Australian news, and some related international items

Woomera the suitable site for a nuclear waste dump – Senator Rex Patrick

Woomera must be considered fWor radioactive waste facility, Senator Rex Patrick says Erin Jones, Regional Editor, The AdvertiserNovember 28, 2018  Renewed calls have been made for Woomera to be considered as the site for the national nuclear waste repository to end the divide in two South Australian country towns.

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick said the 122,000sq km Woomera Prohibited Area should be revisited after a freedom of information document showed the reasons why it was rejected were “shallow”.

His calls come as Kimba and Hawker remain in limbo as to whether they will be chosen to host the low-level waste facility, with community ballots delayed until early next year.

We have a divided community in both Hawker and Kimba and there is a site that may well be very suitable but has been dismissed on very shallow grounds,” Senator Patrick said

We need to revisit the defence site properly.”

Renewed calls have been made for Woomera to be considered as the site for the national nuclear waste repository to end the divide in two South Australian country towns.

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick said the 122,000sq km Woomera Prohibited Area should be revisited after a freedom of information document showed the reasons why it was rejected were “shallow”.

His calls come as Kimba and Hawker remain in limbo as to whether they will be chosen to host the low-level waste facility, with community ballots delayed until early next year.

We have a divided community in both Hawker and Kimba and there is a site that may well be very suitable but has been dismissed on very shallow grounds,” Senator Patrick said.

We need to revisit the defence site properly.”

Woomera was one of four defence sites in SA to be identified by the Federal Government that met suitability criteria for the repository.

The Defence Department, in 2016, said it did not support the facility at Woomera as it was “incompatible” with its weapons testing range and missile launch site.

However, a 2002 Education, Training and Science Department report found the site would be a preferred location, in part because both low and intermediate-level radioactive waste had been stored there since 1994-95 without incident. This includes the CSIRO storing 10,000 drums of waste at the site.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan told The Advertiser the site was unsuitable due to defence operations. He said waste at the site must be moved outside of the controlled defence area.

Woomera was identified by the Howard Government as the potential repository site in 1998, but was shelved following backlash from the Rann Government.


November 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Community excluded from Australia’s nuclear waste dump Community Consultation

Katrina Bohr No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia
29 Nov 18

After a few of us attempted to enter the closed and impenetrable BCC meeting on Tuesday in Quorn, we were left with some guidelines.
‘There will be an opportunity to attend one of the other meetings coming up’
The transcript from this meeting will be available on line.
Why all the community exclusion now, Ian Carter?

Kazzi Jai This is NOT COMMUNITY CONSULTATION! This is the manipulation of a system of committee, whereby the commercial outcome is dependent on confidentiality. This is NOT the purpose of this committee in this case! This is simply the APPEARANCE of community consultation, where there is in fact NONE!
More boxes ticked on their Government to-do list….that’s all!

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Was Woomera rejected as nuclear dump site, because the plan is to later IMPORT NUCLEAR WASTE?

Tim Bickmore , No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 29 Nov 18 Freedom Of Information  released 30 October 2018 to Senator Rex Patrick:

“Defence has a significant holding of radioactive waste awaiting disposal, for which it is legally bound to arrange final disposal under the terms of the ARPANS Act. It is therefore our policy to support the Government’s initiatives in developing a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in a suitable location. The siting of RWSF outside the Woomera Protected Area would have no compatibility impact on Woomers Test Range activities and is therefore actively supported. Defence is already assisting DIIS, ARPANSA and ANSTO, as a member of the Radioactive Waste Management Inter-Departmental Committee, to drive the development of the National Radioactive Waste Management facility”

Director, Defence Radiation Safety and Environment…/2ed7ca…/AAB6UaL6iCMWFH2dzwv2q4VBa…

Katrina Bohr 1,000 known drums of radioactive waste currently stored at Woomera came to public notice in early 2016. They were graded by ARPANSA and classed as low to intermediate nuclear waste. Earlier this year the 1,000 drums were all classed as low level waste. Sounds like a result to suit purpose. I personally don’t trust anyone involved in the development of the NRWMF.
Steve Dale  “The siting of RWSF outside the Woomera Protected Area would have no compatibility impact on Woomera Test Range activities …” that statement doesn’t say it can’t be in the Woomera area, it is a pretty mild statement, yet the nuclear pushers twist it into being “it must not be in the Woomera area!”. 

This increases my suspicion that they want a location near our gulf/ports/rail so they can expand it into their dream of an International Nuclear waste business.

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

Western Australia’s uranium promise: 10 years later it’s a complete flop

November 29, 2018 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Water-guzzling nuclear reactors should have no place in a global warming world

For nuclear plants, that warning is particularly grave.  Reactors require 720 gallons of water per megawatt-hour of electricity they produce……Solar plants, by contrast, use approximately 20 gallons per megawatt-hour, mostly for cleaning equipment

Trump Administration’s Climate Report Raises New Questions About Nuclear Energy’s Future
The thirstiest source of electricity is already struggling, and greater risk of droughts will only add to those woes. Huffington Post.
By Alexander C. Kaufman, 28 Nov 18, 

Call it the nuclear power industry’s thirst trap. Continue reading

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

Yes, Prime Minister, I’m striking from school: consider it a climate lesson

  Canberra Times, By Veronica Hester 29 November 2018 I am Veronica, 15 years old, from Scott Morrison’s electorate. Despite our Prime Minister’s calls for students not to strike from school on Friday, we’re choosing to no longer be powerless. We will be striking with thousands of other students, to show we will not stand for our government’s inaction on climate change………
In school, we have seen the raw truth of climate change: videos of our dead and dying Great Barrier Reef, increasingly shocking statistics, forecasts of a worrying future.

Seeing this, we students do not shout at each other across the classroom. We sit in a shocked silence. Afterwards, we shout, with our signs and our demands. Because how can an educated person know all we know, and do nothing?

Mr Morrison and his government continue to overlook the danger of climate change, while not seeming to have a problem helping coal miners such as Adani dig up and burn more coal. It’s surreal to watch nothing significant happening on the parliamentary floor, when the solutions have been made so clear. We are one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, yet our government chooses to burn more coal.

When Mr Morrison refuses to implement a climate policy that keeps fossil fuels in the ground and transition to 100 per cent renewable energy, he isn’t representing us, our community, or the majority of Australians who want urgent climate action.

Tackling climate change isn’t just about looking out for our young people. We’ll all live with extreme heat and changing weather patterns, not to mention the sense of helplessness in losing our natural world.

By making a stand and organising our communities, we can push our politicians to represent us, not lumps of coal…….That is all we want – for a serious problem to be treated seriously by our politicians. We need the fire of climate change to be confronted, not left to engulf my generation.

Veronica Hester is a school student from the Sutherland Shire.

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

Queensland experiencing fires of unprecedented fury, similar to California’s wildfires


Qld fires compared to deadly US blazes    The Queensland fires have been compared to the infernos that recently decimated California. News, Staff reporters, Australian Associated Press, NOVEMBER 28, 2018

Almost 10,000 Queenslanders are being forced to flee to shelter as wildfires fanned by catastrophic conditions bear down on their communities.

Firefighters in Queensland are battling almost 140 wildfires, with the worst in central Queensland in destructive conditions that have been compared to those that fanned the infernos that recently decimated California.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered and 37 schools closed amid a new blaze near Rockhampton and monster one farther south that’s already razed at least four homes and scorched tens of thousands of hectares of bush and farmland.

A large fire sparked shortly before 3pm on Wednesday has since raced towards Gracemere, prompting authorities to order a mandatory complete evacuation of the 8000 people in the area.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart told people not to panic but make for the Rockhampton showgrounds around 14km away, where an evacuation centre has been set up.

……..Firefighters have been fighting since Saturday the monster fire near Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek, Eungella and Dalrymple Heights, where people were ordered to evacuate before fires cut road.

Most people got out by road but some had to be ferried over Baffle Creek.

……….Deputy Police Commissioner Bob Gee had bluntly warned people that the conditions were so dangerous people could die if they stayed put.

“People will burn to death. Their normal approaches probably won’t work if this situation develops the way it is predicted to develop. It is no different to a Category 5 cyclone coming through your door.”

Brian Smith, Regional Manager for the Rural Fire Services Central Region, said experts were comparing the conditions in Deepwater to the Waroona fires in Western Australia, which completely wiped out a town a few years ago, and also to the recent deadly California fires.

Interstate crews arrived on Tuesday to help fight the inferno in Deepwater that’s destroyed homes and burnt through at tens of thousands of hectares of bush and farmland since Saturday.

Crews from South Australia are expected to arrive on Wednesday, with more from around Australia to arrive later this week.


November 29, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Manipulations and machinations of UK, USA, Ecuador (?Australia) against Julian Assange

U.K. and Ecuador Conspire to Deliver Julian Assange to U.S. Authorities 

Gareth Porter  28 Nov 18 The accidental revelation in mid-November that U.S. federal prosecutors had secretly filed charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange underlines the determination of the Trump administration to end Assange’s asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been staying since 2012.

Behind the revelation of those secret charges for supposedly threatening U.S. national security is a murky story of a political ploy by the Ecuadorian and British governments to create a phony rationale for ousting Assange from the embassy. The two regimes agreed to base their plan on the claim that Assange was conspiring to flee to Russia. Continue reading

November 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia’s school students not impressed with PM Scott Morrison’s criticism of their climate change activism

Students hit back at PM after ‘less activism in schools’ climate change comment, SBS,  28 Nov 18 Hundreds of students are planning to leave school this Friday to protest government inaction on climate change. There’s a storm brewing between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and school students planning a national strike on climate change inaction this Friday.

Hundreds of students are vowing to put the books away and converge on MP offices and parliaments around the country in the Big School Walk Out for Climate Action.

On Monday, Mr Morrison implored children to stay in class rather than protesting things that “can be dealt with outside of school”.

What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools,” he said.

But students aren’t happy with the response.

Melbourne student Jagveer Singh, who will take part in the protest, said Mr Morrison’s broadside made him “want to go on strike even more”. [We want to] demonstrate that we’re not happy with the federal government for not listening to us and demand that we get a safe climate,” he said.

“It’s our future. We are the ones that will be facing the consequences of the decisions that are made today, and that is why we need to have a say.

“The time that they’re using to debate this issue is time that’s being wasted … We need to act on this.” …….

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

Western Australia’s “uranium bonanza” just not happening

WA’s uranium promises fail to appear, Midwest Times, Dave Sweeney, 21 Nov 18 Ten years ago this week then premier Colin Barnett ended Western Australia’s long-standing ban on uranium mining.

Industry promoters boasted of a new mining sector that would be “iron ore on steroids” and the speculation and exploration began in earnest.

In the intervening decade widespread community concern and resistance, combined with a depressed commodity price and a growing appetite for renewable energy, has seen the uranium dream fade.

Today there is not one commercial or fully approved uranium mine despite years of promotion and preferential treatment, and the few projects that continue to seek approval are strongly contested.

This is good news for WA and beyond as uranium is a mineral with unique properties and risks that cause local damage and fuel global risk.

Thanks to those who have helped keep the brakes on this contaminating trade and who have a perspective that lasts longer than a politician’s promise.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

A nuclear kingdom for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MbS)?

The Crown Prince May Build Himself a Nuclear Kingdom The Trump administration should keep a close eye on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear connections and activities. by Ronen Dangoor, 28 Nov 18

The horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi shed light on the reckless and dangerous decisionmaking process of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MbS). In addition to the latest crisis The New York Times recently published a story about how the prince’s closest security personnel sought to hire private foreign companies to assassinate senior Iranian officials—an act that could have trigger a regional military conflict. This conduct follows a string of other bizarre events in the last few months, initiated by MbS.

The crown prince has demonstrated arrogant, cruel, amateur and capricious behavior. His aggression has been left almost unmonitored by checks and balances inside the Saudi hierarchy. Indeed, MbS has constrained all his potential rivals and has taken full controlof Saudi Arabia’s security and intelligence bodies. As the Khashoggi scandal has proven—such power enables dictators to secretly execute dangerous operations. In parallel, he managed to become the darling of the West after he initiated economic reforms and launched his so called modern 2030 vision .

Now add Saudi’s long history of nuclear ambitions to the mix. For years, Saudi officials have warned that Saudi Arabia will not curb its nuclear ambitions if it will sense a threat to its national security, or if Iran advances in its nuclear program. Rumors were that Pakistan was obliged to provide the Saudis a ready-for-use nuclear weapon if and when the time comes. Things only got more complicated once the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) with Iran was signed in 2015, practically legitimizing Iran’s rights to maintain and develop its uranium enrichment capabilities. At the beginning of November 2018, the crown prince participated in the opening ceremony marking the launch of construction of Riyadh’s first research reactor . It’s still early days and only a symbolic act—the Saudis lack knowhow, technicians, infrastructure and academic expertise—but the country has both enough ambition and funds to advance anyway. Shortly after that the Saudi energy minister said the kingdom launches uranium exploration program.

Over the last decade, purchasing sixteen nuclear power reactors—later scaled back to two reactors—plus uranium enrichment capabilities preferably from the United States, has featured prominently on the Saudi agenda. The official rationale is the country’s future needs to supply energy —with self-sufficient nuclear materials. While having enrichment capabilities can serve to counterbalance Iran, it may also constitute a future military nuclear program. During previous negotiations with Saudi officials, the Obama administration insisted that Saudi Arabia must comply with the “ gold standard ,” reflective of the conditions imposed on the UAE when it agreed to buy U.S. reactors in 2009. This standard requires a commitment not to enrich uranium or to produce plutonium as a strict condition for any agreement to sell nuclear reactors. According to current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration has maintained this policy . In an interview with CBS in March 2018, MbS maintained that “without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we would follow suit as soon as possible.”

Following the murder of Khashoggi, Senate members urged the Trump administration to curb any intention to sell nuclear reactors to the Saudi regime. This move is certainly necessary, but not nearly enough. An American refusal to his demands can push the prince to seek an alternative option elsewhere, with producers that will be all too happy to assist—for the right price.

Much of MbS’s current conduct lies parallel to previous experience with three other Middle East tyrants: former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Libya’s leader Muammar el-Qaddafi, and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. These cynical dictators have a common denominator in their infinite ambitions, which ultimately led them to secretly promote a nuclear weapons program. They all relied heavily on their security systems in initiating these plans. Libya and Syria had no sufficient nuclear infrastructure, so they bought a turnkey nuclear project from Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan Network, and in the Syrian case from North Korea .

The Saudi nuclear issue has placed a challenge before the administration. If the prince is successful in surviving the current crisis, then that could prompt him to make even riskier decisions, including taking the nuclear path. Much like in Iraq, Libya and Syria, all the necessary components for that are now in place: A de facto dictator with delusions of grandeur and poor judgment, full control over the security services, unlimited funds for the purpose, a national sense of isolation, an acute threat, and a long-term nuclear vision. As Iran seems to be complying with the JCPOA, a Saudi move could instigate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. To avoid this, the Trump administration should warn and restrict the Saudi heir. It should also keep a very close eye on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear connections and activities.

Ronen Dangoor is the former deputy head of the research and analysis division at the Israeli prime minister’s office.


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


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


November 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium | Leave a comment

France to close 14 nuclear reactors by 2035 and all coal-fired power plants by 2022

The Local   28 Nov 18 President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that France would shut down 14 of the country’s 58 nuclear reactors currently in operation by 2035, of which between four and six will be closed by 2030.

The total includes the previously announced shutdown of France’s two oldest reactors in Fessenheim, eastern France, which Macron said was now set for summer 2020.

He also announced that France would close its remaining four coal-fired power plants by 2022 as part of the country’s anti-pollution efforts……

Macron said France would aim to triple its wind power electricity output by 2030, and increase solar energy output fivefold in that period.

He added that he would ask French electricity giant EDF to study the feasibility of more next-generation EPR nuclear reactors, but will wait until
2021 before deciding whether to proceed with construction.

EDF has been building the first EPR reactor at Flamanville along the Atlantic coast of northwest France — originally set to go online in 2012 — but the project has been plagued by technical problems and budget overruns.

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

Revisiting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

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