Aboriginal traditional land owner informs Australian Senate on dodgy nuclear waste dump plan

June 25, 2018

Ed note. This submission has an important attachment – a  letter – which will later be published on this site

Regina McKenzie Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia  (Submission No.107)

This independent submission addresses the following key points of the Terms of Reference of the Australian:  Senate Economic Reference Committee inquiry (2018) into the appropriateness and thoroughness of the site.  selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility at Kimba and Hawker in South  Australia:

  1. c) how any need for Indigenous support has played and will continue to play a part in  the process, including how Indigenous support has been or will be determined for each  process advancement stage; and
  1. f) any other related matters.

My name is Regina McKenzie and I am an identified (Aboriginal) Kuyani traditional owner for the area of land   currently subject to the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Project (NRWMFP) at Barndioota, South Australia. I have extensive cultural knowledge of this portion of Adnyamathanha country and have  been working collaboratively with non Aboriginal specialist for well over ten years to investigate and report on  this area. Some of the projects that I have worked on in my cultural interest area include:

  • Numerous archaeological investigations with a number of Australian universities;
  • Palaeontology investigations with Flinders University, South Australia;
  • Aboriginal heritage investigations for NRM projects with multiple State Government agencies;
  • Archaeological investigations for SA Power Networks;
  • Archaeological training programs with the Heritage team of the South Australian Department of Premier  and Cabinet, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division (DPC AARD) (now Department of State
  • Development Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation – DSD AAR);
  • Cultural heritage management planning for the Commonwealth Government’s Indigenous Protected Area  (IPA) program.
  • The development of large area cultural mapping protocols for the SA State Government;
  • The translation and spatial mapping of one of my Nation’s ancestral story lines that includes the  nominated NRWMFP area in Barndioota.

The reference committee should understand that the Adnyamathanha People are an historical conglomeration of multiple and individually identified Aboriginal tribal Nations, each of which has its own cultural interest area. The Adnyamathanha people, as a whole, hold native title over much of the Flinders Ranges and this is managed by a prescribed body corporate on behalf of all traditional groups by the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA). I would also like to note that only individual people, not organisations, can hold cultural knowledge and be considered as traditional owners (there is case law in South Australia to this affect). It is also vital that the committee appreciate the difference between Aboriginal cultural heritage laws and obligations (whether they be State or Federal), and Native Title laws, rights and interests. My submission is focussed on the cultural heritage rights and interests of identified traditional owners and the State/Federal obligations for those that wish to investigate /or harm Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Many of my concerns with the Aboriginal cultural heritage consultation process for the NRWMFP in Barndioota have been summarised in a recent letter to Minister Canavan (see Attached) [ed. note: This letter will be published on this site, as a separate post] . I would appreciate if the committee accepts the attached letter as part of my submission. I note that despite repeated requests to Minister Canavan’s office, I still have not received a response to this letter and many questions remain unanswered and concerns unresolved. I believe that these questions and concerns must be addressed for the DIIS consultation process to be considered effective.

In addition to my questions and concerns detailed in the attached letter, I would appreciate some clarification on the following:

  1. Australia’s commitment to Article 29.2. of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous  Peoples which notes:

States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.

I would appreciate some clarification on the Australian Government’s or the the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) position on this United Nations charter and how it applies to proposed  developments on traditional Aboriginal lands and lands that contain significant cultural value to relevant Aboriginal people.

The DIIS, on behalf of the Commonwealth Government of Australia, took no steps during the nomination and shortlisting process to secure either the free, or the prior, or the informed consent of the Indigenous peoples who have significant cultural ties to the NRWMFP area in Barndioota. To the best of my knowledge, the DIIS believed that the Commonwealth Government did not need to consult with Aboriginal people in Barndioota because the proposed project area was not subject to Native Title. This was stated to myself and my sister when we first called the DIIS to enquire about the project after we heard about it on ABC news. This was also repeated by DIIS representatives at their initial public meetings in Hawker.

Importantly, and from an Aboriginal cultural heritage perspective, ATLA and the relevant cultural custodians of the Barndioota area have repeatedly advised the DIIS that they do not support the siting of the NRWMFP within our traditional country.

  1. The DIIS initially confused Aboriginal cultural heritage obligations with Native Title constraints and only consulted with affected Aboriginal people after repeated requests for information from myself and my sister
  1. The Aboriginal cultural heritage investigations undertaken to support the Barndioota NRWMFP have not been undertaken in accordance with the Commonwealth Government’s best practice requirements for investigating and reporting on Aboriginal cultural heritage (see attached letter). Importantly, this failure to adhere, recognise or use the Commonwealth best practice guidelines has led the DIIS to:
  • Consult with inappropriate Aboriginal people who do not hold cultural information for Barndioota, and
  • Completely ignore the significant cultural/gender restrictions associated with the NRWMFP area, and
  • Alienate relevant culturally appropriate people from participating in the NRWMFP assessment, and
  • Not have access to vitally important cultural information associated with the NRWMFP area.

These factors alone have made the DIIS Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment ineffective,  inappropriate, and incomplete. This significantly flawed consultation process needs to be completely abandoned as soon as possible because it has caused significant mental health issues within our broader Aboriginal community and continuing lateral violence within our immediate family. The NRWMFP Aboriginal consultation process has left me feeling ostracised within my own family and I find myself constantly witnessing aggressive, misogynistic and culturally inappropriate behaviour from a select few who have been validated through the DIIS Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment process.

  1. The DIIS has failed to abide by their own governance guidelines that they established for the Aboriginal cultural heritage consultative committee. There have been too many instances of aggressive and inappropriate behaviour that have not been recorded or addressed.
  1. The DIIS has inappropriately engaged a cultural heritage consultancy:
  • Against the wishes of both ATLA and the relevant cultural custodians of the NRWMFP area,
  • Without presenting any tangible proof that the consultancy has/can record the intangible values associated with large area cultural sites to a level that is similar to, or better than, that developed by DPC AARD,
  • Without developing the scope of work for the assessment with ATLA and the relevant cultural custodians of the NRWMFP area,
  • Without informing ATLA or the relevant cultural custodians of the agreed scope of work between the DIIS and the consultancy for the Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment
  1. The nomination and short-listing process of the Barndioota NRWMFP site failed to acknowledge the unique and intrinsic Aboriginal cultural heritage values of the associated cultural landscape. Many of these values have been documented by the State Government through extensive cultural mapping and archaeological investigations, and acknowledged by the Commonwealth Government for the neighbouring IPA program. Importantly, the failure to acknowledge the values of this cultural landscape also extended to a failure to recognise and acknowledge the nominated traditional custodians of the land subject to the NRWMFP area. These custodians are well known to DPC AAR who hold the contact details for the custodians of all of our recorded sites.
  1. Ministers Frydenberg and Canavan have both issued seperate commitments that no Aboriginal cultural heritage will be harmed through this project. The DIIS has been informed of the extensive archaeologyand all-encompassing intangible values associated with the NRWMFP area, and the impossibility of situating the NRWMFP and its associated road/power infrastructure without harming Aboriginal cultural heritage which includes our cultural beliefs, lore and customs. Could the committee please clarify the DIIS’/the Commonwealth Government’s understanding of what Aboriginal cultural heritage means and how the DIIS intend to avoid/not cause harm, particularly to our system of lore, custom and belief. We believe that this is a major constraint for the NRWMFP and that valuable public funds could have been saved if the relevant Ministers honour their commitments and resolved this matter early in the project.
  1. During Phase one, the DIIS never undertook any formal Acknowledgement of Country, and has never requested a formal Welcome to Country from any Adnyamathanha elder for any of the meetings held in Hawker.
  1. Retired Liberal Senator Chapman’s nomination of the Barndioota site has never been questioned either in the context of any potential political conflict of interest, or for his prior engagement in the Federal Senate and his involvement in past Senate committees who were tasked to investigate the establishment of above ground Nuclear waste facilities nearly two decades ago. We have been assured that the nomination of the Barndioota site is not related in any way to the current Liberal government or to the ex Senator’s prior profession. I would like this matter to be assessed in a transparent way.
  1. Key Hawker community representatives who support the NRWMFP in Barndioota have long term relationships with, and have worked for Wallerbedina Station for many years. This potential conflict of interest needs to be identified and acknowledged in a transparent manner.
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To 24 June – nuclear and climate news

June 24, 2018

Amid all the stuff about the nuclear industry, and about climate change, I occasionally come upon articles that are so powerfully written, and about such powerful global subjects –   that they just blow away the specific articles – important though these still are.

This week, Carl Grossman has revealed Donald Trump’s aim for weapons in space (which would be nuclear-powered), and what that means for the world. The nuclear weapons States currently adhere to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which designates space as the global commons to be used for peaceful purposes. If the U.S. goes up into space with weapons, Russia and China, and then India and Pakistan and other countries, will follow. Trump’s plan does require approval from Congress. The mind boggles also at the cost, and at what human services would disappear, in order to pay for this.

– views Trump as “the result of our failed democracy” – It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion. He finds that America’s liberals do not grasp what is happening – impending financial collapse, and creeping fascism. (I’d like to think that he’s wrong)
The climate change issue doesn’t go away. Radio Ecoshock brings us the news before it’s news – this week it’s Carbon Climate Showdown.

AUSTRALIA

The danger of Australia mindlessly aligning with the “Anglosphere
Liberal Coalition attacks on the ABC will rebound against them.  ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie explains economic benefit of the ABC to Australia. Michelle Grattan: expect more government bullying to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
UK Should Reject Extraditing Julian Assange to USA.  Chronicling Julian Assange’s 6 years .of Confinement
Data ethics heavily influenced by the biases of well-off white males.
NUCLEAR.    Australian govt rushing decision on nuclear waste dumping, avoiding Senate Inquiry report, and before next election.    South Australian Premier Marshall’s pro nuclear stance, in agreement with nuclear stooge MP Troy Bell
Tax-payer forks out $20,000 for Kimba children to have nuclear propaganda trip to Lucas Heights.  Resources Minister Matt Canavan lying to South Australians on nuclear waste   Community Benefit Programme – essential (?bribery) part of push for nuclear waste dump for Flinders Ranges.  Nuclear waste dumping would destroy Adnyamathanha traditional land and cultural heritage.
Nuclear waste dump site selection: Submissions to Senate:
Barry Brook’s poorly informed commentary on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.
Australian Medical Association urges fixing the uranium-polluted water supplies to remote communities..  Australian Medical Association wants action on  unacceptable levels of uranium in drinking water for several remote communities.
Australian uranium company Paladin leaves a mess behind it, in Africa.
Launch of film “Protecting Country”.
CLIMATE CHANGE.    Support for climate action is rising in Australia: but are politicians listening?  Coalition climate deniers play havoc again with energy.   Water wars: A new front in the fight against Adani.
RENEWABLE ENERGY. Record renewables roll-out eases gas crisis, says AEMO.   Small solar installs pass 3 million mark in Australia. Tasmania – double size of hydro plant, in first step of big battery plans.  Coal to be kaput in Australia by 2050, as renbles, batteries take over .  A 228MW Victorian wind farm to go ahead as big business snaps up cheap green power .

INTERNATIONAL

To save the world, we don’t need Trump’s charisma: we need co-operative bureaucratic processes.
For a nation that attacks another with nuclear weapons, the consequences will be fatal TO ITSELF.
The world needs now to recognise climate refugees.
UK. 
JAPAN. Japan commits to reducing its excess of plutonium. Why does Japan persist with dangerous, unnecessary nuclear Rokkasho reprocessing?  Is it to enable nuclear weapons?Why Japan should disconnect from fast-breeder reactor project – The Asahi Shimbun  Genkai nuclear power station restart sparks protest.   .
Fukushima Prefecture Announced More than 200 Malignant or Suspected, Children Thyroid Cancer.  As Fukushima residents return, some see hope in nuclear tourism.  Japanese Citizens Reject Government Plan to Use Soil Contaminated by Fukushima.
Strong earthquake shakes Osaka: Officials in neighboring Fukui Prefecture say all 15 nuclear reactors are still functioning.
SOUTH KOREA. South Korean nuclear reactor to be shut down early. Plans for new reactors cancelled.
USA.
This one is graphic and detailed – A nuclear bomb terrorist attack on New York – the sequence of events.
NORTH KOREADonald Trump says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had committed to destroy a western North Korea missile site: USA names it.  What it would take to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear military power.
CZECH REPUBLIC.  Resounding “No” to nuclear waste dump, from Czech rural community.
SERBIASerbian citizens to sue NATO over their cancers due to depleted uranium.
INDIA. India and Pakistan have increased their stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
FRANCE. France’s Minister Hulot slams Nuclear power and the pro nuclear push by EDF.
SINGAPORE. Network of radiation sensors to be installed across Singapore to boost nuclear safety
IRAN. Iran wants USA to return to the nuclear accord, among other demands to improve relations.
ISRAEL. Time For Israel To Drop Nuclear Ambiguity.  Middle East has 80 nuclear weapons, and they’re all owned by Israel. Donald Trump pledges Israel that he’ll ignore their nuclear weapons.
NEW ZEALANDNew Zealand’s Antarctic veterans are advised on effects of their exposure to nuclear radiation.

To 17 June- nuclear news

June 17, 2018

It’s getting hard for comedians, to compete as far as international relations go, with real life becoming more ridiculous. Politicians in Norway and USA are recommending Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. All sorts of reactions to the much vaunted “Nuclear Summit” between Trump and Kim. My own favourite was Trump’s own proud boast about not preparing for the summit – he makes decisions “by touch and feel”.

Accelerating Sea Level Rise is Being Driven by Rapidly Increasing Melt From Greenland and Antarctica.  Leaked UN draft report – world is on track to exceed 1.5C of warming.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR

Donald Trump alienates America’s allies, raising the question “Should Australia get its own nuclear weapon?”

Australia’s Maralinga Nuclear Veterans unrecognised – (Government strategy – wait for them all to die?)

Nuclear industry bigwig Erica Smyth gets Queen’s Birthday Award – don’t it make ya sick!  (the one who REALLY deserves recognition is Dr Helen Caldicott)

Federal Nuclear Waste Dump Plan for South Australia.  Why is nuclear industry puppet Resources Minister Matt Canavan not considering Leonora , Western Australia, as nuclear waste dump?    Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick exposes wider flaws in the Australian govt’s targeting of South Australia as nuclear waste dump.  South Australian site selection for a national radioactive waste facility is a “sham”, as Western Australian private project is revealed.

Government assessment of proposed Kimba nuclear waste dump area is a farce.

More Submissions to the Senate Inquiry on Nuclear Waste Dump Site Selection Process.:

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) agreement with IAEA on enhanced protection for uranium workers.

CLIMATE.  Australia not doing its fair share on carbon emissions. Graham Readfern exposes the climate denial group “The Australian Environment Foundation“.

Aboriginal issues. Historic Northern Territory treaty agreement  means ‘the old way is finished.

RENEWABLE ENERGY     AEMO sees rooftop solar trebling in 10 years, batteries rising 10-fold.   Sunny days ahead in Mayo with investment in community solar.  Energy retailer greed backfires, as consumers switch to solar, batteries.  Who should control household rooftop solar and batteries?  State-based renewable schemes “critical” – especially under NEG.

INTERNATIONAL

Hopes for peace following the Trump-Kim summit are likely to be short-lived.   Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists hopes for some SUBSTANCE and scientific expertise in USA- North Korea nuclear negotiations. What’s NOT in the summit agreement ?- that’s the revealing part.  What the Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un document actually says.

100 nuclear weapons is the “pragmatic limit” for any country to have in its arsenal.

Economic realities point to a poor future for nuclear power.

USA. 

NORTH KOREA.  In North Korea, Kim Jong Un is seen as the tough winner, in Singapore nuclear summit.   Completely ignored in nuclear summit talks – the forgotten North Korean victims of 1945 atomic bombs.

JAPAN. The global problem of poisonous plutonium: Japan looks at its options.  US demands Japan reduce its plutonium stockpiles.   Why TEPCO should quickly close down Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant. Japan approves 70-year plan to scrap nuclear reprocessing plant.  Amazingly High Radiation in Tokyo Bay — 131,000 Bq per Meter Squared.

Why wasn’t TEPCO bankrupted? – Japan’s Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.  Japan’s Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center calls for TEPCO to be liquidated.  Japanese anti nuclear group No Nukes Wakayama flexes their muscles.

UK. Nuclear Industry Association still struggling with inconvenient truth that Brexit is bad for their industry.  Robots the hope for cleaning up the world’s riskiest and massive nuclear waste storage pool, at Sellafield, UK.  Centrica wants to sell its nuclear industry stake, but it’s hard to attract buyers. Fears in Isle of Man community over dangers of new Wylfa nuclear power station.  Fundamental problem with Britain’s Wylfa nuclear power programme – it’s a ripoff.

RUSSIA. Safety measure for World Cup – Russia halts nuclear waste transport.

FRANCE. Systemic failures in France’s Flamanville nuclear project.

SAUDI ARABIAHuge USA weapons purchase by Saudi Arabia was on condition that USA would KILL THE IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT!

JORDAN. Jordan knocks back Russia’s $10 billion nuclear power plant , but contemplates”small floating reactor”

BANGLADESH. Scientists predict millions of climate refugees – but where will they go?

IRAN. Iran says it can’t remain in nuclear deal without benefits.

SPAIN. Thousands protest against uranium mine in Spain.

UKRAINE. Tons of water poured in by planes, to major wildfire inside the Chernobyl ‘dead zone‘.

Australian government’s hypocrisy in targeting South Australia for nuclear waste dump, shown up by Western Australian private offer

June 14, 2018

David Noonan, 13 June 18, Senator Rex Patrick has shown up the hypocrisy of the Federal Government in its expensive frenzy to foist a nuclear waste dump on rural South Australia. And in instigating the Senate Inquiry into this process, has set in motion the discrediting of the whole National Radioactive Waste Management Facility sham.

However, the propaganda by Western Australian private company Azark is not reliable, either. There is indigenous opposition to nuclear waste dumping in the Leonora region,Western Australia.  Western Australia’s Labor government may not support Azark’s low level waste dump plan, may have its own plan for WA.s radioactive waste. This WA private offer is for low level waste disposal and is not for the Fed govt proposed above ground 100 year Store for 10,000 yr nuclear fuel wastes and long lived intermediate level wastes.

This  exposes Federal govt’s plan to have two dumps in one, to “co-locate” a long lived waste Store’ along side a low level disposal site. It exposes their priority to dump Federal govt owned long lived nuclear wastes at an above ground “stranded wastes” dump in regional South Australia.

South Australia nuclear waste site a “done deal: claims Senator Rex Patrick https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/sa-business-journal/sa-nuclear-waste-site-a-done-deal-senator-rex-patrick/news-story/08524bb4dc5004f467462b1591a55b1f, The Advertiser, Erin Jones, Regional Reporter,   June 13, 2018 

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick told The Advertiser the decision to establish a low-level facility at one of two sites in South Australia appeared to be a “done deal” following the revelation.

In August, Azark Project made a nomination to include the commercial operation of an underground storage facility, near the remote central mining town of Leonora, north of Kalgoorlie.

The South Australian senator, who visited Leonora, said the proposal appeared to have “considerable support” and unlike the two SA sites near Kimba and Hawker, did not need taxpayer funds to proceed.

“Resources Minister Matt Canavan needs to properly engage the proponents of the proposed site near Leonora or risk the whole selection process being confirmed as an absolute sham,” he said.

“It appears as though the new site is a ‘faster runner’ in the race, but won’t be allowed to participate because the Minister is determined to rush to select one of the South Australian sites despite there being a divided community.”

Azark Project chairman George Gear said the WA site had no environmental, land rights or water issues, and the proposal had support of the 2900 people in Leonora Shire.

Mr Gear said he had no confidence in the specially-formed government taskforce considering sites for the waste facility, given Leonora was not on the table.

“Apart from this being a superior site located in a mining area and in solid rock, this wouldn’t cost the taxpayer any money as it’s a private company that will build this,” Mr Gear, a former minister in the Keating government, said.

“The taskforce to date has either spent or committed $40 million and they haven’t finalised the project.

“Azark has completed all of its due diligence at its own cost and has offered to make it available to the taskforce — this invitation was not accepted.”

Mr Gear said Azark Project had decided to pursue the plan on its own, but was expected to meet Mr Canavan in Perth, today.

The Government is expected to decide in coming months whether to build the waste facility in SA, after a final ballot of Kimba and Hawker districts, on August 20.

Mr Canavan has previously said “broad community support” would be needed for the waste facility to go ahead — although no arbitrary figure has been provided.

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

The district where the waste facility is located would be rewarded by the government with a $10 million community fund to spend on local projects.

Both districts were already benefiting from a $4 million grants fund as a reward for being involved in the site selection process.

Senator Patrick this year successfully pushed for a Senate inquiry into the site selection process used for the national waste facility and an outcome is expected only days before the ballot, on August 14.

In a submission to the inquiry, Kimba’s mayor said more information on financial rewards and jobs was needed before the community voted in the ballot.

Mr Canavan did not respond to questions before deadline.

Nuclear news last week, and a nod to the coming week

June 9, 2018

In the coming week the “nuclear summit” meeting between USA President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will be a diplomatic conference like no other has ever been. It is remarkable because, between these two dominating national leaders, trading threats and insults, the world has been brought so close to the brink of nuclear war. It is remarkable for being a meeting between two exceptionally narcissistic, sociopathic personalities.

And, behind the scenes, one, Kim Jong Un, risks the loss of his domestic support, even his life endangered, if he should be seen to be weak, or to give up North Korea’s proud achievement of becoming a nuclear weapons State. The other, Donald Trump, proudly ignorant of co-operative negotiating processes, is being advised by a number of belligerent personalities in his closest associates. The world should be relieved if this meeting even comes about, and relieved if there is no outcome, other than pleasant waffle.

A new study suggests several future scenarios – outcomes for the world because of climate change.  Most predict collapse of civilisation.   One, more optimistically, predicts sustainability in both population and global temperatures rise – but only if populations switch to “low-impact” resource use.  It’s  now”Aspiration” rather than a genuine plan for limiting global warming to 2 degrees. Read Climate and Ecological Delusions and Contradictions That Will Rapidly End HumanityAnd listen to Radio Ecoshock. 

AUSTRALIA

Australia needs a more consistent and rational approach to China.

The Australian government at last giving Julian Assange some help?  US activist Kevin Zeese calls for demonstrations against the persecution of Julian Assange.

Senate Committee Says Further Regulatory Burden on Charities Unnecessary.

A cry from a brave indigenous heart.

CLIMATE Malcolm Turnbull mouths platitudes about climate change, but his government has no clear policy on climate action. Queensland Govt considering funding $100m road for Adani mine.

NUCLEAR. Jim Green exposes the Warren Centre’s fake “debate” on The Future of Nuclear Energy in Australia.

Decades overdue Ranger Uranium Mine rehabilitation plan released The world is watching. Ranger mine closure and rehab to cost $1bn.

More submissions to Senate Inquiry on Site Selection Process for Nuclear Waste dump:

National Geographic promotes the nuclear industry , with support from Flinders University Adelaide.

ANSTO‘s secret transport of spent nuclear fuel assemblies through Sydney’s streets. ‘Safety breaches and lack of management support’ at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights nuclear facility.

Aboriginal issues.  South Australian government decides against process towards Aboriginal Treaty.  Victorian lower house passes treaty legislation  after Greens accept Labor deal.  Australia’s frontier war killings still conveniently escape official memory. Aboriginal sovereignty – mere symbolism will never be accepted.

RENEWABLE ENERGY   National Energy Guarantee (NEG) final draft due next week, reliability mechanism may never be triggered. Gupta’s stunning deal to supply cheap solar to South Australian industry“Time to take control of rooftop solar” industry says . Wind and solar farms face tough new connection hurdles.

INTERNATIONAL

International co-operation can prevent nuclear annihilation – not Donald Trump with his “I alone can fix it”. What does “Denuclearisation” actually mean to Kim Jong Un? to Donald Trump?

MALAYSIA.  Malaysia questions why only North Korea, Iran must denuclearise. Why not America, China, Russia, India, Pakistan?

USA.

NORTH KOREA. Even if Kim Jong-un promises to allow nuclear inspections – “complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement” is really not possible.  A swift verified nuclear disarmament by North Korea is simply not feasible. North Korea’s economic and social health improving – new confidence brings Kim Jong Un to negotiate.

UK. As nations pull out of nuclear power Britain is isolated, in putting taxpayer funds into new nuclear construction.  British Conservative govt overturns its previous opposition to socialising the nuclear power industryEver multiplying financial costs for building new nuclear reactors are hitting UK, and other countries, too Old, unproven, unreliable nuclear technology planned for Britain’s Wylfa nuclear power station. “Temporary” – or rather STRANDED, nuclear wastes for Sellafield, as Britain has no idea what to do with its radioactive trash. UK now setting up an agreement that will replace the nuclear safeguards lost in leaving Euratom.

JAPAN. Niigata governor election centres on the issue of the world’s largest nuclear power plant.  Japan’s divestment campaign from nuclear and coal pits Buddhist priest against banks.  Japan High School Peace Envoys Keen to Deliver Voices of Hibakusha .

Fukushima. Study: Cesium from Fukushima flowed to Tokyo Bay for 5 years. PART 1: Radioactive water at Fukushima Daiichi: What should be done?  PART 2: Radioactive water at Fukushima Daiichi: What should be done?  Is Fukushima doomed to become a dumping ground for toxic waste?

UKRAINE. Despite Ukrainian Prime Minister’s reassurances, Wildfires near Chernobyl are potentially catastrophic. High levels of radioactive Caesium in Ukraine region around Chernobyl a threat to children.

FRANCE.   Finally a parliamentary debate on the safety of used nuclear fuel rod pools.    Welding defects in the Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor. EDF looks to a profitable industry in decommissioning nuclear reactors.

SOUTH AFRICA. Pelindaba nuclear facility in South Afric a has yet another nuclear safety scare. South Africa: draft Integrated Planning Framework Bill – another attempt to push new nuclear build? South Africa’s Minister of Energy says that S.A. has called off the deal with Russia to develop nuclear power.

BULGARIARussian-designed nuclear power plant causes tension in Bulgaria. Russia, France, China compete to develop nuclear power station in Bulgaria.

MIDDLE EAST. Nuclear power at a huge disadvantage in Middle East – but do they want it for nuclear weapons?

 

Fake “Great Debate” exposed. Warren Centre’s “Future of Nuclear Energy in Australia” stacked with nuclear propagandists

June 8, 2018

Jim Green  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 7 June 18 

Dear Warren Centre, re the upcoming nuclear ‘debate’, I would be grateful for responses to these questions.

1. Why is this event called a ‘debate’ given that all speakers are pro-nuclear?

2. Will you amend the bio-note on the Warren Centre event webpage to note that Ben Heard’s so-called environment group ‘Bright New World’ accepts secret corporate donations?
3. During the ‘debate’, will it be made clear to the audience that Mr Heard’s group accepts corporate donations including secret corporate donations? Is such disclosure not required by the Warren Centre’s ethical guidelines?

4. The Warren Centre event webpage mentions Heard returning to his NGO roots. He has no NGO roots. Will you amend that claim?

5. During the ‘debate’, will you make it clear that Mr Heard’s contribution to the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was rejected by the Commission? Specifically, the final report of the Royal Commission said: “[A]dvanced fast reactors and other innovative reactor designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future. The development of such a first-of-a-kind project in South Australia would have high commercial and technical risk. Although prototype and demonstration reactors are operating, there is no licensed, commercially proven design. Development to that point would require substantial capital investment.”

6. Will you ensure that the audience attending this ‘debate’ is provided with some basic factual information that Mr Heard and the other two contributors to the ‘debate’ certainly won’t be volunteering, e.g.
— A$40 billion capital cost for two new reactors in the UK (A$20 billion each)
— A$16 billion capital cost for new reactors in France and Finland
— bankruptcy filing of Westinghouse due to catastrophic cost overruns building conventional reactors in the US (including A$13+ billion wasted on reactors in South Carolina that were cancelled last year).
— Westinghouse, Toshiba and a number of other utilities exiting the reactor construction business
— Ziggy Switkowski, head of the Howard government’s Nuclear Energy review, now says he believes “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”, and that nuclear is no longer lower cost than renewables and that the levelised cost of electricity of the two is rapidly diverging in favour of renewables

7. Will you ensure that webinar participants are informed that Mr Heard has continued lobbying for the importation of 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste to SA despite being well aware of the overwhelming opposition of Aboriginal Traditional Owners?

8. What steps will you take to ensure that participants are provided with some credible information about high-temperature gas-cooled reactors given that these seem to be Mr Heard’s latest fixation? Some information is copied below.

9. If Mr Heard claims that high-temperature gas-cooled reactors are ‘meltdown-proof’, or other such inanities, what steps will you take to ensure that his falsehoods are corrected?
—————-
HIGH-TEMPERATURE GAS-COOLED REACTORS (HTGRs)
Excerpt from M. V. Ramana, April 2016, ‘The checkered operational history of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,
“Proponents of HTGRs often claim that their designs have a long pedigree. … But if one examines that very same experience more closely – looking in particular at the HTGRs that were constructed in Western Europe and the United States to feed power into the electric grid – then one comes to other conclusions. This history suggests that while HTGRs may look attractive on paper, their performance leaves much to be desired. …
“Although Germany abandoned this technology, it did migrate to other countries, including China and South Africa. Of these, the latter case is instructive: South Africa pursued the construction of a pebble-bed reactor for a decade, and spent over a billion dollars, only to abandon it in 2009 because it just did not make sense economically. Although sold by its proponents as innovative and economically competitive until its cancellation, the South African pebble-bed reactor project is now being cited as a case study in failure. How good the Chinese experience with the HTGR will be remains to be seen. …

“From these experiences in operating HTGRs, we can take away several lessons – the most important being that HTGRs are prone to a wide variety of small failures, including graphite dust accumulation, ingress of water or oil, and fuel failures. Some of these could be the trigger for larger failures or accidents, with more severe consequences. … Other problems could make the consequences of a severe accident worse: For example, pebble compaction and breakage could lead to accelerated diffusion of fission products such as radioactive cesium and strontium outside the pebbles, and a potentially larger radioactive release in the event of a severe accident. …

“Discussions of the commercial viability of HTGRs almost invariably focus on the expected higher capital costs per unit of generation capacity (dollars per kilowatts) in comparison with light water reactors, and potential ways for lowering those. In other words, the main challenge they foresee is that of building these reactors cheaply enough. But what they implicitly or explicitly assume is that HTGRs would operate as well as current light water reactors – which is simply not the case, if history is any guide. …

“Although there has been much positive promotional hype associated with high-temperature reactors, the decades of experience that researchers have acquired in operating HTGRs has seldom been considered. Press releases from the many companies developing or selling HTGRs or project plans in countries seeking to purchase or construct HTGRs neither tell you that not a single HTGR-termed “commercial” has proven financially viable nor do they mention that all the HTGRs were shut down well before the operating periods envisioned for them. This is typical of the nuclear industry, which practices selective remembrance, choosing to forget or underplay earlier failures.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/permalink/1962073860490928/

At long last – a remediation plan for Ranger Uranium Mine within Kakadu National Park, but will it work?

June 6, 2018

Northern Land Council, 5 June 2018     The Northern Land Council and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation welcome today’s public release of the Ranger Mine Closure Plan by Energy Resources of Australia. The plan is decades overdue and critical to the company meeting the objectives of rehabilitation.

The NLC and GAC, representing the Mirarr Traditional Aboriginal Owners of the mine site, will now review the plan and engage with stakeholders as part of the approval process. While not part of a public environmental impact statement process, the public release of the plan does provide the broader community with an opportunity to comment on the plan to the Australian government.

The Mine Closure Plan is of a very high level and even though Ranger’s closure is imminent, a significant amount of detailed planning and supporting studies remain outstanding. ERA and its parent company Rio Tinto must clearly demonstrate that they have sufficient resources devoted to mine closure to provide stakeholders with confidence that the objectives outlined in the closure plan can be met.

The Ranger plan remains unenforceable until it is approved by the federal Minister for Resources. The mine’s operational life must cease by January 2021, ahead of five years’ rehabilitation. The future of Aboriginal communities downstream of the mine and the World Heritage listed values of Australia’s largest national park are at stake.

ERA and Rio Tinto’s rehabilitation obligations include remediation of the site such that it can be incorporated in the surrounding Kakadu National Park. The final determination as to whether the area can be incorporated into the World Heritage area sits with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, on advice from its expert advisory bodies the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

NLC contact: Martha Tattersall 0427 031 382 GAC contact: Kirsten Blair 0412 853 641

http://gac-v3.katalyst.com.au/media/W1siZiIsIjIwMTgvMDYvMDQvM3plYWpidjJ1al8yMDE4MDQwNl9HQUNfTkxDX3JlX0VSQV9SVU1fTUNQXzVfSnVuZV8yMDE4LnBkZiJdXQ/20180406%20GAC%20NLC%20re%20ERA%20RUM%20MCP%205%20June%202018.pdf

To 2 June nuclear news Australia and beyond

June 2, 2018

With the world still teetering about North Korea etc, and the famous Kim-Trump summit still supposed to be happening, the nuclear weapons industry continues to thrive.

The impacts of climate change will not affect all regions equally – they will be worse in places with already fragile social and ecological systems.   The nuclear waste time bomb will keep ticking – America’s 60 years of radioactive trash.    And, as if the facts were not enough to worry about, Margaret Attwood (of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale”), suggests a future dystopian world, as the result of climate change.

AUSTRALIA

USA rejected Julian Assange’s offer to talk about Wikileaks and ‘Russiagate’.

Yet another failure for Australian uranium company Paladin – Namibia uranium mine  mothballed.

South Australian Parliament Bill to protect whistleblowers.

NUCLEAR.  There’s quite a disgusting silence both from the Australian media and Australian politicians, about anything nuclear, but especially about the plan for dumping nuclear waste, (which they call “medical” waste) on rural South Australia.  Also, were it not for REneweconomy, Australians would learn hardly anything about the renewable energy transition now going on.  But our media did a splendid coverage of the British royal wedding!

Federal nuclear waste dump plan    Federal Government National Nuclear Waste Dump Selection Process – a B-grade horror movie plot.   Sydney’s Opal nuclear reactor’s High Level Wastes off to France, later to return to planned Federal Nuclear waste Dump  Adnyamathanha Traditional Land  Association again confronts Resources Minister Matt Canavan on nuclear waste dumping.

Some more of the 108 Submissions now published on the Senate website.

CLIMATE

Clean Energy Council and Smart Energy Council call for high emissions reduction targets, as Frydenberg promises no change to the party room’s energy policy. Global and Australian food companies failing to deal with climate, health issues.

Adani coal mining company to pay for Isaac council staff working on Carmichael coal mine activities   Greens MP refers Adani to Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).    Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners: “We’re on the frontline defending our lands against Adani” -Activists take to the streets to Stop Adani .

RENEWABLE ENERGY

INTERNATIONAL

Nuclear power plant construction even more costly than we thought – new analysis shows.

Energy politics – why renewables are winning over nuclear power.   International Renewable Energy Agency reports on companies across 75 nations sourcing renewable energy.

Further research on how ionising radiation causes cancer.

NORTH KOREA. North Korea likely to follow Pakistan’s nuclear path, not Libya’s. Kim Jong-un knows what he wants from the summit. Does President Trump? Yes, there are concerns, but North Korea’s dismantling of the nuclear weapons site is a positive step.

USA.

INDIANuclear politics between India and Pakistan need attention and understanding. India, a Key U.S. Ally, Plans to Ignore Trump’s Iran Sanctions .

FRANCE. Macron’s France signs up to join nuclear power partnership with Putin’s Russia.  France scaling back nuclear reprocessing – fears of financial disaster as with Japan’s Monju project.  Persisting with the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) has brought France to a costly nuclear crisis. The trials and tribulations of France’s Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor.

UK.

JAPAN.    Fukushima mothers at UN tell their story.  Japan is poised to FLOOD the Pacific with one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear plant  Japanese Buddhist priest joins movement to divest from fossil fuels and nuclear power. Japan’s state-affiliated bank is reluctant to fund Hitachi’s Wylfa nuclear project in UK.   Japanese atomic bomb survivor pays tribute to U.S. POWs killed in A-bombing.

CANADA. Tough times for uranium company Cameco – and no improvement in sight.  Ontario could save $1.2B by closing Pickering plant, buying power from Quebec – Greens.

ISRAELIsrael selling nuclear information and expertise to Saudi Arabia.  Israel’s PM Netanyahu planned a military strike on Iran in 201l.

GERMANY. Germany is ready to support Iran in restoring its economy as long as Iran adheres to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

RUSSIA. In a drill, fake terrorists take over Russia’s Arctic radioactive waste storage site.

SAUDI ARABIAThousands Held Arbitrarily – increasing numbers in Detention Without Trial in Saudi Arabia.

Unscientific, sloppy -that’s the Australian government’s process for selecting a nuclear waste dump!

May 29, 2018

Image courtesy  Kim Mavromatis

Kim Mavromatis No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 28 May 18  The Federal Government  National Nuclear Waste Dump Selection Process for South Australia is like a B-grade horror movie plot.

Australian Federal Liberal Government’s Land Selection Criteria for a National Radioactive Nuclear Waste Dump proposed for South Australia :

· Nothing scientific about the land selection process – anyone can nominate their land, including Pro-Nuclear Ex-Federal Liberal politicians – and get paid 4 times what it’s worth.

· Doesn’t matter where the land is located.

· Don’t worry about your neighbours – their land will appreciate in value with a toxic radioactive Nuclear Waste Dump next-door.

· The majority of Aboriginal people, who say NO to a Nuclear Waste Dump, will be given the same amount of respect they received during British Nuclear testing at Maralinga and Emu Fields.

· Doesn’t matter if the region is a national icon and major tourism attraction.

· Don’t worry about seismic activity or if the area is prone to flooding.

· Doesn’t matter if the land nominated is in an important grain-growing region.

· Doesn’t matter that building a Nuclear Waste Dump facility in South Australia is against the law.

· You can trust politicians to keep their word – once in place the Nuclear Waste Dump won’t get changed from an Intermediate to High-Level Nuclear Waste Dump.

· Special Note : the new South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and the state Liberals said No to a Nuclear Waste Dump before the election.

· Most of the state won’t have a say in the Clayton’s consultation process – community support will only be solicited within a 50km radius of the Nuclear Waste Dump – and 2 million carrots will help bribe the locals.

· Don’t worry about Nuclear Waste accidents – there won’t be any and they won’t be catastrophic. It’s not irresponsible to ship nuclear waste half way across the country through populated Australian cities and towns, on busy public roads and highways, on ships and trains – no safety concerns – livelihoods won’t be lost – property values dive – who pays the insurance? – nothing to see here, move along.

· The Nuclear Waste Dump will be in operation for 100 years and monitored for 200-300 years, but don’t worry that Intermediate-Level Nuclear Waste can remain highly radioactive for 100,000 years and can be as hazardous as High-Level Nuclear Waste.

· Don’t worry that the temporary canisters holding the Nuclear Waste above ground are temporary because nothing is permanent.

· In 60 years, the nuclear industry hasn’t found a solution for Nuclear Waste, but she’ll be right mate, they’ll find a solution in the next 60 years.

· The Nuclear Waste Dumps proposed for South Australia are located near Kimba (Eyre Peninsula grain-growing region), 75kms from the Spencer Gulf coastline – and in the Flinders Ranges near Hawker (national icon and major tourism attraction), 29kms from Lake Torrens and 84kms north of Port Augusta.

Q&A

Q: Once in place how easy is it for politicians to change an Intermediate-Level Nuclear Waste Dump into a High-Level Nuclear Waste Dump?
A: Very easy.

Q: How long does it take High-Level Nuclear Waste to become harmless?
A: It never becomes harmless.

Q: Compare High-level Nuclear Waste (spent nuclear fuel) Radioactivity to Uranium ore?
A: After 30 years, High-Level Nuclear Waste is 10,000x more radioactive than uranium ore – after 140 yrs, 1,000x more radioactive – after 2,000 yrs, 100x more radioactive – after 43,000 yrs, 10x more radioactive – after 10 million yrs, same radioactivity as uranium ore (NWMO Nuclear Waste Management Org, Canada). https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/

Nuclear, climate, environment news this week

May 26, 2018

Back to the brink, as Donald Trump cancels the North Korea-USA Summit? Optimistic commentators rattle on about how this could turn out better. It’s deeply disappointing for South Korea’s President Moon who has tried so hard to defuse the tensions. Trump has been a failure as a negotiator, – seems aimed at wrecking international agreements – climate, Iran, North Korea ….  Meanwhile, all nuclear powers, but America in particular are doing a feeding frenzy on nuclear weapons spending.  USA excels in illogic, with USA National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) plan for unsafe and unnecessary production of plutonium pits (nuclear weapons triggers), – of which they already have a glut.

Earth’s climate could increase by 4 °C, compared to pre-industrial levels, before the end of 21st century.

I just had to put “environment” in the headline today. Of course, everything is connected anyway, but – what’s happening to the world’s insects? There’s a dramatic decline in insect numbers, the world is losing species. Is it due to climate change?  Is it due to electromagnetic radiation causing disorientation in them?  5 G networks soon, Wow!  Oh heck – insects are only little. They don’t matter. OR DO THEY?

AUSTRALIA

Will Australia’s Prime Minister Turnbull cave in to USA pressure for Australia to join in USA efforts against Iran ?

Submissions to Senate Committee inquiring into process for selecting nuclear waste dump site:

Friends of the Earth debunk the propaganda of pro nuclear shill Ben Heard.

Adani’s desperate bid to sell Carmichael coal to Vietnam.

RENEWABLE ENERGY.

South Australian Liberals vow to continue energy transition, go big in batteries. EVs will fast-track Australia’s shift to 100% renewables.  UPC lands investor to advance huge wind, solar projects. Can the rooftop solar boom keep going?

RES plans 176MW solar and battery plant near Adelaide.    Tasmania’s biggest solar farm wins council approval .   Goldwind begins construction of 144MW Tasmania wind farm.    Carnegie raises $5.3 million for solar, battery, wave. Gupta says could build 10GW of large scale solar across Australia.  Unions support Liddell’s clean energy transition.

INTERNATIONAL

The very real and very serious danger of nuclear reactor accidents in space.   Cosmic radiation will damage the brains of space travellers.

NORTH KOREA. North Korea destroys its nuclear weapons site.

SOUTH KOREA. Korean women lead the peace movement , supported by international delegation of women.

IRAN. Iran negotiating with Europe to stay in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

CHINA.  China lands nuclear strike bombers on South China Sea islands.     Uncertainty about China‘s nuclear power future.

JAPAN. New research reveals significant Fukushima radioactive particle release.  Storage capacity for radioactive water at Fukushima power plant nears limit.  Japan’s government weighs dumping radioactive Fukushima water into the PacificRadiation monitors in Fukushima to be scrapped after malfunctioning to the tune of ¥500 million a year.  Hiroshima bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow continues her fight for a nuclear free world. Air duct corrosion and holes found at seven nuclear plants.

UK. Britain’s big future nuclear power plans hang on government subsidising HitachiUK short of funds for its £51bn nuclear defence programme. Many years before massive nuclear power station could be built at Bradwell.  Hitachi’s build of Wylfa nuclear power station delayed – may never happen.  UK’s contentious new arrangement for nuclear safeguards, following exit from Euratom.   Toxic radioactive mud dumping is a toxic issue for Wales.  Scotland’s ambitious target for 100% renewable energy.

CANADAOntario NDP only party speaking out against nuclear waste bunker near Lake Huron.

USA. 

SAUDI ARABIA. USA’s Pentagon speeds up weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.  Saudi government will not be able to silence courageous women activists. -Saudi Arabia arrests 11 human rights activists as “traitors”.

GERMANY. German government to compensate utilities over the phaseout of nuclear power.

SOUTH AFRICA. Eskom ‘abandoned’ plans to build a nuclear power station in the Eastern Cape – but is paying R16.5 million to keep it alive.

PHILIPPINES. Philippines consider nuclear revival, but active earthquake fault poses danger.