Finland’s false hope for Australia’s nuclear future Independent Australia, 26 September 2016 Premier Weatherill is using Finland’s nuclear waste dump model as a benchmark for Australia but they are not comparable, says Noel Wauchope.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN PREMIERJay Weatherill has gone to Finland to study their nuclear waste storage project.
With the premier are three stalwarts of the mining and nuclear lobbies: marketing man Bill Muirhead, chief executive of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Consultation and Response Agency (CARA) Advisory Board Madeleine Richardson and chair of CARA John Mansfield.
Unsurprisingly, they all seemed to have no anxieties about nuclear waste disposal.
Premier Weatherill waxed lyrical in The Advertiser about the Finland waste disposal site, describing it in operation:
There, spent nuclear fuel is placed in eight metre long iron canisters, encased in copper tubes … Inside the underground tunnels, the canisters are placed in deep holes.
Reading this, you would think that is actually happening in Finland. But no — that’s just the plan. The facility, in fact, has no nuclear wastes yet disposed of there. In fact, no wastes will be placed there until 2020, at the earliest.
Weatherill’s comments imply that the Finland project and the South Australian plan are pretty much the same kind of thing. Well, apart from some rather obvious differences in climate, which might matter, the whole plan is different.
South Australia’s nuclear waste import plan would need a dump substiantially larger than Finland’s waste dump:……..
Just for high level nuclear waste alone, it will require a waste dump 14 to 28 times the size of Onkalo (69,000 high level nuclear waste canisters). And for decades, half of the high level nuclear waste will be stored above ground in a temporary facility.
A perhaps even bigger deception is in Weatherill’s main theme, praising Finland for its transparency and community consent, since that is a subject of considerable dispute. ……
Sweden has the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review. It is a coalition comprising five NGOs working with nuclear and radiation safety issues, advising the Government and informing the public. The coalition is financed by the Government’s Swedish Nuclear Waste Fund.
Finland has no such agency. That might account for the relative ease with which the Finnish nuclear industry gained public acceptance for the plan with no substantial criticism from the public. In Sweden, the nuclear waste burial project has not gone ahead, as there is much debate and opposition from some scientists and from a well-informed public.
Representatives from municipalities near the Finland repository construction site, Johanna Huhtala and Raija Lehtorinne, explained:
‘ … the locals trust the nuclear industry completely.’
I guess that the Finnish model for community consent is more to Weatherill’s liking than the Swedish one. I can’t see him setting up a South Australian NGO office for nuclear waste review. bbbb https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/finlands-false-hope-for-australias-nuclear-future,9518
Weatherill hints at following suit on nuclear waste, MICHAEL OWEN, THE AUSTRALIAN September 20, 2016
Talks with countries looking to export their nuclear waste to Australia for permanent storage will begin next year if the South Australian Labor government decides to proceed with a bold plan to build a dump in the state to house high-level spent nuclear fuel.
Premier Jay Weatherill yesterday toured the site of the world’s first permanent disposal facility for nuclear waste in the Eurajoki region of southern Finland and gave every indication South Australia’s government would give the green light to follow suit…….
Under Finnish law, all nuclear waste the country generates must be handled and permanently stored in Finland.
However, its parliament has ruled out taking waste from other countries.
Mr Weatherill acknowledged Finland’s facility was a direct response to the problem of its own high-level waste, a problem his state did not have. However, he said, there was an economic opportunity for South Australia, which could safely store the world’s most toxic nuclear waste deep underground……..
“One thing that is really clear is that this is a long journey and that there will be a series of steps that the community will have to take before any final decision is taken,” Mr Weatherill said, noting it could be at least 10 to 20 years before construction started on a facility.
Mr Weatherill said Posiva was prepared to license its expertise to countries such as Australia…
The state government is conducting a final round of community consultation before cabinet decides in November if to move forward with plans for a facility.
Mr Weatherill indicated a facility for high-level international nuclear waste would be an election issue in March 2018.
“It needs bipartisan support and a state government that is prepared to advance it,” he said. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/weatherill-hints-at-following-suit-on-nuclear-waste/news-story/05a36a8bb24610eec0e4ec0c2138b222?from=public_rss
http://www.robinchapple.com/crisis-confidence-over-epa-uranium-mine-push 27 September
WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and Robin Chapple MLC have today questioned the EPA’s approval for preparatory works at the proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine, which is yet to be approved and currently subject to an appeal.
“Today’s approval for preparatory works at Mulga Rocks exposes the sham of the assessment and appeals process; the EPAs decision today is at odds with the intention of the Environmental Protection Act 1986,” Mr Chapple said.
“There has been serious public backlash against the project reflected in numerous appeals being lodged against the project, including from Traditional Owners and people in the local community.
“There is a race on in WA to get uranium mines approved before the State election. This ambition is ridiculous given the widespread opposition to the industry and the market conditions which are prohibitive to new mines.”
“World-wide we’re seeing uranium mines close and others put in to care and maintenance. Vimy Resources may have some political influence and big benefactors like Andrew Forrest, but none of these things will make this mine profitable or socially acceptable,” Senator Ludlam said.
“The EPA’s response to Vimy’s aggressive approach to starting this mine is not just a demonstration of a poor and non-transparent process, it is a slap in the face for the public and local community that have engaged in good faith in a process which is in essence a fait accompli.
“While the process is broken, the resolve of communities to fight this project is very much alive and well.”
I knew that The Advertiser was the mouthpiece of the nuclear lobby, anyway, but their latest effort was really sick-making.
A rave which portrays Premier Weatherill as some kind of democratic champion, and which is pushing the soft sell that the decision on nuclear waste importing will not happen soon, but be dragged on for years. (They don’t say this, but in the interim, the nuke lobby has time to get secret arrangements made – and money lent to South Australia, so that ultimately, it might all be just too committed to turn back.)
A Premier with any spine might make a decision, a soon decision, and a wise one, to say no to the whole noxious scheme, – send home the business lobbyists and the propaganda spruikers like Geraldine Thomas, put the lid on the shonky Nuclear Royal Commission’s biased report, stop the silly nuke spinning Forums, and get on with running South Australia properly. Such an opportunity that State has, as a world leader in renewable energy!
Lack of trust more toxic than nuclear dump notion: Daniel Wills, The Advertiser September 23, 2016 “South Australia is still at the stage where it needs reassurance about the science, as well as the competency and motivations of a government that would oversee its administration.
No site has been selected to house the world’s high-level international waste for profit, should the state choose to build one, nor any explanation of how one would be picked. The State Government is yet to overturn laws that ban public money being spent on investigating the establishment of a nuclear dump or even to pick up the phone to ask places like Japan what they would pay…….
The Finnish operators say they would jump at the chance to form an alliance with SA to build a dump here…..
Mr Weatherill is likely to confirm before Christmas that the Government will begin the serious work of developing a robust business case…….
Expect the Government to seek money from overseas to undertake a major geological survey that rules out places too unsafe for disposal to occur. At a cost of up to $1 billion, this is too expensive for SA to fund itself, but could have the benefit of doubling as a discovery tool for new mining deposits.
From there, it is likely the offer will be thrown open to communities to show an interest, and estimates made of what they could receive. Even on the most extremely rapid timeline, that point is unlikely to have been reached by the time voters head to the polls in March 2018.
This project is multi-generational, with a point of no return years away. But it is a doubtful and open question as to whether our politics are up to the job…….Mr Weatherill has framed this as a great test of our democracy’s ability to consider difficult questions and come to wise solutions. … http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/lack-of-trust-more-toxic-than-nuclear-dump-notion-daniel-wills/news-story/e927e455e6f244f35a8b6743bc791adb
23 Sept 16 In today’s Advertiser, Jay Weatherill writes about the Finland nuclear waste project.( Jay Weatherill: South Australia can learn valuable lessons from nuclear waste facility at Eurajoki, Finland)
Weatherill’s article completely ignores the negative side of the project – over time, over budget, possibly too small even for Finland’s requirements. Meanwhile he spouts deceptive nonsense about it being so similar to the South Australian plan. He implies that it is already functioning, which is not true. He praises the supposed “transparency” and “community consultation”, which is also incorrect. (See When haste makes risky waste: Public involvement in radioactive and nuclear waste management in Sweden and Finland http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/radioactive-waste-and-spent-nuclear-fuel/2016-08-21710)
Dan Monceaux to Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 22 Sept 16 On his current delegation to Finland, Premier Weatherill has been accompanied by Bill Muirhead (Agent-General for South Australia), Madeleine Richardson (CE of CARA) and John Mansfield (chair of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Consultation and Response Agency (CARA) advisory board).
Muirhead is an advertising man with a political bend who has been busy promoting SA as a destination for defence and mining investment since his appointment as Agent-General in 2007.
Leon Ashton 21 Sep 2016
The government has the last say on the decision so as most people before me have said, no matter how many people are against it, the whole nuclear consultation process is a farce. The Know Nuclear displays tell half truths and make nuclear storage sound incredibly safe without adding any of the negatives. For a state which is struggling economically there seems to have been a helluva lot of money already spent in the name of nuclear. I don’t trust the government. We only need to look at the bungled RAH project and our useless desalination project to realize how inept the state government is. If SA becomes the world nuclear dumping ground, it will be the WORST decision an Australian government has ever made.
Steve Charles 20 Sep 2016
The article in today’s Australian demonstrates that the consultation process is a farce. Weatherill decided long ago that he wanted to turn SA into the world’s nuclear waste dump, and the “consultation” that has been going on is all for show. We are all being led by the nose to a conclusion that he wants, and the taxpayer pays for it all. Weatherill should be treated with the contempt he deserves.
It would be a disaster for SA to have a nuclear waste dump here.
Jay Weatherill will never get consent to go ahead from the South Austrlain public, to consent to a nuclear waste dump in South Australia. We know better despite what the media is reporting about the statistics. He must lose his position as Premier if the rest of the Labour Party has any sense.
Peter Lazic > Kay Dl 18 Sep 2016
I agree, but hot to get him kicked out before he takes the next step down the path of a nuclear waste dump.
Steve Charles > Kay Dl 20 Sep 2016
The decision was made long ago. We are all being led like lambs to the slaughter. Weatherill must be stopped.
Looks as though ourgov has lost interest in this discussion board. Ourgov’s rep last commented on 15 Aug. Maybe we are being very dull and boring. Any suggestions on how to spice this board up a bit.
Mary-Ann Lovejoy > Steve Ingham 16 Sep 2016
ARENA Cuts Impact Renewable Energy Businesses Business investment in Australia’s renewable energy sector will take a direct hit, with up to $5 billion of private funding at risk, as a result of the federal government’s decision to cut half a billion dollars from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Pro Bono, Wednesday, 21st September 2016 Ellie Cooper, Journalist Future Business Council executive director Tom Quinn said the government’s decision to cut funding to ARENA in the budget savings bill could have run-on effects on matched private-sector funding for renewable energy.
ARENA was saved from a worse fate, with the Coalition originally planning to strip $1.3 billion from the agency. Negotiations with the opposition secured $800 million in funding over the next five years.
But Quinn said the damage to the renewable energy sector would still be significant.
“The cuts to ARENA are shaking business confidence even further in the renewable energy space. This is a boom sector of this century, Australia’s got natural advantages in this space,” Quinn told Pro Bono Australia News.
“But the one thing holding back the industry is policy uncertainty created by hostile government actions.”
He said demand for renewable energy technology was “enormous”, with $329 billion invested globally in the sector last year.
But he said the role of ARENA was critical in launching renewable startups, growing viable businesses, and attracting local and international investment.
“If we’re talking about innovation in any new technology then early stage investment is critical, and that’s really where government comes in. Government has the ability to invest where the private sector can’t, and all too often that’s where Australia has let down its innovators and entrepreneurs,” he said.
“We haven’t got a good track record of backing early-stage innovation, and this is where ARENA was critical…….https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2016/09/arena-cuts-impact-renewable-energy-businesses/
In an era where short-term populist thinking prevails, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is pushing forward a project that is not only ridiculously long-term but has proven to be political dynamite.
So, Mr Weatherill would have to pull off something that has never been done anywhere else, a project even Finland thinks is too hard, one that could prove a major political headache, all to dump hazardous spent radioactive fuel Australia does not even use?
Why Jay Weatherill is in Finland to investigate Australia’s nuclear future, ABC News ANALYSIS By Europe correspondent James Glenday In case you missed it, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is in western Finland.
To investigate whether his state should build a high-level international nuclear waste dump to store radioactive uranium deep underground for at least 100,000 years.
The industry aficionados call it a “final repository”, but basically it is a big tomb-like system of tunnels built into solid bedrock where spent fuel rods are encased in steel, copper and clay.
Why should you care?
In an era where outrage is the cheapest commodity and short-term populist thinking prevails, the Premier is pushing forward a project that is not only ridiculously long-term but one that has proven elsewhere to be political dynamite.
A number of scientists believe a dump could be safely built and many economists think it could make South Australia $100 billion.
But it is also important to point out there is no pressing national need for this facility.
Australia does not produce high-level nuclear waste.
So, why is he in Finland?
Somewhat by chance, Finland is leading the world in the construction of a high-level waste facility 420 metres below Olkiluoto Island on the country’s west coast.
The company building it, Posiva, has been working on the idea since the 1970s, but quite reasonably assumed bigger nations like the United States, Britain, France, Sweden or Germany would come up with a solution they could copy.
But community opposition and controversy has killed, crippled or delayed plans for several radioactive dumps.
So, despite a couple of cost blow-outs, Finland has found itself at the front of the line.
And why do the Finns love the idea?
On a national level, opinion is actually mixed.
But around the “final repository”, the tax cuts, welfare increases, community facilities and jobs the nuclear industry has funded got the dump over the line.
Locals near Olkiluoto Island said, because they have benefited from nuclear energy, they also have a responsibility to safely manage the waste.
Currently, it is in a series of pools.
So, why not build an international dump then?
Ah, here is where we hit Finland’s “red line”.
According to Posiva executives, it would be “politically impossible”.
“Finland doesn’t want to become the waste dump of the world,” one said.
It is also against federal law.
Is it not also against Australian law?
Yes, it is.
But putting the politics aside, Posiva thinks it could help South Australia design and construct a high-level facility within 15 to 20 years.
Unsurprisingly, they are keen to try to sell their success to the world…………
OK. Is Jay Weatherill really likely to push on with this project?
He is likely to keep making positive noises, consulting and talking about how the waste facility discussion “must be led by the community”.
But the Labor Premier knows the biggest political threat to its development comes from his own side of politics…….
To realistically get a dump built in Australia, it will require the enthusiastic backing of a local community, industry, the South Australian Government and the Commonwealth for a period of at least 20 years, probably longer.
It is worth remembering proposals for many previous nuclear projects have proved controversial in Australia.
Also, you would have to convince a majority of people it is completely safe.
So, Mr Weatherill would have to pull off something that has never been done anywhere else, a project even Finland thinks is too hard, one that could prove a major political headache, all to dump hazardous spent radioactive fuel Australia does not even use? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-20/why-jay-weatherill-is-in-finland-to-investigate-nuclear-future/7859812
Finland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility want to export the technology to South Australia, The Advertiser Daniel Wills, Helsinki, Finland, The Advertiser September 21, 2016 OPERATORS of the world’s most advanced nuclear disposal facility want to export the technology to South Australia and form an alliance to help the state develop its own commercial facility to take waste from around the world.
At a briefing with Premier Jay Weatherill at Finland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility, Posiva Solutions Oy managing director Mika Pohjonen said his company would be willing to licence intellectual property and engineering solutions to SA if it were to proceed with expanding the local nuclear industry.
Posiva is a joint venture owned by two of Finland’s biggest energy companies — Teollisuuden Voima Oyj and Fortum Power and Heat. It is set to become the first organisation in the world to bury a canister of spent nuclear fuel when they begin inserting them into the bedrock from 2020. Mr Pohjonen said SA could hope to move from site selection to burying canisters within about 15 years, less than half the time taken by Finland, because the Scandinavians had already undertaken the slow work of proving the technology………
The Onkalo disposal site is about 10 times smaller than that conceived by SA’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.……
Mr Weatherill will by the end of the year declare a formal State Government position to Parliament on expansion of the industry………
“The next major step is a threshold question about whether we maintain our prohibition against a facility for spent fuel or whether we take a step to explore it further.”- Mr Weatherill said ….
As of last week there were one million, one hundred and thirty five thousand and seven hundred and eighty one voters on SA roll.
Day one of Roadshow coincided with the publication the day before of The Advertiser 24 p “Nuclear Dossier” hugely pro-nuclear using much of the info as used in roadshow and much much more.Token short pieces by Ian Lowe, Craig Wilkins,Mark Parnell. Free Copies of this available in the cafe area of Know Nuclear booth.
Also available,hot-off-press copies of Nuclear Citizens’ Jury “Nothing Report” from first jury, finalised July 10
. A passer-by informed us that an e-copy of the report had landed in the Inbox of every SA public servant on the day before (Friday
The previous day, Thursday July 28, a video message and Q&A from CARA (Consultation and Response Agency section of RC process) Director John Whelan ( fresh from 15 years at SANTOS) was beamed into every TAFE campus in the state. $3m
“Engagement ” strategy at work.
The CEO of CARA is Madeleine Richardson, fresh from the Premier’s Dept.
Both women (democracyCo)organising the details and minute by minute roll out of the Citizens Jury days have similar links. Good story on this by InDaily some time back.
Paul Richards No High Level International Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia 17 Sept 16
What are the probabilities this futurist scenario will unfold via TPP international treaties, setting up a nuclear industry here in Australia controlled by the United States?
1) Strip out State & Federal legislation prohibiting a nuclear industry
2) Legislate to allow US & foreign nuclear submarines to port
3) French Sf/Barracuda sub diesels drive swapped out for reactors
4) Stakeholders in sub reactors to train nuclear engineers
5) Sovereign Capital to fund waste repository and enrichment plant
6) Enrichment plant built next to waste storage [for the world’s unspent fuel including plutonium & weapons grade nuclear material]
7) Commission environmental reports for deployment of reactors
8) Fund reprocessing of unused fuel to fire experimental reactors
Be mindful, defunding of cheap alternative energy systems has already started, as the Federal Government has reduced the ARENA budget; while maintaining carbon energy subsidies and encouraging the nuclear industry sales executives to promote their product
A scenario where the acquisition of nuclear weapons is an obvious long-term objective of our government. Where Australia becomes a platform for not our own Foreign Policy or our sovereign interests, but US sovereign interests, deferring to US Foreign Policy
In doing so, becoming the 52 State of the United States of America by proxy for the Southern Hemisphere
Be aware, the UN Security Council P5; China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA police all international nuclear treaties on weapons & reactors
The IAEA answers nuclear weapons, energy and health issues only to the UN Security Council P5.
The World Health Organisation-WHO, sit’s below this chain of command. Since it’s inception in 1946 the WHO, has always sat outside the then WWII Allied “Big Four”; China, Soviet Union, the UK, the and the US hierarchical structure.
This information is on public record easily found scanning the United Nations Portal https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/
Daniel Wills: Final decision on nuclear waste repository in South Australia could be years away, Daniel Wills, The Advertiser, September 16, 2016 “……..there is an emerging degree of scepticism on the conservative side of state politics.
Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said he feared the state risked being distracted by a far-off vision of economic utopia instead of focusing on immediate reforms to its economy.
The Liberals have also raised concerns about the cost to taxpayers of investigating nuclear storage without any certainty that international customers would want to use it.
Mr Marshall said the Opposition was open to developing the industry in SA but the Government had shown a lack of focus in examining critical and urgent aspects of the proposal.
“There is just no way that SA can wait 15 years to have a nuclear-led recovery,” he said………..http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/daniel-wills-final-decision-on-nuclear-waste-repository-in-south-australia-could-be-years-away/news-story/5f76e4057d80304c52cccf25d2f2a440
SA premier in Finland to see nuclear dump SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 news.com.au Australian Associated Press South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has left for Finland to visit the world’s first deep disposal facility for used nuclear fuel as his government continues to grapple with the idea of establishing its own nuclear waste dump.
The facility at Eurajoki is still under construction and is due to open in the early 2020s……..
Mr Weatherill has pledged to outline the government’s final position on the proposal by the end of the year.
Greens MP Mark Parnell said as the premier visits the Finnish facility he should note that it is already nine years behind schedule and 300 per cent over budget.
Mr Parnell said the dump was also 20 times smaller than the one proposed for SA and was not designed to make a profit as it will only take Finland’s own waste.
“Having already wasted $10 million of taxpayers’ money on this folly, the premier needs to seriously consider at what point he allows economic reality rather than fanciful dreaming to enter this debate,” Mr Parnell said. http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/sa-premier-in-finland-to-see-nuclear-dump/news-story/2d96fb49559906a7a162ca58f8710b55