The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Australian Senator’s Impossible Nuclear Dream – analysis by Australia Institute

The impossible dream Free electricity sounds too good to be true. It is. A plan to produce free electricity for South Australia by embracing nuclear waste sounds like a wonderful idea. But it won’t work.  The Australia Institute Briefing paper Dan Gilchrist February 2016 


South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was established on 19 March 2015 and is due to report on its findings in May 2016. It is inquiring into the risks and opportunities to the economy, environment and community of the expansion or development of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Perhaps the most prominent plan has been the one championed by South Australian Senator Sean Edwards.1 He claims to be able to bring tremendous economic prosperity to South Australia, with the almost incredible by-product of providing free electricity to the state, and with money left over to reduce state taxes.
The plan involves being paid to take spent fuel from other countries and store it in Australia. The state can then use that old fuel to power a new generation of reactors, producing tiny quantities of easily handled waste. With money earned from taking troublesome radioactive materials off the hands of countries struggling with stocks of nuclear waste, South Australia can fund next-generation reactors.
The plan sounds perfect. The reality is far from it.
The Edwards plan ignores the cost of shipping the waste to Australia, and relies on technology that has never before been deployed commercially. It hopes that unjustified and unrealistic amounts of money will be paid for the disposal of waste.
Furthermore, although the plan includes the acceptance of 60,000 tonnes of waste, only 4,000 tonnes, at most, would be reprocessed for fuel. The remaining 56,000 tonnes would remain in temporary storage, with no funds left for future generations to deal with the problem.
 Even if the world fell into line just as Senator Edwards hopes, the plan fails to consider the obvious question: if Australia can generate free electricity from this spent fuel, wouldn’t other countries want to do the same? The plan makes no allowances for competition.
 Even if the countries of origin chose not to implement the miraculous technology proposed for South Australia, other countries could compete with Australia to provide this service. A plan predicated on monopoly profits of over 400 percent is, therefore, unrealistic.

The idea that an expanded nuclear industry in Australia will produce thousands of jobs and generate so much money that South Australians will be provided with free electricity is a wonderful dream. But like so many dreams, it is an impossible one.
The first section of this report outlines the key elements of the Edwards plan. 
The second section of the report provides a reality check. It shows that the plan fails to deal with over 90% of the imported waste, and then exposes the chief technological and economic risks in the scheme.
 The third section will consider a world in which the assumptions contained in the Edwards plan come true, and explores the possibility that other countries might go on to use the same technologies as Australia.
This paper will analyse the mid-scenario modelled in the Edwards plan – that is, 60,000 tonnes of spent fuel to be taken by Australia, with payments received of $1,370,000 per tonne – and follow the convention of using Australian dollars at their 2015 value, except where otherwise noted. Similarly, costings and claims are taken directly from the Edwards paper, except where otherwise noted. ………..
Conclusion There are no magical solutions in the real world. When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
 Even setting aside the technological and economic problems of the Edwards plan, its impossibility can be deduced by a simple observation: it only works if no-one else does it. It is a Catch-22. If the plan is a technological success it will open up competition, which would make it an economic failure.
 There is also the question of popular will: perhaps Australia’s edge would be in a unique willingness to implement such a plan? However, Australia has historically had a great deal of hostility toward the nuclear industry. If Australians could be convinced to embrace PRISMs and boreholes, surely some countries with an existing nuclear industry – countries which have, therefore, shown a much greater willingness to accept it – would also be willing to implement those solutions.
 It makes far more economic sense to pay for your own boreholes, or PRISMs, or reprocessing, than it does to pay up to ten times the cost for Australia to do it for you – you would save on shipping and port costs, at least.
Not every country would or could implement this solution, but it would take just one other nation on earth to provide competition. If the deal really is as attractive as Senator Edwards claims, surely at least one other nation would be tempted to take a share of such a wildly profitable business. Assuming that Australia will somehow maintain a monopoly in technologies it does not own is naïve.
Deploying new technologies is inherently risky. PRISMs and boreholes may turn out to be massive white elephants financially, and leave us with thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste to deal with. But even if these technologies worked, some other countries would surely be in a position to implement them, and at a reduced risk, once Australia had piloted its development.
It is a plan which creates its own competition.
In reality, there is no reason to think any country would pay what the Edwards plan assumes they will. With no mature nuclear power or waste industry, holding no monopoly on the technologies needed, and far from potential markets, there is no reason to think that Australia would have a competitive advantage. There is no reason to think that Australians will accept 56,000 tonnes of waste with no costed long-term solution.
 No other country will line up to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, because it does not exist. Sadly, Senator Edwards’ dream is impossible.

February 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster, wastes | Leave a comment

Why the Nuclear Lobby and Australian Politicians want Australia as world’s radioactive trash dump

from CaptD 31 Jan 16 The first reason is MONEY and I mean BIG Money. Politicians are always gear for Nuclear Buy politiciansPayback*


Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

The “other” reason is that the Nuclear Industry and their Utilities are desperate to create a radioactive waste dumping site for waste is that they are going to want to site Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) very soon, which companies like SD’s General Atomic are now working on. Since CA has a law that says no more nuclear reactors, until a waste site is developed, the lack of a disposal site is the biggest roadblock they face preventing them from deploying SMRs in CA.


I believe that most Utilities will want to phase out Nat. Gas fired Peaker plants and install SMR’s “because they don’t emit CO2.” That is, unless they are going to be making big money using nat. gas like SDG&E will be, since they already have a contract to import Nat. Gas from Mexico (which Sempra owns a share of, so they will be kind of buying Nat. Gas from themselves) for use in their two new state of the art Billion Dollar Peaker Plants that the CPUC just approved for them (despite the fact that the cost of Wind and Solar generation continues to drop almost monthly)!

SCE just had the CPUC decide against approving a Nat. Gas Peaker plant for them, so you can bet that they are now getting “very excited” about installing one or more SMR’s at San Onofre, since the grid wiring connection is already in place and they are going to be guarding that “nuclear waste” site for decades to come.

BTW: All waste facilities should be run by the Government, that way they will always be responsible for it, since Big Waste Corp.’s can go out of business any time they want as as everybody knows Radiation is FOREVER since 50 or more than 100 years is forever to everyone living today.

January 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Canada, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Australian Aboriginal company to launch portable solar system, and storage

The products are being launched at Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural centre in Adelaide on Wednesday 2 September. Ms Oberon said Adelaide was chosen for the launch because of the council’s Sustainable City Incentive Scheme, which provides up to $5000 towards the cost in installing solar PV storage across the residential, business, education and community sectors. Funding for the program also has financial support from the South Australian government.

“We felt it was important to acknowledge the South Australian government and the City of Adelaide for such a forward-looking and innovative scheme,” Ms Oberon said.

The company is also hoping other state governments and councils will be encouraged to take up the idea of supporting the uptake of renewable energy storage.

The company’s core mission is based on the fundamental Aboriginal approach of stewardship of the earth and its resources. This means needing to shift out of high-emissions fossil-fuel derived energy.

flag-AustraliaAboriginal-owned energy company one-upping Tesla By Willow Aliento, The Fifth Estate Friday 8 January 2016 The renewable energy storage game is about to be disrupted, with Australian Aboriginal-owned company AllGrid Energy announcing the launch of WattGrid, a new 10kWh solar energy storage system it says is around 30 per cent cheaper than the Tesla Powerwall.

Customers also don’t have to wait until 2016. Spokeswoman for AllGrid, Deborah Oberon, said the company expected to be making its first deliveries in the next two to three months.

portable solar system AllGrid

The $11,999 WattGrid unit comprises an aluminium cabinet containing tubular lead acid gel batteries, and a hybrid 5kW solar inverter with battery management system that has load share capability with the grid and uninterrupted power supply capability.

The unit is also accompanied by a software app, WattsHappening, that allows users to view real-time information and interface with the system.

Beta testing has shown the unit can help solar owners maintain an energy supply profile that can be matched to the demand profile, potentially rendering drawing grid power unnecessary.

The Queensland-based company is also releasing another product it has developed, the PortaGrid. This is an independent unit comprising solar panels, storage, UPS, inverter and outlets that is suitable for remote and off-grid locations, as well as emergency situations.

The units can be supplied with an inbuilt weather station that will automatically close up the panels in the event of a severe weather hazard such as a cyclone.

The AllGrid company is an alliance between two established firms, Consolidated Industrial Holdings, which operates across the energy efficiency, engineering design and technology sectors, and DICE Australia, an Aboriginal-owned and Aboriginal-operated company in the electrical contracting and general construction services sector………

The products are being launched at Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural centre in Adelaide on Wednesday 2 September. Ms Oberon said Adelaide was chosen for the launch because of the council’s Sustainable City Incentive Scheme, which provides up to $5000 towards the cost in installing solar PV storage across the residential, business, education and community sectors. Funding for the program also has financial support from the South Australian government.

“We felt it was important to acknowledge the South Australian government and the City of Adelaide for such a forward-looking and innovative scheme,” Ms Oberon said.

The company is also hoping other state governments and councils will be encouraged to take up the idea of supporting the uptake of renewable energy storage.

The company’s core mission is based on the fundamental Aboriginal approach of stewardship of the earth and its resources. This means needing to shift out of high-emissions fossil-fuel derived energy.

“It is so important for everyone to shift to renewable energy,” Ms Oberon said.

All the intellectual property involved in the products is owned by the AllGrid business.

Currently the company has one manufacturing facility established in Brisbane where the various parts, some of them manufactured offshore to AllGrid’s specifications, will be assembled by a predominantly Indigenous workforce.

Ms Oberon said if demand in South Australia was great enough, the company would also look to establish a plant in Adelaide.

The PortaGrid product is already attracting interest, she said, with the company in discussions with National Parks about supplying the units for remote sites that currently rely on diesel generators.

“The applicability worldwide of the technology is just enormous,” Ms Oberon said, “particularly in developing countries.”

Talks are underway with a number of groups that are currently running leadership programs with Indigenous people in other nations and setting up training programs in renewable energy for the local peoples.

The company is also investing heavily in research and development………

AllGrid has committed to directing a percentage of all company profits into creating and supporting training and employment programs for Indigenous Australian young people.

January 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, decentralised | Leave a comment

Melbourne, Australia, starts the wave of global climate marches


climate Melbourne 15Thousands gather at Melbourne CBD rally ahead of Paris climate summit, The Age, [excellent photos and video] November 27, 2015 -Chloe Booker, Timna Jacks, With Tom Cowie and AAP

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Melbourne’s CBD to demand world leaders take strong action to protect the planet at the Paris climate change conference.

The so-called People’s Climate March was one of hundreds of rallies being held around the world in the lead up to the crucial meeting. Members of The Cat Empire performed for the crowd, which included Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Greens Senator Richard Di Natale.

 Organiser Victoria McKenzie-McHarg estimated the crowd was at least 60,000 strong. “This absolutely is the largest climate change rally we have ever seen in Australian history,” she said to cheers from the crowd.  Chanting “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now”, the demonstrators marched from the State Library to Parliament House.

A sea of placards stretched down Bourke Street from Spring Street to Swanston Street and along Swanston Street from Bourke Street to La Trobe Street. There was a stand-off between banked-up traffic and protesters at Exhibition Street as frustrated drivers honked their horns and the crowd erupted in cheers and shouts.

Stunned diners observed the march from outside Bourke Street cafes, and some heckled the demonstrators. Sections of the crowd were more like a party, with some dancing and clapping to a marching band dressed in green-glittered uniforms, while others swayed to the strumming of a guitar. ……..

Andy Parsons, an Environment Victoria volunteer who attended both rallies, said environmentalists supported the right of Aboriginal people to live independently.”The Aboriginal people lived sustainably for thousands of years. Us white people could learn a lot from them,” he said.

Aboriginal man Robbie Thorpe said he saw a parallel between the “genocide” of his people and what he called the  “ecocide” of Australia’s natural environment. “We are the custodians of the land and the language. Only we know how to talk to our land. Without the Aboriginal people the land can’t survive and without the land, we can’t survive.”

November 28, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Indonesia will block its waters to nuclear waste ship travelling to Australia

ship radiationIndon to ‘block Aust-bound nuclear waste’ November 21, 2015 AAP
 INDONESIA’S Navy and police reportedly want to close their waters to a ship carrying nuclear waste bound for Australia.

“WE will block the ship because nuclear waste is very dangerous,” sea security coordinating agenda head Vice Admiral Desi Albert Mamahit told The Jakarta Post newspaper.

“Our ships are on standby, although the ship is still far from Indonesia. We have information about the ship.”On October 16, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) confirmed a project to repatriate radioactive waste from France, where it was sent for reprocessing in the 1990s and early 2000s, and which will now be retained at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights, Sydney, facility.”Consistent with security requirements and practice established during nine previous export operations, ANSTO will not confirm the destination port, land route, or timing,” it said on its website.The Indonesians are concerned about a ship called the MV Trader, which was close to the African coast and expected to pass through the Malacca Strait, according to reports.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Indonesia, safety | 1 Comment

South Australia: the State to become radioactively poisoned yet again?

Freydenberg said the facility would ‘only’ house low and intermediate level waste. Perhaps he is unaware of the toxicity of this LLILW. Dr Green again: ‘When the spent fuel is removed from the reactor, it is high-level nuclear waste. After some months it cools down and falls below the heat criterion so is reclassified as LLILW.’

The farmer opponents of the Kimba sites are right to be concerned. The spent fuel reprocessing waste will be hazardous for thousands of years.

South-Australia-nuclearSouth Australia’s nuclear threat continues Michele Madigan |  17 November 2015

Last Friday 13 November, the federal government released the shortlisted sites of the proposed national radioactive waste facility. No surprise that three are in South Australia, the ‘expendable state‘: Cortlinye and Pinkawillinie near Kimba on Eyre Peninsula, and Barndioota near Hawker, north of Port Augusta.

I wonder if South Australians aren’t beginning to feel like nuclear particles themselves, bombarded on all sides by the nuclear industry. This announcement from the federal government about its nuclear repository plans comes as the state government continues to consider, through its Royal Commission, whether, when and where South Australia will offer to host the world’s high-level nuclear waste.

The six names on the federal government shortlist (the remaining three being Sallys Flat in NSW, Hale in the Northern Territory and Oman Ama in Queensland) are taken from an original list of 28 properties that were offered by their landowners. It’s disturbing to find that the owner of the Cortilinye site, at least, has been misinformed,believing ‘It’s basically only a medical waste facility.’

In reality, only 10–20 per cent of the radioactive waste is medical in origin. And nuclear medicine is in no way affected by the lack of a national repository.

Resources and energy minister Josh Freydenberg’s Friday announcement included a masterly sentence of understatement: ‘Low level waste is those gloves or those goggles or the paper or the plastic that comes into contact with nuclear medicine, and intermediate waste could be, for example, those steel rods that are used in the reactor to actually create these particular products.’

It’s interesting to notice what’s different and what stays the same from the 1998–2004 ‘dump’ campaign in SA.Former science and energy minister Nick Minchin’s ultimately unsuccessful task back then was the imposition of a national dump on a South Australian community. His favourite low-level waste examples were watches that shine in the dark.

Senator Minchin however was not quite as casual as Freydenberg about what the intermediate waste ‘could be’. While Freydenberg seems to be casting around for an arbitrary ‘example’, the ‘steel rods’ he refers to, which are still travelling by sea from France back to Australia, are in fact long-lived intermediate level radioactive waste (LLILLW). As Dr Jim Green of Friends of the Earth explains:

‘Despite the name, spent fuel is orders of magnitude more radioactive than the original uranium ore. The spent fuel reprocessing waste returning from France will be stored at Lucas Heights, south of Sydney, and is then destined for ‘interim’ above-ground storage at one of the six sites.

‘Oddly, the government is making no effort to find a final disposal site for LLILW,’ he adds, even though ‘according to international standards, it should be subject to deep underground disposal, some hundreds of metres underground.’

Freydenberg said the facility would ‘only’ house low and intermediate level waste. Perhaps he is unaware of the toxicity of this LLILW. Dr Green again: ‘When the spent fuel is removed from the reactor, it is high-level nuclear waste. After some months it cools down and falls below the heat criterion so is reclassified as LLILW.’

The farmer opponents of the Kimba sites are right to be concerned. The spent fuel reprocessing waste will be hazardous for thousands of years.

All the while, the push for welcoming the world’s most dangerous material continues within SA — despite 40 per cent of SA’s electricity currently supplied by renewable energy.

It’s interesting how ethics enters the debate on the pro-nuclear side. With uranium just .02 per cent of the nation’s export dollars, Premier Weatherill has quoted ‘some’ who saw that because SA has 70 per cent of Australia’s uranium reserves ‘we’re duty bound to play our role in storing the waste’. In a signed letter to me earlier this month he was more direct.

The environmentalist refutation is more logical. The people do not choose to export uranium, but governments and companies do. If any government imports uranium then, just as with any other product, they import the responsibility of dealing with it.

As South Australia contemplates the renewed prospect of hosting both national and international radioactive waste sites, the stakes are high, especially for local Aboriginal populations whose collective memories include both the British mainland atomic tests of the 1950s and 1960s, and the successful campaign of 1998–2004 opposing a proposed national dump.

‘We live off the land,’ one young man from Coober Pedy wrote informally to the Royal Commission. ‘We go bush, we gather our food out there. We don’t want radioactive waste to destroy our land. It’s going to contaminate everything — our creeks, our water, our family.’

‘We don’t want the nuclear waste to be on our lands,’ Mima Smart, chairperson of Yalata, told me. Yalata is the place to which the people of the Maralinga Lands were removed to in 1952, a year prior to the first mainland explosion in the British nuclear test series.

‘Long ago our people didn’t have any rights and went through the bomb,’ she says. ‘That’s why we haven’t got Old People today. But these days we have our legal rights. How many more people do they want to die like what we seen?’

November 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear medicine – the nuke industry’s big con job in Australia

flag-Australia Medical radioactive wastes — the nuclear industry fig leaf, Independent Australia, 17 Nov 15  With modern developments in the non-nuclear production of medical isotopes, perhaps it’s also time to shut down the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor and stop producing dangerous radioactive trash, writes Noel Wauchope.

Watching the Australian media last week, you would be sure that the government’s hunt for a nuclear waste disposal site was solely to do with medical wastes. Rarely do they mention the real impetus for this hasty search, which is Australia’s current obligation to take back processed nuclear wastes from France. Later, we will have to receive similar wastes returning from UK. …..


the vast majority of medical radioisotopes have very short half-lives, so there’s no need for them to be moved beyond the site of use…. The real problem is the returning intermediate level wastes from Australia’s used nuclear fuel rods reprocessed overseas….

it must be acknowledged that the medical radioisotopes produced at Lucas Heights do have their valuable uses in diagnostics and in the treatment of cancers.

However, it also must be recognised that all these radioisotopes can be produced without use of a nuclear reactor. This is happening increasingly and, rather like the distributed renewable energy boom, the world could be on the brink of a distributed medical radioisotope boom. 

Canada and some in the USA certainly think so, judging by recent reports. The World Nuclear Association reports on University of British Columbia’s success in quadrupling the rate of production of medical radioisotopes using a (non-nuclear) cyclotron. Nova Scotia’s QEII Health Sciences Centre’s cyclotron was granted a Drug Establishment Licence (DEL) from Health Canada in June 2015

In USA, Niowave Inc, NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes and SHINE Medical Technologies, are competing in the market for medical isotopes, produced in a (non-nuclear) linear accelerator.

The non-nuclear production of medical isotopes has it all over the centralised production by nuclear reactor. This is not just because it eliminates the obvious dangers of nuclear wastes, weapons proliferation, terrorism risks, disastrous accident, and radiation emissions.

It’s because the greatest uses of medical radiopharmaceuticals involve very short-lived isotopes…….That makes them much better suited to localised production, in or near hospitals. The delivery of pharmaceuticals to patients is much more secure. In addition, the risk of transport accidents is close to zero……..

With all the fuss about finding a dump sites for Olympic sized pools of medical radioactive waste, it is time for the government and media to fess up to the real purpose of this hunt. And with modern developments in the non-nuclear production of medical isotopes, perhaps it’s also time to shut down the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor and stop producing dangerous radioactive trash.–the-nuclear-industry-fig-leaf,8384

November 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, health, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia should not become the world’s radioactive trash dump

text-cat-questionWhen nuclear reactors shut (as they are doing in USA) – where is the income stream to pay Australia for having all that radioactive trash?



Mona-Lisa-wastesProponents are talking up the billions that might be made by swallowing our pride and making Australia the world’s nuclear waste dump. But they have been silent about the costs. 

And the waste would need to be monitored and problems addressed for millenia

Wasting Australia’s Future: Why We Shouldn’t Become The World’s Nuclear Waste Dump, New Matilda,   By  on November 9, 2015 There are many good reasons why Australia should not set its sights on becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Dr Jim Green takes up the case.

While sceptical about the prospects for nuclear power in Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has given cautious support to the idea of a nuclear fuel leasing industry in Australia. Such an industry would involve uranium mining, conversion (to uranium hexafluouride), enrichment (increasing the ratio of uranium-235 to uranium-238), fuel fabrication, and disposal of the high-level nuclear waste produced by the use of nuclear fuel in power reactors overseas.

In the Prime Minister’s words: “We have got the uranium, we mine it, why don’t we process it, turn it into the fuel rods, lease it to people overseas, when they are done, we bring them back and we have got stable, very stable geology in remote locations and a stable political environment.”

Regardless of its merits, a nuclear leasing industry is an economic non-starter. That much is clear from the data provided in the latest edition of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Technology Review.  Uranium miners could be compelled to participate in an Australian nuclear leasing industry. But try telling that to BHP Billiton. The company bluntly stated in its submission to the 2006 Switkowski Review: “BHP Billiton believes that there is neither a commercial nor a non-proliferation case for it to become involved in front-end processing or for mandating the development of fuel leasing services in Australia.”

And there’s no point appealing to the patriotic fervour of Australia’s uranium miners: they are majority foreign-owned. Continue reading

November 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

The ever increasing costs of new nuclear energy – Australia, USA, S Africa, China

flag-AustraliaYou’ll never guess how much this Australian nuclear power plant will cost,    Matt Stroud, energy reporter for the Pittsburgh Business Times. Nov 6, 2015 A nuclear power plant has never been built in Australia before, but Westinghouse is putting a price tag on a new one they’re hoping to build there.

The price? About $12.3 billion.

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINIn testimony to Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission — a body that’s investigating whether the
Australian state of South Australia should build the nation’s first nuclear power plant — Westinghouse executive Rita Bowser said that price was all inclusive, according to The Advertiser in Adelaide, South Australia. It would include land, environmental safeguards and construction.
“While it’s not exactly our estimate, we think it’s a very good basis for your assessment or comparison,” Bowser testified.

Australia has zero nuclear power plants — and is known for being extremely averse to nuclear energy; it won’t even allow nuclear ships into its ports.

The historical aversion won’t affect the price much, apparently; the company’s guesstimate is in line with its current Vogtle project in Georgia, which has been plagued by cost overruns. It’s less than a comparable Chinese project, set to cost $24 billion. And it’s cheap in comparison to a project proposed in Johannesburg that could cost $100 billion.

The South Australia project’s future is fluid at the moment: the Nuclear Royal Commission hasn’t even decided whether it wants to recommend a nuclear facility.

That decision is set to come in May 2016. Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. (TYO: 6502) owns 87 percent of the Cranberry-based Westinghouse Electric Co.

November 7, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs | Leave a comment

Radioactive trash ship on its way to Australia, despite safety concerns

radioactive trashShip carrying nuclear waste heads to Australia, West Australian  CHERBOURG, AFP October 16, 2015 A ship carrying 25 tonnes of reprocessed nuclear waste is steaming to Australia despite protests from activists about an “environmental disaster waiting to happen”.

The BBC Shanghai left the northern French port of Cherbourg after approval from local officials, who carried out an inspection on Wednesday, and is due to arrive by the end of the year in NSW. It is laden with radioactive waste from spent nuclear fuel that Australia sent to France for reprocessing in four shipments in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation says.

The reprocessing involves removing uranium, plutonium and other materials, with the remaining substances stabilised in glass and stored in a container…….

Greenpeace, French environmental campaign group Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) and a leading Greens MP have called for the shipment, sent by Areva, to be halted. “Areva, almost bankrupt, are using a dustbin ship to carry waste, without any serious inspection!” Denis Baupin a senior MP with the French green party, tweeted.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific said the ship, owned by German firm BBC Chartering, was an “environmental disaster waiting to happen”, claiming the Shanghai was “blacklisted by the United States because of its safety record”……

But Areva’s external relations director, Bernard Monnot, said the ship was “not banned from ports in the United States but banned from transporting material for the American government”.

Nathalie Geismar from Robin des Bois said other ports had found it had a “staggering number of flaws”……

ANSTO said the material would be kept at the Lucas Heights facility in southern Sydney until a nuclear waste dump site, which has yet to be chosen, is found and constructed……

October 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Australian Aboriginal women renew their long hard fight against nuclear waste dumping

Aboriginal women reaffirm fight against nuclear waste dump in South Australia ABC Radio National,  The World Today  By Natalie Whiting 16 Oct 15 The first shipment of Australia’s nuclear waste to be returned from re-processing in France has now left a French port, and will arrive on our shores by the end of the year. The return of the 25 tonnes of nuclear waste is putting renewed pressure on the Federal Government to find a location for a permanent waste dump.

The shipment began its journey just a day after senior Aboriginal women gathered in Adelaide to mark their fight against a proposed dump in South Australia in the 1990s.

The women say they will fight against any new move to put the waste on their land…..

SA Aboriginal women remember waste dump victory A Federal Government plan to build a
Austin, Emily (centre)nuclear waste dump in the South Australian outback in 1998 attracted fierce opposition, especially among local Aboriginal people.

An event in Adelaide last night celebrated the work of a group of women called kupa piti kungka tjuta, who campaigned against the dump. Emily Austin from Coober Pedy was one of them. (centre in picture)

“We used to fight, we travelled everywhere – we went to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide,” she said.
“We were telling them that’s poison and you’re going to bury it in our country? “That’s no good.”

The women campaigned for six years until a Federal Court challenge from the South Australian government put an end to the dump. Ms Austin said she could remember the day the court found in South Australia’s favour.

“I was out in the bush hunting and I heard it on the radio in the Toyota. We were all screaming, ‘We won’.

“All the kungkas (women) were happy.”

While the Federal Government is in the midst of a voluntary process for finding a site for a dump, South Australia’s outback is still seen as an ideal location.

The South Australian Government’s attitude to the industry has been shifting.

It has launched a royal commission to investigate possible further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.The royal commission is looking at everything from mining uranium, processing, waste storage and nuclear power.

The organiser of last night’s event, Karina Lester, is the granddaughter of one of the women who campaigned and her father was blinded by the British nuclear tests at Maralinga half a century ago.

She said the Aboriginal people in South Australia’s north have a long and tortured history with the nuclear industry. “Maralinga’s had a huge impact because people speak from first-hand experience,” she said.

“People like the amazing kupa piti kungka tjuta, many of those old women who are no longer with us today, they were there the day the ground shook and the black mist rolled.

“It’s an industry that doesn’t sit comfortably with Anungu community.”

Ms Lester said it was good to see the royal commission consulting with people before a decision is made.”Credit to the royal commission that they’ve made an effort to engage with a broader community of Aboriginal communities,” she said.

“But how many of those Anangu are really understanding he technicality of this royal commission and what industry really means?” Ms Austin said she was ready to fight any future attempts to set up a waste dump in the region.

“Oh yeah, I’ve still got fight yet. They might stop yet, they might listen, I dunno,” she said.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

USA’s “Small Modular Nuclear Reactor” lobby pinning its hopes on Australia?

Why Australia is important to the Small Nuclear lobby.Independent Australia

 smr-aUSTRALIA-copy16 October 2015, Elsewhere in the world, proponents of small nuclear reactors are pitted against the large reactors, but here in Australia, as Noel Wauchope reports, proponents of small reactors see them as enabling conventional nuclear and uranium mining to flourish.   QUIETLY, AND pretty much under the media radar, a dispute is going on in the global nuclear industry between the advocates of “Generation III” — big nuclear reactors, and “Generation IV” — small nuclear reactors…….

 the nuclear lobby’s spiel to Australia is something different, and very original. No dispute — because the argument is that small reactors would further the large reactor industry.

First articulated by Oscar Archer on ABC RN, March 2015, the idea is that Australia, in setting up small nuclear reactors, would enable the conventional nuclear industry and uranium mining to flourish:….. As Archer says, Australia would indeed be the pioneer for the new technology.

And that’s what the USA “new nuclear” lobby desperately needs.  They need this, because they’re finding it impossible to go ahead in America. Why? Well it’s those pesky safety regulations imposed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

What the “Small Nuclear” lobby needs is a “nuclear friendly” country – one with less stringent safety
regulations – to set up their nuclear reactors on a test site. Hence the enthusiasm of those lobbyists for the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, as shown, for example, in a recent Royal Commission hearing speech by Thomas Marcille of Holtec International nuclear company.

……… the Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) has proved to be real nuisance since it tightened regulations for the licensing process after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The new nuclear marketers have had to go overseas, first to China, then perhaps to Australia?….,8263

October 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Doctors plan global day of climate action

logo Paris climate1flag-AustraliaDoctors urge climate action  One of Australia’s peak medical bodies says political leaders must act on climate change to reduce serious health impacts. AAP
 Australia’s doctors will begin a campaign on Monday to warn world leaders that failure to make meaningful cuts to carbon dioxide emissions will cause a serious increase in heat-related illness and infectious diseases.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians will hold a Global Day of Climate Action to put pressure on leaders at the coming United Nations climate talks in Paris in December.

Infectious diseases physician and senior lecturer at the Australian National University medical school, Dr Ashwin Swaminathan, said doctors are trying to raise awareness of serious health impacts caused by climate change. “Doctors want the community and our government representatives to know that health is at stake with climate change,” Dr Swaminathan said.

“The college recognises that climate change poses a risk to the health of all Australians across all regions.”

Health professionals have seen a spike in ambulance call-outs, hospital admissions and deaths during heatwaves, which are projected to increase further without checks on global emissions.

Dr Swaminathan said there will also be increases in water-borne and mosquito-borne diseases, with Australian disease specialists worried in particular about diarrhoea-causing bacteria and disease-carrying mosquitoes. Higher temperatures expand the areas in which these disease carriers can thrive.

Dr Swaminathan said the species of mosquitoes that can carry dengue fever, Ross River fever and Barmah Forest virus will be able to move further south in Australia under changed climate conditions.

Disease and climate change is attracting more attention from doctors. “It’s something that is becoming more discussed at infectious diseases forums,” Dr Swaminathan said.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has begun a Doctors for Climate Action campaign which, with the support of 50 medical organisations, is calling on world leaders to commit to meaningful targets for emissions reduction at the United Nations COP 21 Climate Change Conference in Paris.

October 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Coal is subsidised by $billions, in USA and Australia

fossil-fuel-industryUS and Australian taxpayers pay billions a year to fund coal – report,

 Ending US subsidies would lead to cuts in coal use equivalent to shutting up to 32 coal-fired power stations, according to the report. , 16 Sept 15

Ending subsidies, that amount to almost a quarter of the sale price in some cases, would hugely reduce carbon emissions, new research reveals

Coal subsidies are costing US and Australian taxpayers billions of dollars a year, according to a new report.

The research examined the subsidies given to coal production in the US’s largest coal field, the Powder River Basin, and found they totalled $2.9bn (£1.9bn) a year. This equates to $8 per tonne, almost 25% of the sale price.

Ending the subsidies would lead to cuts in coal use equivalent to shutting up to 32 coal-fired power stations, the researchers found, leading to a large reduction in carbon emissions.

The report also analysed Australia’s exporting of coal for power stations in Asia and found these came to $1.3bn a year, or $4 a tonne. Ending these subsidies would cut demand by up to 7%, a smaller impact than in the US because coal users could buy supplies from other countries.

“The fossil fuel industry has gamed energy market consumers, with numerous subsidies evident over the long term,” said Tim Buckley, at the Institute forEnergy Economics and Financial Analysis, who worked on the report. “Any discussion of cost competitiveness of renewable energy and energy efficiency needs to take into account the decades of extensive subsidies evident for the coal industry and that, in many cases, remain in place today.”

Luke Sussams, senior researcher at Carbon Tracker Initiative, also part of the research team, said: “Policy makers concerned about climate change and a level playing field in energy markets should look to take coordinated action to remove the distortions to production these subsidies create.”

The subsidies given to coal companies included tax breaks, cheap leases, government-funded infrastructure including railways and ports and allowing inadequate funding of clean-up operation after mining ends.

The G20 nations pledged to end fossil fuel subsidies in 2009, but little action has been taken. However, falling oil and coal prices in the last year have seen some countries starting to reduce subsidies.

A recent study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) took into account not just direct subsidies but also the cost to nations of the damage caused by air pollution and global warming. It estimated coal, oil and gas were being subsidised by $5.3trn a year, more than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. Much of the cost is due to the illness and death caused by air pollution.

“Eliminating coal subsidies in the Powder River Basin and throughout the world, is an obvious, no-regrets climate strategy,” said Doug Koplow, of Earth Track and another member of the research team.

The new report, called Assessing Thermal Coal Production Subsidies, was produced by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Energy Transition Advisors, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and Earth Track.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Australia’s and New Zealand’s Prime Ministers just don’t care about Pacific Islands with sea levels rising

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmTony Abbott faces down Pacific island nations’ calls for tougher action on climate change
ABC Radio AM  By Eric Tlozek in Port Moresby, 11 Sept 15  
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has held his Government’s line on climate change despite pleas from low-lying Pacific island nations for a stronger stance on emissions and temperature rises.

Both Mr Abbott and New Zealand prime minister John Key refused to go further than their existing commitments on global warming at the Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby.

Some Pacific island leaders say they are disappointed in the leaders for putting economic growth ahead of the survival of communities in small Pacific nations.

Kiribati 15

“Australia and New Zealand have made no additional commitments when it comes to climate change,” Mr Abbott told reporters after the meeting last night……….

Pacific island nations had said the meeting was their last chance to highlight the threat they face from climate change, before the UN Climate Conference in Paris.The Australian response disappointed leaders who say some people are already being forced out of their homes by rising salinity, lack of water, or damage from severe storms or high tides………

September 14, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, New Zealand, OCEANIA | Leave a comment


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