Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Poll shows that Australian voters decisively reject Adani coal mine expansion

Just 7 per cent of voters want the government to invest in Adani mine: poll http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/just-7-per-cent-of-voters-want-the-government-to-invest-in-adani-mine-poll-20170521-gw9k4g.html Adam Gartrell, 22 May 17, 

Just 7 per cent of voters want money from the federal government’s northern Australia investment used to prop up Adani’s giant coalmine, while nine times that number say they would prefer taxpayer cash going towards renewable energy or education infrastructure.

A new poll ReachTEL poll has found just 6.8 per cent of people support the idea of using public money to support coal mine projects such as the Indian mining conglomerate’s controversial Carmichael proposal, which would be Australia’s biggest coalmine.

Adani is seeking a $1 billion concessional loan from the Turnbull government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to build a railway for the mine. The application will be assessed by the fund’s independent board but the government supports the plan.

But the new poll of nearly 3000 people – commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation – suggests the public wants NAIF investments made elsewhere. Even among Coalition voters there was only 10.5 per cent support for public money going into coalmine infrastructure.

The poll found nearly 33 per cent of people believe renewable energy projects should be NAIF’s top priority. Nearly 28 per cent believe schools and universities should be first in line for funding, with tourism and telecommunications infrastructure also attracting more support than coal.

The polling accompanies a new ACF research paper on the “opportunity cost” to northern Australia of funding the mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, identifying scores of other job-creating projects.

ACF economist Matt Rose says across Queensland, Western Australian and the Northern Territory there are 20 alternative proposals for jobs-rich large-scale solar plants.

There are 20 potential higher education campuses, 67 Indigenous ranger groups with no certainty of long-term funding and hundreds of locations with poor phones or internet.

“Any NAIF investment in coal will come at a huge cost to Northern Australia in terms of missed opportunities for a cleaner, smarter future,” Mr Rose said.

“Public investment in Adani coal would cheat Australians in the north out of jobs in renewable energy, better education facilities and tourism.”

Respondents to the poll also showed support for strong restrictions on any NAIF lending, with 60 per cent saying they agreed the government should “only provide funding to companies that meet minimum social and environmental standards”.

The ReachTEL poll surveyed 2984 residents across Australia in late April.

ACF is one of 130 groups involved in trying to stop the $21 billion mine, which is shaping up as one of the country’s big environmental battles.

The big four banks have all ruled out funding for the mine, angering Resources Minister Matt Canavan. But Mr Turnbull has defended the potential use of the NAIF, saying the mine would create “tens of thousands” of jobs and boost state and federal budgets.

The Queensland Labor government last week flagged it may provide Adani with a $320m “royalty holiday” to help get the mine up and running. It has also offered it free water in the form of an unlimited water licence.

At a federal level, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has suggested the mine should only go ahead if it stacks up environmentally and commercially – and that means no federal loan. However some federal Labor MPs do not believe the mine should go ahead at all.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

NATIONALS SHOULD NAME LOCATIONS FOR NUTTY NUCLEAR POWER PLANT PLAN

The Greens NSW Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today slammed the National Party and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro for raising the prospect of a nuclear power plant in NSW saying renewable energy is safer, cheaper, and more effective at combatting climate change.

“I challenge John Barilaro and Gladys Berejiklian to name which electorate, which suburb and which town in NSW they think a nuclear power plant should be built in,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

“They also need to come clean with where they are planning to have a nuclear waste dump to manage the highly radioactive waste fuel that will be produced.

“Nuclear power is an enormous risk that is not worth taking. We should learn the lessons from Fukushima and Chernobyl that nuclear power can be catastrophic.

“This is just another nutty, extreme idea from the National Party who is stuck in the wrong century pushing coal and nuclear and ignoring the massive renewable energy potential of Australia.

“Launching their nuclear ambitions in Broken Hill shows the Nationals are completely out of touch with the community and the future of energy supply in Australia.

“One of the largest solar farms in the country, the Broken Hill Solar Plant, has just been built and the nearby Silverton Wind Farm will be the largest wind project in NSW once it is constructed.

“The declining cost of renewables means nuclear energy does not make financial sense, as we can see with Japanese giant Toshiba going broke because of its involvement in nuclear power plants.

“Even if the Nationals could force nuclear power through massive community opposition, it is not an answer to our energy needs or climate crisis with plants taking more than a decade to be built.

“The Greens believe the future of energy supply is renewables, not dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power,” Mr Buckingham concluded.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales Green Groups challenge Deputy Premier John Barilaro on nuclear power

Green groups shut down nuclear NSW talk http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/05/20/green-groups-shut-down-nuclear-nsw-talk

Green groups have ridiculed talk of nuclear power being placed back on the agenda by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro as a “nutty” idea.

Green groups have reacted swiftly to condemn an attempt by Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro to place nuclear energy back on the agenda.

Mr Barilaro told the NSW Nationals Annual Conference in Broken Hill on Thursday nuclear energy could mean “guaranteed power to millions, lower bills and next to no emissions” in the face of a power crisis. He said energy costs were crushing businesses, farmers and families.

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW called on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to declare nuclear options weren’t on the table.

“Renewables are by far the cheapest, cleanest and most sustainable way to meet our energy needs,” chief executive Kate Smolski said in a statement.

She said nuclear power was “dirty, dangerous and expensive” and could leave a “toxic legacy”.

Ms Smolski challenged Mr Barilaro to explain which electorate would house a nuclear reactor, uranium processing plant and radioactive waste dumps.

The NSW Greens energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said Mr Barilaro’s comments showed the party was out of touch with the community.

“This is just another nutty, extreme idea from the National Party who is stuck in the wrong century pushing coal and nuclear and ignoring the massive renewable energy potential of Australia,” he said.

May 20, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales govt about to go all enthusiastic about nuclear power?

Nuclear power on the agenda in NSW as Deputy Premier claims ‘we’ve been led by fear and mistruths’ ABC News By state political reporter Lucy McNally, 19 May 17, New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro has put nuclear energy on the agenda, arguing it would help secure the state’s power supply in the future.

Mr Barilaro, the leader of the NSW Nationals, will address his party’s annual conference in Broken Hill today, where he will make the case for a nuclear debate.

“I’m challenging my members to look for exciting solutions and think about the generations to come,” he said.”We live in a resource-rich nation, where energy should be our competitive advantage, but we’ve had the settings wrong, we’ve been led by political correctness and unfortunately by fear and mistruths.”

Mr Barilaro said those “mistruths” had stifled debate……

“Look at France, they currently rely heavily on nuclear energy which they import from places next door like the Czech Republic and other European nations,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Yet they have made a commitment to build a plant in France. Places like the US and Korea have all decided to look at building nuclear plants.”….. [ed note – this is simply incorrect

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was not convinced of the merits of nuclear power.

“My view always is that science and safety have to stack up, on anything,” she said.

“So I’m in the camp of the jury’s still out.”

Ms Berejiklian said she was open to discussing the issue, including at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting in June…….

The State Opposition’s energy spokesman, Adam Searle, has dismissed the comments as a “thought bubble”. “The fact is nuclear energy is enormously expensive, consumes huge amounts of water — and of course Australia doesn’t have a lot of spare water — to say nothing of the environmental issues,” he said.

“Who’s going to build it? Who’s going to fund it? It’s just ridiculous.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-19/nuclear-power-nsw-nationals-leader-wants-to-open-debate/8540274

May 20, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Australia should not throw away $1 billion on a destructive and doomed Adani coal project

The first stage currently being discussed involves a total investment of around $5 billion, of which the Australian public is supposed to contribute at least a $1 billion.

we may easily end up with the worst of all worlds: no royalties and few jobs for a project that will contribute massively to environmental destruction both locally and globally.

We shouldn’t throw it away on a doomed project that will leave us with, at best, a stranded asset and a legacy of massive environmental damage.

There are better things to spend $1 billion on than the Adani coal mine, Brisbane Times, John Quiggin, 18 May 17 

Ever since taking office, the Palaszczuk government has been walking a tightrope with respect to the Adani Group’s proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.

On the one hand, it’s obvious that the project is both environmentally disastrous and economically dubious. The government has been keen to avoid putting public money into this mess. On the other hand, if the project falls over, as still appears quite likely, the government is keen to avoid the blame.

The supposed benefits of 10,000 jobs and billions of dollars in royalties make an appealing case to voters at any time and particularly with the mining boom on the edge of failing. For most of the past 18 months, the government has managed the tightrope act successfully, but now it appears to be on the verge of falling. Adani is pushing for a ‘holiday’ from royalties, which might last as long as nine years. The project may go ahead if the government accepts, but the promised benefits to the Queensland public will disappear into the never-never.

The holiday is supposed to be temporary, but that’s unlikely.  Continue reading

May 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australia isn’t trying to stop global warming. We’re subsidising it.

Palaszczuk and Turnbull governments are Adani mine’s lonely fans, Canberra Times, Ebony Bennett, 20 May 17 Australia isn’t trying to stop global warming. We’re subsidising it.

While the ACT is on track to source 100 per cent of our electricity from renewable energy by 2020, Queensland’s state government is doubling down on the No. 1 contributor to climate change: coal. Despite banks, economists and Australians in general showing little interest in handing Indian coal giant Adani billions of dollars to dig up a heap of carbon, many politicians just can’t seem to wait to throw your money at it. The Queensland government’s enthusiasm is exceeded only by that of Turnbull government ministers, who have taken to fondling lumps of coal on the floor of Parliament.

Ten days before the last Queensland election, then opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk blasted the Newman’s government for picking winners and losers, warning: “What we’re seeing at the moment is Campbell Newman throwing a bucket of taxpayers’ cash … at one particular company [Adani].”

She further promised that “Queenslander taxpayers’ money is not going to be used to fund commercial operations”. She then went on to win the election in one of Australia’s biggest political upsets.

Coal subsidies are unpopular

Despite being elected on a “no subsidies” platform, the Palaszczuk government has since offered Adani free water (in the form of an unlimited, unchallengeable water licence), free coal (in the form of a reported $320 million “royalty holiday”) and a possible 39-year raincheck on the clean-up bill. It’s also on track for a $1 billion subsidised loan for its rail line from the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

At this rate, we’ll soon be paying Adani to dig up our coal. And voters don’t appear to be impressed. Continue reading

May 20, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Turnbull government budget ignores health impacts of climate change

Shortsighted Budget 2017 ignores health impacts of climate change, Independent Australia  Kristine Barnden 19 May 2017, The Turnbull Government has once again prioritised growing the economy over human lives, writes Dr Kris Barnden.

ACTION TO PROTECT AUSTRALIA from climate change was a policy free zone in the 2017 Budget. Despite strong scientific and economic consensus on the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels, our government has prioritized efforts to grow the economy using a business as usual approach.

Doctors have been speaking out about the adverse health effects of climate change, as well as the health co-benefits of policies aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change. In Australia, air pollution from coal fired power stations contributes a significant proportion of the over 3000 deaths per annum from pollution and a plea has been made by doctors for a rapid transition away from coal fired power.

Agriculture is another area where actions to reduce green house gas emissions are likely to be associated with multiple benefits, including health. In last week’s Budget, agriculture and regional Australia are seen as winners only from expenditure on rail. However, we need to recognize that agriculture is an important contributor to greenhouse emissions and also extremely vulnerable to their effects as recognized by the farming industry. These factors are budgetary items and need to be built into national financial policy. Indeed as President Obama has noted, food security is a world issue and we carry responsibility as a food exporter……….

Agriculture, the environment, the economy and human health interact at many levels, and we face significant difficulties on all fronts. All will be affected by climate change, and we cannot afford to consider each in isolation. We need strong leadership, and the ability to look beyond short term political and ideological considerations to longer term gains.

Dr Kristine Barnden is a member of the management committee of Doctors for the Environment Australiahttps://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/budget-2017-ignores-health-impacts-of-climate-change,10314

May 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, health, politics | Leave a comment

Queensland govt must resist bullying by resources industry: mine rehabilitation should be progressive

Queensland mine rehabilitation should be progressive, not left as one big job: Miles, ABC News, By Louisa Rebgetz, 19 May 17, Environmental groups are urging the Queensland Government not to be “bullied” by the resources industry in a bid to fix a $10-billion legacy of mine rehabilitation.

It comes as the State Government is on a hard sell to tighten the demands on miners to ensure financial assurance and progressive rehabilitation with a discussion paper out until mid-June.

Campaigner with Lock the Gate Alliance, Rick Humphries, said the reforms were “long overdue” but the “devil will be in the detail”.

“It’s long overdue, the cause for reform. We see all the numbers going the wrong way in terms of the amount of progressive rehab,” Mr Humphries said.

“The devil will be in the detail and already there are some emerging concerns.

“The major issue though is in the past the mining industry has generally bullied governments of all persuasions in the past to drop any reforms, so the Government has really got to focus on the public interest and protecting the environment and make sure these reforms are solid and get the job done.”

Reforms to apply to existing and new operations: Miles

One mine’s progressive rehabilitation has Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles interested, who said it was what all mines would be expected to do under the proposed changes.

Hail Creek Coal Mine, in the heart of coal country in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, is one of the largest coal reserves in the country.

Rio Tinto exports about 10 million tonnes a year of coking coal from the site.

During a tour of the mine, Hail Creek’s Acting General Manager Michael Priestly said about 360 hectares had already been rehabilitated.

“It would be pretty close to what it looked like. Obviously the topography changes a little bit around with the dumps,” Mr Priestly said.

“It’s really a matter of tipping the dumps, shaping them and then progressively rehabilitating them with topsoil and natural vegetation.”

The Minister said the reforms would apply to both existing and new operations, including Adani’s proposed $21-billion Carmichael mine in Central Queensland. This program of reforms is all about making sure rehabilitation happens progressively so it is not left as one big job for the end of the mine’s life, and also ensuring that we have sufficient financial assurance every time one of those mines has been abandoned,” Mr Miles said.

Mr Miles said he hoped it would also create jobs for regions currently struggling through the mining downturn.

Fears clean-up for Ebenezer Mine will be left to taxpayers

Queensland has more than 15,000 abandoned mines ranging from small infrastructure to mega-sized mines.

Mr Humphries said Ebenezer Mine, on the outskirts of Ipswich, was a classic example of failed regulation in Queensland.

The coal mine has been in care and maintenance since 2002. The former operator, Japanese company Idemitsu, transferred the lease to Zedemar Holdings, who had planned to on-sell the site, but the deal fell through.

Mr Humphries said he feared it would be left to the taxpayer to fund the rehabilitation of the site…… http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-19/queensland-mine-rehabilitation-progressive-reform-steven-miles/8540586

May 20, 2017 Posted by | environment, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

New South Wales National Party to embrace nuclear energy

 Nuclear energy must be considered for NSW: Nationals leader ANDREW CLENNELL, STATE POLITICAL EDITOR, The Daily Telegraph , May 19, 2017 NUCLEAR energy should be considered as a way forward to provide energy security in NSW, Deputy Premier John Barilaro will tell his first National party conference as leader today.

May 19, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | 5 Comments

Australia’s Attorney General Brandis intervenes in W and J court action against Adani

Traditional Owners fighting Adani  appalled at improper political interference   http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/brandis-intervenes-in-indigenous-court-action-against-adani/

“The Attorney General, George Brandis, has intervened in a Federal Court hearing in which the Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s proposed coal mine are seeking to strike out a fake agreement Adani claims to have for the mine to proceed.

“Senator Brandis’ intervention follows his second failure to rush through changes to the Native Title Act….

Senior spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J)Traditional Owners CouncilAdrian Burragubba, said,

““The Attorney General has made an extraordinary and political intervention in matters before the court.  Intervening in our case shows Brandis is working in billionaire Adani’s interests,  not ensuring the proper administration of justice.  Again, Brandis is making Native Title all about Adani’s mine instead of good law reform. …

Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, MsMurrawah Johnson, said,

““Adani didn’t negotiate and achieve the free prior informed consent of the W&J people. The meeting, which Adani and its barrackers claim achieved consent, with a 294 to 1 vote, is as fake as its ILUA.
It is not a true expression of the W&J Traditional Owners.

““Over 220 of the attendees at Adani’s meeting are people who have never been involved in the W&J claim or decision making, and who are identified with other nations and claims, or didn’t identify an apical descent line. …

Lawyer for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Mr Colin Hardie, said,
“My clients have four strong grounds against Adani’s purported ILUA. …

May 19, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

ANSTO must be transparent on costs of its nuclear research: Generation IV nuclear reactors – high cost for little benefit

Here’s another fine submission to Australia’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia joining the Framework Agreement for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems . This one blows out of the water any idea that these so far non existent reactors could solve any nuclear waste problem, or be in any way economically viable.  It also throws the spotlight on The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Just how much of tax-payers’ money is going to this secretive organisation?

The latest reason for generation IV reactors centres on the unsolved problem of how to safely dispose of spent nuclear fuel. The proposition is that plutonium and other long lived transuranics in reactor fuel (that like plutonium also create a disposal problem) could be used up in so called “burner” reactors.

Analysis by the US National Academy of Sciences found this proposal to have such very high cost and so little benefit that it would take hundreds of years of recycling to reduce most of the global inventory.

Should ANSTO propose collaboration can occur without further cost to the taxpayer, then a funding review should be conducted to establish what research is already being done by ANSTO, at what cost, for what purpose and at whose behest. With an average loss of A$200 million annually, ANSTO should be able to provide disaggregated accounts for both transparency and accountability.

Generation IV Nuclear Energy – Accession  Submission Medical Association for Prevention of War  (MAPW) PO Box 1379, Carlton VIC 3053 Australia (03) 9023 195 m. 0431 475 465 e. eo@mapw.org.au w. http://www.mapw.org.au

Executive Summary

MAPW recommends strongly against Australia becoming a party to this agreement. There is no proposal for Australia to get a nuclear power program.

This framework agreement applies to technologies that are economically, socially, environmentally, and from a nuclear security perspective, very dubious. Generation IV reactors are an assortment of proposed technologies that have been put forward over the last 70 years, tried and failed.

ANSTO is already very heavily subsidised by the Australian government, and extending its operations into this research sphere will require further scientific effort, expertise and funding. This is highly inappropriate given the current major constraints on government spending, and the urgent need to focus research energies on realistic, financially viable and proven measures to contain emissions from electricity generation.

Collaboration would mean taxpayer subsidies would go to an industry which has already wasted many billions in public funds and resulted in major adverse legacies. No private industry is prepared to invest in this research without large government subsidies because none are prepared to lose so much money.

It is also clear that Australia has no policy to use these long promised and never commercially delivered reactors. Therefore any involvement just subsidises those who hope to use them. If Australia wishes to expand its nuclear expertise, then research into “non nuclear waste” generating technologies (such as those to produce medical isotopes) would be much more productive and also be of positive benefit to the Australian population.

Background

Objectives of GIF Framework Agreement Continue reading

May 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, reference, technology | Leave a comment

Compelling argument against Australia joining the Framework Agreement for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems.

Today, I am taking the unusual step of publishing an entire submission. That’s because it is so good.  The nuclear lobby pulled a swifty on Australians, by having government and media very quietly do what is sure to be a “rubber stamp” job on Australia joining up to the Framework Agreement for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems.

They allowed a very short time for submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry. The nuke lobby must have been in the know, as they put in 11, whereas there were only 3, (one mine) critical of the plan.

Fortunately the critical ones contain compelling information. So, here, in full, is the:

Submission from Friends of the Earth Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation .

Contacts:

• Jim Green (Friends of the Earth, Australia) jim.green@foe.org.au, 0417 318 368

• Dave Sweeney (Australian Conservation Foundation) dave.sweeney@acf.org.au, 0408 317 812

Contents

1. Introduction and Response to National Interest Analysis

2. Generation IV Reactor Concepts ‒ Introduction

3. Decades Away

4. Purported Benefits

5. French Government’s IRSN Report

6. US Government Accountability Office Report

7. The Slow Death of Fast Reactors

8. Integral Fast Reactors

9. Thorium 10. Small Modular Reactors 11. Fusion Scientist Debunks Fusion

 

  1. INTRODUCTION AND RESPONSE TO NATIONAL INTEREST ANALYSIS Friends of the Earth Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation welcome the opportunity to make a submission to this inquiry and would welcome the opportunity to appear before a hearing of the Committee.

The Committee will likely receive submissions promoting the construction of Generation IV reactors in Australia and it is therefore worth noting comments by the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission in its May 2016 Final Report: “[A]dvanced fast reactors and other innovative reactor designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future. The development of such a first-of-a-kind project in South Australia would have high commercial and technical risk. Although prototype and demonstration reactors are operating, there is no licensed, commercially proven design. Development to that point would require substantial capital investment. Moreover, electricity generated from such reactors has not been demonstrated to be cost competitive with current light water reactor designs.”1

Here we provide brief responses to a number of comments in the National Interest Analysis (NIA).2

The NIA asserts that participation in the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) will further Australia’s non-proliferation and nuclear safety objectives. No evidence is supplied to justify the tenuous assertion. There is much else that Australia could do ‒ but is not doing ‒ that would demonstrably further non-proliferation objectives, e.g. a ban on reprocessing Australian Obligated Nuclear Materials (AONM); a reversal of the decision to permit uranium sales to countries that have not signed or ratified the NPT; or refusing uranium sales to countries that refuse to sign or ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. There is much else that Australia could do ‒ but is not doing ‒ that would demonstrably further safety objectives, e.g. revisiting the decision to sell uranium to Ukraine in light of the ongoing conflict in that country, refusing to supply uranium to nuclear weapon states that are not fulfilling their NPT obligations, insisting that uranium customer countries establish a strong, independent regulatory regime (as opposed to the inadequate regulation in a number of customer countries, e.g. China, India, Russia, Ukraine and others).

Nuclear non-proliferation would also be far better realised by active Australian engagement in the current UN process around the development of a nuclear weapons ban treaty. Instead Australia has spurned this pivotally important initiative and is refusing to participate. If Australia is serious about its international standing, our representatives would be at the table in New York.

The NIA states that ongoing participation in GIF will help Australia maintain its permanent position on the IAEA’s 35-member Board of Governors. ANSTO routinely makes such arguments ‒ in support of the construction of the OPAL reactor, in support of the development of nuclear power in Australia, and now in support of Australian participation in GIF. Australia has held a permanent position on the IAEA’s Board of Governors for decades and there is no reason to believe that participation or non-participation in GIF will change that situation.

The NIA asserts that accession to the Agreement and participation in GIF will have important economic benefits. No evidence is supplied to justify that tenuous assertion. There are no demonstrated economic benefits from participation in GIF ‒ however there are clear costs.

The NIA states that the “costs of participation in the System Arrangements will be borne by ANSTO from existing funds.” ANSTO should be required to provide a detailed account of past expenditure relating to this Agreement and anticipated future expenditure.

The NIA states that ongoing participation in GIF “will improve the Australian Government’s awareness and understanding of nuclear energy developments throughout the region and around the world, and contribute to the ability of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to continue to provide timely and comprehensive advice on nuclear issues.” Those arguments are tenuous, especially given that little about GIF is secret.

The NIA states that “Generation IV designs will use fuel more efficiently, reduce waste production, be economically competitive, and meet stringent standards of safety and proliferation resistance.” Those false claims are rebuked in later sections of this submission.

The NIA states that the success of Australia’s bid for membership of GIF was based in part on ANSTO’s “world-class capabilities and expertise” in the “development of nuclear safety cases.” ANSTO should be asked to justify that assertion. ANSTO could also be asked whether, based on its “world-class” expertise in nuclear safety, whether it considers it is appropriate for Australia to sell uranium to countries with demonstrably inadequate nuclear regulatory regimes, e.g. China, India, Russia, Ukraine and others.

The NIA asserts that “a significant expansion in nuclear power production is underway or under consideration by a number of countries, including several in the Asia Pacific region.” In fact:

  • Globally, nuclear power has been stagnant for the past 20 years.
  • For the foreseeable future, there is zero likelihood of a “significant” nuclear expansion of nuclear power and there will be an overall decline unless growth in China matches the decline elsewhere. Declines can be predicted with great confidence in North America, across all EU countries combined, in Japan, and in numerous other countries and regions ‒ and a very large majority of the world’s countries (about five out of six) are nuclear-free and plan to stay that way.
  • No country in the Asia Pacific or South East Asia is seriously planning to introduce nuclear power. The only country that was seriously planning to introduce nuclear power in the region ‒ Vietnam ‒ abandoned those plans last year.

The NIA states that Australia’s participation in GIF falls within the existing functions of ANSTO under Section 5 of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Act 1987. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties should assess whether Australia’s participation in GIF is consistent with legislation banning nuclear power in Australia (the EPBC and ARPANS Acts). 2.

2. GENERATION IV REACTOR CONCEPTS ‒ INTRODUCTION Continue reading

May 13, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

The continued push for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors in Australia

The Parliamentary Committee Inquiry on Australia joining the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems has now published the submissions that it received.

As this Inquiry has been kept quite secret from the media and the public, it is not surprising that nearly all of the submissions have come from companies and individuals with either a very clear, or a vested, interest in the nuclear industry.

For the moment, I will just single out one that particularly interested me. This is from SMR Nuclear Technology Pty Ltd .  They don’t actually have much to say about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, but just go on to fulsome praise of Generation IV nuclear reactors in general, and of ANSTO.:

…….SMR Nuclear Technology Pty Ltd is an independent Australian specialist consultancy established to advise on the siting, development and operation of safe nuclear power generation technologies, principally Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). Two of SMR-NT’s directors were senior managers at ANSTO and have a good understanding of the facilities and capabilities of ANSTO…..

SMR Nuclear Technology Pty Ltd most warmly supports Australia acceding to the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems as extended by the Agreement extending the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems” more http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/NuclearEnergy/Submissions

SMR Nuclear Technologies sounds pretty much like ANSTO in disguise.

They dropped a little hint of what ANSTO is up to, in their previous, (rather weak and contradictory) submission to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, in which they stated: “Thorium is now being revisited, particularly in China. Australia (ANSTO) is assisting with this work” –  http://nuclearrc.sa.gov.au/app/uploads/2016/03/SMR-Nuclear-Technology-Pty-Ltd-30-07-2015.pdf

We didn’t know that the Australian tax-payer was funding thorium nuclear reactor development in China, did we?

 

May 12, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, technology | Leave a comment

What is driving the nuclear industry to dump its nuclear waste in South Australia

By Annie McGovern. 23rd April 2017  (this is an extract from the Adelaide Forum held very recently, to discuss this question) “….ENDNOTE  These observations have been gleaned from a fairly random search for relevant information which was also confined by the time available to process and present these findings. These are offered at this time as an additional body of information that may help fill some of the gaps in the thrust to force further nuclear energy production and waste disposal on the people of S. A.

Amongst the many recommendations of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission there were 3 major points which raise concerns regarding the possible imminent changes to Legislation in S.A. The Royal Commission has urged the State Government to fast-track these Legislative changes, even though there are no current viable plans for any nuclear industry developments in S.A. at this time.

  1. Modification of the State Waste Dump Prohibition Laws. This Legislation was almost immediately amended following presentation of the Royal Commission’s findings, to allow Government spending on proposals for the Waste Dumps. The further question of approval of nuclear waste dumps in S.A. was put to the Labour State Conference and became a stalemate to which no decision could be made. Progress of changes to Legislation on this proposal was interrupted.
  1. Legislation that would allow contracts of Uranium sales to be tied to obligations on S.A. taking back the resultant waste. The Royal Commission sees this possibility as an enhancement to capture sales of Uranium, despite there being no approval for waste disposal in S. A. at this time, and, the fact that no such facility would be capable of fulfilling the contract until well into the future. The Royal Commission appears to be determined to place the people of S.A. into an intractable situation where industry is forcing obligation through contractual arrangements. However, a caveat might be placed on such contracts that are not plausible…an explicit caveat and the risk is borne by the signing parties. A letter of advice is provided to the signatory and the Annual AGM of companies involved informed of this unethical business practice.
  2. Legislative changes to allow Nuclear Power production. Despite there being no overt plans for these developments within the foreseeable future, the Royal Commission is encouraging making changes now for future development. The absence of a ready nuclear waste disposal dump has historically been a constraint on Australia and the world in the development of greater Nuclear ambitions. Reports of illegal dumping and covert placement of radioactive waste abound both here and across the world. Reports of French waste being held at Lucas Heights and American wasteat Pine Gap are recent additions to these claims.Despite peoples’ efforts over many generations to call for and act on Peaceful Principles in our World, Environmental Sustainability and Productivity based on Need rather than Greed, capitalism and its theory of perpetual growth continues to drive forward in an overtly destructive manner.

    The continued focus on South Australia to perpetuate the nuclear travesty on our planet is acknowledged through this Forum and collectively we stand against this invasion. We walk with the Protectors of Country with Respect for Life.

May 12, 2017 Posted by | legal, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Stalemate in Australian govt’s effort to change Native Title Act

Native Title Act changes stuck amid stand-off between major parties, ABC News By political reporter Dan Conifer, 11 May 17, Native Title Act changes the Government declared urgent in February will not pass Parliament until at least mid-June, amid a stand-off between the major parties.

Key points:

  • Coalition moved to amend native title laws after major deal with WA Government and traditional owners scuttled in court
  • Federal Court ruling threw hundreds of agreements around the country into doubt
  • Coalition proposed legislation that would allow ILUAs to be registered with consent from most claimants

The Coalition moved to amend the law months ago after a court scuttled a major deal between the West Australian Government and traditional owners.

The Federal Court ruling overturned years of established law, throwing doubt over more than 100 agreements nationwide, including one covering Adani’s proposed multi-billion-dollar Queensland coal mine. The decision meant Indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs) needed to be signed by all native title claimants before coming into force. The Coalition proposed legislation that would allow ILUAs to be registered with consent from most claimants.

Since February, the bill has been repeatedly amended, with two revisions coming just this week……. The Upper House next sits on June 13. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-11/native-title-act-changes-wont-pass-until-mid-june/8519174

May 12, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment