Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

A nuclear power station is inappropriate for the Central Coast

 

March 23, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Nature Conservation Council says the Nationals’ support for nuclear power is a “dangerous and expensive distraction”

March 7, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear free has served NSW well and should remain- Australian Conservation Foundation

Nuclear free has served NSW well and should remain,    https://www.miragenews.com/nuclear-free-has-served-nsw-well-and-should-remain/   Nuclear power has no role in Australia’s energy future and is a dangerous distraction from the climate challenges facing Australia.

A pro-nuclear NSW upper house inquiry initiated by One Nation MLC Mark Latham has recommended removing the state’s long-standing legislative ban on uranium mining and opening the door to nuclear power, but Labor committee members have reaffirmed their party’s opposition to uranium mining and nuclear energy.

The inquiry report recommends the repeal of the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Act, but a dissenting statement by Labor committee members says a ‘Labor Government will maintain a ban on uranium exploration, extraction and export’ and a ‘Labor Government will not introduce nuclear power in NSW’.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said Australia was blessed with outstanding renewable resources and did not need to explore dangerous nuclear energy options.  “The state ban on uranium mining has served NSW well and should remain,” said ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney.

March 5, 2020 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear Stigma is, and will continue to be the cancer that erodes Kimba future.

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop A Nuclear Waste Dump In South Australia, 10 Feb 2020 

“Them or us, a shit town and a policeman on the fence.”

Kimba farmer / nuclear profiteer, Andrew Baldock who has recklessly fueled the ongoing promotion to degrade a agriculture region is now pleading for the community to reunite. This maybe seen as Baldock’s failed solicitation to procure redemption, forgiveness or clemency for the irremediable damage ignorantly portrayed upon what is mostly a nobbled and unwilling community.

Sunday the 2nd of February anti-nuclear rally, portrayed attending people as welcome contributing visitors to the town until their views of nuclear were apparent only to find they were treated no better than a leper in Kimba’s colony. One local person and yes I say one, that being of the local constabulary claimed to be on the fence and treated people with regard, where the nuclear embracing dichotomy has failed to welcome.

Nuclear Stigma is, and will continue to be the cancer that erodes Kimba future. https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/

February 10, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Strong opposition to nuclear waste dump plan for Flinders Ranges

South Australia’s nuclear dump deadline looms large, Newcastle Herald, Amy Green, 11 Dec 19  

South Australia’s Flinders Ranges nuclear waste ballot closes tomorrow.

Thousands of people have signed an open letter to the federal government asking it not to proceed with the current plan.   The Australian Conservation Foundation is behind the letter, which has garnered more than 5000 signatures, addressing Minister for Resources Senator Matt Canavan.

Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney has labelled the process “deeply flawed and irresponsible”.  “The current federal waste plan lacks key information of such important things as waste acceptance criteria, who would manage any facility and transport methods and routes,” Mr Sweeney said.

“It also fails to make any credible case for doubling handling the long lived intermediate level waste (ILW).   “The vast majority of this ILW waste is currently securely stored above ground at the ANSTO Lucas Heights facility in southern Sydney, but the federal Department want to re-locate this above ground storage in regional SA – pending future disposal via a yet to fund or identified place or process.

“There is a real risk this waste will become stranded at any future SA site.”

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is encouraging interested people who haven’t done so already, to have their say on the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

The department is consulting with two South Australian communities who live near three potential sites volunteered by landowners – two near Kimba and one near Hawker.

The results of these ballots and surveys, together with public submissions and feedback received elsewhere will be given to Minister Canavan to assist him in  deciding whether the facility can be established at one of the potential sites…. https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6538918/sa-nuclear-dump-deadline-looms-large/?cs=9397

December 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Queensland Liberal National Party opposes nuclear power

Queensland LNP breaks with federal branch to oppose nuclear power, Amy Remeikis, 3 Oct 2019  Queensland LNP says it supports a greater focus on energy efficiency measures

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/03/queensland-lnp-breaks-with-federal-branch-to-oppose-nuclear-power

One of the biggest detractors of the federal Queensland Liberal National party’s push to investigate nuclear energy as a potential power source for Australia has come from within its own house.

The state LNP opposition has publicly declared its opposition to making any changes to the current bipartisan ban on nuclear energy generation, declaring the government would be better served in its goals by focusing on renewable energy sources, in a marked split from their federal state colleagues.

Australia is once again looking at nuclear energy as a potential solution to its power woes, after a group of Coalition MPs, led by a cohort from Queensland, pushed the federal party room into investigating the prospect, through a parliamentary inquiry.

But in a move which has surprised their federal counterparts, the Queensland state LNP spokesman for energy, Michael Hart, made a written submission to the inquiry, announcing his arm of the party’s opposition to any attempt to allow nuclear energy generation, citing the risks to the communities and the environment.

Instead, Hart said the Queensland LNP supports “greater focus” on “energy efficiency measures, along with encouraging investment in renewable energy options like wind and solar, in combination with battery storage when it is technologically and economically feasible to do so”.

“It is considered that Australia’s rich renewable energy resources are more affordable and bring less risk than the elevated cost and risk associated with nuclear energy,” Hart submitted.

“The LNP encourages additional jobs and investment in Queensland’s renewable energy industry, while also supporting resource jobs and exploration which provides baseload power and employment for thousands of Queenslanders.

“In addition to the possibility of accidents and operational failure, nuclear facilities can be a potential target for terrorists. Securing insurance around such possibilities would be virtually impossible.

“In conclusion, the commercial, as well as the political risks, associated with nuclear energy are substantial. To this end, the LNP is strongly committed to an energy policy that delivers safe, affordable and reliable energy to consumers, while fulfilling Australia’s international emissions reduction obligations.

“We believe this can be achieved without lifting the moratorium on nuclear energy generation. Accordingly, we would encourage the committee to ensure an increased emphasis is placed on measures to encourage investment in renewable energy that creates green jobs and lowers electricity bills, for both consumers and industry, which does not (underlined) include nuclear energy”.

The state Labor government established a 50% renewable energy target by 2030 upon winning power in 2015.

The federal inquiry was established after a group of Coalition MPs, led by Hinkler LNP member Keith Pitt and Queensland LNP senator James McGrath, pushed for an investigation into whether nuclear power should be considered as part of the mix, as the government hunts for a long term solution to Australia’s surging energy prices.

Not wanting to reignite the war that led to the downfall of the national energy guarantee, and ultimately, Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, the government acquiesced to calls for an investigation, which was established after a recommendation from Angus Taylor.

The state LNP position stands in stark contrast to their federal colleagues, including conservative senator Amanda Stoker, who said that “Australia must develop a nuclear energy industry”, as well as her Queensland colleague Gerard Rennick.

McGrath has publicly pushed for the nuclear discussion in numerous interviews and his own social media, as well as within the party room. Pitt, who describes himself as “technologically agnostic”, said the discussion had to be had.

“The first priority for the nations future energy needs will always be reliability and affordability,” he said. “As technology changes I expect our energy mix will also change over a period of time. I am completely technology agnostic in terms of the fuel types that might be utilised. Currently Queensland has the country’s youngest fleet of coal fired generators and I expect they will continue to be a critical part of Queensland’s energy mix into the future.”

He demurred from any questions on the split between state and federal lines, saying the state arm could “speak for themselves”, but attacked the state Labor government for its price management of the state owned power assets.

But the submission did give Queensland Labor senator, Murray Watt, a late week boost.

“This submission shows the LNP’s state MPs have had enough of their federal counterparts’ pointless culture war against renewable power,” he said. “Even the LNP’s state MPs acknowledge that renewables are a cheaper and safer way of meeting our future energy needs.

“They have also slammed their federal counterparts’ pursuit of nuclear power as a massive waste of time and resources.

“The Queensland LNP’s federal representatives should stop wasting everyone’s time by pursuing their obsession with nuclear power and get behind cheaper and safer means of meeting our energy needs.”

October 3, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Found – historic film of Aboriginal resistance to uranium mining

Kakadu uranium protest documentary Dirt Cheap unearthed by Northern Territory Library, ABC News By Matt Garrick 18 Sept 19  The rediscovery of an old VHS tape, left forgotten on the shelves of the Northern Territory Library, has unearthed a tense and important piece of Australian history.

Key points:

  • The 1980 documentary Dirt Cheap showcased the Mirarr people’s fight against uranium mining
  • The Northern Territory Library recently hunted down the only digital copy of the documentary so it could be shown at a film festival
  • Filmmaker Ned Lander says the movie created a stir at the time of its release

The rare copy of the nearly 40-year-old documentary Dirt Cheap, which details the early pushback against uranium mining in Kakadu National Park, was practically unwatchable due to its age……..

The film documented the concerns of the Mirarr people during what was a tense period of negotiation in the lead-up to the 1979 Ranger Uranium Mining Agreement.

It also showcased the pressures and broken promises the traditional owners faced. “It was very, very apparent to us that people were not ready to sign the agreement in relation to mining, and this was being done under pressure.

Mirarr resistance inspires protests around nation

Against the push of government and business interests, the Mirarr stood resolute in their bid to protect their land.

“As a child growing up I saw the struggle of my family, including my grandfather — they [had] been struggling,” traditional owner Jimmy Nabanardi-Mudjandi said.

I’m really proud of them, but it’s sad because they’re not here to see what the new future of Jabiru’s gonna be.”

The resistance from the Mirarr had a flow-on effect around the nation.

Banner-waving protesters took to the streets in Melbourne and Sydney in great numbers, scenes which Dirt Cheap captures in vivid detail.

“Mirarr people got major support from around Australia, from around the whole nation,” Mr Nabanardi-Mudjandi said.

Next stage of uranium mining looms

In the decades since the film’s release, uranium has been mined at Kakadu, but the Ranger mine is now expected to wind up in 2021.

Mr Nabanardi-Mudjandi said it was vital the land was protected during its rehabilitation.

“We are watching them, what they’re doing,” he said.

Mr Nabanardi-Mudjandi will be a special guest when Dirt Cheap screens as part of the Darwin International Film Festival at the Northern Territory Library at 5:30pm on Wednesday.  Contact Matt Garrick https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-18/northern-territory-film-uranium-protests-unearthed-for-festival/11519914

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, opposition to nuclear, uranium | Leave a comment

Jervis Bay and previous governments’ secret plans for nuclear weapons

August 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Opposition to nuclear, opposition to nuclear, politics, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How the Mirrar Aboriginal people, helped by environmentalists stopped uranium mining at Jabiluka

Leave it in the ground: stopping the Jabiluka mine, Red Flag Fleur Taylor, 15 July 2019  “…… The election of John Howard in March 1996 marked the end of 13 years of ALP government…..

Australia’s giant mining companies – major backers of the Coalition – got their wish list. Howard immediately abolished Labor’s three mines policy, and the business pages crowed that “25 new uranium mines” were likely and possible. And in October 1997, then environment minister Robert Hill blew the dust off an environmental impact statement from 1979 that said mining at Jabiluka was safe. Approval of the mine quickly followed.

The Jabiluka uranium deposit, just 20 kilometres from the Ranger uranium mine, is one of the richest in the world. The proposal was to build a massively bigger mine than that at Ranger, which would be underground and therefore more dangerous for the workers. It was projected to produce 19 million tonnes of ore over its lifetime, which would be trucked 22 kilometres through World Heritage listed wetlands.

The Liberals hoped to make a point. After all, if you could put a uranium mine in the middle of a national park in the face of Aboriginal opposition, what couldn’t you do?

The fight immediately began. The traditional owners of the area, the Mirarr, were led by senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula and the CEO of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, Jacqui Katona. They were supported by anti-nuclear campaigners around the country, most notably Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation, as well as a network of activist groups.

The most important objective was to delay construction of the mine, scheduled to begin in 1998. To do this, the Mirarr called on activists to travel to Jabiluka in order to take part in a blockade of the proposed mine site until the onset of the wet season would make construction impossible.

The blockade was immensely successful. Beginning on 23 March 1998, it continued for eight months, attracted 5,000 protesters and led to 600 arrests at various associated direct actions. Yvonne Margarula was one: she was arrested in May for trespass on her own land after she and two other Aboriginal women entered the Ranger mine site.

The blockade also attracted high-profile environmental and anti-nuclear activists such as Peter Garrett and Bob Brown. This helped signal to activists that this was a serious fight. The sheer length of time the blockade lasted created a fantastic opportunity for the campaign in the cities. Activists were constantly returning from Jabiluka with a renewed determination to fight.

The Jabiluka Action Group was key to building an ongoing city-based campaign in Melbourne, and the campaign was strongest there of any city. It held large – often more than 100-strong – weekly meetings, organised endless relays of buses to the blockade and  took the fight to the bosses and corporations that stood to profit from the mine.

We were determined to map the networks of corporate ownership and power behind the mine. But in the late 1990s, when the internet barely existed, this wasn’t as simple as just looking up a company’s corporate structure on its glossy website. It took serious, time consuming research.

A careful tracing of the linkages of the North Ltd board members showed that they were very well connected – and not one but two of them were members and past chairmen of the Business Council of Australia (BCA) – one of Australia’s leading bosses’ organisations. So our June 1998 protest naturally headed to the Business Council of Australia. We occupied their office, and the two groups of anti-uranium protesters, 3,800 kilometres apart, exchanged messages of solidarity, courtesy of the office phones of the BCA.

We were also staggered to learn that the chairman of a company that owned two uranium mines and was Australia’s biggest exporter of hardwood woodchips was also a member of the Parks Victoria board, the national president of Greening Australia and the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) board president!

The EPA, and corporate greenwashing in general, thereby became a target for the campaign. Another target was the Royal Society of Victoria, which made the mistake of inviting Sir Gus Nossal, a famous scientist and longstanding booster for the nuclear industry, to give a dinner address. We surrounded its building, and the organisers, somewhat mystified, cancelled the dinner. This action once again made headline news, helping to keep the issue of the Jabiluka mine in people’s minds.

We held regular protests at the headquarters of North Ltd on Melbourne’s St Kilda Road. On the day that Yvonne Margarula was facing court on her trespass charge, a vigil was held overnight. When we heard she had been found guilty, the protest erupted in fury. Cans of red paint – not water-based – materialised, and the corporate facade of North Ltd received an unscheduled refurbishment. The Herald-Sun went berserk.

The leadership of the Mirarr people gave this campaign a different focus from other environmental campaigns of the time. It was fundamentally about land rights, sovereignty and the right of Aboriginal communities to veto destructive developments on their land. In Melbourne, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation appointed long-time Aboriginal militant and historian Gary Foley as their representative. Gary worked tirelessly to provoke and educate the many activists who turned up wanting to “support” or “do something” for Aboriginal people.

At a time when “reconciliation” was strongly supported by liberals and much of the left, Foley told us that reconciliation was bullshit. He argued native title (supposedly a key achievement of Keating) was “the most inferior form of land title under British law”, and that the ALP was every bit as racist as One Nation – if not worse. He insisted activists must educate themselves about sovereignty and the struggles happening right here, not just those happening 3,800 kilometres away. The way the Jabiluka Action Group activists approached this challenge was an example of how people’s ideas change. Many came into the campaign primarily as environmental activists, but almost all left as committed fighters for Aboriginal rights.

**********

When the blockade wound down at the onset of the wet season, it was an opportunity to fight on some other fronts. Representatives of the UN World Heritage Committee visited Kakadu in late 1998 and issued a declaration that the World Heritage values of the area were in danger. They called on the government to stop the mine. Yvonne Margarula and Jacqui Katona travelled to Paris to speak to the European Commission about the mine.

John Howard, at the time mired in ministerial scandals and resignations, had called an election for September 1998, and there was hope in some quarters that Labor might win and stop the mine. But Howard scraped back in on only 48.3 percent of the vote, and it was clear that the fight on the ground would have to continue.

In the meantime, an important legal loophole had been identified. North Ltd had failed to secure agreement for the Jabiluka ore to be trucked to the Ranger mine for processing. It turned out the Mirarr did have the right to refuse this, and by exercising this right they would increase the cost of the project by $200 million (the cost of building a new processing plant at Jabiluka). This, combined with the ongoing protests, became a huge problem for the company.

Something we enjoyed doing at the time was monitoring North Ltd’s share price. It started out high when the Liberals took power. But after a year of protest and controversy, it had started to sink. The slump world uranium prices were going through didn’t help. But what the share price correlated to most closely was the major protests – it showed a drop after every single one.

Fund managers everywhere had absorbed the simple message that Jabiluka meant trouble, and early in 1999 this formerly prestigious blue-chip mining stock was described as one of the year’s “dog stocks”. Encouraged by this, the campaign launched its most ambitious action to date – the four-day blockade of North Ltd, from Palm Sunday until Easter Thursday 1999. This was the beginning of the end for the mine. In mid-2000, Rio Tinto bought out the struggling North Ltd. With no appetite for a brawl, the new owners quietly mothballed the Jabiluka project, signing a guarantee with the Mirarr to that effect. The campaign had won.

**********

The Jabiluka campaign was one of those rare things – an outright victory. It was a win not just for the Mirarr people, but for every community threatened by a devastating radioactive mine. And it was a win for humanity as a whole, protected from more of this deadly substance. Our chant – “Hey, North, you’re running out of time! You’re never going to get your Jabiluka mine!” – for once came true.

The victory inspired a neighbouring traditional owner, Jeffrey Lee, single-handedly to challenge the development of the Koongarra uranium deposit, resulting in the cancellation of that entire mining lease. In Melbourne and other cities, the Mirarr resistance inspired sustained and creative campaigning from a wide variety of participants – from vegan Wiccans and revolutionary socialists to doof-doof rave organisers and corporate-philanthropist Women for Mirarr Women. The campaign was chaotic and argumentative, but united by a commitment to challenging corporate power and standing up for Aboriginal sovereignty.

It still serves as an inspiration for anti-nuclear and anti-mining campaigns, such as the brave and determined opposition of the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners to the Adani mine. It stands as a great example of how blockades on country can nourish and inspire actions in the cities.  https://redflag.org.au/node/6839

 

July 18, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Opposition to nuclear, opposition to nuclear, reference | Leave a comment

Campaigners vow to continue the fight to stop Canberra dumping nuclear waste in South Australia

12 July 2019, Civil society groups and members of the communities affected by the federal government’s proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) are deeply disappointed with Justice White’s ruling that the exclusion of Barngarla Traditional Owners from a ballot intended to gauge community support was not a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Ballots were to be held in the Flinders Ranges and Kimba districts in August 2018. Eligibility to participate was severely restricted and while non-resident rate-payers were included, Traditional Owners who live outside the small geographic areas were excluded.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, Native Title Holders for the Kimba District, sought an injunction in the Supreme Court, asserting that their exclusion breached the Racial Discrimination Act. This effectively put the site selection on hold.

In December 2018, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) lodged a formal complaint with the Human Rights Commission based on poor treatment and consultation with Traditional Owners throughout the divisive site selection process. This case is ongoing.

Mara Bonacci, Nuclear Free Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Australia said: “Today’s announcement is very disappointing, but not surprising. The federal legislation governing the nuclear waste management process, the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012, is undemocratic and systematically disadvantages Aboriginal people. The Act gives the federal government the power to extinguish rights and interests in land targeted for a radioactive waste facility. The Act allows the Minister to proceed with a nuclear waste dump without securing the consent of Traditional Owners. Traditional Owners, local communities, pastoralists, business owners, local councils and State/Territory Governments are all disadvantaged and disempowered by the NRWMA.

“It is important to note that today’s ruling is not a vindication of the federal site selection process, only finding that it is not a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. The lack of inclusion of Aboriginal people is inconsistent with community expectation, best practise and Australia’s international obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is galling that Justice White’s ruling was delivered in NAIDOC week.

“The Federal government process has also denied a voice to many Australians concerned about this issue and about responsible radioactive waste management – this is a national issue and national responsibility, the burden of which should not be placed on regional and remote communities.

“It is appalling that federal resources Minister Matt Canavan is contemplating proceeding with a nuclear waste dump on Barngarla land despite the clear opposition of Traditional Owners. The SA Marshall Government also needs to voice its clear opposition to the imposition of a nuclear waste dump.”

“This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of a famous day in South Australia’s history. On July 14, 2004, a campaign led by an Aboriginal Women’s Council, the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, finally persuaded the Howard Government to abandon its plan to impose a national nuclear waste dump on SA. It seems nothing was learnt from that experience.

 

“Despite today’s ruling, community members, civil society groups and many others will continue to fight to protect South Australia from becoming home to Australia’s radioactive waste and for a fair and transparent site selection process based on responsible radioactive radioactive waste management”, Ms Bonacci concluded.

July 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Union push to union trustees to formally exclude nuclear energy from industry super investments

ETU pushes union trustees to block nuclear AFR, 10 July 19 The Electrical Trades Union is leading a push for union trustees to formally commit to excluding nuclear energy from industry super investments in favour of bolstering renewables.  ETU national secretary Allen Hicks will propose an anti-nuclear investment motion at the Australian Council of Trade Union’s national executive later this year and use the ACTU’s Super Trustees Forum to “build and leverage support among my union director colleagues on this”.

“I want to pass a motion committing union directors in the industry super sector to focus on backing investment in renewable tech,” he will tell the union’s national conference on Wednesday afternoon.

“To focus on backing that investment instead of propping up the misguided imaginings of those who long for an Australian nuclear sector.”

The motion follows the ETU’s attack last week on an energy paper released by industry fund peak body Industry Super Australia (ISA), chaired by former ACTU secretary Greg Combet…….

Mr Hicks will attack the paper as a “disgrace” in his speech and question industry funds diverting money to ISA to produce it.

“It’s a disgrace that this body – this body that unions created – could be used as part of a push to expose workers and their communities to the catastrophic dangers that nuclear power plants present,” the speech says.

He will advocate industry super funds commit to a “war-like mobilisation” to battle climate change and “become the ultimate weapon in Australia’s fight for a clean, renewable energy sector”.

“The retirement savings of Australian workers could be deployed to invest in smart, new, renewable technology – including battery tech – that could set us on the path to zero carbon emissions.”

The ETU’s anti-nuclear position is supported by the $50 billion building industry super fund Cbus, which includes the CFMEU on its board of trustees………

Mr Hicks will argue the economics around nuclear power don’t stack up due to the costs and time taken for construction.

“But even if they did, our union would oppose it,” he will say, arguing nuclear puts workers in unsafe conditions.

“No responsible Australian trade union … no organisation that claims to represent the interests of Australian workers … could possibly endorse putting Australians into that line of potential fire.”…..

Energy Super, whose board includes ETU representatives, stressed it was “focused on maximising members’ hard-earned retirement savings”.

“We have a transparent investment process which considers many factors including environmental, social and governance criteria to ensure the sustainability of the fund over the longer term,” chief executive Robyn Petrou said.

“We are increasing our investments in renewables, such as wind farms and solar  energy.” https://www.afr.com/leadership/workplace/etu-pushes-union-trustees-to-block-nuclear-20190710-p525sj

July 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Energy Users Association of Australia opposes nuclear power: it’s ‘not the answer’

Nuclear energy ‘not the answer’ to Australia’s power price hikes   https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2019/06/26/nuclear-power-not-the-answer/ Rod Myer 26 June 19, Nuclear energy is unlikely to fill the growing void in Australia’s energy system caused by the closure of old power stations and spiking electricity prices, industry insiders say.

Australians are paying about 120 per cent more for electricity than in 2008 after the closure of major coal-fired power stations and spikes in gas prices.

Fears that things could get worse were raised this week with news that Victoria’s Yallourn power station could close before the scheduled date of 2032, if market conditions changed.

Deja vu

Despite recent claims that nuclear could be the answer to power problems, major energy users say that is highly unlikely.

“We’ve been down the nuclear path before with Ziggy Switkowski’s report to the Howard government, which showed it would take at least 10 years to get a project up,” said Andrew Richards, CEO of the Energy Users Association of Australia.

Nuclear energy would not be suited to the developing Australian power system.

“We are getting a lot more increasingly variable, renewable energy coming into the system. To firm that, we need generation that can turn on and off quickly,” Mr Richards said.

“Nuclear power plants operate best when you turn the power on and let it run.”

Nuclear is also an increasingly expensive option, with research from the OECD finding that a high-cost nuclear plant would be 118 per cent more expensive than high-cost solar and 128 per cent dearer than high-cost wind.

That gap is opening up, with Dr Switkowski saying last year “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed” and that nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables, with costs rapidly shifting in favour of renewables.

Mr Richards said the costs of nuclear power are far greater than simply the design, construction and maintenance of power stations, and governments would need to back the technology financially.

“Governments would need to support insurance, dismantling and disposal costs for nuclear power stations, as the private sector won’t take on those risks,” Mr Richards said.

Nuclear costs skyrocket

While renewable-energy generation costs have been falling in recent years, nuclear power prices are skyrocketing.

In 2009, Dr Switkowski said that the construction cost of a 1000MW power reactor Australia would be $4 billion to $6 billion.

However, real-world experience has shown costs are four times that, Renew Economy reported last week.

Costs of plant construction in Europe and North America in recent years for similar generation capacity have been between $14 billion and $24 billion.

Nukes in the mix?

report from Industry Super Australia into the power sector released on Wednesday said nuclear energy should be considered as part of Australia’s energy mix.

“If you look at the output of the nuclear industry, and if you consider its future relative to other technologies, it looks awfully good, relative to some of the other potential technologies and, therefore, it shouldn’t be excluded from consideration,” ISA’s chief economist Stephen Anthony told ABC radio.

Mr Richards said the possibility of using nuclear power should not be totally discounted.

“Every generation technology should be considered. Maybe nuclear could play a role, but there are significant market and financial problems to overcome,” he said.

The best way to balance the growing renewable generation was likely to be gas generation if governments can set aside gas for the local market at a fair price.

“We need to have gas at below $8 per gigajoule to solve our problems in energy supply and manufacturing,” Mr Richards said.

Currently the price is $10 per gigajoule, he said.The New Daily is owned by Industry Super Holdings

June 27, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Traditional owners and Western Australia’s Conservation Council continue legal action, to uphold environmental law  

Battle against Yeelirrie uranium mine continues for traditional owners and Conservation Council     https://thewest.com.au/business/uranium/battle-against-yeelirrie-uranium-mine-continues-for-traditional-owners-and-conservation-council-ng-b881125927z 5 March 2019  Traditional owners and the Conservation Council of WA are continuing their fight against a proposed uranium mine, fearing unique subterranean fauna in the project area will be made extinct if it proceeds.
Former State environment minister Albert Jacob gave the green light to Cameco’s Yeelirrie mine proposal in January 2017, just 16 days before the pre-election caretaker mode began. Yeelirrie is 70km southwest of Wiluna in the Mid West region.Together with members of the Tjiwarl native title group, CCWA challenged the approval in the Supreme Court but lost, and have now taken their   battle to the Court of Appeal.  CCWA director Piers Verstegen said the previous government was desperate to lock-in a uranium project before it lost power, going against the advice of the Environmental Protection Authority, which was concerned about the impact of mining on subterranean fauna.

“Stygofauna might be a relatively obscure species. In fact, these particular species of stygofauna were not known to science until the proponent started exploring for uranium in that area,” Mr Verstegen said on Tuesday.

“But the legal precedent here has much broader implications.

“We’re certainly very keen to be upholding environmental laws … which were never intended to be used by a minister or a government to approve the extinction of species.”

The matter was heard on Tuesday and a decision will be handed down at a later date.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, legal, opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) and three Tjiwarl Traditional Owners in court battle against uranium mining

WILDLIFE AND TRADITIONAL OWNERS REPRESENTED IN LANDMARK LEGAL CHALLENGE http://www.ccwa.org.au/landmark_legal_challenge?utm_campaign=nuclear_news68&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ccwa

The Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) and three Tjiwarl Traditional Owners have continued their landmark legal bid to prevent the extinction of multiple species and protect Aboriginal lands from uranium mining at Yeelirrie, with a hearing in the WA Court of Appeal today.

The Yeelirrie mine proposal by uranium miner Cameco in the Northern Goldfields on Tjiwarl Native Title land was approved by the Minister for the Environment in the final days of the Barnett Government, against the advice of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and against the outcome of an appeals process.

The EPA found that the proposal would cause the extinction of multiple species of subterranean fauna.

Bret Walker SC, Dr Hannes Schoombee, and the Environmental Defenders Office WA (EDOWA) represented Traditional Owners and CCWA in the legal challenge to the environmental approval for the Yeelirrie uranium mine.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said, “This important case is seeking to prevent the extinction of multiple species at Yeelirrie, and uphold the rights of Traditional Owners to protect sacred country from uranium mining.

“Mr Walker is one of Australia’s most eminent legal minds and his involvement with this case is an indication of its national legal significance.

“The approval of extinction at Yeelirrie at the stroke of a Minister’s pen cannot go unchallenged because it sets a dangerous precedent for all wildlife across Western Australia.

“We are proud to stand with three members of the Tjiwarl Native Title Group, Shirley and Elizabeth Wonyabong and Vicky Abdullah, who have been fighting to protect their country from uranium mining for many years.

“As well as the threat of extinction, Cameco’s uranium project would have a major impact on the landscape and ecosystems at Yeelirrie. It would involve a 9km open mine pit and processing plant, clearing 2421 hectares of native vegetation, and generating 36 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste to be stored in open pits.”

EDOWA Principal Solicitor Declan Doherty said, “This is a landmark case to test how Western Australia’s primary environmental law should be applied.

We argued that in approving the Yeelirrie uranium mine, Minister Albert Jacob failed to correctly follow the process set out in the relevant legislation.

“It will be an important test for how the legislation should be applied, which could have significant implications for future decisions of this kind.”

March 7, 2019 Posted by | legal, opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Dave Sweeney reflects on the achievements of Australia’s nuclear-free movement in 2018

 The days roll on and 2018 is about to be in the past tense.

As ever the year saw highs, lows and flatlines. It also saw sustained and successful resistance to the nuclear industry in Australia.

This note is a snapshot, not a definitive list, but I wanted to capture some of our collective efforts and achievements so in a quiet moment we can reflect and recharge – and know that we are making a real difference.

Thanks and solidarity to all – and best wishes for a good break and time with people and in places that freshen the spirit. I look forward to working with you all in season 2019.

Uranium: Less is being ripped and shipped

  • Kakadu: the clean-up of the Ranger site is underway – Mirarr native title of the region was formally recognised – Rio Tinto have accepted their responsibility to clean up – there was a calendar and a series of events around the country to mark twenty years since the Jabiluka blockade
  • uranium remains stalled and actively contested in WA: 2018 saw a decade since then Premier Barnett announced a fast tracked uranium sector that would be “iron ore on steroids” – there are no mines but there is a major legal challenge to the Yeelirrie project, procedural challenge to Mulga Rock and community resistance to the four proposed projects with actions at AgMs, project critiques, Walkatjurra Walkabout and more
  • Qld Labor reaffirmed its opposition to uranium mining at its state conference

Radioactive waste: Under pressure and delayed

 the federal plan for a national waste facility in regional SA is highly contested, behind schedule and increasingly uncertain

  • the issue was pushed ahead of the state election and SA Labor has subsequently adopted a good policy position
  • there is growing civil society awareness and engagement with the issue – especially through our trade union partners
  • the Barngarla people were formally awarded native title over the Kimba sites in June and have taken legal action over deficiencies in the Feds consultation processes
  • Adnyamathanha resistance to the proposed Flinders Ranges site is strong and they have lodged a complaint on the plan with the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • community resistance at both sites is sustained and strong with high levels of engagement and regular actions, events and media profile
  • Federal Labor policy has a long way to go but at its national conference in December Labor moved from a policy position dominated by sites and place to one of standards and process
  • Standing Strong – the story of the successful community fight against the earlier plan for an international radioactive waste dump in SA was launched and learned from
  • there was early and strong opposition to chatter around other potential radioactive waste sites – especially at Brewarrina (NSW) and Leonora (WA)

 

Nuclear weapons: the cold war is reheating and support for a weapons ban grows

 ICAN – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – has continued to build on its 2017 Nobel Peace Prize profile

  • there was sustained outreach and awareness initiatives, including a bike ride from Melbourne to Canberra
  • there is growing international support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with more nations signing and ratifying the ban
  • federal Labor committed to sign and ratify the ban treaty at its national conference in Adelaide in December – a major step forward
  • the Peace Boat visited Australian waters and cities in January/February and the Black Mist, Burnt Country Maralinga exhibition continued touring

Broader nuclear free efforts

 ANFA – the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance – had a good gathering in the Adelaide Hills in October and there was clear recognition of the role of First Nation people in the atomic resistance with awards to crew in WA, Aunty Sue in SA and Jeffrey Lee gaining the German based Nuclear Free Future award in the global Resistance category

  • anniversaries were marked with actions, events and reflection – including Fukushima, Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Maralinga
  • people engaged in state and federal processes including Senate Estimates, Senate Inquiries into radioactive waste siting and mine rehabilitation, ARPANSA Codes of Practice and more
  • folks engaged with ALP state and federal conferences, the ACTU Congress, many union forums, SoS, the Sustainable Living Festival and more
  • we remained connected and updated via the efforts of Christina Macpherson, Maelor at ACF, Jim Green at WISE, KA at CCWA and Walkatjurra, WGAR news, 3CR’s Radioactive Show, Understory and more

Looking ahead to 2019 – Another big year ahead folks – and one where we consolidate, defend and grow

 

  • Challenges include:
  • the forever struggle of resourcing and capacity
  • pro-nuke voices pushing small modular reactors (SMRs) and seeking to overturn the ban on domestic nuclear power
  • Mineral Council of Australia and others seeking the removal of uranium mining as a ‘trigger’ action in the federal EPBC Act

  • We need to:
  • better braid the uranium story and struggle into the wider dirty energy-fracking- fossil fuel narrative
  • keep Rio Tinto and the regulators focussed and genuine re the best possible rehab outcomes at Ranger and keep the door shut to the uranium sector in WA
  • support affected communities facing radioactive waste dump plans and push federal Labor to adopt a different approach
  • pressure and support federal Labor to follow through on its commitment to sign and ratify the nuclear weapons ban
  • make Australian uranium companies operating overseas – often in jurisdictions with low governance – accountable for their impacts

December 30, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear, politics, uranium | Leave a comment