Australian news, and some related international items

Citizens’ Jury members not allowed to change the wording of their set question.

Jury (1)9 Oct 16 Tim Bickmore Some of the Jury Members requested that the form of the question be changed to adjust the term ‘circumstances’ into better context ie the question should be along the lines of …. whether or not to pursue the HLW dump, & if so, under what circumstances…..
They were informed that there would be no change to the question. This calls into question any claims that the Jury is in Charge of the process.

The set question is “Under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?”


October 9, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Monitoring South Australia’s Nuclear Citizens’ Jury

Citizens' Jury scrutinyI have not been watching today’s  Citizens’ Jury Two Livestreaming and Video.  However, these sessions are available for viewing. I saw at the agenda – See the agenda here – that the gathering was to be opened by Premier Jay Weatherill, and Kevin Scarce, former chief of the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.

Unlike may other critics of the nuclear industry, I have some faith in the process. I did think that DemocracyCo ran the first Citizens’ Jury meetings well, and the jury members asked intelligent questions.  The problems were:

  1. The whole premise was not really a jury situation in any sense. The jury were told that they were not to make a decision (the essential brief of any real jury). They were told to produce a ‘Summary of the Nuclear Fuel cycle Royal Commission’s Report.
  2. The witnesses were not always well informed, and some were both ignorant and biased. They were chosen at an early stage by the jury members, who clearly did not then have access to  impartial and well informed experts.
  3.  Members of the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission were far too prominently present and vocal. Greg War and Chad Jacobi made sure to dazzle all with their pro nuclear knowledge, whenever it looked as if criticism of the nuclear industry was coming up.

This new Citizens’ Jury has been given a loaded question to consider:

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

So – much as I admire DemocracyCo’s the group management efforts, and real attempts at fairness, I am not optimistic about the outcome of this Citizens’ Jury 2.  I think it will boil down to another delaying tactic by the Weatherill government, to keep the State guessing – while behind the scenes, the nuclear lobby gets on with its preparations for nuclear waste importing to south Australia.

October 8, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Virtual reality film “Collisions” tells one Aboriginal man’s story of Maralinga nuclear bombing

Aboriginal man’s story of Maralinga nuclear bomb survival told with virtual reality By Alex Mann  ABC News, 7 Oct 16 In an unlikely collision of cultures, state-of-the-art 3D film technology is bringing an Aboriginal man’s unique tale of nuclear bomb survival to audiences across Australia.

In the 1950s Nyarri Morgan was a young man, walking and hunting in South Australia’s northern deserts. His dramatic first contact with whites came when he witnessed a nuclear bomb explosion at the British testing site at Maralinga.

Now, as an old man, and with the help of director Lynette Wallworth and some technology, he is sharing his story in a film called Collisions that is screening in selected venues around Australia.

“It happened in a desert where people assumed there were very few people [and] there was not much life and not much to be lost,” Wallworth said.

“Every one of those assumptions was wrong.”

‘People still have that poison today’  As the radioactive dust fell, Mr Morgan walked an ancient trade route at the edge of the test site. He had no idea of what he was witnessing.

In making the film, Wallworth asked Mr Morgan what he thought he was seeing. “He said, ‘We thought it was the spirit of our gods rising up to speak with us’,” she said. “[He said] ‘then we saw the spirit had made all the kangaroos fall down on the ground as a gift to us of easy hunting so we took those kangaroos and we ate them and people were sick and then the spirit left’.”

Mr Morgan is sharing his story, in his words, so it won’t ever be forgotten. “After the explosion the fallout went north,” Mr Morgan said. “Powder, white powder killed a lot of kangaroos [and] spinifex [grass]. Water was on fire, that’s what we saw.”

Mr Morgan said water “died” but that he and the two men he was with drank the water, even though it was still hot. “The smoke went into our noses, and other people still have that poison today,” he said.

“We all poisoned, in the heart, in the blood and other people that were much closer they didn’t live very long, they died, a whole lot of them.”     ‘In virtual reality everything becomes personal’………..

October 8, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, culture, history, South Australia | Leave a comment

8 – 9 October – Nuclear Citizens Jury 2, Adelaide: LOOK OUT FOR THE WITNESS LIST

a-cat-CANI say “Look out for the witness list, because for citizens’ jury 1, the big weakness was in banana-spinthe witnesses – some of whom were clearly ignorant and biaseed. This was particularly apparent in the appalling way they covered (up) the question of ionising radiation and health.

October 8th and 9th Citizens’ Jury Two Livestreaming and Video

See the agenda here.  Note these two important sections  on Sunday 9th:

3.45pm  Working afternoon tea – witness selection

4.15pm Defining the witness list

Citizens’ Jury Two will be held over two weekends in October and one weekend in November. The original 50 members of Citizens’ Jury One will be supplemented by an additional 300 South Australians to answer the question: Under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?

The Jury will deliberate on the question using both the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report and first Citizens’ Jury report, with feedback from the community consultation and expert witnesses also used as important inputs.

The unedited and unchanged jury report will be presented to the Premier and tabled in the South Australian Parliament. The report will play a vital role in informing the State Government’s response to the Royal Commission’s Report later this year.

Dates for Citizens’ Jury Two are 8/9 October, 29/30 October, 5/6 November 2016.

October 7, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Inconvenient truths the nuclear “citizens’ jury” needs to hear

citizen jury

7 Oct 16 As the South Australian Government’s second nuclear “citizens’ jury” gets underway this weekend, it’s essential that participants aren’t denied important facts about global nuclear waste, says Mark Parnell MLC, Parliamentary Leader of the SA Greens.

Here are eight inconvenient truths that the citizens’ jury needs to hear:

1.       The much-heralded Finnish underground nuclear waste facility (visited by the Premier recently) does NOT yet have a licence to accept nuclear waste, will not open for at least six years and has been three decades in planning.  It is also 20 times SMALLER than the facility proposed for SA by the Royal Commission.

2.       The nuclear industry is without peer in terms of cost blow-outs and time over-runs.  This is likely to eliminate any anticipated profit for South Australia – which is the sole rationale for the proposed SA dump.

3.       According to the Royal Commission’s own consultants, it could cost South Australia more than $600 million before we even know whether the project is viable.

4.       The main client countries anticipated to send nuclear waste to South Australia, including South Korea and Japan, are already exploring domestic solutions to their nuclear waste problem and are not considering overseas solutions.

5.       The world’s only operating underground nuclear waste facility, in New Mexico, USA, closed in 2015 following a chemical explosion brought about by human error.  It is still contaminated and yet to re-open.

6.       The most advanced nuclear nation on Earth, the USA, is yet to come up with a permanent solution for waste from its nuclear power plants.  The proposed underground nuclear dump in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, has been stalled by community opposition and may never go ahead.

7.       Whilst it may be the best idea so far, nobody knows if deep geological disposal of nuclear waste will work in the long term, because it has never been done before.

8.       South Australia is not unique in its geology and has regular earthquakes of magnitude 4 and above.

Without all the facts, the citizens’ jury can’t possibly make an informed decision.

NOTE: Mark Parnell MLC is a member of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee that is investigating the Royal Commission’s findings. Mark and other Committee members recently returned from inspecting nuclear waste facilities under construction in Finland and France, as well as failed facilities in the United States.

October 7, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Look to our sun, urges Hewson

Australia-solar-plugDR John Hewson is leading the charge for more renewable energy – and wants a system redesign. 

Dr Hewson backs battery storage in calls to redesign state’s electricity system after blackout storms Tory Shepherd, Political Editor, The Advertiser, October 6, 2016  AUSTRALIA needs more renewables, not less, former Liberal leader John Hewson says.

October 7, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Official report available on South Australia’s blackout last week

text-Please-NoteDerek Abbott uploaded a file. No High Level International Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia, 5 Oct 16 

Here’s the official report on what really happened during SA’s blackout last week and it had nothing to do with renewables. Basically grid infrastructure damage was done by the storm and safety switches tripped.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

“Moral” argument for nuclear waste import is rejected, economic one is dodgy, too

at a dinner hosted by the Eurajoki municipal council at its restored 16th-century Vuojoki Mansion, the South Australian delegation was told to put aside any so-called moral obligations.

Mr Jalonen joined others who have urged caution and questioned whether the economic benefits are overblown.

Unlike the potential riches being speculated about in South Australia — more than $100 billion over 120 years — Mr Jalonen said there was only a “little bit” of money on offer for his region.

hypocrisy-scale Premier Weatherill’s nuclear ‘moral’ case rejected  The Australian Weatherill,-Jay-wastes,October 3, 2016  SA Bureau Chief Adelaide  @mjowen

The head of a governing body in Finland where the world’s first permanent disposal facility for nuclear waste is being built has rejected Premier Jay Weatherill’s “moral” case that South Australia should consider following suit because of its uranium exports.

Mr Weatherill, who last month toured the site at Eurajoki, due to open in the early 2020s, has said South Australia is primarily considering permanent nuclear fuel disposal because of its potential long-term economic prosperity.

But during the visit, accompanied by The Australian, he also said that given South Australia accounted for 25 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves mined and exported for use in nuclear facilities internationally and creating waste, it was “sensible for us to ask ourselves ‘can we play a role in this nuclear fuel cycle?’ and ‘are we the appropriate place to store the material?’ given that this waste does exist in the world.

“Simply, does South Australia consider itself a global citizen?”, he said. Some of the 400 or so nuclear power plants around the world, including those in Finland, use Australian uranium. Continue reading

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

Another inaccuracy from pro nuclear propagandist Geraldine Thomas

Thomas, GeraldineSteve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 1 Oct 16 In Geraldine Thomas’s recent talk she showed dosimeter data from students in Japan, but she didn’t make it clear that the students were kept out of the “Restricted zone” (funny about that). But if you read the paper, it mentions that a teacher went into the zone for 2 hours (to Okuma) and had readings of 5 microSieverts per hour. Thought I would show how the graph would look with this data included. (Note: Okuma is not the “hottest” area, some areas in the restricted zone are over 20 microSieverts per hour) [relevant graph can be seen on original on Facebook] Facebook  Continue reading

October 3, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

South Australia: Electranet’s privately owned and run electricity transmission system is in a mess.

Dennis Matthews , 3rd October 2016

electricity-interconnectorElectranet now wants the public to pay for new infrastructure. Electranet’s proposed investment will be rewarded with a handsome guaranteed return on the amount invested, which will be funded by all South Australian electricity users in the form of increased tariffs.

Why do we need such a high capacity transmission network? It is to service big electricity users to the north of Port Wakefield, like BHP. Getting everyone to pay for the new infrastructure is a huge publicly funded cross-subsidy to the mining industry. It is a publicly-funded disincentive for more efficient and reliable distributed generation. It is anti-competitive.

The windfall profits reaped by Electranet will then go offshore.

This is a win for Electranet and the big energy guzzling mining companies but, as usual, a huge kick in the guts for small businesses and the average South Australian.


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

Brett Stokes calls out South Australian govt on its illegal promotion of nuclear waste importation

Brett Burnard Stokes shared Your Say Nuclear‘s photo

We have laws, good laws, that are being subverted.

These laws are the embodiment of the will of the people.

I have asked many times why this propaganda exercise is omitting the facts about South Australian law and the prohibition of nuclear waste importation into South Australia.

I have pointed out the deception involved in pretending to be objective while omitting the facts about current law and the penalties per offence of ten years jail and huge fines.

I ask again for an end to this waste of time and money.

I call again for investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.

(copy of my comment at Your Say Nuclear facebook page run by Dept Premier and Cabinet)

October 1, 2016 Posted by | legal, South Australia | Leave a comment

politicians blame renewable energy for blackout – though none can say HOW!

wind-farm-evil-1Politicians blame wind power for taking out electrical grid in South Australia, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN , 30 Sep 16 In the wake of an unprecedented blackout that cut off an entire Australian state from electricity on Wednesday into Thursday, some politicians are vilifying renewable power sources, particularly wind turbines.

 Had the state of South Australia, which includes Adelaide, a city of 1.2 million, not put so much emphasis on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by adding renewable energy facilities, these leaders say, the blackout during a rare, extreme storm would not have occurred.

Considering the rapid rise in renewables around the world, including the U.S., the political fight that has broken out in Australia is not an issue limited to one nation. In fact, it could foreshadow future fights if blackouts occur in the U.S. or Europe, two areas where renewable energy use has increased recently……..

However, ElectraNet, which owns transmission lines in South Australia, said the severe storm — which included powerful winds and tens of thousands of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, damaged three out of the four transmission lines that connect Adelaide with northern parts of South Australia.

In addition, ElectraNet said on its website that 23 transmission towers across the state were damaged, triggering the blackout.

None of the politicians have proposed an explaination for how wind turbines could’ve caused such a widespread outage, a first in Australia’s history, whereas ElectraNet has done so.…….

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters that the state’s aggressive push into renewables may have contributed to the unprecedented statewide blackout.

 However, the wind energy industry is pushing back at such criticism, saying the politicians are simply wrong. “Wind was going strong when the network went off and was among the first back on when the network recovered,” said Andrew Bray of the Australian Wind Alliance, according to The Australian. The wind power industry says turbines did not cause the blackout.
 “The failure of the network was a weather event, pure and simple. Extreme weather knocked out 23 transmission pylons. Storms of this magnitude will knock out the power network no matter what the source of power is,” Bray told the newspaper.

A federal inquiry is likely to be launched into the cause of the more than 24-hour blackout, which may settle some of the debate going on now. Officials in states with a high reliance on wind power, such as Texas, will be closely watching the developments Down Under.

October 1, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s nuclear dump plan – fool’s gold? – senior Liberal MP

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankruptSA nuclear dump dreams just fool’s gold: senior Lib, The Australian, September 29, 2016, byMichael Owen

A senior Liberal has broken ranks in what had been a bipart­isan approach to inquire into the potential for South Australia to host a repository for the world’s high-level nuclear waste, warning that taxpayers risked wasting money “on fool’s gold”.

Rob Lucas, a former state treasurer and the opposition’s Treasury spokesman, told ­parliament that intense political pressures would make it near ­impossible for there to be the ­required bipartisan support at both federal and state level for the necessary legislative changes to allow such a facility.

Mr Lucas, a member of parliament’s joint committee on the findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, also cast doubt on the potential eco­nomic benefits, warning it was not possible to verify “some of the financial ­estimates in terms of what the state might earn from this facility”.

The Scarce royal commission’s final report, delivered in May, found that building a nuc­lear waste dump in South Australia could bring in an extra $100 billion over 120 years.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill — who faces resistance from federal Labor and his own Left faction — has said cabin­et would make a decis­ion in November as to whether to progress the propo­s­al, after ­extensive commun­ity con­­sult­ation. Latest opinion polls show South Australians almost equally divided on the issue.

Last night, Mr Weatherill, who returned this week from touring the world’s first permanent nuclear waste storage facility in Finland, told The Aust­ralian he understood the com­plex­ities. “I do agree that this issue poses challenges, not the least for my party, but I feel duty bound to act in South Australia’s and the national interest in progressing this debate,” he said.

Mr Lucas said it would be a “courageous Liberal candidate or member in a federal campaign who would be out there campaigning hard to support Premier Weatherill on a nuclear waste dump or facility’’ in his state.

“At an upcoming federal elect­ion … (there will be) federal Labor candidates campaigning in South Australia against a ­nuclear waste facility in South Australia and potentially candid­ates from the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team campaigning against a nuclear waste dump or facility (there). If there is not going to be the support of the federal Labor Party, then we, the taxpayers of South Australia, will be spending tens and maybe hundreds of ­millions of dollars on fool’s gold — fool’s uranium, fool’s nuclear waste dumps.”

September 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

South Australia’s electricity blackout was caused by extreme weather, not by renewables – energy experts

Map-South-Australia-windSA weather: No link between blackout and renewable energy, experts say, ABC News, 29 Sep 16 By political reporter Matthew Doran  Linking the statewide blackout in South Australia with the state’s heavy reliance on renewable energy is unfounded, energy industry experts say.

Key points:

  • South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in Australia
  • The ‘one in a 50 year’ weather event ‘couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen’
  • SA to be an example for other states and territories when planning for significant weather events

severe storm caused the entire state to go dark yesterday afternoon, following serious damage to more than 20 transmission lines.

That infrastructure failure put extra strain on the interconnector system that links the South Australian electricity grid with the east coast — and tripped safeguards which shut down the power supply to the state………

Mr Frydenberg highlighted the underlying cause of the blackout was the weather.

South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in the country, with a fraction over 40 per cent of the state’s power supply generated from sources such as wind and solar farms.

Earlier this week, the Grattan Institute released a report detailing the pressure high uptake in renewables had put on the state’s wholesale power prices, and how it was being viewed as a test case for the rest of the nation.  But the report’s author, Tony Wood, said the blackout was as a result of a particularly violent storm and it was usual for a system to shut down to protect itself from further damage.  “My understanding, at least at the moment, is there’s no evidence to suggest these two issues are related,” Mr Wood said.

“There’s no evidence to suggest this was caused by too much wind power, or the dependence on wind power, or anything else, or would’ve been any different if any of the power stations that had been shut down earlier this year had still been operating.

“If you’ve got a wind farm or a coal-fired power station at the end of a transmission line, and that system either is taken out by a storm or is forced to shut down to protect itself from a storm, it doesn’t matter what the energy source is.”

There are two interconnector power lines between South Australia and the eastern states, but Mr Wood said there was no indication having more links would have prevented the issue.

“When this event has occurred, it’s created a fault in the system which has caused the generation to trip offline,” the Clean Energy Council’s Tom Butler said.

“It’s separate to the interconnector entirely.

“This is a one-in-a-50 year, almost-unprecedented event for the state that couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen.”

Mr Butler said the Snowtown wind farm, north of Adelaide, was actually helping to prop up the state’s power supply ahead of gas power stations as the network was gradually brought back online.

Labor’s assistant spokesman for climate change, Pat Conroy, told AM it was premature to link the blackout to renewables.

“The South Australian Government has made the point that even if the coal-fired power station that was recently closed down was still operating, it would not have been able to supply power to the state,” he said.This was a failure of the transmission network, and it didn’t matter what sort of fuel was feeding into the grid, power was not able to flow……..

September 30, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, energy, South Australia, wind | 1 Comment

Should Australia invest in importing nuclear waste, with nuclear industry in decline?

poster renewables not nuclearIn summary, the branding of nuclear as ‘green’ is fallacious

To invest in an industry that is in global decline, does not appear to be as rational as investing in a growth area such as renewable energy. Renewable energy is a business space where Australia has a multitude of trained engineers, existing infrastructure, and an abundance of sunshine. Building intentional renewable overcapacity in Australia will potentially be a wise investment, as that surplus can then be used to generate hydrogen or other fuels that can be liquefied and traded on overseas markets.

Nuclear power – Game overDerek Abbott, October 2016, “……..Renewables vs. nuclear While nuclear power plants experience economic decline, renewables are rapidly growing and penetrating the market on an exponential curve. The global annual increase in renewable generation for 2015 alone was 50 GW for solar panels, 63 GW for wind power, and 28 GW for hydropower.26

Nuclear power is large and centralised, with enormous entry and exit costs. By contrast, renewables are made up of small modular units that yield a faster return on investment. The revolution we are witnessing is akin to the extinction of big powerful dinosaurs versus resilient swarms of small ants working in cooperation.

Nuclear power is sinking under the weight of its complexity, costs, and the headache of its waste issue. On the other hand solar power is brought to us via free sunshine exposing the promises of nuclear as mere moonshine………

What really matters is rate of carbon footprint reduction Continue reading

September 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment