Australian news, and some related international items

Reject the racist, undemocratic National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill 

National nuclear waste dump emergency

Voices are getting louder calling for the Federal government to abandon plans for a national nuclear waste dump near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.  On the 11 June, the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill is seeking to cement Kimba as the nuclear dump site through the House of Representatives. The draft legislation also removes rights of judicial review for Barngarla Traditional Owners and communities opposed to the dump plan. Importantly, Labor MPs and most of the crossbench spoke against the Bill, which is now the topic of a Senate Inquiry pending a Senate vote.  

In response, the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation states: “It remains shocking and saddening that in the 21st Century, First Nations people would have to fight for the right to vote in Australia and that the Federal Government would deliberately remove judicial oversight of its actions in circumstances where the Human Rights Committee, a bipartisan committee no less, has considered the process flawed.’’

Please add your name to this online letter asking Senators to reject the racist, undemocratic National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment Bill here

If you would like to contact Senators directly, you can find contact details here

Please add your name to an online letter to SA Premier Steven Marshall here or email Premier Marshall at

Watch & share: Barngarla Judicial Review Rights: point of no return

Watch NITV story: Barngarla continue fight against plan to dump nuclear waste on Country

Read ‘Much at stake for Barngarla Country’ Michele Madigan’s article in Eureka Street

August 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Conflict of interest in Kimba Community Liaison Officer’s connection to nuclear waste dump push

Kazzi Jai, Fight to Stop a Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia, 20 Aug, 20
 Seems Mayor Dean Johnson’s recent comment about “failing the pub test” has shown up more FLAWS in this WHOLE PROCESS…
How does a person secure the Community Liaison Officer job in Kimba, when they and their partner MANAGE the local pub in Kimba and their partner openly submits support for the dump – submission 83 of the previous Inquiry* !This fact was addressed in Submission 44 of the previous Inquiry*…..”The Community Liaison Officer was supposed to be a person with neutral views but to no surprise the Department employed a local who has been openly supportive of the facility. Community members who are opposed find it difficult to speak openly with the Liaison officer about their concerns.”

Here is what the Community Liaison Officer job was meant to entail: Job Description……”The Community Liaison Officer will represent a project, through consultation activities including meetings with members of the public, information sessions, and presentations. The Officer must possess local knowledge and be of an approachable demeanor to ensure meaningful engagement with all interested community members.”

Desired Skills and Abilities:…..”Ability to be approachable by all members of the Kimba community, regardless of their views on the Project, to provide information about the Project in a professional and independent manner.”

This really in fact comes as no surprise, given what actually happened in Hawker at the SAME time with THEIR Community Liaison Officer! – Submission 109 of previous Inquiry*

*Senate Committee Inquiry on Selection Process for Nuclear Waste Dump Site, August 2018

Submissions – Parliament of Australia

August 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Pointless: Removal of New South Wales Uranium mining ban, as uranium glut continues, and nuclear industry declines

Nuke South Wales?, ACF, Dave Sweeney, 20 Aug 20, 

The proposed removal of a long-standing and popular ban on uranium mining in New South Wales is empty gesture politics that flies in the face of community interest and market reality, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) said.

The global uranium price remains depressed following the Fukushima nuclear disaster and is not likely to recover.

“The nuclear power age is winding up, so it makes no sense for NSW to jump aboard a sinking ship,” said ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“The ban is popular and has served NSW well, providing policy certainty and avoiding the radioactive waste and legacy mine issues affecting other places, including Kakadu, where a massive $1 billion clean-up is underway at the former Ranger mine.

“This is empty gesture politics that could lead to lower tier and inexperienced mining companies cutting corners and increasing environmental and community risk.

“This poorly conceived plan puts political posturing above community benefit and could lead to increased pollution and risk for NSW communities and environment for scant gain.

“NSW’s energy future is renewable, not radioactive – this tired political fix is no substitute for a credible and effective energy policy.

“Deputy Premier Barilaro might see this as in the Nationals’ interest, but it is certainly not in the national interest.”

In November 2019 the CEO of the world’s largest uranium miner, Canadian company Cameco, stated, “Not only does it not make sense to invest in future primary supply, even the lowest-cost producers are deciding to preserve long-term value by leaving uranium in the ground.”

The global market is over supplied as existing producers exit or defer projects and higher-grade uranium ore deposits remain in the ground across Australia and around the world.

For context or comment contact Dave Sweeney on 0408 317 812

August 20, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium mining to become legal in NSW, as govt supports OneNation in nuclear push.

Uranium Mining. NSW govt to support One Nation in Nuclear Push.   Daily Telegraph, 19 Aug 20, 

Uranium mining looks set to become legal in NSW after a deal was struck between Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier John Barilaro to get it through cabinet. … (subscribers only)   NSW to start mining uranium after agreement on plan to lift ban [$] 


August 20, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Climate change a danger to nuclear plants, and costly to prevent weather-caused disasters

Dozens of US nuclear power plants at risk due to climate change: Moody’s, S and P Global, Author Steven Dolley     Washington Editor,  Keiron Greenhalgh 19 Aug 20


37 GW of nuclear capacity at risk from flooding

48 GW at risk from heat, water stress

Merchant plants have fewer options to recover mitigation costs

Washington — Dozens of US nuclear power plants, comprising nearly half the country’s operational nuclear generating capacity, “will face growing credit risks” in the next 10 to 20 years due to flooding, hurricanes, heat stress and other predicted impacts of climate change, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report Aug. 18.

“The consequences of climate change can affect every aspect of nuclear plant operations – from fuel handling and power and steam generation to maintenance, safety systems and waste processing,” the report said, noting that “the severity of these risks will vary by region, with the ultimate credit impact depending on the ability of plant operators to invest in mitigating measures to manage these risks.”

Moody’s did not specify mitigation measures that are being, or should be, taken.

Water cooling needs expose plants to the risk of flooding, sea-level rise and hurricanes, and “about 37 gigawatts (GW) of US nuclear capacity [have] elevated exposure to flood risk,” Moody’s said.

Also, the report noted, “rising heat and water stress can have an adverse impact on plant operations,” with “about 48 GW of nuclear capacity [having] elevated exposure to combined rising heat and water stress.”

“Regulated or cost-based nuclear plants,” comprising about 55 GW of capacity in the US, “face elevated heat and water stress across most locations, with moderate to high risk of floods, hurricanes, and sea level rise for certain coastal plants,” Moody’s said. However, it added: “The credit impact of these climate risks is likely to be more modest for operators of these nuclear plants, relative to market-based plants, because they have the ability to recoup costs through rate recovery mechanisms.”

By contrast, “market-based plants,” with a total of about 44 GW of capacity, “face elevated heat stress and more water stress than regulated/cost-based plants, with fewer plants at risk of floods and hurricanes,” it said.

The highest risk, or “red flag,” category includes plants that are “highly exposed to historical and/or projected risks, indicating high potential for negative impacts,” Moody’s said.

According to the report, five plants with a combined capacity of about 9.1 GW are in the red flag category for floods. Some 13 plants with a combined capacity of about 23.8 GW were found to be at red-flag risk for heat stress. The categories of hurricanes, sea level rise and water stress each had one plant expected to be at red-flag risk.

Because some US nuclear units “are seeking to extend their operations by 20, or even 40 years,” Moody’s said, “operators will have to consider these risks when implementing resilience measures.”……….

August 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change a problem for nuclear waste dumps

Climate change included in nuclear waste study, Dryden now, August 2020 by Mike Aiken    

Experts with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization are adjusting their forecasts for the Ignace area, so they include the possibility of more rainfall. The adjustment will allow for climate change, including the possibility of extreme weather and increased flooding.

“This is the first time this modelling work has been done for a potential repository location and any assessment of sites for the safe storage of used nuclear fuels must take into account the potential future impact of climate change on its infrastructure,” said Kelly Liberda, who is a senior engineer with Golder Associates, who are working on the site selection process.

“While it’s difficult to project the extent to which precipitation could fluctuate in specific geographic areas, the NMWO is taking steps to anticipate the most likely scenarios,” Liberda added.

Based on a multi-model assessment of publicly available data, the Golder Associates study found that both one-day probable maximum precipitation and one-day rainfall events in the Ignace study area are projected to increase in the 2050s and 2080s. …….

August 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

NuScam’s not so small nuclear reactors need $1.4 billion subsidy, and might not be so safe

Smaller, cheaper [?] reactor aims to revive nuclear industry, but design problems raise safety concerns, Science, By Adrian Cho, Aug. 18, 2020  Engineers at NuScale Power believe they can revive the moribund U.S. nuclear industry by thinking small. Spun out of Oregon State University in 2007, the company is striving to win approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the design of a new factory-built, modular fission reactor meant to be smaller, safer, and cheaper than the gigawatt behemoths operating today. But even as that 4-year process culminates, reviewers have unearthed design problems, including one that critics say undermines NuScale’s claim that in an emergency, its small modular reactor (SMR) would shut itself down without operator intervention.The issues are typical of the snags new reactor designs run into on the road to approval, says Michael Corradini, a nuclear engineer at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “I don’t think these things are show-stoppers.” However, M. V. Ramana, a physicist who studies public policy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and has been critical of NuScale, says the problems show the company has oversold the claim that its SMRs are “walk-away safe.” “They have given you the standard by which to evaluate them and they’re failing,” Ramana says.

Passive safety?

Normally, convection circulates water—laced with boron to tune the nuclear reaction—through the core of NuScale’s reactor (left). If the reactor overheats, it shuts down and valves release steam into the containment vessel, where it conducts heat to a surrounding pool and condenses (center). The water flows back into the core, keeping it safely submerged (right). But the condensed water can be low in boron, and reviewers worried it could cause the reactor to spring back to life………..

NuScale’s likely first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), has delayed plans to build a NuScale plant, which would include a dozen of the reactors, at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Idaho National Laboratory. The $6.1 billion plant would now be completed by 2030, 3 years later than previously planned, says UAMPS spokesperson LaVarr Webb. ………        The delay will give UAMPS more time to develop its application for an NRC license to build and operate the plant, Webb says. The deal depends on DOE contributing $1.4 billion to the cost of the plant, he adds. 

………  A NuScale reactor—which would be less than 25 meters high, hold about one-eighth as much fuel as a large power reactor, and generate less than one-tenth as much electric power—would rely on natural convection to circulate the water

……….. In March, however, a panel of independent experts found a potential flaw in that scheme. To help control the chain reaction, the reactor’s cooling water contains boron, which, unlike water, absorbs neutrons. But the steam leaves the boron behind, so the element will be missing from the water condensing in the reactor and containment vessel, the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) noted. When the boron-poor water re-enters the core, it could conceivably revive the chain reaction and possibly melt the core, ACRS concluded in a report on its 5–6 March meeting.

August 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Military to Weapons Sales – Professor Peter Leahy and the revolving door

Professor Peter Leahy AC Australian Defence Force | Military | Revolving Doors, Michael West Media, 19 Aug, 20

Lieutenant-General Peter Leahy retired from the Australian army in July 2008 having concluded his 37 year military career with six years as Chief of Army. Within a year he was on the boards of Codan and Electro Optic Systems (EOS). More recently, EOS has been exporting its weapon systems to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates while the Yemen war has raged despite multiple reports of war crimes by these countries and a situation in Yemen which the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe.

Current Positions

Professor and foundation director, National Security Institute, University of Canberra (7.10.08present^)
^ Website accessed 10.08.20

Member, Advisory Board, WarpForge Limited ([??]–present^)
Director, Citadel Group (28.6.14*–present^; including as Chair from 12.11.19)
Director, Electro Optic Systems (4.5.09*–present^)
Director, Codan Limited (19.9.08*–present^)……….

August 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

We’ve been electing governments that damage our children’s future

The  Age, Ross Gittins, 18 Aug 20,“……….the plain truth is that one way governments have got themselves elected and re-elected in recent decades has been to pursue policies that favour the old and don’t worry about the young.
Politicians have been tempting us to put our immediate interests ahead of our offspring’s future – and it’s worked a treat.
This week the Actuaries Institute of Australia published a new index of intergenerational equity, which compares the “wealth and wellbeing” of people aged 65 to 74 with that of people aged 25 to 34 between 2000 and 2018.
Note that this is before any effect of the coronacession……..
This week the Actuaries Institute of Australia published a new index of intergenerational equity, which compares the “wealth and wellbeing” of people aged 65 to 74 with that of people aged 25 to 34 between 2000 and 2018.
Note that this is before any effect of the coronacession.
…….their greatest loss (sure to grow in coming years) is from the deterioration in the natural environment: rising carbon emissions and temperatures, the drying Murray-Darling Basin and declining biodiversity.
And all these trends before the likely weak and prolonged recovery from the coronacession scars the careers and lives of another generation of education-leavers, without governments or voters being too worried about it.

August 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

BHP’s Uranium mine Olympic Dam makes a financial loss for second year running

Olympic Dam records a second financial year loss, of US$79 million on revenue of US$1.46 billion in 2019-20.   Giving a total three-year loss of approx. US$100 million on revenues of approx. US$4 billion,  with last profit in 2017-18 fin yr of only US$39 million.

Olympic Dam Mining  revenues are at approx. only 2.5 per cent of total BHP corporate revenues,

Not very convincing…

Olympic Dam reports $US79 million loss, is on the lookout for new leader

Olympic Dam’s turnaround story is not yet complete, with BHP’s mega mine posting another loss for the past financial year as it starts the hunt for a new leader.

Cameron England, Business Editor, The Advertiser August 18, 2020

The Olympic Dam mine in South Australia’s Far North has increased its full year loss and is on the lookout for a new leader, global miner BHP has announced.

In reporting its full year results, BHP said Olympic Dam, which produces copper, uranium, gold and silver, had made a full year loss before interest and tax of $US79 million, on revenues of $US1.463 billion.

This is up from a loss the previous financial year of $US58 million on revenues of $1.351 billion.

The mine last reported a profit, of $US39 million off revenues of $US1.255 billion in 2017-18, and has for many years underperformed in comparison with BHP’s high-margin assets such as Western Australian iron ore………

BHP also announced Laura Tyler – asset president Olympic Dam since 2018 – would be promoted to chief technical officer, and a new leader would be sought for the mine…….

“A replacement for the Asset President Olympic Dam will be the subject a future announcement.’’In the interim, Justin Bauer, currently general manager surface development & planning, will become acting asset president……..

But the company is yet to give solid commitments around timelines, financial investments and job numbers for the expansion, as it continues work on internal feasibility studies.

August 20, 2020 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

How to avoid a housing industry bloodbath – invest in making buildings more efficient — RenewEconomy

Making Australia more energy efficient will save households money, be good for the environment and create jobs. The post How to avoid a housing industry bloodbath – invest in making buildings more efficient appeared first on RenewEconomy.

How to avoid a housing industry bloodbath – invest in making buildings more efficient — RenewEconomy

August 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Supporting the UN Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons — Rise Up Times

By Steve McKeown Nukewatch Summer 2020 This coming August the National Veterans for Peace (VFP) Convention was to be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Trinity bomb test in New Mexi­co. The theme of the convention was to […]

Supporting the UN Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons — Rise Up Times

August 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How rooftop solar is eating into Australia’s biggest coal generator — RenewEconomy

Australia’s biggest coal generator, the 2.88GW Eraring plant in NSW, is being forced to radically modify the way it operates due to the growing impact of rooftop solar. The post How rooftop solar is eating into Australia’s biggest coal generator appeared first on RenewEconomy.

How rooftop solar is eating into Australia’s biggest coal generator — RenewEconomy

August 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s biggest solar farm registered, with two big spinning machines — RenewEconomy

Australia’s biggest solar farm finally registered in south-west NSW, with two big spinning machines. The post Australia’s biggest solar farm registered, with two big spinning machines appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s biggest solar farm registered, with two big spinning machines — RenewEconomy

August 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 19 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Climate And Extinction Crises Require Urgent Change” • The US is fighting a battle on many fronts: a public health crisis, an extinction crisis, a climate crisis. Each of these is compounded by policies that declare some people, species, and places disposable. Experts warn that we could see worse crises unless we act […]

August 19 Energy News — geoharvey

August 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment