Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Covid-19, climate change – what are we to do?

July 6, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia seen as successful in Covid-19 response, deplorable in climate response

July 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, health | Leave a comment

Independent advice essential for Kimba community: they have received only pro nuclear dump propaganda

Having read the Hansard transcript of Tuesday’s Senate committee hearing it becomes even more imperative that the community at Kimba opposing the facility and others who are not completely convinced must get their own  independent advice and assessment on the government’s proposals

The most concerning of the evidence was that on behalf of ARPANSA  which contrary to expectations suggested that any community involvement or engagement in the licensing process would be rather perfunctory

The way I understand that evidence by Dr Larsson is that the extent of the consultations with the community will really be what and how the community decides – this would suggest that they will be in a far stronger position if they have proper technical information and knowledge to argue against the government’s proposals in the course of the consultations 

In view of this evidence the chairman and members of the inquiry committee  should be  formally requested   to provide the necessary funding for the independent advice and assessment and the right to bring the results into the evidence for the inquiry

The community at Kimba opposing the facility, and others must stress the disadvantage and unfairness  in their being deprived of that advice and assessment,  and that is it is also equitable for the Government to pay for the independent assessment having regard to the money already given to the community to bolster approval for the government’s choice of the facility location

After all how can ARPANSA expect them  to be fully and properly involved in the community consultation process if they do not have the necessary information? 

July 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

AustralianGovtWatcher comments on Senate Committee enquiry hearing on Tuesday 30 June 2020

In general both the committee members and the witnesses appeared to be ill prepared and lacked knowledge of some of the pertinent issues involved

Several important factors were neither raised by questions nor otherwise dealt with by the witnesses – these included:

  • details of expenditure of the whole exercise particularly the cost of the reports by AECOM
  • more specific description of how the Kimba proposals and present arrangements for storage of nuclear waste comply with international standards and best practice
  • no information on the radionuclides inventories and mobility 
  • information on examination of techniques and methods for permanent disposal of intermediate level waste – merely mentioned directional drilling which no doubt refers to the borehole technology
  • no specific mention of geological burial requirements and applicable codes
  • complete silence on immediate availability of the highly suitable Leonora site of the Azark Project
  • no questions regarding the previous nominations
  • no questioning of the ballot results yet seemed to agree with the Department’s proposition that the Barngarla peoples’ own ballot was of not much help since so many had not voted

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young pursued a couple of worthwhile points regarding consultations with the Barngarla and their lack of informed consent and the issue of double handling of the intermediate level waste by initial storage at Kimba followed by permanent disposal at some other location

The other member who pursued a number of issues with some success was Senator Jenny McAllister but again she appeared to lack the required knowledge to be really effective

However she was a butt to Senator Chris Carr who is obviously very much in favour of the Kimba proposal particularly with his references to his discussions with Dr Adi Paterson from ANSTO

Senator Rex Patrick asked some good questions but regrettably this was obviously slanted towards his present campaign to get the waste disposed of at Woomera

Perhaps the most badly prepared witness was Ms Sam Chard  from the Department who simply could not answer some fairly basic questions and kept asking for them to be put on notice for subsequent provision of the necessary information – she was actually castigated by Senator McAllister

Asking for requests to be put on notice is invariably good tactics to avoid having to answer immediately an uncomfortable question and I suspect there is more use of this than necessary

However this can be reduced to some extent if the inquiry committee made greater use of its powers of production and discovery before and even during the hearings

The witness with whose answers I was disappointed – and I did see a bit of him on video – was Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson from ARPANSA who was very noncommittal and not extremely helpful by continuously claiming that ARPANSA would only become involved once it received the applications for the necessary licences for the Kimba facility

The very disappointing aspect of his evidence is that he would not provide any significant technical information and seemed too interested in shoring up the position of ANSTO

It is of course very difficult in these hearings since the members of the enquiring committee are mostly not trained in the art of forensic questioning as well as having insufficient knowledge to make the inquiry process very effective

It also seems that the research team for the enquiry did not delve sufficiently into various issues that should be investigated which only makes it more difficult for the committee considering the limited time given to each member for questions

From the submissions by the government and its agencies it is now quite clear that the community members opposing the Kimba facility must get proper independent assessment and advice to be able to be involved in the consultations with ARPANSA during the licensing process in a meaningful manner

They should ask the committee to ensure sufficient funds are available for that purpose as otherwise it will be practically impossible for the community members to deal with the technical and rather scientific aspects of the licensing applications particularly as Dr Larsson was not overly encouraging in his evidence about assisting them

The best self serving evidence was from AEMCO who simply relied on their report and very stated that quite a few of the issues raised by questions ere outside of its commission

July 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Murdoch press enthusiastic about nuclear propagandist Michael Shellenger

Murdoch press supports ‘reformed climate activist’ Michael Shellenberger https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/murdoch-press-supports-reformed-climate-activist-michael-shellenberger,14065  By Steve Bishop | 3 July 2020The mainstream press published an attack on climate science by a supposed environmentalist who is, in fact, a nuclear lobbyist, writes Steve Bishop.

THE AUSTRALIAN misled its readers this week when it carried a major article purporting to be written by a climate activist who was, as it turned out, admitting climate science was bunkum.

Michael Shellenberger, headlined as an environmentalist in the article, is, in fact, a self-advertised nuclear power lobbyist and an advocate for nuclear weapons proliferation.

Other Murdoch newspapers and Australia’s Sky News have also carried Shellenberger’s claim that:

‘On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologise for the climate scare we created over the past 30 years.’

He may once have been an environmentalist, but the fact is he was exposed – not for the first time – for attacking climate science as long ago as 2010 by the Public Interest Research Centre which reported that along with a co-author he had restated:

‘…a plethora of half-truths, misrepresentations and outright fantasies that have lately become almost canonical in the public sphere.’

Shellenberger makes his agenda clear on various websites and elsewhere: the present approach to dealing with climate change is not working, renewable power sources won’t solve the problem and, therefore, the entire world needs to be nuclear powered.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2017 that the widespread adoption of nuclear power across the world would solve the climate change problem:

“…because it basically reduces your carbon emissions to near zero in the power sector.”

The Herald described him not as an environmentalist but as a ‘nuclear power advocate’.

In 2003, he co-founded the Breakthrough Institute which says on its website:

Breakthrough’s energy work has focused heavily on the future of nuclear energy. Along with a growing cohort of scientists, journalists, philanthropists, and environmentalists, we have made the case that addressing climate change will require abundant, cheap, safe, and reliable nuclear energy.’

In 2016, he became the founder and president of an enterprise lobbying for the nuclear industry, giving it the misleading title of Environmental Progress.

He describes its aim:

‘The greatest threat to the climate today comes from the decline of clean energy as a share of electricity globally. EP is working with scientists, conservationists and citizens around the world to defend our largest source of clean energy, nuclear power.’

The website boasts:

‘He has helped save nuclear reactors around the world, from Illinois and New York to South Korea and Taiwan, thereby preventing an increase in air pollution equivalent to adding over 24 million cars to the road.’

In a major article for Forbes magazine in 2018, Shellenberger wrote:

‘Who are we to deny weak nations the nuclear weapons they need for self-defence?’

In another 2018 Forbes article under the cross-heading ‘Why nuclear energy prevents war’, Shellenberger wrote:

‘After over 60 years of national security driving nuclear power into the international system, we can now add “preventing war” to the list of nuclear energy’s superior characteristics.’

Renew Economy reported in 2017 he was:

‘…stridently pro-nuclear, hostile towards renewable energy and hostile towards the environment movement.’

At that time, Shellenberger was in Australia to speak at a major conference – not a climate change summit but the International Mining and Resources Conference – to advance the cause of nuclear power.

This is not the first time The Australian has used this nuclear lobbyist to attack renewable energy and climate science. It featured him three years ago under the headline‘Nuclear “must replace coal, gas”’.

He was in Australia to promote his message that wind and solar have failed, that they are doubling the cost of electricity and that:

“…all existing renewable technologies do is make the electricity system chaotic and provide greenwash for fossil fuels.”

In his article, Shellenberger gives 12 examples of scientific findings which he says are incorrect and which are climate alarmism.

Take just the first: ‘Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”’.

His assertion contradicts the work of more than 1,000 scientists contributing to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) which found ‘1,000,000 species threatened with extinction’ and warned:

“We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

What makes The Australian’s publishing of the article all the more risible is that in reality, it is a puff piece for Shellenberger’s new book, Apocalypse Never and is more or less identical with what he had published on his website on 29 June.

Forbes, which has carried Shellenberger’s articles in the past, withdrew the puff piece.

National Post asked Forbes why this had happened and was told:

‘Forbes requires its contributors to adhere to strict editorial guidelines. This story did not follow those guidelines and was removed.’

Don’t expect The Australian to follow suit.

(Readers who might want to read about a real climate scientist changing his mind about global warming should read Professor Richard Muller’s story.)

July 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Australia was the guinea pig population for Britain’s nuclear weapons tests radiation fallout

Paul Langley  Facebook , 5 July 20
It was Operation Buffalo’s series final tonight, on the ABC, so Im interrupting my thread on Fuk ( a crime which, were I just, would see me ban myself from this page) and I want to point out , yea, the British were the spies, and we were the guinea pigs and we did what they said or else.
As late as the 80s the Poms were threatening us with jail in our own land for speaking out it. And yea, the false fallout maps that were published and the real ones hidden, and readings which were under valued by 50%. Here’s the nine maps publically released by the Royal Commission.
Once, years ago, I printed each one onto its own sheet of transparent plastic sheet. There were 12 bombs, but only 9 fallout maps.
But laying those 9 transparent maps on top of one another results in the final combined map, which proves how cunning the British spies were who used us, On Her Majesty’s Service, as guinea pigs. Whereas had the Soviets done the deeds, the nuclear veterans would have been elevated as heroes, instead of traitors for trying to speak. For at least 2 of the bombs, the Poms put a few ton of coal at the base of the bomb towers. The coal vapourised when the bomb went off, and when it condensed again it formed a black sticky goo in small droplets, containing speckles of fission product throughout it. That is what made the Black Mist of 1953 so sticky. Yep, pretty war like and cunning, the British. I am ashamed to say. I wonder why they spared Perth.

July 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, politics international, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Jane Goodall on conservation, climate change and COVID-19

Jane Goodall on conservation, climate change and COVID-19: “If we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves”  BY JEFF BERARDELLI JULY 2, 2020 CBS NEWS   While COVID-19 and protests for racial justice command the world’s collective attention, ecological destruction, species extinction and climate change continue unabated. While the world’s been focused on other crises, an alarming study was released warning that species extinction is now progressing so fast that the consequences of “biological annihilation” may soon be “unimaginable.”Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned conservationist, desperately wants the world to pay attention to what she sees as the greatest threat to humanity’s existence.

CBS News recently spoke to Goodall over a video conference call and asked her questions about the state of our planet. Her soft-spoken grace somehow helped cushion what was otherwise extremely sobering news: “I just know that if we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves. It would be the end of us, as well as life on Earth as we know it,” warned Goodall.

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Jeff Berardelli: Destruction of nature is causing some really big concerns around the world. One that comes to the forefront right now is emergent diseases like COVID-19. Can you describe how destruction of the environment contributes to this?

Dr. Jane Goodall: Well, the thing is, we brought this on ourselves because the scientists that have been studying these so-called zoonotic diseases that jump from an animal to a human have been predicting something like this for so long. As we chop down at stake tropical rainforest, with its rich biodiversity, we are eating away the habitats of millions of animals, and many of them are being pushed into greater contact with humans. We’re driving deeper and deeper, making roads throughout the habitat, which again brings people and animals in contact with each other. People are hunting the animals and selling the meat, or trafficking the infants, and all of this is creating environments which are perfect for a virus or a bacteria to cross that species barrier and sometimes, like COVID-19, it becomes very contagious and we’re suffering from it.

But we know if we don’t stop destroying the environment and disrespecting animals — we’re hunting them, killing them, eating them; killing and eating chimpanzees in Central Africa led to HIV/AIDS — there will be another one. It’s inevitable.

Do you fear that the next [pandemic] will be a lot worse than this one?

Well, we’ve been lucky with this one because, although it’s incredibly infectious, the percentage of people who die is relatively low. Mostly they recover and hopefully then build up some immunity. But supposing the next one is just as contagious and has a percentage of deaths like Ebola, for example, this would have an even more devastating effect on humanity than this one.

I think people have a hard time connecting these, what may look like chance events, with our interactions and relationship with nature. Can you describe to people why the way that we treat the natural world is so important? 

Well, first of all, it’s not just leading to zoonotic diseases, and there are many of them. The destruction of the environment is also contributing to the climate crisis, which tends to be put in second place because of our panic about the pandemic. We will get through the pandemic like we got through World War II, World War I, and the horrors following the World Trade towers being destroyed. But climate change is a very real existential threat to humankind and we don’t have that long to slow it down.

Intensive farming, where we’re destroying the land slowly with the chemical poisons, and the monocultures — which can be wiped out by a disease because there is no variation of crops being grown — is leading to habitat destruction. It’s leading to the creation of more CO2 through fossil fuels, methane gas and other greenhouse gas [released] by digestion from the billions of domestic animals. 

It’s pretty grim. We need to realize we’re part of the environment, that we need the natural world. We depend on it. We can’t go on destroying. We’ve got to somehow understand that we’re not separated from it, we are all intertwined. Harm nature, harm ourselves.

If we continue on with business as usual, what do you fear the outcome will be?

Well, if we continue with business as usual, we’re going to come to the point of no return.  At a certain point the ecosystems of the world will just give up and collapse and that’s the end of us eventually too.

What about our children? We’re still bringing children into the world — what a grim future is theirs to look forward to. It’s pretty shocking but my hope is, during this pandemic, with people trapped inside, factories closed down temporarily, and people not driving, it has cleared up the atmosphere amazingly. The people in the big cities can look up at the night sky and sea stars are bright, not looking through a layer of pollution. So when people emerge [from the pandemic] they’re not going to want to go back to the old polluted days.

Now, in some countries there’s not much they can do about it. But if enough of them, a groundswell becomes bigger and bigger and bigger [and] people say: “No I don’t want to go down this road. We want to find a different, green economy. We don’t want to always put economic development ahead of protecting the environment. We care about the future. We care about the health of the planet. We need nature,” maybe in the end the big guys will have to listen……….https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jane-goodall-climate-change-coronavirus-environment-interview/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7e&linkId=92720503

July 6, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s fight for freedom

Julian Assange’s fight for freedom   https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/julian-assanges-fight-for-freedom/12409182?fbclid=IwAR2rdBdg8aKbjWtITDgh-0EYRgJ_jqGuHL2HhlBxZe6cWz_Jwtt5HxUXl9k

By Phillip Adams on Late Night Live  n a revised edition of his book ‘The Most Dangerous Man in the World’, Investigative reporter Andrew Fowler reports on a tangled tale regarding the negotiations between Julian Assange and the US Department of Justice, to strike a deal with the incoming Trump Administration.  At that time, Wikileaks was in a strong bargaining position with its Vault 7 CIA disclosures, but a lack of trust and mounting pressure from various sources saw Assange decide to publish the CIA secrets.

Duration: 18min 48sec

Broadcast: Wed 1 Jul 2020,

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Michael Shellenberger mucked up the pro nuclear “climate action” propaganda

The environmentalist’s apology: how Michael Shellenberger unsettled some of his prominent supporters

The American environment and energy commentator’s piece in the Australian has found praise in conservative media , Guardian Graham Readfearn @readfearn, 4 Jul 2020  Few things engage a particular subset of conservative media more than an environmentalist having an apparent change of heart and dumping all over the “climate scare”.

Earlier this week, the Australian newspaper ran an opinion piece that fitted this narrative so perfectly that room was found on its front page.

The American environment and energy commentator and nuclear power supporter Michael Shellenberger was the provider.

“On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologise for the climate scare we created over the past 30 years,” wrote Shellenberger in his 1,700-word article.

A long interview on Australia’s Sky television, known for airing derisory views of environmentalism and climate change in its evening schedules, soon followed.

Though he had almost no profile in Australia before the piece, Shellenberger has been a contrarian voice on environmental issues and a critic of aspects of environmentalism for more than 15 years.

But his “apology for the climate scare” has unsettled some supporters of his who spoke to Guardian Australia.

His op-ed was first published three days earlier on Forbes, but was removed by the outlet.

Shellenberger claimed on social media he had been censored and told rightwing site the Daily Wire he was grateful Forbes was committed to publishing viewpoints that “challenge the conventional wisdom, and thus was disappointed my editors removed my piece from the web”.

Forbes told Guardian Australia the article was removed “because it violated our editorial guidelines around self-promotion”.

Before appearing in the Australian, the op-ed also ran on the website of Shellenberger’s thinktank, Environmental Progress, and on at least three other sites. The article heavily promoted Shellenberger’s new book, Apocalypse Never.

The article contained a list of “facts few people know” to buttress his claim that while climate change was happening, “it’s not even our most serious environmental problem”.

Among Shellenberger’s many claims was that climate change was not making natural disasters worse, fires had declined around the world since 2003, and the more dangerous fires being experienced in Australia and California were because of the build up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change.

Voices that have questioned human-caused climate change have embraced and applauded Shellenberger’s article.

At the same time, climate science experts have also offered qualified praise, while expressing concerns about the broader impact of the opinion article.

Respected MIT climate expert Prof Kerry Emanuel sits on a line-up of science advisers of Environmental Progress.

He told Guardian Australia he was “very concerned” about the opinion piece, and was consulting with other members of the advisory group before deciding whether to remain listed…….

He said: “For example, he states ‘climate change is not making natural disasters worse’ when there is plenty of evidence that it is.”….

One example of the more questionable claims in the opinion piece comes when Shellenberger claims fires in Australia and California were becoming more dangerous because of the “build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change”.

That claim is at odds with many studies showing higher temperatures driven by rising levels of greenhouse have already increased the risks of bushfires in Australia and will continue to do so in the future.

review of the academic literature produced earlier this year in response to Australia’s devastating bushfire summer found “human-induced warming has already led to a global increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather, increasing the risks of wildfire”. …..

According to the latest publicly available financial records, Environmental Progress earned US$809,000 in revenue in 2017 from gifts, grants and donations.

In the process of researching this article, Guardian Australia emailed questions to Shellenberger to clarify why Forbes had removed his article and who funded his organisation.

A third question related to a 2017 internal report from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) which said the institute, which represents the nuclear energy industry, had “engaged third parties to engage with media through interviews and op-eds” and named “environmentalist Michael Shellenberger” as one of those it had engaged………  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/04/the-environmentalists-apology-how-michael-shellenberger-unsettled-some-of-his-prominent-supporters

 

July 6, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Rare type of leukaemia, other health effects, in British veterans of nuclear testing

 

“My task was to go in and pick up all the radioactive debris, load them into my truck and take them to the decontamination centre.

“I had no protection whatsoever. The only people who had protection on Christmas Island were civilian AWREs – Atomic Weapons Research Establishment people.” 

A study undertaken by Sue Rabbitt Roff, a social scientist at Dundee University in 1999, found that of 2,261 children born to veterans, 39% were born with serious medical conditions. By contrast, the national incidence figure in Britain is around 2.5%.

“I want them to apologise to all the nuclear veterans for using us as experiments,” he said.   

I still maintain that they wanted to find out the level of radiation that a person could survive the nuclear bombs with.

I want them to apologise to all the nuclear veterans for using us as experiments’, says Fife Christmas Island veteran,   https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/1377815/i-want-them-to-apologise-to-all-the-nuclear-veterans-for-using-us-as-experiments-says-fife-christmas-island-veteran/ July 4 2020  Michael Alexander. Here’s why nuclear test veteran Dave Whyte from Fife intends to campaign for justice “until the end”

In the 18 years that Christmas Island veteran Dave Whyte from Fife has been campaigning for “justice” for Britain’s nuclear test veterans, he has never held back with the language he has used to describe the Ministry of Defence’s treatment of British soldiers during the nuclear tests of the 1950s.
He has compared the nuclear tests with the “experiments of Nazi Doctor Joseph Mengele”, accused the MoD of treating soldiers as “guinea pigs” and made comparisons with the aftermath of “Chernobyl”.

He blames his exposure to the fallout from five atomic and hydrogen bomb blasts in 1958 for a catalogue of health problems he’s experienced over the years including the loss of all his teeth at 25 and the discovery in his mid-30s that he was sterile.

The Ministry of Defence, meanwhile, has said there is no valid evidence linking the nuclear tests to ill health.

But despite numerous attempts at legal action against the MoD over the years, which, he admits have “hit every brick wall available”, the now 83-year-old, of Kirkcaldy, is refusing to give up as he continues searching for an admission that he, and thousands of other servicemen – now dwindling in numbers – were exposed to more radiation than the authorities have ever admitted. 

Born and raised in Montrose before a spell living in Edinburgh and Germany where his sergeant major father served with the Royal Artillery, Mr Whyte was 22-years-old and serving with the Royal Engineers when he was sent to Christmas Island in the South Pacific in 1958.

The Cold War was at its height and Mr Whyte was stationed there, off the north-eastern coast of Australia, to assist with British nuclear tests.

His job was to collect samples afterwards.

At the time the stakes were high. Amid real fears that the Cold War could escalate into open warfare with the USSR, Britain was determined that it should have its own nuclear deterrent.

In all, Britain and the USA caused some 40 nuclear test explosions in the Pacific region between 1952 and 1962.

Something like 21,000 British servicemen were exposed to these explosions.

But little did Mr Whyte and his colleagues realise that in years to come, some would suffer ill health and in some cases premature death.

Some would suffer from rare forms of leukaemia.

Others reported congenital deformities in their children with a disproportionate number of stillbirths.

“I was at Grapple Y – the largest hydrogen bomb exploded by Britain,” said Mr Whyte. Continue reading

July 6, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia ranks second worst in world on climate action, outside top 50 on clean energy — RenewEconomy

Australia ranks second last in world for climate action in the latest assessment of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, beaten only by Brunei. The post Australia ranks second worst in world on climate action, outside top 50 on clean energy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia ranks second worst in world on climate action, outside top 50 on clean energy — RenewEconomy

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Know your NEM: Prices down, despite seasonality of rooftop solar — RenewEconomy

It’s a time of low output for rooftop solar, and the share of large scale wind and solar is also off its peak, but Australia’s power prices are still at low levels. The post Know your NEM: Prices down, despite seasonality of rooftop solar appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Know your NEM: Prices down, despite seasonality of rooftop solar — RenewEconomy

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Former Socceroos captain wants Australia to show climate leadership as World Cup host — RenewEconomy

Former Socceroos captain calls for Australia to use role as 2023 World Cup hosts to show leadership on climate change. The post Former Socceroos captain wants Australia to show climate leadership as World Cup host appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Former Socceroos captain wants Australia to show climate leadership as World Cup host — RenewEconomy

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Busting Australian govt media spin about Napandee nuclear waste plan, – by AustralianGovtWatcher

Cut through this spin from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources – glossing over the licensing problem about waste classification. It is duplicitous about “medical” wastes. It ignores the plan’s failure to comply with all regulatory requirements, failure to properly inform local community. It makes dubious claims on economics and employment, and dubious claims about the selective community ballot, and duplicitous claims about Aboriginal involvement (AustralianGovtWatcher’s comments in red italics)

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources National Radioactive Waste Management Facility: Hearings last Tuesday of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics

Media release
2 July 2020

The following can be attributed to a spokesperson from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources:
“The department was pleased to attend the committee hearings on Tuesday to discuss the proposed legislation to support the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility,” the spokesperson said.

“Specifically it was also an opportunity to address some questions about the process and proposed facility, including some those which have since been raised in the media, as outlined below.

Is there are need for a facility?
“The legislation delivers on the Australian Government’s commitment to site the facility at Napandee in Kimba, South Australia.

“The facility will be for the disposal of low-level waste and temporary storage of intermediate level waste, which will be stored at the facility only if it meets strict Waste Acceptance Criteria.”

The facility will fail to meet the safety codes and prescriptions of IAEA as adopted in Australia by ARPANSA

What is proposed to overcome this problem as otherwise ANSTO or whoever else will be the operator of the facility will not get the necessary licences

“About 80 per cent of Australia’s radioactive waste stream is associated with the production of nuclear medicine which, on average, two in three Australians will need during their lifetime.”

This is a dubious claim and depends entirely on the level of classification and the source of the waste – it should be specifically broken down into those categories.

“This medical waste, along with Australia’s historical radioactive waste holdings, is currently spread over more than 100 locations across the country, like science facilities, universities and hospitals.”

True but only a portion of that waste is held or controlled by the federal government.

“It is international best practice to consolidate this waste at a purpose-built facility.”

Agreed but the facility at Napandee will not achieve this.

Can’t the waste be permanently stored at ANSTO?
“Australia cannot indefinitely produce the vital nuclear medicine
that it needs, without responsibly and safely managing the radioactive waste by product.
“The national facility will not fit at ANSTO – it requires at least 40 hectares plus a buffer zone and enabling infrastructure.
“On the other hand, the whole ANSTO Lucas Heights campus, designed for nuclear medicine and research, is only 70 hectares in size, and already has more than 80 buildings on it.”

Although unavoidable due to simply adding new buildings when needed it still shows a dismissal lack of planning over many years which is acknowledged by former senior personnel at ANSTO

Do we need more scrutiny around the process to identify a site?
“The process to site the facility was developed with the assistance of an Independent Advisory Panel which included members with a range of academic, industry and environmental backgrounds, and people who are both generally supportive and against the proposal to establish the facility.”

Absolute nonsense since the choice of the site and subsequent development proposals fail to comply with all regulatory requirements.

Moreover the community members against the proposals were never given full and proper information despite their specific requests.

A good example of this was the issue of fire risks which is of prime importance with the proposed above ground structure in the heart of prime agricultural land.

The so-called Independent Advisory Panel proved to be ineffective and was not constituted as initially planned – it certainly did nothing of consequence to identify the location and provide any real scrutiny.

“And the process has already been independently scrutinised
on two occasions.
“In 2018, the Senate Economics References Committee ran an inquiry into the process for the selection of a site for the facility, and this found that that the process was sound.
“Four years of community engagement and three years of technical studies support the identification of Napandee as a site, which is suitable technically to safely and securely manage Australia’s waste, and broadly supported by the community.”

The Senate Committee inquiring into the selection process in 2018 could not possibly be regarded as being an independent scrutiny as seen from its conclusions and recommendations.

What was the second occasion of scrutiny?

Most importantly the community at Kimba has requested funding and governmental assistance in getting their own proper and independent expert scrutiny and assessment but the government has refused the requests.

The District Council of Kimba also refused a similar request despite claiming to represent the whole community.

What economic benefits would the facility deliver for regional Australia?
“Independent economic analysis conservatively estimated the facility would bring over $8 million in economic benefits to Kimba each year.”

How?

“The facility will also be the area’s largest employer, bringing 45 local jobs.”

Much larger facilities overseas employ a fraction of that number – it is more likely to be less than 10 employees in total and will no doubt depend on the infrequent deliveries of waste to the facility.

Hard to see where the yearly economic benefits of $8 million will come – it will do nothing to replace an agricultural industry at Kimba worth between $55 million to $85 million a year which based on recent overseas situations will suffer dramatically due to the presence of the facility.

“And some 62% of the local Kimba community supported the facility in a Council-run ballot undertaken last year.”

This is based on a very selective ballot the results of which have not been correctly interpreted.

Most importantly the ballot failed on the principle of informed consent as there was a lack of proper information given to the voters prior to the ballot.

What are the ways of protecting cultural heritage?
“While there is no native title or registered heritage at Napandee, which is cleared farming land, the department recognises the Traditional Custodians in the region, who have strong views about a radioactive waste facility being situated in the area.
“If the Barngarla People are willing to consider the opportunity, the department is seeking to engage with the objective of a funded agreement between BDAC and the Government, which could include:

• a Barngarla economic plan – including $3 million allocated
by the Australian Government,
• training, employment and business opportunities,
• a cultural heritage assessment and management program,
• the opportunity to ensure Barngarla heritage and cultural values are enhanced by the Facility and its design,

That is not what the Barngarla people say particularly as the proposed funding outlined by the government will in any case come from other existing financial assistance already available to them.

In any case the government should have been consulting the Barngarla for that type of agreement several years ago and certainly well before their legal actions were taken and which were strongly opposed by the government.
It seems that it will be hard to mend the bridges!

CONCLUSION
These comments are based on various expert advice from overseas which is far more credible in the areas of nuclear science and engineering then exists in Australia mainly due to there being no local nuclear generation industry .

This expert advice can be made available to the Senate committee if necessary

However the whole process of selection of a previously nominated site and the subsequent development proposals lack any community consideration of such inherent issues as the radionuclides inventories of the waste and the risk of fires

July 5, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Napandee nuclear waste plan futile and unnecessary, as it lacks adequate knowledge of radionuclides involved

From the AINS Group (a multi-discipline engineering consultancy specialised in nuclear waste management services, Finland)

“… it is quite unlikely that Napandee could ever be commissioned by the regulatory body

Nonetheless the selection of a site would need a thorough safety assessment that includes climatic and groundwater conditions, rock stability, host rock composition, and the amounts and nature of the hazards of the waste (i.e. the radionuclide inventory). AS said before the AECOM report is not enough to demonstrate or ensure the safety of the site and the post closure monitoring for 300 years may also be an issue.

Final remarks. Knowledge of the inventory and mobility of the radionuclides in the wastes must be the first step in determining how and where the wastes should be stored and disposed of permanently.

Without this, it is not possible to even consider or decide the conditions or attributes of the waste management location and the manner of storage and disposal, and this will, or should be, the prime consideration in the licensing process.

This does not seem to have been done with the Kimba location and the nature of its facility and hence its selection and subsequent plans may prove to be futile and unnecessary….”

References. ARPANSA 2010 Safety guide. Classification of radioactive waste – Radiation protection series No.20. Eurajoki T 2006 Lovisa Low and Intermediate Level Waste Repositary Safety case LOKIT – 2543 Fortum Nuclear Services Ltd, Espaa Finland. IAEA 2006 Geological disposal of radioactive waste, IAEA Safety Standard Series No. WSR4

July 4, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment