Australian news, and some related international items

Sydney University fined for carelessness with a radioactive device

The fallout of the University’s radiation case, by Bella Gerardi, May 2, 2022,

Last week, the University of Sydney was fined $61,000 for failing to properly dispose of a radioactive source belonging to a decommissioned medical imaging machine. For an institution that claims to have a strong commitment to the environment, conviction of a criminal environmental offence appears at odds with its sustainability strategy.

The source, which contained a sealed radioactive isotope, was found when a truck delivering scrap metals to a recycling yard set off alarms during a routine radiation check. 

Identified as belonging to a PET scanner owned by the University, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charged the University with four individual breaches of the Radiation Control Act. The case didn’t go to court as the University pled guilty, and in exchange the EPA dropped two of the four charges. 

So, how did this happen? 

By accident, the court ruled. 

…………… the court noted that if the source had not been detected before entry to the second metal recycling yard, environmental contamination would have been “very likely”. In this scenario, the source would have gone on to be reprocessed, a procedure that would involve breaking the seal of the source and dispersing the material into usable metal. It would have ultimately ended up in consumer material, which the court noted has occurred overseas.

………… It is disappointing, but not surprising, that it took a criminal conviction to reach the safeguards imposed today. Unfortunately, the University’s prior lack of clear procedure is indicative of the broader attitude institutions and corporations hold toward environmental crimes. Environmental crimes are often entangled with accidents, negligence, or oversight, and are often not viewed as holding the same gravity as other offences.

Corporations and institutions are responsible for the majority of environmental harm, yet complex corporate hierarchies make it uncommon for individuals to face repercussions for offences, which in turn promotes a lax attitude toward environmental damage. ………………………………….. more

May 5, 2022 Posted by | legal, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Various groups oppose plan for nuclear submarine base – ”a military target” at Port Kembla, New South Wales

Planes, trains, automobiles … and nuclear subs: the local issues at play in the federal election

Guardian  Stephanie Tran and Khaled Al Khawaldeh, Mon 2 May 2022

 ………….Submarine base in Port Kembla

Max, 26, works for a non-profit and lives in the electorate of Cunningham, held by retiring Labor MP Sharon Bird. He is worried about the prospect of a base being built in Port Kembla to house the future nuclear-powered submarines to be built under the Aukus agreement.

“This announcement was made with no consultation with the community, no proposal for consultation moving forward and a potential for my home to have a giant target on its back,” he said.

The Wollongong suburb, 100km south of Sydney, was flagged by the Coalition as the potential home of its new nuclear-powered submarine base. However, experts have raised concerns that the base could endanger the community by making it a military target, and some in the community are wary over the safety of the submarines’ nuclear reactors.

Alison Byrnes, the Labor candidate for Cunningham, said that if elected she would ensure that the community was consulted on the decision.

“I will make it a priority to seek a detailed briefing from the minister for defence on this plan, as well as Defence’s proposed assessment process,” she said.

The Liberal party emphasised the economic benefits of the project, but did not address the community concerns……..

Greens candidate Dylan Green said he did not want to see his community “getting caught up in a nuclear arms race”.

“Our government should be strengthening diplomatic ties with neighbouring states, not inviting conflict by investing in warships with primarily offensive capabilities,” he said.

Alexis Garnaut-Miller, from the Australian Citizens party, was “absolutely and resolutely opposed to this nonsensical proposal of building nuclear submarines or any development of nuclear submarine presence in Port Kembla”……

May 2, 2022 Posted by | New South Wales, Opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Students, Maritime Union, strongly oppose proposal for nuclear submarine base at Port Kembla

Nuclear submarine naval base at Port Kembla proposal opposed Ashleigh Tullis   13 Mar 33

Dozens of people gathered in Wollongong to protest the “proliferation of nuclear weapons” following the federal government’s proposal to build a nuclear submarine naval base at Port Kembla.

Port Kembla has been touted as the preferred location for a future base for Australia and visiting nuclear-powered submarine fleets, under a federal government plan.

Rally organiser, Wollongong Undergraduate Students’ Association Education Officer Sean McLachlan said the protest at Wollongong mall on Saturday demanded an end to the AUKUS pact where the US and the UK will help Australia to acquire highly-sophisticated nuclear-powered submarines.

“We see this proposal as a significant act of aggression and exaggeration towards potential war in the future,” he said.

“This latest proposal of having the naval base in Brisbane, Newcastle or Port Kembla, in our backyard, is quite shocking.

“It will be met with strident opposition.”

Mr McLachlan said Wollongong had a strong history of “standing up against all forms of militarism”.

“We are saying no to the naval base, no to AUKUS and no to war,” he said.

“We oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Nuclear power in any form requires uranium, mining and a massive investment into infrastructure which can be used for the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

Mr McLachlan said ordinary people had no interest in the government investing in the military but would rather see money spent on expanding social welfare, public and social housing, disaster funding and climate change.

“This is what money should be funnelled into from the government – things that ordinary people could benefit from, not weapons,” he said.

“Instead of building a naval base that will only increase the threat of devastating conflict in the region, the $10 billion slated for this base should be spent on building new schools and hospitals.

“They claim there isn’t enough money for us, but there’s somehow always money for death and destruction.”

Maritime Union of Australia southern NSW branch secretary Mick Cross reiterated the union’s opposition to nuclear proliferation.

“The MUA has always stood for peace, internationalism and justice, and so condemns in any shape or form the proliferation of nuclear capability in any country, especially our own. This includes the development or proliferation of nuclear-powered defence vessels,” he said.

During the rally, Mr Cross said if the base was built, fishing would no longer be permitted, nor families using the foreshore due to security concerns.

“Shame on the LNP government and shame on those who think there is any positive aspect of this nuclear base being built in Port Kembla,” he said.

Mr Cross said he was worried about Port Kembla becoming a “target” once submarines were based there.

He added the port was now entering a “progressive” phase with a focus on jobs in renewable energy industry into the long term, and that was better than than short-term jobs that would be needed to build the base.

Mr Cross said the announcement was a “distraction” ahead of the federal election.

Members of Wollongong Undergraduate Students’ Association, Wollongong Socialists, Illawarra Greens, refugee campaigners, South Coast Labour Council and Southern NSW Maritime Union of Australia branch hoped Saturday’s rally would be the start of an opposition campaign against the proposal.

March 14, 2022 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells wants Port Kembla as nuclear submarine base – Dr Helen Caldicott and Wollongong Council disagree

Port Kembla the ‘obvious choice’ for nuclear submarine base, Liberal Senator says

ABC Illawarra / By Tim Fernandez 8 Mar 2022  Port Kembla could become the home of the first major military base to be built in Australia in more than 20 years, but the prospect of nuclear activity in the region has split the community. 

Key points:

  • Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says Port Kembla is the “obvious choice” for the base
  • Nobel Prize-winning anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott says the base will turn Wollongong into a military target
  • Wollongong has been a nuclear-free city since 1980

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed yesterday that a submarine base would be built on Australia’s east coast as part of the AUKUS partnership with the US and the UK.

Port Kembla, Newcastle and Brisbane have been floated as possible locations for the base, but the ABC understands Wollongong is the Defence Department’s preferred site.

…………………   Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has been advocating for the Garden Island Naval Base in Sydney to be moved to Port Kembla since 2015.

‘Vote-buying gimmick’

The South Coast has a long history of community opposition to nuclear projects and the identification of Port Kembla as a possible destination for nuclear assets has reignited the debate.

One of the pioneers of the Australian anti-nuclear movement, Helen Caldicott, has spent decades raising awareness of the nuclear threat and won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for her work.

The Berry resident believed the base would pose an unmanageable risk to the area.

“Huge amounts of money being spent, nuclear activity at Port Kembla, which is always dangerous, and making it a target in the event of war, like Pine Gap,” Dr Caldicott said.

“It is just a vote-buying gimmick, obviously, when the Prime Minister should be spending that sort of money on the people in Lismore, many of whom have lost their houses.

“I think it should be treated with cynicism, and for Port Kembla to understand the dangers — both with dealing with nuclear activities and making it a possible target.”

The Labor Party supports the AUKUS partnership, but its candidate in the Wollongong-based seat of Cunningham, Alison Byrnes, has criticised the government’s secrecy around the plan.

“It has been really disrespectful for our community — they deserve to have all the details,” she said.

“The Prime Minister is using national security for his own job security, which suits his political timeline and not national security priorities.”

Nuclear-free zone

Wollongong council has been a nuclear-free zone since 1980 and in 2019 the council adopted the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons………………….

March 12, 2022 Posted by | New South Wales, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A nuclear bomb on Sydney would mean umimaginable carnage

Frightening graphic reveals the horrific carnage a nuclear bomb would cause in Australia’s biggest cities – as Vladimir Putin’s nuclear sabre-rattling sparks global fears, By KEVIN AIRS FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA, 3 Mar 22, ”……………………But if the attack was to target Sydney or Melbourne, the carnage would be almost unimaginable.

Almost a million would die instantly in a 5km fireball which would engulf Sydney city centre, turning the inner-west, CBD and Eastern Suburbs to ash.

Buildings would be crushed to dust from Homebush to Collaroy to Cronulla.

If the airburst happened over Parramatta, the devastation would be even greater. The entire greater Sydney area from Penrith to Richmond to Palm Beach to Camden and the Royal National Park would be ablaze. 

Anyone in the city left alive after the nuclear fireball and initial blast would be suffering third degree radiation burns all over their body, with many losing limbs.

The only saving grace might be that all their nerve-endings would probably be burnt away and they’d feel little to no pain.

Further out and windows in the Illawarra and Central Coast would be blown out by the blast, inflicting maiming injuries on locals, many of whom would be standing by a window to watch the distant explosion.  

A surface blast could cause a fifth or so fewer deaths and injuries, but create a radiation cloud that would stretch up the coast to Newcastle and beyond, blowing out to sea as far up as the Gold Coast. 

‘There’s no doubt that any large-scale nuclear weapons use would be quite catastrophic,’ Australian National University Professor Stephan Fruehling told the I’ve Got News For You podcast. 

If you have a nuclear weapon that’s exploded on the ground, you’re looking at a very significant fallout plume and local contamination, which is essentially dangerous because of the radiotoxicity and contaminating water supplies and food chains.’ 

In Melbourne, a similar airburst explosion would instantly destroy everywhere around the CBD including Docklands, South and East Melbourne and Carlton in a deadly fireball. 

More than 900,000 would die in a blink of an eye with another 1.3 million injured. 

Everything from Sunshine West to Box Hill and north to Broadmeadows would be flattened in a 30km-wide blast range. 

Everyone from Orangefields to Boronia to Whalan would be burnt to a crisp, with windows blown out and property damaged 85km from the epicentre, stretching from Frankston to Bacchus Marsh to Wallan.

A surface explosion would reduce the death total by a couple of hundred thousand, but the radiation cloud would stretch across Victoria, over Albany and Canberra and reach Sydney and Newcastle……………

March 3, 2022 Posted by | New South Wales, Victoria, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Massive cask of nuclear waste to arrive in Sydney

Monolithic cask of nuclear waste to arrive,

Monolithic cask of nuclear waste to arrive, Ferrier   

A monolithic steel cask designed to withstand an earthquake and a jet strike will arrive in Sydney next year, carrying two tonnes of radioactive waste.

For security reasons authorities won’t say when the hulking capsule – containing four 500kg canisters of ‘intermediate-level material’ – will arrive from the UK.

But it will hardly be an inconspicuous affair: the cask itself weighs 100 tonnes and resembles something from NASA’s space program.

Its forged steel walls are 20cm thick, it’s 6.5m long and three metres wide.

Back in 2015, when the first cask of its type arrived, it was carrying 20 tonnes of Australian nuclear waste that had been reprocessed in France.

About 600 police and security officers were involved in the mission to truck it from Port Kembla, near Wollongong, to Lucas Heights, the southern Sydney suburb that serves as the country’s nuclear technology hub.

It is safe to assume that next year’s arrival will involve an equally elaborate, high-security operation.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation operates the Lucas Heights compound.

It was home to the High Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR), which supported nuclear medicine and science before it was closed in 2007 and superseded by the Open Pool Australian Lightwater reactor, also at Lucas Heights.

The waste that’s due to arrive in 2022 is from HIFAR’s operations and ANSTO says the material is being “repatriated” under the international principle that countries must be responsible for their nuclear leftovers.

However what’s coming won’t actually be what is left of the 114 spent fuel rods HIFAR sent to the UK for reprocessing in 1996.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation operates the Lucas Heights compound.

It was home to the High Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR), which supported nuclear medicine and science before it was closed in 2007 and superseded by the Open Pool Australian Lightwater reactor, also at Lucas Heights.

The waste that’s due to arrive in 2022 is from HIFAR’s operations and ANSTO says the material is being “repatriated” under the international principle that countries must be responsible for their nuclear leftovers.

However what’s coming won’t actually be what is left of the 114 spent fuel rods HIFAR sent to the UK for reprocessing in 1996.

“Specifically it’s not the material we sent, it’s an equivalent, almost swapping the material that came from reprocessing our waste, for equivalent material that was produced at another UK site.”

Mr Griffiths says the UK had to demonstrate that what will be sent to Australia is “within the measurement boundaries” of the accepted definition of intermediate level waste, which can remain radioactive for thousands of years.

ANSTO also had to satisfy the national regulator on that point.

While saving money wasn’t the objective, Mr Griffiths says the waste exchange agreement means taxpayer-funded ANSTO will save $12 to $13 million in shipping costs.

ANSTO’s Pamela Naidoo-Ameglio has promised the cask’s arrival will be a “routine and safe operation”

“This will be the second repatriation project and 12th successful transport of spent fuel or reprocessed waste which ANSTO has carried out since 1963,” she said in a statement on Monday.

“For all of the obvious and standard security reasons, we can’t comment on the specific route or timing of this transport.”

The new cask will sit alongside the original one at Lucas Heights until Australia’s new national nuclear waste storage facility is constructed at Napandee, near Kimba, on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

The facility is up to the design phase and is being contested by Indigenous owners, so the casks are likely to remain at Lucas Heights for a number of years.

Once Napandee is operational, the casks will be moved there and stored, pending a final solution that will involve deep burial.

Australia’s radioactive waste results from nuclear medicine, research endeavours and industrial applications. Australia does not produce nuclear power.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Expansion of nuclear engineering at University of New South Wales

Australia’s only nuclear engineering program expands, Manufacturers Monthly, September 27, 2021  The Sir William Tyree Foundation has donated $1 million to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to support expanding nuclear engineering program and foster the skills in Australia for using future technology. 

The program prepares students for careers in high-tech industries including nuclear science, nuclear medicine, mining and resources, energy, manufacturing, aerospace, space exploration and defence……….

This gift builds on the foundations laid down to develop a high-tech nuclear industry in Australia, which will be essential if we choose to adopt nuclear energy …….. Sir William Tyree’s daughter and chair of the foundation board, Robyn Fennell said. 

“To make this a reality, nuclear engineering programs like UNSW’s are critical in ensuring Australia has the home-grown skills to support that choice. My father believed strongly in the benefits of nuclear energy as a safe, clean Ed. [there’s that word again – it’s a lie] power source for Australia and our gift continues to support that vision.” ……..

September 27, 2021 Posted by | Education, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Sutherland Shire doesn’t want any more nuclear waste stored at Lucas Heights in their Shire

Council calls on Hughes MP to take stand against ANSTO nuclear waste expansion plan St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

Sutherland Shire Council is calling “in the strongest terms” for Hughes MP Craig Kelly to take a stand against a proposed new nuclear waste facility at ANSTO, Lucas Heights.

Mayor Steve Simpson told this week’s council meeting, “I would like to see less of his medical skills [COVID comments] and much more of an assertion that the [nuclear] waste should not be kept in his electorate”.

Mr Kelly hit back, accusing councillors of “scaremongering”.

The council unanimously resolved that, while continuing to support research and innovation at ANSTO and its benefits for treatments for cancer and in nuclear medicine, a submission be made to the independent regulator ARPANSA opposing the construction of an Intermediate Level Waste Capacity Increase (ILWCI) facility at the Lucas Heights campus.

A letter will also be written to the federal Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt, requesting the matter of the establishment of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility be given urgent priority.

The final part of the motion stated: “Council puts in the strongest term Cr Michael Forshaw, a former senator, said previous MPs for Hughes, Robert Tickner and Danna Vale, “were strong on this issue in pushing the need for a permanent repository, or store, for our nuclear waste”………….

September 25, 2021 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Wollemi Mine? Experts label Barilaro’s plan for new coal “corrupt”, unviable

Wollemi Mine? Experts label Barilaro’s plan for new coal “corrupt”, unviable Michael West Media, By Callum Foote|September 3, 2021  

The NSW government is pushing through new coal exploration areas in the state’s mid-west, which have been labelled unviable and “corrupt” by independent experts even as the G7 call a halt on all new coal mining reports Callum Foote.

It’s better known for its rare Wollemi Pine but in the grotesque tradition of aggressive fossil fuel development, even as the world pulls out of coal mining, it may now be known for its Wollemi Mine.

Rylstone, a small town in the Central Tablelands of NSW, 25 km from Mudgee, is under threat from a suite of proposed coal exploration areas that the NSW government has been trying to auction off since mid-last year.

Despite the NSW government’s attempts to cultivate a green brand, John Barilaro’s 2020 Strategic Statement on Coal Exploration and Mining in NSW has opened up productive farmland, adjacent to the world-heritage listed Wollemi national park to brand new coal exploration.

Together, the proposed new coal release areas will encompass over 10 thousand hectares of land in Hawkins and Rumker areas surrounding Rylstone. This comes after the federal and Northern Territory governments together opened a landmass totalling 110,000km sq to gas exploration in 2021 alone.

Expert analysis

The NSW Government’s support of new coal infrastructure makes little sense to Rod Campbell, Research Director at The Australia Institute, “as an economist, it seems inconceivable that a new thermal mine in Rylstone, that couldn’t begin operations till 2030 could be economically viable.” According to Campbell, the proposed exploration areas “only makes sense that it is either a political deal or corruption.”

The NSW Government might have a difficult time finding buyers for their coal exploration licences as coal miners rush to disinvest from the industry. BPH, the worlds largest miner, is currently trying to pay anyone US$275 million to take Mt Authur, the biggest thermal coal mine in Australia, off their hands. In a report to investors this year, BHP wrote down a further $2.2 billion on their thermal coal assets as they attempt to transition to “future-facing” commodities.

Campbell believes that “it seems incredibly unlikely any serious mining company would be interested in developing a mine in the region.” Any proposed development would not be operational till “at least the second half of this decade and would face intense opposition and be very hard to finance,” said Campbell. …………….

September 6, 2021 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

On Hiroshima Day, the City of Newcastle reaffirms its commitment as a Nuclear Free Zone, supporting United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Hiroshima Day flag-raising reaffirms City’s commitment to Nuclear Free Zone, Mirage News, 8 Aug 21,  City of Newcastle reaffirmed its long-held commitment to declaring the city a Nuclear Free Zone, raising the Hunter Peace Group and International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) flags in Civic Park in recognition of Hiroshima Day.

Observed each year on 6 August, 2021 marks the 76th anniversary of the devastating bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US forces.

In support of ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the campaign toabolish  nuclear weapons, the flags were flown alongside the Australian and Aboriginal flags to mark the historic anniversary.

It followed a Lord Mayoral Minute supported by City of Newcastle councillors in June, acknowledging the City’s long-standing history with local, national and international peace movements, dating back to 29 June 1982 when the City first declared Newcastle a Nuclear Free Zone under Lord Mayor Joy Cummings AM, and resolving to establish with Hunter Peace Group a dedicated Newcastle Peace Park at Tighes Hill Reserve, adjacent to Islington Park.

Peace parks exist in many cities across the country, including Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra, and more locally at Cessnock and Tanilba Bay.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the City of Newcastle was proud to support these efforts as a progressive city.

“The City of Newcastle has a long and proud history of activism against nuclear weapons, particularly as a city with a large working port,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Former Newcastle Lord Mayor Joy Cummings was a passionate advocate for the peace movement, inspiring strong community support and joining with Hunter Peace Group, trade unionists and activists to hold demonstrations on the importance of nuclear disarmament and protecting Newcastle as a Nuclear Free City and port.

I am honoured to uphold that mission today on behalf of the City, in which there is no place for nuclear weapons in modern society.”

Hunter Peace Group Secretary Lynda Forbes said the group was pleased to continue this important work with the City of Newcastle.

While ever there is nuclear testing being conducted across the globe, Hunter Peace Group believes it is important to continue to commemorate the anniversaries of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to draw public attention to the threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world,” Ms Forbes said.

“Despite City of Newcastle supporting the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2019, and advocating to the Federal Government in 2020, Australia is yet to sign and ratify the treaty, which came into force in January this year.


August 9, 2021 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NSW Productivity Commission Has “Lost The Plot” On Nuclear Power,

NSW Productivity Commission Has “Lost The Plot” On Nuclear Power, Solar Quotes, June 3, 2021 by Michael Bloch  The Electrical Trades Union has weighed in on the New South Wales Productivity Commission’s recommendation to lift the ban on nuclear electricity generation for small modular reactors.

The recommendation was one of many contained in the Commission’s 371-page “Rebooting the economy” whitepaper released last week.

……….. Small modular reactors operating as terrestrial power stations are vaporware at this point; they do not exist. The Commission notes a U.S. company expects to have its first small modular reactor operating by 2026. “Expecting” gives wiggle room for that to not happen and it’s not unreasonable to assume it won’t given the challenges the SMR technology faces, including the renewables juggernaut.

ETU: Nuclear Power “Not The Answer”

With renewables and storage rapidly evolving and their cost continuing to plummet, it sounds a bit nutty to be even considering SMRs – and the Electrical Trades Union agrees.

“The Productivity Commission has lost the plot if it thinks small modular reactors, a technology that has been ‘just around the corner’ since the 1970’s but still doesn’t exist, is the answer to NSW’s productivity growth,” said ETU National and NSW Secretary, Allen Hicks. “Even if someone finally manages to build one that works, the electricity price forecast for their output is six times more expensive than renewables.”

The Commission notes low-cost renewables pose an additional risk to the economics of large reactors, but doesn’t seem to tweak to the fact they pose the same threat to SMRs…..

Mr. Hicks’ advice:

“Boosting the economy, providing more jobs, and dealing with climate change are big problems, but nuclear power is not the answer.”

But something that wins the trifecta are renewables such as wind and solar power along with supporting technologies.

The 70,000-member strong Electrical Trades Union says it has a  long history of opposing uranium mining and the nuclear power industry, and has had a ban on members working in both sectors since 1945. You can learn more about the ETU’s stance on its “No Future For Nuclear” website.  Mr. Hicks’ advice:

“Boosting the economy, providing more jobs, and dealing with climate change are big problems, but nuclear power is not the answer.”

But something that wins the trifecta are renewables such as wind and solar power along with supporting technologies.

June 17, 2021 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales Productivity Commission slammed for recommending nuclear power while ignoring offshore wind,

NSW Productivity Commission slammed for recommending nuclear power while ignoring offshore wind,
Maritime Union of Australia

The NSW Productivity Commission is under fire for recommending the NSW Government lift the state’s ban on nuclear power while ignoring proven, lower-cost renewable energy sources such as offshore wind.

Among 60 recommendations aimed at driving productivity and economic growth, the NSW Productivity Commission White Paper released this week proposed the ban on nuclear generation be lifted for small modular reactors.The same report made no mention of offshore wind generation, despite the proven technology producing a growing share of electricity around the world and several major proposals awaiting approval off the NSW coast.

This is despite the CSIRO’s most recent report on electricity generation costs showing that SMR nuclear reactors cost approximately $16,000 per kilowatt, nearly three times offshore wind. Recent UK analysis has found the cost of developing offshore wind is even lower.

The Maritime Union of Australia said it was staggering that the NSW Productivity Commission would recommend resources be thrown into small modular nuclear reactors — a technology that doesn’t yet exist — instead of cheaper, cleaner, proven technologies like offshore wind.“It is unbelievable that the NSW Productivity Commission would propose a major regulatory overhaul for a theoretical technology that doesn’t operate anywhere on earth, yet not even mention one of the fastest growing forms of energy generation,” MUA Deputy National Secretary Warren Smith said.

Rather than waste years debating a theoretical technology, which will come with huge costs and substantial safety concerns, the NSW Government should be getting on with supporting the development of reliable, cheap, and plentiful offshore wind resources.“The NSW Productivity Commission’s focus on an industry that doesn’t even exist, while ignoring a proven technology that can deliver power and jobs for NSW right now, shows an ideological pro-nuclear agenda has been put ahead of the state’s economic interests.“Small nuclear reactors have been promised for half a century, but as yet not one exists. Most countries with nuclear power are moving away from the technology, with new reactors running hugely over budget, requiring massive taxpayer subsidies, and locking in higher power prices for consumers.“In contrast, offshore wind technology continues to mature, delivering massive growth at ever-lower prices.

“Australia has the advantage of long coastlines close to population centres, along with highly skilled seafarers and offshore oil and gas workers who could be utilised to construct local wind projects.“The development of an offshore wind industry would also provide an opportunity to transition highly-skilled workers from fossil fuel industries into a clean, green alternative.“With the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions to address global heating, it’s absurd that the NSW Productivity Commission would suggest sitting on our hands for a decade in the hope a theoretical technology will magically fix the problem when we already have solutions available.“NSW has an opportunity to become a major exporter of clean, renewable energy, securing our economy for the future, but only if the Berejiklian Government takes immediate steps to support proven technologies.”

June 5, 2021 Posted by | business, energy, New South Wales, technology | Leave a comment

New South Wales Deputy Premier in the grip of the nuclear lobby

NSW Deputy Premier says nuclear power is the future as ban remains   Radio 2 GB, 04/06/2021, BEN FORDHAM  NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro says nuclear power is the way forward.However, it is currently illegal in Australia along with the mining of uranium in states like NSW.Mr Barilaro told Ben Fordham he’s looking at reintroducing a bill to lift the ban on mining uranium.“If you really want clean, green energy … to run an average home for 75 years it takes 150 tonnes of coal, to do it with uranium you’re talking about 2kg.“We would be ripe as a nation if we lift the ban today to absolutely embrace it.”

June 5, 2021 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Small nuclear reactors for New South Wales ? – dirty, dangerous, and uneconomic

Expensive and dangerous: Nuclear doesn’t stack up  Electrical Trades Union

Lifting the ban on nuclear power generation in NSW using unproven small-scale reactors will only push up power bills, damage the environment and compromise safety, according to the Electrical Trades Union.

ETU National and NSW Secretary, Allen Hicks, said nuclear power would be hugely expensive compared to renewable energy, and that small nuclear reactors were still a pipe dream.

The recommendation around small scale reactors is one of 60 contained in the NSW Productivity Commission’s White Paper, which is supposedly designed to reboot the state’s economy.

“The Productivity Commission has lost the plot if it thinks small modular reactors, a technology that has been ‘just around the corner’ since the 1970’s but still doesn’t exist, is the answer to NSW’s productivity growth,” Allen Hicks said.

“Even if someone finally manages to build one that works, the electricity price forecast for their output is six times more expensive than renewables.

“Why does the Productivity Commission want NSW residents paying six times more for their electricity?”

“There are massive offshore wind projects waiting for federal approval off the NSW coast near Newcastle, Wollongong and Eden. Rather than pie-in-the sky nuclear nonsense we should get on with approving this clean energy and getting it into out grid.

The commission says lifting the ban would provide another source of firming capacity in the grid. But its own report admits “a wide degree of uncertainty” about small-scale nuclear reactors, mainly due to cost.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the government “will consider everything” in the report.

But Mr Hicks said the State Government must hit the stop button on nuclear power, as the business model for a dirty and dangerous technology did not stack up.

“Even if they improve the technology, a small modular reactor would take far too long to build, and we don’t have time to waste in the fight against climate change,” Mr Hicks said.

“Globally, most countries are moving away from nuclear power. Few new reactors are being built and nuclear companies are going bankrupt or facing financial distress.

Mr Hicks said the government should instead continue to focus on renewable energy.

“With a bit of foresight, some investment and some big thinkers, Australia is uniquely positioned in the world to become a renewable energy leader.

“Boosting the economy, providing more jobs, and dealing with climate change are big problems, but nuclear power is not the answer.”

June 3, 2021 Posted by | business, New South Wales, technology | Leave a comment

Hunters Hill low level radioactive trash to be sent to USA

Are you turning green?‘: Neighbours’ relief as radioactive land to be shipped overseas, rioritised. , 30 Apr 21,

April 30, 2021 —  Up to 1800 tonnes of contaminated land affecting six waterfront properties in one of Sydney’s wealthiest suburbs will be sealed up and shipped to the US in a NSW government resolution that ends decades of anxiety over the harbourside blight.

After more than 100 years, pollution from a carbolic acid plant and a uranium refinery that led to the government’s acquisition of three Hunters Hill homes since the 1980s, and later prompted a parliamentary inquiry over health concerns, will be exported to Idaho over a meticulous, 18-month operation starting from July.

Following media reports that deaths and illnesses of former residents could possibly be attributed to contamination, a NSW parliamentary inquiry was set up in 2008 to determine the extent of radioactivity on the site, concluding it was difficult to establish any link between any reported cancer cases and the low doses of radiation.

However, it found there was a need to remediate the site, which included the government-owned foreshore.

In 2012, Property NSW attempted to have the material sent to a landfill in Kemps Creek, in western Sydney, but the proposal was abandoned after fierce backlash from the community.

A May 2019 proposal to encapsulate the contaminated material onsite in purpose-built cement “containment cells” was also rejected by residents as well as the local council………

Mr Stokes said the latest proposal had overwhelming support from the community and that he was pleased the stakeholders had finally reached an agreement.

“This safe and secure plan will mean these waterfront properties, which have laid dormant for decades, can now be used once the waste is safely moved away,” Mr Stokes said.

Member for Lane Cove and government minister Anthony Roberts, whose electorate serves the area, said the decision would be welcomed by residents after the waste “caused a lot of stress over the decades”.

Two of the three lots owned by the government are empty, while one contains an unused four-storey home with an indoor swimming pool that will have to be demolished. It is likely all lots will be sold on the private market once they are decontaminated.

According to a recent NSW government report on the remediation project, the fresh plan involves excavating the contaminated soil, sealing it in bags, loading them into shipping containers and transporting them to a secure facility in Matraville before shipping them overseas in scheduled consignments.

Property and Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said ANSTO would oversee the excavation and transport of the material and the safety of residents would be prioritised.  

May 6, 2021 Posted by | New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment