SA nuclear dump dreams just fool’s gold: senior Lib, The Australian, September 29, 2016, byMichael Owen http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/sa-nuclear-dump-dreams-just-fools-gold-senior-lib/news-story/a595649777c14703159a462c5d9cb34f
A senior Liberal has broken ranks in what had been a bipartisan approach to inquire into the potential for South Australia to host a repository for the world’s high-level nuclear waste, warning that taxpayers risked wasting money “on fool’s gold”.
Rob Lucas, a former state treasurer and the opposition’s Treasury spokesman, told parliament that intense political pressures would make it near impossible for there to be the required bipartisan support at both federal and state level for the necessary legislative changes to allow such a facility.
Mr Lucas, a member of parliament’s joint committee on the findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, also cast doubt on the potential economic benefits, warning it was not possible to verify “some of the financial estimates in terms of what the state might earn from this facility”.
The Scarce royal commission’s final report, delivered in May, found that building a nuclear waste dump in South Australia could bring in an extra $100 billion over 120 years.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill — who faces resistance from federal Labor and his own Left faction — has said cabinet would make a decision in November as to whether to progress the proposal, after extensive community consultation. Latest opinion polls show South Australians almost equally divided on the issue.
Last night, Mr Weatherill, who returned this week from touring the world’s first permanent nuclear waste storage facility in Finland, told The Australian he understood the complexities. “I do agree that this issue poses challenges, not the least for my party, but I feel duty bound to act in South Australia’s and the national interest in progressing this debate,” he said.
Mr Lucas said it would be a “courageous Liberal candidate or member in a federal campaign who would be out there campaigning hard to support Premier Weatherill on a nuclear waste dump or facility’’ in his state.
“At an upcoming federal election … (there will be) federal Labor candidates campaigning in South Australia against a nuclear waste facility in South Australia and potentially candidates from the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team campaigning against a nuclear waste dump or facility (there). If there is not going to be the support of the federal Labor Party, then we, the taxpayers of South Australia, will be spending tens and maybe hundreds of millions of dollars on fool’s gold — fool’s uranium, fool’s nuclear waste dumps.”
South Australia’s electricity blackout was caused by extreme weather, not by renewables – energy experts
SA weather: No link between blackout and renewable energy, experts say, ABC News, 29 Sep 16 By political reporter Matthew Doran Linking the statewide blackout in South Australia with the state’s heavy reliance on renewable energy is unfounded, energy industry experts say.
- South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in Australia
- The ‘one in a 50 year’ weather event ‘couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen’
- SA to be an example for other states and territories when planning for significant weather events
A severe storm caused the entire state to go dark yesterday afternoon, following serious damage to more than 20 transmission lines.
That infrastructure failure put extra strain on the interconnector system that links the South Australian electricity grid with the east coast — and tripped safeguards which shut down the power supply to the state………
Mr Frydenberg highlighted the underlying cause of the blackout was the weather.
South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in the country, with a fraction over 40 per cent of the state’s power supply generated from sources such as wind and solar farms.
Earlier this week, the Grattan Institute released a report detailing the pressure high uptake in renewables had put on the state’s wholesale power prices, and how it was being viewed as a test case for the rest of the nation. But the report’s author, Tony Wood, said the blackout was as a result of a particularly violent storm and it was usual for a system to shut down to protect itself from further damage. “My understanding, at least at the moment, is there’s no evidence to suggest these two issues are related,” Mr Wood said.
“There’s no evidence to suggest this was caused by too much wind power, or the dependence on wind power, or anything else, or would’ve been any different if any of the power stations that had been shut down earlier this year had still been operating.
“If you’ve got a wind farm or a coal-fired power station at the end of a transmission line, and that system either is taken out by a storm or is forced to shut down to protect itself from a storm, it doesn’t matter what the energy source is.”
There are two interconnector power lines between South Australia and the eastern states, but Mr Wood said there was no indication having more links would have prevented the issue.
“When this event has occurred, it’s created a fault in the system which has caused the generation to trip offline,” the Clean Energy Council’s Tom Butler said.
“It’s separate to the interconnector entirely.
“This is a one-in-a-50 year, almost-unprecedented event for the state that couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen.”
Mr Butler said the Snowtown wind farm, north of Adelaide, was actually helping to prop up the state’s power supply ahead of gas power stations as the network was gradually brought back online.
Labor’s assistant spokesman for climate change, Pat Conroy, told AM it was premature to link the blackout to renewables.
“The South Australian Government has made the point that even if the coal-fired power station that was recently closed down was still operating, it would not have been able to supply power to the state,” he said.“This was a failure of the transmission network, and it didn’t matter what sort of fuel was feeding into the grid, power was not able to flow……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-29/sa-weather:-no-link-between-blackout-and-renewables-expert-says/7887052
To invest in an industry that is in global decline, does not appear to be as rational as investing in a growth area such as renewable energy. Renewable energy is a business space where Australia has a multitude of trained engineers, existing infrastructure, and an abundance of sunshine. Building intentional renewable overcapacity in Australia will potentially be a wise investment, as that surplus can then be used to generate hydrogen or other fuels that can be liquefied and traded on overseas markets.
Nuclear power – Game over – Derek Abbott, October 2016, “……..Renewables vs. nuclear While nuclear power plants experience economic decline, renewables are rapidly growing and penetrating the market on an exponential curve. The global annual increase in renewable generation for 2015 alone was 50 GW for solar panels, 63 GW for wind power, and 28 GW for hydropower.26
Nuclear power is large and centralised, with enormous entry and exit costs. By contrast, renewables are made up of small modular units that yield a faster return on investment. The revolution we are witnessing is akin to the extinction of big powerful dinosaurs versus resilient swarms of small ants working in cooperation.
Nuclear power is sinking under the weight of its complexity, costs, and the headache of its waste issue. On the other hand solar power is brought to us via free sunshine exposing the promises of nuclear as mere moonshine………
What really matters is rate of carbon footprint reduction Continue reading
Long delay for money in for South Australia’s Temporary Nuclear Waste Storage facility in South Australia
David Salomon, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 30 Sept 16
At any election during this time approval for the project could be overturned by either state or federal governments as happened with the Yucca Mountain Repository in the USA after being approved in 2002 and funding withdrawn in 2011. Were there to be another Chernobyl or Fukushima that leads to shut down of existing nuclear power stations the demand for the waste facility would be restricted to existing not projected waste. The business plan fall apart.
The fact that the only new reactors are planned by non market economy countries. Business seems not to be interested in building new power plants without massive public subsidy. In the UK this means guaranteeing double the market price for the power supplied. You need very deep pockets to be engaged in the nuclear industry. Could it be that South Australia is in danger of exhausting itself financially and politically on going for the one big prise on the horizon that is actually a mirage when you get closer. We do have a history of doing that in the past. Would it not make better business sense to invest in renewables and ride that wave for the next 25 years or so, or is it that we can see what is right in front of us. We are already at 40% renewables, a manufacturing workforce itching for something to do and in need of greater independence in power supply.
I know that there are people who think about renewables like Bill Gates did in the early days of the internet when he said, “the internet was a novelty that would give way to something better”, though I do believe this sentiment does apply to the waste dump proposal. (BTW I don’t know if Bill likes renewables or what his attitude to Nuclear fuel is, just that people of high status can say some dumb things.)
Check out the outgoings references in this report: https://antinuclear.net/2016/05/06/major-financial-risks-for-south-australia-are-ignored-by-nuclear-fuel-cycle-royal-commission/
I think you’ll find the financial analysis in the Royal Commission somewhat lacking. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/
WA firm’s world first wave/solar power grid https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/32755148/wa-power-firm-to-integrate-solar-wave-and-batteries/#page1 – on September 29, 2016,
The new features will be integrated with Carnegie’s CETO 6 wave technology which uses wave action to drive turbines and create electricity.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will kick in $2.5 million and construction will start by the end of the year.
The company is aiming to start commissioning in the first half of next year. “The Garden Island Microgrid Project will be the first time anywhere in the world that wave energy will be combined with solar and batteries in a microgrid configuration,” Carnegie’s managing director and chief executive Michael Ottaviano said.
“The demonstration of this microgrid project will help drive the commercialisation of CETO and will be a model we will roll out to island nations around the world.
“Island nations are desperate for an energy innovation to replace their current reliance on electricity generated using imported fossil fuels, which is extremely expensive and has a large environmental footprint.
“Now Carnegie presents an effective green alternative, with the GIMG project acting as a template for remote island and grid communities globally.”
Carnegie’s CETO technology is different from other wave energy devices as it operates under water.
The admissions, made in a parliamentary committee under questioning from Labor Senator for New South Wales Jenny McAllister, fly in the face of advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, telling the government it had “existing legislation, policies and measures to enable it to achieve” the the reductions.
They also follow a string of independent modelling exercises showing current policies will not achieve the emissions reductions committed to in Paris. Last week energy advisory firm RepuTex released modelling showing Australia’s emissions wouldn’t fall much at all between now and 2030, under current policies……….
McAllister told Guardian Australia the Turnbull government needed to “own up and admit that their climate policies just aren’t credible”.
“These officials have confirmed Australia’s worst kept secret – that the Turnbull government has no idea how it will meet our 2030 emission reduction targets,” she said.
“They can’t say when Australia’s emissions will peak and begin to decline, and they wouldn’t confirm that the government’s current policy settings will see us meet the target without adjustment.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/29/officials-admit-no-modelling-shows-how-australia-will-meet-paris-climate-pledge
Climate change stealing rain from Australia by shifting winds towards Antarctica, Canberra Times, Clare Sibthorpe, 29 Sept 16 When much of southeast Australia faced abnormally hot and dry weather last summer, forecasters put it down to a high-pressure system blocking clouds from forming.
But rising greenhouse gases were also to blame, researchers have found.
A new study by the ANU and 16 other institutions revealed human-caused climate change is already harming parts of Australia by robbing vital rain and pushing south westerly winds towards Antarctica.
The ANU’s lead researcher associate professor Nerilie Abram said the hijacking of rain combined with 2015 being Australia’s fifth-warmest year on record and 2016 on track to be the hottest was an ominous mix.
“The findings confirm that climate change is already having an impact on parts of Australia.”……..
Professor Abram said the study, published in Nature Climate Change, showed southwest Australia was hurting the most from the change, where it had lost one fifth of its rainfall since the 1970s.
A 2015 study between CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology found climate change would hit Australia harder than other countries, predicting a rise in temperature of more than five degrees within 80 years.
They forecast reduced rain in southern Australia over the next few decades as well as harsher fire seasons for southern and eastern parts of the country.
This August, Germany-based researchers Climate Analytics found the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming – the two goals included in the Paris climate deal – would be much greater in terms of extreme events and disasters than previously believed.
It found that within just 10 – 20 years, southern Australia would face heatwaves on average 13 days longer at 1.5 degrees and 20 days longer at 2 degrees, while dry spells would be 3.5 days longer at 1.5 degrees and six days at 2 degrees. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/climate-change-stealing-rain-from-australia-by-shifting-winds-towards-antarctica-20160927-grpyq3.html
Digging Deeper: How energy company executives are remunerated to expand fossil fuel reserves, and how Australia’s major super funds support them, http://apo.org.au/resource/digging-deeper-how-energy-company-executives-are-remunerated-expand-fossil-fuel-reserves Market Forces 29 September 2016 Australian-listed fossil fuel companies are continuing to search for more unburnable carbon, with $12.69 billion spent on fossil fuel exploration by just fifteen companies since July 2012. Another $14.62 billion has been spent by just ten foreign companies on fossil fuel exploration in Australia between 2013-2015.
In many cases, exploration is encouraged through executive remuneration packages. Seven companies in the S&P ASX300 explicitly refer to reserve replacement or exploration targets in their executives’ bonus structures, as do six international companies with major Australian fossil fuel operations.
Senior executives at the seven Australian companies stand to make a combined $2.02 million in additional bonuses each year if their reserve targets are met.
Australia’s super funds are failing to effectively challenge this business model, despite their stated belief in engagement as a strategy for changing the behaviour of companies. In the last year, only three Australian energy companies incurred a significant vote against their remuneration packages, none of which were an explicit protest against reserves-based incentives.
Only eighteen of Australia’s 50 largest super funds disclose their complete proxy voting record, making it difficult to determine which funds are genuine ‘active owners.’ Our analysis of twelve funds’ voting records shows only three voted against any Australian-listed energy company’s remuneration package in the last year. Major funds including AustralianSuper, First State Super, MLC and ANZ OnePath supported the remuneration packages of every Australian energy company they held shares in.
Australia’s super funds must have effective engagement policies and practices, and demonstrate how these are being implemented to ensure companies they invest in are compatible with a low carbon future. An obvious step to demonstrate alignment with the goals agreed to in Paris is for funds to reject fossil fuel exploration incentives.
Unburdened by evidence, anti-wind campaigners used the South Australian blackout to kick off a debate about renewables while others waited for facts Normally natural disasters are off limits to politicking, at least in the period straight after the event. So it was pretty awful watching politicians and commentators pushing their anti-renewables message on the back of aonce in 50 year storm that hit South Australia and knocked out the electricity grid.
The outage is more likely to have something to do with the 80,000 lightning strikes and the winds that knocked over 22 transmission poles. Who knew violent storms could knock the power out?
It’s hard to imagine how coal fired power would have remained on without a grid for the electricity to flow through.
Just before the grid shut down, renewables were not offline. Wind energy was busy producing almost 1,000 Megawatts of electricity. The problem was not a lack of renewable power but a storm-ravaged grid that couldn’t get it to the consumers…….
The real irony is that an electricity system that has decentralised renewable energy with battery storage would be more resilient to these kinds of storms. Houses and businesses with their own batteries could have kept the lights on even when the grid went down.
In the past, renewables were more expensive – but those days are over.Renewable energy has fallen in price and battery storage is close behind. Change in how we produce electricity is coming and an anti-renewables campaign will only slow it and make the transition more difficult.
Rather than attack renewables, the government should be putting in place policies that help with the transition. The economics of renewable energy and the reality of climate change mean that it is inevitable that we will leave fossil fuel electricity generation behind. The question is how can we move to the new energy future in the smoothest way possible?
Renewable energy targets, system changes that make it easier to install battery storage, and a moratorium on new coal mines will all help.
Attacking renewables in the wake of a massive storm might help some people’s political agenda but it will do nothing to help South Australians build a reliable and resilient energy system.
Matt Grudnoff is the Senior Economist for The Australia Institute. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/29/is-this-a-new-low-politicians-using-a-natural-disaster-to-push-a-fact-free-agenda?CMP=soc_568
Black Mist Burnt Country is a national touring exhibition devised to commemorate one of the great crimes against this country – the wilful poisoning of the land and its people by the British Government with the active collusion of the Australian Government. The full extent of the British experiments with atomic weapons on Australian soil took decades to be fully exposed.
The nuclear tests took place over a number of years – starting at Monte Bello in 1952, rolling on to Emu Field and then Maralinga 60 years ago – yet it was not until the 1980s that a Royal Commission headed by James McClelland finally revealed the full extent of the poisoning of both land and people……..
Jessie Boylan’s photographs show both sides to the consequences of this crime. In one, Avon Hudson, the former RAAF officer who publicly exposed the extent of British culpability and Australian complicity, sits in his study, surrounded by cardboard boxes. In the other Yami Lester, who as a child was blinded by the mist, stands staring into the sun with his sightless eyes. Lester also appears in Belinda Mason’s Maralinga, an alarming 3D lenticular holographic photograph, that focuses on Lester’s open unseeing eye.
Trevor Nickolls’ painting Revenge of the Stormboy shows the little children caught in the wild chaos of nuclear devastation, and the sense of anger the wider Aboriginal community feels about what happened to the Anangu people, whose land was so lightly taken away from them.
Some of the most moving paintings are by Jonathan Kumintjarra Brown, who was born at the Ooldea Mission but stolen and raised in Melbourne and Sydney. When he was an adult he found his family at Yalata, where the Anangu people had been moved because of the tests. His painting Maralinga has the truth of the land partly obliterated by the bombs while a lizard’s skeleton represents the loss of life…….https://theconversation.com/black-mist-burnt-country-asks-what-remains-after-the-mushroom-cloud-66135
Finland’s false hope for Australia’s nuclear future Independent Australia, 26 September 2016 Premier Weatherill is using Finland’s nuclear waste dump model as a benchmark for Australia but they are not comparable, says Noel Wauchope.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN PREMIERJay Weatherill has gone to Finland to study their nuclear waste storage project.
With the premier are three stalwarts of the mining and nuclear lobbies: marketing man Bill Muirhead, chief executive of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Consultation and Response Agency (CARA) Advisory Board Madeleine Richardson and chair of CARA John Mansfield.
Unsurprisingly, they all seemed to have no anxieties about nuclear waste disposal.
There, spent nuclear fuel is placed in eight metre long iron canisters, encased in copper tubes … Inside the underground tunnels, the canisters are placed in deep holes.
Reading this, you would think that is actually happening in Finland. But no — that’s just the plan. The facility, in fact, has no nuclear wastes yet disposed of there. In fact, no wastes will be placed there until 2020, at the earliest.
Weatherill’s comments imply that the Finland project and the South Australian plan are pretty much the same kind of thing. Well, apart from some rather obvious differences in climate, which might matter, the whole plan is different.
Just for high level nuclear waste alone, it will require a waste dump 14 to 28 times the size of Onkalo (69,000 high level nuclear waste canisters). And for decades, half of the high level nuclear waste will be stored above ground in a temporary facility.
A perhaps even bigger deception is in Weatherill’s main theme, praising Finland for its transparency and community consent, since that is a subject of considerable dispute. ……
Sweden has the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review. It is a coalition comprising five NGOs working with nuclear and radiation safety issues, advising the Government and informing the public. The coalition is financed by the Government’s Swedish Nuclear Waste Fund.
Finland has no such agency. That might account for the relative ease with which the Finnish nuclear industry gained public acceptance for the plan with no substantial criticism from the public. In Sweden, the nuclear waste burial project has not gone ahead, as there is much debate and opposition from some scientists and from a well-informed public.
Representatives from municipalities near the Finland repository construction site, Johanna Huhtala and Raija Lehtorinne, explained:
‘ … the locals trust the nuclear industry completely.’
I guess that the Finnish model for community consent is more to Weatherill’s liking than the Swedish one. I can’t see him setting up a South Australian NGO office for nuclear waste review. bbbb https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/finlands-false-hope-for-australias-nuclear-future,9518
Premier Weatherill in Finland; predicts nuclear waste as an election issue for South Australia in 2018
Talks with countries looking to export their nuclear waste to Australia for permanent storage will begin next year if the South Australian Labor government decides to proceed with a bold plan to build a dump in the state to house high-level spent nuclear fuel.
Premier Jay Weatherill yesterday toured the site of the world’s first permanent disposal facility for nuclear waste in the Eurajoki region of southern Finland and gave every indication South Australia’s government would give the green light to follow suit…….
Under Finnish law, all nuclear waste the country generates must be handled and permanently stored in Finland.
However, its parliament has ruled out taking waste from other countries.
Mr Weatherill acknowledged Finland’s facility was a direct response to the problem of its own high-level waste, a problem his state did not have. However, he said, there was an economic opportunity for South Australia, which could safely store the world’s most toxic nuclear waste deep underground……..
“One thing that is really clear is that this is a long journey and that there will be a series of steps that the community will have to take before any final decision is taken,” Mr Weatherill said, noting it could be at least 10 to 20 years before construction started on a facility.
- Mr Weatherill said Posiva was prepared to license its expertise to countries such as Australia…
The state government is conducting a final round of community consultation before cabinet decides in November if to move forward with plans for a facility.
Mr Weatherill indicated a facility for high-level international nuclear waste would be an election issue in March 2018.
“It needs bipartisan support and a state government that is prepared to advance it,” he said. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/weatherill-hints-at-following-suit-on-nuclear-waste/news-story/05a36a8bb24610eec0e4ec0c2138b222?from=public_rss
Fallout from British atomic tests at Maralinga continues, Liz Tynan – The West Australian on September 27, 2016 “……… the most damaging chapter in the history of British nuclear weapons testing in Australia. The British had carried out atomic tests in 1952 and 1956 at the Montebello Islands off WA and in 1953 at Emu Field north of Maralinga.
The British had requested and were granted a huge chunk of South Australia to create a “permanent” atomic weapons test site, after finding the conditions at Montebello and Emu Field too remote and unworkable.
Australia’s then prime minister, Robert Menzies, was all too happy to oblige. Back in September 1950 in a phone call with his British counterpart, Clement Attlee, he had said yes to nuclear testing without even referring the issue to his Cabinet…… Continue reading
Derek Abbott, No High Level Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia, 27 Sept 16, To fulfil the economic analysis of the Royal Commission report, SA’s dump will have to receive a shipload of
waste once every THREE weeks for the life time of the dump.
I think the Commission hasn’t thought through how unrealistic that workflow will be to manage and how many double hulled ships will have to be purpose built for this. They haven’t thought through how many contract guarantees they are going to need to get that kind of volume. They haven’t thought through the tendency of the nuclear industry to defer costs, and possibly renege on those contracts.
When they don’t even have the sniff of even one contract yet, this is all highly risky. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/
A week of activities will expose the role of Pine Gap in war, surveillance and nuclear targeting. Beginning on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, 26th September, hundreds of people are gathering at the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility, just 20km from Alice Springs, NT.
A protest camp and conference will discuss the role of the highly secretive facility in drone targeting, mass citizen surveillance and in preparations for nuclear war. The facility is the most likely Australian target in the event of a nuclear war involving the US, immediately jeopardizing the 25,000 residents of Alice Springs, and others in the path of radioactive fallout. “Pine Gap makes critical contributions to planning for nuclear war.
In the fragile world of nuclear deterrence, efforts should be directed at total nuclear disarmament,” said Professor Richard Tanter, University of Melbourne. A UN working group on nuclear disarmament has issued a breakthrough recommendation for the General Assembly to convene a conference in 2017 to negotiate “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz announced last Wednesday that Austria, along with other UN members states, will table a resolution at the General Assembly First Committee in October, seeking a mandate for negotiations to begin next year.
“For 71 years the majority of countries have experienced the injustice and insecurity that nuclear weapons represent,” said Ray Acheson of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, a steering group member of ICAN. “With negotiations of a ban treaty on the horizon, we are as close as we have ever been to effectively challenging the continued possession of these weapons of mass destruction.”
“When a treaty banning nuclear weapons is negotiated, Australia will be expected to sign it, as it has signed treaties to outlaw other abhorrent weapons. To enable Australia to sign on, the functions of Pine Gap should exclude preparations for nuclear war. This facility has served to implicate Australia in nuclear aggression and as a prime nuclear target for 50 years too long,” said Gem Romuld, ICAN Australia. ICAN Australia will be speaking at the IPAN Conference and participating in the protest camp this week. More information: Disarm protest camp, 26-30 September www.closepinegap.org Independent and Peaceful Australia Network Conference, 1-2 October www.ipan.org.au