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.
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.
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
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)
This March, documents obtained exclusively by news.com.au revealed that hundreds of children and grandchildren of veterans exposed to radiation were born with shocking illnesses including tumours, Down syndrome, cleft palates, cerebral palsy, autism, missing bones and heart disease.
Other veterans posted to the Maralinga nuclear test site blamed the British Nuclear Test for an unusually high number of stillbirths and miscarriages among the group.
“The rest of the Aboriginal people in this country need to know the story as well,” “This one’s been kept very quiet.”
Nuclear will be on show at the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, South Australia from 17 September to 12 November.
The secret destruction of Australia’s Hiroshima, http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/the-secret-destruction-of-australias-hiroshima/news-story/9eabf722dbe2f87e03a297c2a348a8e1 news.com.au, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 WHEN nuclear explosions tore through Australia’s vast, arid centre, some people living there didn’t even know it was coming.
It devastated the country for miles around, annihilating every bird, tree and animal in its path.
Even today, the effects of our very own Hiroshima are still felt by the families it ripped apart, and those suffering horrific health problems as a result.
The British military detonated seven nuclear bombs in remote Maralinga, around 800km north-west of Adelaide, plus two at Emu Fields and three off the coast near Karratha, Western Australia.
They also staged hundreds of minor trials investigating the impact of non-nuclear explosions on atomic weapons, involving tanks, gun, mannequins in uniforms and even tethered goats. In many ways, these smaller tests were equally dangerous, spraying plutonium in all directions.
Yet most Australians know very little about the blasts that shattered communities, and the dramatic story now buried under layers of dust. Continue reading
Dick Smith questions submarine project, says plans are ‘ludicrous’ and ‘we’re being conned’ 891 ABC Adelaide, 14 Sept 16
French company DCNS won the $50 billion contract to build Australia’s next fleet of 12 submarines in Adelaide, which will replace the current Collins Class fleet. The company won the contract to build a modified version of its nuclear submarine, called the Shortfin Barracuda.
The Australian Government stipulated that the winning contract would need to use conventional power, ruling out larger, nuclear-powered submarines. The lead up to the submarine contract has involved election promises, business and political campaigns and lots of speculation.
Mr Smith said the re-designed version of the submarine would have to be converted to a diesel engine.
But he told 891 ABC Adelaide that was a ludicrous plan and he believed it would never happen.
“So the plan is for us to buy a nuclear submarine design and then convert it to a piston submarine,” he said. “Now no-one has ever done that in the world and in fact when I talk to submarine experts they say it is so ridiculous, so we’re being conned.”
Mr Smith said if the Government’s real agenda was to use nuclear technology, it should be up front about it……….
More details on subs project needed: Xenophon South Australia Senator Nick Xenophon said more detail about the submarines project was needed…..Senator Xenophon said he was concerned about the lack of certainty surrounding the project. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-13/dick-smith-questions-submarines-project-over-nuclear-power/7837946
IT crept up with such stealth that few people noticed it was even happening, but South Australia can now make fair claim to being the most secretive state in the country.
The Advertiser revealed two stories this week that should deeply concern lovers of open debate and informed democracy, and leave them demanding big changes.
After a period of welcome sunlight as court suppression orders sank to relative lows, they’ve spiked in the past two years and are running at their highest rate in a decade.
On top of that, a Monash University study admonished our Freedom of Information laws as the worst in the country and found the system was “designed to block, delay and obfuscate”.
But this viscous culture of secrecy isn’t isolated to those two important areas.
It seeped so far into the foundations of our Independent Commission Against Corruption that even the man running it has complained to lawmakers that the public is shielded from important information………
SA also trails other states in the protections offered to whistleblowers and any journalists they contact in an honest bid to get important stories of public interest into the light of day. This has a chilling affect on political debate, and makes it more likely that bad practices will survive.There are a few decent theories that help explain why SA stands out so darkly in the crowd………
When the ICAC legislation was drawn up the balance fell on the side of minimising the risk that people of standing would have their reputations unfairly smeared, rather than a bias towards ensuring the public had maximum access to information about what they were up to………. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/daniel-wills/news-story/10735e85a9e26eeea142501aa6985f25
Steve Dale, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 6 Sept 16 When exactly did Australia start calling what should be “High Level Waste” – “Intermediate Level Waste”? The following extract shows they had the correct definitions in 1985 : “The two categories of high level waste are unreprocessed spent fuel and the fission product/actinide residue generated from spent fuel reprocessing. Spent fuel is routinely stored in water-cooled ponds and HLW solution is stored for limited periods in water cooled tanks. HLW solution is being vitrified and stored in air-cooled vaults in France and India…. No country has yet disposed of either spent fuel or vitrified HLW.” from STORAGE AND DISPOSAL OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES by K.D. Reeve, Australian Atomic Energy Commission, 1985http://www.iaea.org/…/NCLCollec…/_Public/17/000/17000568.pdf
Steve Dale Date Found. Australia has based its definition of High Level Waste on an obsolete and superseded version of the IAEA “Classification of Radioactive Waste” 1994, (Safety Series 111-G-1.1). The latest version of the document defines HLW as “HLW typically has levels of activity concentration in the range of 104-106 TBq/m3”. The definition now is based purely on radioactivity and not thermal output. Time for Australia to get honest and start calling Spent Fuel and vitrified reprocessed waste what it is – High Level Waste. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/
Australia must not fall for the nuclear industry’s lie about climate change – theme for September 16
The global nuclear lobby’s current favourite lie is the one about climate change
Australia will be greatly impacted by climate change, yet Australia is an international pariah when it comes to acting to stop climate change.
Compounding this problem is the global nuclear lobby’s push to make Australia the key player in a new ‘nuclear renaissance’. The plan is to encourage South Asian nations to set up nuclear power, with South Australia as their toilet for nuclear wastes.
The last thing that we need is to direct money and energy to the nuclear industry, and away from renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Plimer rebuttals disappear https://www.crikey.com.au/2016/08/19/plimer-rebuttals-disappear/ We predicted the government would delete this document, and guess what, they did.
Back in 2014, Crikey published a piece by Clive Hamilton on the 12 people doing the most to block action on climate change in Australia, including Ian Plimer. Hamilton included this paragraph on Plimer’s book How to Get Expelled From School: “Plimer’s 2011 book — How to Get Expelled From School (launched by John Howard and mailed by the IPA to hundreds of schools) — listed 101 questions for sceptical students to ask their “warmist” teachers, i.e. those who respect science. The federal Department of Climate Change (abolished by Abbott) prepared a responsethat thoroughly debunked his claims in words a child can understand. How long before Environment Minister Greg Hunt is instructed to have this demolition of Plimer taken down?”
A Sydney blogger checked back with the department’s website at regular intervals over 2014, and stopped by this week to see if the PDF was still up — but now it’s nowhere to be found. We knew it would happen eventually.
Strategic US Military Intel Base in Pine Gap, Australia, By Richard Neville Global Research, April 30, 2008 PINE GAP MIND GAP: A TERROR CELL THAT NEVER SLEEPS. “…..This is Pine Gap, a US military base built on the traditional land of the indigenous Arrernte people, which started life in 1966. Australians were told the facility was to be a weather station. Later the official cover was a “Space Research Centre”. Our citizens remained in the dark until 1975, when Prime Minister Whitlam revealed that Pine Gap’s boss, Richard Stallings, was an agent of the CIA.
Up till then, according to former Minister Clyde Cameron, politicians had regarded the base as “a pretty harmless sort of operation”. Whitlam demanded a list of all CIA agents in the country. This infuriated US spy masters, who put pressure on the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to shut him up. CIA fears over the leaking of Pine Gaps’ secret activities helped to trigger the murky events that toppled the Whitlam government.
Pine Gap’s first generation of satellites was designed to monitor Soviet missile developments and for espionage in South East Asia, especially Vietnam, and later to spy on China. Since then, both its mission and capabilities have expanded dramatically. The base is believed to have provided targeting information for Israel’s 2006 bombing of Lebanon.
Pine Gap is one of largest and most sophisticated satellite ground stations in the world. Its 26 antennas suck information from the sky and distribute it to US commanders in the field, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it is used to co-ordinate air strikes…….
If Australia wishes to regain its reputation as a fair minded nation, the government will need to take a closer look at this secretive installation, an integral part of the US National Missile Defense scheme, or Star Wars.
It aims to put satellite based weapons in space to shoot down any incoming missiles. New radomes (radar + dome) to accommodate the system have already been installed.
The majority of Pine Gap’s 1000 staff are Americans drawn from branches of the US military, including the National Security Agency, Army and Navy Information Operations Command, US Navy and Combined Support Group, Air Intelligence Agency, US Air Force, 704th Military Intelligence Brigade, 743rd Military Intelligence Battalion, Marine Cryptologic Support Command, etc. The base is described as a “joint facility”, although key areas are out of bounds to Australians. While visiting US lawmakers are taken on tours of Pine Gap, Federal MP’s are denied entry. (Members of Congress have collectively invested up to $US196 million in companies with Defense Department contracts, earning millions since the onset of the Iraq invasion. Until May 2007, Hillary Clinton held holdings in Honeywell, Boeing and – yes – Raytheon).
In 2000, the Howard Government rejected calls by Parliament’s Joint Committee on Treaties for a classified briefing on its operations. There is no public debate on the role of Pine Gap, despite its unbending support of all US military actions, regardless of legality or morality. As for the media, they’re asleep at the wheel……..http://www.globalresearch.ca/strategic-us-military-intel-base-in-pine-gap-australia/8858
Indigenous Australians Fight Planned Nuclear Dump On Sacred Lands, Huffington Post, Timothy Large, 18 Aug “……..CONFLICT OF INTEREST?
Opponents say the government’s process for selecting the site was tainted from the start.
Wallerberdina is co-leased by Grant Chapman, a retired Liberal Party lawmaker who in 1995 chaired a Senate committee that called for a central repository for nuclear waste.
Last year, the government asked for volunteers to accept the dump. Wallerberdina was among 28 nominations nationwide. In May, the government chose it from a final shortlist of six.
“Chapman should understand that that’s not his land to make that bid,” said Tauto Sansbury, chair of the Aboriginal Congress of South Australia. “He should have negotiated with the traditional owners.”
In his home office in Adelaide, Chapman denied there was any conflict of interest in offering up his land.
“It just happened that I think that country, being isolated, and the nature of the topography and geology and so on, is a suitable spot. So that’s why we put it up,” he said.
He declined to say how much he could profit from the sale. Media reports have said he could make four times the market value of the land.
Asked about the possible desecration of sacred sites, he said: “I think it’s quite a wild claim to assert that the whole of the property has cultural significance.”
Back at Yappala, traditional owner Regina McKenzie was dangling her feet in Hookina Creek, whose underground aquifer is so ancient that she says its waters “rained on dinosaurs.”
“It’s racism towards our culture. This is our belief system … It’s like me and my sisters going to the Vatican and saying we want to put a waste dump right under the pillar where they say St. Peter is buried.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/indigenous-australians-fight-planned-nuclear-dump-on-sacred-lands_us_57b5f8c9e4b00d9c3a161db9
US Senators detail a climate science “web of denial” but the impacts go well beyond their borders Australians have been both helpers and victims of the fossil fuelled web of climate science denial being detailed in the U.S Senate, Guardian, Graham Readfearn, 12 July 16, By the middle of this week, about 20 Democratic Senators in the US will have stood up before their congress to talk about the fossil fuelled machinery of climate science denial.
The Senators are naming the fossil fuel funders, describing the machinery and calling out the characters that make up a “web of denial”……
Australia has been a consumer, a contributor and a victim of the web of climate science denial.Australia has long provided personnel and contributors to the efforts of several of the key groups being named in the US Senate.
The late Dr Robert Carter, once of James Cook University, was an advisor and active contributor to several of the groups, including the Heartland Institute and the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).
Malcolm Roberts (the wannabe One Nation Australian Senator) and bloggers JoNova and her husband David Evans have all written reports for the SPPI that claim human-caused climate change is some sort of elaborate hoax.
Retired Australian meteorologist William Kininmonth is also an SPPI science advisor.
Australian politicians have flown over to the United States to speak at conferences for climate science denialists hosted by the Heartland Institute – the group that once compared the acceptance of human-caused climate science to the values of terrorist and mass murderer Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski.
Former Family First Senator Steve Fielding, current Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi and the current Nationals MP George Christensen have all spoken at Heartland’s conferences. The conferences themselves have been enthusiastically sponsored by several Australian groups over the years.
Australia’s role in the web of denial has been running since the 1990s, when groups like the CEI flew staff to Australia to firm up opposition to greenhouse gas regulations around the world.
Partnerships were formed with groups like the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs, which has hosted and supported many visits from US-based climate science denialists.
Once here, those speakers will write columns for newspapers, do radio and television interviews and travel around the country to give talks.
In 2011 when the Gillard Government was trying to introduce laws to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, the stopgillardscarbontax.com enlisted Pat Michaels, of the Cato Institute, as a science advisor. Cato is another member of the web of denial. Michaels once estimated that about 40 per cent of his funding came from the petroleum industry.
The impact of all this on the Australian public and the way the media covers climate science is clear.
There remains a split among Australians about the cause of climate change, despite multiple studies showing that more than 90 per cent of climate scientists are in agreement that it’s the burning of fossil fuels that’s driving up temperatures, fuelling weather extremes, raising sea levels, melting ice sheets and killing corals (and that’s just a few of the impacts).
The public becomes doubtful and the media, so often looking for controversy and conflict, has been a conduit for the fossil fuelled messages.
The fossil fuel companies, meanwhile, retain a grip on their so-called “social licence to operate.”
When Senator Whitehouse said the web of denial is “so big, because it has so much to protect” we might also think that we have so much to lose.
In failing to unravel the web of denial and by allowing our public discourse to be polluted by fossil fuelled PR outfits, ideologues and pseudo-science, who knows how much time we may have lost.
(I’m correcting a previous version of this post, here) The South Australian government already rushed through legislation that overturned South Australia’s legislation against spending money on nuclear industry development, (making this retrospective of course – to cover the $millions already spent)
The next step is to overturn the whole Act, or at least those parts of it which prohibit importing a nd storing foreign wastes.
Weatherill is quoted in THE AUSTRALIAN today as saying ”
“they (the Citizens’ Jury) are asking us to also change the legislation to undertake that work”.
That is a lie. The jury was merely repeating what the Nuclear Royal Commission said. The jury kept to their brief – no decisions or recommendations – just regurgitate what the Commission said.
Turnbull’s #Innovation and #IdeasBoom is to flog fossil fuels. KaBOOM! Independent Australia Tracey Anton 28 May 2016 “………In an article in Crikey by Paddy Manning, entitled ‘Hunt pins hopes on uncompetitive clean coal technology’, Manning writes:
White told Manning:
‘..It halves CO2 emissions and will be eligible for Emissions Reduction Funding under Direct Action policies.’
Not only was White in financial trouble prior to receiving over $20 million in “grants” for the DICE project but he had also incurred a loss of $6 million in the 2012 calendar year.
White is an old Liberal heavyweight who was former Prime Minister John Howard’s right hand man in developing the Uranium Industry Framework for Australia’s nuclear future and just happens to hold dominion over thousands of square kilometres in Gippsland through the company he is shareholder and founder of, Ignite Energy Resources. He also has an uncanny knack of developing new coal technology which will reward him benefits under the Coalition’s Direct Action climate policy that he advised on.
Then there were the concerns over a $3 billion port in Gippsland when White, allegedly, was head of the (GRID) panel on transport infrastructure. That would go with his planned open cut coal minein the groundwater depleted area of Gelliondale.
Next, was the inclusion of biomass (another “clean” energy project) in the Renewable Energy Target securing White feedstock from our Gippsland forests. Now, he is telling government that his Gippsland Gas project will provide an abundance of “clean, agricultural quality” extracted water from his proposed biogenic coal gas project in the water stressed area of South Gippsland. Simply put, it is coal seam gas with the same destructive intrusions and the same hazards.
White’s most grandiose venture was to produce nuclear energy for the world by turning uranium into nuclear fuel rods, leasing them and bringing back the waste (including plutonium from the U.S. weapons industry). It’s interesting that Ignite holds leases for thorium adjacent to the iconic Ninety Mile Beach in Gippsland. Thorium – uranium’s young sister – is hailed by nuclear proponents as the green energy source of the future.
Only problem is, its exploration and mining is banned in Victoria. Bizarrely, when IA‘s Sandi Keane and I reported on White’s involvement in Ignite (‘Victorian government ignores Gippsland gasfield concerns’), the Minerals Council of Victoria rather stupidly tried to get the article pulled. They claimed we’d got the WRONG John White. We didn’t. It was a desperate act by MCA. You can find the whole story here. It seems the reason they wanted us to pull the article was because they’d applied to the former state LNP government to have the legislation banning exploration and mining of thorium and uranium repealed and didn’t want White’s name mentioned. Welcome to the shadowy world of Dr White.https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/turnbulls-innovation-and-ideasboom-is-to-flog-fossil-fuels-kaboom,9038
Australia covered up UN climate change fears for Tasmania forests and Kakadu
Fears about damage to the Great Barrier Reef were removed from UN report along with concern about a threat to the environment in two other heritage sites, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 29 May 16, A draft UN report on climate change, which was scrubbed of all reference to Australia over fears it could deter visitors to the Great Barrier Reef, also outlined possible threats to the Tasmania wilderness and Kakadu.
The draft report contained a chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, which described climate change as “the biggest long-term threat to the [reef] today, and to its ecosystems services, biodiversity, heritage values and tourism economy”.
It concluded that “without a comprehensive response more in keeping with the scale of the threat, the [reef]’s extraordinary biodiversity and natural beauty may lose its world heritage values”.
But before it was scrubbed, the report had two other key sections on Australian world heritage sites, and the threats they face from climate change.
One of those sections was on the Tasmanian wilderness…….the censored section of the Unesco report on Tasmania is clear about the “dire” nature of the threat.
It said: “A 2013 assessment of climate threats identified the same habitats as at high risk from greater fire frequency and drier conditions, with likely catastrophic implications for fauna. These dire predictions appeared to be playing out in January 2016, when tens of thousands of hectares of forest burned, sparked by lightning strikes that came in a month when temperatures were 2C above average and in the wake of the driest two-year period ever recorded for the region.”
The deleted section on Kakadu national park contained similarly dire warnings.
It described the important natural and cultural values of Kakadu, which has been inhabited by Aboriginal people for 50,000 years.
“The thousands of rock art sites in the park are at risk from damage by more extreme rainfall events, while sea level rise is happening at twice the global average along the northern Australian coast,” the draft report said.
It warned that fresh-water wetlands were at risk from sea level rise, as they are likely to be inundated with salt water. “Climate change threatens Aboriginal traditional use by altering the ecosystems of the vast wetlands of Kakadu and raising temperatures to a level likely to lead to more intense fire regimes,” the report said.
The final version of the report entitled “World heritage and tourism in a changing climate” was published last week by Unesco, United Nationsenvironment programme and the Union of Concerned Scientists, with all references to Australia removed.
The lead author of the report, Adam Markham, told Guardian Australia: “I was shocked when I read in the Guardian the reasons the Australian government gave for why they had pressured Unesco to drop the Australian sites.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/29/australia-covered-up-un-climate-change-fears-for-tasmania-forests-and-kakadu