Australian news, and some related international items

Could there EVER be an ethical argument for Australia to import nuclear wastes?

Ethics - nuclear 1

If indeed, the waste importing idea were conditional on a Japanese plan to close down the industry, and help Japan overcome its very serious dilemma, this could be one big move towards halting the global nuclear industry juggernaut, with its undoubted connection to nuclear weapons. Japan could pay a reasonable amount to the waste host country, without being ripped off, without that country expecting to become mega wealthy. That would be one circumstance in which it would be an ethical choice for South Australia to import and dispose of nuclear waste.

“Pie in the sky!”  I hear your cry.

Yes, sadly so. Is there any chance that such an ethical decision would ever be made? I doubt it. The Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is left with the question of whether or not to support the NFCRC’s plan for a nuclear waste bonanza, or to risk possible State bankruptcy in the event of it all going wrong.

Nuclear Citizens’ Jury: an ethical case for importing nuclear wastes, Online Opinion, Noel Wauchope, 25 Oct 16 The South Australian government will call another Nuclear Citizens’ Jury, on October 29 – 30. This time the jury must answer this question:

Under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?

That set me thinking. The main “circumstance” for recommending this “opportunity” is the State Government’s plan to eventually bring in a pot of gold for the State.   There really is no other argument for this project in the Report. In the 320 page report any arguments about Aboriginal issues, safety, environment, health, are aimed at rebutting criticism of the plan. They provide no argument on the plan actually improving health or environment, and are in fact quite defensive about Aboriginal impacts. Continue reading

October 25, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Citizens Jury, wastes | Leave a comment

Confusion in the wording of the South Australia Nuclear Citizens’ Jury question

Jury (1)The question has been worded in two different ways in the Juror’s materials. The two versions were:

(1) Under what circumstances, if any, should SA pursue the storage and disposal of high level nuclear waste from other countries?

(2) Under what circumstances, if any, should South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?

Differences are (1) inclusion of the word “opportunity” in second version and (2) removal of the words “high level” in the second version.

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Lack of balance in the Witness List for Nuclear Citizens’ Jury South Australia October 29-30 ?

Citizens' Jury scrutinyThe Witness list for the 29 -30 Nuclear Citizens’ Jury in Adelaide is posted here on Antinuclear . The organiser DemocrayCo has yet to publicise this. Meanwhile OUR list is shown with indications of which witnesses are pro nuclear waste import and which are not.

It is interesting to observe that the pronuke and nuclear free witnesses are not always balanced evenly.

On “ECONOMICS” there is, oddly, a clear majority of nuclear-free opinions. It looks as if no-one in the nuclear lobby was game to face questioning on this topic!   DemocracyCo was forced to step in and find a pro nuclear speaker!

On “SAFETY”  (includes general safety, siting and transport) there are just two witnesses who appear to be neutral. The remaining four including the facilitator are pro nuclear.

“CONSENT” is a dodgy one, with only one nuclear-free opinion – three pro nuclear (including the facilitator, and two neutral.

Except for the  “ECONOMICS” section, all the facilitators appear to be pro nuclear .

Now – if I’ve got some of these opinions wrong, I hope that people will send me information to correct this.

Meanwhile – this Citizens Jury will probably go on under thye media radar, as the South Australian Labor Party National Conference is happening at the same time –   where the ALP will be debating changing their nuclear policy, and overturning or weakening the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility Prohibition Act 2000


October 24, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Menzies, Australia’s Maralinga shame, Aboriginal impacts – and can it happen again?

One wonders if the interests of a ‘handful of natives’ might on some future occasion again be deemed subordinate to those of the dominant culture.

Each of these explosions generated considerable radioactivity, by means of the initial nuclear reaction and the through dispersion of radioactive particulate colloquially known as ‘fallout’. In addition to British scientific and military personnel, thousands of Australians were exposed to radiation produced by the tests. These included not only those involved in supporting the British testing program, but also Aboriginal people living downwind of the test sites, and other Australians more distant who came into contact with airborne radioactivity.

While less spectacular than the major detonations, the minor trials were more numerous. They also contributed to the lasting contamination of the Maralinga area. As a result of the nearly 600 minor trials, some 830 tons of debris contaminated by about 20 kg of plutonium were deposited in pits which graced the South Australian landscape. An additional 2 kg of plutonium was dispersed over the area. Such an outcome was unfortunate indeed, as plutonium is one of the most toxic substances known; it dissipates more slowly than most radioactive elements. The half-life of plutonium is 24,000 years. At this rate of decay, the Maralinga lands would be contaminated for the next half-million years.

Perhaps most significant was the secrecy surrounding the testing program. The decision to make the Monte Bello Islands available to the British for their first nuclear test appears to have been made by the Prime Minister alone, without reference to Cabinet, much less Parliament or the Australian public.

text-historyChapter 16: A toxic legacy : British nuclear weapons testing in Australia  Published in:  Wayward governance : illegality and its control in the public sector / P N Grabosky Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 1989 ISBN 0 642 14605 5(Australian studies in law, crime and justice series); pp. 235-253 “……..In 1950, Labor Prime Minister Clement Atlee sent a top secret personal message to Australian Prime Minister Menzies asking if the Australian government might agree to the testing of a British nuclear weapon at the Monte Bello Islands off Western Australia. Menzies agreed in principle, immediately; there is no record of his having consulted any of his Cabinet colleagues on the matter. A preliminary assessment of the suitability of the proposed test site was conducted in October-November 1950.

Montebello atomic test 1952The Monte Bello site was deemed suitable by British authorities, and in a message to Menzies dated 26 March 1951 Atlee sought formal agreement to conduct the test. Atlee’s letter did not discuss the nature of the proposed test in minute detail. He did, however, see fit to mention the risk of radiation hazards:

6. There is one further aspect which I should mention. The effect of exploding an atomic weapon in the Monte Bello Islands will be to contaminate with radio activity the north-east group and this contamination may spread to others of the islands. The area is not likely to be entirely free from contamination for about three years and we would hope for continuing Australian help in investigating the decay of contamination. During this time the area will be unsafe for human occupation or even for visits by e.g. pearl fishermen who, we understand, at present go there from time to time and suitable measures will need to be taken to keep them away. We should not like the Australian Government to take a decision on the matter without having this aspect of it in their minds (quoted in Australia 1985, p. 13).

Menzies was only too pleased to assist the ‘motherland’, but deferred a response until after the 195 1 federal elections. With the return of his government, preparations for the test, code-named ‘Hurricane’, proceeded. Yet it was not until 19 February 1952 that the Australian public was informed that atomic weapons were to be tested on Australian soil.

Continue reading

October 24, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

One Aboriginal family – devastated by Maralinga nuclear bomb testing

hydrogen-bomb-460Chapter 16: A toxic legacy : British nuclear weapons testing in Australia  Published in:  Wayward governance : illegality and its control in the public sector / P N Grabosky Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 1989 ISBN 0 642 14605 5(Australian studies in law, crime and justice series); pp. 235-253  “…….The security measures taken to restrict access to the testing site were not without flaws. One morning in May 1957, four Aboriginal people, the Milpuddie family, were found by range authorities near the crater formed by the ‘Buffalo 2’ explosion the previous October. ‘Me man, woman, two children and two dogs had set out on foot from the Everard Ranges in the northwest of South Australia, and were unaware that the Aboriginal inhabitants of the Maralinga area had been removed. When authorities discovered them, the family was immediately taken to a decontamination centre at the site, and were required to shower. After this experience, which must have been frightening enough, the family was driven to Yalata.

As one of the site personnel described the experience:

It was a shocking trip down as they had never ridden in a vehicle before and vomited everywhere (Australia 1985, p. 320).

On instructions from the Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Supply, the dogs were shot. ‘ne woman was pregnant at the time the family was taken into custody; subsequently, her baby was born dead. Australian authorities went to great lengths to keep the incident secret, but they appear to have been less concerned with the family’s subsequent health. Commenting upon the fact that no-one appears to have taken the time to explain the experience to which the hapless Aborigines were subjected, a team of anthropologists was to comment:

[T]he three remaining members of the family have been subjected to a high degree of stress and unhappiness about the events of twenty-eight years ago (Australia 1985, p. 323)…….

October 24, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, personal stories, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Electric car charging stations for Adelaide in 2017 – says Mayor

solar-power-carAdelaide City Council ‘leads the way’ with rollout of 40 electric car charging stations in 2017, ABC News, 23 Oct 16  By Candice Prosser  Electric cars are the way of the future and Adelaide will lead the nation in developing infrastructure to encourage more of them, Adelaide’s Lord Mayor says.

The Adelaide City Council has announced it will roll out 40 electric charging stations throughout the city in 2017 in addition to the four charging points it currently has in two CBD car parks.

Speaking at the Electric Vehicle Expo at Elder Park, Lord Mayor Martin Haese said the infrastructure would be free to all users. “At this point in time the council needs to show leadership — we are very much in a changing environment whereby we’re forecasting the growth and sales of electric vehicles over the next few years is just going to grow exponentially,” he said. “Adelaide has a goal to become the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025 and electric vehicles are an important part of that story.

“We want to be a smart city, we want to send a very clear signal to everyone that technology and the knowledge economy is important to our future. “We believe electric vehicles do both.”

The Lord Mayor said he expected electric vehicles to become increasingly more popular.

“Electric vehicles are very important, they are going to become incredibly commonplace much sooner than what we think,” he said.

“We’ve currently got about 700 electric vehicles registered in South Australia, we’ve got some 22,000 hybrid vehicles registered in South Australia and those numbers are going to grow exponentially.”

The council is also offering residents and businesses $5,000 to install their own charging points and will consider installing faster super chargers around the city in the future……..

October 23, 2016 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Witness list for next Nuclear Citizens’ Jury 29 October South Australia

Pro nuclear waste import witnesses in RED. Probably Leaning to pro – orange Neutral (or I don’t know) in Yellow Leaning to nuclear free – light green Nuclear free -GREEN

It is not clear exactly which individuals are to be the facilitators.

Safety (1)

(includes overview and focus on impact on human health)



Dr Sami Hautakangas (alternate for Timo Äikäs)
Dr Margaret Beavis
Dr Robert Hall (alternate for Professor Tilman Ruff)
Dr Stephan Bayer (alternate for John Carlson)
Dr Tony Hooker (added by democracyCo from Fact Check queries)
Dr Jim Green
Safety (2)


(includes general safety, siting and transport)





Dr John Loy (alternate for Carl-Magnus Larsson)

Frank Boulton
Dr Andrew Herczeg
Ian Hore-Lacy
Professor David Giles
Dr Dirk Mallants (alternate for Dr Ian Chessell)
Professor Sandy Steacy

(includes role of Government, legislation, regulation, trust in Government)






Steve McIntosh

Hon. Mark Parnell, MLC
Dr Benito Cao
Keith Baldry (added by democracyCo from Fact Check queries)
Professor Haydon Manning
Attorney General/Crown Solicitors Office Witness TBA




Richard Dennis

Adjunct Professor Richard Blandy
Professor Barbara Pocock
Assoc. Professor Mark Diesendorf (via Skype)
Tim Johnson (added by democracyCo from Fact Check queries)





Dan Spencer

Professor Bob Watts (via Skype)
Gerald Ouzounian
Ross Womersley
Dr Simon Longstaff
Cathy O’Loughlin (alternate Gill McFadyen)

October 22, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, South Australia | Leave a comment

Premier Jay Weatherill’s Nuclear Waste Decisions in November South Australia

Weatherill nuclear dreamDavid Noonan, 22 Oct 16 In mid-late November Premier Weatherill intends to announce his SA gov decision and go to the SA Parliament to amend the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility Prohibition Act 2000 – at a minimum: to repeal the prohibition on spending public monies on nuclear waste plans (as per the likely ‘amber light’ Citizen Jury outcome over the first weekend in Nov).

This has to follow on from release of the SA Parliamentary Inquiry Report, likely in the week of Parliamentary sittings 15th to 17th Nov. The SA Liberals have privately said they will not give their position while the Citizen’s Jury is on, and will not do so until after this Inquiry reports.

The Premier will likely go to Parliament in the final scheduled sitting week of 29th Nov to 1st Dec (with an ‘optional sitting week’ in early Dec – which is very rarely ever used). The Premier requires the SA Liberals to agree to his proposed changes.

Appears unlikely the SA Liberals will agree to repeal the key prohibitions on import, transport, storage and disposal of International nuclear waste (at this time) BUT likely agree to repeal the prohibition on spending public funds – in a ‘further information’ style approach.

The Premier will then formally ask the Federal government to jointly work up the Inter dump plan along-side the SA gov through-out 2017 and in the lead up to the March 2018 State election. The Premier would then have to return to Parliament to repeal the key prohibitions on import, transport, storage and disposal of nuclear waste – potentially late in 2017 OR after the State Election.

Note: Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas MLC (the lead Liberal on the Parliamentary Inquiry) has made media statements (as an individual) that the extent of public funds required to be spent before SA knows if this plan could go ahead – “is a potential deal breaker”;

And has 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”.

see:SA nuclear dump dreams just fool’s gold: senior Lib The Australian 29 Sept 2016:

see: “SA would have to spend up to $600 million to plan a nuclear waste repository” The Advertiser 11 September 2016:



October 22, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Top nuclear shill, James Voss, imported to lecture South Australians on the benefits of nuclear

nuke-spruikersSmTrisha Dee Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 22 Oct 16   Leading international nuclear industry executives have descended on Adelaide. James Voss has global links in the nuclear industry at the highest level. Through UCL he is lecturing South Australians on the glories of nuclear. Voss is the ex-MD of Pangea Resources – a failed joint venture attempt to bring High Level nuclear waste to Australia in the late 1990s. We need community driven, not industry driven initatives.

James ‘Jim’ Wilson Voss is an American senior nuclear engineer who has managed nuclear materials and radioactive waste since graduating from Arizona University in the 1970s. Voss became known to Australians through his managing directorship of Pangea Resources, a consortium which planned to establis…

October 22, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Confusing report by Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) Update Report on the state-wide blackout.

Dennis Matthews, 21 Oct 16 I have just read the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) Update Report on the state-wide blackout.

The collapse of more than twenty transmission line towers initiated a sequence of domino-like events that ended with the loss of grid-power to the entire state. When I came to the end of the report I was mystified by the lack of attention to the first domino to fall – the transmission-line towers. The final chapter of the report, Next Steps, makes no mention of the towers, including the fact that they have been replaced by temporary structures.

I went back to the beginning of the report and was amazed to find the transmission line faults (caused by the tower collapses) classed as “pre event”.

What on earth is AEMO doing? Do we have to wait six months to find out whether the transmission-line towers are strong enough? Will there be another disruption to the electricity transmission system in the meantime? Your guess is as good as mine.


October 20, 2016 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Geordan Graetz, pro nuclear spruiker is a ‘Community Engagement Advisor” to South Australians

Tim Bickmore, Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 20 Oct 16 

graetz-geordanA player in this scene currently flying under the radar is Geordan Graetz, DPC Community Engagement Advisor.

In the past he has published opinions not only about Fukushima, but also regarding indigenous people & uranium mining: “Representatives of the Martu and Adnyamathanha communities in Western Australia and South Australia respectively have expressed confidence in the companies that have approached them with plans to develop deposits on their lands (Graetz and Manning 2011)” p3, IAIA, 2012.

As recently as 2014 he published material orientated toward removing indigenous people as an impediment to the expansion of uranium mining, albeit it thru application of inclusion under the auspices of international human rights conventions. [Journal of Cleaner production xxx 2014 1-9]

He appears to be an advocate of a ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ – or rather identifies indigenous peoples as a potential roadblock for such.

The NFCRC Final Report cites him & co-author Manning Ch6 Land Rights Section p130 notes ref 8 & again ref 11 (3 mentions).

His partner in a number of publications, Haydn Manning, is a well known pro-nuke spruiker.

There is a linkage between Graetz & the farcical Schools Nuclear Lockdown … probably instigated under his &/or Manning’s social engagement strategy…. more to come.

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Hard for South Australia’s Nuclear Citizens’ Jury to reach a consensus about importing radioactive trash

Citizens' Jury scrutinyTim Bickmore Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 20 Oct 16 My gut feeling is that whilst there is a high apathy coefficient within the wider community, the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury  (CJ) make-up does display the polarity that is also evident in the public sphere & which, at least in general expressions, appears to be mostly against the proposal.

At this stage of proceedings, I find it hard to see a consensus being reached.

I also think that  South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is aware of this: hence whilst previously he would have crowed about a ‘positive’ or even ‘maybe’ outcome, now the game plan diversifies. e.g. last night I had a South Australian Govt sponsored survey cold call regarding the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission (NFCRC) – but was excluded coz they had already reached my ‘age bracket quota’.

I wondered if that ‘quota’ was valid – are they now targeting younger folk under some misguided notion that this cohort would be more amenable to the idea? – and the quota, did that include the already received on-line & Nuclear Roadshow data? I also did not get to hear the questions – which are usually loaded in these types of things.

Also in the mix is the Senate Parliamentary  Joint Committee, & my feeling there is that, too, is not a bed of roses for Jay Weatherill.

I am still crossing my fingers that the CJ will return RED coz AMBER allows Jay a small window to change legislation – tho methinks he would need a lot more oomph other than just a CJ-AMBER outcome to really justify doing that.

If no CJ consensus is reached, does that mean an open verdict? If no verdict is reached then “as you were” [=NO] seems the logical outcome. ra ra

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Wording of question to the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is becoming an issue

Tim Bickmore , Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 19 Oct 16 Apparently, the ‘traffic light’ question was not provided/created by the Weatherill Govt – but by NewDeMocracy😄 Ian Walker – who has also now been inserted into the jury to witness their deliberations.

There are still rumblings about the question being loaded.

“I asked Ian Walker who was responsible for the question at lunch on the second day. I asked him if any other options had been proposed and he said others had been considered but it was his choice as to the final question and the wording of same. I asked him if the Premier had approved the question and he began to become vague (or so it seemed to me) I was unable to establish if the Premier had approved the final wording of the question. Ian claimed the final wording was his,

With Royal Commissions the wording of the question is critically important and is framed to achieve the outcome that the instigator of the Commission desires………” [from Basecamp Blog 18/10/16] ra ra

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Australia’s sinister nuclear history. Premier Jay Weatherill launches a new sinister phase

waste on indigenous

Ultimately, this dump is about helping the global nuclear industry. The current build-up of site-by-site waste acts as a brake on investment. They want somewhere to dump it forever so they can go on producing more of it.


South Australia to become global nuclear waste capital Sixty years ago, Maralinga went up in a mushroom cloud. The British government had been given permission to test atomic weaponry in South Australia.

That is to say, they had been given permission by the right wing Menzies government. The local Maralinga Tjarutja people had no say in it at all. Many of them were not even forewarned of the first blast. Thunderous black clouds condemned them to radiation exposure, illness and death, the survivors being driven from their homeland during the long years of British testing and fallout.

South Australia has a dark history with the nuclear industry. Maralinga remains contaminated, despite cheap clean-up efforts. Uranium tailings have leaked from BHP’s Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs. Fukushima’s reactors held South Australian uranium when catastrophe struck in 2011.

Today, Jay Weatherill’s state Labor government is trying to open a new radioactive chapter. He wants South Australia to construct the world’s first international high-level nuclear waste dump. This would mean no fewer than 138,000 tonnes of waste (one-third of the world’s total) being shipped from the world’s reactors into South Australian ports, to be permanently buried in Aboriginal land.

This would be history’s largest nuclear dumping operation, and make South Australia the hazardous waste capital of the world. Continue reading

October 19, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Adelaide under the con job of the State Govt and nuclear lobby’s “Citizens’ Jury” scam

citizen juryPeter Mahoney Your Say 17 Oct 2016 It is difficult to believe that a citizens jury will be presented with anything other than a highly controlled version of the arguments for and against these proposals. This is truly a cynically manufactured form of consent of the most Orwellian nature.

Citizens are also more likely to respond favourably to the government’s proposals when they are given special treatment in this way. I doubt that the citizens jury have heard presentations from the Australia Institute, Mark Parnell (Greens MLC) or Ian Lowe, or images and stories of accidents happenning monthly around the world.

The cooperation of the Murdoch press in this one-newspaper town makes it also very difficult for citizens to remain untouched by a sense of momentum and support that doesn’t actually exist. Governments are becoming masters of “consultation”, which are basically exercises to keep the masses busy while they get on with the planning and the deals in the background.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment