Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Ben Heard and Barry Brook spruik for nuclear reprocessing at Port Augusta

These two nuclear spruikers have been at it for decades – promoting the nuclear industry under the cover of pretending to be environmentalists.

logo-bright-new-worldNow they’re at least ‘coming out’ about being nuclear lobbyists.   It is surprising that  the Australian National University is publishing  (in the Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies journal)  their claims about recycling nuclear waste as a multi $billion windfall for South Australia. They even claim that nuclear waste reprocessing for South Australia would have ‘significant environmental benefits’!

Ben Heard enthuses that South Australia can ‘commercialise leading technology’ Ben Heard worked on this with former Liberal Senator Sean Edwards.

They’re trying to make a mark on the international scene with their new project “Bright New [Nuclear] World”.   But this is their new project’s first foray into the Australian scene.

 

January 20, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Sunday Mail changes the meaning of a letter, thus removing climate change statements

scrutiny-GUTTED by the SUNDAY MAIL

WHAT I SENT

The Editor
Sunday Mail

I totally agree with Chris Kenny (Sunday Mail, 11/12/16) when he writes “Climate change has dumbed down the public debate. Otherwise intelligent people are reduced to incoherent slogans” and some people “are too busy with emotional outbursts and virtue signalling to consider the basics.”

Using derogatory adjectives to describe policies and outcomes does little to further intelligent debate. Some facts would be helpful, especially if they are correct.

Three events in 2016 contributed to what Kenny emotively describes as an “energy basket case”. None of these events can be attributed to ensuring that 40 percent of SA’s electricity is “clean and green” yet Kenny leaves us in no doubt that he thinks being clean and green is part of the nasty “tunnel vision” that is “leading SA into a dark place”.

Rather than “clean and green” being the culprit, the three events were directly related to the privatisation of the electricity industry in SA and Victoria and to the formation of a national electricity market.

Dennis Matthews

WHAT THEY PRINTED

The Editor
Sunday Mail

SEVERAL events this year contributed to what Chris Kenny emotionally describes in his column as an “energy basket case”. None of these can be attributed, as he says, to ensuring that 40 percent of SA’s electricity is “clean and green”.

Rather than “clean and green” being the culprit, the events were directly related to the privatisation of the electricity industry in SA and Victoria and to the formation of a national electricity market.

Dennis Matthews

My attempt to reply to Kenny’s extensive accusation that climate change activists are only being emotional was totally lost in the Sunday Mail’s edited version of my letter.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Comments on Preliminary Report SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SEPARATION EVENT, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

scrutiny-Dennis Matthews, 18 Dec 16 , 1 DECEMBER 2016. 

The “separation event” was the disconnection of the Heywood interconnector into South Australia.

The following uses the same headings as the AEMO preliminary report.

1. Overview

A short-circuit in a Victorian 500 kV (kilovolt), alternating current (AC) transmission line connected to the Heywood Victorian-SA interconnector resulted in the SA electricity network being disconnected from the Heywood interconnector.

At the time of the “incident” the Victorian electricity network was highly vulnerable to disruption. One of the two circuits served by the Heywood interconnector had been taken out of operation for maintenance. To make matters worse, one of the circuits supplying the Alcoa aluminium smelter at Portland was also out of service. Like all aluminium smelters, the Portland smelter had a very heavy electricity demand (about 480 MW).

The vulnerability of the Victorian electricity network meant that the SA network was also vulnerable to an abrupt loss of 230 MW. Nevertheless, no measures had been put in place to immediately replace power supply from Victoria in the event of disconnection from the Haywood interconnector. As with the SA state-wide blackout two months earlier, there was more than sufficient generating capacity available in SA but it was not on standby.

A short circuit in the remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector resulted in SA and the Portland smelter being disconnected and the shutdown of two wind farms in Victoria.

The “incident” in Victoria, together with inadequate contingency plans resulted in the loss of 230 MW to SA, BHP’s Olympic Dam project losing 100 of its 170 MW for 3 hours, Portland smelter being disconnected for 4½ hours and disconnection of two wind farms (Portland generating 3MW, and Macarthur generating 4MW) in Victoria.

2. Pre-event Conditions

“Immediately prior to the incident there were two planned outages.”

Use of terms such as “incident” and “event” is reminiscent of the nuclear industry’s avoidance of terms such as “failure” , “accident”, and “meltdown”.

“Planned outage” refers to deliberate disconnection of parts of the system for maintenance or repairs. Such deliberate disconnections should be permitted only if they do not expose the system to serious disruption and only if there is sufficient backup in case of a fault developing in the remaining parts of the system. For SA no backup was put on standby in the case of SA being disconnected to the Heywood interconnector.

One of the “outages” referred to was that one half of the Heywood supply to SA (a 500 kV busbar) was out of service. This left SA and Victoria vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood supply. The other “outage” was the Heywood to Portland 500 kV transmission line servicing the Alcoa aluminium smelter.

Both outages were given permission by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

These two decisions left the aluminium smelter vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood transmission line in Victoria. There was no backup plan for maintaining supply to the smelter in this contingency.

At the time, SA was importing about 240 MW from Heywood in Victoria.

3. Event

“A single phase to earth fault occurred on the Morabool-Tarrone 500 kV transmission line causing the line to trip out of service.” In other words, there was a short circuit in the only remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector.

“It is believed that the line tripped as a normal response to this type of fault”. The short circuit caused the transmission line to Heywood to be disconnected (trip).

The short circuit was caused by the breaking of an electrical cable. The reason for the cable breaking was not known to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

The “trip” of the transmission line left the Portland smelter still connected to SA, the power flow reversed so that instead of 240 MW into SA from Victoria there was 480 MW from SA to Victoria to supply the Portland smelter. A control scheme then disconnected the smelter from SA.

5 Operation of SA when Islanded

Islanded means that SA was on its own as far as power supply was concerned, in particular, it means that it was not receiving power from Victoria. In fact, SA was still receiving about 220 MW through the high voltage, direct current (DC), Victoria-SA, Murraylink interconnector.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, South Australia, spinbuster, Victoria | 1 Comment

EXPOSED: NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP PROPAGANDA

BubbleBurst-1Documents released by Friends of the Earth today reveal that:

  • Taiwan will not pay SA to accept high-level nuclear waste if that requires investing in waste storage and disposal infrastructure.
  • Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia unless and until a repository is built and operating.
  • Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia in the face of widespread public opposition.

Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “Taiwan’s power utility Taipower states clearly and repeatedly that Taiwan will not pay for nuclear waste storage and disposal infrastructure in SA. Yet foreign investment in that infrastructure is central to the state Labor Government’s plans. Preliminary and exploratory studies could cost up to $2.4 billion and Premier Jay Weatherill must now come clean on whether he intends to gamble billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on this project.”

Taipower’s statements are directly at odds with statements made by Martin Hamilton-Smith. Opposition treasury spokesman Rob Lucas is quoted in this morning’s Advertiser saying that Hamilton-Smith “stands condemned for misleading everyone” about Taiwan’s views.

Dr Green continued: “Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia unless and until a repository is built and operating. Yet the Final Report of the Royal Commission clearly states that unless nuclear waste is imported prior to the establishment of a repository, the project would not be profitable.” [See p.300 of the Royal Commission’s Final Report.]

“Taiwan will not send nuclear waste to Australia in the face of widespread public opposition. A clear majority of South Australians oppose the nuclear waste dump plan. A statewide consultation process found 53% opposition compared to just 31% support. A recent poll commissioned by the Sunday Mail found just 35% support. Two-thirds of the Citizen Jurors rejected the dump plan ‘under any circumstances’. The Premier himself has acknowledged the ‘overwhelming opposition of Aboriginal people’.

“It is unlikely that any country would send nuclear waste to SA in the face of widespread public opposition and overwhelming opposition from Aboriginal people. It is unlikely that any country would pay for waste storage and disposal infrastructure in SA. It is unlikely that any country would send waste to SA in the absence of a built, operating repository. The Labor Government’s plan fails on all three counts.

“South Australians opposed to the dump will be spoilt for choice at the March 2018 election with the Liberal Party, the Nick Xenophon Team and the SA Greens all opposed to the Labor Government’s plan to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump. The Premier should have the good sense to swallow his pride and to dump the dump before he puts the Labor Party in an unwinnable position leading up to the state election,” Dr Green concluded.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia queries Nathan Paine’s statement

Steve Dale to Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 22 Nov 16  Nathan Paine has been engaged by AREVA as a consultant. In his recent article for the Advertiser he mentioned: “..it may not have been publicly stated but global companies like AREVA, Posiva and others from North America were radioactive trashalready starting to look at investing in South Australia.”

Two things from this statement: First, I wonder whether the “others” included Jacobs, and second, whether Posiva are looking for a cheap dump-and-run option for its own waste in South Australia – their “mock-up” of a nuclear dump might be proving too expensive to turn into a reality. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

November 23, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobbyist Nathan Paine rubbishes the economic experts who informed South Austraslia’s Nuclear Royal Commission

Nathan Paine: Yet again South Australia throws the opportunity to have a sensible debate about a big, contentious issue under the bus Nathan Paine, The AdvertiserNovember 21, 2016 AS a business person and proud South Australian, it appears to me that we have once again seen the opportunity to have a sensible debate about big, contentious issues get thrown under the bus in favour of the appeasement of a vocal minority. I am of course talking about the nuclear waste debate cum debacle……

South-Australians-for-nukes

there are people with economics degrees opposed to the proposal and holding themselves out as experts to the Jury.

I personally prefer to consider the facts.

The simple facts are that there are countries which have nuclear waste in short and medium term repositories for which there are large sums of money already held in trust for the long term management of the waste…..

As a consultant engaged by AREVA, one of the world’s biggest nuclear energy companies, I have been fortunate to visit Finland, France and England to tour their facilities and meet the experts on the systems and industry.

Having met and talked with the experts, there was a common consensus that there is a significant opportunity for South Australia.

It has been said by the Jury and others that if this such a good idea, why is industry not supporting it — it may not have been publicly stated but global companies like AREVA, Posiva and others from North America were already starting to look at investing in South Australia.

Yes, the business case is full of assumptions and the next step would have been to prove up those assumptions and secure MOUs with potential customers…..

We must not allow the debate to wither and die on the political vine rather let’s take breath, check the numbers and if they stack up continue the discussion.

November 23, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Introduction to the newest South Australian nuclear front – Ben Heard’s ‘Bright New World’

logo-bright-new-world

Ben Heard has achieved Australian and global fame, in his pro nuclear lobbying, and especially in running the website Decarbonise SA.  Purporting to be a climate action site, Decarbonise SA has in reality been dedicated to the nuclear industry.

Anyway, Heard is moving on now – to  a new front – a supposedly environmental Bright New World, as Heard describes it:

                        a new environmental NGO born and based here in South Australia with a global outlook                          and ambition

                       We are a registered not-for-profit organisation, governed by an independent board, and                             pursuing tax-deductible gift-recipient status.

It’s all about environment, biodiversity, natural resources – and just one tiny mention of nuclear :

                     tired of the junk-science approach to nuclear that typifies the environmentalist     mainstream.

But he does thank well known nuclear lobbyists Atomic Insights, and The Actinide Age for their help.

And he does mention thee goal of his new organisation:

             Our immediate job is to bring forward a strong “Yes” message for proceeding to next steps in     investigating a used fuel service in South Australia.

November 16, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Jim Green refute’s Geoff Russell’s pro nuclear propaganda on New Matilda

As part of an ongoing debate over the capacity of nuclear energy to tackle climate change, Friends of the Earth’s Jim Green responds to New Matilda’s recent coverage.

New Matilda editor Chris Graham writes in an October 13 editorial that those responding to Geoff Russell’s pro-nuclear articles “never seek to punch holes in a single fact or claim”. In this article I’ll take up the challenge to respond substantively to some of Russell’s pro-nuclear claims.

But first, some passing comments on the other nuclear advocates mentioned in Chris’s editorial. Chrislinks to a video of Dr James Hansen ‒ a response is posted here. Chris links to an open letter to environmentalists from 65 scientists ‒ a response is posted here. Chris links to George Monbiot ‒ a response is posted here. And Chris promotes the Pandora’s Promise film ‒ responses are posted here.

Back to Russell. One of his themes in recent years has been to downplay the Fukushima disaster. And he goes much further, arguing that nuclear critics are responsible for all of the death and suffering resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster and much else besides.

How does he arrive at those conclusions? One part of the intellectual contortion concerns the role of environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth. To the limited extent that environment groups influence energy policy around the world, the result is a greater role for renewables, less nuclear power and less fossil fuel usage. But for Russell, being anti-nuclear means an implicit endorsement and acceptance of fossil fuels and responsibility for everything wrong with fossil fuel burning.

That contorted logic will come as a surprise to Friends of the Earth (FoE) campaigners risking life, limb and heavy penalties in their efforts to shut down coal mines and ports; and to everyone else engaged in the fossil fuel and climate problems in many different ways. And it will come as a surprise to FoE campaigners who worked tirelessly and creatively for many years ‒ with literally zero support from nuclear lobbyists including the self-styled pro-nuclear environmentalists ‒ to achieve a recently-announced ban on unconventional gas in Victoria. Continue reading

October 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear lobbyists are very wrong about Gen IV ‘fast breeder’ nuclear reactors

India’s failed fast reactor program   India’s fast reactor program has been a failure……

Russia’s snail-paced program  Russia’s fast reactor program is the only one that could be described as anything other than an abject failure. But it hasn’t been a roaring success either……

China’s program going nowhere fast….. China might have one commercial-scale fast reactor by 2034 ‒ but probably won’t.

the [Australian] nuclear lobbyists’ game plan − making overblown claims about fast reactors and other Generation IV reactor concepts, pretending that they are near-term prospects, and being less than “abundantly clear” about the truth.

renew world 1

Nuclear: The slow death of fast reactors Jim Green, 5 Oct 2016, RenewEconomy, http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/nuclear-the-slow-death-of-fast-reactors-21046

Generation IV ‘fast breeder’ reactors have long been promoted by nuclear enthusiasts, writes Jim Green, but Japan’s decision to abandon the Monju fast reactor is another nail in the coffin for this failed technology.

Fast neutron reactors are “poised to become mainstream” according to the World Nuclear Association. The Association lists eight “current” fast reactors although three of them are not operating. That leaves just five fast reactors ‒ three of them experimental.

Fast reactors aren’t becoming mainstream. One after another country has abandoned the technology. Nuclear physicist Thomas Cochransummarises the history: “Fast reactor development programs failed in the: 1) United States; 2) France; 3) United Kingdom; 4) Germany; 5) Japan; 6) Italy; 7) Soviet Union/Russia 8) U.S. Navy and 9) the Soviet Navy. The program in India is showing no signs of success and the program in China is only at a very early stage of development.”

The latest setback was the decision of the Japanese government at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting on September 21 to abandon plans to restart the Monju fast breeder reactor. Continue reading

October 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Another inaccuracy from pro nuclear propagandist Geraldine Thomas

Thomas, GeraldineSteve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 1 Oct 16 In Geraldine Thomas’s recent talk she showed dosimeter data from students in Japan, but she didn’t make it clear that the students were kept out of the “Restricted zone” (funny about that). But if you read the paper, it mentions that a teacher went into the zone for 2 hours (to Okuma) and had readings of 5 microSieverts per hour. Thought I would show how the graph would look with this data included. (Note: Okuma is not the “hottest” area, some areas in the restricted zone are over 20 microSieverts per hour) [relevant graph can be seen on original on Facebook] Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/  Continue reading

October 3, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Adi Paterson, Australia’s top nuclear guru, in pro nuclear promotion to Asian schools

paterson-adi-archbishopDr Paterson highlighted the importance of changing the conversation around nuclear issues through both outreach and education to address the knowledge gap and a lack of understanding that exists in society……

“People’s awareness has to be raised about the benefits of nuclear technology for health, the environment and important research,” said Dr Paterson.

Inspiring tomorrow’s scientists: The IAEA presents a new nuclear science and technology educational resource package for secondary schools, International Atomic Energy Agency 30 September 2016 “…… a new educational resource package developed by the IAEA in partnership with education and communication experts from around the world aims to answer. The Compendium of Resources and Activities on Nuclear Science and technology for Secondary School Teachers and Students, presented this week at a side event entitled ‘Introducing Nuclear Science and Technology in Secondary Schools’ on the margins of the 60th IAEA General Conference, aims to make nuclear science more interesting and attractive to students, and to encourage young people to enter the fields of nuclear science and technology……. we need to ensure that the nuclear knowledge is passed on to the next generations. This project is an opportunity for the youth, for developing countries, for women! ” said Ms Najat Mokhtar, Director of the IAEA’s Division for Asia and the Pacific in her opening statement to the side event……

nuclear-teacher

engaging their interest while still in high school is key to ensuring a cohort of students and graduates interested in pursuing careers as scientists, and ready to take on the challenge of developing nuclear knowledge and capacity in their countries……. Continue reading

October 3, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

South Australian government’s barrage of pro nuclear advertising – making the unthinkable “normal”

“Perhaps the barrage of pro-nuclear forces/strategies explains why there’s no explosion of outrage either in South Australian society or in church and faith groups against this extraordinarily destructive scheme.”

Madigan, MicheleThe normalisation of destruction in SA nuclear plan, Eureka Street. Michele Madigan |  22 September 2016    On Friday 26 August in Adelaide, Yankunyjatjara Elder Edie Nyimpula King was awarded the 2016 Perpetual Trophy of the prestigious Gladys Elphick Awards for her decades of work ‘in standing up for culture, country and community’.

On Saturday 3 September, in Port Augusta, Edie was keeping up the struggle, singing again the Seven Sisters inma, strong in its demands for a clean country and protection for the future generations.

Unable then to stop the flow of tears, she paid tribute to her former companions’ heroic struggles. ‘Ivy Makinti Stewart, Kampakuta — Eileen Brown, Eileen Unkari Crombie’ amid all the other heroes — the brave fighters for country and the future generations against the nuclear industry and its proponents in South Australia; women who had immortalised that inma in the same obedient re-enactment of the Seven Sisters and their demands to care for country.

Its cry: Irati Wanti — leave the poison! Have nothing to do with it! No radioactive waste dump in our country!

But why is such responsibility for country and the health of its people — forever — so hard? And ongoing! Why is the destruction of country — its lands and waters and huge risks to the future generations — forever allowed to be normalised?

Indeed how to explain the current normalisation of the new threat — of importing high-level radioactive waste across the Southern Hemisphere oceans and its dumping onto the lands of South Australia. And this with the seemingly full permission of a government and perhaps a peoples, both of whom will be long gone in the ‘hundreds of thousands of years’ which the nuclear royal commission itself admits such material must be isolated.

Poll results during the third week of September revealed that 50 per cent of those polled agree to welcome such waste with 35 per cent against and 15 per cent undecided.

Of course the full throttled media campaign must take credit for much of this.

Recently the Adelaide Advertiser had a front page story entitled ‘Nuke fear for kids’. The heading would surely lead one to believe that (surprisingly) SA’s only daily paper had a front page article about the substantial risk that the proposed importation of international high-level radioactive waste will be for the present and future generations of South Australian children.

But no — further reading made clear that the ‘fear’ was the effect ‘noisy protestors’ would have on the 150 high school children who had been chosen to meet with the former nuclear Royal Commissioner Scarce. Hence the venue was to be secret.

There seems little expense spared either at the importation of experts like Geraldine Thomas, who spoke Thomas, Geraldineat the Hawke Institute at the University of South Australia on 16 September on the risks of radiation. Were many of her audience relieved to hear that, well, no, there is actually little risk? In that jolly English way reminiscent of one of the English experts in the government ‘consultations’ also being conducted across the state, she explained that the problems of the people of Fukushima were mainly psychological.

Proposed is a forever risk-laden project of ships travelling to a yet unnamed Australian port every 24 to 30 days with the world’s highest level nuclear waste. Then dumping/storing the casks perhaps five or ten kilometres away for some decades until funds are available to build a ‘safe’ depository — something that has not yet been possible anywhere in the world including countries with decades of nuclear expertise.

Perhaps the barrage of pro-nuclear forces/strategies explains why there’s no explosion of outrage either in South Australian society or in church and faith groups against this extraordinarily destructive scheme. Much less in Australian society in general.

Or perhaps theologian Brendan Lovettt names it.

‘If there is a typically bourgeois virtue it must be the cult of moderation. The extreme is to be abhorred; it is a matter of unseemly exaggeration. We cannot bear too much reality. the world is to be thought of as a place where comfortable mediocrity rules, where everything is under control and there is nothing to be horrified about, either in ourselves or in the world. This is our necessary lie. What we deny under our veneer of a smoothly reasonable world are the real dimensions of life and history. Understandably we project a God who will be compatible with this comforting view of life and history.’

What we are resisting, he concludes, is our own responsibility for the world.

On 3 September, the 25 year old Kumana Karen Crombie, now herself mother of two, danced with veterans, Betty Ngangala Muffler and Dianne Pinku Edwards, to Edie Nyimpula’s singing, to herald the new generation taking up responsibility for country and its peoples.

What will it take for the rest of us to take up our own responsibility.

Michele Madigan is a Sister of St Joseph who has spent the past 38 years working with Aboriginal people in remote areas of South Australia and in Adelaide. Her work has included advocacy and support for senior Aboriginal women of Coober Pedy in their campaign against the proposed national radioactive dump.  https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=49962#.V-9UG4h97Gg

September 26, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Philip White reports onNuclear Royal Commission’s presentation to TAFE students

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionPhilip White, 28 July 16 A video consultation session for TAFE staff and students was held on July 28  from 12-1pm. Below is a brief report.

The session started with a 15 minutes Scarce presentation video. I think it was from the press conference for the release of the RC report, but am not sure. One thing that struck me was how Scarce used words like ‘trace’ to imply that the amount of radionuclides after 1,000 years would be negligible.

John Phelan of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency (CARA) followed up with comments about process.

I was one of only two knowledgeable participants, the other being a nuclear proponent who wanted the dump to go ahead quickly and thought the costs were exaggerated. He thought in a few years we would need nuclear reactors.

A couple of regional TAFE lecturers complained about the lack of notice (meaning they hadn’t read the email sent to all staff and students) and lack of information (meaning they hadn’t been picked up in the RC’s regional propaganda tours). One lecturer confused this with the Commonwealth dump, thinking it would be located near her property in Quorn. John Phelan clarified that this consultation was just about an international dump.

2. Process
I made the following points about process:
(1) These consultations (and also the educational materials they apparently plan to provide to schools) should include presentations both for and against the proposal. Without that the public does not have a basis for thinking critically.
(2) The first Citizens’ Jury was flawed because it was inappropriate for it to be tasked with summarising the RC report.
(3) Referring to the forthcoming second “Citizens Jury”, a 350 person group should not be called a Citizens Jury.

Re (2), Phelan had said in his initial presentation that summarising the RC report was a (the) role of the first Citizens Jury, encouraging people to read this wonderful synopsis.
Members on this email list may recall that I have previously pointed out this flaw of the first citizens jury. I went to the trouble of ringing Iain Walker of NewDemocracy about this. He said the jurors were told to “prioritise” not to “summarise”. I then pointed out that the first sentence of their report says “summarise”. Walker said it was not the organisers’ role to change what the jury wrote, implying that the jury members had misinterpreted their role. But in today’s video conference Phelan was completely clear that they were asked to “summarise”. In my view, asking a Citizens Jury to summarise (or even prioritise) an official document is an abuse of the Citizens Jury method. Citizens Juries are a method of gaining incite into the judgements of informed citizens. They should not be used to help the government (or the Royal Commission) communicate its message.

Re (1), Phelan showed no interest in taking on board my suggestion that all consultations should include presentations from both pro and con perspectives. He responded that they were trying to present facts not opinions, claiming that the RC report was factual. I pointed out that the RC report was not a factual document. It is a selection of facts and perspectives, that there were lots of facts and perspectives that were left out, and that the report reflected the biases in the makeup of the RC.

I suspect that there is some confusion in the government about what it is trying to do with this public consultation process—whether it is trying to stimulate an informed debate, or whether it is just trying to persuade the public to let it build the international nuclear waste dump that it already knows it wants.
It is counter-intuitive for governments and bureaucracies to promote critical thinking among the public, but I suggest we challenge them to give equal time to critics and proponents. When they refuse, then we can call them out. We will have proof that their process was a sham. In the unlikely event that they agree to this demand, we should accept it in the confidence that we can win this argument. Of course, it would be difficult for critics to resource such a project, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it.

3. Waste dump
I pointed out that cost estimates for nuclear projects are generally gross underestimates and that SA would be left with a huge financial and nuclear burden if the costs end up exceeding the revenues. There would be no way of sending the waste back to the countries of origin.

July 29, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Minerals Council of Australia spends up big to promote moribund uranium industry

text-uranium-hypeAccording to IBISWorld Australia’s uranium sector employs less than a thousand people and it generates around $700 million in sales. The uranium industry accounts for 0.01% (0.0084%) of jobs in Australia and in the 20131/14 financial year accounted for 0.19% of national export revenue. It is a sector that has promised much and delivered little.

But this hasn’t stopped the Minerals Council from pumping funds into poorly advised social and hard media campaigns of late to try to breathe life into the comatose uranium sector.

Australia’s nuclear-powered PR in meltdown, Independent Australia, 14 July 2016 With nuclear energy take-up shrinking post Fukushima, Australia continues to ignore the UN’s call for an independent cost-benefit analysis of our high risk-low return uranium trade. ACF’s Dave Sweeney examines the continuing spin by the MCA. “…… the changed status of Australia’s embattled uranium sector.

“Fukushima changed everything.” This might sound like a line from the anti-nuclear lobby but it is a direct quote from BHP, the world’s biggest miner. And they are right.

The Fukushima disaster was directly fuelled by Australian uranium and increasingly its impacts are being directly felt by the Australian uranium sector.

In the continuing shadow of Fukushima nuclear powers contribution to the global energy mix is shrinking and has been eclipsed by renewables, and with over 200 reactor shut-downs due by 2040, the industry will have to run hard just to stay put.

The related uranium market meltdown has been severe and seen prices, profits and employment numbers go south. Continue reading

July 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, uranium | Leave a comment

Greg Ward, Chad Jacobi, Nigel McBride, Jason Kuchel, Michael Penniment mislead the Nuclear Citizens Jury about Radiation

banana-spin

Bananas, brazil nuts and some other foods contain radioactive potassium-40 — but in extremely low doses. Potassium-40 in bananas has a specific activity of 71 ten millionths of a curie per gram. Compare that to the 88 curies per gram for Cesium-137. This is like comparing a stick of dynamite to an atomic bomb. Our bodies manage the ingested Potassium 40, so that after eating bananas, the excess is quickly excreted and the body’s Potassium-40 level remains unchanged.

The radioactive isotopes that come from nuclear fission (such as strontium -90, cesium -137 and iodine 131) were unknown in nature before atomic fission: our bodies are not adapted to them. And as well as being far more radioactive that Potassium -40, they can accumulate in the body.

I had hoped for something sensible to come out of these Citizens’ Juries. That doesn’t look like happening if the juries continue to be fed this kind of nonsense. 

On the matter of ionising radiation and health, Noel Wauchope rebuts five misleading speakers at the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury hearings on Australia’s nuclear waste importation plan.

IN TWO DAYS of 25 Citizens’ Jury sessions in Adelaide (on 25-26 June), about nuclear waste importing, there was minimal coverage of the question of ionising radiation and health.

What little there was, was skimpy, superficial and downright deceptive, in 209 pages of transcripts.

There was not one mention of the world’s authoritative bodies on the subject — The World Health Organisation, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or any of the reports on biological effects of ionising radiation.

There was no explanation of the “linear no threshold” (LNT) theory on ionising radiation and health, despite the fact that this theory is the one accepted by all the national and international health bodies, including the Ionising Radiation Safety Institute of Australia who, on this topic, quote the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

Contrary to the beliefs held by radiation deniers, every major radiation study support the Linear No-Threshold concept. Graph from Dr. Ian Fairlie.

Instead of explaining this basic concept in radiation protection, the slight coverage on radiation and health given to the Jury, was done in a trivial manner as the following examples (listed in the transcript report) illustrate. Continue reading

July 7, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment