Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s govt and nuclear lobby soften up South Australians for nuclear waste dumping

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility:21 November 2017 
Industry has one week left to tender for Site Characterisation Works

Industry is invited to get involved in the process to build a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, with tenders now open for Site Characterisation works.

The tender is to deliver a range of technical assessments that will form part of Phase Two of the process in relation to the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, including:

  • Assessing flora and fauna, geology, seismic activity, risks, the surrounding environment, transportation and other infrastructure.
  • Inputting into the Detailed Business Case, with reference to the site specific design and cost estimates that arise from site characterisation.
  • An additional option, following site characterisation, for the preparation and development of submissions for licensing and approvals process…….

Bruce McCleary, General Manager of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce said that site characterisation is an important activity in the next part of the project.

“Three sites, two in Kimba and one at Wallerberdina Station were voluntarily nominated by their landowners and moved to Phase Two assessment after the community supported continuing the discussion,” McCleary said.

“Phase Two involves building a detailed understanding of the nominated sites, through in depth community consultation and technical assessments.

“Community consultation is now well underway, including appointment of locally engaged officers and establishment of site offices at both sites, creation of committees and working groups, and regular visits from members of the project team and experts to provide information on the project.


November 22, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

AGL to expand energy plan that allows householders to sell or share excess solar power

South Australia’s biggest electricity company AGL has announced the successful trial and expansion of a so-called “peer-to-peer” trading scheme in Adelaide, which uses an app to share the power. ….(subscribers only)

November 20, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

High level nuclear wastes, planned for South Australia dumping, but not mentioned by Australian Government

Tim Bickmore Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA  November 15 

What the Barndioota Consultative Committee was presented in August 2017 regarding the nature of material storage in the proposed suppository. The guidelines (Waste Acceptance Criteria = WAC) are yet to be formalised, so we are expected to accept the unknown.
No reference to the decommissioned HIFAR & MOATA Reactors demolition waste – hunks of steel & concrete of unknown volume – & no mention of returned processed fuel.…/4.%20WAC%20presentatio…

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian Aboriginal concerns will now be addressed in Scotland discussions on destination of reprocessed nuclear wastes

Herald 13th Nov 2017, ABORIGINES challenging proposals to dump nuclear waste from northern Scotland to a sacred Australian site have won a breakthrough meeting with
government officials about their concerns.

Wallerberdina, 280 miles north of Adelaide, has been identified as a potential location for Australia’s
first nuclear waste dump as part of a deal that returns spent fuel processed at the nuclear facility currently being decommissioned in Dounreay, Caithness, to its country of origin.

This is despite claims that it is a priceless heritage site rich in archaeological treasures including
burial mounds, fossilised bones and stone tools. Some have claimed the
impact would be similar to “building a waste dump at the heart of the

Campaigners who have appealed to the Scottish Government to halt
the plans to ship nuclear waste processed at Dounreay in Caithness to
Australia, have now been told that their concerns should be addressed
before any final decision is taken.

The Dounreay Waste Substitution Policy, agreed in 2012, sees waste from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy processed at the Scottish facility to make it safe for storage after being
returned to its country of origin. Campaigners have complained that the
intended South Australian destination forms part of an Aboriginal heritage
site rich in burial mounds, fossilised bones and stone tools.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian government: local Aboriginal community has final veto on nuclear waste suppositary

Tim Bickmore shared ENuFF South Australia‘s post. No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 13 Nov 17 

Oct 24 letter from SA Premier J to the PM regarding proposed radioactive waste suppository in the Flinders Ranges.
“….. the South Australian government committed to provide a local Aboriginal community with a final veto right over any future facility proposed on their lands.
I recommend the Commonwealth Government now consider adopting a similar policy position ….”

November 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Dean Johnson, Kimba mayor, ecstatic about Kimba getting Federal govt bribe for radioactive trash dump search

Make the most of the funding for Kimba  Eyre Peninsula Tribune Kathrine Catanzariti , 7 Nov 17 

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

The world is watching South Australia’s record consumer-powered electricity grid

“South Australia gets half of its electricity from wind and solar …. and they are in the process of overcoming their problems and making systems of high penetration of renewables work,” Garnaut said. That is of  international interest.”

Battery storage will also play an interesting role. South Australia has the Tesla big battery under construction – and due to be in operation in three weeks – as well as two other grid-scale batteries at Wattle Point wind farm, and proposed for Whyalla.

South Australia’s stunning transition to consumer-powered grid [good graphs] By Giles Parkinson on 6 November 2017 South Australia is already being hailed – or in some quarters demonised – for its leadership on renewable energy technology. But a new report from the Australian Energy Market Operator highlights how far out front it is in the tradition to a consumer-powered grid.

The new AEMO report highlights that 9.2 per cent of the electricity generated in the state over the last financial year came from small-scale (sub 100kW) of solar PV on the rooftops of households and businesses in the state.

That level of rooftop solar penetration is a record for any major grid in the world, and the contribution of rooftop solar is likely to have been well over 10 per cent in the last year when larger rooftop solar installations of more than 100kW are included.

The total will likely at least double over the next 10 years – according to AEMO forecasts – to more than 20 per cent, at which time rooftop solar will be pushing “minimum demand” from the grid to zero on occasions.

It’s already having an impact. As we report here, rooftop PV sent grid demand to a new record low of 554MW on Sunday, just six weeks after a previous low – which had in turn beaten the earlier low set a week earlier than that by nearly 25 per cent.

It’s a taste of what is to come. Major studies by the likes of the CSIRO and the networks association predict that by 2050, half of all demand will be met by what they describe as “distributed generation” – a mix of rooftop solar, battery storage, and “localised” generation.

This represents a major shift from the recent and current state of the industry from centralised energy controlled by major corporations, to local supply and demand – leading to new players and new business models.

But in South Australia – as is the case with so much of the energy transition – it could come quicker than that. By 2025/26, AEMO says rooftop solar could generate 2,500GWh a year. That would be around 22 per cent of total demand in the state.

Add in the proposals by the Liberty OneSteel, the new owners of the Whyalla steelworks, and more than one third of the state’s demand could be met by such distributed solar, and possibly up to half if its plans for 600MW of solar – for itself and other business users – comes to fruition. Continue reading

November 6, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Record low electricity demand in South Australia, due to rooftop solar

Rooftop solar pushes South Australia to record low demand (again) Giles Parkinson on 6 November 2017

The combination of growing rooftop solar installations, mild temperatures and sunny weather has pushed South Australia’s grid demand to yet another record low, this time shaving around 6 per cent off the previous low set just six weeks ago.

The new low was set just before 1.30pm in South Australia (just before 2pm on National Electricity Market time) when the minimum grid demand hit 554MW.

This shaved some 33MW off the previous low of 587MW set on September 17,which itself was nearly 200MW or 25 per cent the previous record low demand of 786MW set just a week earlier.

For six hours, according to the APVI solar map, rooftop solar PV provided more than 30 per cent of the state’s demand. For nearly three hours, rooftop solar provided more than 40 per cent of the state’s demand.  As we explore in this article here, rooftop solar provided 9.2 per cent of the state’s local generation in 2016/17 and would likely be more than 10 per cent if larger rooftop solar installations were included.

Within a decade, that share is expected to double to more than 20 per cent, at which times on days like this Sunday, minimum demand may actually fall to zero because of the amount of solar being generated.

The Australian Energy Market Operator, which includes these forecasts in a new report into the South Australia grid, suggests that by that time it will be necessary to store some of that excess solar for use later in the day.

The same situation may occur in West Australia, too, because of the amount of rooftop solar being installed in a small grid. The uptake of rooftop solar is accelerating because of high grid prices and the falling cost of solar technology, and grid demand fell in W.A. to an 8-year low last week.

“At these times, South Australia could store or export its excess generation to the rest of the NEM via the interconnectors, provided they are in service,” AEMO notes in its report.

“This, in turn, will provide market participants with greater opportunity to manage their energy use.”

AEMO noted, as it has previously, that South Australia is the first region in the NEM in which high rooftop PV penetration has caused minimum demand to shift from overnight to near midday – a transition that occurred five years ago.

Many argue this is a good reason to shift the “controlled load” of electric hot water systems from the night-time to the mid-day hours, particularly since the closure of the coal fired generators which could not be switched off at night and needed something to power during the night time.

However, problems with the nature of the metering, and the potential expense of the shift, are barriers to the migration of hot water systems to the day-time hours.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment


1st November 2017, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch   The Greens Bill to finally end wasteful government spending on the proposed South Australian international nuclear waste dump passed through the upper house late tonight. As the Bill had support from the Government, we expect it to also pass the lower house in coming weeks.

“I’m delighted that this sorry saga of wasted public funds is now over”, said Mark Parnell MLC, Greens SA Parliamentary Leader. “Now that the dump has been comprehensively dumped, it is important to draw a line under any further public spending on this ill-conceived project. We don’t have final figures on what was spent on this folly but at least $14 million is a conservative estimate.

“The Greens’ Bill strengthens existing laws against using public money to “encourage or finance nuclear waste storage facilities” by removing the reference to spending money on further public consultation and debate over the dump. Of course, if a future government wants to spruik the merits of turning SA into the world’s nuclear dumping ground, they can always come to Parliament for approval. In a democracy, that’s the right approach.

Importantly, the Greens’ Bill does not prevent the Government managing or sharing the information that has been gathered over the last 2 years or engaging with the Federal Government over plans for a separate national nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

“The Greens will continue to oppose plans to send Lucas Heights’ intermediate-level nuclear waste to the Flinders Ranges or Kimba pending a proper review of Australia’s stores of domestic nuclear waste and how to deal with them. The State Labor Government in the past has fought tooth and nail to stop the Federal Government dumping domestic nuclear waste in our State. Spending public money to deal with other State and Territory governments in relation to nuclear waste will still be allowed.

The Greens now urge all political parties to focus on supporting industries and opportunities that will enhance our State, rather than those which risk South Australia’s economy, environment and reputation”, concluded Mr Parnell

November 3, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Holtec casks for wastes (as intended by Nuclear Royal Commission for South Australia) now found to have faults

Dry Cask Risks Not Known When Design Approved by NRC, 2 Nov 2017Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Administrative Judge Dr. Peter Lam discloses that the vulnerabilities of Diablo’s Holtec dry cask nuclear waste storage system to stress corrosion cracking – recently documented by Donna Gilmore – was not known to decision-makers 20 years ago, when the NRC approved the design.

Dr. Lam’s disclosure seems to throw into serious question the validity of the design basis of all planned and existing nuclear waste storage systems in California and elsewhere.

This is number four of four excerpts, posted as a public service by EON, from the video coverage of the Oct. 19, 2017 meeting of the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee.

For more info:

November 3, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel waste: Extended Storage at Lucas Heights or target SA?

The proposed Intermediate Level Waste Store is predominantly for ANSTO reactor wastes

Briefer (Nov 2017) by David Noonan, Independent Environment Campaigner   The Federal government has divided Australian community and is compromising safety in proposed import and indefinite above ground storage of ANSTO nuclear wastes in South Australia.

Since April 2016 the Federal government has solely targeted regional communities in SA for a proposed above ground Store to take irradiated Nuclear Fuel Waste (NFW) and long lived Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) from the ANSTO Lucas Heights reactor facility in NSW.

The ARPANSA CEO formally considered this proposed NRWMF Store and stated in May 2015:

“This plan will have the provision for ILW storage above ground for approximately 100 years.”

This nuclear waste storage plan compromises safety by importing long lived reactor waste to SA without any waste disposal capacity or even a program or plan for potential disposal of NFW and ILW. Safety requires these nuclear wastes are isolated from the environment for over 10,000 years.

The proposed 100 year Store in SA for 10,000 year nuclear wastes is a divisive, unsafe and unnecessary plan – given ANSTO’s capacity to retain these nuclear wastes at Lucas Heights.

Federal Contingency options to store Nuclear Fuel Wastes at Lucas Heights: Continue reading

November 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Whyalla to become a booming renewable energy hub

Whyalla steel city goes green with 1GW of solar and storage, UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has made good on his commitment to transform his newly acquired Australian steel business into a renewable energy powerhouses, announcing massive investments in solar and storage that will knock 40 per cent off his electricity costs.

Gupta said on Monday that he would build 1 gigawatt (1,000MW) of dispatchable renewables in and around Whyalla, where his major steel plant is located. This would comprise huge investments in solar, battery storage, pumped hydro and demand management.

He won’t stop there. Gupta is looking to repeat the dose – although with varying mixes and scale of renewables and storage – to power the company’s steel operations in Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle. He said on Tuesday he wanted these bigger plants to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy.

The initial development will see a proposed 80MW solar farm at Whyalla expanded to 200MW and completed by the first quarter of 2019.

 This will be accompanied by:

Continue reading

November 1, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Weird award for crummy Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission agency

Dumped nuclear consultation wins international kudos The abandoned community engagement program for South Australia’s doomed nuclear repository has won a brace of international awards in an ironic footnote to the waste dump debate. In Daily, Tom Richardson @tomrichardson. 27 Oct 17 ” ….  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency launched in the middle of 2016    was tasked with visiting communities to “explain the Royal Commission’s report and gather important feedback”, with sessions featuring interactive displays, models, videos and fact sheets, “as well as having members of the Response Agency team on hand to answer questions and take community responses”.
A separate specific indigenous engagement program was also undertaken.
The Response Agency was quietly wound up earlier this year, with the Opposition subsequently criticising its budget expenditure

Freedom of Information documents released to the Opposition in August and handed to the Advertiser showed the agency’s budget blew out by $400,000 to $7.6 million, with a $182,580 catering bill coming in for particular criticism.

The agency also spent $185,477 for media monitoring, $1.04 million for photography, audio-visual and production, $152,373 for local accommodation, $256,771 for international and domestic travel, and $1.08 million on contractors.

Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said at the time that “taxpayers should be concerned about how their money was spent chasing the Weatherill Government’s nuclear thought bubble’’.

But in a bittersweet finale for the disbanded response agency, it scooped some significant gongs at last week’s International Association for Public Participation 2017 Core Values Awards.

…….The nuclear response agency’s Aboriginal Engagement Program was named “Project of the Year” and also won the awards’ “Indigenous” category, while the broader Community Engagement Program picked up a high commendation in the “Planning” category…….

Ironically, a lack of indigenous support became a major stumbling block for Jay Weatherill’s nuclear vision, with the Premier forced to concede a power of veto to Aboriginal communities before walking away from the plan altogether earlier this year.

Weatherill told InDaily in a statement: “This was the largest consultation program in our state’s history, and I’m pleased the work that went into this project has been recognised with this award.”

But opponents of the waste dump plan were less impressed, with Greens MLC Mark Parnell calling the consultation “a one-sided, biased process that tried valiantly, but ultimately failed to convince South Australians of the merits of an international nuclear waste dump”.

“It does not deserve an award,” he told InDaily.


October 27, 2017 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia | Leave a comment

Mark Parnell on the final report of the Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission

What we saw with the royal commission is that they had a number of paid consultants—paid by you and I, the taxpayers—and they engaged these consultants who had clear, ongoing connections with the nuclear industry, often as lobbyists for the industry.

It became apparent very early on that the state was off on a frolic of its own. It was embarking on this major investigation about having a nuclear waste dump in South Australia when everyone knew that the bulk of the laws that regulate these things are at the commonwealth level.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission – Parliamentary Committee Report, Legislative Council, October 18th, 2017

The final report of the Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was tabled in the South Australian Parliament on October 17 2017.  A copy of the report can be found here.

As a Member of the Parliamentary Committee, Mark spoke to the Report on October 18, and outlined his findings and recommendations in the Greens’ Minority Report.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: The notion that South Australia could become fabulously wealthy if only we would agree to take the world’s high-level nuclear waste was ill-conceived from the very beginning. The committee heard evidence about previous attempts to establish nuclear waste dumps in other parts of the world and in Australia. Those attempts have mostly failed because the fundamentals just do not stack up. The liability lasts forever, the technology is unproven and risky, the economics are flawed and the public do not want it under any circumstances, according to the South Australian citizens’ jury. So, this current proposal for South Australia has predictably and properly gone the way of its predecessors and it has been comprehensively dumped.

Whilst the Greens welcome the inevitable abandonment of this project, it has come at a significant cost to the community. Millions of dollars of public funds have been wasted pursuing this folly, and the community is rightly angry that other worthwhile projects and other investigations have suffered through this unnecessary distraction from the real issues that are facing South Australia.

The committee only had one recommendation that received majority support. That is the recommendation that no further public money be spent on a nuclear waste dump in South Australia. Continue reading

October 26, 2017 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, South Australia | Leave a comment

In South Australian Parliament, Greens aim to restore Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act

Spending public money on important and necessary services like health, education and public facilities is a wise use of our collective funds. Spending public money on trying to convince the people of South Australia that we should take the world’s high-level nuclear waste and store it for the next few thousand years makes no sense at all.

The Weatherill Labor Government has already wasted more than $13 million of our money on a Royal Commission, Citizens Jury and even a new government agency to spruik the benefits of a nuclear dump.  Now that South Australians have put a stop to this international nuclear waste dump nonsense, we need to make sure that the Government doesn’t waste any more public money on so-called “community consultation”.  Enough is enough!

Even the Parliamentary Joint Committee which was specifically set up to inquire into this proposal (and which tabled its report last week), agreed on one recommendation – “That the South Australian Government should not commit any further public funds to pursuing the proposal to establish a repository for the storage of nuclear waste in South Australia.” You can read my speech on this report here.

So, how do we make sure this happens?

The Greens have a Bill before Parliament that will restore the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 to ensure that no more public money is wasted on nuclear waste dump consultations without Parliamentary approval.

With my Bill coming to a vote in the Upper House on November 1, we need your support to get this passed through Parliament.  Please email the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Ian Hunter MLC, and ask the Government to support the Greens’ Bill to restore Section 13 of the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act to its pre-2016 state.

The Greens are standing with the people of South Australia who choose a nuclear-free future for our State.

October 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment