Australian news, and some related international items

Conservation Council of Western Australia stresses importance of submissions to strengthen environmental protection


K-A Garlick   Nuclear Free WA Campaigner, 10 Apr  20, The webinar, Yeelirrie – A Case for Environmental Law Reform was a great success, with a wealth of information from our four stellar speakers, on the urgent need for improved environmental laws using Yeelirrie as a case study for environmental law reform. We reviewed the Yelirrie uranium mine assessment process and how we can improve the agility in the Commonwealth environment department to identify and classify threatened and endangered species.

If you missed the webinar or would like to see the highlights again ~ click here for some great information to help you form your submission to the EPBC Act review.

Keynotes from the webinar, include;

  • The importance of retaining the prohibition of nuclear power and the retention of uranium exploration and mining and the inclusion of nuclear actions as a matter of national environmental significance (MNES) under the EPBC Act,
  • Environmental protection laws should protect against the extinction of species,
  • Opportunity to introduce a merits review in a reformed EPBC Act as an independent, expert court or tribunal to ensure worlds best practice for community participation, accountability and environmental protection,
  • We need an independent authority to administer the EPBC Act,
  • We need increased open and transparent assessment processes, and
  • We need a national EPA as there is no equivalent body at the federal level. A national EPA could undertake independent and technically expert assessments of projects, ensuring that the scientific evidence is put into focus.

The push for the nuclear industry and the Minerals Council of Australia to remove the prohibition on nuclear power and to remove the trigger for uranium mining is a serious push and real threat.

To retain these parts of the EPBC Act we encourage you to write a submission.

The new dont-nuke-the-climate website is a great tool to help you understand the nuclear issues and threat. There is a really useful nuclear ban page, to support your submission writing.  

Submissions are due 17 April 2020.

Make a submission to the The Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The committee ask that you complete and submit this cover page with any submission via e-mail or post. All submissions that include this cover sheet will be considered by the review.

April 9, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Bob Phelps’ submission: There is no valid case for the planned national nuclear waste facility at Kimba

Bob Phelps, 9 Apr, 20 The federal government’s proposed changes to the National Radioactive Waste Management Act are unfair, undemocratic and dangerous.

There is no valid case on safety or security grounds for the planned national nuclear waste facility at Kimba. The necessary infrastructure, resources and expertise for nuclear operations and waste management are all located at Lucas Heights and transferring the waste component of the system to a remote location at Kimba is a recipe for disaster in the medium and long term – up to 10,000 years from now, in the case of intermediate waste. Synroc failed and there is no credible alternative disposal proposal.

The traditional owners of the land were also disrespected and excluded from the purportedly public and democratic approval process. All citizens of Australia have a stake in the successful resolution of our national nuclear waste problems yet we were not consulted either.

My objections to the proposed Bill and its proposed changes to the Act specifically  include that it would:

o compromise judicial review of the government’s site selection plans currently available
o enable unfair and undemocratic ‘consultations’ that reduce the rights and options of Barngarla Traditional Owners’ and other directly impacted parties
o render key environmental, cultural and heritage protection laws irrelevant to the decisions
o make no clear or compelling case for transferring long-lived intermediate level waste (ILW) from secure to insecure storage, at substantial additional public expense
o provide far less certainty about the final fate and long-term management of Australia’s radioactive waste
o be inconsistent with international best practice for containment, siting, transport, and temporary storage of radioactive wastes
o ignores long-standing South Australian laws that prohibit a federal radioactive waste facility

Nuclear waste containment continues to fail globally and there are no safe, secure or permanent repositories for nuclear waste anywhere. There is no justification at all for taking such wastes out of Lucas Heights, where they continue to be produced. It is also the best repository for lower level created in hospitals and other facilities nationally.

The Kimba nuclear waste dump and temporary storage, with no future plan, is a short term and fatally flawed proposal that does not serve the public interest.

I ask the Committee to reject the proposed changes to the current Act and to recommend a complete review of all nuclear waste and related operations, to best achieve robust and sustainable radioactive waste management for Australia, for the long-term future.

April 9, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

University boffins discuss the eternal problem of nuclear wastes

Amazing – still none of these scientists suggests stopping making this radioactive trash!
The problem of nuclear waste, The Naked Scientists, 07 April 2020    Interview with Claire Corkhill, University of Sheffield

Part of the show The Rise of Radioactivity

  Our issues with radioactivity though are obviously not behind us. A major headache today is how to handle and safely store nuclear waste. Here in the UK, we’ve got 650,000 cubic metres of the stuff – enough to fill Wembley Stadium – and it’ll be radioactive and dangerous for 100,000 years. ……..
Chris – So what do we do with all this stuff? We end up with these barrels of what looks like glass or concrete; that sounds fine. What do we do, just bury them?
Claire – Well, they’re currently packaged in specially-engineered containers and stored in over 20 different secure nuclear sites around the country, and most of it is at Sellafield in Cumbria. And these stores are designed to withstand extreme weather and earthquakes. But the problem that we have is that the waste is so radioactive, we can’t actually go anywhere near it. If you were to touch the outside of one of the glass waste containers, the radiation dose that you’d receive is 200,000 times more than a fatal dose of radiation. So whilst it’s okay to store the waste securely for the time being, it’s clear that we need a more permanent solution that requires less security. So remember, these wastes will be radioactive for over a hundred thousand years and they’ll be highly radioactive for several thousands of years, so we can’t just leave them in their warehouses and hope that future civilizations will know what to do with them.
 ……………………These nuclear waste materials will change over the hundred thousand years that they’ll be radioactive. And there are some different ways that this might occur. One would be corrosion, so the natural corrosion of the materials once they’re buried deep under the ground, which is their final disposal route; if they slowly corrode in groundwater they may release their radioactivity. But the other issue is, as you rightly noted, that the radioactivity inside the waste might actually cause the waste itself to break down. And you can think of this as a highly energetic particle, a bit like was described before with breaking DNA; instead of breaking DNA we’re actually breaking the intrinsic chemical bonds inside our nuclear waste material, and this will essentially cause the waste to disintegrate. And this is something that we have to understand.

Chris – So what you’re saying is, if we’ve got say something that looks like glass, because it’s spitting out all these energetic particles of radiation all the time, it’s slowly going to shatter the glass. It’s almost like shaking the glass very, very hard for hundreds of thousands of years; it’s eventually going to fall to pieces and it will no longer be any good at retaining and constraining the radioactive products inside.

Claire – Essentially yes…….

Adam – How do we design something in the future so that this stuff stays where it is, and isn’t archeologist bait, and they suddenly dig up a radioactive cube of glass?

Claire – At the present time we are thinking that we will not mark when nuclear waste is kept. It’s going to be buried deep below the ground and nobody will know it’s there. The worry about putting a marker on the surface is that it will automatically draw, humans particularly because we’re very inquisitive, to that site to find out what’s going on. …… the plan at the moment is to not mark the waste and hope that people forget about it; and that if in the future they decide to dig there, they have the technology to dig that deep – so we’re talking between 500 metres and a kilometre below the ground – and if they have that technology, then they will also have some technology to be able to detect the radiation and know that they shouldn’t go there.

April 9, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Why Australia needs to aim for at least 75% renewables by 2030 — RenewEconomy

A high renewables grid is essential for Australia to meet its share of climate goals, and help reductions in other sectors. But it needs to happen fast. The post Why Australia needs to aim for at least 75% renewables by 2030 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Why Australia needs to aim for at least 75% renewables by 2030 — RenewEconomy

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

COVID-19 First Outbreak — Viral Glass-Like Nodules in Lungs — robertscribbler

Comparison of lungs of a Wuhan patient who survived COVID-19 — image A-C — to those of a patient who suffered death from the illness — image D-F. Both image sets show the tell-tale ground glass like opacities of COVID-19 in lungs. Image source: Association of Radiologic Findings.

“The chances of a global pandemic are growing and we are all dangerously underprepared.” — World Health Organization in a September 18, 2019 statement mere months before the COVID-19 outbreak. “There’s a glaring hole in President Trump’s budget proposal for 2019, global health researchers say. A U.S. program to help other countries beef up their […]

via COVID-19 First Outbreak — Viral Glass-Like Nodules in Lungs — robertscribbler

April 9, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

April 8 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Rock Bottom: How COVID-19 Has Shattered The Oil Industry” • The spread of Covid-19 poses a significant threat to the global oil and gas industry. The increasingly drastic action taken to reduce the spread of the virus interferes with many of the sector’s key processes, and the uncertainty of the pandemic only worsens […]

via April 8 Energy News — geoharvey

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cleantech startups get a boost with ARENA funding for EnergyLab — RenewEconomy

ARENA tips in $480,000 into new EnergyLab start-up fund that will support new innovative clean tech businesses enter the Australian market. The post Cleantech startups get a boost with ARENA funding for EnergyLab appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Cleantech startups get a boost with ARENA funding for EnergyLab — RenewEconomy

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big win for fossil fuels as regulators seek 12 month delay on 5-minute rule change — RenewEconomy

Big win for incumbent fossil fuel generators as regulators argue that Covid-19 pandemic requires 12-month delay to crucial market reform that would encourage more competition from batteries. The post Big win for fossil fuels as regulators seek 12 month delay on 5-minute rule change appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Big win for fossil fuels as regulators seek 12 month delay on 5-minute rule change — RenewEconomy

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment