Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s nuclear waste is best managed in interim storage at Lucas Heights, with an independent review on permanent disposal.

Australian Conservation Foundation overview comments on ANSTO Iintermediate Level Waste transport, 24 Aug 21,

The movement of long lived intermediate level waste from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel via multiple (rail-ship-road) transport platforms and across half the world is a significant logistical exercise with environmental and security risks and the proponent accepts (2.10) that the planned activity is a nuclear action under the EPBC Act.

This is a matter of high public interest and elevated scrutiny is important given that ANSTO is the proponent and not a disinterested party.

ANSTO’s assurances of ‘negligible impact’, a ‘very unlikely’ impact probability and ‘high levels’ of certainty and reliability need to be assessed, not merely accepted.

The proponents commitment to public consultation (1.13) is not consistent with the clear security limitations (1.2) and further places information control with the proponent, without a wider transparency mechanism.

The 2015 shipment of waste saw controversy and allegations of deficiencies in the transport ship (see attachment). ANSTO’s assertion that this will be ‘conducted by an experienced nuclear transport logistics provider’ (1.2) requires further scrutiny and verification. A June 2021 report (see attachment) iby the UK based NFLA (Nuclear Free Local Authorities) found that: The International Maritime Organisation should consider improved regulation on shipping that is transporting nuclear materials as part of other mixed shipments. The level of accidents in this area is alarming, and the NFLA is really concerned a major accident could cause significant and dangerous implications for communities…

ANSTO is not accurate in stating that the proposed action is not part of a staged development or a component of a larger project (1.15). The Australian Radioactive Waste Management Framework (April, 2018) confirms that the Commonwealth is the only jurisdiction in which spent fuel is managed. Clearly this ILW is a key component of the federal government’s current, and contested, National Radioactive Waste Management Project and should be seen in this wider framework.

This is a complex operation with multiple variables and exposure/risk pathways that requires enhanced attention

  • ANSTO is the proponent and its assumptions need to be tested
  • The 2015 shipment was dogged with controversy around the credibility and adequacy of the transport ship and this area needs further attention
  • The planned activity is part of a wider project – the National Radioactive Waste Management Project
  • The high level of public interest and concern is best addressed through increased scrutiny and transparency
  • If this ILW transfer occurs this material should remain secured at ANSTO until a credible future management approach is agreed

The best environmental outcomes would be facilitated through enhanced assessment consistent with the environmental protection intent of the EPBC Act.  ACF strongly supports an open, wholistic and  independent review of Australia’s radioactive waste strategy.

ACF maintains that Australia’s ILW is best managed through extended interim storage at ANSTO, coupled with a dedicated options review into future management options. In the absence of a clear future management pathway there is no radiological or public health rationale for moving this ILW from a facility with high institutional control assets to a less resourced regional facility.

August 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The status of two current federal processes related to radioactive waste and the Kimba plan

(i)                  In the latest federal budget around $60 million was allocated to ANSTO explicitly to upgrade their storage capacity for ILW. This approach fully aligns with the civil society call for ILW waste to be kept in extended interim storage at Lucas Heights prior to a final decision on future management options. This allocation is the focus of a current review by parliament’s Public Works Committee (see: ). There is no fixed reporting date but the direction to the Committee is to report “as expeditiously as possible”. The Committee is likely to hold at least one public hearing and to approve the planned expenditure and works will advance.

The Australian Consewrvation Foundation will be calling for this – and any future government – to use the breathing space provided by this extra capacity as the game changing circuit breaker in the waste debate.

(ii)                         ANSTO have recently made an EPBC Act referral around its plan to bring reprocessed spent nuclear fuel waste back from the UK to Lucas Heights: Referral: EPBC 2021/8998 – Return of Australian Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste from the UK, NSW

This ILW waste would travel by road, rail and ship from the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria in a purpose built 7m long, 3m high transport and storage container. The shipment would take place between December 2021 and July 2022. ACF’s view is that this material should be stored at ANSTO pending a final management option – it should not be double-handled and moved to Kimba in the absence of an agreed further plan.

August 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Kimba nuclear waste dump consultation? WHAT CONSULTATION?

Kazzi Jai Fight to stop a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, 24 Aug 21,

Consultation? What consultation? Right from the very start the whole dump process has been a SHAM! It has been nothing but a PR exercise laced with bribe money singling out South Australia as the dump site for all of ANSTO’s Lucas Heights NSW nuclear waste over 1700 kms away!

This is nuclear waste from industrial production of nuclear isotopes the bulk of which is exported overseas!! – It has nothing to do with loved ones in hospital actually using diagnostic isotopes for which that waste is held on site at the hospital and then officially released into normal waste streams – on a “retain and decay” basis as they are licenced by ARPANSA. This practice will not change with or without a dump!


This current proposal is nothing but a cheapskate attempt by the Feds to shaft nuclear waste onto South Australia so that it solely becomes South Australia’s responsibility, liability and problem! And the proposal is for the PERMANENT DISPOSAL of LOW LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE in a TOTALLY ALL ABOVE GROUND DUMP!

This is NOT STORAGE. This means the waste is there FOREVER! Should there be leakage or contamination from the waste – too bad – since it’s for PERMANENT DISPOSAL site ANYWAY!The “temporary” tag-a-long Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste will be stored as dry storage – as “temporary” designates “dry storage”.

The “temporary” tag on it certainly has nothing to do with any commitment by the Feds to deal with it anytime going into the future! It will become STRANDED waste which again, will remain solely South Australia’s responsibility, liability and problem!

And this is slap bang in the middle of wheat fields! A place which has NO past or present history with the nuclear industry!

And to add insult to injury, ANSTO relinquishes all responsibility of the waste once it hits SA’s soil! It’s off their books and they effectively wash their hands of it – it is no longer their problem!

Now Jeff Baldock may be foolish and naive, but given he has put up THREE pieces of land for this dump, seems more to be chasing the money coming from sale of his land!

This has NOT been an “open and transparent” process by any means!

The OBVIOUS LACK OF CONSULTATION is but one part of this very FLAWED proposal- a proposal which has not changed in FORTY YEARS mind you – and needs to be scrapped and take back to the drawing board – dealing with the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste first and the Low Level Nuclear Waste can follow that – NO DOUBLE HANDLING!

August 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

White Man’s Media: Rupert Murdoch and the US Imperium- Australia is its tool

White Man’s Media: Rupert Murdoch and the US Imperium, By John Menadue|August 24, 2021, Western media, a tool of the political, military and business establishment, have played a part in the killing of millions in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, writes John Menadue. In turn, Australia’s media is a tool of this “US Imperium”. This is the first in White Man’s Media, a series to be published in Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations

Australia’s media does not just have a problem being dominated by legacy US and UK media. We have a particular problem. Its name is Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen who owns two-thirds of Australia’s metropolitan dailies, a monopoly Pay TV licence in Foxtel, and more.

News Corp was a key supporter of the unmitigated disaster which was the Iraq War. Of the 173 Murdoch papers worldwide only one, the Hobart Mercury, opposed that war, a war sometimes described as ‘the Murdoch War’. 

Murdoch told us in 2003, “I think (George W) Bush acted very morally, very correctly. US troops will soon be welcomed as liberators”. 

His Foreign Editor on The Australian Greg Sheridan could not contain himself. “The bold eagle of American power is aloft, high above the humble earth. For as it soars and sweeps it sees victory, power and opportunity”. 

Sheridan is still in his job. Murdoch prefers loyalty to competence in all those around him, including his family.

Warmongers and profiteers

In wars, Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation see “victory, power and opportunity” too. Rupert Murdoch himself is still in his job.

Even some of the legacy media apologised for their support of the illegal war in Iraq. But never Rupert Murdoch or, for that matter, former Australian prime minister John Howard.

News Corp in Australia, for well over a decade, has also led the campaign of denial on climate change. This company has become a key part of a US military/business/security complex which has exercised destructive power for generations, and is now demonising China.

As  Alex Lo wrote in August, “It has long been known that the Department of Defense in the US and other governments such as the CIA, not only support film and cable production in Hollywood but also actively intervene and manipulate their content”.

And in June, Lo described how a long list of former US security chiefs such as John Brennan and James Clapper joined US media – NBC, MSNBC and CNN.

Australian security heads have been leading the demonisation of China with help from the Five Eyes. But we get a double-whammy when our derivative media draws heavily on US legacy media that in turn is heavily influenced by former US security chiefs with their ‘expert opinions’.

This legacy media frames our view of the world, a view which we accept as almost god-given, a colonial Western media mindset with racist undertones.

We need to break free of that mindset if we are to build a secure future in our region and avoid being drawn into one folly after another by the US Imperium.

This legacy media frames our view of the world, a view which we accept as almost god-given, a colonial Western media mindset with racist undertones.

We need to break free of that mindset if we are to build a secure future in our region and avoid being drawn into one folly after another by the US Imperium.

For John Menadue’s full story, please visit Australia’s leading public policy journal Pearls and Irritations

John was once the top executive for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in Sydney. He has also served as Ambassador to Japan, chief executive of Qantas and the top political adviser to both Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam.

August 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Climate activists raided by anti-terrorist police. Their crime? chalking a sign on pavement.

Extinction Rebellion activists treated as terrorists, Chris JenkinsPerthAugust 23, 2021  Six activists accused of chalking a sign on a Perth City walkway were raided by an anti-terrorist outfit in the early hours of August 19.

The WA State Security Investigation Group searched five homes for hours before taking six people into police custody. They were charged with property damage and were fined nearly $2000 each.

Two of those people charged are relations and have been ordered not to associate until their court hearing next month.

The messages were chalked on the overpass during a protest, organised by Extinction Rebellion WA, in response to Woodside’s proposed $16 billion offshore Scarborough liquefied natural gas project.

The government has given the go ahead to an underwater pipeline connecting the gas field to Woodside’s Pluto LNG facility on the Burrup Peninsula to process the gas for export.

The messages on the overpass had symbolic value as it joins Parliament House to St Georges Terrace, headquarters of the big mining and fossil fuel companies.

Woodside says the estimated 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon emitted from the Scarborough gas project is “negligible”.

The Conservation Council of WA said it is the equivalent to emissions from 15 coal fired power plants. 

Despite community pressure on government not to approve it, Minister for Environment, Climate Action and Commerce Amber-Jade Sanderson gave it the green light, days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Code Red emergency report.

“Using an anti-terrorism unit to intimidate non-violent climate activists demonstrates the Western Australia government’s subservience to the fossil fuel and mining corporations who effectively govern the state, Petrina Harley XR activist and Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle told Green Left.

“Labor has consistently proven itself equal to the Liberals in its determination to protect and promote the interests of the billionaire carbon polluters; it Scarborough approval is just the most recent example.”

The mutual back-scratching by politicians from the two major parties and the resource sector is perhaps best illustrated by former WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt, Harley continued.

“After resigning from government prior to the March election, Wyatt soon reappeared as the newly-minted board member of both Woodside and Rio Tinto.”

Wyatt was a former treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs when Rio Tinto knowingly destroyed the sacred Juukan Gorge site in the Pilbara last year.

“Both Labor and the Coalition are committed to carbon emission trajectories that would lead to the worst case scenarios outlined in the IPCC’s report,” Harley said. 

“The deployment of the Security Investigation Group is a dangerous escalation in the criminalisation of non-violent protest,” she added. Grassroots movements, like Extinction Rebellion, need to be supported as well as the freedoms of speech and assembly Harley concluded.

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Texas lawmakers oppose high level nuclear waste coming into their State

State lawmakers again try to ban most dangerous nuclear waste as feds consider allowing it at West Texas site, failed regular session bill sought to give a financial break to a West Texas nuclear waste disposal company. Now, lawmakers have removed what opponents called a giveaway and are again trying to pass a bill to stop highly radioactive materials from coming to Texas.

BY ERIN DOUGLAS AUG. 23, 2021   After failing this spring, Texas lawmakers are again trying to ban the most dangerous type of radioactive waste from entering the state — at the same time as a nuclear waste disposal company in West Texas pursues a federal application to store the highly radioactive materials.

Environmental and consumer advocates for years have decried a proposal to build a 332-acre site in West Texas near the New Mexico border to store the riskiest type of nuclear waste: spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants, which can remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. Strong political interests in Texas, from Gov. Greg Abbott to some oil and gas companies operating in the Permian Basin, have opposed the company’s application.

But a bill that sought to ban the highly radioactive material failed during the regular legislative session that ended in May. That bill, filed by State Rep. Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, whose district includes Andrews County where the existing nuclear waste company Waste Control Specialists operates, included a big break on fees for the company. Some lawmakers also thought the previous bill’s language wasn’t strong enough to actually ban the materials.

Now, Landgraf has again filed a bill during this year’s second special session that seeks to ban the highly radioactive materials from coming to the company’s facility in his district. The House Environmental Regulation Committee on Monday passed House Bill 7, which does not include any changes to fees for the existing company, one of the key criticisms that killed the proposed legislation earlier this year.

“So in other words, this is designed to be clean and easy so that we can go on record as a state [opposing high-level nuclear waste storage],” Landgraf said.

Waste Control Specialists has been disposing of the nation’s low-level nuclear waste — including tools, building materials and protective clothing exposed to radioactivity — for a decade in Andrews County. The company, with a partner, is pursuing a federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission license to store spent nuclear fuel on a site adjacent to its existing facility.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is advancing the company’s license. In July, NRC staff recommended in an environmental review that the site be approved to take the highest level of nuclear waste. The license still needs review by the federal commissioners.

Scientists agree that spent nuclear fuel, which is currently stored at nuclear power plants, should be stored deep underground, but the U.S. still hasn’t located a suitable site. The plan by the WCS joint venture, Interim Storage Partners, proposes storing it in above-ground casks until a permanent location is found.

Landgraf’s HB 7 includes a ban on disposing of high-level radioactive waste in Texas other than former nuclear power reactors and former nuclear research and test reactors on university campuses (nuclear power plants must keep the waste generated from operations on site until a long-term disposal site is created). The bill would also bar state agencies from issuing construction, stormwater or pollution permits for facilities that are licensed to store high-level radioactive waste.

Some opponents of nuclear waste, however, say the bill doesn’t go far enough. Karen Hadden, the executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, an alliance of businesses and organizations that oppose the nuclear waste facility, is opposed to the bill because she said the ban leaves out another type of highly radioactive waste, much of it generated by the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. The material — known as “greater than Class C waste” falls into what experts call a gray area between lower-level categories of radioactive materials and spent nuclear fuel.

“We would support a single, well-written ban on spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C reactor waste,” Hadden said in an interview with the Tribune. “We question why the bill isn’t better written.”

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Albany bids to become global wave power hub with state funding boost — RenewEconomy

WA government chips in funds to help establish coast off Albany as the southern hemisphere’s first testing site for wave energy generation technology. The post Albany bids to become global wave power hub with state funding boost appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Albany bids to become global wave power hub with state funding boost — RenewEconomy

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Communities react with shock to news they are being considered as locations for nuclear waste facility

Nuclear storage plans for north of England stir up local opposition

Communities react with shock to news they are being considered as locations for underground facility, Guardian,    Tommy GreeneTue 24 Aug 2021
 The long-running battle to build an underground nuclear waste facility in the north of England has run into fresh problems, as communities reacted with shock to the news that they were being considered as locations.

The north-east port town of Hartlepool is one of the sites in the frame as a potential site for a geological disposal facility (GDF), while a former gas terminal point at Theddlethorpe, near the Lincolnshire coast, is another. Cumbria, where much of the waste is stored above ground, is also being considered.

Victoria Atkins, a government minister and the MP for Louth and Horncastle, said she was “stunned” by the prospect that her constituency could host a GDF, claiming that the Conservative-controlled Lincolnshire county council’s engagement with the government’s radioactive waste management group had been kept hidden from her.

The facility is intended to deal with the long-running problem of nuclear waste storage by providing a safe deposit for approximately 750,000 cubic metres of high-activity waste hundreds of metres underground in areas thought to have suitable geology to securely isolate the radioactive material. The waste would be solidified, packaged and placed into deep subterranean vaults. The vaults would then be backfilled and the surrounding network of tunnels and chambers sealed……….

Between 70% and 75% of the UK’s high-activity radioactive waste, which would be designated for the GDF, is stored at the Sellafield facility in west Cumbria. The sources of the waste include power generation, military, medical and civil uses.

Existing international treaties prohibit countries from exporting the waste overseas, leading some scientists to argue for underground burial that, they say, would require no further human intervention once storage is complete……………

the proposals have stirred up strong local feeling among both community leaders and residents, and accusations of secrecy have been levelled at councils and the RWM in recent weeks.

In north-east England, the political fallout generated by news of the GDF “early stage” discussions triggered the resignation of Hartlepool council’s deputy leader, Mike Young, on Tuesday evening.

“We are making huge strides in Hartlepool and across Teesside and Darlington,” the Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen, said following the decision. “And the last thing we need as we sell our region to the world is to be known as the dumping ground for the UK’s nuclear waste.”

Cumbria county council, which resisted the last efforts to site a GDF locally in 2013, has declined to take part in either of the two existing working groups, saying its involvement would give the process “a credibility it doesn’t deserve”.

There is already considerable opposition from local groups. “The vast majority of people here are horrified by the GDF,” said Jane Bright, a Mablethorpe resident and spokesperson for the Guardians of the East Coast campaign. “I should think it’s no more welcome elsewhere. But there’s a lot of pride in this area and we’ll fight this for as long as it takes.”

Marianne Birkby, a Cumbrian resident and founder of the Radiation-Free Lakeland group, said: “We’re seen as the line of least resistance here. In Cumbria, we’ve been there before with this. Now people are now trying to get their heads around it again, in the middle of a pandemic. This dump would essentially make us a sacrifice zone to the nuclear industry.”

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 23 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “When Electric Buses Make Sense, And When They Just Don’t” • Electric buses are definitely better than a diesel or natural gas bus. That’s indisputable without seriously bending the facts. The thing is, combustion buses aren’t the only competition electric buses have, and in many situations, there are even cleaner options that we […]

August 23 Energy News — geoharvey

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment