Australian news, and some related international items

LNP Donors are just giving freely…. wink.

October 27, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

$6000 a day to one US advisor to Australia on getting nuclear submarines. How much to the 3 new ones?

American-dominated panel advising government on submarines as Defence eyes US and UK choices for nuclear fleet, By defence correspondent Andrew Greene, ABC, 25Oct 21.

Three senior American shipbuilding executives are being paid to advise Australia on submarines, but the defence department and government are refusing to say what their work involves or how much they are costing.

Key points:

  • Defence is refusing to discuss the role or salaries of the American officials on the Submarine Advisory Committee
  • Senators are expected to examine the work of the submarine committee during Senate Estimates hearings this week
  • Industry insiders believe the submarine committee needs a British official given the UK’s role in AUKUS

Senators are this week expected to grill officials over the role of the Submarine Advisory Committee, which was formed by the Turnbull government in 2017, a year after a French company was selected for the now dumped $90 billion Attack-class program.

………  Over the next year and a half, the defence department’s Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force will work with Australia’s British and American AUKUS partners to identify the best way to acquire a fleet to replace the scrapped French project……. Retired Admiral Donald Kirkland, Jim Hughes and Donald McCormack are all veterans of the US shipbuilding sector and their current three-year appointments to the committee are due to end in May 2024.

Admiral Kirkland is the chairman of American company Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), which builds US Virginia-class submarines, Mr Hughes has also worked for HII, and Mr McCormack is an executive director at the US military’s Naval Sea Systems Command.

Questions sent by the ABC to the defence department last week concerning how much Submarine Advisory Committee members are paid, and what interactions they now have with the Nuclear-Powered task force, remain unanswered.

While Defence is yet to respond to questions about remuneration, an 18-month contract from 2018 uncovered by the ABC, shows Admiral Kirkland was paid $675,000 for his advisory services.

Earlier this month, Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead confirmed his secretive “Capability Enhancement Review” completed ahead of the Morrison government’s nuclear submarine announcement had not worked with the advisory committee.

Jostling between British and American companies for Australia’s future nuclear-powered fleet is well underway with early debate emerging over whether a US Virginia-class or UK Astute-class submarine is the best base model

Defence industry insiders are now privately questioning whether the government will appoint any British experts to the Submarine Advisory Panel given the United Kingdom’s membership of AUKUS and the country’s extensive experience with nuclear boats.

Last month, it was revealed former US Navy Secretary Donald Winter was being paid $US6,000 a day as an advisor to the federal government on shipbuilding matters.Defence industry insiders are now privately questioning whether the government will appoint any British experts to the Submarine Advisory Panel given the United Kingdom’s membership of AUKUS and the country’s extensive experience with nuclear boats.

Last month, it was revealed former US Navy Secretary Donald Winter was being paid $US6,000 a day as an advisor to the federal government on shipbuilding matters.

October 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dirty Power: Big Coal’s network of influence over the Coalition Government (Director’s Cut)

October 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Kevin Scarce again shows his nuclear ignorance and misinformation

Dr. Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, ‒ 25 October 2021

“Kevin Scarce led the 2015/16 South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. His claims in News Corp papers today (and a Sky News interview) are dripping with ignorance.

“Scarce calls for a Royal Commission into nuclear energy, but we’ve already had one. Scarce should know ‒ he was the Royal Commissioner. The 2016 report found that nuclear power generation “would not be commercially viable in SA under current market rules”.

“The Royal Commission called on the SA government to lobby for the repeal of federal laws banning nuclear power. That recommendation was rejected by the Weatherill Labor Government. More recently, the SA Liberal Government’s 2019 submission to a federal nuclear inquiry said that “nuclear power remains unviable now and into the foreseeable future.”

“What makes Scarce think he is qualified to comment on whether or not Australia can reach a net zero emission target by 2050 without nuclear power? Scarce has net zero expertise and net zero qualifications to comment on the matter. Scarce appears to be ignorant about a wealth of relevant research on Australia’s renewable energy potential such as the Business Council of Australia’s recent report which argues for a rapid, renewables-led decarbonisation.

“Scarce also appears to be ignorant about progress in South Australia, with the SA Liberal Government not only ruling out nuclear power as being unviable now and into the foreseeable future, but also enthusiastically pursuing a goal of net 100% renewables by 2030.

“Scarce doesn’t even know what his own Royal Commission said. He claims that small modular reactors are lower cost than large-scale nuclear generation. In fact, the Royal Commission found that power produced by small modular reactors based on the NuScale design would cost a hopelessly uneconomic A$225 per megawatt-hour. To put that into context, the Minerals Council of Australia says that small modular reactors won’t find a market unless they can produce power at a cost of A$60-$80 per megawatt hour.

“Renewables coupled with storage are cheaper than nuclear as CSIRO found in a 2020 report:

* Nuclear (small modular): A$258-338 per megawatt hour.

* Wind or solar PV with 2‒6 hours storage (battery or pumped hydro): A$84‒151 per megawatt hour.

“Likewise, Peter Farley, a fellow of the Australian Institution of Engineers, concludes that Australia can get equivalent renewable power plus backup power (e.g. pumped hydro or battery storage) for one-third of the cost of nuclear power, in one-third of the time.

“Scarce’s handling of the Royal Commission was deeply biased and disgraceful. For example its main recommendation was that SA should establish a nuclear waste import and dumping business but Scarce’s report said almost nothing about the chemical explosion which shut down the only deep underground nuclear waste repository in the world, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plan in the USA.

“The farcical engineering of a positive economic case to proceed with the nuclear waste import plan was ridiculed by ABC journalist Stephen Long. After the Royal Commission, the SA Parliament released a report by the Nuclear Economics Consulting Group which noted that the Royal Commission’s economic analysis failed to consider important issues which “have significant serious potential to adversely impact the project and its commercial outcomes”.

“Friends of the Earth would welcome the opportunity to publicly debate Scarce to expose his nuclear ignorance and misinformation,” Dr. Green concluded.

October 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear propagandist Kevin Scarce back on the bandwagon

Australia needs a royal commission into nuclear power, argues former SA governor Kevin Scarce, Daily Telegraph Paul Starick  24 Oct 21, A former state governor has called for a royal commission into nuclear energy, saying a net zero targe t cannot be reached by 2050 without the controversial fuel.

Former state governor Kevin Scarce is urging a national royal commission into nuclear energy, declaring a net zero emission target cannot be reached by 2050 without Australia embracing the controversial fuel.

The former South Australian governor was the state’s Royal Commissioner into the nuclear fuel cycle and in 2016 recommended it be considered as a “future low-carbon energy source to contribute to national emissions reduction targets”.

In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Mr Scarce challenged Australia to be unafraid of examining nuclear power technology to determine whether it meets the nation’s future energy needs.

He argued a royal commission would remove politics from the necessary community debate, saying the 2050 emissions target should be the catalyst for examining whether to end legal barriers to nuclear generation…………..

He argued nuclear energy was safe and, as the state royal commission found, Australia had the perfect climatic and geological conditions for disposing of waste………

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

National Party did a secret climate deal with Morrison, but nuclear power was not included.

Some Nationals had been pushing for nuclear to be included as part of Australia’s clean energy mix. But ahead of the meeting, Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud indicated it would not be part of the plan.

Nationals provide in-principle support for a net zero 2050 target, nuclear not part of plan, ABC News, By political reporter Stephanie Borys  24 Oct 21,  The Nationals have given their in-principle support to back a target of net zero emissions by 2050, just days before Prime Minister Scott Morrison is due to fly to Glasgow for global climate talks.

Key points:

  • Mr Joyce says a majority of Nationals members and senators are on board with the plan
  • He says most concerns with the climate plan have been allayed
  • Cabinet will meet to sign off on the plan, which Mr Morrison will take to Glasgow

The party met on Sunday afternoon to discuss its ongoing concerns about adopting the policy, with some worried it could result in job losses in regional areas…….

The Nationals met for just over two hours and all 21 members and senators spoke on the matter but no formal vote was held…..

………Federal Cabinet will meet within days to formally sign off on the plan, which the Prime Minister will then take to the Glasgow climate summit.

What did the Nationals get inserted into the climate plan?

There are conditions attached to the Nationals backing net zero emissions by 2050, but those details remain a secret.

Just days ago, the junior Coalition partner presented a list of demands to the Prime Minister about the proposed climate change policy.

The Nationals have not publicly outlined the changes they want. Mr Joyce again refused to provide details about what Mr Morrison had offered or agreed to.

……….. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Australians deserved to know the details of the deal.

Some Nationals had been pushing for nuclear to be included as part of Australia’s clean energy mix. But ahead of the meeting, Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud indicated it would not be part of the plan.

“You have got to educate before you legislate and we’ve got to bring the community with us,” he said

“They are not there with us at this stage; unfortunately, they are getting their education from Chernobyl and The Simpsons.

“That takes time to build that education up,” he said.

New South Wales Liberal Treasurer Matt Kean said the proposal did not stack up on practical or economic grounds, and that his government had been told by experts it would take at least 15 years to train the workforce.

“People talking about nuclear to solve our current needs are chasing a unicorn,” he said……

October 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

U.S. House Intelligence Committee investigating CIA plot to kill or kidnap Julian Assange

Adam Schiff asks intelligence agencies for information about CIA’s targeting of WikiLeaksMichael Isikoff·Chief Investigative Correspondent, yahoo News Wed, October 20, 2021  The House Intelligence Committee is seeking information about a Yahoo News report that CIA officials plotted to kidnap Julian Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2017 after WikiLeaks published documents describing the spy agency’s hacking tools.

“We are seeking information about it now,” said Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee chairman, in an interview on the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast.

Schiff added that, as the ranking Democrat on the intelligence panel in 2017, he was never briefed about the CIA’s plans to target Assange. But he said the committee had reached out “to the agencies” — an apparent reference to the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) — after reading about the Yahoo News account describing deep divisions within the Trump administration, including objections from White House lawyers, over the CIA’s plans for unusually aggressive measures to cripple WikiLeaks that had been proposed by then agency Director Mike Pompeo.

Asked if he had received any response to the committee’s inquiry, Schiff replied: “I can’t comment on what we’ve heard back yet.” (Spokespeople for the CIA and ODNI declined comment.)

The disclosure by Schiff that the committee is pursuing information about the CIA’s measures targeting WikiLeaks comes the day after the ACLU and more than 20 other human rights and press freedom groups wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to drop the criminal prosecution of Assange in light of what they called “shocking” reporting by Yahoo News “on the government’s conduct in this case.

It also comes on the eve of a critical hearing before a British appellate court in London next week over the U.S. Justice Department’s appeal of a lower court judge’s ruling rejecting its request to extradite Assange to the United States to face trial for publishing classified documents in violation of the World War I-era Espionage Act. The judge concluded that Assange, who is now in a British prison after spending years holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, would be at serious risk of suicide if he were incarcerated in an American prison.

But lawyers for Assange intend to raise the issue of what they view as the CIA’s misconduct, arguing that returning him to a country where some top officials once plotted to kidnap him strengthens the judge’s conclusions about the risk of suicide and should be an additional basis for turning down the U.S. extradition request………..

October 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Kimba agricultural group supports nuclear waste stored at Lucas Heights, rejects dump on farming land.

NO WASTE NO WAY: No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA President Peter Woolford says ILW should not be stored at Kimba. 

Waste war over Kimba

  An anti-nuclear group are holding onto hope that the federal government will reconsider storing intermediate level waste (ILW) in Kimba, after attending a meeting in the rural town on Thursday.

The No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA are seeking answers as to why the government are planning to store ILW at Kimba as opposed to Lucas Heights.

It comes following a recent Parlimentary hearing where the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANTSO) revealed it had the capacity to store ILW at Lucas Heights for “decades to come”.

President Peter Woolford said the group put this to the combined Kimba Consultative Committee (KCC) and Kimba Economic Working Group (KEWG) when they met in Kimba.

They also questioned if the recent nuclear-powered submarines deal made by the federal government would see submarine waste stored at Kimba, and if it was a gateway to a domestic nuclear industry.

“They indicated that no high-level waste would come to Kimba,” he said.

“When you look at what’s going on with ANTSO and the money being spent there for extended storage of intermediate level waste it makes sense to keep the waste there until a permanent dispoal site is found.”

Mr Woolford said storage of nuclear waste from decommissioned submarines would have been an essential part of the federal government’s plans.

“Obviously people are concerned about that because it is an issue…there has to be a waste pathway for all that waste and there isn’t one at the moment,” he said.

With Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt intending to declare Kimba as the site for the Nuclear Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF), Mr Woolford believes there’s still time to prevent storage of ILW on agricultural land.

“The reality is the Minister has to declare the site, which could be this week, once they do that the Commonwealth can acquire the land,” he said.

The facility is coming here it’s just the matter of what’s stored in it … I can’t speak for everybody but at the present time it makes perfect sense that ILW stays in ANTSO.”

Minister Pitt has been contacted for comment.

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

UK High Court Should Deny Extradition Because CIA Planned to Assassinate Assange

UK High Court Should Deny Extradition Because CIA Planned to Assassinate Assange,  BYMarjorie CohnTruthout October 24, 2021  

Why is Joe Biden’s Department of Justice continuing Donald Trump’s persecution of WikiLeaks founder, publisher and journalist Julian Assange?

Barack Obama, concerned about threats to the First Amendment freedom of the press, decided against indicting Assange for exposing U.S. war crimes. Trump did indict Assange, under Espionage Act charges that could garner him 175 years in prison. A district judge denied Trump’s request for Assange’s extradition from the U.K. to the United States because of the extremely high likelihood that it would lead Assange to commit suicide. Trump appealed the denial of extradition.

Instead of dropping Trump’s extradition request, Biden is vigorously pursuing his predecessor’s appeal against Assange, which the U.K. High Court will hear on October 27 and 28. At that hearing, the High Court should determine what effect the CIA’s recently revealed plan to kidnap and assassinate Assange will have on his fragile mental state in the event he is extradited to the United States.

Judge Baraitser’s Denial of Extradition

On January 6, U.K. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser issued a 132-page decision denying extradition. “Faced with conditions of near total isolation and without the protective factors which moderate his risk at HMP Belmarsh [where Assange is currently imprisoned],” she wrote, “I am satisfied that the procedures described by Dr. [Leukefeld] will not prevent Mr. Assange from finding a way to commit suicide.”…………………………..

The United States will be allowed to present “assurances” that if Assange is extradited, tried, convicted and imprisoned, he will not be subject to special administrative measures (SAMs) — onerous conditions that would keep him in virtual isolation — or be held at the ADX maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado. The U.S. intends to provide an additional assurance that it would not object to

Assange serving any custodial sentence he may receive in Australia. These so-called assurances, however, are conditional. The U.S. reserves the right to impose SAMs or hold Assange at ADX if his future behavior warrants it. Moreover, the U.S. cannot guarantee that Australia would consent to hosting Assange’s incarceration.

The High Court should give considerable weight to the way in which explosive new revelations of the Trump administration’s plot to kidnap and assassinate Assange will affect his mental health if he is extradited.

High Court Should Consider U.S. Plans to Kidnap and Assassinate Assange

The indictment against Assange stems from WikiLeaks’ 2010-2011 revelations of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. They included 400,000 field reports about the Iraq War, 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians, and evidence of systematic torture, rape and murder after U.S. forces “handed over detainees to a notorious Iraqi torture squad,” the documents reveal. They included the Afghan War Logs, 90,000 reports revealing more civilian casualties by coalition forces than the U.S. military had reported. And the Guantánamo Files contained 779 secret reports revealing that 150 innocent people had been imprisoned there for years and documenting the torture and abuse of 800 men and boys, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Perhaps the most notable release by WikiLeaks was the 2007 “Collateral Murder” video, in which a U.S. Army Apache helicopter gunship in Baghdad targets and fires on unarmed civilians. At least 18 civilians were killed, including two Reuters journalists and a man trying to rescue the wounded. Two children were injured. A U.S. Army tank then drives over one of the bodies, cutting it in half. The video depicts three separate war crimes prohibited by the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Army Field Manual.

It was WikiLeaks’ publication of CIA hacking tools known as “Vault 7,” which the agency called “the largest data loss in CIA history,” that incurred the wrath of Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Vault 7 materials revealed electronic surveillance and cyber-warfare by the CIA.

In 2017, Pompeo called WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and CIA and government officials hatched “secret war plans” to abduct and kill Assange, according to a stunning Yahoo! News report. Some senior CIA and Trump administration officials requested “sketches” or “options” for ways to assassinate Assange. Trump “asked whether the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide him ‘options’ for how to do so,” according to the report.

Pompeo advocated “extraordinary rendition,” which the CIA used in the “war on terror” to illegally seize suspects and send them to its “black sites” where they were tortured. The scenario was that the CIA would break into the Ecuadorian Embassy in which Assange was staying under a grant of asylum and clandestinely fly him to the United States to stand trial. Others in the agency wanted to assassinate Assange outright by poisoning or shooting him to avoid the hassle of kidnapping him.

The CIA spied on WikiLeaks, and it aimed to sow discord among the group’s members and steal their electronic devices, according to the Yahoo! News report. The CIA also conducted illegal surveillance inside the Ecuadorian Embassy and spied on privileged attorney-client communications between Assange and his lawyers.

Concerned that the CIA might kidnap or kill Assange, which could jeopardize a potential criminal prosecution, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a secret indictment against him in 2018. To bolster the DOJ’s case for extradition, the FBI collaborated with informant Siggi Thordarson to paint Assange as a hacker instead of a journalist. Thordarson later admitted to the Icelandic newspaper Stundin that he lied about Assange being a hacker in return for immunity from prosecution by the FBI.

In 2019, after a new pro-U.S. president came to power in Ecuador, in order to facilitate the U.S.’s attempted extradition, London police dragged Assange from the embassy and arrested him for violating bail conditions. Assange remains in custody in London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison pending Biden’s appeal of the extradition denial.

The High Court should give great weight to the U.S. plans to kidnap and assassinate Assange. The knowledge of those revelations will put even more mental stress on Assange, whom former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer described as having suffered “prolonged exposure to psychological torture” during his confinement. The High Court should affirm the district court’s denial of extradition.

A Window Into U.S. War Crimes and Threats to Investigative Journalism

“When Assange published hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the public was given an unprecedented window into the lack of justification and the futility of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Assange Defense co-chairs Daniel Ellsberg, Alice Walker and Noam Chomsky wrote at Newsweek. “The truth was hidden by a generation of governmental lies. Assange’s efforts helped show the American public what their government was doing in their name.”

Recent revelations of Pompeo’s threats against Assange that appeared in Yahoo! News have shed light on the dangers the national security state poses to investigative journalism and the public’s right to know. In light of these new disclosures, a coalition of 25 press freedom, civil liberties and international human rights organizations have intensified their call for dismissal of the DOJ’s charges against Assange.

Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said his committee has asked the CIA for information about plans to kidnap or assassinate Assange.

The High Court will decide whether to affirm or overturn district judge Baraitser’s decision denying extradition. If they affirm Baraitser’s ruling, the Biden administration could ask the U.K. Supreme Court to review the case. If the High Court overturns Baraitser’s decision, Assange could appeal to the U.K. Supreme Court and then to the European Court of Human Rights if the Supreme Court ruling goes against him.

Biden’s appeal of the denial of extradition should be dismissed. Julian Assange should be released and celebrated for his courage.

October 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

National Party may demand that nuclear power be part of Scott Morrison’s ”net zero by 2050” aim.

Nationals may put nuclear energy on the agenda as the party negotiates Scott Morrison’s net zero proposal,  The Nationals could put nuclear power on the agenda as part of Scott Morrison’s proposed net zero by 2050 target, the chair of the Environment and Energy Committee said. Sky News Tyrone Clarke, Digital Reporter, October 21, 2021 –  Liberal MP Ted O’Brien has flagged the possibility of the Nationals pushing nuclear energy on the agenda as the Coalition debates Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s net zero proposal.

The Nationals party room met again on Thursday afternoon to finalise a set of climate demands to be presented to Mr Morrison as the Prime Minister hopes to take a net zero target to the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has remained tight-lipped about his party’s preferences towards the policy, but has categorically ruled out committing to a more aggressive 2030 emissions reduction target.

But Mr O’Brien said nuclear power had the backing of many Nationals members and could be on a list of demands set to head to the Prime Minister’s desk………………….

October 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

ARPANSA admits that no safety assessment exists, for nuclear submarines in Adelaide

Following a search from ARPANSA’s senior scientist, the agency determined that such a planning or safety document “does not exist”.

No safety assessment for nuclear subs in Adelaide

The federal government has not undertaken a safety assessment or planning study for the prospect of docking nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide, according to documents obtained by independent senator Rex Patrick.  Thomas Kelsall@Thomas_Kelsall

  The Port Adelaide and Outer Harbour docks are set to be the building spot for at least eight nuclear-powered submarines under the terms of the new “AUKUS” trilateral security pact, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in September.

But the controversial deal, which saw Australia scrap its $90 billion contract with France to build 12 diesel-powered boats, drew criticism from anti-nuclear activists and local residents concerned about the prospect of nuclear reactors in their suburbs.

No nuclear-powered warship has ever visited Port Adelaide or Outer Harbour.

Patrick, a former submariner and critic of the new subs deal, on September 21 filed a Freedom of Information request to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for “any documents that go to the planning or prospects of a nuclear vessel visiting Port Adelaide or Outer Harbour”.

ARPANSA is responsible for providing safety assessment to the Visiting Ships Panel (Nuclear) – an interdepartmental committee overseeing arrangements for visiting nuclear ships and associated safety requirement.

Following a search from ARPANSA’s senior scientist, the agency determined that such a planning or safety document “does not exist”.

“The ARPANSA Senior Scientist, who holds the responsibility for searching ARPANSA records of documents that go to the planning or prospects of a nuclear vessel, … has instructed me that ARPANSA, at this point in time, does not have a document specifically relating to the terms of your request,” ARPANSA FOI Officer John Templeton wrote to Patrick on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the agency confirmed to InDaily it has not been asked by the Defence Department to undertake a safety assessment or planning study of the site.

Patrick said the revelation shows that the Morrison’s Government’s nuclear submarines program is “a huge exercise in filling in the blanks”.

“One might have thought that some work would have been undertaken to consider Adelaide’s suitability for at least nuclear powered warship visits before the Prime Minister’s big announcement last month,” Patrick said.

“That is a task that ARPANSA undertakes on a regular basis in relation to other locations including HMAS Stirling, Fremantle, Darwin and Brisbane.

“While the safety assessments required for nuclear submarine construction and long-term berthing facilities would be a very complex undertaking, a port visit safety assessment of Port Adelaide and Outer Harbour would have been minimum due diligence before the Prime Minister promised his nuclear subs would be built in Adelaide.”

Patrick said the lack of safety assessment means Adelaide’s docks “could not currently host even a single-day visit by any nuclear powered submarine”.

“As is so often the case, Scott Morrison’s Government hasn’t done the basic preliminaries. It’s big on announcements, but fails conspicuously on due diligence and competent project management,” he said.

ARPANSA CEO Carl-Magnus Larsson told a parliamentary last week that the agency was briefed on the plan to shift from diesel to nuclear submarines around the beginning of July.

A spokesperson for ARPANSA said the agency “has not been asked to undertake a safety assessment and/or planning study on docking nuclear submarines in Port Adelaide or Outer Harbour”.

“ARPANSA will only undertake a radiological port assessment if Defence (Navy) determines that a nuclear-powered vessel can visit a specified port,” the spokesperson said.

“Neither Adelaide nor Outer Harbor have been subject to a visit of a nuclear-powered vessel.”

InDaily contacted the Department of Defence for comment.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | safety, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greenland soon to reinstate its ban on uranium mining

Within weeks, Greenland’s parliament, the Inatsisartut, is expected to
pass a bill reinstating a ban on uranium mining that was lifted in 2013
following pressure from mining companies. “The Greenlandic minister with
responsibility for minerals has publicly stated that a ban on uranium
mining will put an end to all future uranium mining, full stop,” Mariane
Paviasen, a Greenland MP and leading activist in the anti-uranium mining
movement, Urani? Naamik (Uranium? No), told Green Left.

 Green Left 20th Oct 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry’s new spin is the same old outdated propaganda

The nuclear industry’s updated songsheet remains outdated Mark DiesendorfOct 21, 2021  The campaign for nuclear power stations in Australia defies the unstoppable rise of renewables and should be rejected by governments and the electorate — it’s a technology whose time has passed.

With the Glasgow climate summit approaching and the government’s announcement that Australia would buy nuclear-powered submarines instead of diesel, the nuclear industry is campaigning more vocally for nuclear power stations in Australia. Their revised songsheets include both resuscitated old lines that have been rejected many times and several relatively new songs of a pernicious nature.

Revival of old songs 

It is claimed that electricity grids need baseload power stations, such as coal or nuclear, that can run 24/7 at full rated power, except when they break down or undergo maintenance and refuelling. But nowadays energy experts who are not committed to the nuclear industry recognise that the variability of wind and solar must be balanced with storage, new transmission links, demand response, and/or flexible power stations that can start up in seconds to minutes and can vary their output rapidly. These include hydroelectricity with a dam, pumped hydro (with two dams at different elevations), batteries, concentrated solar thermal with storage, and open-cycle gas turbines that can burn biofuels and green hydrogen and ammonia.

Even modern nuclear reactors cannot compete in flexibility of operation with these technologies and measures. Furthermore, operating in a more flexible mode carries economic penalties for nuclear, which is already exorbitantly expensive…………………….

Another item on the revised nuclear songsheet is the claim that the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi was entirely the fault of the tsunami, that it was all just “a natural event”. Yet the choice of technology cannot be exonerated, because it resulted in mass evacuation, compensation payments (huge in total but inadequate for individuals), destruction of the local agriculture and fishing industries, temporary loss of national tourism, temporary collapse of the electricity grid, massive removal of radioactive soil and plants, a multi-decades-long continuing process to decommission the reactors, and the need to import vast quantities of fossil fuels. (The latter would have been greatly reduced if the government’s prior commitment to nuclear hadn’t resulted in its neglect of renewable energy.) Total costs have been estimated at over US$500 billion, while the nuclear power station was insured for only US$1.5 billion.

The scale of the disaster resulted from the choice of nuclear technology. Yet at Kamisu, on the coast to the south of Fukushima, a wind farm located in the surf survived the tsunami and continued to generate electricity until the grid went down.

Another new pro-nuclear song identifies a spike in the wholesale electricity price and blames it on renewables and the absence of nuclear. Yet wholesale prices in electricity markets fluctuate up and down according to supply and demand. With increasing penetration of wind and solar PV into the grid, these fluctuations are superposed on a declining trend in wholesale electricity price. This decline results from the fact that the costs of operating a wind or solar farm are almost zero, and so these technologies have the top priority to operate (see Merit Order Effect). In the UK, electricity prices are higher than necessary because the government has overruled market principles and given priority in operation to nuclear power, despite the fact that it has much higher operating costs than wind and solar PV.

Another tactic used by nuclear supporters in recent years is to claim that 100 per cent renewable electricity scenarios would occupy vast areas of land, compete with food production and reduce biodiversity. Yet the reality is that most wind and solar farms are erected on agricultural or marginal land. Although wind farms can span large areas, the land area actually occupied by the turbine, access roads and substation typically amounts to 1 to 2 per cent of the land spanned. Wind farms are compatible with almost all forms of agriculture. Although the presence of solar farms excludes some agriculture, they can be erected sufficiently high above ground for sheep to shelter beneath them. Both wind and solar farms contribute valuable rent to farmers. Rooftop solar occupies no land. 

A rather desperate tactic used by a few pro-nuclear debaters is to claim falsely that a recent report by a leading solar research organisation has admitted that solar energy has failed. Without seeing the actual report, it is difficult to refute the claim in the heat of debate and so the lie may score a debating point. However, when it is checked and exposed after the debate, it can backfire on the perpetrator and their case.

Introducing nuclear power to Australia — including convincing the electorate, local governments and local populations, and building the infrastructure — would take at least 15 years, while taking financial resources away from renewables. But new nuclear power stations could not contribute in time to assist the rapid electricity transition needed for climate mitigation. And once 100 per cent renewable electricity is established with the bulk of energy generation by cheap solar and wind, nuclear power could not compete economically. It’s a technology whose time has passed.

Too slow for climate mitigation 

If a national government commits to net zero emissions by 2050 (which may be too late for keeping global heating below 1.5 degrees), then it must achieve zero emissions from all energy (electricity, transport and heat) by about 2040. This is because energy is the least difficult sector to transition to zero emissions. Agriculture and non-energy industrial processes will need more time to reduce emissions and, if possible, to remove carbon dioxide to offset emissions they cannot reduce. Achieving zero energy emissions by 2040 entails achieving zero emissions from electricity by 2035 or preferably 2030, because electrifying transport and heat will take longer than transitioning electricity to renewables. Wind and solar farms can be planned and built in just three years.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste shipment to come from UK to Lucas Heights

Australia to receive UK nuclear waste shipment amid bitter dispute over national storage facilityTwo-tonne load to be stored at Sydney’s Lucas Heights until national facility built in several years ShepherdThu 21 Oct 2021 Two tonnes of nuclear waste will be shipped from the United Kingdom to Australia next year as debate continues over a national storage facility.

The shipment of four 500kg canisters inside a forged steel container called a TN-81 is part of a waste swap deal with the UK.

The intermediate-level waste is to be stored temporarily at Sydney’s Lucas Heights facility then sent to the national radioactive waste management facility the federal government plans to build near Kimba in South Australia

However that project is the subject of a bitter dispute, and is years away. It will take several years for all the regulatory approvals to pass, and the government has declined to nominate when it will start construction.

In 1996 Australia sent spent fuel rods from its Hifar reactor – the predecessor to the existing Opal multi-purpose reactor – to the UK to be recycled into fuel for nuclear power plants. The “radiologically equivalent” waste will be sent to Australia under the 2022 waste repatriation project.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (Arpansa) reported this week that it is working with the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation “for the inspection of radioactive waste containers, set to return to Australia from the Sellafield Reprocessing Plant”.

The waste relates to the processing of spent fuel sent to the UK in earlier years from Australia’s former research reactor,” Arpansa said.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) says it successfully repatriated radioactive waste from France to Australia in 2015 and that the TN-81s had been used successfully in 180 nuclear shipments around the world.

The federal government says Lucas Heights does not have the room or the approvals to store the nation’s nuclear waste, which is spread across more than 100 sites, so it will commission a purpose-built dump. It settled on a site at Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia.

That plan has been deeply divisive.

A ballot run by the Australian Electoral Commission found more than 60% of people in the Kimba council area supported the facility, which would store mostly medical waste that is currently in separate sites all over the country.

But the traditional owners, the Barngarla people, say many were excluded from that ballot because they lived outside the council area. In a separate ballot, Barngarla voters unanimously rejected the proposal.

Chair of The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, Jason Bilney, later welcomed amendments to the legislation that leave open the possibility of a judicial review.

Federal resources minister, Keith Pitt, has announced his intention to declare that Napandee will host the site. Before that declaration is made, however, there has been a consultation process for anyone who has a legal right or interest in the proposal.

Submissions to that consultation will close on Friday.

Pitt will consider any comments, and if he goes ahead and declares Napandee as the site, the federal government plans to acquire the land and begin preparations to build the facility – barring legal challenges.

Conservation Council of SA chief executive officer, Craig Wilkins, said the UK shipment highlighted the overall issues with creating a national facility. The facility will mostly store low-level waste but will temporarily store intermediate-level waste such as that coming from the UK.

Wilkins says Lucas Heights should store all waste until a permanent facility can be built.

“If this is genuinely our waste and we have a responsibility to look after it, then we need to do that properly,” he said.

“We need a genuine, long-term national approach to dealing with our waste, rather than this ad hoc temporary fix of shifting some of the waste across to SA to temporarily park it in above-ground sheds while they work out what to do with the waste long term. It makes sense to get the long-term solution first.”

International best practice is to bury the waste in a deep disposal site in the safest place in the country, he said. “That work hasn’t been done yet, and until it’s done the waste should stay … at Lucas Heights.”

The government says waste from more than 100 sites needs to be consolidated in a purpose-built facility and that neither Lucas Heights nor the CSIRO storage site at Woomera were intended for permanent storage.

The industry department argues Lucas Heights “is not large enough” because any free space is needed for an expansion of research activities, and that it is only licensed for temporary storage.

Debate over nuclear storage continues, as does debate over Australia’s planned acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines, and debate over whether Australia needs nuclear power.

October 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Australia’s pro nuclear lobby revs up its propaganda, via News Corpse, but it’s short on facts

Some examples.

PM must go nuclear before Glasgow trip
   Herrald Sun Terry McCrann,

The PM must make an aggressive bi-partisan commitment to nuclear power in Australia before he goes to Glasgow promising an ‘utterly stupid’ net zero emissions target. 20 Oct 21,

Net-zero hour as Nats urged to take the nuclear option   Courier Mail 

A maverick Nationals senator has warned his colleagues they must be open to nuclear power if net-zero is to become a reality.

Really green environmentalists’ are saying we should go nuclear to save the planet Sky News host Chris Kenny says a lot of “really green environmentalists” are saying Australia should go nuclear to save the planet.

Mr Kenny said while “every man and his dog” has an opinion on net zero by 2050 it cannot be reached on current technology without the use of nuclear power.

“The only countries that can go close to net zero do so with a lot of nuclear power,” he said.

……….” I can’t understand why we aren’t going for nuclear power , if you really want zero emissions technology, and at least we know that nuclear works. “ Anrew Bolt on Sky News 21 Oct 21

Australia is ‘held back’ by Labor Party on nuclear

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says Australia is being “held back by Anthony Albanese” on establishing nuclear power in the country.

“If the Labor Party, in a bipartisan way, came forward as proper statesmen and women, and said they support nuclear power, then we would have a nuclear industry here,” Mr Joyce told Sky News host Andrew Bolt.

“And that would be a great outcome for our nation.

“But we know the political tactics of the Labor left led by Anthony Albanese, will just use it as a mechanism to cut and dice us on fear tactics.”

October 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | Leave a comment