Australian news, and some related international items

Potential impact of radioactive wastes on water activities in the Spencer Gulf


September 14, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

‘Bold’ scheme launches to power every property on SA’s Eyre Peninsula with solar  

‘Bold’ scheme launches to power every property on SA’s Eyre Peninsula with solar  ABC Eyre Peninsula   By Lucy Robinson and Emma Pedler 6 Sept 19,  An ambitious plan to power every property in one region of South Australia with solar has been labelled an Australian first — but experts are divided over whether it will work.

Key points:

  • The Eyre Peninsula in SA has been plagued by blackouts and a new Community Solar Scheme is rolling out to boost energy security in the region
  • The scheme includes finance solutions and free quotes to help people access the technology
  • SA Power Networks said the current energy network in SA has “limited capacity to support solar” across the state

Home to around 60,000 people, Eyre Peninsula has been plagued by blackouts in recent years and left without power for several days at a time on multiple occasions.

Its towns were among those hit hardest by the statewide blackouts in September 2016, with Eyre Peninsula businesses wearing a median cost of $10,000 from the event.

The Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association (EPLGA) has released a Community Solar Scheme, put together by Regional Development Australia (RDA), which it says could boost energy security while helping residents save money on power bills……..

September 7, 2019 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

‘Up to $12,000 owing to Adnyamathanha girl’: Grandmother

‘Up to $12,000 owing to Adnyamathanha girl’: Grandmother, Transcontinental, Greg Mayfield 4 Sep 19

September 6, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

South Australian law – no public money towards nuclear waste dumping facility


13—No public money to be used to encourage or finance construction or operation of nuclear waste storage facility 

        (1)         Despite any other Act or law to the contrary, no public money may be appropriated, expended or advanced to any person for the purpose of encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State.

(2)         Subsection (1) does not prohibit the appropriation, expenditure or advancement to a person of public money for the purpose of financing the maintenance or sharing of information or to enable the State to engage with other jurisdictions.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | legal, South Australia | Leave a comment

The Kimba nuclear waste dump ballot – breaching South Australian law?

ENuFF[SA], 21 Aug 19, Today Kimba Council announced a date for a community ballot on the radioactive suppository ~ October 3rd.

The legality of conducting such a ballot needs to be tested in the courts, since s.13 of the Radioactive Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act SA 2000 prohibits public monies being spent “…. encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State.”

This concerns & will affect ALL South Australians, not just Kimba. We should start a fund for a court injunction based upon s.13 “… any activity …” of the Radioactive Waste Facility [Prohibition] Act ~ & then engage Maurice Blackburn Lawyers [eg] to mount a case against the ballot.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, legal, South Australia | Leave a comment

Council announces dates for Kimba radioactive waste ballot

Council announces dates for Kimba radioactive waste ballot, Kimba District Council, 21 Aug 19, The Kimba community will have its say on the of the Commonwealth Government’s proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at one of two nominated sites in the district from October 3.

The District Council of Kimba today announced the dates for the long-awaited ballot, which has been delayed for more than 12 months due to litigation.

While the favourable judgment received by Council in the Federal Court of Australia on 12 July has been appealed, Mayor Dean Johnson said that there was no legal impediment to the ballot proceeding to determine the level of community support as part of the overall site selection process.

“Council’s position has always been to facilitate the ballot on behalf of the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia so our community could have its voice heard, and we reaffirmed that position at our ordinary meeting last week,” he explained.

“We were advised this morning that the Minister no longer requests that the Kimba and Hawker ballots to be run concurrently, so Council has commenced planning with a view to ballot papers being posted out on 3 October.”

The ballot will be run in a manner identical to that scheduled to be held in 2018, and applications from eligible ratepayers and residents for inclusion on the voters roll will be open for a period of three weeks from 23 August 2019 until midday on 13 September 2019…..

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste: Kimba committee even discussed transitioning out of the site selection process

Life after nuclear decision discussed, Eyre Tribune, Rachel McDonald  16 Aug 19, 

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian students plan more climate action -“No jobs on a dead planet”

No jobs on a dead planet”: The SA students who won’t give up on the climate change strike, InDaily  Jessica Bassano, 16 Aug 19, 

Tom Webster and Guthrow Taylor Johnson are among 12 student protesters skipping school between 9am and 3pm on Friday each week with no intention of stopping in the near future.

The weekly strikes follow mass school walkouts across the globe earlier this year, including in South Australia.

On March 15, thousands of high school and university students swarmed King William Street demanding politicians take a firmer stance on climate change.

During the event, Adelaide School 4 Climate spokesperson Doha Khan called on her peers to boycott Friday classes until the Federal election.

lthough the election came and went, Taylor Johnson said the group wouldn’t stop protesting until their key demands were met.

“We want no more new fossil fuel projects in Australia,” he said.

“Starting with saying no to Adani, which is going to be the biggest coal mine in the Southern Hemisphere if the government allows them to build it.

“We also want 100 per cent renewables by 2030 and we want a just transition for workers in fossil fuel industries for them to go into renewables.”

The South Australian climate strikes are part of an international movement led by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

In 2018, Thunberg spent every school day sitting outside of Sweden’s parliament protesting the country’s inaction on climate change. Thunberg later reduced her strikes to every Friday, kicking off a movement of Friday school protests.

A wave of school and university strikes demanding more progressive climate policy has since erupted across the globe.

Last Friday, the National Union of Students led university students in Australian capital cities in striking against climate change.

Webster said while many of their fellow weekly protesters were attending the strike he and Taylor Johnson – who are both still in high school – felt it was important to continue their parliamentary protest as well.

Taylor Johnson said the pair planned to join the next major climate strike, to be held on September 20, and hoped to see his peers there.

“Right now, in Australia, [there’s] a lot of climate deniers. So, it’s up to Australia to both lead the way in climate policies and set an example to other countries,” Taylor Johnson said.

A Seaton High School year 11 student, Taylor Johnson said he originally struggled to find a balance between his studies, social life and activism but has managed to navigate the three successfully….

August 17, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment

21 August Senator Matt Canavan to hold closed meeting , then 2 open ones, in region designated for nuclear waste dumping


Queensland Sinister  Matt Canavan is having a closed door meeting with the Barndioota Consultative Committee  before the Hawker meeting. No doubt the serious nuclear waste dump decisions will be made then

But there’ll be open meetings  – ?window dressing – at Hawker 21 August, and at Kimba 22 August.

21 August Wed 3.30 – 430 pm Hawker Sports Centre – Druitt Range Drive, Hawker

22 August Thurs 11 a.m – 12. pm Kimba Gateway Hotel- 40 High St Kimba


August 15, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Kimba Council renews commitment to local community ballot on nuclear waste dump

Council commits to nuclear ballot, Rachel McDonald  ,14 Aug19,

August 15, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian Labor – too pro environment ?

August 3, 2019 Posted by | environment, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

John Quiggan demolishes the case for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors in South Australia

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINJOHN QUIGGIN John Quiggin is Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland.

John Quiggan’s Submission to the #NuclearCommissionSAust addressed Question 3.2 of the Issues Papers:

“Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) than can be installed and connected to the NEM?” 

Extract “….Business SA wants Australia to adopt the PRISM reactor, a so-called Generation IV design. Unfortunately, “design” is the operative word here: PRISM is, literally, still on the drawing

(Tell them they’re dreaming • Inside Story 3 of 4 26/06/2015)

It does not exist even in prototype form. The US Department of Energy, along with designers GE and Hitachi, looked at the idea of building such a prototype at the Department’s Savannah River plant a few years ago, but the project has gone nowhere.

Much the same is true of another popular piece of nuclear vaporware, the “small modular reactor.” All but one of the American firms hoping to produce a prototype have abandoned or scaled back their efforts. The remaining candidate, NuScale, is hoping to have its first US plant operational by 2024, with commercial-scale production some time in the 2030s.

And, of course, there’s no guarantee that the new designs will work in economic terms, or that the problems of waste disposal and proliferation can be resolved. Even assuming this optimistic projection is met, small modular reactors aren’t going to be a viable option for Australia any time soon.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics from asserting, in its 2012 Australian Energy Technology Assessment, that “SMR technology could potentially be commercially available in the next five to ten years” and presenting it as a low-cost option for 2020. This absurdly optimistic claim was abandoned in the 2013 update, which drastically increased the estimated costs and dropped the claim that the technology would be feasible in 2020.

There is still a chance for nuclear power to contribute to decarbonisation of the global economy in China and other countries with an existing program or the state power to force through a crash program. But these conditions don’t exist in Australia, and there is no serious prospect that they will do so in time to play a substantial role in decarbonisation. Anyone who pretends nuclear power is a serious option for Australia under current conditions is dreaming or, worse still, deliberately diverting attention from the real issues. ……….”

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Huge volumes of water gulped by Olympic Dam uranium mine – even more with expanded mine

The nuclear cycle of destruction, Red Flag, James Plested, 12 July 2019  “……..The first stage of the cycle – the mining of uranium, the fuel used in nuclear power stations – is particularly relevant to Australia, home to an estimated 31 percent of the world’s known uranium reserves.

Uranium mining requires huge volumes of water – an obvious problem in arid Australia – and produces large quantities of toxic “tailings” which threaten the surrounding environment and people.

The historical record speaks for itself. According to the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, over the 38 years of operation of the Northern Territory’s Ranger mine, there have been around 200 leaks, spills or other breaches of the mine’s operating licence. In 2013, the collapse of a leach tank resulted in a spill of about 1 million litres of radioactive waste over the mine site.

Beyond the risk of accidents, there are many other downsides to nuclear power. One particularly relevant factor for Australia is that nuclear reactors require massive amounts of water. A typical US reactor, for example, consumes 114 million litres of water an hour. To put this in perspective, total residential water consumption in Melbourne, a city of 4.8 million people, in 2018 was around 32 million litres an hour.

Australian business heads and governments have long had an eye on further uranium mines. The anti-nuclear movements of the 1970s and early 1980s, as well as the later campaign against the proposed Jabiluka uranium mine (see article in this issue), kept this aspiration in check. In recent years, however, state and federal governments have renewed the push.

The South Australian government is supporting a proposal by BHP to expand massively the operations of its existing Olympic Dam mine – which contains the largest single uranium deposit in the world. And the day before the last election was called, the federal government abruptly announced its approval of a new uranium mine in Western Australia…….

The need for water means that reactors must be located close to rivers, lakes, dams or the ocean. In Australia, this would inevitably mean reactors would need to be built in or near densely populated areas…..” ……

July 13, 2019 Posted by | environment, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

South Australian communities DID NOT voluntarily enter into process for hosting nuclear wastes

Katrina Bohr  No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 12 July 19
The Department has made a predictable media statement in reference to the Federal Court’s ruling today.

However please take note of the wording at the finish:

‘The department will examine the decision in detail in the coming days, before advising the communities who voluntarily entered into the process, of the next steps.’

When did the communities Voluntarily enter into the process?

The landholders volunteered their land, but the communities didn’t voluntarily enter into the process.

July 13, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

BIRDS VS BHP: Evaporation ponds at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine are killing hundreds of birds

BIRDS VS BHP: Evaporation ponds at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine are killing hundreds of birds

Hundreds of birds are dying each year after mistaking Olympic Dam’s evaporation ponds for wetlands. Environment campaigners want the miner to stop using them. Clare Peddie, Science Reporter, The Advertiser, July 10, 2019   

Conservationists want BHP to stop using evaporation ponds at Olympic Dam that kill hundreds of birds, including threatened species.

They want BHP to cancel plans for a new pond and phase out 146ha of existing ponds, which are used for the disposal of acidic waste water………

Scientist and environment campaigner David Noonan says it’s shocking that birds are drowned, choked or scalded by BHP’s highly acidic, toxic wastewater.

“They see this as a wetland in an arid region as they’re travelling through,” he said. “They’re typically poisoned by contact, they die on site or they’re poisoned and die later.”

BHP found 224 dead birds during weekly monitoring in the 2017-18 financial year and that included 39 banded stilts, a vulnerable species in SA.  The number of dead birds found annually has hardly changed since 2011-12, when the banded stilt, red-necked avocet, whiskered tern, grey teal, black swan, hoary-headed grebe, …..

Plans for a huge open cut mine that were shelved in 2012 would have required a phase-out of evaporation ponds, but BHP says that condition is no longer relevant or applicable to current growth and expansion of the underground mine.

BHP is preparing to make a submission to both state and federal governments for a sixth evaporation pond.

A separate submission on a the new tailings storage facility – about the size of the Adelaide CBD and ten storeys high – has already been made, triggering an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act referral, as in the case of the endangered bird in the path of the interconnector.

July 13, 2019 Posted by | environment, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment