Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Out of site out of mind – Australian govt has NO PLAN for nuclear waste disposal.

 

Divisive campaign on South Australian facility highlights urgent need for long term nuclear waste management plan, Croakey, 6 Nov 20, Tillman Ruff

“……..No long term management plan for nuclear waste

Australia needs to develop a plan for long-term management and disposal of long-lived intermediate level nuclear waste, which must be kept strictly isolated from people and the environment for 10,000 years.

More than 90 percent of Australia’s radioactive waste comes from nuclear reactors managed by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights in southern Sydney. This waste is stored there in a dedicated Interim Waste Store facility at Australia’s principal nuclear facility, with the best expertise and capacity in the country to manage this safely, monitored 24/7 by the Australia Federal Police.

A serious, open, transparent, evidence-based process is required to carefully consider the options, and develop the most responsible plan for ongoing long-term management and disposal of this waste.

nstead, successive governments — both Coalition and Labor — have sought to impose a succession of ill-considered waste dump plans on SA and NT remote communities. All have previously failed because of deeply flawed processes and strong community opposition.

Transport, taxpayer burdens absent health need

The risks of accident or theft are greatest during transport of nuclear materials. Kimba is 1,700 km from Lucas Heights. Road or sea transport of radioactive waste would involve lengthy routes potentially traversing many communities in multiple states.

The nuclear regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has recently confirmed to a Senate inquiry that Lucas Heights has the capacity to safely store Australia’s radioactive waste for several decades, and that there is no urgent need to relocate it.

The Senate Inquiry last month recommended the South Australian plan go ahead, but there was a split among the committee membership, with Senators Jenny McAllister (Labor), Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens) and Rex Patrick (Independent) dissenting.

The government’s repeated claim that an immediate interim radioactive waste dump is needed to ensure the continuation of nuclear medicine in Australia is false.

Every sizeable hospital currently manages their radioactive waste on a ‘delay and decay’ basis on site; the residual waste rapidly loses its radioactivity and is stored on-site until it has decayed and can be discarded with normal waste. This doesn’t need to and won’t change.

The emotive but fallacious claim that provision of nuclear medicine services needed for diagnosis and treatment of cancer will be jeopardised if a new nuclear waste dump is not urgently progressed is being dishonestly but persistently promoted.

To support passage of the government’s amendments, Federal Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt  is believed to be planning a “nuclear medicine roundtable” at Parliament House on Monday 9 November.

The true driver of increasing need for waste management is ANSTO’s institutional nuclear ambitions, reflected in its current massive ramp-up of production of medical isotopes for export — from around one percent to a target of 25-30 percent of global supply over the next several years.

Not only are we left with the waste legacy of this expanding isotope export business, Australian taxpayers also pick up the bill, paying $400 million for the Lucas Heights OPAL reactor, and subsidising ANSTO on an annual basis for its nuclear operations.

ANSTO received $313.8 million in 2019-20, and was given an additional $238.1 million over 4 years in last month’s Budget.

Cost analyses in several other countries have found that medical isotope sales usually only recover 10-15 percent of the true cost of production once waste, decommissioning, insurance and other costs are factored in.

ANSTO’s export expansion push is increasing domestic nuclear waste pressures, and this is happening without proper public and parliamentary accountability and scrutiny………..

Out of sight, out of mind

The government’s approach, codified in the proposed amendments, would see long-lived radioactive intermediate level nuclear waste transported long distances from the best and most secure site to manage radioactive waste in Australia, to a distant site in South Australian farming country with no current expertise, facilities or experience in securely managing long-lived hazardous radioactive waste.

Effectively, this “temporary” storage facility for waste that must be kept safe from the environment for over 10,000 years will be a large shed.

There is currently no plan and no process to develop a plan for the long-term management and eventual disposal of this waste. Therefore the intermediate level waste will likely languish indefinitely above ground in a facility inadequate for safe long-term storage or disposal, but out of sight and out of mind from Canberra or Sydney.

Australia needs an open, transparent, evidence-based and independent review of Australia’s current and projected radioactive waste production. This review should examine and make recommendations on the best practice long-term management of Australia’s radioactive waste production and disposal.

It should be conducted independently of ANSTO, given their role as proponent of the current proposal and plans to significantly increase nuclear waste production over the next decade for reasons which are not based on the health or other needs of Australians.

It should be open to input from Indigenous organisations, civil society organisations, experts and the public, and be undertaken before any soil is turned for a dump in Kimba and before any waste is moved from Lucas Heights. We have ample time to do this properly.

Tilman Ruff AO is Associate Professor at the Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne. He is Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and co-founder and founding chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, both Nobel Peace Prize laureate organisations.  https://www.croakey.org/divisive-campaign-on-sa-facility-highlights-urgent-need-for-long-term-nuclear-waste-management-plan/

November 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Australian govt will feel the heat when a Biden administration rejoins the Paris climate agreement

Biden says the US will rejoin the Paris climate agreement in 77 days. Then Australia will really feel the heatThe Conversation Christian Downie, Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow, Australian National University, November 6, 2020   When the US formally left

the Paris climate agreement, Joe Biden tweeted that “in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it”.

The US announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement back in 2017. But the agreement’s complex rules meant formal notification could only be sent to the United Nations last year, followed by a 12-month notice period — hence the long wait.

While diplomacy via Twitter looks here to stay, global climate politics is about to be upended — and the impacts will be felt at home in Australia if Biden delivers on his plans.

Biden’s position on climate change

Under a Biden administration, the US will have the most progressive position on climate change in the nation’s history. Biden has already laid out a US$2 trillion clean energy and infrastructure plan, a commitment to rejoin the Paris agreement and a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050……..

Can he do it under a divided Congress?

While the votes are still being counted — as they should (can any Australian believe we actually need to say this?) — it seems likely the Democrats will control the presidency and the House, but not the Senate.

This means Biden will be able to re-join the Paris agreement, which does not require Senate ratification. But any attempt to legislate a carbon price will be blocked in the Senate, as it was when then-President Barack Obama introduced the Waxman-Markey bill in 2010.

In any case, there’s no reason to think a carbon price is a silver bullet, given the window to act on climate change is closing fast.

What’s needed are ambitious targets and mandates for the power sector, transport sector and manufacturing sector, backed up with billions in government investment.

Fortunately, this is precisely what Biden is promising to do. And he can do it without the Senate by using the executive powers of the US government to implement a raft of new regulatory measures.

Take the transport sector as an example. His plan aims to set “ambitious fuel economy standards” for cars, set a goal that all American-built buses be zero emissions by 2030, and use public money to build half a million electric vehicle charging stations. Most of these actions can be put in place through regulations that don’t require congressional approval.

And with Trump out of the White House, California will be free to achieve its target that all new cars be zero emissions by 2035, which the Trump administration had impeded.

If that sounds far-fetched, given Australia is the only OECD country that still doesn’t have fuel efficiency standards for cars, keep in mind China promised to do the same thing as California last week.

What does this mean for Australia?

For the last four years, the Trump administration has been a boon for successive Australian governments as they have torn up climate policies and failed to implement new ones.

Rather than witnessing our principal ally rebuke us on home soil, as Obama did at the University of Queensland in 2014, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has instead benefited from a cosy relationship with a US president who regularly dismisses decades of climate science, as he does medical science. And people are dying as a result.

For Australia, the ambitious climate policies of a Biden administration means in every international negotiation our diplomats turn up to, climate change will not only be top of the agenda, but we will likely face constant criticism.

Indeed, fireside chats in the White House will come with new expectations that Australia significantly increases its ambitions under the Paris agreement. Committing to a net zero emissions target will be just the first.

The real kicker, however, will be Biden’s trade agenda, which supports carbon tariffs on imports that produce considerable carbon pollution. The US is still Australia’s third-largest trading partner after China and Japan — who, by the way, have just announced net zero emissions targets themselves……

With Biden now in the White House, it’s not just global climate politics that will be turned on its head. Australia’s failure to implement a serious domestic climate and energy policy could have profound costs.

Costs, mind you, that are easily avoidable if Australia acts on climate change, and does so now.  https://theconversation.com/biden-says-the-us-will-rejoin-the-paris-climate-agreement-in-77-days-then-australia-will-really-feel-the-heat-149533

November 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Zali Steggall calls on Australia’s chief scientist to clarify position on net zero emissions by 2050

November 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Minister Keith Pitt reluctant to name property owner who sold land for nuclear dump

Paul Waldon  Fight to Stop a Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia
Keith Pitt’s failure to name Jeff Baldock (pictured) when asked by an ABC presenter may cement the theory that Keith Pitt, Minister for Resources,  knows it’s a highly contentious issue that shows he and radioactive waste embracing locals are safety and risk impotent with no ability to engage in a ongoing vituperation.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556

November 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian government’s Nuclear Waste Bill – divisive, undemocratic and racist processes

Divisive campaign on South Australian facility highlights urgent need for long term nuclear waste management plan, Croakey, 6 Nov 20,

Tilman Ruff writes:   Radioactive waste production and management need a sound evidence-based plan, not shoddy and racist imposition based on misguided nuclear ambition.

On Tuesday 6 October, under the cover of the Federal Budget, the Government planned to introduce controversial amendments to laws on radioactive waste management in the Senate.

The amendments were dropped from the Senate list the following day, only to reappear the following day, the last sitting day for this parliamentary session. They were ultimately not tabled, for reasons unstated, but most likely because the government was concerned it did not have the numbers to pass them.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 seeks to confirm the siting of a national radioactive waste facility near Kimba in regional South Australia. It would also remove any legal right to review this decision.

These laws were opposed by Labor, minor party and independent members when they passed in the lower house in June, and remain actively contested in Parliament and more so in the community.

Nonetheless $103.6 million was allocated in the budget over the next four years for the planned radioactive waste dump at Kimba, a clear sign the government remains committed to this flawed legislation, which is again scheduled to be debated in the Senate next week.

The radioactive waste management plans it would lock in deserve greater public scrutiny than they have received to date…………

Divisive, undemocratic and racist processes

The government campaign to persuade the residents of Kimba to accept a radioactive waste dump has been misleading and divisive, with much inaccurate information about risks and benefits, inflated employment promises, and very poor process to assess genuine community views.

The people selected to vote on this proposal (with shifting and nebulous goalposts) were town-based, excluding many farmers who actually live closer to the site than those in Kimba township. The local community has become divided.

Crucially, despite multiple requests, Barngarla Native Title holders were explicitly excluded from the government’s community ballot, and remain actively opposed to the planned waste facility. The Barngarla people unsuccessfully attempted to have their exclusion from the consultation process struck down in the Federal Court in March on the grounds that it contravened the Racial Discrimination Act.

When the Barngarla people commissioned a survey themselves, 100 percent of those surveyed were opposed. Nonetheless the process has proceeded, despite government promises that Aboriginal views would be taken into account.

Minister Pitt visited Kimba for the first time in months on 3 November. His media release thanking the Kimba community and chronicling his meetings with the mayor, proposed waste site landowner and various local organisations mentions Barngarla people not once.

Removing the right to legal review

The clear and unacceptable rationale of the proposed amendments are to remove the right of legal challenge to the choice of a national radioactive waste facility near Kimba.

Minister Pitt already has the power under the existing National Radioactive Waste Management Act (2012) to advance the planned Kimba facility, however this would be subject to legal review.

The right to independent legal recourse is a fundamental principle of our democracy and should not be jettisoned without compelling reasons – especially on an issue with such significant long-term implications and impacts as radioactive waste.

To remove the right to judicial review for affected people is unfair, unnecessary and unjustified. It violates the rights of Aboriginal people. ……….. https://www.croakey.org/divisive-campaign-on-sa-facility-highlights-urgent-need-for-long-term-nuclear-waste-management-plan/

November 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Mike Cannon-Brookes, investors issue call for Climate Change Bill — RenewEconomy

Mike Cannon-Brookes leads group of more than 100 organisations issuing endorsement of Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill. The post Mike Cannon-Brookes, investors issue call for Climate Change Bill appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, investors issue call for Climate Change Bill — RenewEconomy

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s Scott Morrison versus the world about his gas-fired fantasy — RenewEconomy

A significant expansion of gas-fired power on Australia’s grid would cut into the growth of renewables, stifling emissions reductions. The post It’s Scott Morrison versus the world about his gas-fired fantasy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

It’s Scott Morrison versus the world about his gas-fired fantasy — RenewEconomy

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s first zero-carbon streetfood kitchen launches in Melbourne — RenewEconomy

In an Australian first, Melbourne has become home to the new, revolutionary, zero-carbon, off-grid streetfood kitchen. The post Australia’s first zero-carbon streetfood kitchen launches in Melbourne appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s first zero-carbon streetfood kitchen launches in Melbourne — RenewEconomy

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November 6 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Women As Solar Adopters Is An Unexplored Market Segment” • As the cost of hardware for solar systems declines, soft costs, including customer acquisition, are becoming more important.  Women drive the majority of consumer spending, but their potential as solar adopters is an such area of largely unexplored potential in the industry. [CleanTechnica] […]

November 6 Energy News — geoharvey

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia boosts Home Battery Scheme, seeking bigger bang for buck — RenewEconomy

S.A. government throws more money at Home Battery Scheme, boosting overall target to 440MWh and paving way for households to invest in bigger batteries. The post South Australia boosts Home Battery Scheme, seeking bigger bang for buck appeared first on RenewEconomy.

South Australia boosts Home Battery Scheme, seeking bigger bang for buck — RenewEconomy

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia to transition car fleet and boost charging network in big EV push — RenewEconomy

South Australia to “jump start” uptake of electric vehicles by transitioning government fleet to EVs and boosting charging infrastructure. The post South Australia to transition car fleet and boost charging network in big EV push appeared first on RenewEconomy.

South Australia to transition car fleet and boost charging network in big EV push — RenewEconomy

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian states and utilities go bananas over big battery storage — RenewEconomy

The new Victorian big battery is just the latest addition to a growing number of battery storage projects across the Australian grid. The post Australian states and utilities go bananas over big battery storage appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australian states and utilities go bananas over big battery storage — RenewEconomy

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Labor and Greens slam Taylor’s “unacceptable attack” on CEFC — RenewEconomy

In dissenting reports, Labor and Greens senators say CEFC amendment bill is an unwarranted power grab by federal energy minister Angus Taylor. The post Labor and Greens slam Taylor’s “unacceptable attack” on CEFC appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Labor and Greens slam Taylor’s “unacceptable attack” on CEFC — RenewEconomy

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Graph of the day: Without a big government stick, gas power will decline in Australia — RenewEconomy

Under all scenarios for Australia’s electricity market, the outcome for gas-fired generation is the same: It comprises only a tiny fraction of total annual energy output. The post Graph of the day: Without a big government stick, gas power will decline in Australia appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Graph of the day: Without a big government stick, gas power will decline in Australia — RenewEconomy

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment