Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Senator Rex Patrick contests Freedom of Information refusal about nuclear waste plan

Rex Patrick to ask SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal to reverse nuclear FoI refusal

An SA Senator will ask a court to decide whether his call for information on a nuclear waste facility should have been granted.  Advertiser –Matt Smith, December 16, 2020 – 

 South Australian senator Rex Patrick will tackle State Government lawyers after a Freedom of Information request concerning a nuclear waste facility was refused.

He will fight to overturn the decision in the SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal over what he describes as “a lack of transparency”.

Senator Patrick, pictured, said his FOI request was met with a “highly unusual” reminder from the Crown Solicitor’s office that if he were to fight the decision and lose he would be liable for costs.

He had asked for correspondence between Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan and the Federal Government concerning the establishment of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in SA.

“FOI in SA is a farce. Late responses, cavalier exemption claims, delayed review processes and now threats if you push a request beyond the control of the very government department seeking to hide information,” he said.

A government spokesman said: “While it would not be appropriate to comment on matters currently before SACAT, it’s worth noting that the tribunal and only the tribunal makes a determination on whether costs are awarded, and can do so if satisfied that there are statutory grounds to do so.

No decision has been made in this matter and, as such, no application for costs has been, or can be, made at this time.”

It was revealed this week that reviews of FOI requests are taking more than six months to

complete.  SA Senator Rex Patrick takes nuclear FOI ‘farce’ to court | The Advertiser (adelaidenow.com.au)

See Senator Rex Patrick’s Face Book page post:

https://www.facebook.com/193047494589008/posts/836162363610848/

MINISTER DAN van HOLST PELLEKAAN RESORTS TO THREATS WHEN ASKED TO BE TRANSPARENT

In response to a request for transparency, Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has outrageously instructed the Crown Solicitor to threaten me with costs.

Everything the SA Government does it does for public purpose and using SA taxpayer’s money. As such, South Australians are entitled to see all that the State Government does, admittedly with some exceptions.

I asked Minister van Holst Pellekaan’s office to provide me with correspondance between the State and Federal Government on the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba, using SA Freedom of information laws. At first he failed to respond to the request in the timeframe required by the law, then he made a decision that hid (presumably embarrassing) information from me.

I have asked SACAT, the State’s independent umpire, to review the Minister’s decision. Minister van Holst Pellekaan has now threatened me with “costs” if I proceed. That prompts two questions: 1) what’s he trying to hide and 2) if he’s prepared to threaten a senator seeking transparency, how would he treat a regular South Australian that reasonably requested information from him?

December 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Ranger Danger: Rio Tinto Faces Its Nuclear Test in Kakadu Uranium

December 17, 2020 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

About writing about the nuclear crisis

This is such an important article (We’re in a storytelling crisis”: Advice for writing on nuclear issues, from the author of “Fallout”)    Whether we like it or not, an issue becomes important to people  – not because it actually IS vitally important, but because it is described, pictured, written about as something that is important to the simplest non-expert, ordinary person.

In this pandemic period, the nuclear lobbyhas done a damn good job in just not covering the true importance of nuclear weapons. The mindless mainstream media happlygoes along with this impressive non coverage at all.

On January 22nd, the Trarty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will become international law.    The global nuclear lobby will be working overtime to portray this as silly, ineffectual, counter-productive – blah blah.

It will be a challenging time for journalism.  The need is to show that this Treaty is as valid as existing  treaties banning inhuman weapons of mass destruction, and that this Treaty enhances existing disarmament agreements, and does not conflctwith national security agreements (e.g as betweenUSA and Australia.     This Treaty is based on humanitarian concerns, an idea which the technocrats find hard to understand.

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

We’re in a storytelling crisis”: Advice for writing on nuclear issues, from the author of “Fallout”

 

December 17, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Sleepwalking Toward the Nuclear Precipice

December 17, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Britain’s push for nuclear power makes no sense, unless it is a hidden subsidy for the Royal Navy

 

Britain’s push for nuclear power makes no sense, unless it is a hidden subsidy for the Royal Navy

The Government can fund a robust nuclear deterrent if it so desires, but should stop pretending that it is energy policy Telegraph, AMBROSE EVANS-PRITCHARD16 December 2020  – (subscribers only) 

December 17, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Green group raise toxic leak concern at Ranger Uranium Mine

Green group raise toxic leak concern at Ranger Uranium Mine Environmental groups have raised concerns that remnants of a tailings dam at the closing Ranger Uranium Mine site could leak toxic contaminants into Kakadu National Park.   – (subscribers only)

December 17, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Unfinished Business: Rehabilitating the Ranger Uranium Mine 

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy on steroids: Frydenberg backs witch-hunt on banks that won’t lend to miners

Hypocrisy on steroids: Frydenberg backs witch-hunt on banks that won’t lend to miners Janine Perrett, 16 Dec 20, 

MYEFO is obviously not keeping the treasurer busy enough — he’s taken time out to sanction a controversial inquiry led by a climate-denying backbencher.

December 17, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

A Legacy of Contamination, How the Kingston coal ash spill unearthed a nuclear nightmare

While no one was killed by the 2008 coal ash spill itself, dozens of workers have died from illnesses that emerged during or after the cleanup. Hundreds of other workers are sick from respiratory, cardiac, neurological, and blood disorders, as well as cancers.

The apparent mixing of fossil fuel and nuclear waste streams underscores the long relationship between the Kingston and Oak Ridge facilities.

Between the 1950s and 1980s, so much cesium-137 and mercury was released into the Clinch from Oak Ridge that the Department of Energy, or DOE, said that the river and its feeder stream “served as pipelines for contaminants.” Yet TVA and its contractors, with the blessing of both state and federal regulators, classified all 4 million tons of material they recovered from the Emory as “non-hazardous.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency analysis confirms that the ash that was left in the river was “found to be commingled with contamination from the Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation site.

For nearly a century, both Oak Ridge and TVA treated their waste with less care than most families treat household garbage. It was often dumped into unlined, and sometimes unmarked, pits that continue to leak into waterways. For decades, Oak Ridge served as the Southeast’s burial ground for nuclear waste. It was stored within watersheds and floodplains that fed the Clinch River. But exactly where and how this waste was buried has been notoriously hard to track.

A Legacy of Contamination, How the Kingston coal ash spill unearthed a nuclear nightmare, Grist By Austyn Gaffney on Dec 15, 2020  This story was published in partnership with the Daily Yonder.

In 2009, App Thacker was hired to run a dredge along the Emory River in eastern Tennessee. Picture an industrialized fleet modeled after Huck Finn’s raft: Nicknamed Adelyn, Kylee, and Shirley, the blue, flat-bottomed boats used mechanical arms called cutterheads to dig up riverbeds and siphon the excavated sediment into shoreline canals. The largest dredge, a two-story behemoth called the Sandpiper, had pipes wide enough to swallow a push lawnmower. Smaller dredges like Thacker’s scuttled behind it, scooping up excess muck like fish skimming a whale’s corpse. They all had the same directive: Remove the thick grey sludge that clogged the Emory.

The sludge was coal ash, the waste leftover when coal is burned to generate electricity. Twelve years ago this month, more than a billion gallons of wet ash burst from a holding pond monitored by the region’s major utility, the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA. Thacker, a heavy machinery operator with Knoxville’s 917 union, became one of hundreds of people that TVA contractors hired to clean up the spill. For about four years, Thacker spent every afternoon driving 35 miles from his home to arrive in time for his 5 p.m. shift, just as the makeshift overhead lights illuminating the canals of ash flicked on.

Dredging at night was hard work. The pump inside the dredge clogged repeatedly, so Thacker took off his shirt and entered water up to his armpits to remove rocks, tree limbs, tires, and other debris, sometimes in below-freezing temperatures. Soon, ringworm-like sores crested along his arms, interwoven with his fading red and blue tattoos. Thacker’s supervisors gave him a cream for the skin lesions, and he began wearing long black cow-birthing gloves while he unclogged pumps. While Thacker knew that the water was contaminated — that was the point of the dredging — he felt relatively safe. After all, TVA was one of the oldest and most respected employers in the state, with a sterling reputation for worker safety.

Then, one night, the dredging stopped.

Sometime between December 2009 and January 2010, roughly halfway through the final, 500-foot-wide section of the Emory designated for cleanup, operators turned off the pumps that sucked the ash from the river. For a multi-billion dollar remediation project, this order was unprecedented. The dredges had been operating 24/7 in an effort to clean up the disaster area as quickly as possible, removing roughly 3,000 cubic yards of material — almost enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool — each day. But official reports from TVA show that the dredging of the Emory encountered unusually high levels of contamination: Sediment samples showed that mercury levels were three times higher in the river than they were in coal ash from the holding pond that caused the disaster.

Then there was the nuclear waste. Continue reading

December 17, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia, the climate laggard, could lead the world: over to you, PM,

Australia, the climate laggard, could lead the world: over to you, PM, John Hewson, 16 Dec 20,

The world is watching Australia. We can seize this opportunity…….

December 17, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The Usual Suspects: oil and gas majors star in Australian tax heist

The Usual Suspects: oil and gas majors star in Australian tax heist,  Michael West 16 Dec 20, 

Angus Taylor’s rescue package for the oil industry is a testament to governments getting gamed by large corporations. The latest Tax Office transparency data shows oil and gas juggernauts are Australia’s biggest tax cheats, again, yet now they are crying for public subsidies – and getting them – to prop up their oil refineries. Michael West reports on the good and the bad in multinational tax dodging land.

December 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

NSW to fast-track network approvals for first renewable energy zone — RenewEconomy

NSW grants priority status to transmission network upgrades, helping to fast-tracking approvals process for first Renewable Energy Zone and up to 3GW of new wind and solar. The post NSW to fast-track network approvals for first renewable energy zone appeared first on RenewEconomy.

NSW to fast-track network approvals for first renewable energy zone — RenewEconomy

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Failure to produce an EV policy is the dumbest thing the Coalition has done — RenewEconomy

Federal Coalition could try to regain credibility with an EV strategy, and its failure to do so is probably the single dumbest thing it has done. The post Failure to produce an EV policy is the dumbest thing the Coalition has done appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Failure to produce an EV policy is the dumbest thing the Coalition has done — RenewEconomy

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 16 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Public Transit Is In Crisis, But Essential To Our Recovery” • The pandemic continues to rattle every aspect of our lives, and millions of people are still traveling less for work and other trips. Since most transit agencies in the US rely on farebox revenues, this use gap caused an unprecedented budget shortfall […]

December 16 Energy News — geoharvey

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment