Archive for the ‘general news’ Category

Dubious arithmetic by Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

August 1, 2016

South Australia blanket

SA’s nuclear debate: The sums don’t add up but the danger is very real, argues Craig Wilkins Craig Wilkins, Conservation Council SA, The Advertiser July 28, 2016  NUCLEAR DOSSIER SPECIAL REPORT: Everything you need to know about SA’s nuclear debate

LET’S be clear: the Nuclear Royal Commission is pushing a plan to make money by importing into our state high-level radioactive waste from overseas nuclear reactors.

Most people think it’s about burying this waste deep in the SA Outback.

  • That’s not the half of it. Before then, waste cargo ships will enter our waters at least once a month for the next 70 years.
  • After unloading, the waste will be stored above ground a few kilometres inland from our coastline for the next 80 years.
  • Fifty thousand tonnes will be stockpiled in this above-ground site for around 20 years even before we know the underground dump will work.

The scale in creating the world’s largest nuclear dump site is staggering. So are the risks. It will change our state forever.

Central to the Royal Commission’s grand waste plan is an eye-popping revenue number.

However, Commissioner Scarce’s numbers are so huge it raises an equally big question: if there is so much profit in taking the world’s nuclear waste, why aren’t other countries or states rushing to do it?

Something just doesn’t add up. Either the money’s not there, or it’s a hell of a lot harder to do safely. The answer is: it’s both.

As there is no international market for high-level nuclear waste, any revenue or profit modelling is simply guesswork and assumption.

 So why has the Commission only requested economic modelling from one consultant with a keen interest in seeing the nuclear industry expand? Economists can’t agree what interest rates will be in three months, let alone the price of nuclear waste in 70 years.

The Conservation Council of SA commissioned leading economic think tank The Australia Institute to take a deeper look at the numbers.

Far from making a motza, they found it could actually end up costing us money. Their view is backed by Professor Dick Blandy, respected Professor of Economics at the UniSA Business School.

The nuclear industry is notorious for massive cost over-runs. There are huge doubts about how much other countries are willing to pay, and how much demand there will be in the future. Also unknown is the economic impact on our other vital industries like food, wine and tourism. And taxpayers will need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars even before we know if it will proceed.

We are being told there are super-safe options for storage. We are also being told we can make enormous windfall profits.

The problem is, the gold standard level of safety the SA public rightly expects will take decades to achieve, and be ridiculously expensive, if it can be done at all.

We can try for the highest standard of safety, or we can make money, but we can’t have both.

There is no doubt there is a great deal of concern in our state about our economy and jobs for our children. But a decision for us to become the world’s nuclear waste dump should not be made in fear or desperation.

A nuclear dump is not our only choice. If we are willing to invest billions, there are many better options worth exploring, with far lower risks and many more jobs.

Taking the world’s nuclear waste is a forever decision – once we decide to do it there is no going back. We can’t change our minds or send it somewhere else. Neither can future generations of South Australians.  As a proud state we can do much better. Craig Wilkins is the Conservation Council SA’s chief executive

2015 – Nuclear Free Australia: highs, lows and observations

December 23, 2015

Sweeney, Dave 1

Dave Sweeney, 24 Dec 15 

 Positives:

·         Uranium: the sector remains actively contested and deeply under-performing. Production rates, company value and exploration expenditure are all down. In WA no new uranium mines have been fully approved, in Qld the state prohibition on uranium mining was restored and Rio Tinto advised subsidiary ERA that it would not finance further mining at Ranger – a major step towards the end of uranium mining in Kakadu.

 

·         Politics and policy: Against the run of play the cross party Joint Standing Committee on Treaties recommended no uranium sales to India at this time or under the terms of the current Agreement. WA Labor reaffirmed a strong anti-uranium policy, Queensland Labor were returned to office and shut the door on uranium mining while federal Labor’s national conference saw moves to weaken policy on domestic nuclear power and international nuclear waste headed off. The Australian Greens kept the industry under active scrutiny through public profile and effective Parliamentary action.

 

·         Indigenous collaboration: The nuclear free movement’s foundation platform of green-black cooperation continued and grew through a series of initiatives. The Walkatjurra Walkabout linked communities and country in the West, there was extensive regional outreach in South Australia – especially in response to the state nuclear Royal Commission and Adnyamathanha positioning on radioactive waste, public recognition saw Karina and Rose Lester share the SA Conservation Council’s Jill Hudson prize while Jack Green received ACF’s Rawlinson award for his work highlighting the impacts of the Macarthur River mine, the Mirarr people’s sustained resistance was heard loud and clear by Rio Tinto and continues to inspire, Aboriginal presenters took their stories to global forums and there was a powerful and positive Australian Nuclear Free Alliance national gathering in Quorn.

 

·         Radioactive waste: the revised federal approach acknowledges the principle of community consent and keeps the door open to consider other management options. There is clear community concern/opposition at each of the six sites currently under consideration for a national facility. Reprocessed spent nuclear fuel waste was returned and is now in storage at ANSTO – without major incident or calls for it to be moved ‘out bush’. Information materials and outreach sessions have gone widely.

 

·         International connections: the year saw strong and growing global connections and included active engagement in the US walk and other activities based around the NPT Review, the World Uranium Symposium in Quebec and subsequent Canadian nuclear communities road trip, ICAN’s extensive international work and forums in Taiwan, Europe, Japan and the Nuclearisation of Africa gathering in Johannesburg.

 

Negatives:

·         South Australian nuclear Royal Commission: with a surprise announcement in February this initiative has opened the door to all sorts of unfounded and unhelpful pro-nuclear talk. There is a clear need for industry review, but not framed around industry expansion. At best it is a dangerous distraction from the real energy challenges we face – in practise it is a cause for massive community stress and a platform for the promotion of domestic nuclear power and the toxic Trojan horse of international high level radioactive waste dumping.

 

·         Indian uranium sales: despite a unanimous JSCOT recommendation against any sales at this time due to severe and unresolved safety and security concerns the federal government moved swiftly into override mode with Andrew Robb and Julie Bishop fast-tracking a deal. This dismissal of Parliamentary process and evidence based policy is a shameful retreat from any pretence at nuclear responsibility.

 

·         Resource curse: Generally this refers to the situation where nations with extensive natural resources find these a constraint rather than an aid to equitable development. In relation to the Australian nuclear free movement it more relates to the fact that we swear and gnash teeth over how little cash and resources we have to cover so many issues. Our movement’s appetite, vision and ideas are not matched by our capacity. That we do so much so well is a profound tribute to people’s passion, smarts, tenacity and generosity – but this planetary benefit for all comes at a personal cost to many.

 

·         Lack of evidence based assessment: Still no review of the Australian uranium sector post Fukushima as requested by the UN Secretary General, incomplete project applications routinely accepted for fast tracked assessment by state agencies while the federal government talks ‘one stop shop’, no public release of long overdue accident and incidence assessments, JSCOT’s India concerns overridden, absurd and unsubstantiated industry claims re economic benefits and the prospects for future nuclear power accepted and rehashed by politicians and commentators, critics misrepresented or derided as emotional or ill-informed – the nuclear industry’s tiresome pattern continues……

 

 

Looking ahead:

2016 is shaping up as a very significant year. A federal election always provides colour and movement along with opportunity and threat. Against this backdrop some of our key work will include:

 

·         SA Royal Commission: the Commission’s interim report is expected on February 15 with a final report by May 6. It is likely that this will be largely supportive of nuclear expansion plans with a chorus line of industry boosters. We need to prepare for a media blitz and ensure there is public contest, support those communities – especially Aboriginal people – most directly affected, and buttress federal Labor’s opposition to domestic nuclear power and international nuclear waste.

 

·         National radioactive waste: the community comment period around the six current sites closes on March 11 (Fukushima’s fifth anniversary). We will continue to support affected communities and provide information and access to resources – including the film Containment.  We need to keep finding ways to advance the long standing civil society call for a detailed, public and independent review of responsible waste management options.

 

·         Uranium: maintain pressure to help ensure ERA transitions from creating to cleaning radioactive mine mess in Kakadu, hold the line against any full project approvals in WA ahead of the March 2017 state election by taking this story from Cottesloe to Canada, track heap leaching plans at Olympic Dam and support calls for action on BHP’s failings in Brazil.

 

·         Federal election/policy: ensure no nuclear policy retreats and oppose moves to fast-track state and federal project approvals through changes to environmental laws and the ‘one stop shop’ At election time we need to remind all politicians that no one has a mandate to radiate.

 

·         Lest we forget: 2016 is a big anniversary year – 5 years since the Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima crisis, 30 years since Chernobyl and 60 years since the creation of the flawed International Atomic Energy Agency. All provide opportunities to reflect and revisit.

 

·         Braid the pieces and tell the story:  join the dots nationally and internationally about how Australian uranium drives local damage and division and fuels global insecurity in the form of risky reactors, nuclear weapons and forever wastes.

Environment Minister Hunt joining the stampede for nuclear Australia?

November 2, 2015

nuclear dance troupe  15 A

Greg Hunt open to nuclear industry for SA  http://www.afr.com/news/policy/climate/greg-hunt-open-to-nuclear-industry-for-sa-20151031-gknvu6  1 Nov 15 Environment Minister Greg Hunt has an “open mind” on nuclear power generation and the creation of a nuclear waste industry in South Australia.

Mr Hunt said is waiting for the findings of the South Australian royal commission into nuclear, which is considering whether Australia should become more involved in the nuclear fuel cycle.

“We approach this with an open mind. We will look at the results of the royal commission,” Mr Hunt told ABC on Sunday.

“Nuclear energy is one of the many forms of zero emissions energy which will be available and what’s my broad vision, and our broad vision, we progressively move towards low and zero emissions energy over the coming decades.” The royal commission will be hosting a series of public sessions until December.

The Australian Financial Review reported on Wednesday that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was backing the creation of a nuclear fuel industry.Mr Turnbull said Australia should become involved in the nuclear fuel cycle to produce fuel rods, export them and then transport them back home once used, and store them in outback nuclear waste dumps.

Assistant Science Minister Karen Andrews told the Financial Review on Wednesday that developing a nuclear waste disposal industry was an option, and pointed out that there is Australian nuclear waste in transit from treatment in France which is expected to be stored by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.  Mr Turnbull is yet to confirm the federal government’s short list of potential sites for a nuclear waste dump.

Australia’s worst ever Prime Minister Bites The Dust

September 14, 2015

Abbott hallelujah

South Australia’s Conservation Council appeals to people to make submissions to the Nuclear Royal Commission

July 6, 2015

Submissions for the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle are closing soon.

This Commission could change our State forever.

Make sure you have a say in it.  The Conservation SA team 26 June 15 

This is too big an issue not to have your voice heard. Currently, our State government is weighing up a future that could see nuclear power, uranium enrichment and nuclear waste dumping here in South Australia. The window for the public to make comment on these issues closes in a month.

We encourage you to make a submission and draw on our resources to assist you.

Submission wizards

In May nuclear expert Dr Jim Green produced some information resources about each of the issues the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle is investigating. Please see a summary and full report here.

Only last week renewables expert Dr Mark Diesendorf from the University of NSW finished an exciting report showing that South Australia could be run on 100% renewable energy is just 15 years. You can view and download the summary version and Dr Mark Diesendorf’s full report online here.

The issue papers generated by the Royal Commission are available here and submissions are due:

  • Issues Paper 1 (Extraction) and/or Issues Paper 4 (Storage and Disposal of Waste) is 24 July, 2015
  • Issues Paper 2 (Further Processing) and/or Issues Paper 3 (Electricity Generation) is 3 August, 2015.

If you wish to provide a consolidated written submission addressing all Issues Papers you have until Monday August 3, 2015.

If you wish to make an oral submission call the Royal Commission on 08 8207 1480 to make arrangements.

It’s critical that your voice is heard. This commission could change our State for generations to come.

Now is the time to act.

Australia has downgraded previous G20’s commitment to fairness

November 12, 2014
G20-danse-macabreG20: Australia criticised for removing commitment to ‘fair’ economic growth C20 civil society groups say Australia has downgraded the commitment of previous G20 summits to ‘inclusive growth’, political editor theguardian.com, Tuesday 11 November 2014 Australia is sidelining the idea of “fair” or “inclusive” economic growth in G20 discussions this weekend, civil society leaders have alleged.

Tony Abbott has said the first aim of the G20 is to “promote economic growth and jobs growth by strengthening the private sector” and on the weekend, leaders will unveil the “Brisbane Action Plan” which compiles the individual policies they say will increase cumulative growth in their economies by 2%.

But the co-chairs of the civil society groups advising the leaders, the so-called C20, say Australia has downgraded the commitment of previous G20 summits to “inclusive growth”.

World Vision chief executive and C20 chair Tim Costello told Guardian Australia, “It appears the language about equality and inclusive growth has been taken out and we are hearing that is at Australia’s instigation … we are hearing the Abbott government doesn’t like that language.”

Oxfam has released a report stating that in the year since Australia has held the G20 presidency (between 2013 and 2014) total wealth in the G20 nations increased by $17tn, but 36% of that amount went to the richest 1% of citizens in those countries………http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/11/g20-australia-criticised-for-removing-commitment-to-fair-economic-growth

Hypocrisy as Brisbane Airport allows fossil fuel company ads, but bans ads for climate action

November 5, 2014

hypocrisy-scaleFossil fuel ads approved by Brisbane airport despite political intent   Activist groups hoping to attract the attention of G20 delegates had their adverts declined – but Chevron and the controversial Reef Facts campaign were given the green light    theguardian.com, Tuesday 4 November 2014 

Three advertisements have been banned from appearing in Brisbane airport because they were deemed “too political” – but it has emerged that similar material from energy giant Chevron and the Queensland government’s controversial mining-funded Reef Facts campaign was approved.

In the run-up to the G20 meeting in Brisbane this month, activist groups tried to place adverts inside the terminal, but were rebuffed by Ooh Media, the airport’s media buyer.

As Guardian Australia revealed on Sunday, environment and development groups led by the WWF attempted to place a billboard ad depicting a farmer calling for action on climate change, featuring the words: “Action on climate change is #onmyagenda, Dear G20 leaders please put it on yours.”

The groups agreed to remove the words “Dear G20 leaders”, but Ooh Media still rejected the new advert.

On Tuesday it emerged that campaign group Transparency International had had its own billboard advertisement rejected for the same reasons – it was “too political”……..

According to Business Spectator, Brisbane airport’s head of corporate relations, Rachel Crowley, acknowledged that Chevron’s ads had a political purpose – but did not row back on the bans on the WWF, Transparency International and C20 displays…..http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/04/fossil-fuel-ads-approved-brisbane-airport-despite-political-intent

Australia! Lead the world away from nuclear power – says Naoto Kan

August 22, 2014

Former Japanese PM Naoto Kan urges Australia to wean world off uranium, focus on renewables http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-22/move-towards-renewables-former-japanese-pm-tells-australia/5691118 By Kate Wild and Xavier La Canna   Japan’s prime minister during the Fukushima disaster says Australia should be trying to wean other countries away from nuclear power, not increase exports of uranium.

Naoto Kan, who was prime minister from June 2010 to August 2011 is in Australia to lobby for a greater use of renewable energy sources.

He said the world was moving away from nuclear power, and Australia should not get in the way of that.

“Rather than looking at making contributions through exporting and making it more possible for more countries to be relying on nuclear power, all countries including Australia should be making efforts to do what can be done to reduce such dependence on nuclear power,” Mr Kan said.

“I hope that Australia can be exporting not uranium or coal for example, but electricity created through renewable sources,” he said.

When he was Japanese PM, representing the Democratic party of Japan, a tsunami caused a nuclear incident in which three nuclear reactors melted down at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and forced widespread evacuations.

“We were very close to the scenario of having to evacuate people in a 250 kilometre radius,” he said.

“This would have included also Tokyo, which would mean 40 per cent of the entire Japanese population – close to 50 million people.”

His party initiated policies to see nuclear power phased out in Japan by the 2030s, but this policy was overturned by the Liberal Democratic Power, which regained office in 2012.

Australia is thought to have the world’s largest uranium resources, and mines exist in the Northern Territory and South Australia, while Queensland recently lifted a 30-year ban on uranium mining.

Western Australia is also looking to develop its uranium industry.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will soon travel to India to finalise a deal for Australia to sell uranium to their energy-hungry economy for the first time.

International experts highlight Australia’s radioactive responsibility at Melbourne forums

August 14, 2014

14 Aug 14 In the shadow of the continuing Fukushima crisis and amid moves to fast-track Indian uranium sales two leading international commentators will highlight the risks and responsibilities of Australia’s nuclear trade in Melbourne this week.

Since Fukushima, a continuing crisis directly fuelled by Australian uranium, the future of nuclear energy in Japan is contested and uncertain. The stricken Fukushima nuclear plant remains a major hazard and the human and economic costs are mounting as the costly and complex clean-up operation continues.

Suzuki Tatsujiro, Vice-Director at the Research Centre for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki

University and former Vice-Chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission is well placed to explore the costs and consequences of the Fukushima nuclear crisis and what this event means for energy policy and Australia.

With Tony Abbott travelling to India next month to talk uranium sales M. V. Ramana, Physicist with Princeton University’s Nuclear Futures Laboratory and author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India, has an important warning on plans to expand the Indian nuclear sector and deep concerns over proposed Australian uranium sales.

The two experts will be in Melbourne from the evening of Thursday August 14th until Saturday 16th for a series of academic presentations, civil society forums and a public meeting on Friday evening from 6:30-8pm at Melbourne City Conference Centre (see attached). Both are available for media interviews and commentary.

“In Nevil Shute’s novel On the Beach Melbourne was the radioactive end of the world”, said tour organiser Gem Romuld. “This week, with visiting experts of the calibre of these, it is centre stage. Australian uranium fuels nuclear risks and insecurity in many nations and in the wake of Fukushima there can be no nuclear business as usual. This tour and these talks are timely and vitally important”.

PUBLIC FORUM

Harm Done / Harm to Come: Australian uranium, the Fukushima catastrophe and the dangers of Indian nuclear power

Friday 15th August 6:30pm-8pm

Melbourne City Conference Centre, 333 Swanston St, Melbourne CBD.

FURTHER DETAILS AND TO ARRANGE MEDIA INTERVIEWS:

Richard Tanter – Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability (Melbourne University) – 0407 824 336

Gem Romuld – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – 0421 955 066

 

Australia’s precious artesian water squandered for BHP’s uranium mining

August 9, 2014

BHP Billiton’s thirst triggers an outback water fight   THE AUSTRALIAN, Sarah Martin Political Reporter Adelaide 9 Aug 14  SHANE Oldfield kicks the red rocks on his vast, dry pastoral lease north of Marree where he raises organic Angus beef for ­export.

The outback Clayton Station in northern South Australia has always been marginal farming land. With an average of 10cm of rain a year the property is dependent on water from the Great ­Artesian Basin in dry years…….. (subscribers only)

BHP-water-guzzler

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/bhp-billitons-thirst-triggers-an-outback-water-fight/story-e6frgczx-1227018481754#