Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Confusion about the two South Australian nuclear waste dump plans

text-cat-questionAre these 2 proposals really so separate, or is the Federal dump choice of South Australia planned so as to soften up South Australians and Australia at large, to view South Australia as a suitable radioactive trash toilet?   South Australian Liberals, and the Federal Liberal and Labor are all staying quiet about the Scarce Nuclear Commission plan – but are they secretly in support of it?

Two nuclear proposals ‘confusing discussion’ about potential waste dumps in South Australia, ABC News 2 Sept 16 By Lauren Waldhuter Two separate proposals for storing nuclear waste in South Australia have caused widespread confusion in communities and the Premier has conceded public consultation was badly timed.

radioactive trashThe State Government has launched a state-wide public consultation program on royal commission recommendations to store the world’s high-grade nuclear waste in SA.

But at the same time the Federal Government hasshort-listed Wallerberdina station, near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges, as a preferred site for Australia’s first storage facility for low-to-intermediate level radioactive waste.

Hawker Community Development Board chairperson Janice McInnis said SA’s public consultation was clouding discussion about the federal plan.

“I’ve had phone calls from friends in Adelaide who said, ‘what’s this about a waste dump at Hawker?’, thinking it was the state one and they hadn’t heard about the federal one at all,” she said.

March 2015 Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal
Commission established.
May 2015 Landholder nominations to host Australia’s
Radioactive Waste Management Facility close.
May 2015 Royal commission releases
four issues papers. Public consultation
period begins.
November 2015 Six sites around Australia identified for further
assessment, including three in SA. Consultation
period begins.
February 2016 Royal commission releases tentative findings.
It suggests SA builds a dump for the world’s
high-level nuclear waste.
April 2016 Federal Government announces Wallerberdina station
as its preferred site.
May 2016 Final report released and consultation continues. Present Consultation continues until next year.

Premier Jay Weatherill admitted the timing could have been better.

“Certainly we would’ve preferred if the federal process had have waited until our process had been underway,” he said.

“There’s no doubt there’s been confusion between the federal process and the South Australian Government process.

“We’ve detected that as we’ve gone out and spoken to people.

“I think the Commonwealth support the approach that we’ve taken but we’re going to have to find a way to bring those two decision-making processes together.”……..

Two sets of conversations ‘insulting’ Despite disagreeing with both government plans to pursue a nuclear future for SA, environmental groups agree the issue has become too confusing.

The Conservation Council of SA held an expo in Port Augusta on Friday to highlight concerns about both proposals as well as their differences.

“It’s actually insulting to have two sets of governments having two sets of conversations on two different proposals at the same time,” chief executive Craig Wilkins said.

“No wonder the community is confused. “It’s incredibly important that these two plans are kept separate because the impacts are very, very different.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-04/nuclear-proposals-confusing-discussion-in-sa/7812646?pfmredir=sm

September 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Premier Weatherill is proud that his nuclear waste import plan is RISKY!

text politicsVoters will reward my courage, Weatherill insists, INDaily,  1 Sept 16 Tom Richardson    
Tom Richardson    “……….the Premier believes the South Australian public will reward his own Government at the 2018 election for courting “political risk” with contentious changes to the state’s healthcare system and a royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle………
“It takes some courage to prosecute your ideas and defend them, [but] there’s political risk and political reward… what we need at the moment is people to take political risks………
Weatherill,-Jay-wastes
“The nuclear fuel cycle royal commission’s got political risk written all over it. We haven’t shirked any of the big public policy [questions].”

I think ultimately people will give credit to people that are taking on the big decisions,” he insisted.

“There will always be complaints around the edges, but in their heart of hearts they understand somebody’s got to tackle these big questions.”……

On the nuclear issue, acting Liberal leader, Vickie Chapman  said: “Weatherill scans the world and tries to find an idea, then thinks, ‘I’ll be bold and brash about this’ – but he’s years late, so it just becomes a sideshow.”……http://indaily.com.au/news/politics/2016/09/01/voters-will-reward-my-courage-weatherill-insists/

September 4, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Geothermal energy – not necessarily renewable, nor environmentally benign.

Dennis Matthews, 3 Sept 16 It’s important to understand that what companies such as Geodynamics, and organisations like the SA Centre for Geothermal Energy Research at Adelaide Uni have been trying to do is a special sort of geothermal energy, commonly known as “Hot Rocks”. This type of geothermal energy is not renewable in the normal sense of the word, and it is not environmentally benign.

Hot Rocks geothermal requires the expenditure of large amounts of energy to drill 5km underground and to pump liquid under pressure in order to fracture rocks (fracking) 5 km underground. for which it uses a large amount of water to do this.

geothermal energy hot rocks

In SA, where most of the hot rocks projects were being pursued, the eventual market for the electricity would have been mining companies especially uranium mines such as Roxby Downs and Beverley. This is no coincidence. The rocks are hot, not because of heat from the earths interior, but because they are radioactive.

By fracking the radioactive rocks and pumping water through them, radioactive radon gas is released and the water becomes radioactive through a host of radioactive isotopes that have built up over millions of years. In principle, during operation the water is not released to the environment but this is the ideal scenario. Accidents and maintenance work is highly likely to rel;lease radioactive water. The water used in fracking is not recycled. I assume it is put into tailings dams and allowed to evaporate leaving behind a concentrated radioactive waste. Often this occurs in areas, such as near the Cooper, which are subject to flash flooding.

Each hot rocks site has a very limited life (approx 20 years), because the rate of heat replacement is much less than the rate of extraction. This means that the project has to constantly move from one set of 5km holes and the exhausted holes will not be viable for “many hundreds of years”. This is not renewable energy. Growing trees for biomass is quicker. Solar is instantaneous in the sense that the sun is essentially an infinite source of energy; using solar energy in no way diminishes the amount available.

Despite several attempts, I was never able to get an answer on the energy payback time, or on greenhouse gas emissions and payback time, or water consumption. For the last 20 years these projects have been powered by govt subsidised diesel and have received very generous Govt funding, both State and Federal, including for the Centre for Geothermal Energy Research. Up to April 2010, public funding totalled approx $300 million.

When these projects were first proposed with backing from the SA mines and energy dept I publicly stated that they were economically and environmentally risky. I see no reason to now change that position.

September 3, 2016 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Unions ready to oppose South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill on nuclear waste dump plans

Weatherill nuclear dreamUnions ready to dump on Jay Off the Record: SA’s home of political, business and legal gossip http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/off-the-record-sas-home-of-political-business-and-legal-gossip/news-story/d4d7206f85a8cf5ff5a628158157ef66The Advertiser September 2, 2016 POWERFUL forces within the Labor movement are bracing for an intense union campaign against Premier Jay Weatherill if he goes ahead with plans for a high-level nuclear waste dump.

Off the Record can reveal some are talking about a repeat of the union campaign against Mike Rann, which boiled over in 2010 when he needed a police escort through protesters at Labor’s state conference.

Labor figures have drawn our attention to Maritime Union of Australia state secretary Jamie Newlyn’s public backing of the No Dump Alliance, a broad coalition of environmentalists, indigenous groups and academics.

Newlyn, also SA Unions president, says on the group’s website that the MUA has “a long history of opposing expansion of the nuclear industry including nuclear waste dumps”.

“We fear that the economic assumptions pale in insignificance to the unknown safety and environmental implications of such plans,” says Newlyn.

Wharfies clearly would be required to unload any imported high-level waste, so the union’s support would be critical.

SA Unions vice-president (women) and nurses’ union state secretary Elizabeth Dabars also is backing the anti-dump campaigners, ambiguously declaring her union is pleased “to join the No Dump Alliance to actively participate in community debate on this very important issue for the South Australian community”.

Rann discovered, to his peril, the risks of putting off-side powerful union leaders, such as Australian Workers’ Union state secretary (now president)Wayne Hanson. The AWU, however, is said to be more onside with the dump, because of the potential for jobs and investment.

Perhaps Weatherill will have to worry about his hitherto smooth relations with the union movement being disrupted when he delivers, by the end of the year, the government’s response to the nuclear royal commission.

September 3, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Carbon neutral plan for Adelaide transport would supply 20,000 jobs

climate-change20,000 jobs tipped if Adelaide spends big on tram network, plug-in hybrid cars to be carbon-neutral city http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/20000-jobs-tipped-if-adelaide-spends-big-on-tram-network-plugin-hybrid-cars-to-be-carbonneutral-city/news-story/0a9e113ba2c052a5167ab24a9b6d1c49  September 2, 2016 A RADICAL plan to make Adelaide the world’s first carbon-neutral city could create more than 20,000 jobs, a State Government-commissioned report says.Engineering company Siemens has presented a range of options that could help Adelaide reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2025, including heavy investment in public transport to reduce private car use.

The report, released on Friday, says spending $4.9 billion on public transport infrastructure, including six new tram lines, could create 21,000 full-time equivalent jobs and reduce car use as a share of annual passenger kilometres by 20 per cent.

A less expensive option would be to create incentives for more drivers to use low-emission vehicles, including plug-in hybrid cars.

A $1.4 billion outlay would create 5600 full-time equivalent jobs but would provide a greater return on investment, reducing Adelaide’s transport-related emissions by up to 47 per cent.

“From a 50-50 split in 2015, emissions in the building sector will drop to 33 per cent, with 67 per cent of emissions accruing from transportation,” the report says. “The city will increasingly need to tackle its transport emissions to meet its targets.”

Incentives to encourage greater use of electric cars could include free public parking, exemptions from one-off purchase fees and the freedom to use dedicated bus lanes, all of which have been implemented in Norway. Electric car owners could also receive grants and streamlined permits to install their own charging stations or a reimbursement of energy recharging costs.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the report would add to the debate on ways to reduce emissions, adding that previous efforts to green the state had not constrained economic growth. “We’ve demonstrated that you can cut your emissions and at the same time grow your economy,” he told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia briefing. “These two things are not mutually exclusive.”

September 3, 2016 Posted by | efficiency, South Australia | Leave a comment

Secret forum – for the Nuclear Royal Commission to indoctrinate kids?

secret-agent-AustThe South Australian government is going to a lot of trouble to set up a forum for 160 students and 60 teachers to hear  a presentation from the former Nuclear Royal commissioner, Kevin Scarce, and the Chief Executive of the Nuclear Consultation and Response Agency, to tell them all about the plan for South Australia to import foreign nuclear waste.
They are also to hear from “a range of experts”.
It is very concerning that this plan is so secretive. Neither the time nor the place of this forum has been divulged, nor any details about the experts presenting the information.
nuclear-teacher
The reason for this secrecy has been given as safety concerns, following anti nuclear protests in June. The agency’ s director of engagement, John Phalen , explained that “the safety of our students is our number one priority”
Are South Australia’s anti nuclear protestors actually a danger to schoolchildren?   It sounds more likely that  the government is keen to protect the children from information  that might cause them to ask difficult questions about the plan to make South Australia rich by importing foreign nuclear waste.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Walk Against Nuclear Waste Importation protestors speak out at Willunga, Adelaide

text-NoFleurieu protesters stand against nuclear storage | VIDEO, The Times On The Coast, 30 Aug 16    “Nuclear waste, what a disgrace,” was chanted loud and clear by more than 100 participants in the Walk Against Nuclear Waste Importation as they gathered on the steps of the Willunga Hub on August 24.

Inside was a consultation team who welcomed the walkers with feedback forms and Know Nuclear information packs, taking an opportunity to inform the community about what the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission recommendation on storing international radioactive waste meant.

“The proposal before us is an economic one: $5.5 billion per annum, $445 billion over the life of the facility,” said John Phalen, Director, Engagement, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency.

“What we are asking people to do is examine the opportunity,” he said……..

Willinga, Strathalbyn and Victor Harbor among the 100 selected sites for Know Nuclear representatives to talk to local communities.

“I don’t think nuclear dumping is good for our environment or our future,” said Jeffrey Simmons.  “Especially when we take it from other parts of the world.”

Sherilee Williams agreed. She said she had a deep respect for the land and its traditional owners since walking from central Australia’s Dingo Fence to Mount Compass a few years ago. “They (the state government) are thinking South Australia’s desert is a wasteland but it’s a sacred place; it’s a place of healing,” she said………

Community consultation runs until October. Feedback forms are available atnuclear.yoursay.sa.gov.au

Living in a radioactive environment Boris Sopotsko from Hallett Cove grew up in St Petersburg, Russia, 40 kilometres from a nuclear power plant and remembers as a child being taught where to run, where to hide, and what to eat after an explosion or leak.

“I hate the idea so much,” he said, referring to an international nuclear waste storage facility proposed for South Australia. “It makes me feel ill. “I remember our school had a gas mask for every single student and an under ground shelter; a nuclear bomb shelter. “The walls had posters showing us how to check which way the wind was blowing and what to do to avoid contaminated rains. “We were well trained, but that doesn’t mean we’d survive.”

Mr Sopotsko feared for the state’s future and said he actively opposed the importing, storing and burying of international nuclear waste in South Australia.

“Nuclear waste from all over the world is clearly a concern, especially when shipping in high seas,” he said. He said transporting the material on roads and rail posed a safety risk: “you freeze with dread at the sight,” he remembers.

Storing the waste above ground was also a concern. “We live in a time when the West has enemies,” he said. “This would be an easy target.”

Underground storage poses a contamination risk to soil and water. “Germany’s waste deposit in Lower Saxony has experienced an underground radioactive leak and people’s resistance against further storage is very strong……..http://www.victorharbortimes.com.au/story/4130203/fleurieu-protesters-stand-against-nuclear-storage-video/

August 31, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Geothermal power project closes in SA as technology deemed not financially viable 

ABC News, 30 Aug 16 By Tom Fedorowytsch A potential energy source in Australia is set to remain untapped, with a geothermal power project in the far north of South Australia now closed.

Energy company Geodynamics closed and remediated the sites of several test wells and generation plants in the Cooper Basin after deciding they were not financially viable.

Before the closure, the company had managed to extract super-heated water from five kilometres below the earth’s surface and use it to generate small amounts of electricity.

“The technology worked but unfortunately the cost of implementing the technology and also the cost of delivering the electricity that was produced to a market was just greater than the revenue stream that we could create,” Geodynamics chief executive Chris Murray said…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-30/geothermal-power-plant-closes-deemed-not-financially-viable/7798962

August 31, 2016 Posted by | energy, South Australia | 1 Comment

Surface nuclear waste spurs community concern

Community concern is mounting about plans to store high level radioactive waste above ground for years before building a proposed nuclear waste dump, warns Conservation SA CEO Craig Wilkins.
“From our public consultation, most people think this proposed dump is an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ idea, where we bury the waste deep in the outback and that’s it,” he said. “The reality is very different.

“The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was very candid: The project only stacks up financially if we import and stockpile 50,000 tonnes of nuclear waste above ground for as long as 17 years before we can deposit it in an underground disposal site. Indeed, that ‘interim’ surface site will store tens of thousands of tonnes above ground for the next 100 years.

waste containers New Mexico

“So, we acquire the risk and responsibility for this nuclear waste before we know if we can actually build and operate the ultimate repository – let alone obtain community consent for it.

“Before we get there, ships containing that high-level waste enter South Australian waters through problem areas such as the South China Sea, then traverse our prawn and tuna fisheries, aquaculture zones and tourism hotspots every month for 70 years. That is a huge amount of risk.

“The plan would require a purpose-built nuclear port and rail line with nuclear waste being stored at five different locations across the state. While these facts are publicly accessible, they’ve been obscured by the promise of eye-popping windfall profits from this proposal.”

However, community concern has grown as South Australian citizens identify problems with the financial viability, environmental impact and community effects of the proposed nuclear waste dump.

In Port Augusta, a two-day community forum, called Exposure 2016, will run this weekend, from September 2-4, at the city’s Institute Theatre, starting on Friday night with ‘Talking Straight Out’. This exhibition showcases the famous Irati Wanti campaign when senior Aboriginal women from Coober Pedy, the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, defeated Federal Government plans to dump radioactive waste on their land.

The free event will also include sessions on the SA Government’s international nuclear waste dumping plans; current Federal Government plans to dump waste in the Flinders Ranges; traditional owners’ voices and rights; impacts of radiation on people and the environment; impacts on industries including tourism, farming and recreation and the track record of radioactive waste management / mismanagement in South Australia and globally.

For many South Australians, the proposed nuclear waste dump in the State’s outback invokes memories of Maralinga and Emu Fields, the South Australian sites of nine British secret nuclear tests between 1953 and 1963. The tests exposed local Aboriginal communities to radiation that caused cancers, blindness and ongoing genetic damage. British and Australian servicemen were also exposed and radioactivity was detected in SA, NT, NSW and Queensland.

South Australian singer Mike Roberts also communicates concern about the nuclear waste dump in his new song Welcome to the Nuclear State. Listen at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mikeroberts23#. For community concerns about the SA nuclear waste dump, visit http://www.nodumpalliance.org.au/.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate Change Adaptation – South Australia in the lead

National Climate Adaptation Conference 2016, Day Three – Sean Kidney

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION  The Climate group, August 2016. Sandy Pitcher, Chief Executive of South Australia’s Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, reflects on the achievements of Australia’s preeminent climate change forum, the Climate Adaptation 2016 conference, which took place in Adelaide in July. 

The Climate Adaptation 2016 conference provided an unprecedented opportunity for South Australia to highlight the important progress being made on climate change adaptation in our state, and learn from others in Australia and around the world.

The conference was presented by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, with the South Australian Government – a member of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance, the platinum sponsor. It attracted around 490 policy makers, researchers and practitioners and the debate focused on the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change adaptation.

The innovation that we’re seeing mainly happens at the local level, and can be shared at conferences like this. It is a crucial way, for us in South Australia and beyond, to share ideas, catalyze local action, and bring key influencers together.

ADAPTATION IS A VERY KEY TENANT TO ANY FUTURE STRATEGY – THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO BE IMPACTED BY A CHANGING CLIMATE

Tim Jarvis, Australian adventurer  ADAPTATION CENTRAL TO CLIMATE EFFORTS

South Australia has long been recognized as a global leader on climate action, and our work in climate change adaptation is central to our efforts.

Our award-winning adaptation framework is based on a collaborative, regional approach involving partnerships between local government, regional development committees and natural resources management boards, who are working together to develop well-informed adaptation solutions for their communities.

Currently, in each of the State’s regions, five climate adaptation plans have been completed with the remainder due to be finalized by the end of the year….https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/south-australia-leading-climate-change-adaptation

August 26, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s nuclear waste dump plan not economically viable? The nuclear lobby doesn’t care

The global nuclear lobby surely does not care about whether or not the South Australian nuclear waste importing scheme is economically viable. Their fairly desperate need is to sell nuclear reactors to those countries that don’t already have them. In particular, the ‘small nuclear” lobby sees an urgency now, with ‘big nuclear’ failing, to get their industry happening.

A commitment by an Australian State to take in nuclear waste could do the trick for them – as Oscar Archer put it – by unblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.

toilet map South Australia 2

Mixed motives in South Australia’s nuclear waste import plan. Online Opinion, Noel Wauchope, 23 Aug 16  In South Australia the continued nuclear push focusses solely on a nuclear waste importing industry. Yet that might not be economically viable. Behind the scenes, another agenda is being pursued – that of developing new generation nuclear reactors.

First, let’s look at the message. The message from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) is clearly a plan to make South Australia rich, by importing foreign nuclear wastes. …..This theme has been repeated ad nauseam by the NFCRC’s publicity, by politicians, and the mainstream media.…..

Whereas other countries are compelled to develop nuclear waste facilities, to deal with their waste production from civil and military reactors,that is not a necessity for Australia, (with the exception of relatively tiny amounts derived from the Lucas Heights research reactor).

So, the only reason for South Australia to develop a massive nuclear waste management business is to make money.

If it’s not profitable, then it shouldn’t be done.

Or so it would seem.

There is another, quieter, message. When you read the Royal Commission’s reports, you find that, while the major aim is for a nuclear waste business, in fact, the door is kept open for other parts of the nuclear fuel chain……… Continue reading

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia: Future Business Council calls for National smart energy grid

highly-recommendedTom Quinn: South Australian business is paying high price for ‘dumb’ national electricity grid http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/tom-quinn-south-australian-business-is-paying-high-price-for-dumb-national-electricity-grid/news-story/97918e65518213082303ddd011421d3f
Tom Quinn, The Advertiser August 25, 2016 SOUTH Australian businesses will continue to pay the price for a dumb electricity grid that’s no longer fit for purpose until all governments take decisive action to modernise our energy system.
smart-grid

Last week’s meeting of energy ministers fumbled their first chance to do so, leaving business hamstrung. Nowhere is that as painfully clear than in South Australia.

The state has led the country in tapping into rich, renewable resources but when it comes to accessing the benefits business is still missing out. The problem? South Australia must operate within a larger national system that’s designed for a different age.

The wholesale electricity price spikes seen in July, claims of gas market manipulation and barriers preventing the rapid shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity have highlighted the many systematic flaws. At the heart of all this, though, sits an outdated grid that is based on last century’s centralised generation model.

This obsolete system has served us well but is now holding back the state and business community.

The sand is rapidly shifting under the traditional energy market’s feet driven by households and businesses that are no longer just consumers of energy but also producers, particularly through domestic solar panels Continue reading

August 26, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Canberra heads to 100% renewable energy, helped by wind power from South Australia

Wind turbines in Azerbaijan. Wind farms in Crookwell, South Australia ‘final piece’ in ACT’s renewable plan  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/wind-farms-in-crookwell-south-australia-final-piece-in-acts-renewable-plan-20160823-gqys5x.html   Christopher Knaus, 23 Aug 16 A local wind farm has won a bid to supply 41,600 ACT homes with energy, while a third successful bid from a South Australian project means it will provide a major chunk of Canberra’s renewable power by 2020.

Environment Minister Simon Corbell on Tuesday announced what he described as the “final piece” in the government’s plan for 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020. A 91MW $200 million Crookwell wind farm, to be built by Spanish-owned company Union Fenosa Wind Australia, has won the right to be paid feed-in tariff grants under the government’s reverse auction process.

The project, due to be completed in September 2018, will build 28 turbines able to power 41,600 Canberra homes.

Mr Corbell said the Crookwell farm would be paid $86.60/MWh for the energy it feeds into the grid, which he said was a record low for a NSW wind farm. The other successful bidder was the Hornsdale Wind Farm, being built by Neoen International SAS and Megawatt Capital north of Adelaide.

The Hornsdale project has already been successful in the first and second rounds of ACT wind auctions, and is building the capacity for 309MW in total. That means the South Australian project will provide a large chunk of the ACT’s renewable energy by 2020. Continue reading

August 24, 2016 Posted by | ACT, South Australia, wind | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste plan for South Australia not economically viable? Global nuclear lobby doesn’t care

The global nuclear lobby surely does not care about whether or not the South Australian nuclear waste importing scheme is economically viable.

A commitment by an Australian State to take in nuclear waste could do the trick for them – as Oscar Archer put it – by unblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The NFCRC plan also promises the chance of a market in Australia for the mini nuclear reactors.

toilet map South Australia 2

Mixed motives in South Australia’s nuclear waste import plan, Noel Wauchope, Online Opinion, 23 Aug 16In South Australia the continued nuclear push focusses solely on a nuclear waste importing industry. Yet that might not be economically viable. Behind the scenes, another agenda is being pursued – that of developing new generation nuclear reactors.

First, let’s look at the message. The message from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) is clearly a plan to make South Australia rich, by importing foreign nuclear wastes……This theme has been repeated ad nauseam by the NFCRC’s publicity, by politicians, and the mainstream media.…..

Meanwhile, the South Australian Parliament is holding a Committee Inquiry into the NFCRC’s recommendations. This Committee asked witnesses about various aspects of the plan. However, an intense focus in questioning Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce, and Dr Tim Johnson from Jacob Engineering (financial reporter to the NFCRC) was directed at the economic question. It was clear that the politicians were concerned that there’s a possibility of the State spending a significant amount of money on the project, which might then not go ahead. And, indeed, Dr Johnson acknowledged that, financially,” there is a very significant risk”

Whereas other countries are compelled to develop nuclear waste facilities, to deal with their waste production from civil and military reactors,that is not a necessity for Australia, (with the exception of relatively tiny amounts derived from the Lucas Heights research reactor).

So, the only reason for South Australia to develop a massive nuclear waste management business is to make money.

If it’s not profitable, then it shouldn’t be done.

Or so it would seem.

There is another, quieter, message. When you read the Royal Commission’s reports, you find that, while the major aim is for a nuclear waste business, in fact, the door is kept open for other parts of the nuclear fuel chain…….

The clearest explanation of this came early in 2015, just as the NFCRC was starting, in an ABC Radio National talk by Oscar Archer…….

Archer’s plan is significant because it illustrates a very important point about South Australia’s nuclear waste plan – IT SOLVES A GLOBAL NUCLEAR INDUSTRY PROBLEM. Both in ‘already nuclear’ countries, especially America, and in the so far non nuclear counties, such as in South Asia, the nuclear industry is stalled because of its nuclear waste problem. In America, the “new small nuclear”, such as the PRISM, technologies (Power Reactor Innnovative Small Module) cannot even be tested, without a definite waste disposal solution. But, if South Australia provided not only the solution, but also the first setting up of new small reactors, that would give the industry the necessary boost……..

Once Australia has set up a nuclear waste importing industry, the nuclear reactor salesmen of USA, Canada, South Korea, will have an excellent marketing pitch for South Asia, as the nuclear waste problem has been removed from their shores.. And South Asia is exactly the market that the NCRC has in its sights. The NFCRC eliminated most of the EU, Russia, China, North America as customers. This was explained by Dr Tim Jacobs, of Jacobs Engineering, (financial reporters to the NFCRC), at the recent hearing of the South Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission ………

South Australia’s government is influenced by a strong nuclear lobby push and the Royal Commission advocacy for solving that State’s present financial problems by a futuristic nuclear waste repository bonanza scheme…….

The global nuclear lobby surely does not care about whether or not the South Australian nuclear waste importing scheme is economically viable. Their fairly desperate need is to sell nuclear reactors to those countries that don’t already have them. In particular, the ‘small nuclear” lobby sees an urgency now, with ‘big nuclear’ failing, to get their industry happening.

A commitment by an Australian State to take in nuclear waste could do the trick for them – as Oscar Archer put it – by unblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The NFCRC plan also promises the chance of a market in Australia for the mini nuclear reactors.    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18465&page=1

August 23, 2016 Posted by | business, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Roger Cross: Reasons to Reject a Medium and High Level Radioactive Waste Dump in South Australia

Roger Cross Submission to Joint Committee on Nuclear Royal Commission South Australian Parliament, August 2016 Some Reasons for rejecting the proposal to build a Medium and High Level Radioactive Waste Dump in South Australia. By Roger Cross (Author of Fallout: Hedley Marston and the British Bomb Tests in Australia, co-author of Beyond Belief The British Bomb Tests: Australia’s Veterans Speak Out)

Preamble:

The risks to the future health and security to all Australians, and South Australians in particular are many. A risk-benefit analysis is almost certainly impossible given a time-frame that extends for centuries (probably for the rest of human existence on the Planet). Benefits, in terms of financial gain to the State. and some employment must be secondary to the multitude of risks involved. These risks are worth restating so that the “golden egg” of a large financial windfall do not cloud the realities of such a decision.

Risks:

  1. Health Risks: The existence or otherwise of a threshold below which exposure to ionising graph-radiation-risk-atomicradiation is harmless has been a matter of continuous debate among nuclear scientists for decades. The statistical analysis of John Gofman (l,W, Gofman, 1981. Radiation and Human Health, Sierra Club, San Francisco, 1981, and 1990 RadiationInduced Cancer Fom Low-Dose Exposure: An Independent Analysis. Committee or Nuclear Responsibility Inc., San Francisco) shows there is no safe radioactive dose. Therefore, at any point in the chain of receiving, from overseas, transporting within S.A. and storage even small mishaps leading to only low-level contamination are not risk free. Naturally any large scale mishap would be catastrophic for the State.
  1. Historical Episode of radioactive contamination in South Australia: It is not feasible to claim that mishaps would not occur, that is, the risks are non-existent The radioactive contamination of Adelaide on the 12 October. 1956 due to an unfortunate change in the wind safety-symboldirection at the 11 October Maralinga Bomb Test is a case in point, This mishap caused the population of Adelaide and much of the rest of the State to be contaminated with ionising radiation from one of the Buffalo Bomh explosions (See Cross, R. 2001, Fallout: Hedley Marston and the British Bomb Tests in Australia, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, for information about this event).
  1. Transportation Risks: While these are impossible to quantify they are not policeman i assault riflenegligible.Transportation of medium or high level radioactive waste in particular would require a
    high degree of security and infrastructure. The former, in particular would challenge the well-being of South Australians through a system of near military style command and control intrusion into the lives of all South Australians. Such is the consequence of having to secure such a commodity.
  1. The Uranium back to source Argument: An argument has been mounted that because SA hypocrisy-scaleexports Uranium, and may one day become a world leading exporter of themineral, we should take back the highly radioactive waste from the user of our Uranium. This argument is entirely false, as in no other exported mineral has it been suggested that we have such an obligation. For example, do coal and iron ore producing States receive back the waste slag and ash. This can be applied to almost any raw material exported. Waste is an inevitable consequence of industrial processing and is the end-users responsibility.
  1. South Australia’s future World image: The risks are not confined to technical issues but areSouth Australia nuclear toilet also present in the image we wish to present to the rest of the world. This will become increasingly important in our push to attract more overseas visitors. Tourism is and can play and ever greater part in our economy as the State is currently seen as fl safe, clean and green place to visit. This advantage we have would naturally disappear in the minds of prospective visitors if we went ahead with the storage of medium and high level radioactive waste from around the World.

 

Taken from research by the pre-eminent researcher into the health effects of low-dose ionizing radiation, Emeritus Professor John W. Gofman. See for example:- Radiation Induced Cancer from Low-Dose Exposure. An Independent Analysis, 1990, and Synapse article

Disproof of any Safe Dose: The Threshold Question In Chapters 18 through 21 it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that no safe dose or dose rate exists. His analysis of the absence of a threshold below which no harm will be done from a dose of ionizing radiation is based on human evidence. The data analysed rules out the idea of a threshold with regard to radiation-induction human cancer.

The practical implications for these findings are obvious for the establishment of any storage facility of ionising radiation material, and especially the concern here, medium to high level material. There cannot be any doubt that any exposure to radiation as a result of the multiple handling steps that are required even to reach a storage facility would have human health consequences forthose exposed, and may have, even, heritable consequences.

It should be noted that possible exposures do not end with the material reaching the storage facility but continue at that facility virtually in perpetuity. Consider the following:-

“How would a safe level of radiation come about? It could come about in theory jf the biological repair radiation-causing-cancermechanisms – which exist and will repair DNA and chromosomes – work perfectly. Then a low dose of radiation might be totally repaired. The problem, though, is that repair mechanisms don’t work perfectly. There are lesions in DNA and chromosomes that are unrepairable. There are those where the repair mechanisms don’t get to the site and so they go unrepaired. . .. The evidence that the repair mechanism is not perfect is very solid today…. Ionizing radiation is not like a poison out of a bottle where you can dilute it and dilute it. The lowest dose of ionizing radiation is one nuclear track through the cell- you cannot halve it.”

1 Quotation from Gofman on Health Effects of nuclear Radiation, Synapse, Vol 38, No 16, 1994.  http://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/Committees/Pages/Committees.aspx?CTId=2&CId=333

August 21, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment