Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian Greens leader shows up folly of Jay Weatherill’s nuclear waste boondoggle

Throwing good money after bad – How the nuclear waste dump folly could wreck the State Budget
  Parnell, Mark

The additional $3.6m allocated in the SA State Budget to advance the case for an international nuclear waste dump means that $13m will have been spent on this deeply flawed proposal by the end of the year, according to Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.


“If the Government decides at the end of this year to proceed further with the nuclear waste dump, then this amount must be budgeted for.  There will be no revenue, only costs.

“On the other hand, if the Government abandons this nuclear waste dump folly now, then we can cut our losses and re-allocate that money to genuinely benefit South Australians rather than impose a toxic legacy for countless future generations”, said Mr Parnell.

Here are some better uses to which $600m could be spent:

·         Finish electrification of the Gawler line and new tram lines to make AdeLink a reality

·         Better cycling infrastructure

·         Solar panels on all public housing

·         Better rural health services and mental health services

·         Reducing payroll tax for wages paid to apprentices and trainees

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australian govt could spend over $600 million on nuclear waste folly, before any contracts signed

Parnell, MarkParnell blasts allocated nuclear waste money, Transcontinental   Matt Carcich  @MattCarcich  July 8, 2016, SA Greens state Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Mark Parnell, says the South Australian government’s allocated $3.6 million in the state budget to ‘advance the case for an international waste dump in South Australia’, is deeply flawed.

This advance includes pursuing a waste dump, simplifying mining approvals processes and seeking a relaxation of federal restrictions on nuclear power generation in Australia. It means $13 million will have been spent on the project by the end of the year, a worrying sign, according to Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.

“Spending $13 million of scarce taxpayer funds on a project that doesn’t add up economically, is throwing good money after bad,” Mr Parnell said. Mr Parnell says the alleged costs before any substantial announcements is detrimental to the state budget.

“According to consultants engaged by the Royal Commission (and paid for by the Government), the amount of government expenditure prior to any decision to go ahead with the dump and BEFORE any contracts have been signed would be around $300 million to in excess of $600 million, over the next 6 years!” Mr Parnell said.

“Spending in excess of $600 million preparing for a nuclear waste dump that will never eventuate is a shocking waste that will eat a massive hole in the projected surpluses over the forward estimates.”Mr Parnell says if the state government proceeds with the nuclear waste dump, they will inflict further costs to the budget.

However, Mr Parnell says if the state government abandons it, more money could be re-allocated to other projects in Port Augusta. “My number one in Port Augusta would be the solar thermal power plant, replacing the Alinta with solar thermal is a key measure,” “On top of that, rural mental health is far substandard to what’s available in metro areas.”…… 

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia | Leave a comment

Greg Ward, Chad Jacobi, Nigel McBride, Jason Kuchel, Michael Penniment mislead the Nuclear Citizens Jury about Radiation


Bananas, brazil nuts and some other foods contain radioactive potassium-40 — but in extremely low doses. Potassium-40 in bananas has a specific activity of 71 ten millionths of a curie per gram. Compare that to the 88 curies per gram for Cesium-137. This is like comparing a stick of dynamite to an atomic bomb. Our bodies manage the ingested Potassium 40, so that after eating bananas, the excess is quickly excreted and the body’s Potassium-40 level remains unchanged.

The radioactive isotopes that come from nuclear fission (such as strontium -90, cesium -137 and iodine 131) were unknown in nature before atomic fission: our bodies are not adapted to them. And as well as being far more radioactive that Potassium -40, they can accumulate in the body.

I had hoped for something sensible to come out of these Citizens’ Juries. That doesn’t look like happening if the juries continue to be fed this kind of nonsense. 

On the matter of ionising radiation and health, Noel Wauchope rebuts five misleading speakers at the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury hearings on Australia’s nuclear waste importation plan.

IN TWO DAYS of 25 Citizens’ Jury sessions in Adelaide (on 25-26 June), about nuclear waste importing, there was minimal coverage of the question of ionising radiation and health.

What little there was, was skimpy, superficial and downright deceptive, in 209 pages of transcripts.

There was not one mention of the world’s authoritative bodies on the subject — The World Health Organisation, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or any of the reports on biological effects of ionising radiation.

There was no explanation of the “linear no threshold” (LNT) theory on ionising radiation and health, despite the fact that this theory is the one accepted by all the national and international health bodies, including the Ionising Radiation Safety Institute of Australia who, on this topic, quote the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

Contrary to the beliefs held by radiation deniers, every major radiation study support the Linear No-Threshold concept. Graph from Dr. Ian Fairlie.

Instead of explaining this basic concept in radiation protection, the slight coverage on radiation and health given to the Jury, was done in a trivial manner as the following examples (listed in the transcript report) illustrate. Continue reading

July 7, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, reference, South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear Citizens’ Jury – dubious process, and very dubious purpose

Citizens' Jury scrutinyIt’s not a proper “Jury”, with a purpose to arrive at a yes or no verdict. It is a campaign ruse by the Weatherill government to get these “ordinary people” to develop a readable, understandable, summary of the RC’s 320 pages of recommendations. Apparently the RC personnel are not able to do this themselves.

Two rays of light in all this. First, the jury members are already asking intelligent questions. Secondly, DemocracyCo’s personnel are making every effort to run these hearings fairly, and transparently.

The South Australian nuclear lobby may be in for some surprises.

Nuclear Citizens Jury in action: the purpose and the process, Online Opinion, 

By Noel Wauchope – , 5 July 2016 On June 25 and 26, the South Australian government held the first of three citizens juries, dedicated to discussing the recommendations of the recent Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. The sessions are being run by the South Australian company DemocracyCo.From the start, there are problems with the purpose of this Citizens’ Jury. Premier Weatherill did not really help to clarify this, in his opening speech, as he explained its purpose:

It is not to arrive at a decision, but to arrive at a decision that the government can make a decision.

The initial company charged with setting up the jury plan was the Sydney company New Democracy. They used the term “Citizens Jury” which is trademarked by the Jefferson Institute. Here’s where the trouble starts. The Jefferson Institute, in inits definition of Citizens’ Jury  clearly states:

The Citizens Jury convenes diverse groups of citizens to study an issue deeply, discuss different perspectives on the issue, and recommend a course of action or craft their own solutions to address the issue at hand.

The Citizens Jury process has been used in several countries, and was used Adelaide in 2015. On that occasion, the Citizens’ jury recommended the mandatory desexing of cats and dogs. All of these Citizens’ Juries made a decision and a recommendation, in keeping with that trademarked definition. To my knowledge, this Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is the first in the world to abandon that principle of making a decision, verdict, or recommendation. Instead, it is charged with the job of developing a readable, understandable, summary of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s 320 pages of recommendations.

How did New Democracy come to this decision to abandon an intrinsic purpose of a Citizens’ Jury? One can only surmise that this was done under pressure from the South Australian Labor government and the Royal Commission?

No wonder that Premier Weatherill floundered a bit in his introduction at the jury opening……..

DemocracyCo have gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that the hearings are transparent and accessible to all. They provide videos, at and at and will be providing transcripts. Watching these videos, it is clear that DemocracyCo’s facilitators are endeavouring to manage the hearings in a fair way, courteously giving space for jury members to question the speakers.

Even so, the process is fraught with difficulties. Following Premier Weatherill’s introduction, the first session  introduced members of the Royal Commission team. They outlined the Royal Commission’s steps and recommendations. I got the impression that they were keen to have the Royal Commission strongly influencing the process. Questions from the jury members were at times answered in a vague way.

If this were a real legal jury, speakers could not get away with waffly answers……… Continue reading

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia, spinbuster | 1 Comment

The Lizard Bites Back goes North

Buzzacott,-Kevin Nectaria Calan 6 July Arabunna elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott has invited participants at the Lizard Bites Back to visit his country today, to witness firsthand the impacts of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine on the mound springs in the Lake Eyre region.  The mound springs are integral to the desert ecosystem and sacred to the Arabunna people, and are threatened by the 37 million litres of water per day that the mine uses from the Great Artesian Basin, which feeds the mound springs.

The Lizard Bites Back has attracted over 300 people from around the country, converging near the mine gates for a weekend of direct action, workshops on nuclear issues, and music.  After two days of workshops and marches to the gates of the mine, the last day of the convergence saw nearly one hundred activists block the main road to the mine for eighteen hours.  Riot police were sent in at midnight.  On their way, riot police approached base camp, in what appeared to be a simulated raid.

“They approached camp in formation at midnight, shouting at people to get out of their tents,” said Nectaria Calan, co-organiser of the Lizard Bites Back. “Then, for no apparent reason, they retreated.  Trying to terrorise people at a non-violent protest camp was a low move, but in line with the police’s behaviour all weekend,” continued Ms Calan. “They have spent the weekend defecting cars and trying to deter people from attending the event by telling them that the public land we are camped on is owned by BHP Billiton. They have also prevented mine workers from visiting the camp.  Although they have been lodged for the weekend by the company’s accommodation, they should remember that they do not actually work for BHP.”

“Despite the petty dishonesty of the police and the ongoing abuse of their powers, hundreds of people had the opportunity to sit on country and learn about the risks and impact of the nuclear industry, and disrupt the normal operations of a mine that will leave millions of tonnes of tailings that will remain radioactive for several hundred thousand years.”

“With South Australia facing two proposals for nuclear waste dumps, The Lizard Bites back has also aimed to raise awareness about the connections between uranium mining and nuclear waste,” said Ms Calan.  “A responsible approach to managing nuclear waste would begin with stopping its production.”

Co-organiser Izzy Brown said, “Until we stop mining this metal that we have no idea how to dispose of safely, we will keep returning to remind BHP Billiton and the government that the intergenerational health and environmental impacts of this industry are more important than money.”

Many participants have called for another convergence next year.

“After this weekend, this is the most optimistic I’ve ever felt since Western Mining Corporation started digging up the old country.  This industry is a house of cards,” said Uncle Kevin.

“This place has a long history of struggle, and we will continue to struggle to honour the sacrifices made by the elders that struggled before us, that may still be with us if this mine was not established. We need to say sorry to the old country and begin healing this land.”


July 6, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear Citizens’ Jury kept in the dark about radiation health risks

Citizens' Jury scrutinyConveniently ignored was a significant body of evidence from studies on workers and the public exposed to low levels of radiation that there is no safe level – no threshold below which significant health effects do not occur.

for now there is no systematic structured way that the detail of these concerns can be brought to the attention of the jurors leaving us with the distinct impression that they are, to borrow a phrase, being treated like mushrooms – kept in the dark and fed on bullshit!

Testing the accepted Linear No Threshold (LNT) model for radiation and health 

Citizen’s Jury – weighing evidence or manufacturing consent? Observations from the first sitting day
Following on from the already much criticised recommendation from the Nuclear Industry Royal Commission that South Australia become the site for storage and hopefully disposal of around a third of the world’s nuclear waste, the government has funded a ‘citizens’ jury’ process. In the first stage of this a group of 50 people have been randomly selected as representing a cross section of the public – balanced by age, gender and whether they own or rent their homes – to spend 4 days identifying questions of concern and producing a consensus report on the evidence to be later presented to a large group of around 450 citizens for further consideration.

Let us for a moment leave aside the concern about the way the naming of this process as a ‘jury’ is so obviously a myth – divorced from anything that resembles a balanced legal process where evidence is weighed by a group of citizens in the context where a case for and against is presented to them in the presence of an impartial judge who ensures that the process is fair and balanced. Let us focus on one of the all-prevailing concepts of trial by jury: where people giving evidence commit to telling the truth – the whole of it and nothing but. On this simple basic requirement, the process of the citizens’ jury leaves much to be desired.

As part of a small group I was permitted to observe the first two sessions of the first day of this ‘jury’ process dominated by three representatives of the Royal Commission presenting the main recommendations contained in the 320 page report released in May 2016. I left deeply concerned that the jury were, if not being directly lied to, being given something far short of the whole truth. Let me give just three examples. Continue reading

July 6, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia | Leave a comment

Assessing the risks of Australia becoming the world’s nuclear wasteland

Weatherill,-Jay-wastesShunning nuclear power but not its waste: Assessing the risks of Australia becoming the world’s nuclear wasteland Mark Diesendorf 


The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has undertaken ‘an independent and comprehensive investigation into the potential for increasing South Australia’s participation in the nuclear fuel cycle’. In its Final Report, issued 6 May 2016, it acknowledges that nuclear power would not be commercially viable in South Australia in the foreseeable future. However it recommends that ‘the South Australian Government establish used nuclear fuel and intermediate level waste storage and disposal facilities in South Australia’. This is a business proposition to store a large fraction of global nuclear wastes, providing interim above-ground storage followed by permanent underground storage in South Australia. The present critical evaluation of the scheme finds that the Royal Commission’s economic analysis is based on many unsubstantiated assumptions. Furthermore, the scheme is financially risky for both Australian taxpayers and customers and has a questionable ethical basis.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Some uncomfortable questions ignored by the South Australian Nuclear Waste Dump Commission

What alternative opportunities might we miss if we invest $ billions in the nuclear waste option?
The challenge of global warming leading to climate change has created a need for rapid development of alternative non-polluting energy technologies. This creates an opportunity for revitalising the manufacturing industry in South Australia to provide these alternative energy systems as well as creating jobs in their construction and or installation. The prime candidates for these technologies are in: large and medium scale wind turbines, photo-electric, solar heating and solar electric systems (both household/rooftop and large scale), electric battery storage and control systems (again household or district scale) and hydro pump storage (using surplus from solar/wind renewable power sources to pump seawater into cliff-top reservoirs and release through hydro turbines to generate electricity during periods when sun and wind don’t provide enough power.
This is a dream that could turn into a nightmare

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINSA Nuclear waste dump questions 

Nuclear un-clear: Some questions that need answers before
South Australia becomes the world’s nuclear waste dump

by Dr Tony Webb June 2016 

Where is it coming from and where is it going? 

• Where is this waste coming from? The Royal commission speculates about various countries wanting us to take their waste but there’s nothing definite.
• Where will it come into Australia? We’ve heard that it might come in via Darwin (unlikely) or (more likely) through a new specially built port in theSpencer Gulf. If so where is this to be built – and at what cost, paid for by whom?

 Where will it be stored? It has been suggested there will need to be a secure temporary store at the port and another (or several) elsewhere above ground that will hold the highly radioactive waste for up to 100 years until ‘disposed of’ underground. Where will these temporary dump sites be? On whose land? And where is the proposed underground site to be?
• Where are the detailed engineering plans for this supposedly ‘secure’ but ‘unguarded’ underground site? No other country in the world has yet found a way to safely dispose of nuclear wastes. Several countries are trying – on a much smaller scale than proposed for South Australia – and for their own waste only.
What are the economic costs, benefits & risks?  Continue reading

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Once again, Australian government wages nuclear war on Aboriginal people

The plan to turn South Australia into the world’s nuclear waste dump has been met with near-unanimous opposition from Aboriginal people.

The Royal Commission acknowledged strong Aboriginal opposition to its nuclear waste proposal in its final report – but it treats that opposition not as a red light but as an obstacle to be circumvented.


highly-recommendedtext-relevantRadioactive waste and the nuclear war on Australia’s Aboriginal people,
Jim Green 1st July 2016
Australia’s nuclear industry has a shameful history of ‘radioactive racism’ that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes persist today with plans to dump over half a million tonnes of high and intermediate level nuclear waste on Aboriginal land, and open new uranium mines. But now Aboriginal peoples and traditional land owners are fighting back!

From 1998-2004, the Australian federal government tried – but failed – to impose a national nuclear waste dump on Aboriginal land in South Australia.

Then the government tried to impose a dump on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory, but that also failed.

Now the government has embarked on its third attempt and once again it is trying to impose a dump on Aboriginal land despite clear opposition from Traditional Owners. The latest proposal is for a dump in the spectacular Flinders Ranges, 400 km north of Adelaide in South Australia, on the land of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners.

The government says that no group will have a right of veto, which is coded racism: it means that the dump may go ahead despite the government’s acknowledgement that “almost all Indigenous community members surveyed are strongly opposed to the site continuing.”

The proposed dump site was nominated by former Liberal Party politician Grant Chapman but he has precious little connection to the land. Conversely, the land has been precious to Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners for millennia.

It was like somebody ripped my heart out’

The site is adjacent to the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). “The IPA is right on the fence – there’s a waterhole that is shared by both properties”said Yappala Station resident and Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Regina McKenzie.

The waterhole – a traditional women’s site and healing place – is one of many archeological and culturally significant sites in the area that Traditional Owners have registered with the South Australian government over the past six years. Two Adnyamathanha associations – Viliwarinha Aboriginal Corporation and the Anggumathanha Camp Law Mob – wrote in November 2015 statement:

“Adnyamathanha land in the Flinders Ranges has been short-listed for a national nuclear waste dump. The land was nominated by former Liberal Party Senator Grant Chapman. Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners weren’t consulted. Even Traditional Owners who live next to the proposed dump site at Yappala Station weren’t consulted. This is an insult.

“The whole area is Adnyamathanha land. It is Arngurla Yarta (spiritual land). The proposed dump site has springs. It also has ancient mound springs. It has countless thousands of Aboriginal artefects. Our ancestors are buried there.

“Hookina creek that runs along the nominated site is a significant women’s site. It is a registered heritage site and must be preserved and protected. We are responsible for this area, the land and animals.

“We don’t want a nuclear waste dump here on our country and worry that if the waste comes here it will harm our environment and muda (our lore, our creation, our everything). We call on the federal government to withdraw the nomination of the site and to show more respect in future.”

Regina McKenzie describes getting the news that the Flinders Ranges site had been chosen from a short-list of six sites across Australia: “We were devastated, it was like somebody had rang us up and told us somebody had passed away. My niece rang me crying … it was like somebody ripped my heart out.”

McKenzie said on ABC television: “Almost every waste dump is near an Aboriginal community. It’s like, yeah, they’re only a bunch of blacks, they’re only a bunch of Abos, so we’ll put it there. Don’t you think that’s a little bit confronting for us when it happens to us all the time? Can’t they just leave my people alone?”

Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Dr Jillian Marsh said in an April 2016 statement:

“The First Nations people of Australia have been bullied and pushed around, forcibly removed from their families and their country, denied access and the right to care for their own land for over 200 years. Our health and wellbeing compares with third world countries, our people crowd the jails. Nobody wants toxic waste in their back yard, this is true the world over. We stand in solidarity with people across this country and across the globe who want sustainable futures for communities, we will not be moved.”

The battle over the proposed dump site in the Flinders Ranges will probably be resolved over the next 12 months. If the government fails in its third attempt to impose a dump against the wishes of Aboriginal Traditional Owners, we can only assume on past form that a fourth attempt will ensue……

Now Aboriginal people in South Australia face the imposition of a national nuclear waste dump as well as a plan to import 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste and 390,000 cubic metres of intermediate level waste for storage and disposal as a commercial venture.

The plan is being driven by the South Australian government, which last year established a Royal Commission to provide a fig-leaf of independent supporting advice. The Royal Commissioner is a nuclear advocate and the majority of the members of the Expert Advisory Committee are strident nuclear advocates.

Indeed it seems as if the Royal Commissioner sought out the dopiest nuclear advocates he could find to put on the Expert Advisory Committee: one thinks nuclear power is safer than solar, another thinks that nuclear power doesn’t pose a weapons proliferation risk, and a third was insisting that there was no credible risk of a serious accident at Fukushima even as nuclear meltdown was in full swing.

Announcing the establishment of the Royal Commission in March 2015, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said“We have a specific mandate to consult with Aboriginal communities and there are great sensitivities here. I mean we’ve had the use and abuse of the lands of the Maralinga Tjarutja people by the British when they tested their atomic weapons.”

Yet the South Australian government’s handling of the Royal Commission process systematically disenfranchised Aboriginal people. The truncated timeline for providing feedback on draft Terms of Reference disadvantaged people in remote regions, people with little or no access to email and internet, and people for whom English is a second language. There was no translation of the draft Terms of Reference, and a regional communications and engagement strategy was not developed or implemented.

Aboriginal people repeatedly expressed frustration with the Royal Commission process. One example (of many) is the submission of the Anggumathanha Camp Law Mob (who are also fighting against the plan for a national nuclear waste dump on their land):

“Why we are not satisfied with the way this Royal Commission has been conducted:

Yaiinidlha Udnyu ngawarla wanggaanggu, wanhanga Yura Ngawarla wanggaanggu? – always in English, where’s the Yura Ngawarla (our first language)?

“The issues of engagement are many. To date we have found the process of engagement used by the Royal Commission to be very off putting as it’s been run in a real Udnyu (whitefella) way. Timelines are short, information is hard to access, there is no interpreter service available, and the meetings have been very poorly advertised. …

“A closed and secretive approach makes engagement difficult for the average person on the street, and near impossible for Aboriginal people to participate.”

The plan to turn South Australia into the world’s nuclear waste dump has been met with near-unanimous opposition from Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal Congress of South Australia, comprising people from many Aboriginal groups across the state, endorsed the following resolution at an August 2015 meeting:

“We, as native title representatives of lands and waters of South Australia, stand firmly in opposition to nuclear developments on our country, including all plans to expand uranium mining, and implement nuclear reactors and nuclear waste dumps on our land. … Many of us suffer to this day the devastating effects of the nuclear industry and continue to be subject to it through extensive uranium mining on our lands and country that has been contaminated.

“We view any further expansion of industry as an imposition on our country, our people, our environment, our culture and our history. We also view it as a blatant disregard for our rights under various legislative instruments, including the founding principles of this state.”

The Royal Commission acknowledged strong Aboriginal opposition to its nuclear waste proposal in its final report – but it treats that opposition not as a red light but as an obstacle to be circumvented.


July 4, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Attempts to dump nuclear waste on South Australia 1998-2004

text-relevantThe Kungkas wrote in an open letter: “People said that you can’t win against the Government. Just a few women. We just kept talking and telling them to get their ears out of their pockets and listen. We never said we were going to give up. Government has big money to buy their way out but we never gave up.”

Radioactive waste and the nuclear war on Australia’s Aboriginal people, Ecologist Jim Green 1st July 2016  “………Dumping on South Australia, 1998-2004

This isn’t the first time that Aboriginal people in South Australia have faced the imposition of a national nuclear waste dump. In 1998, the federal government announced its intention to build a dump near the rocket and missile testing range at Woomera.

The proposed dump generated such controversy in South Australia that the federal government hired a public relations company. Correspondence between the company and the government was released under Freedom of Information laws. Continue reading

July 4, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear, politics, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

The anti nuclear lizard is biting back at Olympic Damn Uranium Mine

Lizards-revenge1Zombies, giant sea god join large anti-nuclear protest at Olympic Dam Erin Jones, Roxby Downs, The Advertiser, July 1, 2016

MORE than 100 anti-uranium protesters from across the nation dressed as zombies and marched to the “gates of hell” outside Olympic Dam on Friday. It marked the start of a three-day protest by the Desert Liberation Front outside the BHP mine at Roxby Downs, bringing with them a heavy police presence.

STAR Group officers, sniffer dogs, mounted police, dirt bike patrols, a helicopter and a drone were all visible at the mine site during the event’s first day.

About half of the 200 protesters, including children, walked 2km to the mine’s front gates chanting “leave it in the ground, Roxby’s going down”. Some protesters shook the gates, but vowed to keep the event peaceful.

Arabunna elder Kevin Buzzacott has also called on the police “to do right” by them and issued an open invitation to officers to attend their camp. “It’s always a peaceful protest even though others might say it’s not, but we always like to do the right thing,” Mr Buzzacott said.

“We got pulled up by the police and they questioned everyone like we’re terrorists, checking licenses and cars being defected. “So we would also like the other people to do the right thing and come and talk to us and have a cup of tea.”

Mr Buzzacott said the group only wanted to raise awareness on the dangers of uranium and called on BHP to close the mine within two years.

Police Assistant Commissioner Bronwyn Killmier said there had been no arrests on the event’s first day and people had protested peacefully. Ms Killmier said officers were not wearing weapons as protesters were acting peacefully and respectfully.  The event follows a similar protest in 2012 which lasted longer than a week and resulted in 18 people being arrested.

Among the colourful characters was a giant 2.5m Tongan sea god named Lumi. Its creator, Nick Wilson, took time off from his job as a puppeteer and travelled from Melbourne to give Lumi a first-hand look at a uranium site he said was poisoning his ocean. “Lumi is the Pacific Island god of ocean and death and he seemed too perfect not to bring,” Mr Wilson, 31, said.

Last night protesters were setting up a roadkill barbecue at their solar-powered camp, on Olympic Way, which included a communal kitchen, music stage and children’s activity tent.

The majority of events by the protesters have been kept under wraps, but marches to the gates are expected throughout the weekend.

The Advertiser understands truck deliveries to the mine were halted Thursday night and will resume Monday evening to minimise any disturbance caused by the protest. BHP Olympic Dam head of corporate affairs Simon Corrigan said they were working closely with police to ensure safe transport of mine workers to and from the site. “We have a great team of people at Olympic Dam who are focused on working safely every day,” Mr Corrigan said.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Indigenous elder Dr Jillian Marsh – Greens candidate for Grey, South Australia

Marsh, Dr JillianNuclear personal and political for Dr Jillian Marsh Politicians more often than not stick religiously to the party line when it USA election 2016comes to key policy issues.

But for The Greens’ candidate for Grey, Dr Jillian Marsh, the issue of a proposed nuclear industry in South Australia is not just political – it is personal, too. Dr Marsh is a traditional owner and elder of the Adnyamathanha people.

She endorses The Greens’ nuclear and uranium policy which outlines a future without uranium or nuclear energy production. But she said that her Aboriginal heritage motivated her to take the role as candidate for Grey and fight against the proposed nuclear dump.

“I know this is something I have as an obligation as an Adnyamathanha traditional owner,” Dr Marsh said. “I am required to step up to the mark … to take this on board for the sake of future generations.”

One of the proposed sites for a low to intermediate-level nuclear waste dump at The Wallerberdina station, near Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges, sits on Adnyamathanha land.

Dr Marsh was involved in anti-nuclear protest marches through Port Pirie and Port Augusta recently.She felt the the responsibility as a traditional owner and elder of the Adnyamathanha people to speak out about the federal and state government plans.

“Traditional owners, the Aboriginal people, have really had a gutful of this type of approach to community consultation,” she said. “They are always facing the prospect of their culture and country being damaged, destroyed, abused once again.”

Dr Marsh said that the consultation processes and uncertainty put a lot of pressure on aboriginal communities. “It creates a lot of ill-feeling in the community,” she said. “This type of uncertainty and angst is one of the things contributing to the shorter lifespans faced by our people.”

The translation of Adnyamathanha is “people of the rock” or “people of the rocky country” and Dr Marsh said this sacred cultural connection is under threat. “Our connection to the land is constantly being ransacked by ill-informed policies,” she said.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, election 2016, South Australia | Leave a comment

China as market for agriculture, could be finished if nuclear waste dump goes ahead

Kristen Jelk, Your Say Last month I was in China promoting an Australian product that comes from SA which is pitched as a clean, green, environment. The full potential of the market in China for South Australian produce is immeasurable. From a Chinese consumers point of view, the environmental conditions where the product is sourced or grown, is pivotal to the choices made when purchasing.

Chinese consumers will pay top prices for products that are considered SAFE – produced where the source is known to be an unpolluted clean environment. Perception is everything, and if a consumer becomes aware that SA had developed a nuclear waste dump, then that perception of a safe environment will be shattered. It will not matter that the dump is in a desert, nor will it matter if the dump is considerable distance from prime agricultural land, nor will it matter if experts assure of safety standards.

South Australia nuclear toilet

The perception that would prevail is that SA will be a dumping ground for nuclear waste. If this is a discussion over commercial viability verses environmental risks long term, then I would argue that the real cost of the dump being located in SA is the loss in the perception that SA is a “clean, green” state. Questions would be raised over validity of the safety of the states produce.

Science does not dispel the pervading distrust of nuclear waste storage. Impassioned long standing anti-nuclear supporters cannot be placated and therefore ongoing discourse over the proposed dump will just shine a brighter light on the discussion world wide. The long term impact on the revenue of export sales will, without doubt be affected.

To risk the potential of long term growth in export sales due to a short term vision on job creation,( which is questionable ) is not good economics. SA has the potential to be a renewable energy ambassador with exciting projects already in development. We have to think globally, not locally if we are to sustain economic growth based on the real tangible asset that we have, which is our environment.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Nigel Carney analyses intrinsic flaws on the Nuclear Royal Commission

highly-recommendedSA NUCLEAR BRIEFING Nigel Carney, June 16, 2016   “…… the issue South Australians are currently facing in the low level waste site selection process has always been a state and federal alliance, no mere coincidence of need…….

The Commission has been criticized widely as being a political stunt, not an independent Commission but rather a rubber stamp. The findings of the Commission released in May 2016 tend to support this view. The report itself presents evidence against its own findings. We are reminded that the Radium Hill mine and Port Pirie treatment plant remain as unresolved radioactive sites. The Commission finds:

‘The failure to consider the environment in the planning, operating and decommissioning of these facilities has resulted in ongoing management challenges….Although subsequent assessments of both sites show they do not pose a serious radiological risk to the health of visitors to the sites the state government is required to continue to monitor and manage potential environmental contamination’  (Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Findings May 2016)

Why then, the public may ask, would a Commission which acknowledges the failure of government to manage the legacy of the nuclear fuel cycle suggest the state has the capability of managing the world’s nuclear waste? Continue reading

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, reference, South Australia | Leave a comment

Politics and the Nuclear Waste Importing Plan

Risks, ethics and consent: Australia shouldn’t become the world’s nuclear wasteland, The Conversation, ,  Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, UNSW Australia, June 28, 2016 

In a country that is divided about nuclear power and where the annual economic value of uranium exports is a modest A$622 million (roughly equal to Australia’s cheese exports), the origin of the nuclear waste proposal is puzzling and inevitably involves speculation.

BHP-on-Aust-govtHowever, one could suggest the political influence of BHP-Billiton, owner of Olympic Dam in South Australia, Australia’s largest uranium mine and the second-largest in the world, and Rio Tinto, owner of the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory.

A global nuclear waste site would lock future generations of Australians into an industry that is dangerous and very expensive. It’s unlikely to gain social consent from Indigenous Australians, or indeed the majority of all Australians. Given the risks, it would be wise not to proceed.

June 29, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment


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