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.
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.
According 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
Greg Ward, Chad Jacobi, Nigel McBride, Jason Kuchel, Michael Penniment mislead the Nuclear Citizens Jury about Radiation
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.
Chocolates, bananas, ionising radiation and a nuclear waste dump https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/chocolates-bananas-ionising-radiation-and-a-nuclear-waste-dump,9200 5 July 2016
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).
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
It’s not a proper “Jury”, with a purpose to arrive at a yes or no verdict. It is a campaign ruse by the Weatherill government to get these “ordinary people” to develop a readable, understandable, summary of the RC’s 320 pages of recommendations. Apparently the RC personnel are not able to do this themselves.
Two rays of light in all this. First, the jury members are already asking intelligent questions. Secondly, DemocracyCo’s personnel are making every effort to run these hearings fairly, and transparently.
The South Australian nuclear lobby may be in for some surprises.
Nuclear Citizens Jury in action: the purpose and the process, Online Opinion,
|By Noel Wauchope – , 5 July 2016 On June 25 and 26, the South Australian government held the first of three citizens juries, dedicated to discussing the recommendations of the recent Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. The sessions are being run by the South Australian company DemocracyCo.From the start, there are problems with the purpose of this Citizens’ Jury. Premier Weatherill did not really help to clarify this, in his opening speech, as he explained its purpose:
Homer Simpson and nuclear politics as France shows the way for SA, Fin Rev 23 May 16 by Simon Evans Nigel McBride, the chief executive of Business SA, the organisation that oversees the interests of more than 46,000 businesses in South Australia, has just returned from Finland and France, where he researched the nuclear waste industry.
He is convinced there would be no detrimental impact to the image of prime wine regions such as the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and the Coonawarra from having an underground storage facility elsewhere in the state.
“We’re not going to have any overt signs anywhere,” Mr McBride told reporters in Adelaide on Monday………
Mitchell Taylor, the managing director of Taylors Wines, which has operations in the Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and the Coonawarra, said the most sensible thing would be to locate any future nuclear waste storage facility in arid lands hundreds of kilometres away from agricultural land.
“You wouldn’t put it close to agricultural land,” he said…….
From an overseas marketing viewpoint, Mr Taylor said he didn’t think it would have any impact on the image of South Australian wines and premium food, provided the two were kept separate.
“You’ve got to get politics out of it,” he said.
Mr McBride said the regulatory model in Finland was a good benchmark, and there had been too much simplistic criticism of a nuclear industry based on what he termed “The Simpson’s model” taken from the popular cartoon series where a hapless Homer Simpson works at the Springfield nuclear power plant.
A final report by royal commissioner Kevin Scarce in early May recommended the state set up a nuclear waste storage facility to generate $100 billion in profits over the project’s forecast 120-year life, with Mr Weatherill saying he would make a decision by the end of the year after an extensive community consultation process, on whether to proceed. http://www.afr.com/it-pro/homer-simpson-and-nuclear-politics-as-france-shows-the-way-for-sa-20160522-gp1851
IAEA Invites Students to Learn Nuclear Science Through Play. IAEA, By Laura Gil, IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication, 12 May 16, Teachers have reached almost 10 000 students in four Asian countries through a guidebook designed to bring nuclear science and technology closer to young adults. The compendium, which is being tested by the IAEA and education experts from several countries, collects unique teaching strategies and materials to introduce science and technology in education systems.
By generating interest in science among young generations, the compendium aims at contributing to the sustainability of the nuclear industry and related technologies in the future. With populations growing, applications of nuclear technology rapidly expanding, and active nuclear scientists ageing, a new generation of professionals will soon need to step up……
In preparation for the curriculum, experts collected ideas from, for example, Japan, where teachers often organize field trips for students; India, where education centres convoke essay contests all across the country to create an interest in the student community; Israel, where the government has built a nuclear science park and museum; and Australia, where school children are invited to an exhibition centre in the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation already from an early age. https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-invites-students-to-learn-nuclear-science-through-play
Citizen juries to weigh SA nuclear dump https://au.news.yahoo.com/sa/a/31561735/citizen-juries-to-weigh-sa-nuclear-dump/
AAP on May 10, 2016 South Australians will be asked to take part in citizen juries to help decide whether the state should host a high-level nuclear waste dump.
A jury of 350 voters will be asked to produce a report in November outlining the community’s views on the proposed dump and other nuclear issues, with the government to outline its decision by year’s end.
The government will also launch an advertising campaign encouraging people to “explore the facts” on the nuclear fuel cycle, Premier Jay Weatherill told reporters on Tuesday.
The Minerals Council of Australia launched the Uranium: Untapped Potential campaign on Wednesday, using social media content including videos and posters to highlight the benefits of uranium.
“The material is designed to showcase facts on the table about the uranium industry and the benefits it can provide to the Australian community, including the creation of hundreds of jobs,” the council’s executive director Daniel Zavattiero said in a statement.
It also aims to reassure the public on safety, while pointing out opportunities in nuclear medicine and the environmental upside of nuclear energy.
“A lifetime’s use of electricity from nuclear power plants produces the spent fuel equivalent of one soft drink can,” a poster says.
But the hashtag #UntappedPotential, which was trending by Wednesday afternoon, has attracted a large amount of undesired banter by environmentalists who have instead used it to express their concerns around the practice and advocate for alternative energy.
“#UntappedPotential for meltdowns and nuclear disaster?” said Twitter user Jemila Rushton.
“We need to better harness the #untappedpotential of solar power”, tweeted Upulie Divisekera.
“#UntappedPotential to put more communities at risk of nuclear waste dumps,” Ace Collective said on Twitter.
“We concur that uranium has much #untappedpotential – for disaster, cost and time blowouts and proliferation,” Anglesea After Coal said.
The Minerals Council is running the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Today THE AUSTRALIAN quotes The Business Council of Australia (BCA) spruiking some as yet unpublished research that portrays Australia as needing nuclear power as an “insurance policy” against future surges in gas prices.
The BCA has long been in the grip of the nuclear lobby, and also told the [Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal] commission that involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle could deliver a “significant contribution to economic growth”, and new regulations for the management, storage and disposal of nuclear waste should be developed.
Climate Science Denier Patrick Moore Under Attack From Fellow Nuclear Energy Advocates, DESMOG, By Graham Readfearn • Thursday, April 7, 2016 Climate science denialist Patrick Moore is all about “consensus building.” We know this because it says so on his biography at the think tank Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
And so, fresh from delivering a coal-funded talk in Brussels where he told the audience to “celebrate CO2”, the Canadian has been out doing a bit of that “consensus building” in his own unique way.
In recent days, Moore has accused respected climate scientist Ken Caldeira of “fakery”, called him a “jerk” and then told a fellow nuclear power advocate to “GFY”.
The nuclear advocate in question was Australian energy and climate consultant Ben Heard, who had engaged Moore on social media. He’s written a blog about the exchange.
British environmentalist and author Mark Lynas, who is also pro-nuclear energy, weighed in too, describing Moore as “just a predictable right-wing anti-green contrarian”.
When DeSmog UK gave Moore the chance to respond to a story showing he had been paid by coal lobbyists to deliver a talk, his response was “bugger off”.
Who is Patrick Moore?
For those that don’t know, Patrick Moore is often described as a former senior member of Greenpeace, even though he left that organisation 30 years ago.
Since then, he has spent his time being an advocate for nuclear power, GM crops, forestry and, apparently, burning as much coal as you can get your hands on.
In a French television interview last year, Moore told a journalist that the pesticide glyphosate was not a carcinogen and was so safe, “you could drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you”.
Moore was then immediately offered the chance to drink a glass by the interviewer, which he declined. “I’m not an idiot,” he said.
Moore is a long-time climate science denialist and claims, against all credible scientific institutions, that there is “no proof” that the extra CO2 in the atmosphere (about 40 per cent more than there was before the industrial revolution) is causing any global warming.
Australian ‘ecomodernist‘ academic Barry Brook says the Chernobyl death toll is less than 60. Ben Heard, another Australian ‘ecomodernist’ (in fact a uranium and nuclear industry consultant), claims that the death toll was 43.
Evidence of PNE ignorance abounds. For the most part, PNEs had a shaky understanding of the radiation/health debates (and other nuclear issues) before they joined the pro-nuclear club, and they have a shaky understanding now.
the WHO, IAEA and other UN agencies estimated 9,000 deaths in ex-Soviet states in their 2005/06 reports, and more recently UNSCEAR has adopted the position that the long-term death toll is uncertain.
Radiation harm deniers? Pro-nuclear environmentalists and the Chernobyl death toll, Ecologist, Dr Jim Green 7th April 2016 “……….the self-styled pro-nuclear environmentalists (PNEs). We should note in passing that some PNE’s have genuine environmental credentials while others – such as Patrick Moore and Australian Ben Heard – are in the pay of the nuclear industry.
James Hansen and George Monbiot cite UNSCEAR to justify a Chernobyl death toll of 43, without noting that the UNSCEAR report did not attempt to calculate long-term deaths. James Lovelock asserts that “in fact, only 42 people died” from the Chernobyl disaster.
Patrick Moore, citing the UN Chernobyl Forum (which included UN agencies such as the IAEA, UNSCEAR, and WHO), states that Chernobyl resulted in 56 deaths. In fact, the Chernobyl Forum’s 2005 report (p.16) estimated up to 4,000 long-term cancer deaths among the higher-exposed Chernobyl populations, and a follow-up study by the World Health Organisation in 2006 estimated an additional 5,000 deaths among people exposed to lower doses in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Continue reading
if South Australia will commit to taking international nuclear waste, it will be easier to sell new nuclear programs to investors, and easier to renegotiate the debts of existing nuclear companies. The nuclear industry will make more sales and pay lower interest rates up front, if South Australia is willing to spend $145 billion and have nuclear waste stored in ‘temporary’ storage for the next hundred years
SA’s media and political elite think it’s a great idea. Fortunately, South Australia’s voters are not quite so easy to spin.
A Hundred Years Of Ineptitude And A Century Of Nuclear Spin https://newmatilda.com/2016/03/24/a-hundred-years-of-ineptitude-and-a-century-of-nuclear-spin/ By Rod Campbell on March 24, 2016 The numbers around a nuclear waste economy don’t add up, writes Roderick Campbell. And then there’s the history….
The idea of a nuclear waste dump in South Australia is sold as a saviour for South Australia’s economy. SA’s former governor and Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce has joined the chorus:
Financial assessments suggest that [a nuclear waste facility in SA]could generate total revenue of more than $257 billion, with total costs of $145 billion.
But what if this was just a little too good to be true? What if the benefits of this proposal go not to ordinary South Australians, but to the big companies involved in the nuclear industry?
The Royal Commissioner’s numbers are based on a study by Jacobs MCM, a company:
With more than fifty years of experience across the complete nuclear asset lifecycle, we support client delivery and the associated infrastructure requirements at every stage of a project.
The SA Royal Commission unquestioningly repeating the findings of a consultant with a deep interest in the nuclear industry is just the latest in South Australia’s rich tradition of nuclear propaganda.
Guess what year this was written in the Adelaide Advertiser:
It must be seen by any moderate thinking person that the radium mining field of Olary [South Australia] must eventually become the greatest and richest mining centre of the globe, and the sooner the Commonwealth Government awake to this fact the sooner will the positive prominence of Australia, be recognised by the nations of the world.
BILLIONS of dollars from the nuclear industry could deliver free power to all South Australians and the abolition of state taxes, [SA Liberal Senator Sean Edwards] says.
Hardly anyone actually reads economic reports like the one Jacobs wrote, even commentators and ‘experts’ and probably not the Royal Commission. These reports are hundreds of pages long, full of impressive graphs, jargon and econobabble – they’re meant to be hard to read.
But if you can wade through the mud, you find gems/radioactive waste like this: Continue reading
The Premier’s announcement today that the State Labor Government will move to repeal part of the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000, indicates that a taxpayer-funded pro-nuclear waste dump public relations campaign is on its way.
The Government says the repeal is necessary in order to consult with the community over the Nuclear Royal Commission’s findings.
“That’s just not true”, according to SA Greens Leader and environmental lawyer, Mark Parnell MLC.
“The Act only prohibits the use of public money to “encourage or finance any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State”. It doesn’t preclude genuine public consultation that asks South Australians whether or not they believe SA should host a high-level nuclear waste dump. Genuine consultation with the South Australian community is allowed, even if it uses Government resources. What isn’t allowed is a biased or one-sided PR campaign that “encourages” the construction or operation of a nuclear waste dump.”
“If the Government’s intentions were honourable, it wouldn’t need to repeal this legislation.”
“What is most galling is that the Premier isn’t even prepared to wait for the Royal Commission’s final report in May before legislating to be able to spruik a nuclear waste dump. The Government had said it would wait until the end of the year before deciding what to do with the Royal Commission’s findings. Rushing now to repeal this legislation suggests that it’s mind might already be made up.
“If this legislation is repealed, the Government will be able to legally spend millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to promote SA as the Nuclear Waste State. It will also be able to conduct detailed planning and design work for a nuclear waste dump, with only the final consent requiring Parliamentary approval,” concluded Mark Parnell.
A very comprehensive 2010 OECD Nuclear Energy Agency report found reactor based isotope production requires significant taxpayer subsidies, as the cost of sale does not cover the cost of production.
The report concludes: “In many cases the full impact of Mo-99/Tc-99m provision was not transparent to or appreciated by governments… The full costs of waste management, reactor operations, fuel consumption, etc were not included in the price structure. This is a subsidisation by one country’s taxpayers of another country’s health care system. Many governments have indicated that they are no longer willing to provide such subsidisation.”
What is needed urgently is a debate about how much waste we make. We have a choice: whether we follow ANSTO’s expensive business model to ramp up reactor manufacture (and the long-lived radioactive waste that goes with it), or collaborate with Canada to develop cyclotron manufacture of isotopes that does not produce long-lived nuclear waste.
Debunking the myths around medicine and a nuclear waste dump
The Federal government is seeking a location for a nuclear waste facility. But the provision of information to communities has been problematic, with some major flaws.
Claims have been made that provision of nuclear medicine services is a key reason to build it, but existing medical waste makes up a very small proportion of the total waste requiring disposal.
In addition, little has been said about ANSTO’s business plan to greatly ramp up Australia’s reactor based production of isotopes from 1 per cent to over 25 per cent of the world’s market, which will massively increase the amount of long-lived radioactive waste produced in the future.
A new process may reduce the volume of the waste, but the actual quantity of radioactive material to store will be significantly greater, and will become most of the radioactive waste Australia produces.
In Australia nuclear medicine isotopes are indeed useful, but according to Medicare figures represent less than 3 per cent of medical imaging. They are most commonly used for bone scans and some specialised heart scans. They are not needed (as claimed by government) for normal X-rays, most heart scans and the vast majority of cancer treatments (surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy). Continue reading
Jim Green, 19 Feb 16 Tas Uni academic Barry Brook’s university webpage says that in 2005 he was listed as one of the “2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century” by the International Biographical Centre (IBC). But the IBC is a zero-credibility money making operation.
The WA Government’s Dept of Commerce ‘ScamNet’ website states: “The material promoting the International Biographical Centre creates a false impression about the credentials of the organisation. It also wrongly implies that the receiver of the letter has been picked through a special research process considering their work and qualifications.”
If there was any doubt about the IBC’s illegitimacy, one of Brook’s academic colleagues nominated a squeaky toy lobster and Prof. Lobster was accepted for inclusion as one of the ‘2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century’. And the IBC has accepted a nomination for Clive Palmer to be listed as one of the ‘2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century’. A ‘Medal of Intellect’ will be sent to Palmer on payment of a $240 fee.
Feel free to test the IBC’s credibility yourself … you’ll have no trouble getting the Wiggles or the Bananas in Pyjamas or Thomas the Tank Engine accepted as Outstanding Scientists or Outstanding Intellectuals.
Given that the illegitimacy of the IBC is beyond doubt, why does the IBC accolade remain on Brook’s university webpage?
- Brook’s Tas Uni website (see the Career tab, under “Awards and Prizes”): https://secure.utas.edu.au/profiles/staff/plant-science/barry-brook
- IBC: www.internationalbiographicalcentre.com/2000_outstanding_scientists_of_the_21st_c.php
- WA Government ‘scamnet’ website: http://www.scamnet.wa.gov.au/scamnet/Scam_Types-Directory_Listings_and_registry_schemes-International_Biographical_Centre.htm
- Wikipedia IBC entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Biographical_Centre
- Critique of Brook’s nuclear propaganda: www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/oz/barry-brook-bravenewclimate