Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Frogs are smarter than we are

It’s a myth that frogs will stay in water that slowly heats, until they die.  In reality, they will try to get out, as soon as the temperature becomes uncomfortable. Right now, homo sapiens is dreaming on, in our warming world, as climate change gets to crisis stage. Computer models were showing the coming impacts of climate change: now real life events show them.

This newsletter, and websites, were intended to promote the nuclear-free movement. They still are, but (except for the threat of nuclear war), the global climate emergency is now the most pressing issue. The Guardian has this week shown how some areas are especially threatened: – in SpainBangladesh , Malawi, Norway, Brazil,  New York, Philippines.

AUSTRALIA

CLIMATE Australia’s peril: ignoring the climate ‘disaster alley’ that we are already in.   Report shows how Australia is underestimating security threats from climate change. Australia’s politicians protect the coal industry, not the Australian people.  A renewed push for climate change action .  Future jobs in Far North Queensland threatened by Adani coal mine.

NUCLEAR

Australia kicked off the Global Womens’ March To Ban The Bomb.

The Liberal-dominated Joint Standing Committee on Generation IV Nuclear Energy Framework has just recommended Australia joining this Generation IV International Forum (GIF) (aims to develop new nuclear reactors). Hardly surprising, seeing that Dr Adi Paterson of Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) had already taken it upon himself to sign up in advance. All this, with no Parliamentary discussion, no media coverage, and despite Australia’s strong laws prohibiting the nuclear industry. The Committee’s recommendations were a straight handout from ANSTO. Labor politicians on the Committee had a few wimpy complaints. Only the Greens had the guts to examine and reject the whole thing, noting the secrecy, legal prohibitions, lack of procedural fairness, uneconomic state of the nuclear industry, and ANSTO’s financial problems.

Australia’s top nuclear shill, Ben Heard, of nuclear front group Bright New World presented a paper in Moscow, to help the Russians promote nuclear power at AtomExpo.

Kimba community divided over federal nuclear waste dump plan – fairly narrow “yes” vote. Strong calls to have Kimba nuclear dump plan dumped.

Strong union opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia. Disappointment over Labor’s broken promise on uranium mining in Western Australia.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Drop in peak energy demand, as Western Australia goes for rooftop PV solar. I can’t keep up here. REneweconomy can.  And there’s more.  And more.   A Kimberley cattleman‘s powerful argument for renewable energy.

Dennis Matthews Scrutinises the Finkel Energy Report.   PM urged, by small business, to decide on Finkel report. Crikey names and shames the Liberal Neanderthals opposing Clean Energy Target.

 

June 24, 2017 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australian Greens REJECT Australia joining Generation IV Nuclear Energy Accession

Dissenting Report – Australian Greens, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young Australian Greens Senator, 
While not always supporting the outcomes, the Australian Greens have acknowledged previous JSCOT inquiries on nuclear issues for their diligence and prudence. We are disappointed on this occasion to submit a dissenting report into the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Accession. The inquiry process into the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems has been unduly rushed and lacked adequate public hearings or detailed analysis and reflection of public submissions. This is particularly disturbing given that this inquiry relates to public spending for an undefined period of time towards a technology that is prohibited in Australia.
The Australian Greens’ dissent to Report 171 (Section 4: Generation IV Nuclear Energy Accession) is based on a range of grounds, including:
The lack of transparency regarding the costs to the Australian taxpayer over an undefined period of time;
The technology that this agreement relates to is prohibited under Australian law and its promotion is inconsistent with the public and national interest;
The lack of consideration of the global energy trends away from nuclear technology;
The lack of procedural fairness in refusing adequate public hearings and consideration of public submissions;
An unjustified reliance on the submissions from the highly partisan Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). The Australian Greens note that ANSTO is not a disinterested party in this policy arena. Furthermore, ANSTO has made a number of unfounded assertions, particularly regarding the Agreement’s impact on Australia’s standing on nuclear non-proliferation.

Unchecked capacity and resourcing

The timeframe for the agreement is loosely stated as being between 10 and 40 years. Over this period there is a commitment for Australia to pledge resources and capacity at the expense of Australian taxpayers. In exchange for this undefined public expense for an undefined period of time, there is no clear public benefit – given that the technology is, properly and popularly, prohibited in this country.
Point 4.20 states that the Framework is in essence about spreading the significant costs associated with the development of Generation IV reactors. In public submissions made to JSCOT there are detailed cost estimates for individual projects that are all in the range of billions of dollars. There have been numerous delays, cost constraints and problems with the various types of reactors described as Generation IV. While some countries continue to pursue this technology, there is no clear end-game in sight and many nations are stepping away from this sector. Most Generation IV reactors only exist on paper while some others are modified plans of expensive failed projects but are still just conceptual.
It is understandable that countries who are invested in Generation IV would seek to transfer costs and inflate the potential benefits. It is unreasonable, however, for a Government agency to commit Australian resources to fund and develop this technology which is decades away from being anything more than a concept.
ANSTO submits in the National Interest Analysis that the “costs of participation in the Systems Arrangements will be borne by ANSTO from existing funds”. The Australian Greens note that in the last financial year ANSTO reported a loss of $200 million (including $156 million in subsidies). The commitment of funds and resourcing from an agency that operates with an existing deficit that is already funded by the Australian people is fiscally irresponsible and has not been investigated through the JSCOT process.
The Australian Greens maintain that there is a particular need for the rationale of any contested public expenditure to be rigorously tested. Sadly, this Committee has failed in this role.
Point 4.24 of the report states that “Australia was required to demonstrate that it could contribute to the research and development goals of the GIF” yet the inquiry process failed to establish exactly what form those contributions will take and the cost of those contributions to the Australian people.

Prohibited Technology

Point 4.39 on the question of nuclear power in Australia brushes aside the fundamental issue that the future of nuclear energy in Australia is entirely dependent on changing Commonwealth laws.
Report 171 section 4 fails to acknowledge that the technology in question is prohibited under two separate pieces of Commonwealth legislation:
Section 37J of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
Section 10 of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998.
These Acts reflect considered positions, public opinion and the environmental and economic risk associated with nuclear technology which has repeatedly proved to be dangerous and expensive. The position reflected in these laws has been repeatedly reiterated in subsequent Government reports into the technology and prospects for development in Australia. For example:
The Switkowski Report – Uranium Mining, Processing, and Nuclear Energy – opportunities for Australia? (2006)
The Australian Power Generation Technology Report – Summary (Nov 2015)
Department of Energy and Science Energy White Paper (2015)
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (South Australia) (May 2016)
These reports all arrive at the same conclusion: that there is no case to develop nuclear power in Australia, albeit for different reasons. These reasons include costs, time constraints, legal constraints, public opposition, restrictions on availability of water and other environmental factors.

Lack of Procedural Fairness and over reliance on evidence from ANSTO

ANSTO has pursued this agreement, signed the agreement, will be responsible for enacting the agreement, drove the National Interest Analysis and were the only agency invited to present at a hearing. This agency is publicly funded, has run at a deficit, and is seeking to further commit Australian resources to a technology that is not only unpopular but is prohibited under Australian legislation.
There is a wide range of experts and public interest groups who have lodged detailed submissions and requested an audience with the Committee to offer some scrutiny and balance to the highly selective view of Generation IV options presented by ANSTO.
These submissions are barely mentioned in Report 171 and additional public hearings were denied. This level secrecy and denial of procedural fairness is of grave concern and, while out of character for JSCOT, is very much in line with the secrecy synonymous with ANSTO and the wider nuclear industry.

Australia’s accessibility to nuclear technology and standing on nuclear non-proliferation

ANSTO claim in the NIA that a failure to accede “would impede Australia’s ability to remain constructively engaged in international nuclear activities and would limit our ability to forge links with international experts at a time when a significant expansion in nuclear power production is underway……. It would diminish Australia’s standing in international nuclear non-proliferation and our ability to influence international nuclear policy developments in accordance with our national economic and security interests.”
The Australian Greens understand that Australia currently pays $10 million per annum to the International Atomic Energy Agency which grants us access to the safety and regulatory fora and to publicly published research. Where there is a commercial interest in the technology this would no doubt be made available to Australia at a price – but a price not borne by the taxpayer in this crude subsidy by stealth proposed in report 171 (Section 4).
Claims that our failure to accede would somehow diminish our standing on nuclear non-proliferation are absurd. While the industry might promote Generation IV as addressing issues of nuclear non-proliferation there is little concrete evidence that it can or ever would be done. It was the same promise industry proponents made about Generation III reactors and failed to deliver.
Australia’s standing on nuclear non-proliferation is currently being diminished because this Government is actively boycotting the current UN process supported by 132 nations on negotiating a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, not because our country has not been funding research into nuclear power.
The Australian Greens fundamentally dissent from this Committee’s findings and believe that no compelling or credible case has been made to proceed with the treaty action. Rushed, limited and opaque decision making processes are a poor basis for public funding allocations in a contested policy arena.

June 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, reference | Leave a comment

Labor politicians give half-hearted support to Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems

MPs  Michael Danby, Josh Wilson ,  Susan Templeman  and Senator Jenny McAllister support the recommendation that binding treaty action be taken to enable further collaboration in relation to international research and development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems.

At the same time, they note Labor’s policy :

       Labor will [inter alia]:
 
       Prohibit the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in        Australia.
On that basis, they :
make it clear we strenuously disagree with the argument put by Mr Barry Murphy  that the Framework Agreement will provide an opportunity for Australia to develop a nuclear energy program. It does no such thing, nor should it
The labor politicians  are:
grateful for the joint submission from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and Friends of the Earth Australia (FOE), and the submission from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, both of which provide a detailed and cautionary context for the consideration and pursuit of ‘next generation’ or ‘Generation IV’ reactors… http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/CITES/Report_171/section?id=committees%2freportjnt%2f024073%2f24870

 

June 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, technology | 1 Comment

A renewed push for climate change action in Australia

Climate forces consolidate as coal backers rush for government help http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/climate-forces-consolidate-as-coal-backers-rush-for-government-help-20170623-gwx3qy.html, Mark Kenny 22 June 17 Forces on the green-energy side are positioning for a renewed climate change debate in coming months, as the Turnbull government struggles to convince internal dissenters of the need for tougher carbon reduction measures.

The nation’s preeminent advocate of strong laws against carbon emissions, the Climate Institute, will close its doors on June 30 after a dozen years in operation, and transfer its assets and intellectual property to high-profile progressive think tank the Australia Institute.

The financial terms of the new arrangement have been kept confidential.

As the recipient body, the economically-oriented Australia Institute will in turn establish a dedicated “Climate and Energy Program” with the aim of stepping up the public pressure on lawmakers to meet Australia’s obligations under the Paris Accord.

It comes as some opponents of renewable-energy subsidies have called for the government to directly finance investment in coal-fired power.

 Its final annual survey of community attitudes to climate change will be released within days. “At a time when climate sceptics are revealing themselves to be economic sceptics, it is significant that there is a coming together of a key Australian economic think tank and a leading climate organisation,” said the Australia Institute’s executive director, Ben Oquist.

“As capital increasingly seeks out clean-energy projects with a long and sustainable future, the lions of the free market have become lambs of largesse, so desperate to keep coal going they’d have taxpayers carry an unconscionable risk which is both financial and environmental” he said.

Climate Institute chairman Mark Wootton said the Australia Institute had been selected from a shortlist of strong candidates.

“Its expanded role in the climate change debate comes at a pivotal moment for policy development, economic transformation, and public expectations,” he said.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel this week told the National Press Club that investors tended to favour new projects in wind and solar over coal because they could be started small and then scaled up as demand rises. His clean energy target proposal is now mired in internal government debate as conservative MPs push for the CET model to be skewed to allow for the subsidisation of new coal generators, or old generators retro-fitted with carbon capture and storage, to qualify for partial clean energy certificates.

Under pressure to reverse rising household electricity prices – driven largely by a scarcity value on local gas – the government has announced plans to mandate reserves for domestic access ahead of export sales – even where that gas is already contracted.

That has raised eyebrows with private capital markets wary of new sovereign risks caused by changing government policy.

The government has also left open the possibility of directly financing new generation coal-fired power, given the absence of private sector investors.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

The world already in climate change, some hot spots worse than others

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots
Global warming will not affect everyone equally. Here we look at seven key regions to see how each is tackling the consequences of climate change,
Guardian, John Vidal, 23 June 17, It could have been the edge of the Sahara or even Death Valley, but it was the remains of a large orchard in the hills above the city of Murcia in southern Spain last year. The soil had broken down into fine white, lifeless sand, and a landscape of rock and dying orange and lemon trees stretched into the distance.

A long drought, the second in a few years, had devastated the harvest after city authorities had restricted water supplies and farmers were protesting in the street. It was a foretaste of what may happen if temperatures in the Mediterranean basin continue to rise and desertification grows.

All round the world, farmers, city authorities and scientists have observed changing patterns of rainfall, temperature rises and floods. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years have been recorded since 2000. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions steadily climb. Oceans are warming and glaciers, ice caps and sea ice are melting faster than expected. Meanwhile, heat and rainfall records tumble.

The evidence for the onset of climate change is compelling. But who and where is it hitting the hardest? How fast will it come to Africa, or the US? What will be its impact on tropical cities, forests or farming? On the poor, or the old? When it comes to details, much is uncertain.

Mapping the world’s climate hotspots and identifying where the impacts will be the greatest is increasingly important for governments, advocacy groups and others who need to prioritise resources, set goals and adapt to a warming world.

But lack of data and different priorities make it hard. Should scientists pinpoint the places most likely to see faster than average warming or wetter winters, or should they combine expected physical changes with countries’ vulnerability? Some hot-spot models use population data. Others seek to portray the impacts of a warming world on water resources or megacities. Global bodies want to know how climate might exacerbate natural hazards like floods and droughts. Economists want to know its impacts on resources. Charities want to know how it will affect women or the poorest.

What follows is a subjective appraisal of the seven most important climate hotspots, based on analysis of numerous scientific models and personal experience of observing climate change in a variety of places. Delta regions, semi-arid countries, and glacier- and snowpack-dependent river basins are all in the frontline. But so, too, are tropical coastal regions and some of the world’s greatest forests and cities.

Murcia, Spain………   Dhaka, Bangladesh……   Mphampha, Malawi…..Longyearbyen, Norway…..   Manaus, Brazil…..  New York, US….  Manila, Philippines…..

The bottom line

Whether it’s faster than average warming, more vulnerable than average populations, or more severe than average drought, floods and storms, it’s clear that some places are being hit harder than others by Earth’s altered climate, and so face extra urgency when it comes to adapting to a new reality.

But the bottom line is that climate hotspots intersect, and nowhere will we escape the changes taking place. What happens in the Amazon affects West Africa; the North American growing season may depend on the melting of Arctic ice; flooding in Asian cities affected by warming on the high Tibetan plateau. And urban areas ultimately depend on the countryside.

We’re all in a hot spot now.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Norway and Russia struggle to clean up decades’ accumulation of toxic Russian radioactive trash

some of the biggest dangers still lie ahead, and many of them come back to that small green train of so many years ago. An updated and safer versions of it will be hauling Andreyeva Bay’s waste south from Murmansk, but that shouldn’t belie the fact that transporting spent nuclear fuel over such distances is always dangerous.

More dangerous still is the location where the spent fuel will end up, which is one of the most radioactively contaminated spots in the world.

Decades of piled up nuclear fuel bids farewell to Andreyeva Bay http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2017-06-decades-of-piled-up-nuclear-fuel-bids-farewell-to-andreyeva-bay  Two decades ago, a green four-car train would make the rounds every few months to Russia’s snowy Kola Peninsula to cart nuclear fuel and radioactive waste more than 3000 kilometers south from the Arctic to the Ural Mountains. June 23, 2017 by Charles Digges  charles@bellona.no

Two decades ago, a green four-car train would make the rounds every few months to Russia’s snowy Kola Peninsula to cart nuclear fuel and radioactive waste more than 3000 kilometers south from the Arctic to the Ural Mountains.

At the time, the lonely rail artery was the center of a logistical and financial bottleneck that made Northwest Russia, home of the once feared Soviet nuclear fleet, a toxic dumping ground shrouded in military secrecy.

More than a hundred rusted out submarines bobbed in the icy waters at dockside, their reactors still loaded with nuclear fuel, threating to sink or worse. Further from shore and under the waves laid other submarines and nuclear waste intentionally scuttled by the navy. Still more radioactive spent fuel was piling up in storage tanks and open-air bins, on military bases and in shipyards.

One of those places was Andreyeva Bay, a run down nuclear submarine maintenance yard just 55 kilometers from the Norwegian border. Since the birth of the nuclear navy in the 1960s, the yard came to be a dumping ground for 22,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies offloaded from hundreds of submarines. Cracks in storage pools made worse by the hard Arctic freeze threatened to contaminate the Barents Sea. At one point, experts even feared the radioactive morgue might spark an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s peril: ignoring the climate ‘disaster alley’that we are already in

Australia, deep in climate change’s ‘disaster alley’, shirks its moral responsibility http://www.smh.com.au/comment/australia-deep-in-climate-changes-disaster-alley-shirks-its-moral-responsibility-20170621-gwvhs6.html Ian Dunlop, 

A government’s first responsibility is to safeguard the people and their future well-being. The ability to do this is threatened by human-induced climate change, the accelerating effects of which are driving political instability and conflict globally. Climate change poses an existential risk to humanity that, unless addressed as an emergency, will have catastrophic consequences.

In military terms, Australia and the adjacent Asia-Pacific region is considered to be “disaster alley”, where the most extreme effects are being experienced. Australia’s leaders either misunderstand or wilfully ignore these risks, which is a profound failure of imagination, far worse than that which triggered the global financial crisis in 2008. Existential risk cannot be managed with conventional, reactive, learn-from-failure techniques. We only play this game once, so we must get it right first time.

This should mean an honest, objective look at the real risks to which we are exposed, guarding especially against more extreme possibilities that would have consequences damaging beyond quantification, and which human civilisation as we know it would be lucky to survive.

Instead, the climate and energy policies that successive Australian governments adopted over the last 20 years, driven largely by ideology and corporate fossil-fuel interests, deliberately refused to acknowledge this existential threat, as the shouting match over the wholly inadequate reforms the Finkel review proposes demonstrates too well. There is overwhelming evidence that we have badly underestimated both the speed and extent of climate change’s effects. In such circumstances, to ignore this threat is a fundamental breach of the responsibility that the community entrusts to political, bureaucratic and corporate leaders. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Even the USA agrees to UN Human Rights Council on the humanitarian impacts of climate change

US joins UN resolution to protect human rights from climate change http://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/06/23/us-joins-global-resolution-protect-human-rights-climate-change/  The US said climate change had “a range of implications for the effective enjoyment of human rights”, in a departure from recent diplomacy and Trump’s rhetoric By Sébastien Duyck

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution that calls for the protection of human rights from the impacts of climate change, with the support of the US. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear regulator urges background checks for students and researchers at nuclear research reactors

In today’s atmosphere of terrorism fears, should Australia be conducting background checks on students and researchers at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor?

NRA urging background checks on students using Japan’s research reactors, Japan Times, 23 June 17  KYODO Japan’s nuclear regulator has urged universities to conduct background checks on students and researchers working at research reactors, as a step to ensure the proper handling of nuclear materials and prevent terrorism, a source said Thursday.

The check items include mental disorder and criminal records and those who have access to strictly controlled nuclear material storage areas at research reactors owned by universities will be subject to the new rule.

But the decision will likely raise concerns about privacy and human rights, legal experts say. University officials are concerned that the inquiries could also discourage students from becoming researchers in the nuclear industry.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority’s request comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency recommended the Japanese government conduct background checks on workers at nuclear power plants and those involved in decommissioning work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Based on the recommendation, the nuclear safety watchdog decided last year to conduct background checks on workers at nuclear plants. Plant operators plan to start the checks as early as this fall.

A total of 17 check items also include students’ and researchers’ names, nationalities, employment history and addiction to alcohol, the source said……..http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/23/national/nra-urging-background-checks-students-using-japans-research-reactors/#.WU14LpKGPGg

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More renewable energy stories from Giles Parkinson and REneweconomy team

  • IPART bumps up benchmark range for NSW solar tariffs
    Regulator further lifts benchmark for NSW solar tariffs – well above AGL’s proposed tariff – but rejects notion rooftop solar and storage have network benefits.
  • $9 million to begin hydrogen roadmap
    The South Australian Government is continuing to support the transition to a low- carbon economy through a $9 million commitment to begin hydrogen roadmap.
  • NSW follows Victoria, South Australia in major push to demand management
    Households and businesses in NSW will get paid for reducing loads during critical peaks, as governments and institutions decide to circumvent objections by fossil fuel lobby with smarter, cleaner and cheaper alternatives.
    $53.8 million will be invested for a series of major projects at Stanwell Power Station west of Rockhampton, over the next year.
  • Inertia in power system: We don’t actually need that much
    We don’t need as much inertia in the power system as many think, and with a few simple changes we won’t need to mandate inertia limits either. Here’s why.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Today’s renewable energy news: Queensland, S Australia, NT, WA

Queensland
Birdsville geothermal plant to finally get major upgrade
Australia’s only geothermal power supply is to finally get its long awaited upgrade.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/birdsville-geothermal-plant-finally-get-major-upgrade-30440/ 
 
South Australia
Fast-track to a low-carbon highway
ADELAIDE is set to become home to six hydrogen-fuelled buses as part of a $9 million commitment that the State Government hopes will achieve its goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/fasttrack-to-a-lowcarbon-highway-as-state-government-announces-hydrogen-bus-trial/news-story/dfd9e5905c36a39209c29be422a0ae97

Northern Territory
Battery storage “gigafactory” planned for Darwin for 2018 
Energy Renaissance, backed by engineering group UGL, plans a gigawatt-scale battery storage factory in Darwin, that it says will begin production in late 2018.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/battery-storage-gigafactory-planned-darwin-2018/

Western Australia
‘Death spiral’ for power grid after price rise, critic warns
The West Australian Government’s decision to almost double the fixed supply charge for electricity in a bid to boost ailing state coffers could see households seek cheaper alternatives and send the state’s grid into a death spiral, a sustainability expert says.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-23/electricity-fee-hike-could-send-power-grid-into-death-spiral/8644258

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Plutonium in workers’ urine at Oarai Research and Development Center

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

plutonium oarai 20 juin 2017.jpg

Traces of plutonium in workers’ urine

Doctors say extremely small quantities of radioactive substances have been detected in the urine of 5 workers who were accidentally exposed to the materials early this month at a research facility north of Tokyo.

The incident took place on June 6th at a facility of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency in Oarai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture. The workers were inspecting a nuclear fuel container when a bag inside suddenly burst, expelling radioactive powder.

The agency initially said as much as 22,000 becquerels of plutonium-239 were detected in the lungs of one of the workers. But they were discharged from hospital by Tuesday of last week after repeated examinations at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences detected no plutonium in their lungs.

On Monday, the institute said checks of the 5 workers’ urine later revealed extremely small amounts of plutonium and other radioactive materials.

It says…

View original post 800 more words

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kimba community divided over federal nuclear waste dump plan – fairly narrow “yes” vote

Kimba votes yes to radioactive waste dump in Eyre Peninsula http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/kimba-votes-yes-to-radioactive-waste-dump-in-eyre-peninsula/news-story/96ca27ddaa0f67519b60a366584156bc, Polly Haynes, The Advertiser, June 22, 2017 

 RESIDENTS of Kimba have voted in favour of building a radioactive waste dump in their Eyre Peninsula district. Posted on the council’s website, the interim results for the postal ballot on the National Radioactive Waste Management Project show 698 ballot papers were received by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Of those, 396 voted for and 294 voted against, while eight ballot papers were informal votes.

The Federal Government is considering two properties near Kimba, in addition to a previously short-listed block of land at Barndioota, near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges.

In March, the Kimba Council called in the Australian Electoral Commission to run a postal vote of the 1100-strong community on the options. At the time, Mayor Dean Johnson said he believed there was strong support in the community for the two local sites to be formally considered. This morning he said: “The numbers are what they are… in the end the people have voted.”

However, a group opposing the dump — No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA — said the results of the vote showed the community was still divided.

“There has been no shift in community sentiment over the past two years,” a statement said. “Despite the Working for Kimba’s future group’s claims of a large swing toward support … results from three rounds of consultation and surveying show sentiments much the same as previously recorded.”

“This last consultation has resulted in a waste of government time, money and resources. Not to mention unnecessary pressure and stress on our already fractured community.”

The Federal Government is expected to make a decision early next year on the location for the centre, which will host radioactive waste currently held at sites around Australia.

The centre will initially store low and medium-level waste before a second purpose-built centre is opened for the medium-level waste.

Opponents of the waste dump say Australia’s radioactive waste should be centrally stored at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor campus in Sydney.

Conservation and anti-nuclear groups have petitioned the Federal Government to scrap any plans for a dump at Kimba.

The groups, including Conservation SA, Friends of the Earth and the Australian Conservation Foundation have lodged a submission with the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science calling on the government to abandon any plans for a dump at Kimba.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Jim Green says the process to find a dump site had been flawed and divisive.

“The Federal Government has consistently misled Kimba residents about its intentions. Residents have been repeatedly told that the above-ground store for long-lived intermediate-level waste (including spent nuclear fuel reprocessing waste) would hold waste for ‘several decades’ until a deep underground disposal facility is available,” Mr Green said.

“But in fact, several documents from the national regulator ARPANSA indicate long-term storage for 100 years or more. Moreover the Federal Government has no idea what sort of deep underground disposal facility might be built, where or when it might be built, and ‒ incredibly ‒ the Federal Government is doing next to nothing to progress the matter.”

 Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney said radioactive waste was a national issue that demanded the highest level of inclusion and scrutiny.

“All Australians have a right to be involved to help make sure that this difficult issue is given the best possible consideration,” he said. “What is planned is a national radioactive waste facility so while local community consultation is useful, an evidence based, national conversation is essential.”

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Strong union opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia

Union ‘showdown’ looming over U-deal, West Australian , , 21 June 2017, One of WA Labor’s most influential unions is promising a “showdown” at the party’s State conference over Mark McGowan’s decision to allow a raft of uranium mining projects to go ahead.

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union State secretary Steve McCartney yesterday condemned as “weak” and “disappointing” the Government’s announcement it would not block four uranium mining proposals.

The projects — Cameco’s Yeelirrie and Kintyre, Toro Energy’s Wiluna extension and Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock — were all granted environmental approval by the previous government.

Mr McCartney vowed the AMWU would draw up a motion against the decision for Labor’s State conference in August, the key policy-setting body for the party. He said it was unacceptable the Government would allow the exploitation of radioactive material and the union would be seeking to “support and stiffen” the party’s anti-uranium position.

“The last thing we want is to be the glowing State,” Mr McCartney said.

“We have the strongest policy in the country and we believe the general feedback and phone calls we’re getting is that there will be a showdown at conference about it.

“I know that people are very upset about the fact that we’re going to be out there saying ‘Hello, you can dig up uranium’.”

The warning from the AMWU came as the Conservation Council of WA flagged a court challenge to the validity of the four projects’ environmental approvals.

Conservation Council nuclear campaigner Mia Pepper said the group was “looking at all legal avenues and options”…..https://thewest.com.au/politics/state-politics/union-showdown-looming-over-u-deal-ng-b88513503z

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

# uranium mining companies in Western Australia could lose their licences

Uranium mining ultimatum in Western Australia sparks nuclear debate,  Xinhua Song Lifang, SYDNEY, June 22) — A nuclear debate is heating up in Western Australia on Thursday, after the state government informed three uranium mining companies that their approval licenses will expire if their sites are not operational within five years.

The newly formed State Government’s clarification on its policy has followed on from an election promise to ban uranium mining in the State for environmental concerns.

But prior to their victory in the vote, under the former State Government, three companies at four separate sites were given the go ahead to develop projects.

Vulnerable to legal action from the operators, the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, on Wednesday told local media, “everyone knows our position is we are not very happy about these approvals, so the mining companies need to be aware that they have a potential deadline heading at them in five years from now.”

“Bear in mind five years is a long time, I mean they’ve already had eight years of getting a project approved and another five years to develop it, that’s a pretty reasonable length of time for them to get a project up,” McGowan said.

“If they can’t do that, then that’s not our problem, that’s their problem.”

In response to the ultimatum, chief executive of Vimy Resources, Mike Young, said, “We’re confident that we will start substantive works before 2021.” And Toro Energy general manager, Andrew Worland, stated, “Their policy statement is not surprising to us.”

The main reason for the delay in getting the mine-sites up and running has been due to the historically low trading price of the commodity……. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/22/c_136386192.htm

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment