Australian news, and some related international items

Letter to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), dispelling its deceptions about nuclear medicine and nuclear wastes.

To Mr  Shaun Jenkinson , Chief Executive Officer , Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, 31 Mar 23

Dear Shaun Jenkinson 

While I should be congratulating the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) on the occasion of its seventieth anniversary I cannot agree with its euphemistic contention that Australia punches above its weight in the international nuclear arena

You know well enough that this is far from the truth in the eyes of many leading experts internationally in all aspects of nuclear science and technology and which is particularly confirmed by various circumstances involving ANSTO in the past few years

This situation relates to the very existence and necessity of ANSTO and no degree of membership of various global committees by its staff can justify the claim that Australia holds its own (presumably through ANSTO) on the international stage among the leading nuclear nations of the world BECAUSE IT SIMPLY DOES NOT

The prime examples of this are the completely misleading contentions by ANSTO as to its its leadership in the production of nuclear medicine and its continued operational problems at Lucas Heights

While you have claimed that the production of nuclear medicine by ANSTO  represents 80% of its undertaking the fact is that it relates to reactor generated medicine from which the medical profession worldwide is turning away due to its inherent and dangerous nature

In fact the better medical opinion internationally is that reactor generated nuclear medicine will ultimately be completely replaced by other means of diagnostic and curative treatment based on which a large part of the purpose of  ANSTO would be lost

This fact could be readily verified if you and the federal government on your advice allowed a proper independent and internationally based review of the production of nuclear medicine by ANSTO which of course as a comprehensive business case would completely destroy a large part of its commercial undertaking 

As far as the operations at Lucas Heights are concerned it is incredible how many times the nuclear reactor breaks down and has to cease its activity and also the number of leakages and mishandling of nuclear material all of which   ANSTO hides from public scrutiny but is well-known overseas

However perhaps the most damaging fact to the reputation of  ANSTO has been its inapt handling of the proposed but completely unsuitable nuclear waste management facility at Kimba in South Australia which through international peer group pressure will never see the light of day

Although it appears that it has now passed on its functions for Kimba to another entity yet to be legislated ANSTO had previously and seemingly wilfully ignored all of the major and necessary prescriptions of the  International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) relating to the development of a nuclear installation including principally the lack of a proper safety case from the outset of  its intentions 

This is viewed internationally as a major breach of human rights and is a devastating blow to the self-proclaimed qualifications of ANSTO internationally

That is why no degree of membership in many instance of not highly relevant  international committees for Australia can overcome these major failings by ANSTO

You are no doubt still sticking voodoo pins into me over my exposure of ANSTO by the Senate estimates committee hearing in October 2020 relating to the mistruths – in fact open lies –  about the dismissal of its previous chief executive and the underhanded payments to China for the development of small nuclear power generating reactors for local use to which no proper answers have yet been provided

It gave me no pleasure to have to expose these situations and as I have previously told you that in a normal commercial context they would have been tantamount to corporate criminality

Instead of its unrealistic claims of international standing and self appraisement ANSTO would gain far more respect if it addressed these circumstances and heeded external advice and guidance 

While the federal government would find it most unpalatable if it were to reduce ANSTO to its true operational and useful existence based on properly justified scientific and commercial reasons rather than involvement in somewhat meaningless committees which have little national relevance this  may be necessary for Australia to gain the international respect it so badly seeks


Peter Remta


April 2, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster

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