Fleurieu 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/
ERA, controlled by Rio Tinto, stopped mining new ore in 2012. Since then, it has been extracting ore – totalling about 2000 tonnes a year – from tailings at a rate that leaves 999 tonnes of waste for every uranium tonne produced.
Under federal statutes, the millions of tonnes of waste rock and billions of litres of water must be stored so “radiological material is separated from the environment for 10,000 years”, Mr O’Brien said.
“All that contaminated matter … all the buildings, the mill, the power plant, all the machinery, all the trucks – everything – has to be put into pits.”
Lone Ranger: Kakadu uranium miner faces fewer safety checks, The Age, Peter Hannam, 30 Aug 16 The controversial Ranger uranium mine in the Top End has had its independent government oversight depleted just years before its closure in a move the local Aboriginal organisation describes as “absurd”.
Since December, the Supervising Scientist Branch – the agency under the federal environment department enforcing standards at the giant mine – has halted atmospheric testing of radon and other radioactive dust from the project owned by Energy Resources of Australia.
Neither has the SSB’s environmental research institute – known as ERISS – tested a range of foods including fish and wallaby eaten by the nearby traditional owners, the Mirarr people, since 2011, according to one insider. Continue reading
Energy Resources of Australia slashes asset values, The Age, Brian Robins 30 Aug 16 Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia has been forced to slash the value of its assets by $161 million, almost equal to the company’s remaining sharemarket value.
With its controversial Ranger mine, which is surrounded by the Kakadu National Park, scheduled to close within five years, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had questioned the way ERA valued its assets in its December 31, 2015 financial report.
The miner had now conceded that the value at which it carried the Ranger mine assets in its books “exceeded fair value”, ASIC said in a statement on Tuesday.
ERA pointed to weakness in the uranium oxide price at a time when the mine had only a five-year life left, without an extension of its authority to mine, as reasons for booking the impairment.
The write-down compares with ERA’s sharemarket worth of just $173 million, which signals deep-seated investor pessimism over its prospects in light of the traditional land owners’ opposition to extending the operation of the mine.
In the June half, ERA lost $35.2 million, which blew out to $196.5 million following the write-down. Revenue slipped to $170.5 million from $185.8 million due to the weak uranium price……..
ASIC had queried the company’s use of a single discount rate when valuing its assets. ERA has agreed to use different valuation techniques for the mining and rehabilitation of the site, for example.
ERA’s biggest single asset is its accumulated losses, which now total $822.8 million and tower over the value of its dwindling equity of $273.4 million.
The federal government plans to strip the Australian Renewable Energy Agency of most of its funding, as well as its ability to give grants now that Parliament has resumed. Remarkably, the ALP, which established ARENA when in government, may allow this to happen. This is an existential threat to renewable energy research, innovation and education in Australia.
The solar photovoltaic industry is big business. It now makes up a quarter of all new electricity generation capacity installed each year across the world, and it’s growing at 20 to 30 per cent a year. Together, solar and wind energy make up half of all new generation capacity installed globally and all new generation capacity installed in Australia. A renewable energy revolution is in progress, and Australia is at the forefront. Gutting ARENA directly threatens our leadership position.
Our economy has benefited to the tune of billions of dollars in the form of dramatically reduced solar system costs, increased renewable energy business activity, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, royalties, shares and international student fees.
To provide just one example, the Australian-developed PERC solar cell now has annual sales of $9 billion and is forecast to dominate the worldwide solar industry. Further, gains in energy efficiency made possible by this technology are forecast to save our country $750 million in electricity generation costs over the next decade……..
If ARENA is cut, then hundreds of people will lose their jobs within two years. That is the cold reality. This includes researchers, PhD positions and industry leaders. Our brightest minds will be forced to either leave the field, or leave Australia in favour of other parts of the world where solar research is still valued.
In the longer term, Australia’s leadership in solar energy will vanish. As support for research and innovation dwindles, later-stage commercialisation will also start to dry up. This won’t be a temporary loss, but a long-lasting extinction as we lose the research groups that underpin the very education and training of future Australian engineers and scientists.
This would be completely at odds with the federal government’s innovation agenda, as well as its commitment at the UN climate change conference in Paris to double clean energy research and development by 2020…….http://www.theage.com.au/comment/australian-renewable-energy-agency-to-lose-most-of-its-funding-20160829-gr3qme.html
Climate sceptic MP appointed chair of environment and energy committee
Liberal Craig Kelly will lead backbench committee that provides advice and feedback on legislation and policies, Guardian, Gabrielle Chan, 29 Aug 16, The climate sceptic Liberal MP Craig Kelly has been appointed chairman of the backbench environment and energy committee, with National party MP Kevin Hogan as secretary.
The committee will provide feedback on legislation and policies relating to the environment and energy, including to the minister, Josh Frydenberg.
Kelly served on the committee during the last parliament and previously invited climate sceptics to “balance” a presentation given by top climate scientists…….https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/29/climate-sceptic-mp-appointed-chair-of-environment-and-energy-committee
Victorian unconventional gas exploration ban to end fracking and CSG extraction, ABC News, 30 Aug 16 The Victorian Government is introducing legislation to permanently ban exploration and development of unconventional gas in the state, including coal seam gas and fracking.
- Legislation will permanently ban development, production of all unconventional gas in Victoria
- Moratorium on conventional gas extraction to be extended until 2020
- Government says ban will protect Victoria’s agriculture sector
The legislation — the first of its kind in Australia — will be introduced into State Parliament later this year.
Premier Daniel Andrew said the ban would protect the reputation of Victoria’s agriculture sector and alleviate farmers’ concerns about environmental and health risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.
“We’ve listened to the community and we’re making a decision that puts farmers and our clean, green brand first,” he said.
The legislation will also extend the moratorium on conventional onshore gas until 2020, but offshore gas exploration and development will continue.
The Government said the decision, which responds to a parliamentary inquiry, acknowledged the risks involved outweighed any potential benefits……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-30/victoria-to-ban-csg-fracking-and-unconventional-gas-exploration/7796944
Liberal Chairman of Coalition’s environment policy committee a proud climate sceptic, suggests nuclear power
Coalition environment committee chairman takes aim at solar subsidies Craig Kelly says he wants wind and solar funding to be redirected to research into ‘technological breakthroughs’ because existing renewables had ‘little effect’, Guardian, Gabrielle Chan, 31 Aug 16, The Liberal chairman of the Coalition’s environment policy committee, Craig Kelly, has questioned solar and wind power subsidies and would like a cost-benefit analysis of future emission reductions policy, due to be reviewed next year.
Kelly was named chairman of the environment and energy committee at the party room meeting on Monday, making him responsible for coordinating backbench feedback to the government on climate and energy policy.
He said he was proud to be a climate sceptic rather than “wallow in groupthink, to be a sheep, or a lemming”. Kelly described himself as in the “Bjorn Lomborg” camp, suggesting wind and solar funding should be channelled into “further research” because those current renewables like wind and solar power had “diminishing returns”………
Kelly said in considering the price of power, the option of nuclear power should be considered……..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/31/coalition-environment-committee-chairman-takes-aim-at-solar-subsidies
ANU and UNSW, Independent Australia, 30 August 2016 Following on from the destruction of the CSIRO, the Turnbull Government plans to cripple the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) funding. We have reproduced an open letter from academics at UNSW and ANU urging public support to save this vital agency.
AN OPEN LETTER FROM ANU AND UNSW ACADEMICS
Australia’s endangered solar research THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT plans to strip the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) of most of its funding as well as its ability to make grants.
This is an existential threat to renewable energy research, innovation and education in Australia.
After the fiasco involving CSIRO climate scientists, we now have a potential fiasco in mitigation of climate change. Remarkably, the ALP, which established ARENA when in government, may allow this to happen.
We call upon all political parties to support retention of ARENA……..https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/turnbulls-innovative-crippling-of-arena,9411#.V8Ur0j5jSY0.twitter
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
The great nuclear disarmament divide, “……On the one hand, there are umbrella states that are addicted to their nuclear protection, and on the other, there are umbrella states that clearly feel trapped by it, Livemint, 29 Aug 16 W.P.S. Sidhu, Austria, which remained neutral and nuclear weapon-free during the Cold War, has become the leading anti-nuclear crusader in the post-Cold War era. Last year, Austria, along with a group of non-nuclear countries—mostly from the southern hemisphere and Africa, which is entirely covered by nuclear weapon-free zones—proposed several United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions including on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. One of the significant Austrian co-sponsored resolutions proposed an open-ended working group (OEWG) to take forward multilateral disarmament negotiations.
Although this resolution was overwhelmingly supported by 138 countries, the five permanent nuclear weapon states of the UN Security Council plus Israel voted against it. While India and Pakistan abstained, North Korea, curiously, supported the resolution. Significantly, 34 states—mostly members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) and those protected by the US nuclear umbrella—also abstained.
Subsequently, while all nine nuclear-armed states (including India) stayed away from the OEWG deliberations in Geneva, the group made substantial progress. By 19 August, the group’s final report had drafted far-reaching recommendations, including a call to initiate negotiations in 2017 on a legal instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons—unlike biological and chemical weapons, nuclear weapons have never been banned. There were indications that this report would be carried by consensus among the states participating in the OEWG. Clearly, a consensus report recommending a treaty to ban nuclear weapons outright would be anathema not only for the nuclear armed states but also the so-called ‘umbrella states’, which depend on the nuclear protection particularly of the US. Thus, the nuclear-armed states sought to influence the OEWG process by proxy.
Enter Australia. In the past, Australia played a leading role in pushing disarmament initiatives, for instance, when it resurrected the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996 and co-sponsored an International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament in 2008. However, this is at odds with its dependence on nuclear weapons.
As an umbrella state, it depends on the perceived security of US nuclear weapons. In the OEWG, Australia became a proxy of nuclear weapon states and a disarmament spoiler: it called for a vote on the group’s final report even though it was evident that the majority would support the report’s recommendations.
Australia’s objective was two-fold: first, to break the emerging consensus and, second, to close ranks among all the umbrella states. Australia almost succeeded in its second goal. Although 19 Nato states plus Australia and South Korea voted against the report, several other Nato members plus Japan abstai-ned, indicating that not all umbrella states are willing to sustain nuclear weapons and deterrence in perpetuity.
The OEWG process reflects a great disarmament divide not only among the nuclear haves and have-nots, but also among the umbrella states. On the one hand, there are umbrella states that are addicted to their nuclear protection, even though it is not apparent that such security is omnipotent. On the other hand, there are umbrella states that clearly feel trapped by the protection provided, but are unsure how get out of this situation. This debate will now play out on the floor of the UNGA…..http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/4smGv8MNF3hg63Y1WpRzQL/The-great-nuclear-disarmament-divide.html
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.
“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/.
Friends of the Earth has recently released a report called ‘Fuelling the Fire: the chequered history of Underground Coal Gasification and Coal Chemicals around the world’
The report draws together evidence of UCG test projects over the last three decades and highlights how destructive UCG and Coal Chemicals are
Fuelling the fire: New coal technologies like UCG spell disaster for climate https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/fuelling-the-fire-new-coal-technologies-like-ucg-spell-disaster-for-climate-,9393 Cam Walker 26 August 2016, Given UCG’s disastrous history including Linc Energy’s irreversible environmental damage in Queensland, Friends of the Earth is calling for a moratorium on all UCG projects in Australia. Cam Walker fromFriends of the Earth reports.
IN RECENT years Australia, like many countries around the planet, has seen a major expansion in the development of unconventional oil and gas drilling.
These are oil and gas resources which cannot be produced by conventional processes (that is, through using the natural pressure of the wells to release the resource trapped in a coal or rock seam).
Until the 1990s, production of conventionaloil and gas kept prices relatively stable, so there was limited incentive to develop technologies to explore and produce unconventional oil and gas resources.
In the 2000s, prices started to increase, and with known reserves starting to peak, it was clear that this trend would continue into the future.
As debate increasingly focused on energy independence, a number of countries who consume large volumes of fossil energy such as the USA, Canada and China started to realise they had potentially enormous volumes of unconventional oil and gas. This in turn lead to a major development effort that saw a huge expansion in the use of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) to access methane in shale beds to produce gas in the USA and elsewhere.
Australia also has major reserves of oil and gas which could potentially yield through the use of unconventional drilling methods. Here the unconventional gas resource includes coal seam gas (CSG), shale gas and tight gas. Exploration for CSG in Australia began in 1976 in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. The industry took hold, initially in Queensland, where there are currently around 4,000 onshore gas rigs. More than 37% of the Australian landmass is currently under exploration permit or application for coal or gas.
The UCG industry has been strongly resisted by regional communities and environmental groups around the country and the many dangers of fracking are well documented. This has resulted in moratoriums on fracking in states such as Victoria. Continue reading
Coalition climate numbskulls back again flogging CCS at a cost of $209 billion Lachlan Barker, Independent Australia 25 August 2016, The Coalition’s latest brainsnap of flogging Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as a solution to CO2 emissions from coal-fired power stations will set the taxpayer back an eye-watering $209 billion, says Lachlan Barker. “…… the utterly ludicrous notion of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), as a solution to CO2 emissions from coal fired power stations has raised its idiot head once more.
The CCS process involves capturing the CO2 emitted from the burner chamber, compressing it, and sequestering it underground.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan recently handed out $23.7 million to various bodies around the country to (once more) discover CCS can never work. So I can tell you right here, right now, CCS is not feasible in any way — financially, ecologically or in an engineering sense.
However since Canavan has done this thing, once more we are all forced to go through the mill of showing why CCS is an utterly fallacious idea.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has an excellent reference page for CCS, so I’ve distilled the Power Plants CCS Projects page down for you here: [excellent charts and graphs on original]……..https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/coalition-climate-numbskulls-back-again-flogging-ccs-at-a-cost-of-209-billion,9394
On Friday at the United Nations in Geneva, Australian diplomats called a vote they knew they would lose, split their already modest support base in half, and enraged more than 100 other countries that had been ready to agree to a painstakingly negotiated compromise. For its trouble, Australia gained precisely nothing, and seriously damaged its credibility and influence. If it sounds like a diplomatic train wreck, it was. What on earth was going on?
The drama unfolded on the final day of the UN Open-ended Working Group on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. This group has met intermittently throughout 2016; the principal goal for Australia and around 28 other countries in nuclear alliances (also known as ‘umbrella states’ or, more colourfully, ‘nuclear weasel states’) was to ensure that the group did not recommend the negotiation of a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons (Tim Wright covered the ban treaty proposal and the associated dilemmas for Australia in The Interpreter in June).
Australia’s manoeuvres on Friday were merely the latest in a series of ill-conceived efforts to try to stop the ban treaty, but which have only fuelled support for it. Continue reading
Australia has steadily retreated from the push for universal nuclear disarmament that Bill Hayden, notably, inserted into policy when he was foreign minister in the Hawke government to provide moral balance to the alliance with the US.
As we’ve noticed before, the new Defence White Paper this year dropped all that. “Australia’s security is underpinned by the ANZUS Treaty, United States extended deterrence and access to advanced United States technology and information,” it stated. “Only the nuclear and conventional military capabilities of the United States can offer effective deterrence against the possibility of nuclear threats against Australia.”
Julie Bishop is all for nuclear weapons, gushing that “the horrendous humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are precisely why deterrence has worked”. In Geneva, her diplomats have been hard at work trying to derail efforts for a United Nations ban on nuclear weapons.
…..much bad will towards Australia. But Bishop can be sure of brownie points in Washington, no doubt.
Weasel words at UN working group Malcolm Turnbull is getting accused of many things as he heads towards the first anniversary of his snafu-prone prime ministership. But aiding and abetting the planning of genocide, ecocide and even omnicide (that is, the destruction of everyone and all living things)?
Well, yes. The University of Sydney was recently the venue for an international people’s tribunal, a kind of volunteer court, in which the leaders of the nine nuclear powers were on trial for planning the above crimes through their explicit threats to use their weapons. Turnbull, as our current leader, was up for facilitating the use of American weapons. The judges were New Zealand’s former disarmament minister Matthew Robson and Sydney politics academic Keith Suter, who duly found the accused guilty, in absentia of course.
They ruled that nuclear weapons violate the accepted principles of international humanitarian law in wartime because they cannot discriminate between military and civilian targets; go far beyond proportional response and military objectives; don’t protect non-combatants; cause unnecessary suffering by spreading poison, disease and genetic damage; cause massive environmental damage; threaten future generations; threaten death on a scale amounting to genocide; and involve massive collateral damage to neutral countries.
The United States, France, Russia, Pakistan and Britain refuse to rule out first use of their nuclear weapons, “but all indicted leaders have military plans and exercises that demonstrate that they are ready to use nuclear weapons if they deem it necessary”, the tribunal found. …….
The gesture comes as nuclear powers are expanding or modernising their arsenals. India and Pakistan are in a nuclear arms race: even use of 100 Hiroshima sized-bombs in that theatre would plunge the Earth into its coldest climate for a thousand years, University of Missouri expert Steven Starr told the tribunal. An exchange between the big powers would, aside from the immediate casualties, create a new Ice Age and result in most surviving humans and large animals dying of starvation……