Australian news, and some related international items

Napandee still the targeted site for nuclear waste? South Australia’s radioactive nightmare.

The Senate’s nuclear waste dilemma, Pearls and Irritations, By Noel Wauchope, Jun 27, 2021 ”……….. Australia’s obligations mount – to have some credible plan for long term management of its nuclear waste from its present Opal, and previous HIFAR nuclear reactors.The new amendment made this very significant change – and a real career-on -knife edge situation for Keith Pitt. Instead of specifying Napandee as the site for – let’s face it – just another temporary nuclear waste dump – the Bill now says that a selection is to be made from one of the listed sites. …

Well this seems to boil down to just one site anyway……… after all the promotional activity, and significant funding already granted to Kimba, it looks as if Napandee is still the targeted site….

Legal challenges to this site selection ? …….. the first consideration will be the Barngarla Native Title Owners………. [There]  are farmers, local residents and business leaders, who are asking the government for funding for an independent review and assessment of the dump project. Up till now, information on the project has been confined to government and ANSTO promotion of the dump as a ”medical necessity” for Australia.

Then there are residents of the wider Eyre Peninsula, who have had no say in the Kimba decision. There are the various communities whose residents are likely to object to having radioactive waste transported through their area. There’s South Australia, too, which has clear laws prohibiting the establishment of a nuclear waste dump in that State, the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.

But even those who have no ”local” interest in this project have been raising objections, with that rather old-fashioned motivation – the greater good. Thirteen of Australia’s top non government organisations rejected the Napandeed plan and the original Act as deeply flawed There were many submissions to the Senate Committee’s Inquiry into the plan, raising well-argued doubts about economic problems with the plan, about geological unsuitability of the location, environmental risks, and the likely outcome of Kimba being burdened with ”stranded wastes”

It is an issue of national concern, but it has been pitched by the government as a matter only for the 824 eligible voters of the Kimba Shire.

Looking at this in the wider and historical context, the plan is not so new. The federal government and ANSTO have been aiming for years to transfer the responsibility of the reactor wastes to some distant location, preferably out of New South Wales. ANSTO, under the recently departed CEO Dr Adi Paterson had grand plans for expanding its operations, to build a marketing empire for medical radioisotopes, This is a dubious plan, as now these isotopes are being produced in a safer, more practical way, using non nuclear cyclotrons.

A greater dream, (or perhaps nightmare) lies behind the nuclear lobby’s push for a radioactive waste dump. It’s the idea, promoted by the company PANGEA, in 1999, of Australia becoming the importer of international nuclear waste – the world’s nuclear waste hub. PANGEA has been reborn as ARIUS, with the same dream. In 2016, that dream was pushed by the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Commission, which failed to convince South Australians. Two Citizens Jury processes rejected the plan, and the South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announced that it was definitely axed.

There’s still more. The dream of plutonium and other end products of nuclear reactors coming to Australia was tied to the aspirations for an Australian nuclear future, first with the goal of the full nuclear fuel cycle, with advanced nuclear reactors, small nuclear reactors, thorium reactors, (that need plutonium to kick-start the fission process), nuclear submarines, nuclear-propelled spacecraft and so on……..

[Ed. note – the Bill was passed by the Senate on 22nd June]

Australian Conservation Foundation Nuclear Free Campaigner David Sweeney said “The return of legal review is important but it is extraordinary that the Minister ever thought its removal was reasonable,” Mr Sweeney said.“A day in court is a fundamental right and to seek to remove this was deeply flawed – as is the government’s wider plan.”

The ACF along with other peak environmental, health and community organisations, has spelt out its objections in a document on its website, stating that the plan for the Kimba waste dump is unnecessary and deeply flawed. More importantly, they are calling for what is instead really needed . They demand a properly funded and expert independent review of Australia’s radioactive waste management, based on evidence and global best practice.

June 28, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

South Australian Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan shuns Supreme Court Justice’s ruling to release Kimba nuclear documents

Senator Rex Patrick  (at left) 27 June 21, MIN It’s an extremely disturbing state of affairs when a Minister of the Crown simply ignores a Supreme Court Justice’s ruling.

You might recall late last year, Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan denied me access to documents related to the Kimba National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in what I thought was an incompetent Freedom of Information (FOI) decision.

When I made an application to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) to challenge his decision, I was unbelievably threatened with costs. I ignored the Ministerial bullying. The challenge was heard by Supreme Court Justice Judy Hughes (sitting as the President of SACAT) who found the document I was after was NOT exempt from release under FOI. Orders to that effect were issued on 17 May 2021.I did not expect the document to be provided to me until the appeal time (1 month from the making of the decision) had expired.

It has now expired, and I have made a demand for the documents, but the Minister is refusing to abide by Her Honour’s decision.It looks like I’ll have to go to court to enforce the order.

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

First Nations and Farmers condemn the federal government’s selection process for nuclear waste dump

Barngarla criticise Kimba waste site process, Port Lincoln Times, Louis Mayfield  JUNE 24 2021  Members of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) have launched a scathing attack on the federal government’s process of selecting a site near Kimba to establish a radioactive waste dump.

A joint statement released by the First Nations corporation and the No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA group outline several issues with the government’s consultation process.

In the media release the two bodies claim that the government has “completely and utterly miscarried” the site selection process by not allowing First Nations people to vote in the community ballot.

“The simple fact remains that even though the Barngarla hold native title land closer to the proposed facility than the town of Kimba, the First Peoples for the area were not allowed to vote,” they said.

“They prevented Barngarla persons from voting, because native title land is not rateable. They did not allow many farmers to vote, even though they were within 50km of the proposed facility, because they were not in the Council area.

“They targeted us, because they knew that if they had a fair vote which included us, then the vote would return a “no” from the community.”

The results of the Kimba community ballot demonstrated a “majority support” for the federal government’s proposed nuclear facility, with 61 per cent voting in favor of the dump.

Further criticism was directed at a lack of consultation with communities that will be affected by the transport of nuclear waste to the facility.

“Those communities, where the waste will be transported through, have had no right to have a say. South Australians more broadly have had any rights to have a say,” they said………..

Minister Pitt said the specific transport routes from radioactive waste storage locations around Australia would be determined once a decision has been made on a site for the facility.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 was passed by the Australian Parliament on Tuesday……….

After a 60-day period period, the Minister can then declare a site and acquisition of a site by the government for the purpose of hosting the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

This story Scathing attack on radioactive waste process first appeared on Whyalla News

June 28, 2021 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Barnaby Joyce wants his legacy to include enabling nuclear power in Australia

‘Adelaide Sunday Mail. 27June 21, Barnaby Joyce says he wants his legacy to include enabling nuclear power in Australia.- (behind a paywall)

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senator Rex Patrick explained how the government’s nuclear waste process was a botched job.

there were a number of people who were quite  close to the facility who were unable to express their view in the vote because they lived outside the council area—the voting area—so they were excluded. Lots of people were excluded from the vote. We ended up with a  completely flawed process. 

Senator McAllister did a fantastic job drawing out in the committee stage that this bill, as it originally entered  the Senate, was about ousting the jurisdiction of a court to deal with a botched process. This bill now, as a ruse,  says that it’s about maybe three sites, again, when we know the government is going to select Napandee. That’s  what’s going to happen as a result of this.

Senator PATRICK (South Australia) Senate 21 June 21, (18:26): I rise to speak on the National Radioactive Waste Management  Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020. I want to go back a bit in  history so that the chamber’s aware of how we got to where we are today, because the bottom line is that this bill  is a bit of a ruse, a facade. I need to ground that properly in order for people to understand exactly what I’m  talking about. 

We’ll go back to 2012, the bill where we’re seeking to establish a national radioactive waste management facility. I might point out that I’m in favour of such a facility. I think we need a facility. We do need to take  responsibility for our own radioactive waste. In terms of the safety aspects and the philosophy,………….

Firstly, the concept behind the whole process is fundamentally flawed. Instead of selecting the best site for a  facility in Australia, we kind of had a raffle and said, ‘Who wants to have a site in their backyard?’ or ‘Who wants  to have a site on their land?’ Of course people put up their hand, but that’s not the best way to select the best  location. It’s like trying to say, ‘Let’s build a highway, and we’ll go out and see who wants to have their house  knocked down to have the highway run somewhere.’ That’s not the way in which you tackle a project. You work  out the best route and then you deal with the issues along the way. That’s not what we’ve done in this process.  We’ve just said, ‘Anyone who wants to stick up their hand, we’ll have a look at your property and see if it fits.’ It’s  not the best way to do it.  

……….what we should have done is look around the country and ask, ‘Where is the best site? What are the best  characteristics for a site for a radioactive waste management facility?…..

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June 28, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Senator Hanson-Young outlined the shambles that the nuclear waste siting process has been

This bill is a disgrace. It is an affront to community consultation, it is an affront to the best available science  and it is an affront to the promise, the long-held promise, that this country would get serious about a long-term  permanent solution to dealing with the waste that we have. Of course we have a responsibility. We create nuclear  waste; we need to store it properly. It is of course incredibly toxic. That’s why it is difficult to do. It is also why  you don’t see the Prime Minister advocating that they build a nuclear waste dump in his electorate, where Lucas  Heights actually is.

This bill is a disgrace. It is an affront to community consultation, it is an affront to the best available science  and it is an affront to the promise, the long-held promise, that this country would get serious about a long-term  permanent solution to dealing with the waste that we have. Of course we have a responsibility. We create nuclear  waste; we need to store it properly. It is of course incredibly toxic. That’s why it is difficult to do. It is also why  you don’t see the Prime Minister advocating that they build a nuclear waste dump in his electorate, where Lucas  Heights actually is.

This has been a disgraceful process, and still the South Australian community are left in the dark. How is this  going to be transported? How often are we going to have trucks and ships full of nuclear waste coming into our  state, coming into our towns? What are the people of Whyalla meant to do—not to mention the towns and  communities where this dump is built?

We’re not going to. We’re going to fight this. We want a proper process. We want independent expert advice,  not special favours from national ministers, and we want our state’s reputation for having a clean, green, food,  wine and tourism industry protected. It’s only the Greens who are standing up for this in our state of South  Australia. 

HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) Senate 21 June 21, (12:28): I rise today to speak on the National Radioactive  Waste Managemn Greens and my constituents in South Australia, who, of course, are outraged that once again we  see the two big parties working together to dump on our state.

This is an example of what happens when Labor  and Liberal get together: they’ve got more votes on the eastern seaboard than they do in South Australia, so they  dump on SA. That’s what they’re doing here today. 

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June 28, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Senator Rex Patrick explained why the Woomera prohibited area would be a more suitable site for a nuclear waste dump

Senator PATRICK (South Australia) Senate 21 June21, (19:50): I think Industry did make inquiries to the Department of  Defence. In a two- or three-page submission, they sought to rule that out. You’ll be aware that the committee that  examined this piece of legislation took a trip to Woomera and had a look at the site. I note in your speech in the  second reading debate you said that Woomera was not suitable; it’s a test range. Just to inform you, Minister—you  may already know this—Woomera is 13 per cent of the area of South Australia. It is twice the size of Tasmania.  It’s beyond comprehension that anyone would accept from the Department of Defence the idea that you can’t fit a  facility there. It is a massive area. If you look to the north-eastern corner of the Woomera prohibited area, you will  find there’s a uranium mine at Roxby Downs. It’s something like 20 or 30 kilometres inside the WPA. There is a  community that clearly doesn’t have any particular issue with radioactive material, noting that their livelihoods  depend on that. I’m sure you’ve been up there, as I have, to Roxby and the Olympic Dam. 

I also heard during your speech in the second reading debate the idea that we were going to mix a radioactive  waste site with a missile firing range. This has all been dealt with by the committee. The Department of Defence  advises that, whenever they conduct a missile firing, they have a safety template. So they lay out the area for  which there is a danger so that if a missile, aerial vehicle or drone goes rogue it will actually most likely land in  that particular safety template. The Department of Defence provided the committee with an overlay map of all of  the safety templates that have been used since 2014, and there are massive areas of the Woomera prohibited area  that, in actual fact, do not overlap with any test sites. It’s an area that is remote. It’s not on prime agricultural land.  There is quite a thick study that shows that it’s quite feasible. It’s done all of the geological work and all of the  safety work. On the idea that you can’t find a location there, this is Defence defending Defence land like no other.  This is the department that came to the government in 2009 and said, ‘Let’s have a $12 billion Future Submarine  project,’ and then that project got estimated up to $50 billion and then grew to $89 billion and now we have to pay  an extra $10 billion to extend the life of the Collins class in order to get it to the point where it can last until the  future submarines arrive sometime after 2035. This is the same department you’re talking about. It’s clearly  incompetent in relation to these sorts of projects. 

Any person could reasonably go up to Woomera, have a look at the sites and have a look around the airfield up  there. You’ll see that there are ammunition areas and fuel storage areas, all of which are manageable from an  aircraft perspective well away from the range. We’ve got the road to Roxby Downs that’s a stone’s throw from the  airfield. It’s never been shut, under the various rules. There’s lots and lots of space up there. You’ve got a list of  three sites that appear to be face-saving sites. Why wouldn’t you simply accept the possibility that Woomera is not  a bad facility? Remember, at the start of this we ended up with the three sites that you have named in your table,  in the amendments, by asking people whether they’d want to have their land as a radioactive waste management  site—not by looking and asking, ‘What’s the best place to put it?’ but simply, ‘Who wants to have one—which  landowner wants to sell their land at four times the market rate to have a facility?’ So they can move on and go  somewhere else and leave behind a facility. 

I’ve got an amendment on the sheet, and that amendment includes consultation with Indigenous parties and  indeed the community. It beggars belief that the government doesn’t want to add another potential site where there  could well be broad community support, where in the past proper studies have been done that say that this can go 

there. It’s a government that seems to be scared of the Department of Defence and takes a two- or three-page  submission to rule out something—afraid of the brass, afraid of the shiny uniforms—and basically takes at face  value what they’ve said yet doesn’t listen to the community in Kimba and what their concerns are. That doesn’t  seem to matter. 

I’m left flabbergasted as to why it wouldn’t be considered, particularly in circumstances where there are two  radioactive waste sites up in the Woomera Prohibited Area. Hangar 5 has 10,000 CSIRO drums sitting there that  will have to be moved at cost. Koolymilka has defence waste that includes intermediate-level waste. That’s  somehow managed to survive for 20 years—longer, actually—without causing interruption to the operations up in  the Woomera Prohibited Area. So, I wonder, Minister: how do you reconcile the fact that we’ve had radioactive  waste up there since the 1990s, yet Defence have been able to operate perfectly well with the two facilities that we  have up there? I wonder whether you can reconcile that. 

Senator PATRICK: I don’t mean to ambush you, Minister, but I have two amendments on the table that look  at Woomera as a site. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable question to ask, noting that in your second reading speech  you said that a radioactive waste site is not consistent with the operations at Woomera, when in fact we’ve had  radioactive waste stored at Woomera since about the mid-nineties. It may well be that it will continue to be stored  there, because the waste at Koolymilka is not suitable to be shifted, in which case the whole thing becomes a bit  of a shambles with Defence saying, ‘We can’t have it here,’ knowing full well that it’s going to stay there. That’s  the burden of my question. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that question, noting I have a couple of  amendments on the table that look at Woomera, which you’re knocking out for what appears to be quite shallow  reasons. If you’ve gone through the process completely—not you personally, Minister—if the department has  gone through the process or the minister has gone through the process properly, when that advice came back from  Defence you would think that you might have challenged some of it, particularly to get an understanding of  whether or not that waste will go to, presumably, Kimba. Maybe we can start with hangar 5. Hangar 5 has 10,000  drums of low-level radioactive waste that is stored very close to the range head. Perhaps you can say whether it’s  the intention that that material, noting it’s in a pretty perilous state—I know CSIRO is working to tidy that up—go  from hangar 5 at Woomera to the new facility? ………….

Senator PATRICK (South Australia) (20:04): In some sense, the question is as much about Woomera as it is  about Kimba because if the circumstances are that you can’t store that particular type of waste—as I said, there are  small amounts of plutonium stored there—then, in fact, you’re going to be in a situation where you have a facility  at Kimba, presumably, but you still have a radioactive waste storage area in the very place that Defence says it  can’t exist, because it’s not consistent with their operations. I wonder if that question was ever asked of Defence in  order to test their assertions in relation to the claim that you can’t put this waste there. Is it the intention of the  government to close the Koolymilka site at Woomera and in what time frame?

June 28, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Senator Pauline Hanson was scathing in condemning the government’s nuclear waste siting process

No-one has seen a list of the radioactive waste materials to be stored in the national radioactive waste facility,  opening the real possibility of mission creep over time. There is no safety case. The minister says it will be safe.  How would he know?

The proposed cost of this above-ground radioactive waste dump site is estimated to cost about a third of  a billion dollars, all of which will have been wasted because it’s a temporary solution. I am annoyed. The hard  decision, which is the permanent dump site, has been kicked down the road like a can instead of being picked up  and dealt with. 

Is the movement of radioactive waste minimised for public safety by keeping the dump site close to the site of  production? No. Large volumes of radioactive waste will be transported hundreds of kilometres by road into  South Australia, contrary to section 9 of South Australia’s Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.  Has the government resolved the conflict with section 8 of South Australia’s Nuclear Waste Storage Facility  (Prohibition) Act

Where is the Marshall government in South Australia on this issue? Its silence is deafening. The next state  election in South Australia is on 19 March 2022. Premier Marshall has said nothing and has not repealed South  Australia’s Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000. I note that the 2021-22 budget provides South  Australia with $3.4 billion in new commitments, compared with $2 billion for Queensland and $377 million for  Tasmania. Has the federal government bought the Marshall state government? I will let the voters in South  Australia work that one out for themselves.

Is the proposed dump site near Kimba a geologically stable area? No.

Senator HANSON (Queensland—Leader of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) Senate, 21 June 21, (18:51): I rise to speak to the  National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures)  Bill 2020. One Nation will never support the removal of judicial review from legislation. This position means One  Nation has and will continue to resist pressure from the government to legislate a site in Kimba in South Australia  for radioactive waste management. One Nation will always stand up for the freedoms past generations have  passed on to us. 

In the next 12 months there will be a general election to elect a new federal government. If Australians act like  sheep, voting for the two parties and their sidekicks who want to take away their judicial rights, they are going to  get wolves in government. If the two big parties had their way, a radioactive nuclear waste facility would now be  under construction on the Eyre Peninsula in the middle of prime cropping land in South Australia. Just four per  cent of the land in South Australia is suitable for wheat, barley and canola, but the government wants to use the  prime land to build a radioactive waste facility. Up until recently, Labor agreed to the removal of judicial review  in relation to site selection for a national radioactive waste storage facility. Now they champion judicial review? I  ask: what grubby deal has Labor done with government to get this bill through the Senate? No wonder voters are  leaving Labor and turning to One Nation. 

The government has ticked every wrong box to arrive at its decision to impose a national dump site for  radioactive waste on unwilling communities in South Australia.

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June 28, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

U.S. militarisation of the Pacific

Countering the “China Threat”–At What Price?   The Pentagon is upgrading its full-spectrum dominance, with China as the primary target. Organising Notesthe Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.By Koohan Paik-Mander     27 June 21

”…………………. to accommodate the JADC2,   Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2)  even more expansive swaths of the ocean are being set aside for year-round military exercises.

The most egregious example is the MITT (Mariana Islands Training and Testing), a plan to transform over a million square miles of biodiverse ecosystems into the largest-ever range complex for bombing and firing practice. The impacted area would be larger than the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, and New Mexico combined.

The largest multinational open-ocean military exercises in history will take place here, home to 26 species of cetaceans. The navy itself estimates that its activities will maim or kill over 81,000 whales and dolphins per year. And that doesn’t count the ecological casualties anticipated in other existing exercise ranges, such as those around Hawaii, California, Alaska, Australia, in the Sea of Japan, and in the Bay of Bengal.

For their part, thousands of residents of the Marianas are protesting the plan to turn their ancestral archipelago into a year-round war zone. Large portions of Guam and Tinian would become dedicated firing ranges, placed right next door to towns and neighborhoods. Practice-bombing on the islet of Farallon de Medinilla, a migratory-bird hotspot, will increase from 2,150 strikes a year to 6,000 strikes a year. And most tragically, the whole of the astonishingly pristine island of Pagan is slated to undergo perpetual full-spectrum assaults from air, land, and sea. The island is expected to endure continuous bombing from mortars and missiles, its wildlife damaged by sonar, torpedoes, hand grenades, reef-crushing amphibious landing practice, and countless experimental detonations. Because of the colonial status of the Mariana islanders, they have not been able to legally demand transparency and accountability from the U.S. government…………

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Historic handback of Kakadu town to Mirarr traditional owners,

Historic handback of Kakadu town to Mirarr traditional owners, The Age By Miki PerkinJune 26, 2021,  For four decades the Mirarr people, led by senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula, have been calling for the town of Jabiru, inside World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, to be returned to its rightful custodians.

At a handback ceremony on Saturday, their decades-long fight for recognition of their traditional ownership over Jabiru culminated in the grant of freehold title over the town, the first of its kind in Australia.

At a handback ceremony on Saturday, their decades-long fight for recognition of their traditional ownership over Jabiru culminated in the grant of freehold title over the town, the first of its kind in Australia.

The fight for land rights in the region began in 1978, when Jabiru was built on Crown Land without the involvement of traditional owners to service the controversial Ranger uranium mine.

Ranger began operations in 1980, and was run by Energy Resources Australia, which is majority-owned by Rio Tinto.

Initially, there were plans to bulldoze the Jabiru town once the mining lease expired, but the Northern Territory government and the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which represents Mirarr people, have developed an ambitious plan to transform it into a tourism hub for Kakadu, and a regional centre.

The Commonwealth has promised $276 million towards the revitalisation of the town, which includes a new international airport, a five-star eco-tourism lodge, and better access to Kakadu’s natural attractions, but there have been criticisms at the speed of progress.

Justin O’Brien, the chief executive of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation said the lease handover was a historic milestone in the transition from a mining economy to tourism but the town’s future challenges should not be underestimated.

Energy Resources Australia had failed to engage in a timely way on the town’s transition, Mr O’Brien said, with former mining employee houses not ready for use, and at least 70 ERA houses vacant…….

Processing of ore at the uranium mine finished in January and the mine’s vast pits will be filled in over the next five years, but there are concerns about the rehabilitation process.

Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney welcomed the tenure change but said there were profound challenges ahead for the costly and complex mine rehabilitation, which is set to be completed by 2026.

“There has been 40 years of industrial activity involving heavy metals and radioactive materials in a wet-dry tropical place, surrounded by a World-Heritage listed area,” Mr Sweeney said. “To bring that up to a standard where it could be reincorporated into the surrounding area is a very, very high bar.”

In a statement, Energy Resources Australia extended its congratulations to Mirarr traditional owners and said that after 40 years of production its priority was to successfully rehabilitate Ranger to a standard that could be incorporated into Kakadu National Park.

In the mid-1990s, Ms Margarula and other Mirarr people mounted a high-profile campaign to oppose the Jabiluka uranium mine. Elders also lodged the Jabiru native title claim which was decided by the Federal Court in 2016 after one of Australia’s longest-running native title matters. The court granted native title to the Mirarr.

In 2017, researchers published their findings about a wealth of artefacts on Mirarr country which indicated humans reached Australia at least 65,000 years ago — up to 18,000 years earlier than archaeologists previously thought.

June 28, 2021 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

High school lobbyists ‘thrilled’ as Winnipeg unanimously supports ban on nuclear weapons, 

CBC News · Jun 27, 2021 Two Winnipeg high school students are “thrilled” after their campaign to get the city’s support for a ban on nuclear weapons got council’s unanimous backing.

“We were both thrilled because this is months and months of work,” Avinashpall Singh said of Thursday’s vote.

Singh and classmate Rooj Ali started working in March toward their goal of getting the City of Winnipeg’s support for the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as part of the youth-led International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Cities Appeal.

High school lobbyists ‘thrilled’ as Winnipeg unanimously supports ban on nuclear weapons, 

City joins 14 others across Canada in backing UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

CBC News · Jun 27, 2021 Two Winnipeg high school students are “thrilled” after their campaign to get the city’s support for a ban on nuclear weapons got council’s unanimous backing.

“We were both thrilled because this is months and months of work,” Avinashpall Singh said of Thursday’s vote.

Singh and classmate Rooj Ali started working in March toward their goal of getting the City of Winnipeg’s support for the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as part of the youth-led International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Cities Appeal.

That campaign looks to gain support at a municipal level for the first legally binding international agreement to ban nuclear weapons.

They got endorsements from organizations including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Rotary Club of Winnipeg and Manitoba’s Mennonite Central Committee, and gave presentations to city committees and councillors across Winnipeg — all while balancing homework and other commitments at River East Collegiate.

It’s a cause the students have been working on for years, they told CBC’s Weekend Morning Show host Stephanie Cram on Sunday.

“This cause is incredibly important for us because, among other things that our generation will be inheriting, it will still be a world still full of nuclear weapons. And so we aren’t going to stay silent as this happens,” Singh said.

“I think by far the most important reason is that [a nuclear incident] doesn’t have to be with intent. It could also be through an accident that something catastrophic could happen. And so [if we’re] trying to eliminate that risk totally, disarmament is the only guarantee toward that. No other solution exists.”

Ali says she hopes their achievement with city council inspires other young people to get involved in issues that matter to them.

“No cause or activism work is too impossible to achieve,” Ali said.

“The key to making change is to start. And we started this not knowing where it could end up, but we took it so far and we’re so happy for that.”

The move means Winnipeg joins 14 other Canadian cities, including Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, in support of the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty, the campaign’s website says.

However, while Canada has said it’s committed to nuclear disarmament, it has so far not signed the UN treaty.

Ali says that’s why getting Winnipeg’s support felt like such a win — it added one more city to the list of those willing to go on the record that it stands in support of the ban, and potentially sends a message to Ottawa.

“Not one city is going to make a difference,” she said.

“But when more cities do it — especially here in Canada, as Winnipeg joins the list — then hopefully we can turn that conversation up to the national level and make this a priority, because right now it’s not as discussed as it should be and that needs to change.”

The biggest issue is still awareness, so Ali and Singh’s work isn’t done yet. Next, they say they plan to take the campaign to other cities and municipalities in Manitoba and Canada. 

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Strong Evidence’ Links Uranium Mining to Lung Cancer

The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Program Left ‘a Horrible Legacy’ of Environmental Destruction and Death Across the Navajo Nation   Inside Climate News,  By Cheyanne M. DanielsAmanda Rooker, June 27, 2021  ”………………….‘Strong Evidence’ Links Uranium Mining to Lung Cancer

Uranium mining began in the Southwest in 1944, when the United States no longer wanted to depend on foreign sourcing of the uranium that was needed for nuclear research and weapons development as part of the Manhattan Project, the secret World War II effort to develop the atomic bomb. The federal government was the sole purchaser of uranium ore until 1971, but private companies operated the mines.

Navajo miners were not fully informed about the dangers of uranium mining specifically, despite the fact that scientists had concluded by the late 1930s that uranium mining caused lung cancer, even if debate existed about exactly why, according to a 2002 study published in the American Journal of Public Health. The miners were not informed about the potential risks of their work.

The investigation focused on white miners, although mortality rates were reported for non-white miners. One study looked at 3,238 white miners, while a second involved 757 non-whites, mainly Navajos. The studies were performed without the consent of the workers. 

In both white and non-white cohorts, “strong evidence” was found for an increased incidence of lung cancer. In the study of 757 non-white miners, 10 deaths were expected, but 34 were documented, meaning researchers found more than three times the number of lung cancer deaths than they expected. 

Tommy Reed, 64, a member of the Navajo Radiation Victims Committee who began working in a uranium mine when he was in high school, said his father was one of the Navajo miners studied. 

“They studied my father and a lot of the men …  and ladies that were in the mines there,” Reed said. “My dad, like many other men that were (miners), spent nine months on a ventilator. How much more of our story can cut deep, where one can comprehend the struggle that we have?”

For Reed, extending the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act isn’t to place blame but to ensure that other miners, uranium workers and downwinders are compensated for illnesses related to radiation exposure. But if he had to place blame, Reed said, he would point to the federal agencies that allowed the mining to take place and the related illnesses to go undiagnosed and untreated. 

“They knew, and they had numbers on them. They studied, it’s on the books, there were human experimentations,” said Reed.

“We’re just five-finger people,” he said, using a Navajo word for human beings. “But these five-finger people are the ones that they relied on, the people that are most expendable.” 

In response to this legacy of environmental destruction, death and racism, the Navajo Nation Council passed the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act in 2005 to mandate that “no further damage to the culture, society and economy of the Navajo Nation occurs because of uranium processing until all adverse economic, environmental and human health effects from past uranium mining” have been eliminated or substantially reduced………………

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Increasing carbon emissions from uranium mining

 Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen 27th June 2021, The energy source of nuclear power is a mineral from the earth’s crust: uranium. An intricate system of industrial processes is required to convert the potential energy in this mineral into useful energy, and to manage the inevitable radioactive material wastes. During operation each nuclear power plant generates each year an amount of human-made radioactivty equivalent to about 1200 exploded Hiroshima atomic bombs. Without the process chain nuclear power would be impossible, and without nuclear power these processes would not exist.

The CO2 emission of these processes together form the specific CO2 emission inextricably coupled to nuclear power. The thermodynamic quality of the available uranium resources declines with time, because the highest quality resources are always mined first, for these offer the highest return on investments for the mining companies.

Declining thermodynamic quality of the resources results in an exponential rise of the specific energy and the coupled CO2 emission required to extract 1 kg of uranium from rock. At a given point the required extraction energy will equal the amount of useful energy that can be produced from 1 kg of uranium. Within the lifetime of new nuclear build uranium resources cannot be considered energy resources anymore, if the world uranium consumption remains at the present level. Meanwhile the coupled specific CO2 emission will grow as large as fossil-fuelled power.

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Is It Costing to Build Armageddon? by Bill Adamski and Jay Kvale  — Rise Up Times

“Demonstrating dramatic downsizing by way of example, both superpowers can jointly demand that the seven other nuclear states follow.”

What Is It Costing to Build Armageddon? by Bill Adamski and Jay Kvale  — Rise Up Times

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison’s climate and Covid19 policy: It’s not a race — RenewEconomy

Scott Morrison’s defining failure as prime minister is his inability to treat any crisis as urgent. That has caused failure for climate and Covid. The post Scott Morrison’s climate and Covid19 policy: It’s not a race appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Scott Morrison’s climate and Covid19 policy: It’s not a race — RenewEconomy

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment