This Week in Nuclear and Climate News

August 27, 2016

a-cat-CANNUCLEAR Articles on weapons and disarmament dominate the nuclear news this week. On Monday 29 August,  an international conference entitled ‘Building a Nuclear Weapons Free World’ will take place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. That day will also be the 25th anniversary of of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site – largest in the world, where 456 weapons tests happened, leaving  a terrible legacy for the people.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls for eradication of nuclear weapons.   The nuclear working group at the UN concluded its work in Geneva, and the majority of governments voted to recommended that the UN General Assembly set up a conference in 2017 to negotiate a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, despite the Australian government’s best efforts to sabotage this. This is one of those times when I am ashamed to be Australian.

CLIMATE. A new study declares that human-caused climate change began at around 1830.  (I’ve always thought that it was 1801, because of the 1801 painting Coalbrookdale by Night – attached). Research indicates that the difference between 1.5 C and 2C  rise in global  temperatures will be significant, and in only 20 years’ time. Huge volume of Greenland Ice Sheet lost each year, due to global warming.  Again this year, Indonesia’s blanket of smoke is back.  India floods: Over 300 dead, millions affected  Louisiana National Guard Rescues 19,000 in Flood-Affected Areas.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR Details on Australia’s disgraceful performance at UN in Geneva can be read here and here. It was pretty stupid and counter-productive, too – made Australia unpopular, and cemented the resolve of other countries for a disarmament conference in 2017. Secretive Pine Gap remains an integral part of USA’s nuclear ‘star wars’ plans (an old newspaper article, still relevant, but now removed from their website)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA‘s nuclear waste dump plan not economically viable? The global nuclear lobby doesn’t care.  Roger Cross: Reasons to Reject a Medium and High Level Radioactive Waste Dump in South Australia.  SA govt going allout with pro nuclear propaganda forums.

Energy Resources of Australia unable to meet costs of cleaning up Ranger uranium mine. (What a surprise – not)

In Greenland, Indigenous people oppose Australian company’s plan for massive uranium mine in Greenland

CLIMATE CHANGE  154 scientists press Australian government for urgent action on climate change.  Australia in grave danger if global warming exceeds 2 C.  Adaptation – South Australia in the lead.  Australian Government quietly removes Clive Hamilton’s page that listed climate deniers. Adani court decision: Traditional Owners say fight to stop QLD’s Carmichael mine continues.

RENEWABLE ENERGY South Australia: Future Business Council calls for National smart energy grid.  Canberra heads to 100% renewable energy, helped by wind power from South Australia. Community solar fund shares sold out in nine minutes!.

Landmark payout for Aboriginal custodians who have lost their native title rights.  BUT Suppression of native title for the Mirarr people= extinguishment of rights?

INTERNATIONAL

UN Security Council warned on danger of nuclear drone terror attacks.

Global nuclear industry ponders ways to get taxpayers to pay up for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

USA America could take a practical first step towards nuclear disarmament. Stuck in the past – America’s nuclear weapons policy. USA’s National Nuclear Security Administration approves controversial B61-12 nuclear bomb.  USA pushes India and Pakistan to join nuclear testy ban treaty.  Groundwater infiltrates turbine building in Vermont Yankee nuclear station. Preparing for hurricane risk to Turkey Point nuclear reactor. US Border Patrol Spots EnergyFuels Uranium Mine Fire in Texas. Fire at Vogtle Nuclear Power Station on the Savannah River in Georgia, USA (23 Aug. 2016)?  Three More Fires at the Savannah River Nuclear Site: August 16, 17, 18   USA govt censoring severity of WIPP nuclear waste problem, $2 Billion Cleanup.   3.7 million documents now publicly available on Yucca nuclear waste dump plan.

UK. New report shows that Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear station is not essential. UK figuring out how to get out of the Hinkley nuclear power deal.  Britain’s nuclear industry in turmoil over botched contracts. UK Nuclear Submarine HMS Ambush: Smashing Collision With Merchant Vessel.

JAPAN. Anti-nuclear activists’ tents forcibly removed from economy ministry premises after years long battle .   Halt Sendai nuclear reactors says Kagoshima Governor , following nearby earthquakes. 10,000 tons of toxic water pools in Fukushima nuclear plant trenches. Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s “frozen wall of earth” failing at Fukushima.   Succession of earthquakes in the Sanriku Oki area (epicenter in the ocean off Fukushima).  Tokyo 2020 Games prep beset with problems

NORTH KOREA ‘s submarine – launched missile. North Korea’s ‘Military First’ celebration enhanced by nuclear missile test.

SOUTH KOREA ‘s nuclear weapons advocates are now more vocal since North Korea’s missile test

CHINA. Public opposition threatens China’s grandiose nuclear power plans. China really part of the global nuclear marketing conglomerate.

TAIWAN‘s First Nuclear Decommissioning Project

SOUTH AFRICA nuclear electricity company non compliant with govt rules on advertising. Nuclear is not the cheapest source of electricity for South Africa. African countries are the least compliant in implementing global nuclear security safeguards.

FRANCE   to launch 6 tenders for solar energy projects

GERMANY ‘s green power going strong, with more renewable energy than it ever had nuclear

BULGARIA  Bulgaria seeks solution for costly blowout for Belene nuclear power plant

UKRAINE . Westinghouse puts on hold plans to build nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine

Global nuclear lobby doesn’t care if South Australia’s radioactive trash dump is not economically viable

August 26, 2016

toilet map South Australia 2

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

A commitment by an Australian State to take in nuclear waste could do the trick for them – as Oscar Archer put it – by unblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.

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

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

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

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

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

Or so it would seem.

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

Nowhere in the NFCRC report, do they make a link between establishing the waste repository and planning for nuclear reactors. It is as though the two projects are not related. But they are.

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

Australia establishes the world’s first multinational repository for used fuel – what’s often called nuclear waste. This is established on the ironclad commitment to develop a fleet of integral fast reactors …The development of the intermediate repository and the first reactors is funded by our international partners……

By unblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycles for our international partners and customers, rapid development in conventional Generation III+ nuclear technology receives a strong boost …

Each PRISM “power block”, or set of twin reactors, adds 622 megawatts of saleable zero-carbon generation to Australia which further improves the revenue position. …….The transition to PRISM world-wide is under-way on the back of Australia’s pioneering embrace of this technology with support of key partners.

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

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

Globally, the ‘conventional’ nuclear reactor business is struggling, The ever escalating costs of USA’s nuclear reactorsbeing built, of France’s Flamanville reactor, and most notable lately, Britain’s Hinkley C nuclear fiasco, have cast a gloom over ‘big nuclear reactors’

However, this is quite good news for the ‘small nuclear’ lobby. In the USA, the charge is led by Bill Gates, and a bunch of billionaires, who work to get governments, and taxpayer funding to support their novel nuclear reactor projects. In Britain, the nuclear charity (yes, it has charity status!) the Alvin Weinberg Foundation , and 33 new nuclear companies are practically ecstatic at the news that Teresa May’s government is having doubts about Big Nuclear.

Australia has its own cadre of small nuclear enthusiasts. These individuals have, in a short period of time, achieved world recognition as advocates for the various types of new small nuclear reactors. On the international scene, leading lobbyists are the Breakthrough Institute, with their Ecomodernist Manifesto. (They put in a submission to South Australia’s NFCRC), and Australian lobbyists Barry Brook and Ben Heard……..

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

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

A commitment by an Australian State to take in nuclear waste could do the trick for them – as Oscar Archer put it – byunblocking the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The NFCRC plan also promises the chance of a market in Australia for the mini nuclear reactors.  http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18465&page=1

Can South Australia cope with the bureaucratic mountain needed for nuclear waste dumping?

August 24, 2016

paperwork nuclear dump

Derek Abbott Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia , 24 August 16 Is South Australia aware of the administrative tsunami that will come, with nuclear waste importing plan?

Yucca Mountain created 3.7 million documents. I don’t think Jay is prepared for the administrative nightmare a repository will bring. Jay will buckle under the sheer load of the paperwork:

 Joseph Cullen That would create a few jobs at least

  Derek Abbott Useless admin jobs are just what are needed
  Trisha Dee Some jobs in the short term. But do you really think the government is going to pay people to manage the paperwork in 30 years time? 50 years time? 100 years time? 500 years time? 1000 years time?
1,000 years is how long the Royal Commission report says the material needs to be managed and they guessed at a cost for this (though not included it in the project costs).
Yucca Mountain Documents Now Publicly Available – In a New Online Library, USA Nuclear Regulatory Commission August 19, 2016 David McIntyre Public Affairs Officer

The NRC is flipping the switch today on its new LSN Library — making nearly 3.7 million documents related to the adjudicatory hearing on the proposed Yucca Mountain repository available to the public…….The library is significant for three reasons. First, it meets federal records requirements. Second, the library again provides public access to the previously-disclosed discovery materials should the Yucca Mountain adjudicatory hearing resume. Third, should the Yucca Mountain hearing not resume, the library will provide an important source of technical information for any future high-level waste repository licensing proceeding. https://public-blog.nrc-gateway.gov/2016/08/19/yucca-mountain-documents-now-publicly-available-in-a-new-online-library/

Nuclear waste importing costs queried by South Australia Parliamentary Committee

August 21, 2016

greed-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Transcript p.24) Dr JOHNSON:

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

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

Dr Johnson seemed to get a bit rattled:

Dr JOHNSON:

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

Kristen Jelk  asks:


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

China is our largest trading partner. At present, Australia has clear marketing opportunities in China, and for our other nearer neighbours. In assessing the so called golden coin to be gained for bringing in radioactive trash, South Australia needs to also consider the other side of that coin the economic opportunities that could be lost, along with the risk of a poor or no return on the waste facility investment. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/sa-parliamentary-committee-questions-economics-of-importing-nuclear-waste,9371

Climate and nuclear news this week

August 19, 2016

a-cat-CANClimate change is an emergency – NOW . While some of us have for decades campaigned against the acute and chronic danger of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, I am having to admit that the climate change issue is urgent, in an even more powerful way.  That’s because climate change has crept up on the world in an insidious way, so that now it is just about at the tipping point, just about irreversible.

One could argue that, short of a global catastrophe – a nuclear war, the world might still stop the nuclear horror “later on”. There is no “later on” for climate change.

We must fight both of these horrendous global threats.

AUSTRALIA

CLIMATE.  It’s winter, so we don’t notice it really, but much of Australia is experiencing an “exceptional” record run of steamy August weather as experts tip 2016 to be the warmest year since records began. Australia had its warmest autumn on record. Media coverage given to serial climate denying pest Sen. Malcolm Roberts.

NUCLEAR.  It’s South Australia, as usual. The South Australian Parliament’s Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) is underway. Although 4 of the 5 Committee members are actually pro nuclear, the Committee is subjecting the NFCRC to  a much needed scrutiny. This is one of the few processes going on, where the NFCRC personnel are not in control. The plan to bring international nuclear wastes to South Australia is particularly interesting to Parliament from the financial point of view. It is doubtful that it will bring the financial bonanza that its chief, Kevin Scarce has touted. Submissions to South Australia Parliament are overwhelmingly opposed to nuclear waste importing.

Meanwhile the other processes continue, the propaganda forums, the move to get rid of laws that prohibit the  nuclear industry. Premier Weatherill off to Finland next month to study nuclear waste project. But interestingly, the Liberal Opposition leader Steven Marshall has pulled out of this trip. 

Western Australia.   Environmental groups put a winning argument against the Yeelirrie uranium project.  Aboriginal people will fight planned Vimy uranium mine, despite EPA’s approval of it. Native title win for the Ngurra Kayanta people.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Industry Minister Greg Hunt attacks renewable energy, but Energy Minister Frydenbereg supports it.  Victorians, including Liberals want an urgent shift to renewable energy. Senator Nick Xenophon calls on South Australia, Victoria to set up an electricity trading scheme .

INTERNATIONAL

Regions hit by world’s hottest month. Global warming brings worse wildfires – United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Get used to extreme floods. Climate Change – a serious matter now – will threaten future Olympic Games!

Nuclear reactors, old or new designs, doomed without hefty tax-payer subsidies.

USA.

UK.  UK’s Crown Estate recommends UK switching attention from nuclear power to offshore wind.  “Small Nuclear” companies keen to market their wares to UK government.

RUSSIA. International nuclear tensions: Russia builds ‘nuclear bomb proof’ underground bunkers.

JAPAN. Japan’s big ‘nuclear restart’ overtaken by conservation and renewables.   Shikoku Electric fires up Ehime plant MOX reactor amid protests.  Citizen groups organise for legal action to stop Japan’s nuclear restarts.

CANADA. Uranium Miner Cameco’s Tax Avoidance Cost Canada Over $2 Billion in Lost Revenue.

FRENCH POLYNESIA‘s Protestant church takes action against France over nuclear testing.

SOUTH AFRICADrone crash into Koeberg Nuclear Power Station.

Risky financial assumptions from Nuclear Royal Commission South Australia

August 18, 2016

greed-1

Submission to Joint Committee on Nuclear Royal Commission South Australian Parliament, – Mothers for a Sustainable South Australia, August 2016 http://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/Committees/Pages/Committees.aspx?CTId=2&CId=333

The assumptions underpinning the century-long cost-benefit calculation that this proposal relies upon, are heroic.

Price: There is no market for disposing of HLNW, so the proposed ‘price’ is a guess. It is ‘an illustrative benchmark’ (p 293) – but is critical to the $51 billion profit figure. Experts cannot predict the price of gas, coal or iron ore one year ahead – despite well developed markets for all three. How can a century-long price for something that is not yet traded be sensibly predicted? The price used by the RC is much higher than that suggested by Finnish experience. It is nothing more than a guess.

Cost: There is no existing deep geological storage anywhere in the world, so no experience with what it actually costs. The cost estimate – from transport through to maintenance of the site for 100,000 years – is also simply a guess. The Finns who must dispose of about 6,000 tonnes of their own high level nuclear waste have recently granted construction approval for a deep geological dump at Onkalu – after 40 years lead up. This is the first of its kind in the world – expected to be operational in the 2020s. But until it is built, there is no reliable cost experience for the experimental technology. Further, Onkalu is much smaller than that proposed for SA. What are the costs of something 23 times larger likely to be? Who knows? There are no reliable estimates of what it will cost to transport 138,000 tonnes of HLNW or intermediate waste from, say, Korea to Port Augusta – and then to store it and re-transport it to the far north of the state. Such international transport has not been done before.

A single quote from a nuclear industry insider: As we have pointed out, all these rely on a single consultant report by Jacobs & MCM. Jacobs are industry insiders. They have been in the nuclear industry for 50 years – on projects from construction through to clean up. They have a business interest in the nuclear industries expansion. Jacobs’ website prides itself on ‘ongoing business relationships’ with nuclear industry clients, promising ‘to serve as their advocates and support them in their global aspirations’. They are hired consultants who pride themselves on acting in the interests of their hirers – not for an objective critical viewpoint on behalf of the larger community

The nuclear industry consistently overestimates returns and underestimate risk. For example, academic analysis of the cost of building 180 nuclear reactors up until 2014 (for which cost data is known) found that on average they cost double their original estimates – and most took years longer than expected to build, increasing the costs of finance very significantly (Sovacook, Gilbery and 4 Nugent, 2014). The costs of the US Yucca Mountain deep disposal project also blew out very significantly (prior to it being mothballed). The RC offers ‘sensitivity analysis’ on price, costs and quantity but keeps its analysis within parameters that mean it remains profitable on paper. There are many other plausible assumptions about price, cost and amount of waste received, accidents, and changes in legal, contractual, market or community circumstances that make it not only unprofitable, but potentially extremely costly to Governments – who would own and control the project – and who would have to pick up the tab. The financial risks of the project throw the losses of SA’s state bank debacle into the shade.

What happens if the amount of high level nuclear waste does not eventuate? The economics of the project rely on a minimum quantity of high and medium level nuclear waste. What happens if it does not arrive – for any number of reasons? What if China or the US – or companies from anywhere in the world – enter the market for waste disposal? Both countries – and others – plan to build dumps for their own waste. If this is so profitable, why would they not enter the market to take waste, easily undercutting SA’s price and reducing the quantity in the SA facility – which must achieve a very large share of the international market to be viable, let alone profitable? The nuclear industry consistently overestimates returns and underestimate risk. For example, academic analysis of the cost of building 180 nuclear reactors up until 2014 (for which cost data is known) found that on average they cost double their original estimates – and most took years longer than expected to build, increasing the costs of finance very significantly (Sovacook, Gilbery and 4 Nugent, 2014). The costs of the US Yucca Mountain deep disposal project also blew out very significantly (prior to it being mothballed).

The RC offers ‘sensitivity analysis’ on price, costs and quantity but keeps its analysis within parameters that mean it remains profitable on paper. There are many other plausible assumptions about price, cost and amount of waste received, accidents, and changes in legal, contractual, market or community circumstances that make it not only unprofitable, but potentially extremely costly to Governments – who would own and control the project – and who would have to pick up the tab.

The financial risks of the project throw the losses of SA’s state bank debacle into the shade. What happens if the amount of high level nuclear waste does not eventuate? The economics of the project rely on a minimum quantity of high and medium level nuclear waste. What happens if it does not arrive – for any number of reasons? What if China or the US – or companies from anywhere in the world – enter the market for waste disposal? Both countries – and others – plan to build dumps for their own waste. If this is so profitable, why would they not enter the market to take waste, easily undercutting SA’s price and reducing the quantity in the SA facility – which must achieve a very large share of the international market to be viable, let alone profitable?

Climate, nuclear, news to August 13

August 12, 2016

a-cat-CANAUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR. An eerie silence on the national scene. One would think that nothing is happening in the nuclear machinations in Australia.  Only something is. In the rest of August alone there will be 23 more nuclear propaganda forums run by thy South Australian government. (wonder what all this is costing the tax-payer?)  The whole thing is ignored in the mainstream media, though there have already been many such forums. One propaganda session in Port Pirie, was directed at an indigenous community, and that did not go down well!

The South Australian government is pressing on with its goal of removing legal restrictions on importing nuclear wastes. They’re holding a “Simplify Day” on November 15, to “repeal out-dated and redundant legislation”. Like The Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000?

Meanwhile the South Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission continues. The hearings are up on their website,  but so far the Submissions cannot be accessed.

CLIMATE and RENEWABLE ENERGY.

INTERNATIONAL.

CLIMATE. Sahara-Like Heat Marches North, Sparks Scores of Massive Wildfires Across Portugal. An epic Middle East heat wave could be global warming’s hellish curtain-raiser. Carteret climate refugees seek home. Climate scientists’ predictions on sea level rise Rejection of expert knowledge – Clexit after Brexit.  Power of social media: Di Caprio on climate change.

NUCLEAR  Nagasaki Peace Declaration 2016.

English language media continues to examine the nuclear industry’s situation in Britain and USA, and this is surely a concern for the global nuclear industry. If it collapses in UK and USA – the outlook for nuclear’s global future is grim.

UK is in the most critical situation – a plethora of articles on this: EU Investigating Unfair French State Subsidies to the Nuclear Sector – Areva’s 4 Billion Euro Bailout by French Taxpayers.  France’s ruling socialist party calls for freeze on Hinkley Point nuclear development. Theresa May is advised that now is the time to get out of Hinkley nuclear project. UK government’s own projections find solar and wind ‘cheaper than new nuclear’.

USA. Much unhappiness about New York’s subsidy bailout of the nuclear industry – eg. $700 million of public money goes to New York’s FitzPatrick nuclear deal. WHY?. New York will regret hasty decision to bail out upstate nuclear facilities. Subsidizing Nuclear Will Only Make Our Grid Problems Worse. New York “s Clean Energy standard drafted with an effort to avoid legal challenges about nuclear subsidy. New Jersey won’t be following New York’s example of subsidising the nuclear industry. U.S. electricity consumers could end up paying more than $2.5 billion for nuclear plants that never get built.

CHINA. Public opposition stops nuclear waste project, perhaps permanently.

South Australian govt’s snide first step in repealing law on nuclear wastes

August 9, 2016
Weatherill nuclear dream
The first goal of South Australia’s shonky Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission is to get rid of clausesw in, or better still, this entire law:  the Nuclear W@aste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.
The Premier has announced that the first ‘Simplify Day’ will be held on 15 November, 2016 to repeal out-dated and redundant legislation that impacts on the Government’s ability to deliver on its 10 Economic Priorities.
In the lead-up to Simplify Day a consultation process is being held to seek the views of businesses and the community on how red tape can be removed for businesses, including any legislation that may be outdated or unnecessary.
Should you wish to know more about this initiative or make a submission visit the YourSAY website at www.yoursay.sa.gov.au.
The consultation period is open until 13 August, 2016.”
http://yoursay.sa.gov.au/decisions/yoursay-engagements-making-sa-the-best-place-to-do-business-by-removing-outdated-legislation/about

Hiroshima Day and London and New York News

August 5, 2016
Hiroshima Day, and a nuclear tale of two cities

6th August – Hiroshima Day. Rather lost in the Brazil Olympics hype, but not forgotten by the hibakusha and other survivors, and families of victims of the nuclear bombing, and of those others, world-wide, who care.

State of the Climate Report documents shattering of environmental records.

a-cat-CANThe global nuclear industry, teetering on economic collapse, is intently watching for decisions made in two cities, London and New York.

London. Prime Minister Theresa May suddenly threw a spanner in the works of the world’s largest nuclear power programme – Hinkley Point C – for Somerset, England.  Just days before, France’s State-owned company EDF had given approval to build the project. The EDF decision was fraught, too, with unions opposing it, and senior managers urging delay. Everybody, including Tories, knows that the project is, economically, a white elephant.   Why do the French and  UK governments want to go on with it?  Complicated politics, l’honneur, and like Macbeth – in too deep to get out?

And then there’s the global nuclear lobby, ever there with political campaign funding and propaganda, and desperate for Hinkley to be the flagship of a new world-wide nuclear renaissance.

There’s also, however, the “small nuclear” lobby, like an aggressive little chihuahua, snapping at the heels of Big Nuclear. They wouldn’t mind if Hinkley fizzled out – it would prove that their (still only on paper)  Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)  and PRISMS, will fix British energy, climate change, and the global nuclear waste problem.

New York. The global nuclear industry is taking comfort from the latest decision in New York. The New York State Public Service Commission, backed by the Governor, approved a $7.6 billion bailout of aging nuclear power plants, including them in a “Clean Energy Standard”. It is hoped that this will kick off a nuclear revival.

AUSTRALIA.

FEDERAL. New Minister for Resources, Matt Canavan , a climate change denier. New Climate Denialist One Nation Senator warns on United Nations Climate Plot.

Western Australia‘s Environmental Protection Agency rejects Cameco’s Yeelirrie Uranium project.

South Australia. Nick Xenophon says only a referendum is adequate to resolve South Australia’s nuclear waste decision.  Goodbye and good riddance to nuclear stooge Senator Sean Edwards.  Festering doubts on impartiality of Nuclear Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce.

INTERNATIONAL

UK – Lots about Hinkley

USA. Lots about New York President Obama pushes for UN call to end nuclear weapons testing, by-passes Congress. Wildfires threaten nuclear disaster at Hanford site.

An old pro nuclear team behind South Australia’s biased Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

August 3, 2016

 

logo MCM consultingThe concerns that this approach is focussed more on manufacturing social license or acceptance of the dump plan, rather than forensically and objectively analysing the full range of risks and opportunities, have increased following news that a key adviser to the nuclear Royal Commission was an industry “true believer” linked to a failed attempt to open a global radioactive waste dump in Australia in the 1990s.

In the late 1990s, public outrage forced Pangea to abandon its dumping plan. Today, a pro-nuclear Royal Commission is using public funds to facilitate Pangea’s inheritors to rewrite the proposal.

Big bucks, radioactive waste and a biased SA Royal Commission https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/big-bucks-radioactive-waste-and-a-biased-sa-royal-commission,9304 1 August 2016 Following SA’s nuclear fuel cycle Royal Commission, a publicly-funded PR campaign is attempting to make the largest ever radioactive waste dump in the world, a tepid topic, writes Dave Sweeney.

A STATE-BASED Royal Commission unleashed a plan with massive national implications when it recommended, in May, that South Australia should move to import, store and bury around a third of the globe’s high level radioactive waste ‘as soon as possible’.

The Royal Commission, initiated by PremierJay Weatherill in 2015 and presided over by former governor and self-proclaimed state salesman Kevin Scarce, has unsurprisingly generated column inches, congratulations and critics.

With its pro-nuclear terms of reference and advisory panel, and its often oblique process, the exercise has been a case study in issue management. Radioactive waste may be hot but a well-funded series of rolling roadshows, a citizens’ jury, and a social media initiative are all part of a state campaign working to make the topic tepid and the “conversation” constrained.

The concerns that this approach is focussed more on manufacturing social license or acceptance of the dump plan, rather than forensically and objectively analysing the full range of risks and opportunities, have increased following news that a key adviser to the nuclear Royal Commission was an industry “true believer” linked to a failed attempt to open a global radioactive waste dump in Australia in the 1990s.

Pangea Resources was a consortium of nuclear agencies and utilities from Europe and the U.S. that tried to advance a waste dump in Australia during the 1990s, before news of the plan leaked and became a focus of public attention and outrage.

After the company’s enforced radioactive retreat from Australia, Pangea’s technical manager Charles McCombie became a foundation partner of MCM, the Swiss based firm contracted by the recent Royal Commission to model economic and technical information, and analyse potential customer demand and economics.

MCM’s report strongly influenced the Commission’s enthusiastic pro-dump recommendations.

Other economic analysts have cautioned against the “heroic” assumptions underpinning the Royal Commission’s final report and there are growing calls for the state treasury department to run the ruler over the sums. But for now, the distorted dollar signs remain in pride of place while the very real danger signs struggle to make the stage.

How times change. In the late 1990s, public outrage forced Pangea to abandon its dumping plan. Today, a pro-nuclear Royal Commission is using public funds to facilitate Pangea’s inheritors to rewrite the proposal.

Mr McCombie is also President of ARIUS, the Association for Regional and International Underground Storage. MCM and ARIUS both aim to advance global radioactive waste disposal and neither are independent or objective. This, of course, raises questions about the independence and objectivity of the advice provided to the Royal Commission.

Clearly, any examination of a plan to ship, store and bury the largest amount of the world’s worst nuclear waste would require engaging with those industry players who think and work in this space. No surprises, conflicts of interest or covert operations there. But these players should not be allowed, or paid, to shape the fundamental documents, data and discourse surrounding such a contested and lasting public policy issue.

Radioactive waste management is complex, contaminating and costly, and it lasts far longer than any politician or headline. It needs real analysis, not industry assumptions.

The costs involved with the South Australian plan – currently estimated at $145 billion – are huge and both uncapped and uncertain. The security, safety, environmental and human health implications are profound and permanent. The issue deserves and demands the highest level of scrutiny and transparency, not limited disclosure and insiders promoting a pre-determined agenda.

What is being planned and promoted in South Australia would be by far the largest high level radioactive waste dump in the world and it has never been done before.

MCM has stated that a positive State Government response to the Royal Commission report would

‘… change the worldwide paradigm of radioactive waste management.’

Any moves to further advance this high risk plan should not be based on a report that is compromised, deeply deficient and unfit for purpose.

South Australians – and all of us – deserve better.

Dave Sweeney is the nuclear free campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation. You can follow him on Twitter @nukedavesweeney.


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