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South Australia’s Aboriginal people fight against nuclear waste dumping – again and again

EXTRACT from:  A journey to the heart of the anti-nuclear resistance in Australia: Radioactive Exposure Tour 2018, NUCLEAR  MONITOR  Author: Ray Acheson ‒  NM859.4719, May 2018 “……The federal government of Australia wants to build a facility to store and dispose of radioactive waste in South Australia, either at Wallerberdina Station near Hawker or on farming land in Kimba.

Wallerberdina Station is located in the Flinders Ranges, the largest mountain range in South Australia, 540 million years old. Approaching from the north on our drive down from Lake Eyre can only be described as breathtaking. The red dirt, the brown and green bush, and the ever-changing purples, blues, and reds of the mountains themselves are some of the most complex and stunning scenes one can likely see in the world.

Most people might find it shocking that the federal government would want to put a nuclear waste dump smack in the middle of this landscape. But after visiting other sites on the Rad Tour, it was only yet another disappointment ‒ and another point of resistance.

What is known is that the Wallerberdina site is of great cultural, historical, and spiritual significance to the Adnyamathanha people.  It borders the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area, which is a crucial location for biodiversity in the Flinders Ranges. Its unique ecosystem provides a refuge for many native species of flora and fauna, contains many archaeological sites as well as the first registered  Aboriginal Songline of its type in Australia, and is home to Pungka Pudanha, a natural spring and sacred woman’s site.

In case that isn’t enough, the area is a known floodplain. Our travels around the proposed site contained ample evidence of previous floods that sent massive trees rushing down the plain, smashing into each other and into various bridges and other built objects. The last big flood occurred in 2006.

The Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners were not consulted before their land was nominated for consideration by the government for the waste dump. “Through this area are registered cultural heritage sites and places of huge importance to our family, our history and our future,” wrote Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners in a 2015 statement.  “We don’t want a nuclear waste dump here on our country and worry that if the waste comes here it will harm our environment and muda (our lore, our creation, our everything).”

We met Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners Vivianne and Regina McKenzie, and Tony Clark, at the proposed site. They invited us into the Yappala Indigenous Protected Area to view the floodplains and swim in the beautiful Pungka Pudanha. We’d just been camping at Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges National Park only a few kilometres away. It is impossible to understand the government’s rationale for wanting to build a toxic waste dump on this land so cherished by its Traditional Owners, local communities, and tourists alike.

The McKenzies have been working tirelessly to prevent the proposed dump from being established, as have other local activists. Fortunately, they have some serious recent successes to inspire them. In 2015, the federal government announced a plan to import 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste from around the world to South Australia as a commercial enterprise. But Traditional Owners began protesting immediately, arguing that the so-called consultations were not accessible and that misinformation was rife.  In 2016, a Citizen’s Jury, established by then Premier Jay Weatherill and made up of 350 people, deliberated over evidence and information. In November that year, two-thirds of the Jury rejected “under any circumstances” the plan to import or store high-level waste.24 They cited lack of Aboriginal consent, unsubstantiated economic assumptions and projections, and lack of confidence in the governmental proposal’s validity.

Other battles against proposed nuclear waste dumps have been fought and won in South Australia. From 1998 to 2004, the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a council of senior Aboriginal women from northern South Australia, successfully campaigned against a proposed national nuclear waste dump near Woomera. In an open letter in 2004, the Kungkas wrote: “People said that you can’t win against the Government. Just a few women. We just kept talking and telling them to get their ears out of their pockets and listen. We never said we were going to give up. Government has big money to buy their way out but we never gave up.”

Connected communities

The attempts by the Australian government and the nuclear industry to impose a waste dump in the Flinders Ranges, just like their attempts to impose waste dumps and uranium mines elsewhere in the country, or their refusal to compensate victims and survivors of nuclear testing, are all mired with racism. They are rooted in a fundamental dismissal and devaluation of the lives and experiences of indigenous Australians, and of proximity to cities but more importantly, to power.The industry and government’s motivations for imposing nuclear violence on these people and this land are militarism and capitalism.

Profit over people. Weapons over wellbeing. Their capacity for compassion and duty of care has been constrained by chronic short-termism ‒ a total failure to protect future generations. The poison they pull out of the earth, process, sell, allow others to make bombs with, and bury back in the earth, wounds us all now and into the future.

But nuclear weapons are now prohibited under international law. New actors are challenging the possession of nuclear weapons in new ways, and nucleararmed states are facing a challenge like never before.

The nuclear energy industry ‒ and thus the demand for uranium ‒ is declining. Power plants are being shuttered; corporations are facing financial troubles. Dirty and dangerous, the nuclear industry is dying.

This is in no small part due to the relentless resistance against it. This resistance was fierce throughout all of the country we visited, from Woomera up to Lake Eyre, from Roxby Downs to the Flinders Ranges. We listened to stories of those living on this land, we heard their histories, witnessed their actions, and supported their plans…..

https://antinuclear.net/2018/05/12/a-journey-to-the-heart-of-the-anti-nuclear-resistance-in-australia-radioactive-exposure-tour-2018/#more-60401

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May 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, wastes | Leave a comment

A journey to the heart of the anti-nuclear resistance in Australia: Radioactive Exposure Tour 2018

NUCLEAR  MONITOR  – A PUBLICATION OF WORLD INFORMATION SERVICE ON ENERGY (WISE)   AND THE NUCLEAR INFORMATION & RESOURCE SERVICE (NIRS  Author: Ray Acheson ‒ Director, Reaching Critical Will, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom)   NM859.4719, May 2018 

Looking at a map of South Australia’s nuclear landscape, the land is scarred. Uranium mines and weapon test sites, coupled with indications of where the government is currently proposing to site nuclear waste dumps, leave their marks across the desert. But amidst the devastation these poisonous activities have left on the land and its people, there is fierce resistance and boundless hope.

Friends of the Earth Australia has been running Radioactive Exposure Tours for the past thirty years.Designed to bring people from around Australia to meet local activists at various nuclear sites, the Rad Tour provides a unique opportunity to learn about the land, the people, and the nuclear industry in the most up-front and personal way.

This year’s tour featured visits to uranium mines, bomb test legacy sites, and proposed radioactive waste dumps on Arabunna, Adnyamathanha, and Kokatha land in South Australia, and introduced urban-based activists to those directly confronting the nuclear industry out in country. It brought together about 30 people including campaigners from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and Reaching Critical Will, environmental activists with Friends of the Earth Australia and other organisations, and interested students and others looking to learn about the land, the people, and the industries operating out in the desert.

The journey of ten days takes us to many places and introduces us to many people, but can be loosely grouped into three tragic themes: bombing, mining, and dumping.  Each of these aspects of the nuclear chain is stained with racism, militarism, and capitalism. Each represents a piece of a dirty, dangerous, but ultimately dying nuclear industry. And each has been and continues to be met with fierce resistance from local communities, including Traditional Owners of the land.

Testing the bomb   The first two days of the trip are spent driving from  Melbourne to Adelaide to Port Augusta. We pick up activists along the way, before finally heading out to the desert. Our first big stop on the Tour is a confrontation  with the atomic bomb. Continue reading

May 12, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

USA, Australia, want to keep fossil fuel lobbyists in climate talks – developing nations want them OUT

US, Australia fight push to bar fossil fuel interests from climate talks https://reneweconomy.com.au/us-australia-fight-push-bar-fossil-fuel-interests-climate-talks-14266/ By Natasha Geiling on 11 May 2018  ThinkProgress  

For nine days, representatives from governments across the globe have been meeting in Bonn, Germany, to hammer out details of the Paris climate agreement.

But participating at the talks alongside diplomatic representatives and environmental groups are some perhaps unexpected parties — like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has long opposed climate regulations and is a vocal proponent of fossil fuels.

A coalition of developing nations in Africa and Latin America had hoped to draw attention to the influence that the fossil fuel industry maintains over the climate negotiation process with a formal acknowledgement of conflicts of interest at the conclusion of the talks in Bonn this week.

But developed nations — led largely by the United States — succeeded in preventing such a formal acknowledgement from being included in the meeting’s final notes.

Conflicts of interest within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) — the international treaty that dictates the UN’s annual climate conferences — aren’t a new phenomenon.

In 2015, companies like Engie — a utility company that gets more than 70 percent of its energy output from fossil fuels — were financial sponsors of the Paris climate talks.

But this year, developing nations — alongside environmental groups — have been working to make eliminating conflicts of interest a central part of the climate negotiations moving forward, much to the chagrin of countries like the United States and Australia.

“Every institution, especially of this scale, has some kind of policy to identify and mitigate internal conflict of interests,” Jesse Brag, media director for Corporate Accountability, which has been campaigning to make conflicts of interest within the United Nations climate negotiations a central issue since 2015, told ThinkProgress.

“Right now, there is no acknowledgement [within the UNFCCC] that there could be problems that arise from the financial interests of businesses and NGOs operating here.”

There are a few ways in which fossil fuel companies — or industry groups that represent fossil fuel companies — have already influenced UN climate negotiations.

At the Paris climate negotiations in 2015, for instance, fossil fuel companies that sponsored the talks were given access to “communications and networking” areas in rooms where negotiations were taking place.

The text of the Paris climate agreement, which calls for limiting global warming to “well below 2 degrees Celsius” (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) doesn’t mention the term “fossil fuels” once, despite the fact that burning fossil fuels is the primary action driving climate change.

And the UNFCCC’s Climate Technology Network, which promotes the adoption of low carbon technology in developing countries, includes a member of the World Coal Association.

Developing nations, alongside NGOs like Corporate Accountability, had hoped to get parties on the record this year acknowledging that conflicts of interest exist within the climate negotiations.

They had also hoped that such acknowledgement would be followed by policy suggestions aimed at helping root out conflicts of interest within the process.

That effort was largely waylaid due to intense opposition from the United States, which refused to allow any mention of conflicts of interest or fossil fuel companies into the meeting’s official notes.

But a coalition of governments representing 70 percent of the world’s population — largely from developing countries in Latin America and Africa — did succeed in getting parties to agree to keep talking about the issue at climate negotiations next year.

That might seem like a small victory, but Bragg argues it’s an important signal that the culture of the talks — as well as general recognition of the issue of conflicts of interest within the negotiations — is starting to change.

“Three years ago, no one wanted to talk about the fossil fuel industry’s role in climate denial in these talks,” Bragg said. “Now, it’s a discussion that is happening in every area of these halls. As the process advances, so does the culture around what needs to be done.”

It is unsurprising that the United States — which is still a party to the UNFCCC even as President Trump has promised to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement — would oppose efforts to draw attention to conflicts of interest between environmental treaties and fossil fuel companies.

Under the Trump administration, several high-profile environmental regulator posts have been filled by people who previously represented the industries that they now oversee.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, for instance, came to the EPA after working as a lobbyist for Murray Energy, the largest privately-owned coal firm in the United States.

Nancy Beck, who is currently the highest-ranking political appointee at overseeing regulation of the chemical industry at the EPA, used to work for the American Chemical Council , the chemical industry’s main lobbying organization.

And over at the Department of the Interior, Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt came to the agency after working for years as a lobbyist in the natural resources department of the firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

 

May 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear-free movement revs up against a nuclear waste dump being imposed on iconic and beautiful Flinders Ranges

The ballot will be held less than a week after findings of a Senate Inquiry into the site-selection process are to be released, on August 14. ……       a nuclear waste facility would not be imposed on an unwilling community and it would need “broad community support” 

Anti-nuclear protesters increase fight against radioactive dump being established in SA
The Advertiser Erin Jones, Regional Reporter, Sunday Mail (SA) May 5, 2018
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/antinuclear-protesters-increase-fight-against-radioactive-dump-being-established-in-sa/news-story/55f7c369b17f03c747c1de824428b4df

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners will increase their fight to stop South Australia from becoming the nation’s radioactive waste ground, ahead of a final vote by the community.

Hundreds of postcards will be sent to Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan demanding cultural heritage sites, agricultural land and the environment be protected from nuclear waste.

The Federal Government is expected to decide in the coming months whether to build a low-level and intermediate-level waste facility at Kimba or Barndioota, in the Flinders Ranges.

The two-year site selection process has divided both communities, those in favour believed it would create economic opportunities, while those opposed said it would jeopardise industries.

Conservation SA nuclear waste campaigner Mara Bonacci said the government needed to be more transparent about the facility ahead of an August 20 community ballot.

“There is division in both communities, whether it’s people who are pro-nuclear waste or anti-nuclear, they both want what’s best for the community,” Ms Bonacci said.

But the pro-waste people are saying it will create lots of jobs, but we haven’t got any clarity around the numbers or if they’re full-time.

“We also want to know what number the Minister wants in a community vote to show ‘broad community support’ for the facility.”

Before the government decides on the successful site, residents from both communities will be given a final chance to accept or reject the proposal.

The ballot will be held less than a week after findings of a Senate Inquiry into the site-selection process are to be released, on August 14.

Mr Canavan told the Sunday Mail the government would provide more detailed information on the project’s design, job creation, cost, community benefits and safety, ahead of the ballot.

He said a nuclear waste facility would not be imposed on an unwilling community and it would need “broad community support” – although no arbitrary figure was provided.

“As we have always said, a range of factors will be used to determine broad community support, including the results of a public ballot, public and private submissions, and feedback from stakeholders during community discussions, including neighbours, councils and local groups,” Mr Canavan said. “The consultation process is engaging people on all sides of the discussion, and all views – supportive, neutral and opposed – are taken into account.”

The ballot will include residents of the Flinders Ranges Council and within a 50km radius of the Barnidoota site, and the Kimba District Council.

May 7, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, opposition to nuclear, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear bomb test site – touted as tourist site, but it’s still radioactive

‘Yes, there is still radiation here’, Gulf News 4 May 18 , Australia’s least likely tourist spot: a test site for atom bombs  “……..

“Yes, there is still radiation here,” Robin Matthews (  Australia’s only nuclear tour guide) said as he drove a minibus to the sites where the Australian and British governments dropped seven bombs between 1956 and 1963, which dotted the earth with huge craters and poisoned scores of indigenous people and their descendants.

Back then, the government placed hundreds of human guinea pigs — wearing only shorts and long socks — in the front areas of the test zones. The effects of large doses of radiation were devastating…….

Today, just four people live full time in Maralinga village, a veritable ghost town. Amid the old buildings are new lodgings built for tourists, complete with hot water and Wi-Fi.

In the 1950s and ‘60s, at the height of the Cold War, 35,000 military personnel lived here.

The first nuclear test was conducted in September 1956, two months before the Melbourne Olympics.

That blast — as powerful as the bomb that the US dropped on Hiroshima — was the first of seven atom bombs set off here.  But it was the so-called minor tests that were the most harrowing. Carried out in secret, the tests examined how toxic substances, including uranium and plutonium 239, would react when burnt or blown up.

….. Around one area tourists can visit are 22 major pits, each at least 15 metres deep and cased in reinforced concrete to prevent dangerous radiation from seeping out.

The site looks like a recently tilled garden bed, stretching out for hundreds of yards, in a near perfect circle. Dotting the red desert earth are shards of twisted metal. Aside from a few feral camels loping nearby, it is still and silent.

But on October 4 1956, a “nuclear landmine” was detonated here, tearing a crater 40 metres wide and 21 metres deep into the earth.

‘This is their land’

The resulting atomic reaction took only a fraction of a second, but its effects on one indigenous family would last decades. Survivors of the blasts, their children and grandchildren suffered from cataracts, blood diseases, arthritic conditions, stomach cancers and birth defects…….https://gulfnews.com/news/asia/australia/yes-there-is-still-radiation-here-1.2216400

 

May 7, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Bushfires near Australia’s nuclear reactor are still dangerous

Firefighters Warn NSW Is “Not Out Of The Woods” On Third Day Of Bushfires, Pedestrian. 16 Apr 18   More than 250 firefighters continue to battle bushfires in NSW’s southwest, which has spread more than 2,400 hectares since Saturday afternoon.

The blaze, which is believed to have originated in the vicinity of Casula, was fanned further by strong winds on Sunday.

More than 500 firefighters from the Rural Fire ServiceFire & Rescue NSW and the Australian Defence Force attempted to contain the blaze over the weekend with help from volunteers and 11 water-bombing helicopters.

The fire tore trough Holsworthy military range, and while approaching suburban areas, has been staved off. Several residents report fighting off embers with hoses and water buckets.

The fire was downgraded from “emergency level” to “watch and act” on 5.30pm Sunday, then again downgraded to “advice” around 2am Monday.

While lower wind conditions are expected to help with containing the fire, RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers warned that the high temperatures remain an issue.

Still quite a difficult day ahead (on Monday),” Rogers told the Nine Network“I think we’ve got a long way to go before we’re out of the woods.”

There’s also a risk that winds could also pick up to 35km/h later today.

The RFS is currently advising residents in Pleasure PointSandy PointAlfords PointBarden Ridge  [ie; Lucas Heights] Voyager PointIllawongMenai & Bangor to “remain vigilant throughout the day and keep themselves up to date by checking the NSW RFS website……..https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/firefighters-warning-nsw-bushfires/

AUSTRALIA is struggling to contain a growing bushfire that is racing towards a nuclear reactor, amid fears that the blaze could expand beyond their controlBy OLI SMITH Apr 16, 2018 

Apocalyptic blaze surrounding nuclear reactor sets off emergency

More than 500 Australia firefighters are struggling to tackle a massive bushfire, with several residents urged to seek shelters as evacuation is now “too late”.

Scenes of the blaze, which started yesterday, have been described as “apocalyptic” after the fire ripped through nearly 2,500 hectares of land close to the suburbs of Sydney.

Firefighters failed to stop the out-of-control blaze from burning through a major military base – and a nuclear reactor is the next at-risk location.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) said it was concerned that flying embers could spark even more blazes……

The unseasonably hot Autumn in south-eastern Australia has been blamed for worsening the bushfire after record temperatures for April.

Shane Fitzsimmons, of the RFS, warned that strong 60km per hour winds are expected to push towards residential homes.

He said that the country’s largest army barracks at Holsworthy, where stockpiles of fuel, ammunition and explosive materials are kept, had been hit by the fire.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, safety | Leave a comment

Australia’s bushfires threatening nuclear reactor: Changing the name of a suburb helps the government keep this quiet.

Lucas Heights nuclear reactor: The untold threat of the Sydney bushfires.  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/sydney-bushfires-raged-towards-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor,11401 

As fires raged in Sydney, there has not been a peep out of the mainstream media about the fire hazard to Lucas Heights nuclear complex. Noel Wauchope reports. 

THE LATEST news on the bushfires raging in Sydney’s south-west is that the firefighters are “cautiously optimistic” and that emergency warning advice has been downgraded to “watch and act”.

However, the fire continues to burn in an easterly direction towards Barden Ridge and weather conditions are still dodgy, as Sydney’s record-breaking heatwave looks like coming to an end.

It’s been an anxious time — the fire has burned over 2,400 hectares. On Sunday (15 April), more than 500 firefighters in almost 100 fire trucks, along with 15 aircraft, battled the blaze throughout the day. Residents were told that it was too late to leave their homes. Heat from the bushfires was impacting the high voltage lines. There is very little rain forecast over the next few days.

So, it has all been a worry. But you wouldn’t know, would you, that the fire is so close to the Lucas Heights nuclear complex? The latest maps shown on The Guardian and NSW Rural Fire Service websites don’t really show how close this fire is getting to Lucas Heights. I have previously written about the safety hazards of Lucas Heights, with its reactor, cooling pond and accumulation of nuclear wastes — the amount of which is not publicly available.

The fires have reached about four kilometres from Lucas Heights. Embers carried by wind can form spot fires well ahead of the firefront — even up to 20 kilometres away. In the dense and rugged bushland, with predicted west to north-west winds up to 30 kilometres per hour – not forgetting that bushfires create their own weather systems – is not that hazardous to the nuclear complex?

But we don’t hear a word about this. What makes the silence easier, is that the residential area previously part of Lucas Heights was renamed Barden Ridge in 1996 to increase the real estate value of the area, as it would no longer be instantly associated with the High Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR) — and now the Opal nuclear reactor.

Of course, now, because of the name change, there’s no public awareness that Australia’s nuclear reactor is anywhere near the fires. You can bet that the government wants to keep us all in blissful ignorance.

What we do know, is that fires are certainly a hazard to nuclear sites and there is the possibility of radiation release across a wide area, if fire invades a nuclear complex, with the fuel rods in cooling pools at great risk. When fires do happen near a nuclear site, there may be a security panic going on but that is not communicated to the public.

There have been wildfires threatening nuclear sites –  in Russia, Europe, California –  the pattern is to downplay, to not mention, the nuclear danger. The publicity pattern is always to ignore the radiation hazard.  For example:

“It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.” Like monitoring is going to help or they’re going to share their data. Not a peep about the radiation numbers during the fires in and around Los Alamos even though they were “monitoring” – comment by  Helen Helen Mary Caldicott and Henry Peters, on this article:  Wildfire burning in former Nevada nuclear site.

And from this one:   Russia emergency minister threatens to ‘deal with’ those spreading radiation ‘rumours’ about wildfires in contaminated areas

Whenever there have been wildfires threatening nuclear sites – in Russia, Europe or the U.S. – the pattern is to downplay, to not mention, the nuclear danger. The publicity pattern is always to ignore the radiation hazard.

For example during the recent Californian wildfires:

“It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.”

As though any amount of monitoring is going to help or that any data would be publicly shared. Not a peep about the radiation numbers during the fires in and around Los Alamos, even though they were “monitoring” it.

And in the case of this fire in Russia, the emergency minister threatened to “deal with” those who spread radiation “rumours”:

For the current Sydney bushfires, it seems as though there will have been a lucky escape for the communities, despite the fact that two giant aircraft, the DC10 Nancybird and the C130 Hercules “Thor” — normally used for aerial water bombing — were not available to help fight the Sydney fire, having been sent back to the U.S., because by March, the fire risk is supposed to be over.

It will have been a much luckier escape that they realised if the nuclear complex remains unscathed — this time!  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/sydney-bushfires-raged-towards-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor,11401

April 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, safety | Leave a comment

Australia’s top secret and expensive shipment of nuclear waste to France

Tight security for shipment of nuclear waste from Lucas Heights to France, THE AUSTRALIAN, SIAN POWELL, 12 APR 18 A top-secret security operation to send spent radioactive fuel rods from Australia’s nuclear reactor to France for reprocessing is planned for the coming months.

Potentially involving hundreds of state and federal police, the details of the transport operation will remain confidential until after the shipment arrives at La Hague, in northwest France.

Unused uranium and plutonium will then be removed from the fuel rods, and the residual waste eventually returned to Australia for storage. About 500kg of unused low-enriched uranium and 4.5kg of unused plutonium will be recovered from the rods…

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights in Sydney’s south has confirmed the shipment will be trucked to a port for transport to La Hague midway through this year.

The route, the port, the time and the ship, as well as the numbers of ­security personnel, will remain confidential until after the mission is completed.

The last shipment of spent rods was sent to the US in 2009, and both Port Kembla and Port Botany have been used as shipment ports in the past.

When reprocessed nuclear waste was returned to Australia in 2015 for storage at Lucas Heights, more than 500 police were ­deployed to guard the shipment, and it is expected at least that number will guard the radioactive cargo destined for France.

The radioactive spent fuel rods will be packed into an undisclosed number of ­immensely tough lead and stainless steel transport casks for the journey to France.

“These casks are purpose-­engineered to safely transport this type of material without risk to people or the environment,” said the manager of the multipurpose OPAL Reactor at Lucas Heights, Dave Vittorio. “Even a jet plane strike could not penetrate them.”

The total cost of the project is $45 million, including the contract with France, equipment, staff costs, and incidentals.

…… Australia, like other nations, pays to use the La Hague facility’s infrastructure and expertise. The shipment will be the 10th export of spent nuclear fuel ­assemblies used in the OPAL ­reactor’s first 10 years of operation. ….https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/tight-security-for-shipment-of-nuclear-waste-from-lucas-heights-to-france/news-story/5549c370206c15aa1bc1a4b2367d6552

April 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, safety | Leave a comment

20 years ago Australian indigenous land owners stopped Jabiluka uranium mine

Guardian 2nd April 2018, One of Australia’s proudest land rights struggles is passing an important
anniversary: it is 20 years since the establishment of the blockade camp at
Jabiluka in Kakadu national park.

This was the moment at which push would
come to shove at one of the world’s largest high-grade uranium deposits.
The industry would push, and people power would shove right back.

The blockade set up a confrontation between two very different kinds of power:
on the one side, the campaign was grounded in the desire for
self-determination by the Mirarr traditional Aboriginal owners,
particularly the formidable senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula. They
were supported by a tiny handful of experienced paid staff and backed by an
international network of environment advocates, volunteer activists and
researchers.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/03/20-years-on-from-the-jabiluka-mine-protest-we-can-find-hope-in-its-success

April 4, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

New York Times inadequate coverage of South Australia’s problem about nuclear waste dumping

This New York Times author gives a fair coverage to the Kimba radioactive waste dump issue. But it’s misleading in 3 important ways, as if the author completely buys the nuclear lobby’s propaganda.:

  1. States that “The country has no nuclear power plants.”  But fails to mention the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor [which is the source of the really important radioactive trash for Kimba]
  2. Fails to mention the fact that South Australia has a clear law prohibiting establishment of any nuclear waste facility
  3. Seems unaware of the huge distances (2000 km) involved, which would mean that the vast majority of  medical wastes would no longer be radioactive, in transport from the main points of production and use.

A Farming Town Divided: Do We Want a Nuclear Site that Brings Jobs?, NYT, By MARCH 7, 2018  “……… Now, as the federal government considers whether to build the site on one of these two farms in Kimba, this community of about 650 people finds itself divided and angry. The prospect of jobs and subsidies that the site would bring has split locals between those who want to preserve rural Australia’s way of life and those who say the glory days of farming are over…..

Despite the distances, locals say Kimba always had a strong sense of community, at least until the nuclear site was proposed. Some said the allure of millions of dollars’ worth of grants and subsidies that the government was offering the host community had blinded people to the risks.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia’s extreme right wing Senator promises $445 billions to South Australia, if it takes in the world’s radioactive trash

Cory Bernardi says a nuclear power dump could make us the ‘Saudi Arabia of the south’news.com.au 26 Feb 18  CORY Bernardi is pushing to reignite a controversial development in South Australia, saying it could make the state the “Saudi Arabia of the south”.

LEADER of the Australian Conservatives party Cori Bernardi is pushing for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, which he says will transform the state into the economic “Saudi Arabia of the south”.

Speaking at the party’s election launch in South Australia on Sunday, founder and federal Senator Cory Bernardi said he wanted to reopen the debate on an outback nuclear dump.

He called for changes to the law to allow for “all forms of energy production”, including nuclear power, urging authorities to “complete a full rigorous analysis” of the idea.

According to The Advertiser, he claimed the dump would generate up to $6.7 billion in gross state product, allow for $3 billion in annual taxes to be scrapped, and see the state reaping in $445 billion over the next century.

“Imagine that legacy for our children … to draw on in developing this state,” he said. “We would be an economic powerhouse. We would be the strongest state in the Commonwealth.”

Upper House candidate Robert Brokenshire said the party is “committed to looking at all types of energy production including nuclear energy to find the cheapest and most reliable form of energy”.

Labor Premier Jay Weatherill was quick to rule out the suggestion.

“That’s dead,” he said on Sunday. “Labor Party policy has been opposed to a nuclear waste facility in the past and there’s no prospect of changing that in the future.”

Mr Weatherill did not rule out pursuing a High Court case against the Turnbull government if a national nuclear waste dump was to be approved in South Australia, The Australian reported last month.

……..Earlier this month, the Australian Conservatives announced it will field 33 Lower House and two Upper House candidates at the state election on March 17. http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/cory-bernardi-says-a-nuclear-power-dump-could-make-us-the-saudi-arabia-of-the-south/news-story/eb3f1ada5ed978646f53a2911f0e1c3d

February 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia’s world-leading solar energy system

Reuters 4th Feb 2018, South Australia’s state premier Jay Weatherill announced a plan on Sunday to create a network of 50,000 home solar systems backed by Tesla Powerwall batteries, ahead of a state election in March.

“We lead the world in renewable energy with the world’s largest battery, the world’s largest solar thermal plant and now the world’s largest virtual power plant,” he said in a televised interview from the state capital of Adelaide. “The size of it is the reason why it’s going to be a success.” The project would begin with a trial on 1,100 public housing homes, the government said on its website.
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-australia-power-tesla/south-australia-promises-worlds-largest-virtual-power-plant-idUKKBN1FO029?rpc=401&

February 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, renewable | Leave a comment

The woes of Australian uranium company Paladin – 98% of shares transferred to creditors

Paladin to return to ASX, most shares in hands of creditors http://www.miningweekly.com/article/paladin-to-return-to-asx-most-shares-in-hands-of-creditors-2018-02-02/rep_id:3650 2ND FEBRUARY 2018 BY: MARIAAN WEBB CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR RESEARCHER AND DEPUTY EDITOR ONLINE JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Uranium miner Paladin Energy will apply for its securities to be reinstated to official quotation on the ASX, the Australia-based company said on Friday, announcing the completion of its restructuring and the appointment of two new directors.

With the deed of company arrangement (DOCA) effected, deed administrators have retired and the day-to-day management and control of Paladin has reverted to the company’s directors. The two new board appointments are iCobalt MD David Riekie and former interim CEO and MD of Atlas Iron Daniel Harris.

The DOCA was put forward to the administrators of Paladinby a group of the company’s unsecured bondholders, known as the Ad Hoc Committee. The DOCA’s key terms included the debt-for-equity swap, the raising of $115-million pursuant to the issue of a high-yield secured note and the reinstatement of Paladin to trade on the ASX.

In terms of the DOCA, 98% of Paladin’s shares have been transferred to creditors and other investors and only 2% are retained by shareholders. If a shareholder held 10 000 Paladin shares before the restructuring, they will now hold 200 shares.

Creditors all agreed to a restructuring proposal in December, although major creditor Electricité de France (EDF) previously said that it may seek to have the DOCA terminated.

Paladin appointed administrators in July last year after the company was unable to agree a delay to the repayment of $277-million it owed EDF.

On Wednesday, Paladin published its quarterly activities reports for the June, September and December quarters, as well as its June 2017 annual report.

The most recent quarter’s results show that the Langer Heinrich mine, in Namibia, produced 873 107 lb of uranium oxide (U3O8), up 4% on the prior quarter. Sales were at 1.24-million U3O8 at an average selling price of $22.39/lb.

The Kayelekera mine, in Malawi, remains under care and maintenance.

February 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

My people are still suffering from Australia’s secret nuclear testing

 http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/my-people-are-still-suffering-from-australias-secret-nuclear-testing-20171208-h01a3l.html Sue Coleman-Haseldine, 

My name is Sue Coleman-Haseldine. I was born into poverty on the margins of Australian society on the Aboriginal mission of Koonibba in 1951. At this time my people were not allowed to vote and we had very few means to be understood, let alone be heard.

I was born into one of the oldest living cultures known on Earth and into a place that I love – a dusty, arid paradise on the edge of a rugged coastline. Our land and waters are central to our outlook and religion and provide the basis for my people’s health and happiness.

And I was born just before the desert lands to our north were bombed by the deadliest weapons on Earth in an extensive, secretive and devastating manner by the Australian and British governments.

In the 1950s, areas known as Emu Fields and Maralinga were used to test nine full-scale atomic bombs and for 600 other nuclear tests, leaving the land highly radioactive. We weren’t on ground zero, but the dust didn’t stay in one place. The winds brought the poison to us and many others.

Aboriginal people, indeed many people at that time, knew nothing about the effects of radiation. We didn’t know the invisible killer was falling amongst us. Six decades on, my small town of Ceduna is being called the Cancer Capital of Australia. There are so many deaths in our region of various cancers. My grand-daughter and I have had our thyroids removed, and there are many others in our area with thyroid problems. Fertility issues appear common.

 But there has been no long-term assessment of the health impacts in the region and even those involved in the botched clean-ups of the test sites have no recourse because they cannot prove their illness is linked with exposure to nuclear weapons testing.

The impact of the Maralinga and Emu Fields testing has had far-reaching consequences that are still being felt today. Ask a young person from my area, “What do you think you will die from?” The answer is, “Cancer, everyone else is”.

I have lived my life learning about the bomb tests and also learning that the voice of my people and others won’t always be understood or heard. But I learnt from old people now gone that speaking up is important and by joining with others from many different places and backgrounds that our voices can be amplified.

Through these steps I found the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), or perhaps ICAN found me.

ICAN – as an organisation, as a collective of passionate, educated people working for a clear goal – has been so important to me. To know that my story and my voice helps bring recognition to the past and can shape the future of nuclear prohibition has strengthened my resolve.

Being involved in ICAN has been a double-edged sword. On one hand and for the first time in my life, I no longer feel alone or isolated. I have met others from many parts of the globe who have similar stories and experiences and who are passionate advocates for a nuclear-free future.

But the flip side of this is my understanding of just how widespread and just how devastating the nuclear weapons legacy is across the globe. To learn that so many weapons still exist sends fear to my heart. ICAN is a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize – in a short time we have gathered support for a treaty to finally outlaw nuclear weapons and help eliminate the nuclear threat.

The vision was reached in part with so many nations adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July 2017. And we should celebrate this win and the opportunity to work together to stop the suffering and assist countries to make amends to nuclear weapons victims by acknowledging the permanent damage done to land, health and culture.

Unfortunately, the Australian government, along with other first world nations, didn’t even participate in the treaty negotiations, and they haven’t signed the treaty yet, but over time we feel confident they will.

A lot has changed since I was born. Aboriginal people now have the right to vote in Australia, but still we battle for understanding about our culture and the Australian nuclear weapons legacy. My home is still remote and most of my people still poor. But we are also no longer alone. We have the means and the will to participate – to share and to learn and to bring about lasting change.

ICAN’s work is not done, our work is not done. We will continue to work together. A world without nuclear weapons is a world we need and are creating. I stand here in hope and gratitude for the opportunity to participate. I stand here with pride and I stand here for our future and the generations to come.

Sue Coleman-Haseldine is a Kokatha woman who lives in Ceduna, South Australia. This is an extract of her speech in Oslo marking the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN.​

December 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Aboriginal grandmother to testify on nuclear bomb test damage at Maralinga site, in Australia

World spotlight shines on Maralinga horrorhttps://au.news.yahoo.com/a/38090548/world-spotlight-shines-on-maralinga-horror/   Lisa Martin, 30 Nov 17,  Sue Coleman-Haseldine was a toddler crawling around in the dirt when the winds brought the black mist.

Her white nappies on the washing line were burnt.

It was in the 1950s when the British began testing nuclear weapons at Maralinga in the South Australian outback.

The legacy of the bombs dropped continues to haunt the 67-year-old Aboriginal grandmother. “We weren’t on ground zero at Maralinga, otherwise we would all be dead,” she told AAP. “I was born and grew up on a mission at Koonibba, but the winds came to us.”

Ceduna, the main township before the Nullarbor, is the cancer capital of Australia, Ms Coleman-Haseldine says. She’s had her thyroid removed and will be on medication for the rest of her life.

Her 15-year-old granddaughter is also battling thyroid cancer..

There are birth defects and cancers right across the community. “It’s changed our genes,” she said.”These diseases weren’t around before the bombs.”

On December 10, Ms Coleman-Haseldine will be in Oslo for the Noble Peace Prize award ceremony.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is being recognised for its work to achieve a treaty-based ban on nuclear weapons.

So far 122 countries have adopted the treaty, excluding Australia and countries with nuclear weapons – the US, UK, Russia, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.

Only three countries have ratified the treaty and 50 are needed for it to become international law.

ICAN is a grassroots movement that began in Carlton, Melbourne more than a decade ago.

In Norway, Ms Coleman-Haseldine will tell the story of her people and their contaminated land.”You’ve got to keep the past alive to protect the future,” she said.

Ms Coleman-Haseldine hopes Australia will reverse its opposition and sign the treaty.

The Turnbull government has ruled that out but the Labor Party will debate the issue at its national conference next year.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment