Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear whistleblowers strive for a green future for generations to come.

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, October 1

We are in debt to people like Rick Parks receiver of the IEEE Barus Ethics award while being a nuclear whistleblower, and Australia’s own ANSTO whistleblower David Reid, whom I hold in great regard of their honesty and credibility, that of which the opposing dichotomy has proven to have shortcomings. These whistleblowers have suffered loses to erode our ignorance, and we owe it to them to keep passing the anti-nuclear baton and strive for a green future for generations to come. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/?multi_permalinks=837501786594633%2C837469919931153&notif_id=1538379410382955&notif_t=group_activity

Advertisements

October 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

‘Adani and the War Over Coal’ – a new book: Quentin Beresford spills the devious beans

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Adani and the War Over Coal’ — a pox on both their Parties, Independent Australia  John Biggs 30 September 2018  The story of the devious and secretive negotiations between Adani and Australian governments of both stripes is appalling, writes John Biggs. “…… Conservation groups, Indigenous people and, eventually, a strong majority of ordinary Australians are outraged. In this book, Dr Beresford brings his sharp research and writing skills to tell this story of the war over coal.Gautam Adani had close connections with India’s PM Narendra Modi, who protected Adani over environmental and human rights violations in India. Adani donated heavily to both major Australian parties, especially to the Coalition. The Abbott and subsequent Coalition governments pushed for Adani as hard as they could. At first, so did Labor, but then sort of didn’t, but if certain conditions are met, well, maybe .

ISSUES IN DISPUTE

The major issues in dispute, as Bereford see it, are as follows.

Climate change

If all the Carmichael coal is burned – here or anywhere – the carbon emissions would be more than Australia already produces. That would likely tip global warming irreversibly. The pro-Adani group deny this.

Great Barrier Reef

The Reef is already seriously endangered by climate change, drainage from fertilised farmlands, and starfish. The mine would make matters immeasurably worse, as dredging (authorised byLabor’s Tony Burke) has already indicated.

Julie Bishop even denied the Great Barrier Reef would be in any danger.

Beresford notes (p.361):

‘None of the major parties has been prepared to unequivocally put the reef’s long term health over the interests of the fossil fuel industry.’

Great Artesian Basin

The Great Artesian Basin, vital for Australian agriculture, would be seriously endangered by the mine, either through using the water or by puncturing and draining the Basin. Adani supporters say this is exaggerated, and anyway coal mining is a thirsty business.

Native title

Doongmabulla Springs is in the mining area and is of high cultural significance to the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples. However Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) that favour developers have been foisted onto the locals. These are currently under appeal.

Economic case

The costs of mining coal are now higher than the costs of producing renewables — and the difference is rapidly widening. With Adani’s projected costs, current debts and likely returns, Adani is predicted to lose crippling amounts of money if it proceeds.

Adani’s poor safety, criminal and environmental record

First in India and now here, Adani operations have already badly polluted land in the Carmichael region.

WHY, WHY, WHY?

Given all of this, why on Earth would Australian governments be so determined to support the Adani project?

Beresford discusses these issues and others in depth. His findings and assertions are fully referenced, his arguments convincing.

While much of this is due to the shocking judgement and wickedness of individual people, Beresford sees (p.360) as even more important the way in which the coal wars have transformed politics: …….https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/book-review-adani-and-the-war-over-coal–a-pox-on-both-their-parties,11949

October 1, 2018 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Great Barrier Reef scientists told to focus on projects to make government look good

Emails tabled in Senate inquiry recommended ‘trade-offs’ to Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Guardian, Ben Smee @BenSmee 26 Sep 2018

Great Barrier Reef scientists were told they would need to make “trade-offs” to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, including focusing on projects that would look good for the government and encourage more corporate donations, emails tabled in the Senate reveal.

The documents, including cabinet briefing notes, contain significant new details about the workings of the foundation and the government decision to award it a $443m grant, including:

  • The executives of mining, gas and chemicals companies – and international financial houses that actively back fossil-fuel projects – were among the guests at a six-star retreat hosted by the foundation less than a month after the grant was announced;
  • The media companies Foxtel and Fairfax and the tech giant Google are among a tightly held list of donors to the foundation;
  • The only CSIRO employee contacted about the grant before the announcement in April was in Patagonia, and did not get the email. Documents have previously revealed that the government’s peak science agency was cut out of the decision to award the grant;
  • In August, as scrutiny of the grant intensified, public servants pushed to block a long-planned meeting between the then science minister, Michaelia Cash, and the head of the foundation, Anna Marsden, because of concern about the “optics”.

Emails sent by staff at the Australian Institute of Marine Science outline how government expectations, the ability to leverage private donations and public perceptions “may drive the [foundation] to prioritise shorter-term research initiatives in order to demonstrate progress and return on investment”.

“Where it becomes challenging is that … interventions with the largest future benefit also take the longest to develop,” the institute’s executive director of strategic policy, David Mead, wrote in an email to colleagues.

“Among other trade-offs, we will need to determine to what degree we focus on quick wins or whether we progress longer-term strategic interventions and accept that we will only partially progress them during the next five years (perhaps with little outward visibility of success/progress).”

The emails also reveal an initial state of uncertainty about how a $100m allocation for reef restoration and adaptation would be handled……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/26/great-barrier-reef-scientists-told-to-focus-on-projects-to-make-government-look-good?CMP=share_btn_tw.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Why is the Australian government so secretive about Commonwealth land available for nuclear wastes?

Senator Rex Patrick No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia

LOOK AT CROWN SITES FOR RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY

Yesterday I received copies of minutes from the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) Steering Committee under Freedom of Information laws.

What is clear from these minutes is that the Government has secretly considered a number of Commonwealth owned land parcels as potential NRWMF sites. Why has this fact not been made public? Why don’t we know what sites were considered? Why has the analysis and any decisions associated with potential Commonwealth sites not been made public?

It staggers me, in a process that the Minister claims to be open and transparent, that this important aspect of site selection process has not been made public, nor open to scrutiny.

I have written to Minister Canavan asking him to provide me with details of sites considered and the associated analysis. If he won’t I will seek a Senate Order for Production of Documents to get access to them.

Copies of the minutes are available here.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/g1nmw3nmgljp…/NRWMF%20Minutes.pdf…    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/?multi_permalinks=2498364660177316%2C2498213100192472&notif_id=1534461842151654&notif_t=group_activity

August 17, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Nuclear sacrifice bribe – no guarantee that it will all go to the towns hosting nuclear waste dump

Katrina Bohr No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 23 July 18

Media breakdown is that an extra 20 million is going to whoever hosts the dump, on top of the 10 million already promised.
The 20 million is to deliver long-term infrastructure projects.
In my opinion this amount was already allocated.
In the Federal government’s Business Case for the waste dump, these numbers are already part of their estimations.
There is no doubt the promise of infrastructure is to sustain their facility. 
This is manipulation by the government due to the pending postal vote.

Annette Ellen Skipworth The 10 million is going to go to the state government not the local government …and they dont have to spend it in the local area 

July 23, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, wastes | Leave a comment

Australian Government aid contracts given to crooked company

comment from Brett Stokes “Jacobs, the company that bought out SKM” Jacobs MCM were paid by the Scarce Royal Commission to produce a business case for nuclear waste imports. Same mob?

the firm was bought out by Californian contracting giant Jacobs. The government continues to award contracts to Jacobs on defence-related projects.

Australia handed out millions in aid contracts to company accused of bribery, Guardian , Sinclair Knight 15July18Merz, a donor to both Labor and Liberal parties, won contracts worth $489m for Asia-Pacific projects.

The Australian government awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid contracts to a company that was found to have been systematically bribing high-level Vietnamese officials.

Australian consulting firm Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), a donor to both the Labor and Liberal parties, was a significant corporate player in the government’s foreign aid program for more than a decade, winning 83 contracts worth $489m for projects across the Asia-Pacific.

But Guardian Australia can reveal evidence of widespread corruption by the firm as it operated in one south-east Asian nation and allegations over dealings in another.

In Vietnam, the firm was found to have repeatedly bribed public officials to secure work on three aid projects funded by the World Bank.

“[The firm used] comparably sophisticated means of affecting and covering up the illegitimate payments through the use of third-party agreements, ghost contracts, and fake invoices,” the World Bank’s independent integrity arm alleged, according to a sanctions decision.

Different SKM subsidiaries were used to help mask the bribes and make the payments. A range of staff appeared to have knowledge of the payments.

One staff member gave damning testimony that SKM had made “provision[s] for illegitimate payments in all of the projects for which [the firm] tendered since 2000”.

SKM is also now facing criminal prosecution in Australia for conspiring to bribe officials in two countries: Vietnam and the Philippines

Court documents seen by Guardian Australia allege SKM offered bribes to Vietnamese officials between 2006 and November 2011 to secure work on four infrastructure projects, including in Thanh Hoa, Da Nang and the northern mountains. The company is alleged to have offered benefits of $USD880,000 ($AUD1,193,632).

SKM also allegedly conspired to bribe officials on five separate projects in the Philippines between 2000 and mid-2005, including sewage, river rehabilitation, and air quality projects in Manila, and an urban services project on Mindanao.

The firm is accused of offering benefits worth about PHP 6,543,578.94 ($AUD165,768.09) to “unknown public officials” from the Philippines working on the tender approval process for infrastructure projects.

There is no evidence SKM directly used Australian taxpayers’ money to bribe foreign officials and there is no suggestion it acted improperly to win aid contracts from the Australian government

But the case has raised questions about the strength of Australia’s supposedly “zero tolerance” approach to foreign bribery and the level of scrutiny applied to Australian corporations that win big through the foreign aid program.

Australian authorities are likely to have known about the bribery allegations since at least 2012, when the firm self-reported to the World Bank’s integrity arm, which has a formal information sharing agreement with the federal government.

The Australian federal police (AFP) began investigating the allegations in July 2013.

Despite this, the government continued to contract SKM on foreign aid projects until the end of 2013, when the firm was bought out by Californian contracting giant Jacobs. The government continues to award contracts to Jacobs on defence-related projects.

In total, the company received 83 contracts worth $489m from Australia’s aid program between 2000 and 2014, according to government figures. It worked largely on infrastructure-related aid projects, and advisory, consulting and service-oriented contracts relating to a diverse range of topics, including sanitation, energy, and health care on Nauru.

SKM was awarded Australian aid contracts specifically relating to Vietnam in 2008, 2009 and 2011, and the Philippines in 2008 and 2012.

Anti-corruption advocates have long warned against continuing to give government contracts to firms found to have paid bribes to foreign officials.

In 2016, Transparency International urged the government to legislate to bar such companies from government work if they are found to have bribed overseas officials – an approach taken in Canada and the United States……..

Aid/Watch, an NGO that scrutinises Australia’s aid program, said there had been a significant shift to favouring large corporates to deliver foreign aid since 2013.

The group’s coordinator, Natalie Lowrey, said this corporatisation of aid made it more difficult to ensure accountability. NGOs who deliver government-funded aid are subject to extreme scrutiny, requiring accreditation, solid governance structures, a proven track record, and compliance with strict transparency measures, Lowrey said.

There is no accountability for private companies administering aid, whereas, Australian NGOs are strictly accredited,” she said. ……..

The decision to prosecute SKM was not publicly announced and the cases went unreported when they first appeared in a Sydney court last month.

Guardian Australia has seen documents that confirm that the claims being brought against SKM relate to foreign bribery offences under the commonwealth criminal code. The claims relate to activities in both Vietnam and the Philippines. The case is ongoing.https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jul/13/australia-handed-out-millions-in-aid-contracts-to-company-accused-of-bribery?CMP=share_btn_fb

 

July 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Minister Matt Canavan lies on ABC radio, about having “broad community support” for nuclear waste dump sites

Katrina Bohr No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/, June 20 at 12:20 PM  An interview with Matt Canavan, near the end. His flexible term of broad community support for a nuclear waste facility is quoted in the Australian-‘There is already broad community support for three South Australian properties.’

This is news to those communities. Another example of the flawed process.http://www.abc.net.au/radio/adelaide/programs/breakfast/breakfast/9862826

June 22, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Resources Minister Matt Canavan lying to South Australians on nuclear waste. Does he think that we are all fools?

Barb Walker  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 19 June 18 

I’ve just listened to another snow job on ABC 891 and then repeated on ABC 639. Senator Canavan is not telling the truth. He also contradicted statements he made in ‘The Australian’ newspaper this week.

Mr Canavan, your nuclear waste dump does NOT have 65% community support. He has used a figure from a dodgy phone poll that was conducted well over 2 years ago in the Flinders Ranges. Incidentally, that poll only consulted a small percentage of people on fixed phone lines – asking if they would like more information about the process of hosting a nuclear waste facility and so on. Hardly grounds to spruik 65% support, Mr Canavan!

This has been a flawed process every step of the way.

Senator Rex Patrick states, and rightly so;
“RADIOACTIVE WASTE SITE SELECTION = A SHAM”

Here in the Flinders, we have been fighting this proposed dump for over 2 years. Stress levels are through the roof for a lot of people within our communities. People are getting sick, and some are just sick and tired of hearing about it and many wanting the dump to just, go away!

The Australian Radiation Protection And Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), has stated they will not give a licence to build a nuclear waste facility where there is no community support. Why then are the facts being twisted to suit Mr Canavan? He is still spruiking “hospital waste”. Does he think he is talking to fools? Our communities have done extensive research and we are well informed. Perhaps we know more than he does? 

Doesn’t he realise the implications of the ILW sitting in the Flinders for hundreds of years with no forward plans of future repacking and deep underground disposal. Lay your plans on the table, Senator Canavan. Let’s hear it.

If we were to hide valuable information by twisting the truth to suit an outcome that will effect communities for hundreds, if not thousands, of years we would all lose our jobs and probably finish up in jail.

Senator Canavan, if the August vote swings to a ‘NO’ vote will that be seen by you as just, “community sentiment” or does NO actually mean NO ? https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

June 19, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian uranium company Paladin leaves a mess behind it, in Africa

Who cleans up the mess when an Australian uranium mining company leaves Africa?Jim Green, 18 June 2018, The Ecologist   www.theecologist.org/2018/jun/18/who-cleans-mess-when-australian-uranium-mining-company-leaves-africa

Australian mining companies have a poor track record operating in Africa. Australian uranium company Paladin Energy has now put two of its mines into ‘care-and-maintenance’ and bankruptcy looms. But who cleans up the company’s mess in Namibia and Malawi, asks JIM GREEN

Many Australian mining projects in Africa are outposts of good governance – this is what Julie Bishop, the country’s Foreign Minister, told the Africa Down Under mining conference in Western Australia in September 2017. The Australian government “encourages the people of Africa to see us as an open-cut mine for lessons-learned, for skills, for innovation and, I would like to think, inspiration,” the minister said.

But such claims sit uneasily with the highly critical findings arising from a detailed investigation by the International Consortium of Independent Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ noted in a 2015 report that since 2004, more than 380 people have died in mining accidents or in off-site skirmishes connected to Australian mining companies in Africa.

The ICIJ report further stated: “Multiple Australian mining companies are accused of negligence, unfair dismissal, violence and environmental law-breaking across Africa, according to legal filings and community petitions gathered from South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Ghana.”

Paladin Energy’s Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi provides a case study of the problems with Australian mining companies in Africa. Western Australia-based Paladin exploited Malawi’s poverty to secure numerous reductions and exemptions from payments normally required by foreign investors.

United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter noted in a 2013 report that “revenue losses from special incentives given to Australian mining company Paladin Energy, which manages the Kayelekera uranium mine, are estimated to amount to at least US$205 million (MWK 67 billion) and could be up to US$281 million (MWK 92 billion) over the 13-year lifespan of the mine.”

Paladin’s environmental and social record has also been the source of ongoing controversy and the subject of numerous critical reportsContinue reading

June 19, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

USA nuclear authorities rename nuclear waste to make it sound safer: so do Australia’s

Paul Waldon  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 18 June 18
The American Department Of Energy’s (DOE), June 4th 2018 proposal to re-label (reclassify or rename) Hanford’s highly radioactive tank waste so it will not have to comply with the time consuming requirements of treating or disposing of such waste.
And if the DOE gets their way, high level radioactive waste “residue” will become “Waste Incidental to Reprocessing,” or WIR. This also means, radioactive waste in Hanford’s leaky tanks will only be cemented or grouted over, and will continue to purge its dangerous contents into the neighbouring Columbia river.
America’s irresponsible attempt to reclassify high grade radioactive waste is reminiscing of Australia labeling high grade waste as intermediate, and for those people that can’t remember it was only on the eve of WIPP’s inauguration that the residents of Carlsbad were adroit to the fact that radioactive waste to be accepted was of a greater classification at their unseen backdoor than indicated coming through the documented front-door. 

So is Australia building a backdoor for waste abandonment? https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

June 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

ANSTO’s secret transport of spent nuclear fuel assemblies through Sydney’s streets

The Australian 1st June 2018 ,If you look out the window and glimpse a convoy winding through Sydney’s streets guarded by swarms of federal agents and state police, don’t be alarmed.

Any day now a decade’s worth of spent nuclear fuel assemblies weighing 24 tonnes will be moved out of Sydney’s Lucas Heights facility in a highly sensitive transport mission months in the making.

The radioactive cargo is set to be shipped to La Hague, in France, but details about the port, routes and specific timing of the operation remain classified with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) only disclosing it will happen mid-year.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/guarded-nuclear-shipment-to-depart-sydney/news-story/a878a37d7528fa62b7b9e70d7284475a?nk=3adfd2e6af8da25abc149e98fc9467b0-1527847195

June 3, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, safety, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

USA rejected Julian Assange’s offer to talk about Wikileaks and ‘Russiagate’

US has no interest in hearing what Julian Assange can freely say about Russiagate – Max Blumenthal https://www.rt.com/news/428010-assange-russiagate-testimony-blumenthal/ 

May 30, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Adani coal mining company to pay for Isaac council staff working on Carmichael mine activities

Adani to pay for Isaac council staff working on Carmichael mine activities, ABC News 28 May 18 By Josh Robertson and Emilia Terzon 

May 27, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

“Nuclear Medicine” – the fig leaf on the toxic nuclear industry – theme for May 2018

Small rural communities in South Australia are being told that it’s their patriotic duty to save Australia’s nuclear medicine –  by allowing a nuclear waste dump in their area.

This is the patently lying propaganda of the Australian Government ‘s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science  now busily involve spending tax-payers’ money on pro nuclear spin.

The real purpose of the radioactive trash dump is to host nuclear waste – euphemistically called “intermediate level” waste – currently stored in of 9,8000 leaking rusty barrels  at Woomera, and also the wastes produced by the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. These also so-called “intermediate ” wastes are the reprocessed wastes returned from France, with more to come in the future.

The Australian nation is being conned by the government and its well-funded nuclear promotion organisation Australian National Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), with the furphy that the whole purpose of the reactor is medical.

(a) the “medical isotope” function was tacked on  – the original purpose was to lead to nuclear weapons. The current purpose is just a foot in the door for the whole nuclear fuel chain.

(b) Nuclear reactors are now going out of fashion, as the cheaper, more flexible, local, cyclotrons can produce medical isotopes safely – with no radioactive waste created.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Costly and top secret transport of nuclear waste from Lucas Heights to port, then to France

Tight security for shipment of nuclear waste from Lucas Heights to France, THE AUSTRALIAN, SIAN POWELL, 12 APR 18 

A top-secret security operation to send spent radioactive fuel rods from Australia’s nuclear reactor to France for reprocessing is planned for the coming months.

Potentially involving hundreds of state and federal police, the details of the transport operation will remain confidential until after the shipment arrives at La Hague, in northwest France.

Unused uranium and plutonium will then be removed from the fuel rods, and the residual waste eventually returned to Australia for storage. About 500kg of unused low-enriched uranium and 4.5kg of unused plutonium will be recovered from the rods…

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights in Sydney’s south has confirmed the shipment will be trucked to a port for transport to La Hague midway through this year.

The route, the port, the time and the ship, as well as the numbers of ­security personnel, will remain confidential until after the mission is completed.

The last shipment of spent rods was sent to the US in 2009, and both Port Kembla and Port Botany have been used as shipment ports in the past.

When reprocessed nuclear waste was returned to Australia in 2015 for storage at Lucas Heights, more than 500 police were ­deployed to guard the shipment, and it is expected at least that number will guard the radioactive cargo destined for France.

The radioactive spent fuel rods will be packed into an undisclosed number of ­immensely tough lead and stainless steel transport casks for the journey to France.

“These casks are purpose-­engineered to safely transport this type of material without risk to people or the environment,” said the manager of the multipurpose OPAL Reactor at Lucas Heights, Dave Vittorio. “Even a jet plane strike could not penetrate them.”

The total cost of the project is $45 million, including the contract with France, equipment, staff costs, and incidentals.

…… Australia, like other nations, pays to use the La Hague facility’s infrastructure and expertise. The shipment will be the 10th export of spent nuclear fuel ­assemblies used in the OPAL ­reactor’s first 10 years of operation. ….https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/tight-security-for-shipment-of-nuclear-waste-from-lucas-heights-to-france/news-story/5549c370206c15aa1bc1a4b2367d6552

April 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety, secrets and lies | Leave a comment