Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s responsibility to face up to its radioactive wastes produced at Lucas Heights

text-from-the-archivesStoring the reprocessed nuclear fuel that is to come back from France at Lucas Heights seems the best of a poor set of alternatives.

We are stuck with highly radioactive material for which we are responsible. Like all countries with nuclear reactors, we should not have produced it in the first place until safe storage technology existed.

Radioactive game of passing the parcel http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/politics/radioactive-game-of-passing-the-parcel-20120523-1z582.html#ixzz1vp20gX9X Richard Broinowski May 24, 2012 Reports indicate France is soon to return reprocessed nuclear waste generated at Lucas Heights to Australia. The federal nuclear agency says the waste is ”intermediate level”, small in volume, and to be stored temporarily at Lucas Heights.

These assurances are misleading in all three respects: the volume of the waste, its toxicity, and its future disposal.
Australia’s first research reactor, the high flux Australian reactor, went critical in January 1958. It was fuelled by highly enriched bomb-grade American uranium. Although small compared with power
reactors, it discharged 37 spent fuel rods a year, each containing the same weapons-grade uranium, plutonium and fission products as its big brothers.

By 2002, it had produced 1665 such rods. Some were sent to Britain and the US for reprocessing. But by 2003, four metric tonnes remained in temporary storage at Lucas Heights

When political pressure forced Britain to cease reprocessing in Scotland, Australia’s nuclear agency arranged with the French company COGEMA to reprocess the rods. Australia is legally bound to take the
lot back – plus, one assumes, the separated plutonium and uranium-235. The problem is there is no agreed permanent place in Australia to put it.

In 2007 the old reactor was decommissioned and replaced by one designed by the Argentine company INVAP. Before construction began, the government stipulated a high-level waste site was to be identified
and a feasibility study completed. No site was found and the stipulation was modified to a strategy for disposal.

The situation becomes more complicated. Argentina initially agreed to take back the spent fuel rods from the reactor for reprocessing, returning the waste to Australia and keeping the weapons-grade uranium-235 and plutonium-239 under full-scope international safeguards. But its officials asserted such reprocessing was in violation of Argentina’s constitution. Australian officials appear not to be worried because they say the reactor has a storage pool with capacity for nine years’ worth of spent fuel rods. A solution, they imply, will turn up.

But like the rapidly filling storage ponds at all civil reactors around the world, this is a short-term solution. The problem of ultimate disposal of irradiated fuel continues unresolved. Australia does not even have a designated repository for low-level nuclear waste such as contaminated clothing and discarded radio pharmaceutical equipment from hospitals.

In 2002, three possible low-level sites were identified in South Australia. But the sites were judged too risky because an errant missile could land on the dump, scattering radioactive debris in all
directions. The state’s then premier, Mike Rann, strenuously opposed it. South Australia, he declared, would not become Australia’s ”nuclear waste state”.

Nor, according to their premiers, would any other Australian state. Australians seem complacent about exporting uranium but become unsettled about storing its end products here, even waste generated by
our reactors.

By February 2010, the only site still under consideration as a nuclear waste dump was Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory, where the federal government can overrule the Legislative Assembly in Darwin.

But deciding on Muckaty was controversial. First, although a small group of traditional owners of the land supported the decision, a greater number opposed it. They launched a case in the Federal Court opposing it.

Second, the site is meant to take low- and intermediate-level waste. But intermediate waste is a narrow definition based on calorific output. If heat is dissipated, runs the argument, high-level waste
becomes intermediate. But whatever its temperature, the waste still contains all the fission byproducts and actinides of high-level waste.

Storing the reprocessed nuclear fuel that is to come back from France at Lucas Heights seems the best of a poor set of alternatives. There are at least suitable storage facilities and chemists and physicists
who know how to handle the material.

But what Australia needs urgently is a solution. We are stuck with highly radioactive material for which we are responsible. Like all countries with nuclear reactors, we should not have produced it in the first place until safe storage technology existed.

December 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference, wastes | Leave a comment

25 prominent South Australians sign up to Ben Heard’s Bright New Nuclear Bullshit

12 Dec 16 Australian nuclear lobbyists have had remarkable success in making themselves famous internationally, which is probably their main aim. . Barry Brook set this off, with a thin veil of environmentalism covering his dedication to the nuclear industry, in Brave New Climate. He got a heap of well-meaning environmentalists to sign up to a pro nuclear letter.

logo-bright-new-worldNow Ben Heard has gone a step further, with HIS nuclear front group – Bright New World. He’s got 25 important people to sign up to a pro nuclear campaign for South Australia.  As with Brook’s disciples, some of these people seem quite altruistic and disconnected with the nuclear and mining industries.

Others do not:

Dr Ian Gould:   chairing South Australia Energy and Resources Investment Conference 23-24 May 2017  Adelaide, geologist with  40 years experience in the minerals industry in diverse and senior positions, mainly within the CRA/Rio Tinto Group, current Chancellor of the University of South Australia and was awarded an AM in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to mining.

David Klingberg is a South Australian businessman, civil engineer and former Chancellor of the University of South Australia. director of ASX listed companies E & A Ltd and Centrex Metals Ltd. Klingberg is chair of a technical sub-group working on the Australian Government‘s National Radioactive Waste Management Project. 

Dr Leanna Read is South Australia’s  Chief Scientist, Expert Advisory Committee of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission in South Australia.] Read is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering,[which advocated for nuclear power in Australia in August 2014.. Read is also the Chair of the South Australian Science Council.

Stephen Young  director or Chairman on a number of companies including ,Electricity Trust of South Australia, Australian Submarine Corporation ,The University of Adelaide ,E&A ltd and its Subsidiaries.

Mr Jim McDowell Chancellor of the University of South Australia   Jim McDowell is currently Chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and non-Executive director of a number of private and listed companies. He advises the Federal Government in a number of areas of Defence and Defence Procurement. He is a member of the First Principles Review of the Department of Defence and is currently on the Expert Advisory Panel for the Future Submarine. Formerly CEO OF BAE Systems Australia, the nation’s largest defence contractor.

Michael John Terlet  Primary qualification in Electrical EngineeringNon Executive Chairman of Sandvik Mining and Construction Adelaide Ltd, a Director of Australian Submarine Corporation Pty. Ltd. Served as the Chief Executive Officer at AWA Defence Industries, Chairman of SA Centre for Manufacturing, Defence Manufacturing Council SA (MTIA)

Graham Douglas Walters AM, FCA Mr. Graham Douglas Walters, AM, FCA, serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Minelab Electronics Pty Ltd. Mr. Walters serves as Chairman and Director at Minelab International Pty Ltd.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews, politics, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

David Noonan dissects the draft ARPANSA Information for Stakeholders on nuclear radioactive waste facility


Effectively this is the same draconian situation that existed under the earlier Commonwealth Noonan, David
Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005 introduced by the Howard government to override State and Territory interests to protect community health, safety and welfare from the risks and impacts of nuclear wastes and to nullify Federal laws that protect against imposition of nuclear wastes.

highly-recommendedPublic submission to the draft ARPANSA Information for Stakeholders & associated Regulatory Guide to Licensing a Radioactive Waste Storage or Disposal Facility

Summary

Revised ARPANSA “Information for Stakeholders” should address the following:

The nuclear fuel waste Store in the Flinders Ranges is intended to operate for approx. 100 years.

The ARPANSA “Information for Stakeholders” fails to be transparent and is not fit for purpose.

ARPANSA must inform the public on the proposed licence period for this nuclear fuel waste Store.

ARPANSA should also publicly acknowledge the Contingency that the proposed nuclear fuel waste Store may be at a different site to the proposed near surface Repository in the Flinders Ranges.

The proposed above ground Store in our iconic Flinders Ranges is unnecessary as the ANSTO’s existing Interim Waste Store (IWS) at the Lucas Heights Technology Centre can manage reprocessed nuclear fuel waste on contract from France and from the United Kingdom over the long term.

The ANSTO application for the Interim Waste Store was conservatively predicated on a 40 year operating life for the IWS, and ANSTO has a contingency to “extend it for a defined period of time”.

ANSTO also has a contingency option for the “Retention of the returned residues at ANSTO until the availability of a final disposal option” – which does not involve a Store in the Flinders Ranges.

The Lucas Heights Technology Centre is by far the best placed Institution and facility to responsibly manage Australia’s existing nuclear fuel waste and proposed waste accruals from the Opal reactor.

The Interim Waste Store (IWS) at the Lucas Heights Technology Centre can conservatively function throughout the proposed operating period of the Opal reactor without a requirement for an alternative above ground nuclear fuel waste Store at a NRWMF in the Flinders Ranges or elsewhere.

It is an inexplicably omission or an unacceptably act of denial for ARPANSA to fail to even identity or to properly explain Australia’s existing nuclear fuel wastes and proposed further decades of Opal reactor nuclear fuel waste production in the “Information for Stakeholders”.

Australia’s nuclear fuel wastes are by far the highest activity and most concentrated and hazardous nuclear wastes under Australian management, and must be distinguished from other waste forms. Continue reading

December 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, New South Wales, reference, South Australia | Leave a comment

Media secrecy allowed Australian territory to become highly radioactively contaminated

text-from-the-archivesDig for secrets: the lesson of Maralinga’s Vixen B The secret-agent-AustConversation, Liz Tynan, 26 July 13  “……lack of knowledge about the British nuclear tests in Australia is not surprising. The tests were not part of the national conversation for many years. Even when older people remember that nuclear tests were held here, no-one knows the story of the most secret tests of all, the ones that left the most contamination: Vixen B.

Maralinga is a particularly striking example of what can happen when media are unable to report government activities comprehensively. The media have a responsibility to deal with complex scientific and technological issues that governments may be trying to hide. While Maralinga was an example of extreme secrecy, the same kind of secrecy could at any time be enacted again. With the Edward Snowden case, we have seen what can happen when journalists become complicit in government secrecy, and we have learned the press must be more rigorous in challenging cover-ups.

At Maralinga, part of our territory became the most highly contaminated land in the world. But the Australian public had no way of granting informed consent because no-one knew it was happening. Remediating the environmental contamination was delayed for decades for the same reason. While arguments might be mounted for the need for total secrecy at the time (although these arguments are debatable in the case of Vixen B), there was no reason to keep the aftermath totally secret as well. Continue reading

December 9, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, media, reference, South Australia | 1 Comment

To promote mining (especially uranium) Australian government trashed the reputation of Aboriginal people

Government had made it clear that it wished to re-engage itself more directly in the control of community land through leasing options as well as to open up Aboriginal land for development and mining purposes.

The plan was to empty the homelands, and this has not changed. However, it was recognised that achieving this would be politically fraught – it would need to be accomplished in a manner that would not off-side mainstream Australia. Removing Aboriginal people from their land and taking control over their communities would need to be presented in a way that Australians would believe it to be to Aboriginal advantage, whatever the tactics.

So began the campaign to discredit the people and to publicly stigmatise Aboriginal men of the Northern Territory

And even in 2009 when the CEO of the Australian Crime Commission, John Lawler, reported that his investigation had shown there were no organised paedophile rings operating in the NT, no formal apology was ever made to the Aboriginal men and their families who were brutally shamed by the false claims.

text-from-the-archivesSixth Anniversary of the Northern Territory Intervention – Striking the Wrong Note Lateral Love Australia‘concerned Australians’ Michele Harris, 21 June 13 Aboriginal advocate Olga Havnen, in her Lowitja O’Donoghue oration has asked a critical question. She asks what has been the psychological impact of the Intervention on Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory. It is surprising that so little attention has been given to this critical, yet in some ways tenuous, link before now.

Even before the Intervention began in June 2007, government had long planned a new approach to the ‘management’ of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. It was no longer part of government thinking that self-determination and Aboriginal control over land could be allowed to continue. These were the Whitlam notions of 1975 and they were no longer acceptable.

Early inklings of change occurred in 2004 with the management of grants being transferred from communities to Government’s newly established Indigenous Co-ordination Centres. More ominous were the Amendments of 2006 to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the memoranda of agreements that followed. Government had made it clear that it wished to re-engage itself more directly in the control of community land through leasing options as well as to open up Aboriginal land for development and mining purposes.

The plan was to empty the homelands, and this has not changed. However, it was recognised that achieving this would be politically fraught – it would need to be accomplished in a manner that would not off-side mainstream Australia. Removing Aboriginal people from their land and taking control over their communities would need to be presented in a way that Australians would believe it to be to Aboriginal advantage, whatever the tactics.

So began the campaign to discredit the people and to publicly stigmatise Aboriginal men of the Northern Territory. Continue reading

December 5, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, reference | Leave a comment

Legal obstacles – State,National, and International, to Australia importing nuclear wastes

legal actionNuclear waste debate re-emerges in Australia. Moulis Legal 17.11.16

“…….A long history of talk but with little “legal” support

South Australia’s proposal to encourage the world to export its high-level nuclear waste to Australia is in stark contrast to the previous positions of both the Federal and South Australian Governments. Moreover, significant reform to State laws and to existing Federal practice would be required to facilitate the proposal, none of which has been formulated.

In 1998, the responsible Federal Minister condemned a recommendation by nuclear waste management consortium Pangea Resources for a repository for international high-level nuclear waste in the Western Australian outback. He reiterated Australia’s long-standing bipartisan opposition to such a development:

…no high level radioactive waste facility is planned for Australia and the government has absolutely no intention of accepting the radioactive waste of other countries. The policy is clear and absolute and will not be changed. We will not be accepting radioactive waste from other countries.1

Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Helen Caldicott, Australian hero of nuclear-free New Zealand

Helen did not hold back, explaining that nuclear war means “blindness, burning, starvation, disease, lacerations, haemorrhaging, millions of corpses and an epidemic of disease”. Helen’s dramatic and blunt style reduced many in her audiences to tears. She always ended her talks with a call to action – especially to parents – as she strongly believes that nuclear disarmament is “the ultimate medical and parenting issue of our time.”

To those who would claim New Zealand was not a target she had a short reply: “Trident submarines in ports are targeted. They are a first strike target. It is much easier to destroy subs when they are in dock than it is when they are submerged in the ocean.”

The new Labour Government of 1984 passed the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act in 1987, the world’s first national nuclear-free legislation. Dr Helen Caldicott’s influence had culminated in the passage of the cornerstone of New Zealand’s foreign policy.

Caldicott,-Helen-4Marilyn Waring on the Australian hero of nuclear-free New Zealand http://thespinoff.co.nz/society/14-11-2016/the-australian-hero-of-nuclear-free-new-zealand/  November 14, 2016 The former National MP whose decision to support anti-nuclear legislation led to the 1984 snap election writes on the transformative influence of the passionate Australian physician Helen Caldicott, who speaks in Auckland this week Continue reading

November 13, 2016 Posted by | General News, reference | Leave a comment

How Australian mining companies and governments grab Aboriginal land

text-from-the-archivesThe aggressive neo-liberal land grab is dividing Aboriginal communities and even brothers. As one Traditional Owner in the
Northern Territory told me recently, “these mining deals can give one or two families a big pay but generally they don’t improve the
community. Money goes on a few new cars and more grog comes in. We never see things get better but someone is getting very rich on our land.”

In the Kimberley and Pilbara in Western Australia, across the Northern Territory, on Cape York and in parts of NSW and South Australia, it is disturbing to see the divide and conquer tactics of mining companies and governments………..

Privatisation of land is the neo-liberal spearhead hurled deep into the heart of the traditional Aboriginal way of life……..
The Intervention’s extraordinary damage to the Aboriginal sense of control and wellbeing makes it the gravest policy disaster in
Australia since the removal of Aboriginal children in the Stolen  Generations.

highly-recommendedhandsoffTHE WAY AHEAD: The new land grab Tracker, BY JEFF MCMULLEN, JUNE 21, 2013 NATIONAL: Neo-liberalism is a
hungry beast and this 21st Century strain of capitalism is shaping the agenda for control of Aboriginal lands, writes JEFF MCMULLEN.

You only have to listen to Professor Marcia Langton’s Boyer Lectures on ABC Radio or read Noel Pearson’s sermons on acquisition to see how this virulent form of free-market fundamentalism has gathered influential adherents, including policy makers in both political
parties.

Australian Government policy is heavily influenced by neo-liberalism through its extraordinary emphasis on managing access for mining
companies to resources on Aboriginal lands. This involves controlling what is still perceived as ‘the Aboriginal problem’ and forcing a
social transition from traditional values and Cultural practice to ‘mainstream’ modernism of a particular brand. It also involves
displacing many Aboriginal people from their traditional lands and concentrating them in ‘growth towns’. Continue reading

November 5, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, uranium | Leave a comment

Menzies, Australia’s Maralinga shame, Aboriginal impacts – and can it happen again?

One wonders if the interests of a ‘handful of natives’ might on some future occasion again be deemed subordinate to those of the dominant culture.

Each of these explosions generated considerable radioactivity, by means of the initial nuclear reaction and the through dispersion of radioactive particulate colloquially known as ‘fallout’. In addition to British scientific and military personnel, thousands of Australians were exposed to radiation produced by the tests. These included not only those involved in supporting the British testing program, but also Aboriginal people living downwind of the test sites, and other Australians more distant who came into contact with airborne radioactivity.

While less spectacular than the major detonations, the minor trials were more numerous. They also contributed to the lasting contamination of the Maralinga area. As a result of the nearly 600 minor trials, some 830 tons of debris contaminated by about 20 kg of plutonium were deposited in pits which graced the South Australian landscape. An additional 2 kg of plutonium was dispersed over the area. Such an outcome was unfortunate indeed, as plutonium is one of the most toxic substances known; it dissipates more slowly than most radioactive elements. The half-life of plutonium is 24,000 years. At this rate of decay, the Maralinga lands would be contaminated for the next half-million years.

Perhaps most significant was the secrecy surrounding the testing program. The decision to make the Monte Bello Islands available to the British for their first nuclear test appears to have been made by the Prime Minister alone, without reference to Cabinet, much less Parliament or the Australian public.

text-historyChapter 16: A toxic legacy : British nuclear weapons testing in Australia  Published in:  Wayward governance : illegality and its control in the public sector / P N Grabosky Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 1989 ISBN 0 642 14605 5(Australian studies in law, crime and justice series); pp. 235-253 “……..In 1950, Labor Prime Minister Clement Atlee sent a top secret personal message to Australian Prime Minister Menzies asking if the Australian government might agree to the testing of a British nuclear weapon at the Monte Bello Islands off Western Australia. Menzies agreed in principle, immediately; there is no record of his having consulted any of his Cabinet colleagues on the matter. A preliminary assessment of the suitability of the proposed test site was conducted in October-November 1950.

Montebello atomic test 1952The Monte Bello site was deemed suitable by British authorities, and in a message to Menzies dated 26 March 1951 Atlee sought formal agreement to conduct the test. Atlee’s letter did not discuss the nature of the proposed test in minute detail. He did, however, see fit to mention the risk of radiation hazards:

6. There is one further aspect which I should mention. The effect of exploding an atomic weapon in the Monte Bello Islands will be to contaminate with radio activity the north-east group and this contamination may spread to others of the islands. The area is not likely to be entirely free from contamination for about three years and we would hope for continuing Australian help in investigating the decay of contamination. During this time the area will be unsafe for human occupation or even for visits by e.g. pearl fishermen who, we understand, at present go there from time to time and suitable measures will need to be taken to keep them away. We should not like the Australian Government to take a decision on the matter without having this aspect of it in their minds (quoted in Australia 1985, p. 13).

Menzies was only too pleased to assist the ‘motherland’, but deferred a response until after the 195 1 federal elections. With the return of his government, preparations for the test, code-named ‘Hurricane’, proceeded. Yet it was not until 19 February 1952 that the Australian public was informed that atomic weapons were to be tested on Australian soil.

Continue reading

October 24, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia desperately needs to discuss our poisoned military role – Pine Gap and other targets

map-Australia-targets-when China looks at Australia, it will see Australia as an American base

“I think fundamentally we have to ask is that really the way we want to go. The signal we’re sending to Americans is that if they go to war with China, sure, we’ll be part of that.”

“It is embedding us in global military operations for which there is little strategic benefit for Australia.”

We are told mass surveillance makes us safer and in our fear we accept growing militarisation….. these facilities most likely don’t protect us, but put us at greater risk….These are the questions we don’t discuss.

US military bases in Australia: Protecting us or putting us at risk? http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/us-military-bases-in-australia-protecting-us-or-putting-us-at-risk/news-story/274681984ca0959242829f9da8fa338e    Emma Reynolds news.com.au @emmareyn OCTOBER 2, 2016 THE US is strengthening a network of secretive military bases across Australia that could be used for waging wars against our interests, it was claimed at a weekend summit.

We are providing the US with extra capacity to make that happen, says Prof Tanter.

PINE GAP — ‘THE POISONED HEART OF AUSTRALIA’

Pine Gap was established in Alice Springs in 1966 when the CIA came up with the idea of putting satellites 36,000 kilometres above the earth’s surface. These had giant antennae that could listen to very weak signals from Soviet missiles testing, allowing the agency to work out the capability of enemy weapons.

The spy base was placed in isolated Alice in the NT because at the time, the massive amount of data had to be collected over 130km of land.

Prof Tanter says Pine Gap rivals Uluru as the symbolic centre of Australia, with its strange, mysterious power.

“It’s the poisoned heart of Australia and it is increasingly having an effect on our defence policies and the way in which we conduct our foreign policy,” he says.

pine-gap-1

The establishment of Pine Gap heralded the start of the American early warning system, which involved powerful infra-red telescopes staring at the earth looking for the heat bloom of nuclear weapons. And it continues to grow in strength long after the Cold War, with the number of antennae growing from two or three in 1970 to 33 today.

It has also grown in capability — picking up satellite and mobile phone transmissions that are important for conducting war in Iraq and Afghanistan and monitoring people allegedly carrying out terrorist activities. It spots jet aircraft in the sky and explosions on the ground.

If a North Korean missile takes off, its trajectory can be rapidly beamed to the US, triggering a possible drone assassination. Prof Tanter says such behaviour makes Australia a target.

“Do we really want to be implicated in that?”

DARWIN — TROOPS ON THE GROUND   Continue reading

October 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Sundrop Farms – desert solar powered agriculture

sundrop-farms
Desert farm grows 180,000 tomato plants using only sun and seawater http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/desert-farm-grows-180000-tomato-plants-using-only-sun-and-seawater

Farms that grow food in arid deserts, without groundwater or fossil fuels, could be the future of agriculture. BRYAN NELSON October 10, 2016, No soil, no pesticides, no fossil fuels, and no groundwater. And yet, a thriving farm in the heart of the arid Australian desert. How is this possible?

An international team of scientists has spent the last six years fine-tuning a system that pipes seawater in from the ocean and desalinates it using a state-of-the-art concentrated solar energy plant. The water is then used to irrigate 180,000 tomato plants grown in coconut husks instead of soil, kept in a network of greenhouses.

sundrop-farms-David-PrattThe result is Sundrop Farms, a commercial-scale facility located just off the Spencer Gulf in South Australia that began construction in 2014. Today it’s producing an estimated 17,000 tons of tomatoes per year to be sold in Australian supermarkets.

Given the increasing demand for fresh water around the world — a problem that’s particularly apparent in the sunburned landscape of South Australia — this might just represent future of large-scale farming, especially in coastal desert regions that have previously been non-arable.

The heart of the farm is the 23,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight towards a 115-meter high receiver tower. All of that concentrated sunlight produces an immense amount of power, up to 39 megawatts. That’s more than enough to cover the desalination needs of the farm and supply all the electricity needs of the greenhouses.

The seawater, too, has other purposes besides just irrigation. During scorching hot summers, seawater-soaked cardboard lines the greenhouses to help keep the plants at optimal temperature. Seawater also has the remarkable effect of sterilizing the air, meaning that chemical pesticides are unnecessary.

All in all, the facility cost around 200 million dollars to get up and running. That might sound excessive, but in the long run the facility should save money compared to the costs of conventional greenhouses that require fossil fuels for power. It’s a self-sustaining, cost-efficient design so long as the initial investment can be provided. Facilities similar to the Australian one are already being planned for Portugal and the U.S., as well as another in Australia. Desert areas like those seen in Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates could be next in line.

“These closed production systems are very clever,” said Robert Park of the University of Sydney, Australia, to New Scientist. “I believe that systems using renewable energy sources will become better and better and increase in the future, contributing even more of some of our foods.”

October 16, 2016 Posted by | reference, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

History of Cameco’s Yeelirrie uranium mining plan

text-historyWA EPA rejects proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine, Online Opinion,  By Mara Bonacci – posted Tuesday, 16 August 2016 “…….Yeelirrie is located 420 km north of Kalgoorlie in the mid-west region of WA, the land of the Wongutha people. Yeelirrie is the name of a local sheep station and, in the local Aboriginal language, means “place of death”.

In 1973 Western Mining Corporation (WMC) found a uranium deposit there. The Yeelirrie Mine Proposal was submitted to the WA Department of Conservation and Environment in 1979. The proposal was for the development of an open cut mine, ore treatment plant, town and ancillary services and 850 employees. Environmental approval was given by both state and federal governments.

Trial mines were dug in the 1980s, which found the first large scale calcrete orebody in the world. It is estimated that around 195 tonnes of yellowcake were mined in these trials. WMC spent $35 million preparing to develop the mine until the 1983 federal election and subsequent implementation of the ALPs “three mines policy” in 1984, limiting Australia’s number of uranium mines to three.

In 2005, the mine was acquired from WMC by BHP Billiton, who concluded one stage of exploration mining. Then in 2012, Canadian mining company Cameco bought the deposit from BHP for $430 million….

 

Cameco’s Yeelirrie mine proposal includes:

  • A 9 km long, 1.5 km wide and 10 m deep open pit mine
  • 14 million tonnes of overburden
  • Using 8.7 million litres of water a day
  • Producing 7,500 tonnes per year of uranium (10 percent of annual world demand)
  • To be transported by four road trains a week
  • It would produce 126,000 tonnes per year of CO2 emissions
  • 36 million tonnes of tailings stored in the open pit2,421 hectares would be cleared
  • 22 years of operation
  • Highly variable work force – average of 300………http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18451&page=1

August 17, 2016 Posted by | history, reference, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Craig Wilkins, Conservation Council of South Australia, at parliamentary Nuclear Inquiry

It is remarkable that the royal commission only used one consultant to do this. Basically, all this conversation, all this energy and momentum, is based on the work of one consultant. Surely we deserve a second opinion.
When you look at examples like in the US, with Yucca Mountain in Nevada, they went a huge way down the path of making a decision about what to do and then they changed their minds after about $13 billion worth of investment.
There are so many assumptions built into Jacobs’ modelling which, when you add them all up, just make this an incredibly risky venture financially.

Citizens Jury Panel 1: Craig Wilkins

highly-recommendedTRANSCRIPT OF EVIDENCE TO SOUTH AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENTARY scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINCOMMITTEE, 15 July 16 
p.55 Mr WILKINS: Yes, I thought I would just give a brief summary mainly around the economics, the safety and the consent issues before we perhaps have a larger conversation after that. Essentially, we are keen to talk about the very specific proposal to make money by importing high-level nuclear waste into Australia and, by doing so, to turn our state into the largest nuclear waste site in the world. For us, the devil is very much in the detail.
Our impression, from the public conversation, is that most people think this is an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ idea, where we bury the waste deep in the outback and that is it. The reality is very different. Before we get there, ships containing that high-level waste enter South Australian waters through the South China Sea and other problematic areas, entering our prawn and tuna fishery areas and other aquaculture zones, going past tourism hotspots, every 24 to 30 days for 70 years. That is a huge amount of transport.
The waste will be unloaded into a purpose-built port built somewhere on our coastline—probably around Whyalla is the most likely bet. Then it is transported to a site around five kilometres or 10 kilometres from our coastline where it will sit for decades above ground, and up to 72,000 tonnes will be left there over that 80 years of the span of the proposal. So, this isn’t out of sight, out of mind. It will be a very prominent feature of our landscape, and it will require a level of security infrastructure and cultural impact around that which I think will change fundamentally parts of our state.

Continue reading

July 16, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, reference, South Australia | Leave a comment

No Profit in Nuclear waste

  • A minimal safety margin requires that high level waste not be imported before an agreed licensed geological disposal site…
  • High level nuclear waste disposal costs can double in a decade…..
  • Dubious claim that disposal of nuclear waste in SA costs one quarter less than in experienced countries…. 
  • SA faces a $60 billion debt in costs across 37 years of ongoing nuclear waste storage operations and nuclear facility decommissioning after the last receipt of overseas revenues for waste imports….
  • Nuclear contingency costs are unfunded…

Noonan, DavidBrief (July 2016) by David Noonan, Independent Environment scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINCampaigner

South Australians are being misled by inflated revenue claims, untenable assumptions and under-reported nuclear waste costs. Reality check analysis shows there is no profit in nuclear waste.

Nuclear waste costs are fast rising and unrelenting for decades after the last recite of waste imports regardless of whether or not claimed revenues and fixed prices over time prove to be realistic or illusory.

The Nuclear Royal Commission Final Report Ch.5 “Management, storage and disposal of nuclear waste” and the Nuclear Commission Tentative Findings Report (p.16-20) present a nuclear waste baseline business case that is near solely reliant on a consultancy “Radioactive waste storage and disposal facilities in SA” (Feb 2016) by Jacobs MCM, summarised in Final Report Appendix J.

There is no market based evidence for the Final Report revenue assumptions and claimed income.

Claimed revenues are a tonnage based multiplier: inflated tonnage equals misleading revenues.

Claimed revenues are doubled by an assumption SA can take twice the waste the US failed to achieve. Continue reading

July 16, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Indigenous opposition to the international waste dump plan

text-relevantNuclear waste dump case unravels, World News Report, 13 July 16 , Green Left By Renfrey Clarke  “……..Yankunytjatjara Native Title Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Karina Lester told a packed venue at a June 16 meeting: “The overwhelming majority of traditional owners … continue to speak out against establishing an international waste dump.”

Indigenous spokespeople have condemned the project since it was first mooted. In May last year, soon after the royal commission on South Australian involvement in the nuclear cycle began its work, representatives of 12 Aboriginal peoples met in Port Augusta.

logo No dump Alliance SAThe gathering issued a statement that said: “South Australian Traditional Owners say NO! We oppose plans for uranium mining, nuclear reactors and nuclear waste dumps on our lands.

“We call on the Australian population to support us in our campaign to prevent dirty and dangerous nuclear projects being imposed on our lands and our lives and future generations.”

The prime site for the long-term waste repository is on the lands of the Kokatha people, near the towns of Woomera and Roxby Downs.

The Transcontinental Railway crosses the region and, as the Australian explained on June 27, the ancient rocks of the underlying Stuart Shelf are “considered by experts to have the best geological conditions for a nuclear dump”.

Early this year Dr Tim Johnson of the nuclear industry consulting firm Jacobs MCM told the royal commission his company envisaged a new port being built on the South Australian coastline to service the project. An interim storage facility nearby would hold newly-arrived wastes above ground for some decades, until they had cooled sufficiently to be transported by rail to the permanent dumpsite.

The only practical location for the port and above-ground repository would be on the western shore of Spencer Gulf, south of the city of Whyalla. Spencer Gulf is a shallow, confined inlet whose waters mix only slowly with those of the Southern Ocean. Any accident that released substantial quantities of radioactive material into the gulf would be catastrophic for the marine environment. Profitable fishing, fish-farming and oyster-growing industries would be wiped out, and the recreational fishing that is a favourite pastime of local residents would become impossible.

To connect the above-ground repository to the rail network, a new line would need to be built from the present railhead at Whyalla. Taking wastes north for permanent storage, trains would pass by the outskirts of Whyalla and Port Augusta.

Initially, the materials transported would be large quantities of low and intermediate-level waste, also planned for importation and burial. But after several decades, transport of high-level wastes would begin and would continue for another 70 years.

Awareness is growing in the Spencer Gulf region of the dangers posed by the nuclear industry. On June 24 in Port Augusta about 80 people took part in a protest against the federal plans to site a separate dump, for Australian-derived low-level radioactive wastes, near the Flinders Ranges’ tourist area………..https://world.einnews.com/article/334731841/OM4SBscz5Dp42697

July 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment