The MUA is well-known for taking a strong stand against South Africa’s apartheid regime, supporting Indonesian independence, demonstrating against the Vietnam War and refusing to load pig iron to Japan in the lead-up to World War II.”

August 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Whyalla’s port could be used to receive and ship nuclear waste to and from a waste management facility

NUCLEAR TRANSPORT, Whyalla News (print edition, 9 Aug 18 ) Whyalla’s port could be used to receive and ship nuclear waste to and from a waste management facility, according to a report by the Federal Industry Department (DIIS).

But the federal government, who have plans to establish a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) in Kimba or Hawker, have poured cold water on the idea.

Whyalla, Port Lincoln and Port Pirie were named as potential nuclear waste ports in three “Site Characterisation, Technical Reports” released by the Federal Industry Department (DIIS) in July.

A shipment of nuclear waste is due from Sellafield in UK and a shipment out of Port Kembla is planned from the ANSTO Lucas Heights reactor of nuclear waste received from France in 2015.

“There is potential to have waste shipped from Port Kembla, NSW to key port locations such as Whyalla, Port Pirie and Port Lincoln,” say DIIS in their site characterisation report for Lyndhurst.

“From here, waste would either be shipped via road or rail to the waste facility location. This may be necessary for the transportation of TN81 containers.”

But Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey there wouldn’t necessarily be enough waste to be shipped via sea.

“Any discussions about use of ports are only possible options,” he said.,

Friends of the Earth environmentalist David Noonan believes the federal government could face ‘serious obstacles’ to secure the use of a port to move nuclear waste.

“These targeted port communities are denied a say in Minister Canavan’s pending decision on siting a Federal dump in South Australia,” he said.

“They haven’t been consulted on use of their ports, and are excluded from ‘votes’ in the Hawker and Kimba districts between August and September on whether or not to locate a NRWMF in those areas.

Mr Noonan claimed that the federal government had been targeting ports to transport nuclear waste in South Australia for over two years.

Mr Ramsey said there had been no decision to locate the facility in South Australia so far.

“Two communities are to vote later this month as to whether they are willing to host the facility. If neither agrees there is no project,” he said.

Mayor Lyn Breuer said she would not commit to supporting the use of Whyalla’s port for transporting nuclear waste until the council received a guarantee it would be safe.

“While I don’t think it would have any significant environmental impact on our community barring an accident, this would require significant community consultation,” she said.

“In the past Whyalla has opposed any nuclear or radioactive shipping in this region.”

August 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Kimba nuclear waste dump proposal is in breach of International Atomic Agency Safety Guide



2.22 In the classification scheme set out in this Safety Guide, low level waste is waste that is suitable for NEAR SURFACE DISPOSAL. This is a disposal option suitable for waste that contains such an amount of radioactive material that robust containment and isolation for limited periods of time up to a FEW HUNDRED YEARS are required.

This requirement is pretty much copied into the ARPANSA Guide under the heading of LOW LEVEL WASTE (LLW) at page 13 in Section 3.2


2.28 Intermediate level waste is defined as waste that contains long lived radionuclides in quantities that need a greater degree of containment and isolation from the biosphere than is provided by NEAR SURFACE DISPOSAL. Disposal in a facility at a depth of between a FEW TENS AND A FEW HUNDREDS OF METRES is indicated for ILW.

Again practically the same description is given on page 15 of ARPANSA Guide under the heading of INTERMEDIATE LEVEL WASTE.

As both IAEA and ARPANSA clearly say BOTH LLW and ILW has to be “near surface disposal” and certainly not above ground as proposed by the Department on behalf of the federal government.

The IAEA promotes adherence to and implementation of international legal instruments on nuclear safety adopted under its auspices.

August 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Julian Assange should be assured of immunity before taking risk of testifying to Senate

Assange should secure immunity before taking risk of testifying to Senate – whistleblower    Kiriakou

August 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

The huge water cost of nuclear power plants


The hidden water footprint of fossil fuel and nuclear power  plants You probably have no idea just how much water is needed to produce electricity Quartz, By Akshat Rathi, August 9, 2018  “…. The trouble is that thermal electricity generation—a category that includes coal, natural gas, and nuclear power—doesn’t just require fuel, but also water. And a lot of it. Continue reading

August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

WalkatjurraWalkabout epic anti-uranium protest walk

Walkers Raisley (accessed) 8th Aug 2018 Walkatjurra Walkabout is an epic one-month protest walk in the remote desert of the WA Goldfields, covering over 250 kilometers against uranium mining.
The walkers will visit the proposed Wiluna and Yeelirrie uranium projects
before walking into the Leonora community in solidarity and support of
Traditional Owners who have stopped uranium mining on their country for
over 40 years.

August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Opinion divided on proposed nuclear dump for South Australia   10 August 2018   (view full episode)

The process has divided the town of Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula, which has two potential sites, and Hawker in the northern Flinders Ranges.

This afternoon, residents of those towns will gather round their screens to watch an online discussion canvassing both sides of the debate.

Barb Walker No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia Interesting to note in Fran’s closing comment, “communities get to make the final decision”. …and they wonder why people get confused when RN can’t even get it right. A few weeks ago we were told by government officials, the vote will be a gauge of community sentiment and the minister will have the final say.

How much is community sentiment 51%…65%….75%??? At a community meeting the minister and other government officials refused to tell us what percentage for the YES or NO vote will be broad community support.
If there is no line in the sand how do we know what their version of broad community support is?
Get ready to have the goal posts moved again people!  

August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear reactors can produce material for nuclear weapons

The half-lives of the protactinium isotopes work in the favor of potential proliferators. Because protactinium 232 decays faster than protactinium 233, the isotopic purity of protactinium 233 increases as time passes. If it is separated from its uranium decay products a second time, this protactinium will decay to equally pure uranium 233 over the next few months. With careful attention to the relevant radiochemistry, separation of protactinium from the uranium in spent thorium fuel has the potential to generate uranium 233 with very low concentrations of uranium 232—a product suitable for making nuclear weapons. 

Thorium power has a protactinium problem By Eva C. Uribe, August 6, 2018  In 1980, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) observed that protactinium, a chemical element generated in thorium reactors, could be separated and allowed to decay to isotopically pure uranium 233—suitable material for making nuclear weapons. The IAEA report, titled “Advanced Fuel Cycle and Reactor Concepts,” concluded that the proliferation resistance of thorium fuel cycles “would be equivalent to” the uranium/plutonium fuel cycles of conventional civilian nuclear reactors, assuming both included spent fuel reprocessing to isolate fissile material.

Decades later, the story changed. “Th[orium]-based fuels and fuel cycles have intrinsic proliferation resistance,” according to the IAEA in 2005. Mainstream media have repeated this view ever since, often without caveat. Several scholars have recognized the inherent proliferation risk of protactinium separations in the thorium fuel cycle, but the perception that thorium reactors cannot be used to make weapons persists. While technology has advanced, the fundamental radiochemistry that governs nuclear fuel reprocessing remains unchanged. Thus, this shift in perspective is puzzling and reflects a failure to recognize the importance of protactinium radiochemistry in thorium fuel cycles.  Continue reading

August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Will Holtec nuclear waste cans be safe long after Holtec ceases to exist ?

Holtec and SNC-Lavalin presumably make money if the decommissioning can be done for less than $1 billion. What the public and the regulators need to watch now is how well it is done — no cutting corners, no substandard materials, no shoddy work. We need to know that the oceanfront site in Plymouth will be safe for generations to come with no health risk to people in Southeastern Massachusetts. If that isn’t the case when Holtec leaves, it is taxpayers who will have to pick up the tab to make things right. We don’t want that to happen.

OUR OPINION: Keep a watchful eye on decommissioning of Plymouth nuclear plant Metro West Daily News 9 Aug 18

First the good news: In 10 years, the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth could be gone.

Now the bad news: Well, there really isn’t any, if everything goes exactly as planned and if someplace in New Mexico decides it wants to house some of the nation’s most incredibly dangerous nuclear leftovers.

Those are pretty big ifs, as is everything about decommissioning a nuclear power plant. And it is a very long shot that there won’t be 60 or so big tanks sitting upright on the plant site in 2028. They will be filled with rods containing the spent nuclear fuel that powered the plant. That spent fuel will be intensely radioactive for many thousands of years.

………. Entergy announced last week (Wednesday, Aug. 1) that it was selling Pilgrim to Holtec International of Florida. Continue reading

August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nagasaki Hibakusha pass on experiences through traditional story-telling — Beyond Nuclear International

Pair want to see an end to nuclear power as well as nuclear weapons

via Nagasaki Hibakusha pass on experiences through traditional story-telling — Beyond Nuclear International

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Immediate Objections To Nuclear Bombing Of Hiroshima-Nagasaki By Respected US Public Figures — Mining Awareness +

Originally posted on Mining Awareness + : From History News Service July 29, 1998: “Second-Guessing Hiroshima? By Leo Maley III and Uday Mohan Second-guessing the necessity and morality of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 53 years ago is nothing new. Contrary to widely held opinion, the first critics of America’s use of atomic weapons were…

via Immediate Objections To Nuclear Bombing Of Hiroshima-Nagasaki By Respected US Public Figures — Mining Awareness +

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victoria withholds support on NEG – says it “needs more work” — RenewEconomy

State energy minister says Victoria and “other jurisdictions” have held off on approval of the NEG prior to its “uncertain passage” through the Coalition party room.

via Victoria withholds support on NEG – says it “needs more work” — RenewEconomy

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment