South Australia: Nuclear Citizens’ Jury given biased information

July 28, 2016

citizen jury

Submission to JOINT COMMITTEE ON FINDINGS OF THE NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE ROYAL COMMISSION Makes the case that Australians are being denied the bigger picture, and the NFCRC was deliberately or negligently selective in their assessment of evidence received

 Submission prepared by Dan Monceaux.
[Below are short excerpts from this detailed and thoroughly referenced submission]

“………I believe that the South Australian people have a right to know about the implications of all relevant nuclear materials handling processes and their consequences for human health and the environment in advance of making or influencing any government decision to accept or reject spent nuclear fuel.

 The brevity of the Final Report’s discussion of these topics presently betrays the public interest. In
 fact, matters of the environmental and occupational hazards presented by reprocessing activities
 (using existing or future processes) were not explored in the Royal Commission’s Final Report at

I am concerned that the Citizens’ Jury currently tasked with simplifying the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission may not comprehend the full extent of the Commission’s recommendations- that is, that they are seeking to enable currently prohibited industrial activities across the whole nuclear fuel cycle.[1] Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, Government of South Australia, ‘Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report’, 2016: pg. XV. . Accessed 2016-07-01……..

3. the question arises: how selective or otherwise was the process of assembling its Final Report and recommendations? Why was certain information received not included in the Commission’s final report?

 If jurors are denied access to relevant information related to nuclear hazards (by their omission from
 the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s Final Report) this could be considered a dereliction of
 duty by the Commission. The report, since passing into the hands of the Department of the Premier
 & Cabinet in May 2016 has become the South Australian government’s central reference as it prepares
 a lengthy series of outreach activities around the state. Aside from brief oral presentations
 provided by called witnesses, this as I understand it, will be the only document considered in any
 detail by the Jurors………

4. the first Citizens’ Jury did not hear from a presenter who was appropriately knowledgeable on matters of radio-biology and the pathways and effects of exposure to nuclear materials in environmental or occupational contexts (with respect to uranium and nuclear fuel). The only medical professional to address the jurors for any significant length of time was Associate Professor Michael Penniment.

 Penniment’s ten-minute presentation to jurors offered almost no information on nuclear hazards,
 biological effects, uranium or nuclear fuel. He spoke instead of the need to manage medical wastes
 better,[14] and neglected to inform people of the actual risks posed by exposure to ionizing radiation……

It is my opinion that by not providing fundamental information about the connection between radiationexposure and the development of cancers and leukaemia, the Department of the Premier andCabinet is preventing the jurors from being able to adequately consider risks, which being bombarded by the opportunity of waste storage, and the numerous mechanical processes which would need to occur to enable it………

CHERNOBYL In his presentation to the jurors, Penniment went on to describe the consequences of Chernobyl incorrectly, stating that only 28 people died as a result of the incident, and that those were the first responder clean-up workers. This misinformation conflicts with all recent accounts of the disaster, including those published in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s own Final Report. No-one present in the room was able to correct him……

I supplied evidence to the Commission for its consideration demonstrating the different approaches taken to measuring and estimating the human health consequences of Chernobyl in my submission to the Tentative Findings. I had hoped that the Commission would compare these with its own references to UNSCEAR and the WHO. No such comparisons were reflected in the Final Report…….

FUKUSHIMA In the case of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the Commission’s final report fails to reflect the gravity, extent of harm and technical complexities related to the incident and the response thus far……

6. [On the health effects on nuclear workers]

The Commissioner’s response to my question and correction demonstrate that the Commissioner was at that time unaware of the problematic nature of the elevated risk of cancers and leukemias experiencedby nuclear industry workers, despite my submissions. This also confirmed that the evidence I provided to the Commission was ignored, either wilfully or negligently. I reach this conclusion with confidence, given Chad Jacobi’s recent admission that all submissions were read by the Commission, and by him personally.[11]

I have received further confirmation from the Royal Commission’s Chief of Staff, Greg Ward that Chad Jacobi was the chief author of the final report. If Jacobi read all of my submissions, what cause did he have to ignore the evidence that I provided?

 How many other people or organisations provided information from reputable sources which was
 similarly omitted from the final report? Is this outcome acceptable? To what extent was the Commission
 working for or against the public interest in the conduct of their inquiry?

NUCLEAR FACILITY EFFLUENT & EMISSIONS In my submissions to the Commission, I drew attention to several studies which identified or analyses  clusters of leukemias in close proximity to nuclear facilities…….. The Commission chose not to include this controversial subject in its final report, despite a preliminary search revealing a substantial number of peer-reviewed medical research papers exploring this topic……..

NUCLEAR FUEL LEASING The Final Report refers to the prospect of establishing a nuclear fuel leasing scheme in South Australia, contingent on the establishment of a permanent storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. The report then goes on to say that such a program could provide a competitive advantage capable of improving prospects for the development of additional uranium processing activities in South Australia……..This process of gradual expansion into enrichment and fuel processing is summarised….

By my assessment, these statements reveal the broader intent of the Commission’s recommendations, yet this information is buried deep inside the body of the Final Report. The Commission suggests that South Australia work with established nuclear industrial players to add value to the currently exported product: uranium oxide concentrate.

 Regrettably, the first Citizens’ Jury’s report doesn’t reflect the apparent ‘big picture’ plan, which
 leaves me concerned that South Australians more broadly will continue to debate the merits or otherwise of high-level nuclear waste transportation, receipt, storage and disposal, without understanding further reaching implications of expanding into further processing activities…….


 In conclusion, I wish to recommend that…
 1. The deficiencies of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s Final Report be acknowledged and corrected
 2. Previously omitted, reliably-sourced evidence provided to the RC via submissions be revisited and synthesised into a 2nd edition of the Final Report (or addendum)
3. All prospective industry partners and beneficiaries of nuclear industrial development (public and private sector) be disclosed in the public interest
4. The commencement of the second Citizens’ Jury be postponed until the 2nd edition of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s Final Report has been published

The influence of global nuclear industry promoters on South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission

July 28, 2016

logo MCM consulting

27 July 2016 The Australian Conservation Foundation will today table to a South Australian Parliamentary committee information showing a key adviser to the state’s recent nuclear Royal Commission is a nuclear ‘true believer’ who was behind a failed attempt to open a global radioactive waste dump in Australia in the 1990s.

Charles McCombie, who was technical manager of Pangea Resources – a consortium that tried to advance a waste dump in Australia during the 1990s – is a foundation partner of MCM, a Swiss based firm contracted by the 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.  Mr McCombie is also President of ARIUS, the Association for Regional & International Underground Storage.  MCM and ARIUS both aim to advance global radioactive waste disposal, raising questions about the independence and objectivity of the advice provided.

MCM has stated that a positive state government response to the Royal Commission report would ‘change the worldwide paradigm of radioactive waste management’.

“In the late 1990s public outrage forced Pangea to abandon its dumping plan”, said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.  “Today a pro-nuclear Royal Commission is using public funds so Pangea’s inheritors can re-write the proposal. South Australians deserve better.

“Understandably there is concern about commercial interests pushing a plan to ship, store and bury the largest amount of the world’s worst nuclear waste in South Australia.

“The permanent risk of nuclear waste demands the highest level of scrutiny and transparency, not limited disclosure and insiders promoting a pre-determined agenda.

“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.

“ACF urges Premier Jay Weatherill to seek an independent review of the Royal Commission’s research and recommendations and not to further advance this high risk plan based on a report that is compromised, deeply deficient and unfit for purpose.”

An independent review clears the Australian ABC of bias

July 28, 2016

ABC cleared of ‘anti-business’ bias in independent review Matthew KnottThe ABC has been cleared of systemic “anti-business” bias in a major review of its coverage, with former ANZ boss Mike Smith confessing he has rethought his negative perceptions of the broadcaster.

The independent editorial review, for which Mr Smith was a key adviser, has been one of the broadcaster’s most comprehensive yet. As well as analysing a week’s worth of ABC programming, the review included interviews with ABC business staff and submissions from business groups, think-tanks and unions.

Fairfax Media understands the review, which has not been released publicly, is overwhelmingly positive about the ABC’s coverage overall while making some criticisms.

Sources familiar with the review, led by longtime BBC adviser Kerry Blackburn, said they were relieved and surprised by its positive tone.  In his submission, Mr Smith writes that when he began the review, he shared the widespread view in corporate Australia that the ABC was hostile to business and that its coverage of business issues was poor.

But after examining the broadcaster’s output in detail, he came to be impressed by the rigour and balance of most of the ABC’s business reporting.

Uranium mining companies come and go; taxpayers cop the clean-up costs

July 28, 2016


Taxpayers to foot the bill for mine closures, Independent Australia  26 July 2016 Mine rehabilitation – to avoid toxic seepage – is a costly business which taxpayers look likely to fund, writes Michael West.

MINING COMPANIES and regulators have gravely underestimated the costs of mine rehabilitation, leaving taxpayers in the gun for billions of dollars in clean-up costs, says Rick Humphries.

He should know. Humphries was Rio Tinto’s top adviser on land use before heading up mine rehabilitation for base metals groupMMG.

The environmental scientist has since “switched sides” to consult for conservation groups on mine closure.

Humphries told us in an interview last week:

“The problem is there is a very large and growing environmental liability and if it’s not put in check it will cost taxpayers dearly, and result in large scale degradation of national resources.”

There are some 50,000 abandoned mine sites in Australia. Many are small and old. Others though, such as Century Zinc Mine, Ranger Uranium and the first of the mega coal mines to close – Anglo American’s Drayton and Rio Tinto’s Blair Athol – are large, toxic and present a formidable challenge to close properly.

The humongous Ranger and Century open cut voids alone, will cost around $750 million to $1 billion to rehabilitate and the residual risks and liabilities for their parent companies (Rio Tinto and MMG) are as yet unknown. 

What has been missing in the clean-up debate so far, however, is specifics, detailed research that is of particular company exposures. It is only when investors come to grips with the costs of closure that company directors and regulators will properly address the challenge, says Humphries.

So he has been doing the rounds of stockbrokers and institutional investors in recent days with analysis of Oz Minerals, MMG, ERA’s Ranger Mine, Rio Tinto’s Blair Athol Mine and Australia’s dirtiest power generation assets, the YallournHazelwood and Loy Yang brown coal mines in Victoria.

It’s “heads we win, tails you lose”

Humphries’ report, Mine Rehabilitation and Closure Cost – a Hidden Business Risk, sheds light on the caprice and inaccuracy of closure provisions and how mining companies account for their liabilities……….

Risks and costs of mine closure are poorly understood

The case of Century raises serious questions over the accuracy of the provisions for MMG’s other assets, says Humphries, and it illustrates (along with the ERA case study below),

“… that mining companies have a habit of systemically underestimating the real cost of closure because the complexity, risks and costs of mine closure are poorly understood.”

ERA’s Ranger Uranium mine is the classic case of escalating cost estimates. Humphries details the continual revision of estimates over the years from $149 million in 2008 to more than $600 million this year. Rio Tinto’s Blair Athol mine enshrines a different challenge entirely, that of a major mining group flogging a depleted asset to a small player with little ability to fund a clean-up.

The deal is not done yet but an agreement was struck a few weeks ago for Rio to sell its Blair Athol coal mine to a small ASX-listed company TerraCom. The mine was sold for $1, including Rio’s slated $79 million clean-up liability.

But as the Humphries report notes, the financial assurance calculated by the government’s methodology comes up with a rehab cost of twice that, $160 million.

IEEFA director Tim Buckley describes this as a “heads we win, tails you lose” scenario for TerraCom’s promoters. The company has $150 million in debt and no equity and its success rides on a bounce in the price of thermal coal. It has risen lately but, as Buckley says, thermal coal appears to be in structural decline………

The Humphries Report illuminates the challenge for the mining sector and state governments and it contains just five case studies……

For the environment, the risks are clear, the Mary Kathleen uranium mine, once controlled by Rio, was rehabilitated and relinquished in 1986, winning an award for technical excellence at the time. The waste dump has since failed and the liability and attendant costs now reside with Queensland taxpayers.

Mary Kathleen, whose AFL side once won three regional premierships, is now a ghost town. Radioactive waste has seeped into the water systems.

This article was originally published on under the title ‘Mine voids: big party, now for the hangover’ and has been reproduced with permission. You can read more from Michael on his website and follow him on Twitter @MichaelWestBiz,9280

Independent nuclear analyst David Noonan scrutinises South Australia’s nuclear waste import plan

July 25, 2016

Noonan, David

SA is targeted for five nuclear dumps and high level waste processing

Brief by David Noonan, Independent Environment Campaigner

The Nuclear Royal Commission recommended SA pursue nuclear waste storage and disposal “as soon as possible” – requiring five waste dumps and a high level nuclear waste encapsulation processing facility.

 The Final Report Ch.5 “nuclear waste” and the Findings Report (p.16-20) are reliant on a consultancy “Radioactive waste storage and disposal facilities in SA” by Jacobs MCM, summarised in Appendix J.

SA is targeted for above ground high level nuclear waste storage, without a capacity to dispose of wastes, exposing our society to the risk of profound adverse impacts, potential terrorism and ongoing liabilities.

 The State government is in denial on the importance of nuclear waste dump siting by claiming social consent could be granted before we know what’s involved in siting up to five nuclear dumps across SA.

 Affected regions and waste transport routes are fundamental pre-requisites to transparency and to an informed public debate on potential consent to take any further steps in this nuclear waste agenda.

 First: a dedicated new deep sea Nuclear port is to receive waste ships every 24 to 30 days for decades, to store high level waste on site following each shipment, and to operate for up to 70 years.

The coastal region south of Whyalla and north of Tumby Bay is the likely location for this Nuclear port.

 South Australia is targeted for a globally unprecedented scale of high level nuclear waste shipments. Some 400 waste shipments totalling 90 000 tonnes of high level waste and requiring 9 000 transport casks are to be brought into SA in the first 30 year period of proposed Nuclear port operations.

This is in excess of the global total of 80 000 tonnes of high level nuclear waste shipped around the world in the 45 year period from 1971 to 2015, according to the World Nuclear Association report “Transport of Radioactive Materials(Sept 2015) and the Jacobs MCM consultancy (Feb 2016, p.152).

 Second: an above ground nuclear waste Storage facility is to take on approx. 50 000 tonnes high level waste before a Disposal facility could first start to operate in Project Year 28 (Jacobs p.5 Fig.3).

 SA is proposed to import high level waste at 3 000 tonnes a year, twice the claimed rate of waste disposal (Jacobs p.114), with storage to increase to 70 000 tonnes. The Store is to operate for up to 100 years.

 The Nuclear Commission budgeted to locate the waste Storage facility 5 to 10 km from the Nuclear port.

 The Nuclear port and above ground waste Storage facility are to be approved in Project Year 5, ahead of pre-commitment contracts for 15 500 tonnes high level waste in Year 6 and waste imports in Year 11.

South Australia needs to know the proposed region for siting the Nuclear port AND whether the nuclear waste Store is to be adjacent to the port (likely on Eyre Peninsula) or sited in the north of SA.

 Third: a Low Level Waste Repository for burial of radioactive wastes derived from all operations including final decommissioning of all nuclear facilities is proposed to be located in north SA. This Repository has a nominal waste burial capacity of 80 000 m3 of radioactive wastes (Jacobs p.144). This is some eight times the total scale of the proposed National Radioactive Waste Repository.

Senator Sean nEdwards’ interest in importing nuclear waste to Australia is under question

July 25, 2016


Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch,  Andrew Allison  July 21  Rumour has it that once of the anonymous countries that Sean Edwards will not name is South Korea. One might speculate about where the money for Sean Edwards’ very glossy submission to the NFCRC came from? ….

I have many reservations about Sean Edwards’ proposal, but two obvious questions come to mind:

1/ If the deep-underground storage of nuclear waste is a “solved” problem and South Australia can supposedly acquire and implement the technology at low cost (leading to high profits…) then why can’t South Korea do that?

2/ If the generation IV reactors are going to solve the waste storage problem then why can’t an advanced technological country like South Korea do that?

Nuclear and climate news this week – Australia and International

July 22, 2016

a-cat-CANRemarkable story of the week –  The deadly secret of Russia’s secret nuclear radioactive city  Ozersk, codenamed City 40


It’s not too late to comment on this appalling nuclear lobby plan to make South Australia the world’s nuclear toilet.  Yes, the South Australian govt will probably ignore you. However, as with Facebook, Twitter, and comments all over the place – the pro nuclear shills are active on this site, too – at


Federal Politics Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wasted no time in gifting to the nuclear and coal industries – the newMinister For Environment and Energy – Josh Frydenberg.  Australia rates rather poorly on UN Sustainable Development Goals. Turnbull govt still backing Trans Pacific Partnership. Warning to Australia against being USA ‘deputy sheriff’ near China.

South Australia holding Parliamentary Inquiry in the nuclear waste importing plan. No report so far, but evidence was given by Craig Wilkins (Conservation Council Of South Australia), and by independent campaigner David Noonan. 

Premier Jay Weatherill is launching  a pro nuclear extravaganza. The tax-payers of this cash-strapped State are forking out at least $13 million this campaign to blanket the State with nuclear propaganda. First the Royal Commission fed them with abiased report recommending nuclear waste importing. Then a Citizens’ Jury was fed very dubious economic,health and safety information on this.

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency, (made up of nameless people) aresending out teams to 101 cities and towns to carry the pro nuclear message to the population.

Renewable energy. In South Australia the Liberal Coalition  opposition appears to be behind the feeding of misinformation on wind energy, to the Murdoch media. In other States, the Coalition attacks renewable energy, and Murdoch media continues to publicise this. Nick Xenophon wants inquiry in South Australia’s renewable energy issues.

South Australia is set to get world’s biggest solar + storage project. Canberra’s solar farms with sun- tracking technology. Victoria to get record-breaking wind farm. Queensland: Catholic schools recognised by Vatican for solar energy success.


CLIMATEClimate change threatens economies, as workers hampered by increasing heat. Montreal Protocol to be amended to phase out climate damaging hydrofluorocarbons. Global Heat Leaves 20th Century Temps ‘Far Behind’ —June Another Hottest Month on RecordIf Amazon forest catches fire, world climate will be in even bigger trouble.

NUCLEAR  World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2016 launched in Tokyo.  Nuclear Risk Assessment – more dangerous than previously thought.


FRANCE. Several French trade unions want “out” of EDF’s Hinkley nuclear project

USA. The dark money behind Stewart Brand‘s advocacy of nuclear power. Total cost of Pentagon’s secretive bomber program estimated at $100 billion.

SOUTH KOREA. Thousands protest against planned deployment of USA anti-missile system

RUSSIA. The deadly secret of Russia’s secret nuclear radioactive city Ozersk, codenamed City 40


CANADA. Canada’s Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair demands independent investigation in to nuclear unsafety allegations.  Calgary succeeds brilliantly with wind-powered Light Rail Transport.

SOUTH AFRICA. nuclear energy plans stalled: too expensive. Dirty uranium industry not a job creator for South Africa.

IRAN. Iran and West both compliant on nuclear deal – but cautious

RENEWABLE ENERGY North America looking at a Trillion Dollar Renewable Energy Market  Cochin International Airport in Kerala, India powered entirely by solar energy.


At tax-payers’ expense a blanket of pro nuclear hype across South Australia

July 20, 2016

South Australia blanket


What I’m worried about is the amount of tax-payers’ money that is going into this State-wide nuclear brainwash.  Is Premier Jay Weatherill squandering so much of the State’s coffers on this fool’s enterprise that he and the rest of the politicians will feel that they MUST go on and complete the damn thing  – commit to an international nuclear waste dump? Current estimate is $13 million. But will it be more?

From July 29 to October 20 they will be sending teams of nuclear spruikers all over the State of South Australia.

Teams from Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency will be there to spread the jolly word of the biased Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission. Who’s on this Agency anyway? Can we expect to hear, yet again, from Greg Ward and Chad Jacobi giving theirr polished pro nuclear spiel?  Will there be deceptive and trivialised presentations on the healthiness of ionising radiation – as there were at the recent Citizens’ Jury hearings?

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill sets up nuclear propaganda meetings

July 20, 2016


The next step in the international nuclear waste dump campaign from the government is “community consultation” and they are visiting 100 sites around SA.  People’s opinions will be used to gauge whether there is community consent or not.

Adelaide locations
29/7-31/7 Rundle Mall
14/9-17/9 Colonnades
1/8 State Library Static Display
5/8-7/8 Adelaide Showgrounds Science Alive
10/8-13/8 Marion (Westfield)
22/8 State Library
24/8 West Beach Harbor Town
1/9 Edwardstown Castle Plaza
2/9 Norwood Town Hall
5/9-9/9 Royal Adelaide Show
21/9-24/9 Smithfield Munno Para Shopping Centre
28/9 Port Adelaide Shopping Centre
30/9 Mawson Lakes Shopping Centre
6/10 Modbury Tea Tree Plaza
10/10 Central Districts Football Club
11/10 State Library

Turnbull govt moves further into anti-environment – Frydenberg now Minister for Environment!

July 19, 2016
Frydenberg radiation
Malcolm Turnbull Just Made ‘Mr Coal’ His Environment Minister, New Matilda, By  on July 18, 2016 Greg Hunt is gone, but the man who replaced him is likely to be even worse on climate action. Max Chalmers reports.

For environmentalists, climate scientists, and any Australian who wants the Great Barrier Reef to outlive them, there’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news is that Greg Hunt is no longer the Environment Minister, stripped of the title and bumped across to the position of Industry, Innovation, and Science, as part of Malcolm Turnbull’s first post-election Cabinet reshuffle.

The bad news is the name of the man who will replace him.

Josh Frydenberg, formerly the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, is set to take over the portfolio, which has ominously been extended to include both environment and energy.

Frydenberg has been a major advocate for coal, and has echoed Tony Abbott’s belief that the mineral is “good for humanity”. In an interview with Andrew Bolt last year, Frydenberg said “I certainly believe in the moral case that Tony Abbott and others have put that our coal, our gas, our energy supplies do lift people out of energy poverty, and that’s going to be an important theme of my term in this role.”

In the interview Bolt described the Minister as the “new Mr Coal”.

During the conversation the soon-to-be Environment Minister parroted Hunt’s defence of the government’s Direct Action climate change policy, and rehashed the claim that Adani’s planned mine in the Galilee basin would create 10,000 jobs – despite the fact Adani’s own expert witness quoted a far lower number to a Queensland court.

Frydenberg has also been an at times bizarrely enthusiastic advocate for mining, describing resource development as an iconic Australian endeavor.

“Resources is to the Australian economy what the baggy green is to Australian sport: totemic; iconic; indispensable to our national story and synonymous with our national identity,” he said in February 2016.

And he’s not the only one with a curious relationship to coal and the climate who has found himself newly in charge of a portfolio relevant to both. Replacing Frydenberg as Minister for Resources is Senator Matt Canavan, who has said the science on climate change is becoming “less certain”……….

“Mr Frydenberg has repeatedly showed himself to be unfit for office. From spruiking the benefits of coal and gas to blocking the price on pollution and saying no to investing in clean energy, he has consistently put the big polluters ahead of the people he was elected to represent,” Australia Campaigns Director Charlie Wood said at the time.

Turnbull’s selection of Frydenberg appears to confirm the Prime Minister’s adapted willingness to back off on strong climate action, an issue which helped end his first stint as Liberal leader.


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