Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear Waste Plans Under the Spotlight at Port Augusta forum

radioactive trash Moves to dump national and international radioactive waste in South Australia will come under the spotlight when the Exposure 2016 community expo kicks off this weekend in Port Augusta. Exposure 2016 will explore the two nuclear waste dump threats currently facing South Australia. In April the federal government selected Wallerberdina near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges as a possible site for a national low and intermediate level radioactive waste dump. In May the SA nuclear Royal Commission recommended that developing a high level international waste dump be “pursued as soon as possible”. The SA government is consulting with communities and will make a formal response before the end of the year.

The event will open on Friday night with the ‘Talking Straight Out Exhibition’ where senior desert women contested a nuclear waste dump proposal that was scrapped in 2004. Mrs Emily Austin, one of the few remaining women involved will be atExposure 2016 “We stopped it before – the Kungka Tjutas – and now they are going to start it again. They don’t listen – it’s not for playing around with. Some people say it’s not poison, but we know it is.”

Exposure 2016 will also feature a range of experts traveling from around Australia to share views and information. Dr Margaret Beavis from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War is keen to talk with the community about the proposed national waste dump at Wallerberdina. “At the Flinders Ranges site a false link with nuclear medicine has been used to put pressure on communities and much of the information has been incorrect or incomplete. Genuine community consultation and consent demands that you have to provide accurate information.”


Other keynote speakers include Mark Ogge, Principal Adviser at the Australia Institute, authors of the recent ‘Digging for Answers’ report. This report was a scathing critical analysis of the economics of the Royal Commission’s plan to import high level nuclear waste. “The plan for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia is designed to help the global nuclear industry secure lower cost finance but it is of no benefit to South Australia. It would unreasonably require SA to take on a huge risk and liability”.


There is growing concern about a range of negative environmental, cultural and economic impacts linked to radioactive waste dumping plans.


“Governments cannot guarantee regional South Australians that nuclear waste can be stored safely without catastrophic implications to our ancient underground aquifers,” said Flinders Run winemaker Emanuel Skorpos. “These aquifers stretch from the far west to the far east of northern SA. Pastoralists and horticulturalists rely on these aquifers for stock water and irrigation to run their businesses. There is too much at risk and the risks outweigh any speculative financial gain a nuclear waste import industry may bring. Regional farming families are increasingly saying No to a nuclear waste industry in South Australia!”


The weekend will include speakers, workshops, stalls, displays, art and media installations. Exposure 2016 is a free event. A full program is available here.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Secret forum – for the Nuclear Royal Commission to indoctrinate kids?

secret-agent-AustThe South Australian government is going to a lot of trouble to set up a forum for 160 students and 60 teachers to hear  a presentation from the former Nuclear Royal commissioner, Kevin Scarce, and the Chief Executive of the Nuclear Consultation and Response Agency, to tell them all about the plan for South Australia to import foreign nuclear waste.
They are also to hear from “a range of experts”.
It is very concerning that this plan is so secretive. Neither the time nor the place of this forum has been divulged, nor any details about the experts presenting the information.
The reason for this secrecy has been given as safety concerns, following anti nuclear protests in June. The agency’ s director of engagement, John Phalen , explained that “the safety of our students is our number one priority”
Are South Australia’s anti nuclear protestors actually a danger to schoolchildren?   It sounds more likely that  the government is keen to protect the children from information  that might cause them to ask difficult questions about the plan to make South Australia rich by importing foreign nuclear waste.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia must not fall for the nuclear industry’s lie about climate change – theme for September 16

The global nuclear lobby’s current favourite lie is the one about climate change

pyramid of lies

Australia will be greatly impacted by climate change, yet Australia is an international pariah when it comes to acting to stop climate change.

Compounding this problem is the global nuclear lobby’s push to make Australia the key player in  a new ‘nuclear renaissance’. The plan is to encourage South Asian nations to set up nuclear power, with South Australia as their toilet for nuclear wastes.

The last thing that we need is to direct money and energy to the nuclear industry, and away from renewable energy and energy efficiency.


August 31, 2016 Posted by | Christina themes, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Walk Against Nuclear Waste Importation protestors speak out at Willunga, Adelaide

text-NoFleurieu protesters stand against nuclear storage | VIDEO, The Times On The Coast, 30 Aug 16    “Nuclear waste, what a disgrace,” was chanted loud and clear by more than 100 participants in the Walk Against Nuclear Waste Importation as they gathered on the steps of the Willunga Hub on August 24.

Inside was a consultation team who welcomed the walkers with feedback forms and Know Nuclear information packs, taking an opportunity to inform the community about what the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission recommendation on storing international radioactive waste meant.

“The proposal before us is an economic one: $5.5 billion per annum, $445 billion over the life of the facility,” said John Phalen, Director, Engagement, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency.

“What we are asking people to do is examine the opportunity,” he said……..

Willinga, Strathalbyn and Victor Harbor among the 100 selected sites for Know Nuclear representatives to talk to local communities.

“I don’t think nuclear dumping is good for our environment or our future,” said Jeffrey Simmons.  “Especially when we take it from other parts of the world.”

Sherilee Williams agreed. She said she had a deep respect for the land and its traditional owners since walking from central Australia’s Dingo Fence to Mount Compass a few years ago. “They (the state government) are thinking South Australia’s desert is a wasteland but it’s a sacred place; it’s a place of healing,” she said………

Community consultation runs until October. Feedback forms are available

Living in a radioactive environment Boris Sopotsko from Hallett Cove grew up in St Petersburg, Russia, 40 kilometres from a nuclear power plant and remembers as a child being taught where to run, where to hide, and what to eat after an explosion or leak.

“I hate the idea so much,” he said, referring to an international nuclear waste storage facility proposed for South Australia. “It makes me feel ill. “I remember our school had a gas mask for every single student and an under ground shelter; a nuclear bomb shelter. “The walls had posters showing us how to check which way the wind was blowing and what to do to avoid contaminated rains. “We were well trained, but that doesn’t mean we’d survive.”

Mr Sopotsko feared for the state’s future and said he actively opposed the importing, storing and burying of international nuclear waste in South Australia.

“Nuclear waste from all over the world is clearly a concern, especially when shipping in high seas,” he said. He said transporting the material on roads and rail posed a safety risk: “you freeze with dread at the sight,” he remembers.

Storing the waste above ground was also a concern. “We live in a time when the West has enemies,” he said. “This would be an easy target.”

Underground storage poses a contamination risk to soil and water. “Germany’s waste deposit in Lower Saxony has experienced an underground radioactive leak and people’s resistance against further storage is very strong……..

August 31, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear bombs set off the Anthropocene epoch

Nuclear bombs transformed the planet and set off the Age of Humans, geologists say, WP By Sarah Kaplan August 29 16, Around 1950, as atomic bombs fell on empty deserts, crowded cities and island atolls; as highways carved concrete paths across the planet; as populations exploded; as consumption skyrocketed; and as the average global temperature began its dangerous upward creep in earnest, Earth entered the epoch of humans.


Or at least, that’s the consensus of the Working Group on the Anthropocene, the team of 35 scientists tasked with figuring out whether humans have left enough of a mark on this planet to qualify for our own unit of geological time.

In January, the working group published a paper in the journal Science arguing that the Anthropocene is a “functionally and stratigraphically distinct” unit of geologic time. In other words, the planet has been altered so thoroughly by human presence that the changes are permanently inscribed in the rock record, much as scientists can still see evidence of the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs.

anthropocene 1

Monday, members of the group presented their findings at the annual International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa…….

August 31, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Federal govt slashes safety checks at Ranger uranium mine

ERA, controlled by Rio Tinto, stopped mining new ore in 2012. Since then, it has been extracting ore – totalling about 2000 tonnes a year – from tailings at a rate that leaves 999 tonnes of waste for every uranium tonne produced.

Under federal statutes, the millions of tonnes of waste rock and billions of litres of water must be stored so “radiological material is separated from the environment for 10,000 years”, Mr O’Brien said.

“All that contaminated matter … all the buildings, the mill, the power plant, all the machinery, all the trucks – everything – has to be put into pits.”

Ranger mine 16

Lone Ranger: Kakadu uranium miner faces fewer safety checks, The Age, Peter Hannam, 30 Aug 16   The controversial Ranger uranium mine in the Top End has had its independent government oversight depleted just years before its closure in a move the local Aboriginal organisation describes as “absurd”.

Since December, the Supervising Scientist Branch – the agency under the federal environment department enforcing standards at the giant mine – has halted atmospheric testing of radon and other radioactive dust from the project owned by Energy Resources of Australia.

Neither has the SSB’s environmental research institute – known as ERISS – tested a range of foods including fish and wallaby eaten by the nearby traditional owners, the Mirarr people, since 2011, according to one insider.   Continue reading

August 31, 2016 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Uranium miner ERA forced to slash its assets value

burial.uranium-industryEnergy Resources of Australia slashes asset values, The Age, Brian Robins 30 Aug 16  Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia has been forced to slash the value of its assets by $161 million, almost equal to the company’s remaining sharemarket value.

With its controversial Ranger mine, which is surrounded by the Kakadu National Park, scheduled to close within five years, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had questioned the way ERA valued its assets in its December 31, 2015 financial report.

The miner had now conceded that the value at which it carried the Ranger mine assets in its books “exceeded fair value”, ASIC said in a statement on Tuesday.

ERA pointed to weakness in the uranium oxide price at a time when the mine had only a five-year life left, without an extension of its authority to mine, as reasons for booking the impairment.

The write-down compares with ERA’s sharemarket worth of just $173 million, which signals deep-seated investor pessimism over its prospects in light of the traditional land owners’ opposition to extending the operation of the mine.

In the June half, ERA lost $35.2 million, which blew out to $196.5 million following the write-down. Revenue slipped to $170.5 million from $185.8 million due to the weak uranium price……..

ASIC had queried the company’s use of a single discount rate when valuing its assets. ERA has agreed to use different valuation techniques for the mining and rehabilitation of the site, for example.

ERA’s biggest single asset is its accumulated losses, which now total $822.8 million and tower over the value of its dwindling equity of $273.4 million.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Turnbull govt attacks renewable energy, plans to gut Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

Turnbull destroys renewablesThe sun will set on solar if the Australian Renewable Energy Agency is gutted, The Age, Andrew Blakers and Richard Corkish, 30 Aug 16 

The federal government plans to strip the Australian Renewable Energy Agency of most of its funding, as well as its ability to give grants now that Parliament has resumed. Remarkably, the ALP, which established ARENA when in government, may allow this to happen. This is an existential threat to renewable energy research, innovation and education in Australia.


The solar photovoltaic industry is big business. It now makes up a quarter of all new electricity generation capacity installed each year across the world, and it’s growing at 20 to 30 per cent a year. Together, solar and wind energy make up half of all new generation capacity installed globally and all new generation capacity installed in Australia. A renewable energy revolution is in progress, and Australia is at the forefront. Gutting ARENA directly threatens our leadership position.

Our economy has benefited to the tune of billions of dollars in the form of dramatically reduced solar system costs, increased renewable energy business activity, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, royalties, shares and international student fees.

To provide just one example, the Australian-developed PERC solar cell now has annual sales of $9 billion and is forecast to dominate the worldwide solar industry. Further, gains in energy efficiency made possible by this technology are forecast to save our country $750 million in electricity generation costs over the next decade……..

If ARENA is cut, then hundreds of people will lose their jobs within two years. That is the cold reality. This includes researchers, PhD positions and industry leaders. Our brightest minds will be forced to either leave the field, or leave Australia in favour of other parts of the world where solar research is still valued.

In the longer term, Australia’s leadership in solar energy will vanish. As support for research and innovation dwindles, later-stage commercialisation will also start to dry up. This won’t be a temporary loss, but a long-lasting extinction as we lose the research groups that underpin the very education and training of future Australian engineers and scientists.

This would be completely at odds with the federal government’s innovation agenda, as well as its commitment at the UN climate change conference in Paris to double clean energy research and development by 2020…….

August 31, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Australian govt’s environment and energy committee chaired by climate sceptic

Map Turnbull climateClimate sceptic MP appointed chair of environment and energy committee
Liberal Craig Kelly will lead backbench committee that provides advice and feedback on legislation and policies,
Guardian, , 29 Aug 16, The climate sceptic Liberal MP Craig Kelly has been appointed chairman of the backbench environment and energy committee, with National party MP Kevin Hogan as secretary.

The committee will provide feedback on legislation and policies relating to the environment and energy, including to the minister, Josh Frydenberg.

Kelly served on the committee during the last parliament and previously invited climate sceptics to “balance” a presentation given by top climate scientists…….

August 31, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

The Anthropocene epoch is upon us

anthropceneThe Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age Experts say human impact on Earth so profound that Holocene must give way to epoch defined by nuclear tests, plastic pollution and domesticated chicken, Guardian, , 29 Aug 16, Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – needs to be declared, according to an official expert group who presented the recommendation to the International Geological Congress in Cape Town on Monday.

The new epoch should begin about 1950, the experts said, and was likely to be defined by the radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear bomb tests, although an array of other signals, including plastic pollution, soot from power stations, concrete, and even the bones left by the global proliferation of the domestic chicken were now under consideration.

The current epoch, the Holocene, is the 12,000 years of stable climate since the last ice age during which all human civilisation developed. But the striking acceleration since the mid-20th century of carbon dioxide emissions and sea level rise, the global mass extinction of species, and the transformation of land by deforestation and development mark the end of that slice of geological time, the experts argue. The Earth is so profoundly changed that the Holocene must give way to the Anthropocene……… Continue reading

August 31, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victorian govt to ban unconventional gas exploration – fracking and CSG extraction

Victoria-sunny.psdVictorian unconventional gas exploration ban to end fracking and CSG extraction, ABC News, 30 Aug 16  The Victorian Government is introducing legislation to permanently ban exploration and development of unconventional gas in the state, including coal seam gas and fracking.

Key points:

  • Legislation will permanently ban development, production of all unconventional gas in Victoria
  • Moratorium on conventional gas extraction to be extended until 2020
  • Government says ban will protect Victoria’s agriculture sector

The legislation — the first of its kind in Australia — will be introduced into State Parliament later this year.

Premier Daniel Andrew said the ban would protect the reputation of Victoria’s agriculture sector and alleviate farmers’ concerns about environmental and health risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

“We’ve listened to the community and we’re making a decision that puts farmers and our clean, green brand first,” he said.

The legislation will also extend the moratorium on conventional onshore gas until 2020, but offshore gas exploration and development will continue.

The Government said the decision, which responds to a parliamentary inquiry, acknowledged the risks involved outweighed any potential benefits……..

August 31, 2016 Posted by | environment, politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Liberal Chairman of Coalition’s environment policy committee a proud climate sceptic, suggests nuclear power

Coalition environment committee chairman takes aim at solar subsidies Craig Kelly says he wants wind and solar funding to be redirected to research into ‘technological breakthroughs’ because existing renewables had ‘little effect’, Guardian, , 31 Aug 16, The Liberal chairman of the Coalition’s environment policy committee, Craig Kelly, has questioned solar and wind power subsidies and would like a cost-benefit analysis of future emission reductions policy, due to be reviewed next year.

Kelly was named chairman of the environment and energy committee at the party room meeting on Monday, making him responsible for coordinating backbench feedback to the government on climate and energy policy.

Lomborg, BjornHe said he was proud to be a climate sceptic rather than “wallow in groupthink, to be a sheep, or a lemming”. Kelly described himself as in the “Bjorn Lomborg” camp, suggesting wind and solar funding should be channelled into “further research” because those current renewables like wind and solar power had “diminishing returns”………

Kelly said in considering the price of power, the option of nuclear power should be considered……..

August 31, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, solar | Leave a comment

Turnbull’s “innovative” crippling of ARENA  

logo-ARENAANU and UNSW, Independent Australia,  30 August 2016 Following on from the destruction of the CSIRO, the Turnbull Government plans to cripple the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) funding. We have reproduced an open letter from academics at UNSW and ANU urging public support to save this vital agency.


Australia’s endangered solar research THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT plans to strip the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) of most of its funding as well as its ability to make grants.

This is an existential threat to renewable energy research, innovation and education in Australia.

After the fiasco involving CSIRO climate scientists, we now have a potential fiasco in mitigation of climate change. Remarkably, the ALP, which established ARENA when in government, may allow this to happen.

We call upon all political parties to support retention of ARENA……..,9411#.V8Ur0j5jSY0.twitter

August 31, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Geothermal power project closes in SA as technology deemed not financially viable 

ABC News, 30 Aug 16 By Tom Fedorowytsch A potential energy source in Australia is set to remain untapped, with a geothermal power project in the far north of South Australia now closed.

Energy company Geodynamics closed and remediated the sites of several test wells and generation plants in the Cooper Basin after deciding they were not financially viable.

Before the closure, the company had managed to extract super-heated water from five kilometres below the earth’s surface and use it to generate small amounts of electricity.

“The technology worked but unfortunately the cost of implementing the technology and also the cost of delivering the electricity that was produced to a market was just greater than the revenue stream that we could create,” Geodynamics chief executive Chris Murray said…….

August 31, 2016 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Japan considers scrapping fast-breeder reactor as costs mount

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

fast breeder reactor monju npp.jpg

The government is considering scrapping the troubled Monju fast-breeder reactor after calculating that readying it for restart would cost several hundred billion yen, sources said Monday.

A political decision on decommissioning the reactor is now in sight, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga joining talks to determine its fate, the sources said.

The facility in Fukui Prefecture has been beset by safety problems and has only been operational for a total of 250 days since it first went critical in 1994.

Decommissioning Monju would deal a serious blow to the nation’s vaunted fuel cycle policy, in which the reactor was designed to play a central role. The plan is to develop a commercial fast-breeder reactor that produces more plutonium than it consumes.

The science ministry has been trying to find a new entity to run the reactor, which is currently operated by the government-backed Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

The ministry…

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August 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


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