Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear waste plan for South Australia not economically viable? Global nuclear lobby doesn’t care

The global nuclear lobby surely does not care about whether or not the South Australian nuclear waste importing scheme is economically viable.

A commitment by an Australian State to take in nuclear waste could do the trick for them – as Oscar Archer put it – by unblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The NFCRC plan also promises the chance of a market in Australia for the mini nuclear reactors.

toilet map South Australia 2

Mixed motives in South Australia’s nuclear waste import plan, Noel Wauchope, Online Opinion, 23 Aug 16In South Australia the continued nuclear push focusses solely on a nuclear waste importing industry. Yet that might not be economically viable. Behind the scenes, another agenda is being pursued – that of developing new generation nuclear reactors.

First, let’s look at the message. The message from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) is clearly a plan to make South Australia rich, by importing foreign nuclear wastes……This theme has been repeated ad nauseam by the NFCRC’s publicity, by politicians, and the mainstream media.…..

Meanwhile, the South Australian Parliament is holding a Committee Inquiry into the NFCRC’s recommendations. This Committee asked witnesses about various aspects of the plan. However, an intense focus in questioning Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce, and Dr Tim Johnson from Jacob Engineering (financial reporter to the NFCRC) was directed at the economic question. It was clear that the politicians were concerned that there’s a possibility of the State spending a significant amount of money on the project, which might then not go ahead. And, indeed, Dr Johnson acknowledged that, financially,” there is a very significant risk”

Whereas other countries are compelled to develop nuclear waste facilities, to deal with their waste production from civil and military reactors,that is not a necessity for Australia, (with the exception of relatively tiny amounts derived from the Lucas Heights research reactor).

So, the only reason for South Australia to develop a massive nuclear waste management business is to make money.

If it’s not profitable, then it shouldn’t be done.

Or so it would seem.

There is another, quieter, message. When you read the Royal Commission’s reports, you find that, while the major aim is for a nuclear waste business, in fact, the door is kept open for other parts of the nuclear fuel chain…….

The clearest explanation of this came early in 2015, just as the NFCRC was starting, in an ABC Radio National talk by Oscar Archer…….

Archer’s plan is significant because it illustrates a very important point about South Australia’s nuclear waste plan – IT SOLVES A GLOBAL NUCLEAR INDUSTRY PROBLEM. Both in ‘already nuclear’ countries, especially America, and in the so far non nuclear counties, such as in South Asia, the nuclear industry is stalled because of its nuclear waste problem. In America, the “new small nuclear”, such as the PRISM, technologies (Power Reactor Innnovative Small Module) cannot even be tested, without a definite waste disposal solution. But, if South Australia provided not only the solution, but also the first setting up of new small reactors, that would give the industry the necessary boost……..

Once Australia has set up a nuclear waste importing industry, the nuclear reactor salesmen of USA, Canada, South Korea, will have an excellent marketing pitch for South Asia, as the nuclear waste problem has been removed from their shores.. And South Asia is exactly the market that the NCRC has in its sights. The NFCRC eliminated most of the EU, Russia, China, North America as customers. This was explained by Dr Tim Jacobs, of Jacobs Engineering, (financial reporters to the NFCRC), at the recent hearing of the South Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission ………

South Australia’s government is influenced by a strong nuclear lobby push and the Royal Commission advocacy for solving that State’s present financial problems by a futuristic nuclear waste repository bonanza scheme…….

The global nuclear lobby surely does not care about whether or not the South Australian nuclear waste importing scheme is economically viable. Their fairly desperate need is to sell nuclear reactors to those countries that don’t already have them. In particular, the ‘small nuclear” lobby sees an urgency now, with ‘big nuclear’ failing, to get their industry happening.

A commitment by an Australian State to take in nuclear waste could do the trick for them – as Oscar Archer put it – by unblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The NFCRC plan also promises the chance of a market in Australia for the mini nuclear reactors.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | business, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Roger Cross: Reasons to Reject a Medium and High Level Radioactive Waste Dump in South Australia

Roger Cross Submission to Joint Committee on Nuclear Royal Commission South Australian Parliament, August 2016 Some Reasons for rejecting the proposal to build a Medium and High Level Radioactive Waste Dump in South Australia. By Roger Cross (Author of Fallout: Hedley Marston and the British Bomb Tests in Australia, co-author of Beyond Belief The British Bomb Tests: Australia’s Veterans Speak Out)


The risks to the future health and security to all Australians, and South Australians in particular are many. A risk-benefit analysis is almost certainly impossible given a time-frame that extends for centuries (probably for the rest of human existence on the Planet). Benefits, in terms of financial gain to the State. and some employment must be secondary to the multitude of risks involved. These risks are worth restating so that the “golden egg” of a large financial windfall do not cloud the realities of such a decision.


  1. Health Risks: The existence or otherwise of a threshold below which exposure to ionising graph-radiation-risk-atomicradiation is harmless has been a matter of continuous debate among nuclear scientists for decades. The statistical analysis of John Gofman (l,W, Gofman, 1981. Radiation and Human Health, Sierra Club, San Francisco, 1981, and 1990 RadiationInduced Cancer Fom Low-Dose Exposure: An Independent Analysis. Committee or Nuclear Responsibility Inc., San Francisco) shows there is no safe radioactive dose. Therefore, at any point in the chain of receiving, from overseas, transporting within S.A. and storage even small mishaps leading to only low-level contamination are not risk free. Naturally any large scale mishap would be catastrophic for the State.
  1. Historical Episode of radioactive contamination in South Australia: It is not feasible to claim that mishaps would not occur, that is, the risks are non-existent The radioactive contamination of Adelaide on the 12 October. 1956 due to an unfortunate change in the wind safety-symboldirection at the 11 October Maralinga Bomb Test is a case in point, This mishap caused the population of Adelaide and much of the rest of the State to be contaminated with ionising radiation from one of the Buffalo Bomh explosions (See Cross, R. 2001, Fallout: Hedley Marston and the British Bomb Tests in Australia, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, for information about this event).
  1. Transportation Risks: While these are impossible to quantify they are not policeman i assault riflenegligible.Transportation of medium or high level radioactive waste in particular would require a
    high degree of security and infrastructure. The former, in particular would challenge the well-being of South Australians through a system of near military style command and control intrusion into the lives of all South Australians. Such is the consequence of having to secure such a commodity.
  1. The Uranium back to source Argument: An argument has been mounted that because SA hypocrisy-scaleexports Uranium, and may one day become a world leading exporter of themineral, we should take back the highly radioactive waste from the user of our Uranium. This argument is entirely false, as in no other exported mineral has it been suggested that we have such an obligation. For example, do coal and iron ore producing States receive back the waste slag and ash. This can be applied to almost any raw material exported. Waste is an inevitable consequence of industrial processing and is the end-users responsibility.
  1. South Australia’s future World image: The risks are not confined to technical issues but areSouth Australia nuclear toilet also present in the image we wish to present to the rest of the world. This will become increasingly important in our push to attract more overseas visitors. Tourism is and can play and ever greater part in our economy as the State is currently seen as fl safe, clean and green place to visit. This advantage we have would naturally disappear in the minds of prospective visitors if we went ahead with the storage of medium and high level radioactive waste from around the World.


Taken from research by the pre-eminent researcher into the health effects of low-dose ionizing radiation, Emeritus Professor John W. Gofman. See for example:- Radiation Induced Cancer from Low-Dose Exposure. An Independent Analysis, 1990, and Synapse article

Disproof of any Safe Dose: The Threshold Question In Chapters 18 through 21 it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that no safe dose or dose rate exists. His analysis of the absence of a threshold below which no harm will be done from a dose of ionizing radiation is based on human evidence. The data analysed rules out the idea of a threshold with regard to radiation-induction human cancer.

The practical implications for these findings are obvious for the establishment of any storage facility of ionising radiation material, and especially the concern here, medium to high level material. There cannot be any doubt that any exposure to radiation as a result of the multiple handling steps that are required even to reach a storage facility would have human health consequences forthose exposed, and may have, even, heritable consequences.

It should be noted that possible exposures do not end with the material reaching the storage facility but continue at that facility virtually in perpetuity. Consider the following:-

“How would a safe level of radiation come about? It could come about in theory jf the biological repair radiation-causing-cancermechanisms – which exist and will repair DNA and chromosomes – work perfectly. Then a low dose of radiation might be totally repaired. The problem, though, is that repair mechanisms don’t work perfectly. There are lesions in DNA and chromosomes that are unrepairable. There are those where the repair mechanisms don’t get to the site and so they go unrepaired. . .. The evidence that the repair mechanism is not perfect is very solid today…. Ionizing radiation is not like a poison out of a bottle where you can dilute it and dilute it. The lowest dose of ionizing radiation is one nuclear track through the cell- you cannot halve it.”

1 Quotation from Gofman on Health Effects of nuclear Radiation, Synapse, Vol 38, No 16, 1994.

August 21, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australian Parliamentary Inquiry asks inconvenient questions about nuclear waste import costs

scrutiny-on-costsSA parliamentary committee questions economics of importing nuclear waste, Independent Australia, 19 August 2016The economic benefits of SA’s push for a global nuclear waste dump took a negative turn during the current parliamentary committee inquiryNoel Wauchope reports.

THE SOUTH Australian Parliament is holdinga Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC).

The five committee members, with one exception, the Greens Mark Parnell, have pro-nuclear opinions. I thought that it was going to be just a rubber stamp for the NFCRC. Now I am not so sure. The committee gave the NFCRC a grilling on the economics of the plan to develop a nuclear waste import industry in South Australia.

Answers indicated that the NFCRC is keen to have discussions with other countries before the matter is resolved at the political level…….

Trawling through the 173 pages transcript of hearings of this committee, I was surprised at the rigour of the questioning of witnesses by the politicians. They did ask hard questions about the arrangements for contracts from overseas countries, customers sending radioactive wastes to South Australia. They asked questions about who pays and when, and for what aspects of the process.

The most intensive questioning of witnesses was certainly on that subject of economics. After all, the plan is to make a financial bonanza for the state. There is no other reason for it. I sensed that the parliamentary committee was indeed focussed on this one basic question:

If it’s not going to make money, why do it?……

Dr Johnson went on to rather confusing statements about the contractual arrangements, and particularly about at what stage revenue would come to South Australia. I don’t think that the committee was inspired with confidence as Johnson discussed this. It was a very lengthy discussion. A few extracts illustrate the economic problems that were revealed in this discussion:

(Transcript p.24) Dr JOHNSON:

We recognised that, once waste got to South Australia, it was very unlikely to leave South Australia. It was very unlikely that there would be anywhere else you could move it on to, so the liability and the responsibility for that waste would be transferred to South Australia. What was a realistic value of that willingness to pay number?  We looked at that in a number of different ways because there is no market for it……

a rare mention of the probability of a serious nuclear accident happening – who knows when? It raised the spectre of the expected nuclear waste bonanza suddenly fizzling out, after South Australia had committed to building the nuclear waste repository …..

Dr Johnson seemed to get a bit rattled:


In essence we are spending money up until we start signing the contracts, and at this stage on the 28-year timeline that occurs at year six-ish, but if it’s a 40-year timeline and there are delays, then it may well be that you keep spending money and you don’t get the precommitments until later than year six. : I am not an economist; I am a chemist. Quite clearly, we were not looking at this from an economic perspective. Our remit was to look at it from a financial perspective…….

Kristen Jelk  asks:

South Australia nuclear toiletWho is talking about “Brand South Australia”?  ……….
If SA is pitching safe products to an international market, and it becomes known that this Australian state has established a dump for nuclear waste, then the damage to brand SA will be immeasurable….It will not matter that the dump is in a desert, nor will it matter if the dump is a distance from prime agricultural land, nor will it matter if experts assure of safety standards. The perception that would prevail is that SA will be a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Perception is everything….

China is our largest trading partner. At present, Australia has clear marketing opportunities in China, and for our other nearer neighbours. In assessing the so called golden coin to be gained for bringing in radioactive trash, South Australia needs to also consider the other side of that coin the economic opportunities that could be lost, along with the risk of a poor or no return on the waste facility investment.,9371

August 21, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Submissions to South Australia Parliament are overwhelmingly opposed to nuclear waste importing

South Australian Parliament’s Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

This Parliamentary Inquiry is still going on. Transcripts of hearings and submissions can be read at

The opinions of those submitting to this Committee are overwhelmingly opposed to the nuclear waste import plan.

Graph Submissions to SA Parlt 2016

However,the Committee itself is hardly neutral:

August 13, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

Nuclear waste forum in Port Pirie got a negative response from indigenous community

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionSpeakers in Pirie raise doubts about nuclear dump Greg Mayfield 10 Aug 2016, Speakers at an indigenous forum in Port Pirie questioned the merits of proposals for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

The forum was hosted by Jason Downs, of the Consultation and Response Agency set up after the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. It was aimed at gathering informal views from the Aboriginal community on the findings of the commission.

Gregory Waldon, of Wirrabara, said radioactive contamination on the leg of a fly could be a “problem dose” amid the scenario of handling nuclear waste. He said the issue of “risk” should be reserved for the casino. Only about $230 for each resident of South Australia would flow, he said, from development instead of an original estimate of $3300, once the Commonwealth became involved.

“It is not our waste. We should not be taking any risk,” he said.

Enice Marsh, 73, of Gladstone, is an Adnyamathanha indigenous woman who was once a coal-miner at Leigh Creek. Mrs Marsh said she was on Adnyamathanha land and was the only person from this group here at the gathering. “There are lots of Adnyamathanha people living here in Port Pirie and the area,” she said.

“I really got very little notice about this gathering. It is my duty to come here to represent my country.

“We have two uranium mines on our land – Beverley and Honeymoon. “It doesn’t matter whether it is low, intermediate or high-level waste, we are saying ‘no’ from day one.”

Neville Reid, who works in Port Pirie, said that if he were not logged into the “no nuclear” website, he would not have known about the event. He queried why there were only 10 country people on the Citizens’ Jury looking at the nuclear issue when the dump was “going to be in a country area”.

He warned that steel and concrete doors on repositories would “rot away”, leading to “another site then another site” being used during the long radioactive life of the waste.

Leader for engagement with the agency Mr Downs said a private research company had been engaged to report to the next Citizens’ Jury in October followed by a report to Premier Jay Weathefill who would “make decisions” in November based on feedback.

August 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Quite secretively organised, the plan for a federal nuclear waste dump at Hawker, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Lucas-wastes This secrecy is outrageous. It would not happen in America. The whole bs about “medical wastes” is one big cover-up for the transport of a tiny amount of intermediate to high level nuclear wastes returning from France. The plan is to continue to take in such returning nuclear wastes, so that Lucas Hieights’ reactor can continue to produce them. After that, how convenient for the global nuclear lobby, if South Australia is already taking in ‘Australian’ high level wastes. What a lovely precedent for the global nuclear waste import plan.

Gavin Smith The Intermediate Nuclear Waste from France is really High Level Waste bound for the Flinders Ranges to be stored indefinitely in a shed during Earthquakes, the 50 degree C heat of Summer and the Outback Floods of Wonoka Creek .
Gavin Smith   We are expected to turn up to Hawker for 2 hours today and submit Environmental and Health submissions to the Government reps. about the Nuke Dump No Public notice for submission from the General Public have been called for as this is a Local Hawker matter. Local seems to be the key words used by the people in the dump area who believe it is a benign development and make a point that outsiders educated opinions are unwelcome .

Australia’s Secret Shipment of Radioactive Nuclear Waste Arrives !

Bronwyn Lucas Today already! There’s a tourism operator forum on at Beltana Station, so I’d imagine that there’d be a few locals at Beltana, not able to attend. We can’t make it today either.
This will be the tick the box and no-one is concerned b.s.
Gavin Smith Bronwyn Lucas Part of the plan . Station Stays people will be at that venue. Check the Get About in Hawker Page for the notice. The Fed Gov. web page has no public consultation listing and no advice or invitation for written submissions from the public . Jut the 2 hours of over the counter at Hawker . The Local Council must surely be aware of what is going on and no advice is coming from there either .
Gavin Smith It is a site that locals use . People are not game to voice any opinion against that of businesses and councils in small places . I do and pay the price for it .
Bronwyn Lucas I’m very sorry to hear that you may be being ostrasized, Gavin. At least the Quorn Caravan Park, Flinders Rangesand Quorn Cafe are questioning at least the process of getting the repository into the Flinders Ranges, so you’ll find at least a couple of friendly businesses this way and lots of friendly locals, also asking more questions and needing more answers.
Gavin Smith Bronwyn Lucas The fight for what is right is not on if you only engage with like minded I suppose. The Murraylands has been a battlefield for the environment for me over many years .
Joy Engelman The process is deliberately designed to bypass people. I am not sure what can be done except to say people need to be ready and vigilant. The govt usually putsa small ad in the back section of local papers in the public notices and usually onle one ad on a day when the paper isn’t popular like a Tuesday. That way they can claim it was advertised but no-one was interested.
Gavin Smith Joy Engelman I checked the website. Has anyone seen anything at Quorn or Port Augusta about it. The FRC have only posted council meeting stuff on the 20th July and 7 days is a joke for submissions to been delivered in person. Ch 7 Today Tonight is close to getting a call on this one. Mike Smithson loves a cover up story .

Gavin Smith Joy Engelman It is a national project and we should all be given a fair go . It is not in the Council Region but Outback Lands . My blood is near boiling point about this.

  Joy Engelman Gavin Smith l have written to a couple of ministers, made a submission to the Royal Commission, yourSay and also emailed the Dept of Conservation This has helped me get rid of some if my frustration and hurt about this. I encourage you to do the same. Write and complain, ask questions of govt. It does help. My heart goes out to you all… To all of us!

August 3, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Nick Xenophon – only a referendum is adequate to resolve South Australia’s nuclear waste decision

Xenophon, NickSouth Australian Premier Jay Weatherill says a final decision on a nuclear waste dump is still years away. SBS World News,  AAP 29 JUL 2016 

 A “no turning back” decision to build a high-level nuclear waste dump in South Australia is still years away, Premier Jay Weatherill says.

The state government on Friday launched a three-month community consultation program on the recommendations rising from a Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle…….Mr Weatherill says whatever the outcome of that process, a final decision on the dump is still some way off, and will be proceeded by a series of “gated decisions” to move ahead cautiously…….

But South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon said only a referendum of all South Australian voters would be adequate for such a momentous decision.


“Because once we have a nuclear dump, that’s it. We will be known as the nuclear dump capital of the world,” he said.

South Australian Greens MP Mark Parnell also criticised the consultation process which he said had ignored the history of failures, cost overruns and risks associated with waste storage.

“The government says it wants South Australians to have the facts, but it has chosen just some of the facts to present,” he said.

July 30, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear Weathervane Weatherill wavers on his anti – referendum stance

Weatherill WeathervaneSA nuclear waste dump referendum vote still possible, Premier Jay Weatherill says  By political reporter Nick Harmsen The South Australian Government may not be in a position to make a final decision on whether to pursue an international high-level nuclear waste dump this year, Premier Jay Weatherill has said.

The Premier has previously said the Government’s plans to make a decision clear to parliament in November.

But Mr Weatherill today told a budget estimates committee any decision this year was likely to be just the first step. “I’d like to be in a position to make a decision about whether we’re able to pass the first threshold,” he said.

“And there is an important go/no-go threshold that needs to be considered by the parliament.”

The Government has assembled a series of citizens’ juries to help inform its decision.

Mr Weatherill told the committee he would not rule out holding a referendum on the nuclear issue.

But he said a referendum would not provide the level of nuance required. “In particular, some green groups are calling for a referendum,” he said.

“Of course they’re the same green groups that don’t want a referendum on gay marriage. But leaving aside that little internal inconsistency for the moment, I think I [a referendum] tends to close down debate rather than allow it to be developed.”

July 29, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australian Greens prevented law that would give full rein to taxpayer funded nuclear promotion

South Aust Greens posterNuclear waste dump ‘spruiking’ with taxpayers’ money stopped by Greens‘spruiking’-with-taxpayers’-money-stopped/7325076   14 Apr 2016 An attempt to change the law in South Australia to allow public money to be spent on promoting a nuclear waste dump has been stopped with the Greens claiming a victory.

A law passed in 2000 to stop public funds from being used in any activity associated with a nuclear waste facility.

The State Government had tried to amend the law to allow consultation with the community on the results of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. Greens MLC Mark Parnell said the proposed change was too wide ranging and the Upper House had stepped in to protect taxpayers.

“The Greens do accept that we do need to have a public debate,” he said.”We’re confident we know what the result will be but nevertheless the Government says they only want to consult, they don’t want to spruik and they don’t want to plan for a nuclear waste dump.”

He said the Government had attempted to “overreach”.”The law now says that the Government can use public money to consult the community but they’re not to use public money for promoting or designing or even buying land for a nuclear waste dump.”

July 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia is targeted for five nuclear dumps and high level waste processing

Noonan, DavidSA is targeted for five nuclear dumps and high level waste processing

Brief by David Noonan, Independent Environment Campaigner

The Nuclear Royal Commission recommended SA pursue nuclear waste storage and disposal “as soon as possible” – requiring five waste dumps and a high level nuclear waste encapsulation processing facility.

 The Final Report Ch.5 “nuclear waste” and the Findings Report (p.16-20) are reliant on a consultancy “Radioactive waste storage and disposal facilities in SA” by Jacobs MCM, summarised in Appendix J.

SA is targeted for above ground high level nuclear waste storage, without a capacity to dispose of wastes, exposing our society to the risk of profound adverse impacts, potential terrorism and ongoing liabilities.

 The State government is in denial on the importance of nuclear waste dump siting by claiming social consent could be granted before we know what’s involved in siting up to five nuclear dumps across SA.

 Affected regions and waste transport routes are fundamental pre-requisites to transparency and to an informed public debate on potential consent to take any further steps in this nuclear waste agenda.

South Australia blanket

 First: a dedicated new deep sea Nuclear port is to receive waste ships every 24 to 30 days for decades, to store high level waste on site following each shipment, and to operate for up to 70 years.

The coastal region south of Whyalla and north of Tumby Bay is the likely location for this Nuclear port.

 South Australia is targeted for a globally unprecedented scale of high level nuclear waste shipments. Some 400 waste shipments totalling 90 000 tonnes of high level waste and requiring 9 000 transport casks are to be brought into SA in the first 30 year period of proposed Nuclear port operations.

This is in excess of the global total of 80 000 tonnes of high level nuclear waste shipped around the world in the 45 year period from 1971 to 2015, according to the World Nuclear Association report “Transport of Radioactive Materials(Sept 2015) and the Jacobs MCM consultancy (Feb 2016, p.152).

 Second: an above ground nuclear waste Storage facility is to take on approx. 50 000 tonnes high level waste before a Disposal facility could first start to operate in Project Year 28 (Jacobs p.5 Fig.3).

 SA is proposed to import high level waste at 3 000 tonnes a year, twice the claimed rate of waste disposal (Jacobs p.114), with storage to increase to 70 000 tonnes. The Store is to operate for up to 100 years.

 The Nuclear Commission budgeted to locate the waste Storage facility 5 to 10 km from the Nuclear port.

 The Nuclear port and above ground waste Storage facility are to be approved in Project Year 5, ahead of pre-commitment contracts for 15 500 tonnes high level waste in Year 6 and waste imports in Year 11.

South Australia needs to know the proposed region for siting the Nuclear port AND whether the nuclear waste Store is to be adjacent to the port (likely on Eyre Peninsula) or sited in the north of SA.

 Third: a Low Level Waste Repository for burial of radioactive wastes derived from all operations including final decommissioning of all nuclear facilities is proposed to be located in north SA. This Repository has a nominal waste burial capacity of 80 000 m3 of radioactive wastes (Jacobs p.144). This is some eight times the total scale of the proposed National Radioactive Waste Repository.

July 25, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | 4 Comments

Questions about Senator Sean Edwards’ nuclear waste proposal

Buy-S-Korea-nukesNuclear Fuel Cycle Watch,  Andrew Allison  July 21  Rumour has it that once of the anonymous countries that Sean Edwards will not name is South Korea. One might speculate about where the money for Sean Edwards’ very glossy submission to the NFCRC came from? ….Edwards,-Sean-trash

I have many reservations about Sean Edwards’ proposal, but two obvious questions come to mind:

1/ If the deep-underground storage of nuclear waste is a “solved” problem and South Australia can supposedly acquire and implement the technology at low cost (leading to high profits…) then why can’t South Korea do that?

2/ If the generation IV reactors are going to solve the waste storage problem then why can’t an advanced technological country like South Korea do that?

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Will Australia’s new Resources Minister Matt Canavan really listen to Aboriginal people?

Canavan, MattMatt Canavan has now the opportunity to correct these mistakes and engage in a truly inclusive and transparent process which actually listens to the concerns of the community and other stakeholders. Although a nuclear proponent, he should ensure that this process is not dealt with light-heartedly and pays attention to all aspects involved.

This would best be achieved through an independent inquiry into Australia’s nuclear waste and options for managing it.

Aboriginal communities all across Australia have sustainably managed the land for thousands of years, longer than any other group of people can claim. Their knowledge and concerns are valuable. Let’s hope they will be listened to. 

3rd Minister in two years to handle Australia’s nuclear waste dump   Anica Niepraschk – , 22 July 2016 The recent federal election has once more seen a bit of a reshuffle in PM Turnbull’s cabinet and thereby thrown the portfolio for Australia’s national radioactive waste dump in the hands of another Minister for the third time in less than two years.

After 20 years of failed siting processes for the proposed dump, then Industry and Science Minister Ian MacFarlane only announced a new attempt in November 2014. The first half of last year saw a voluntary nomination process happen where landowners across Australia could propose their property to host Australia’s low and intermediate level nuclear waste. Out of the 28 sites nominated, six were shortlisted for further consultation and investigation last November. All six site nominations were highly contested by the local communities.

Although the government, with its new ‘voluntary’ approach promised to not impose a nuclear waste dump on any community and therefore rely on voluntary nominations and community consultation, one of these six sites, Wallerbidina/ Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges, SA, made it to the next stage of the process, despite the strong opposition of the local Adnyamathanha community at Yappala station, just kilometres away from the site.

Not only chose the government to once again, after pursuing Coober Pedy from 1998 to 2004 and Muckaty in the NT from 2005 to 2014, to target an Aboginial community but it also chose a culturally highly significant site. The proposed property, nominated by former Liberal Senator Grant Chapman, is part of a songline and hosts many cultural sites, including the beautiful Hookina springs, a sacred women’s site for the Adnyamathanha. The local community remains actively connected to the maintenance and preservation of the land and is documenting and preserving their culture and history through recording traditional heritage sites and artefacts and mapping storylines in the area. Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia: Resuscitating a Nuclear Waste Nightmare

The project to bury the world’s nuclear poison in the heart of the Australian desert has not sprung out of a void. It is an idea that has been insidiously festering for two decades in a variety of incarnations.

The first stirrings of the hellish project to turn Australia into the world’s nuclear dumping ground emerged in the late 1990s when Pangea Resources, a U.K. based company promoted the construction of a commercially-operated international waste repository in Western Australia. The project was supported by a $40 million budget, 80% of which came from British Nuclear Fuels Limited (wholly owned by the U.K. government), with the remaining 20% from two nuclear waste management companies.

Australia’s Overflowing Nuclear Waste Dumps

One of the more disturbing elements of the Royal Commission report is its explicit endorsement of the progressive nuclearisation of the planet over the course of the next century. But given the make-up of the Royal Commission, this comes as no surprise.

Poison In The Heart: The Nuclear Wasting Of South Australia  Counter Currents by  — July 22, 2016  “……..It is a curious thing to observe the confidence with which the recent Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has embraced the promotion of South Australia as the ideal destination for over one third of the world’s accumulated stores of spent nuclear fuel. This spent fuel, together with the 400,000 cubic metres of intermediate-level nuclear waste that the Royal Commission recommends be transported to South Australia, represents a problem that nations with decades-long histories of nuclear energy production have failed to resolve. The entrancement induced by a whiff of billions of dollars of new revenue presently has a closed circle of nuclear advocates and politicians straining to persuade the people of South Australia to obligingly make their way as latter-day lemmings towards a dangerous and uncharted nuclear abyss.

In the short term, the Commission calls for the transportation of vast tonnages of highly radioactive materials from around the planet for decades-long storage in above-ground facilities. In the longer term, it proposes the construction of a deep underground repository for the “permanent” burial of the most dangerous wastes produced by a destructive and senescent civilisation. Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill and his Citizens’ Jury Nuclear Deception

Citizens' Jury scrutinyWeatherill trumps up Citizens’ Jury Report in push for SA nuke waste dump, Independent Australia 15 July 2016, Noel Wauchope, who has been covering the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission for IA, calls SA Premier Jay Weatherill out over a sleight of hand following the Nuclear Citizen’s Report this week.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill received the Nuclear Citizen’s Jury Report on 10 July. He said that it was a “commonsense” report and that:

“they [the jury] are asking us to also change the legislation to undertake that work”

(i.e: the work of investigating overseas markets for sending nuclear wastes to South Australia)

Here’s where the sleight of hand comes in. That call to change legislation did not come from the Citizens’ Jury. It came from the pro-nuclear Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC), and the jury was merely doing its appointed task — which was to paraphrase the NFCRC’s recommendations. Throughout the jury process, the jury members were reminded that they had no brief to make any decisions or recommendations and they conscientiously stuck to that rule.

Now I think we know why Weatherill was so adamant that this group be called a “jury”. A later group of 350 members, will also be called a “jury”. There is some possibility that this number 350 could be taken as an adequate sample of the South Australian population of 1.712 million. So again, by regurgitating the NFCRC’s recommendations, this might conceivably be portrayed as the “verdictof the people. That’s a lot safer than a referendum. …….

NFCRC is over, and finished, but hey — not so!  The next move is a massive public advertising process and this kicked off with the recent Citizens’ Jury, which, while being organised by the South Australian firm DemocracyCo, was master-minded and controlled by NFCRC personnel. The witnesses were predominantly pro-nuclear, speakers from NFCRC were prominent and NFCRC staff were present at many, if not all, sessions.

Several times, during hearings, and Q and A sessions, the jury was reminded of the necessity to change State and Federal legislation.

Weatherill nuclear dream

This process had, in fact, already begun, with legislative change that had to be made retrospective, seeing that the government had already spent $7.2 million on the Royal Commission. It is rare for legislation to be made retrospective. As the Greens’ Mark Parnell commented:

‘The retrospective clause is basically saying that if anyone did anything illegal we now legalise it.’ 

The South Australia Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 used to say:

13 — No public money to be used to encourage or finance construction or operation of nuclear waste storage facility

(1) Despite any other Act or law to the contrary, no public money may be appropriated, expended or advanced to any person for the purpose of encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State

This section was amended in May 2016. The government wanted to remove Section 13, altogether. However, after several efforts on this, (Greens’ Mark Parnell objecting), Section 13 was amended, to include a new provision:

‘(2) Subsection (1) does not prohibit the appropriation, expenditure or advancement to a person of public money for the purpose of encouraging or financing community consultation or debate on the desirability or otherwise of constructing or operating a nuclear waste storage facility in this State.’

That was a small step forward for the nuclear cause.

Now for a bigger step. The government needs to drastically amend the South Australia Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000. Later on, they need to get changes made to the national legislation — The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).  They’d probably like these national powers to be removed and have these topics placed under State laws.

In building their argument for changing the law, the Weatherill Government needs to gather persuasive evidence about the proposed economic bonanza to come from importing foreign nuclear wastes. That means another round of expensive trips overseas, and a lot of advertising and promotional meetings in South Australia.

All this can now be justified, because, according to the government, the Citizens’ Jury called for more information, especially on economics, and even more importantly, called for changing the law on importing nuclear waste.

hurdles toff

The fact that this jury group diligently summarised the Royal Commission report, without themselves making any recommendations, will almost certainly get lost in the onslaught of pro-nuclear hype that is about to descend upon the South Australian population.,9237

July 16, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

No Profit in Nuclear waste

  • A minimal safety margin requires that high level waste not be imported before an agreed licensed geological disposal site…
  • High level nuclear waste disposal costs can double in a decade…..
  • Dubious claim that disposal of nuclear waste in SA costs one quarter less than in experienced countries…. 
  • SA faces a $60 billion debt in costs across 37 years of ongoing nuclear waste storage operations and nuclear facility decommissioning after the last receipt of overseas revenues for waste imports….
  • Nuclear contingency costs are unfunded…

Noonan, DavidBrief (July 2016) by David Noonan, Independent Environment scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINCampaigner

South Australians are being misled by inflated revenue claims, untenable assumptions and under-reported nuclear waste costs. Reality check analysis shows there is no profit in nuclear waste.

Nuclear waste costs are fast rising and unrelenting for decades after the last recite of waste imports regardless of whether or not claimed revenues and fixed prices over time prove to be realistic or illusory.

The Nuclear Royal Commission Final Report Ch.5 “Management, storage and disposal of nuclear waste” and the Nuclear Commission Tentative Findings Report (p.16-20) present a nuclear waste baseline business case that is near solely reliant on a consultancy “Radioactive waste storage and disposal facilities in SA” (Feb 2016) by Jacobs MCM, summarised in Final Report Appendix J.

There is no market based evidence for the Final Report revenue assumptions and claimed income.

Claimed revenues are a tonnage based multiplier: inflated tonnage equals misleading revenues.

Claimed revenues are doubled by an assumption SA can take twice the waste the US failed to achieve. Continue reading

July 16, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, reference, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment


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