Australian news, and some related international items

Australia dodged a bullet in not getting nuclear power – Ian Lowe

An obvious conclusion flows from the Fox Report’s 1976 comment about a lack of objectivity. We are not objective observers of the world: we all see reality through the lenses of our values and our experience. We all have a tendency to see what we would like to see…….

The probability that any person will be favourably disposed to the idea of nuclear power can be predicted from their values and from their view of the sort of future they would like to see. Fellows of the Academy of Technology and Engineering tend to favour a high-tech future, while conservationists are much more likely to favour small-­scale local supply systems.

This is a reminder that the future is not somewhere we are going, but something we are creating. From my perspective, nuclear power now looks like an intractable problem we were just lucky to avoid. Most developed nations have nuclear power stations with mountains of accumulated waste, for which there is no effective permanent solution. The urgent task of moving to clean energy supply, mostly from solar and wind, is made more difficult when resources have been sunk into the nuclear power industry. I believe we dodged a bullet.

A long half-­life,  Nuclear energy in Australia,
Griffith Review,by Ian Lowe, March 21, ON MY DESK there sits a well-­thumbed copy of the 1976 Fox Report, the first report of the Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry. I grew up in New South Wales, where most electricity came from coal-­fired power stations, but miners were often killed or injured and the air pollution from burning coal was obvious. So as a young scientist I was attracted to the idea of replacing our dirty and dangerous coal-­fired electricity with nuclear power.
That report changed my thinking. And the sight of it is a reminder that while Australia has a very long history of involvement in nuclear issues, it’s one of the few advanced countries that does not have nuclear power stations. It would now be very difficult to make a rational case for taking that step, but a small group of pro-­nuclear enthusiasts continues to urge greater Australian involvement in the so-­called nuclear fuel cycle.
I want to summarise the history of this enthusiasm and use it to explore the continuing interest in that deeper involvement – because nuclear issues have always been intensely political. In practice, debates about nuclear energy are essentially arguments about what sort of future we want.

Continue reading

March 4, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference | Leave a comment

Transnational Memory and the Fukushima Disaster: Memories of Japan in Australian Anti-nuclear Activism

Transnational Memory and the Fukushima Disaster: Memories of Japan in Australian Anti-nuclear Activism

Alexander Brown, Jan 28, 2021


This paper argues for the importance of transnational memories in framing Australian anti-nuclear activism after the Fukushima disaster. Japan looms large in the transnational nuclear imaginary.

Commemorating Hiroshima as the site of the first wartime use of nuclear weapons has been a long-standing practice in the Australian anti-nuclear movement and the day has been linked to a variety of issues including weapons and uranium mining.

As Australia began exporting uranium to Japan in the 1970s, Australia-Japan relations took on a new meaning for the Indigenous Traditional Owners from whose land uranium was extracted.

After Fukushima, these complex transnational memories formed the basis for an orientation towards Japan by Indigenous land rights activists and for the anti-nuclear movement as a whole.

This paper argues that despite tenuous organizational links between the two countries, transnational memories drove Australian anti-nuclear activists to seek connections with Japan after the Fukushima disaster. The mobilisation of these collective memories helps us to understand how transnational social movements evolve and how they construct globalisation from below in the Asia-Pacific region.fic region.

March 4, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s purchase of vastly expensive French nuclear-powered submarine design, adapted to diesel, now to be scrapped?

These submarine designs were adapted from the French nuclear submarines. I thought, at the time, that they were chosen in preference to the more suitable, and more affordable German design, under the pressure of the nuclear lobby. Presumably, it would be practical to later adapt these submarines to be nuclear-powered.

March 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Many people, both inside and outside Kimba, want a judicial review of the government’s nuclear waste dump decision

Commenting on the opinion piece: They have let it come: now build it  InDaily 

I respect the right of Sean Edwards to express his opinion. However, he makes a number of factual errors which should be corrected.

I will address one: ‘The people of Kimba don’t want judicial review’.

I personally know people from Kimba who do want judicial review.

Furthermore, many outside the Kimba region want judicial review, hence the widespread objection to the proposed amendment. – Andrew Williams

March 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Australian Strategic Policy Institute – a stooge for weapons industries and China-haters

March 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A new motley crew of Australian politicians form “Friends of Nuclear”

Reporter Rosie Lewis, writing in THE AUSTRALIAN (25/12/21) recorded, with that  paper’s usual pro nuclear joy and delight, that 21 Australian politicians have signed up to this group.  They named only 9 of these MPs, a motley crew indeed, of minor party members, and 5 Labor Party ones.

It gets confusing, as Labor has a clear policy of prohibiting nuclear technology, ( excluding the Lucas Heights Opal reactor). But then, sabotage of Labor policies is not a new thing for Joel Fitzgibbon.  He opposes Labor’s climate policy  (which is strange, as nuclear’s big push is about purporting to combat climate change)

However, you can bet that the remaining 12 ‘nuclear friends’ would be Liberals and Nationals.

Meanwhile, the 9 mentioned have an  odd assortment of views on energy – some support renewable energy, some oppose. There’s some scepticism on climate change, where you’d expect nuclear being touted as the solution. And Pauline Hanson is on record as opposing the nuclear lobby’s plan for a nuclear waste dump at Kimba, South Australia.

“Dr Gillespie and Senator Gallacher said their priority was on educating other MPs — particularly within Labor — about nuclear energy.”  “We can introduce the best scientific minds into our parliamentary friendship group and bring them to Canberra.”

Of course, those “best scientific minds” will come from “Australia’s ­Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and other government and industry bodies”  which function primarily as nuclear promoters, anyway.   I don’t think they’ll be inviting Dr Helen Caldicott, Dr Jim Green, or Dave Sweeney fron the Australian Conservation Foundation.

March 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australian government obsessed with preventing legal appeals against its nuclear waste dump plan

Commenting on the opinion piece: They have let it come: now build it , In Daily Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation InDaily 25 Feb 21

Sean Edwards’ defence of the federal governments push for a hotly-contested national radioactive waste facility near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula fails to recognise that the deeply flawed plan has once more hit the rough.

Mr Edwards speaks of respect, but there is nothing respectful in the governments new legislation seeking to remove people’s rights to legally appeal or challenge the plan.

Access to a day in court is a fundamental democratic right, and the governments obsession with removing this should sound alarm bells in the wider community, just as it has in the Senate where the planned law was again deferred this week after it failed to garner broad political support.

The plan shirks the hard questions about responsible long-term radioactive waste management in favour of a sub-optimal short-term political ‘fix’.

The waste comes from the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney. There is a growing call that it should stay at this secure federal site until there is a credible pathway for its long-term management. Moving it to an area in regional South Australia where there are far fewer management assets and resources is both unnecessary and irresponsible.

This is not a decision about on which hill to put a mobile tower. Deciding on Australia’s first purpose-built national radioactive waste facility requires much more evidence, effort and evaluation than has occurred to date.

If radioactive waste lasted as long as our politicians it would hardly be a problem. But it doesn’t. This is Australia’s most serious radioactive waste and some of it needs to be isolated from people and the environment for 10,000 years.

Our nation needs a credible, evidence-based approach to the long-term management of radioactive waste.

Sadly, neither Minister Pitt’s plan nor Mr Edward’s assurances deliver this. It is time the current approach was scrapped and the federal government got serious about advancing responsible waste management.

February 27, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Legislation banning nuclear power in Australia should be retained

Murdoch papers and Murdoch’s Sky News have ramped up their campaign to have nuclear laws repealed, and far-right Coalition MPs and former MPs are along for the ride. The post Legislation banning nuclear power in Australia should be retained appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Legislation banning nuclear power in Australia should be retained — RenewEconomy

February 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australian government’s nuclear waste plans unacceptable – Dr Margaret Beavis

February 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, health | Leave a comment

Assange’s partner exposes ongoing denial of his legal and democratic rights, 

February 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

The remediation of Ranger uranium mine: will it really restore the environment?

Traditional owners were given land rights in return for their support for the Ranger mine, and Kakadu National Park was born.   ……. the land will finally be returned to the traditional owners… the question is, in what state?  ………    we could find the site an eroding heap of substandard scrub.    

As part of cleaning up the mine site, contaminated buildings and equipment will be buried in one of the mine’s enormous pits.    

  We’ve been told that burying the equipment and the contaminated material in the mine site is out of step with global best practice in the mining industry.

February 25, 2021 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Murder, corruption, bombings – the company at centre of Australia’s submarine deal

February 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

National Farmers Federation want govt to support renewable energy (not coal or nuclear)

Guardian 23rd Feb 2021, Renewable energy zones must be “at the centre of any regionalisation agenda”, the National Farmers’ Federation has said. In a policy paper
released on Tuesday, the NFF makes the call for renewable energy to be part
of new investment to address the $3.8bn annual shortfall in infrastructure
in regional Australia. The paper, which makes no mention of coal or nuclear
energy supporting jobs in the regions, comes as the Nationals push for the
Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in those technologies.

February 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Kimba radioactive trash Bill stagnates in the Senate, as Right-wing media extols nuclear power

Resources Minister Keith Pitt  and Australia’s nuclear schills must be getting a bit desperate.  The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 keeps on not getting itself discussed in the Senate.

This could be because (a) it’s likely to be defeated, or (b) if passed, there will be a successful court action opposing it, or (c) the plan would not meet the required international safety standards.

I’m betting on (d) – the Senators just don’t know wotthell to do about it.

Meanwhile Australia’s the prevailing media, the Murdochracy,and commercial media is in a frenzy, in their anxiety about Australia’s huge need to embrace nuclear technology.

‘Extremely hypocritical’ for Greens to oppose nuclear power, Sky News, 18 February
The NT, with our abundance of Uranium, should be the Saudi Arabia of nuclear energy’ -Hepburn Advocate  19 February

Why we need to flick the switch and embrace nuclear power -THE AUSTRALIAN  23 February 

Coalition MPs in drive for nuclear energy – The Australian, 17 February
Nuclear power on National Party agenda for tackling emissions through Clean Energy Finance rules – Canberra Times, 22 February

February 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Wise warning to Australian government to withdraw embarrassing Nuclear Waste Dump Bill

Peter Remta, 21 Feb 21, to Senator Slade Brockman

I am aware that the Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 has been listed in the Senate’s order of business for Tuesday 23 February but with respect suggest that this a completely futile exercise on the part of your government and the responsible minister

The bill will not be passed because of the unwavering opposition by the crossbench and any preceding debate could be extremely embarrassing for your government because of the untoward and disingenuous information previously put out by Pitt and his department and its agencies being raised by the opposing senators

If Pitt then falls back on the existing legislation he will be subject to administrative and judicial and now because of the High Court decision earlier this month in the New Acland Coal case(1) will be completely stopped with his proposals if the opposing community at Kimba start their legal action since their situation is one real and not just apprehend bias as in that case

Should that litigation ensue then practically all written material held by the government in all its guises will be fully disclosed through the litigation procedure of discovery

From my limited personal knowledge of some of that material it will prove extremely embarrassing and your government will not be able to claim any privilege to prevent its disclosure

This is the view of several senior lawyers including some retired superior court judges but ask the attorney should you have any doubts

Perhaps the most pertinent aspect of the whole situation is the proposal for Kimba will in any event fail to get any of the necessary licences as ARPANSA is already being criticised for not carrying out its proper regulatory functions with respect to ANSTO and as a result the licence applications will be subject to an overseas peer review which will completely remove the licensing process from your government and its agencies

In any case ANSTO is already under a cloud due to its dismal performance and awkward responses at the Senate estimates hearing on 29 October 2020 which will I understand be subject to further extensive questioning and explanations

Please bear in mind that I was the source of the information for the questioning senators and the further questions to be asked due to the complete inadequacy of the responses by ANSTO to the notified questions(2)

I therefore suggest that you and Dean Smith as the government whips withdraw the bill before it becomes a further embarrassment to your government in a possible election year

With kind regards

Peter Remta

(1).    Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inv v. New Acland Coal Pty Ltd & Ors

High Court Case No.B34/2020


Hansard  THURSDAY  29 OCTOBER 2020

Senator Abetz pages 11 to 13 and Senator Carr pages 5 to 11

February 22, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment