Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Global nuclear lobby should be pleased with #NuclearCommissionSAust, while public confused

August 3, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, the Nuclear Royal Commission held a forum at the Marion Cultural Centre as one of a series aimed at engaging the South Australian people in the commission’s work.

The problem is, not one person came. Nobody.

Whether this raises alarm bells for the commission and the Weatherill Government depends on whether they genuinely want to create a community debate, or if they are just going through the motions.


SA’s nuclear debate lost in translation
   http://m.indaily.com.au/opinion/2015/08/03/sas-nuclear-debate-lost-in-translation/  CRAIG WILKINS | 3 AUGUST 2015  The nuclear fuel cycle royal commission is so bureaucratic that it has failed to engage South Australians in the debate, argues the Conservation Council’s Craig Wilkins.

What if an expensive, high profile inquiry held a public meeting and no-one turned up?

In early February this year, while most of us were slowly emerging out of South Australia’s long, lazy summer break, Premier Weatherill made a surprise announcement.  South Australia would hold a first for Australia: a royal commission into the future role our state should play in the nuclear industry.

This came as a bolt from the blue, especially from a Government that had campaigned successfully a decade ago to stop a similar federal push to establish a nuclear waste dump in Woomera. Then Premier Mike Rann was so determined to stop a nuclear dump he enshrined it in state law.

And the timing was strange, with our state strongly embracing renewable energy, and the nuclear industry languishing in a post Fukushima downturn.

So while a typical royal commission is created by a government under pressure to respond to a major issue dominating talkback and dinner table discussions, the task given to ex-Governor Kevin Scarce was both challenging and unusual.

Not only would Scarce have to explore the huge technical and economic challenges of an expensive, divisive energy source with big waste and security issues, he would need to get the South Australian community interested enough to pay attention in the first place.

A couple of weeks ago, the Nuclear Royal Commission held a forum at the Marion Cultural Centre as one of a series aimed at engaging the South Australian people in the commission’s work.

The problem is, not one person came. Nobody.

Whether this raises alarm bells for the commission and the Weatherill Government depends on whether they genuinely want to create a community debate, or if they are just going through the motions.

As a fierce advocate for public involvement in decision-making, I believe the problem lies in the way the commission is going about its task.

Submission wizardsThe Issues Papers released to stimulate public submissions are an eye-watering challenge – dry, technical and full of  assumptions. They appear aimed at industry players, not the general public. They have not been translated into other languages, despite non-English speaking Aboriginal communities being ground zero for any debate over a toxic dump.

Until far too late in the process, no-one with any expertise in engaging with Aboriginal communities was employed to work in the north of the state.

To put in a submission is an exercise in acrobatic hoop jumping including the requirement to appear in Submission Impossible
person before a Justice of the Peace – a huge challenge for anybody in rural or remote SA, and a totally unnecessary step not required for other similar inquiries.The ‘Community Forums’ that have been held so far have missed the mark, focusing on imparting information on the process, rather than an opportunity to debate issues in detail.

Also, Scarce in all his public statements has strongly emphasised that he is seeking “evidence” and “facts”, leaving little room for traditional cultural knowledge, or the perspective of a grandmother who doesn’t want to leave a toxic legacy for her grandchildren. 

Objective evidence? No, but still a vital piece of information in a debate where social licence is the biggest impediment to the industry’s operation.

A royal commission has enormous powers. As commissioner, Kevin Scarce can set his own rules.

Although timing and luck are vital elements, facilitating a genuine community conversation is a technical skill.   The royal commission secretariat can and should invest more in getting their public outreach right.

Today is the deadline for submissions on issues papers. Although it’s been a missed opportunity so far, this Royal Commission still has a long way to run.

Ultimately, the decision on whether SA heads further down the nuclear path is much more about ‘should we’ than ‘can we’.

I urge Commissioner Scarce and his staff to see their role as much more than just evaluating technical issues.

Otherwise any commission findings will land on the same ground as we started: met by two diametrically opposed views and a large body of South Australians in the middle scratching their heads.

Craig Wilkins is chief executive of the Conservation Council of South Australia.

 

The short sighted greed behind South Australia’s nuclear waste import idea

August 3, 2015

Kenyon, Tom MPMr Kenyon, now a backbench MP, refused to comment on the report.

The Sunday Mail understands it was not presented to Cabinet but became instrumental in prompting the current Royal Commission into the potential for the nuclear fuel cycle to revive the SA economy.

The report found there needed to be a good public relations campaign to convince people of the safety of the plan, and that money raised should be spent on infrastructure like the SA leg of a high speed rail to Melbourne.

It also proposed a model in which SA generate more money by leasing yellowcake mined here and taking it back as waste, and as a trade off people be guaranteed there will be no nuclear power plants in SA.


Nuclear waste dump should be first cab off the rank, report finds by: MILES KEMP From: Sunday Mail (SA) Originally published as Nuclear dump could be key to our riches August 01, 2015  Available on The Australian website
 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nuclear-waste-dump-should-be-first-cab-off-the-rank-report-finds/story-e6frg6n6-1227466384020

A BRIEFING paper delivered to the State Government recommended the state accept Taiwan’s nuclear waste, access that nation’s $10 billion disposal fund and establish an Outback nuclear waste dump to revive the economy.

toilet map South Australia 2

As the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission explores the option to help solve SA’s jobs crisis, the Sunday Mail has obtained a copy of a report prepared for former Employment and Science Minister Tom Kenyon which argues the case for a waste dump near Woomera.

“There is clear potential for South Australia to benefit economically, revitalising the state economy and providing residents with potentially unprecedented levels of prosperity and investment, while inaction will merely result in a further decline of services and infrastructure,” the document prepared last year said.

“Importing high-level waste from countries overseas presents a lucrative economic opportunity for South Australia to develop strategic partnerships with nations providing the most advantageous relationships for the state and Australia.

“Establishing a nuclear waste repository may create potential for South Australia to benefit economically, revitalise South Australian production of services and infrastructure and significantly improve levels of investment in the state.’’

The report, which ended up in the MP-only Parliamentary Library, recommends SA approach Taiwan and Japan because they are too geologically unstable to store the nuclear waste they generate, as well as Korea, which has 10,000 tonnes in temporary storage, and is projected to have 110,000 tonnes by the year 2100.

Mr Kenyon, now a backbench MP, refused to comment on the report.

The Sunday Mail understands it was not presented to Cabinet but became instrumental in prompting the current Royal Commission into the potential for the nuclear fuel cycle to revive the SA economy.

The Government has not declared a position on the potential for a nuclear industry, and will not make a submission to the Royal Commission it instigated.

But the report found the risks associated with transporting high-level waste to a nuclear dump in SA would be worth it economically.

“Confidence in the economic future of South Australia is diminishing, indicative of a need to diversify the South Australian economy beyond the mining industry in order to improve the state’s short-term budget projections and minimise the detrimental effect of future financial crises and a fluctuating Australian dollar,’’ the report states.

The site of the dump would be near Woomera, the most geologically stable in SA, and it would accept 1000 tonnes of waste per year.

The report found there needed to be a good public relations campaign to convince people of the safety of the plan, and that money raised should be spent on infrastructure like the SA leg of a high speed rail to Melbourne.

It also proposed a model in which SA generate more money by leasing yellowcake mined here and taking it back as waste, and as a trade off people be guaranteed there will be no nuclear power plants in SA.

Issues paper 3 – Electricity Generation. Points for South Australia Nuclear Royal Commission

July 28, 2015

Submissions on this Issue are due by August 3rd. Check  tips on submitting.

3.2 Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) that can be installed and connected to the NEM? 

There are commercial technologies available, such as the General Electric Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor, that would be available in the next two decades.  However, this is the same type of reactor as the ones at Fukushima Daiichi, and has been known to have safety flaws. (1)  Then there is the Generation 3+ EPR reactor, currently being built at Olkiluoto, Finland, and at Flamanville, France. However, this might not be available within two decades. The history of its devleopment is one of delays and over-running costs.(2)  Recently, cracks in its pressure vessel have caused problems, that shed doubt on its safety. (3)

There are no “emerging” technologies that are at all likely to be available within the next two decades. The Generation IV reactors include : the Gas-cooled Fast Reactor (GFR), the Leadcooled Fast Reactor (LFR), the Molten Salt Reactor (MSR), the Supercritical Water-cooled Reactor (SCWR), the Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) and the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR). (4)

The French Radiological Protection Agency (IRSN) has carried out a review of these systems from the point of view of safety and radiation protection. On the basis of its examination, IRSN considers the SFR system to be the only one of the six to have reached a degree of maturity compatible with the construction of a Generation IV reactor prototype during the first half of the 21st century.

Even then this will depend on further studies.   DECC estimate in their 2013 Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap that the first commercial Generation IV reactors should be operating by 2040. (4)

3.3. Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) that can be installed and connected in an off-grid setting? 

The suggested Small Modular Reactors , including the PRISM reactor have serious disadvantages, especially economiic ones . SMRs are likely to have higher costs per unit of output than conventional reactors. (5) Even if SMRs could eventually be more cost-effective than larger reactors due to mass production, this advantage would only come into play if large numbers of SMRs were ordered. But utilities are unlikely to order an SMR until they are seen to produce competitively priced electricity. This Catch-22 suggests the technology will require significant government financial help to get off the ground.

Even industry executives and regulators believe the SMR technology will have costs that are substantially higher than the failed “nuclear renaissance” technology on a per unit of output. The higher costs result from

  • lost economies of scale in containment structures, dedicated systems for control,

management and emergency response, and the cost of licensing and security,

  • operating costs between one-fifth and one-quarter higher, and
  • decommissioning costs between two and three times as high.(6)

As to these “off-grid” technologies being available within the next two decades, I have been unable to find any credible reference that states that this is the case. I conclude that, even if design and testing of these small reactors were to be completed, it would be many decades before they would be commercially available. For reasons of regulatory processes, but more importantly, of uncertainty over economic viability, commercial availability is decades away, if ever to be achieved. (7)

3.4. What factors affect the assessment of viability for installing any facility to generate electricity in the NEM? 

The major factor in assessing the viability of installing nuclear power for electricity generation in South Australia is the increasing practical and economic success of the alternative – truly modern power – renewable energy. (8)  Combine that progress with the revolutionary developments in battery storage, and nuclear reactors of any size look like unnecessary and uneconomic dinosaurs in the electricity providing sector.(9)

3.7. What place is there in the generation market, if any, for electricity generated from nuclear fuels to play in the medium or long term? 

Referring to my answers to previous questions, I would have to say – No place.

3.8   What issues should be considered in a comparative analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the generation of electricity from nuclear fuels as opposed to other sources? What are the most important issues?

The most important issues are health, safety and environmental protection. Nuclear power of whatever design loses out on all those counts.(10)

However, that hardly matters in a world where economics is king. Fortunately as nuclear power is widely recognised now to be getting more and more expensive, while renewable energy and energy efficient technologies are getting cheaper, it is indeed economics that provide the killer disadvantage for nuclear power (9)

3.11. How might a comparison of the emission of greenhouse gases from generating electricity in South Australia from nuclear fuels as opposed to other sources be quantified, assessed or modelled? 

For one thing,  Greenhouse gases are emitted at all stages of the nuclear fuel chain. (10)  However, in practical terms, nuclear power as a solution to climate change, is irrelevant – action on climate change is needed now , not in 20 -30 years.(11)  Furthermore, climate change itself makes nuclear power an impractical and increasingly dangerous solution. – water shortage, water over-heating, (12) sea level rise (13) Storm surges (14)

3.12  and 31.3 . What are the wastes (other than greenhouse gases) produced in generating electricity from nuclear and other fuels and technologies?

What risks for health and safety? 

Nuclear reactors produce dangerously toxic radioactive isotopes, come previous unknown on the planet, – plutonium – decaying to three types of radiation – alpha, beta, and gamma, caesium 137, iodine 131 , strontium 90  (15)  No other technologies produce these toxic, carcinogenic wastes.

 

(1) http://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-general-electric-knew-its-nuclear-reactor-design-was-unsafe-so-why-isnt-ge-getting-any-heat-for-fukushima/5361300

(2)   http://yle.fi/uutiset/french_auditors_slam_areva_for_olkiluoto_nuclear_project_in_finland/7358244?origin=rss

(3) http://yle.fi/uutiset/nuclear_watchdog_seeks_re-check_of_olkiluoto_3_reactor/7937448

(4) Generation IV International Forum https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_40465/generation-iv-systems 2. IRSN 27th April 2015http://www.irsn.fr/EN/newsroom/News/Pages/20150427_Generation-IVnuclear-energy-systems-safety-potential-overview.aspx.

Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap: Future Pathways, Dec 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/168043/bis-13-632-nuclearenergy-research-and-development-roadmap-future-pathway.pdf.

Nuclear Engineering International 2013 http://www.neimagazine.com/opinion/opinionwhy-theenvironmental-movement-is-important-for-nuclear-power-4559455

(5) http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/docs/news/NFLA_Small_Nuclear_Reactor_report.pdf

(6)  http://216.30.191.148/Cooper%20SMRs%20are%20Part%20of%20the%20Problem,%20Not%20the%20Solution%20FINAL2.pdf

(7) https://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/newreactors/cooper-smrsaretheproblemnotthesolution.pdf

(8)  http://qz.com/456931/half-the-world-already-gets-more-power-from-renewables-than-from-nuclear/(9)https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22730312-100-the-battery-revolution-that-will-let-us-all-be-power-brokers/

(9) http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/solar-and-wind-substantially-cheaper-than-nuclear-even-in-uk-10393

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/french-government-study-95-renewable-mix-cheaper-than-nuclear-and-gas-37241

(10)    http://www.psr.org/resources/nuclear-power-factsheet.html?referrer=https://www.google.com.au/

(11)  http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/05/why-nuclear-power-is-not-low-carbon/

(12)  http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/nukesclimatefact614.pdf

(12) http://www.theenergycollective.com/globalwarmingisreal/107461/how-climate-change-may-affect-nuclear-power-plants

(13) http://www.climatecentral.org/news/sea-level-rise-brings-added-risks-to-coastal-nuclear-plants

(14) http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/01/21/push-nuclear-power-climate-change-concerns-overlooked

(15) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutonium#Toxicity

http://www.geigercounter.org/radioactivity/isotopes.htm

USA nuclear companies will love the questions in #NuclearCommissionSAust’s Issues Paper 3

July 27, 2015

a-cat-CANI am currently struggling with my Submission to the Commission on the questions in Issues Paper 3  – “Electricity Generation From Nuclear Fuels”. it’s a doozy. They’ve excelled themselves this time – with questions designed to elicit lovely answers from nuclear companies Transatomic, Bill Gates’ Terra Power , SNC Lavalin, NuScale, – anyone but you and me.

Given that the nuclear lobby’s plan is for Australia to be the guinea pigs for new untested (not yet existent) gee whiz reactors, Those companies are gonna love questions like this:

3.2 Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) that can be installed and connected to the NEM?

3.3. Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) that can be installed and connected in an off-grid setting?

3.6. What are the specific models and case studies that demonstrate the best practice for the establishment and operation of new facilities for the generation of electricity from nuclear fuels?

SMRs Australia

#NuclearCommissionSAust jumpingt the gun, calling for tenders already!!

July 27, 2015

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN

Computational General Equilibrium Modelling Assessments for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission

Issued by Attorney Generals Department

Request for Tender

AGD 027826
Computational General Equilibrium Modelling Assessments for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission
24 July 2015 10 August 2015 Link to Tender
AGD 027828
Quantitative Analyses and Initial Business Case for establishing a Nuclear Power Plant and Systems in South Australia

https://www.tenders.sa.gov.au/tenders/tender/display/tender-details.do?id=27826&action=display-tender-details

Bushfires induced by climate change bring more doubt to #NuclearCommissionSAust

July 27, 2015

If the radiation leak lasts more than a few hours, there is no viable safe plan. If the radiation plume passes, the ground will probably still be contaminated

Wildfires also threaten Nuclear Waste and Nuclear Waste Shipments

bushfire & rad gif


Wildfires and Nuclear Don’t Mix: Lessons from San Onofre and Chernobyl to Australia https://wordpress.com/read/post/feed/4410547/762849951 
 [good
photos]
 miningawareness  27 July 15 As the deadline looms (3 Aug.) for comments regarding the risks of the nuclear fuel chain for South Australia – whether uranium mining, which is already occurring, or any proposed additions (uranium enrichment, nuclear energy, nuclear waste), foremost in everyone’s minds should be the
risk of Bushfires (Wildfires), as well as endangerment to the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) aquifer, upon which so much of Australia is dependent for water, and which is being depleted, and most assuredly contaminated, by uranium and other mining:https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/nuclearcommissionsaust-have-your-say-for-the-future-of-south-australia-submissions-close-soon-july-theme/ (Australia’s uranium mining “generates less than 0.2 per cent of national export revenue and accounts for less than 0.02 per cent of jobs in Australia.http://www.conservationsa.org.au/images/Nuclear_Royal_Commission_issues.pdfMeanwhile it is laying waste to the land and provided nuclear fuel for Fukushima)

The Australian climate is generally hot, dry and prone to drought. At any time of the year, some parts of Australia are prone to bushfires with the widely varied fire seasons reflected in the continent’s different weather patterns. For most of southern Australia, the danger period is summer and autumn.” http://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/hazards/bushfire/basics/where

2015 Wildfires Near Chernobyl  http://www.mns.gov.ua/news/40286.html

In April of this year, and again from the end of June into mid July, hundreds of firefighters in the Ukraine bravely battled fires in the area of the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Smoldering peat fires were the hardest to put out.

http://www.mns.gov.ua/news/40286.html
While this represents a serious danger to Europe, it received shockingly little media coverage. (more…)

It’s not so hard to do Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust: guidance here

July 25, 2015

Guidance on the Submission Process -see here 

Points for issues papers:

Inaccurate information in Issues Paper 1 Exploration, Extraction and Milling

Points for Submission Issues Paper 2 Further Processing and Manufacture

Points for Submission Issues Paper 3 Electricity Generation

Points for Submission to Issues Paper 4 Management, Storage and Disposal of Waste

Dr Caldicott’s Submission on all 4 Issues Papers 

Dennis Matthew’s critiques of Issues Papers

  1. First Nuclear Royal Commission Issues paper 1  indicates an expensive farce
  2. Dennis Matthews exposes South Australia Royal Commission “Issues Paper 2″ spin
  3. Crystal ball-gazing in South Australia’s Nuclear Commission ISSUES PAPER No. 3
  4. South Australia Nuclear Royal Commission Issues Paper 4 – misleading and serious omissions

Do not be fooled by the pro nuclear hype from Kevin Scarce

July 25, 2015

Scarce,--Kevin-glowHere’s an example. Check these two news stories:

  • Canada’s $6b nuclear industry a role model for Aust says royal commissioner “…..According to the royal commissioner investigating a possible nuclear industry for South Australia, Kevin Scarce, an Australian nuclear industry can be “future-proofed” against the potentially massive changes coming to the energy sector…….He says Canada is the best role model for Australia
  • Canada now dominates World Bank corruption list, thanks to Nuclear Company SNC-Lavalin.  (They are keen to sell their CANDU nuclear technology to Australia)

#NuclearCommissionSAust’s very selective visit to nuclear sites in Canada

July 25, 2015

The Royal Commission went to Port Hope:Bok-Blind-Faith

I bet they didn’t investigate “Blind Faith” – book reveals the toxic nuclear legacy in Port Hope

They toured the CAMECO Fuel Fabrication and Conversion facilities, got advice from Cameco about uranium mining.

Bet they didn’t discuss Cameco embroiled in tax scandal and indigenous opposition, nor its gloomy economic performance

NO further Australian involvement in the nuclear industry says Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese

July 25, 2015

Albanese, AnthonyPremier Jay Weatherill at loggerheads with senior Labor members over nuclear industry, GST, Perth Now July 24, 2015 PETER JEAN CHRIS RUSSELL The Advertiser “…….Federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese yesterday declared his opposition to any further Australian involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle and to the importation of nuclear waste, while Labor leader Bill Shorten reiterated his hostility to raising the GST.

Mr Albanese – who unsuccessfully stood for the Labor leadership after the last federal election – yesterday said it was too dangerous for Australia to become more involved in the nuclear fuel cycle.

“My position on the nuclear fuel cycle is clear,’’ Mr Albanese told an anti-nuclear weapons event held on the sidelines of the ALP conference.“Until the issues of nuclear waste and nuclear proliferation are satisfactorily solved, I oppose any further Australian involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.“Nuclear waste created today, remains an issue for generations to come.’’

Mr Albanese’s opposition to nuclear energy is heavily influenced by his close friendship with former Labor MP Tom Uren, who died earlier this year. As a prisoner of the Japanese in 1945, Mr Uren saw the mushroom cloud from the atomic bombing of Nagasaki……..

Labor’s platform commits the party in government to prohibiting “the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia.’’

 Any addition to the nuclear industry in Australia would require both state and federal legislative change.

An anti-nuclear section of the Federal Labor policy platform will be left in place at Labor’s national conference in Melbourne this weekend……..

Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, the head of South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, said yesterday if he was to recommend an expansion of the industry, national support would be crucial.“There would be no opportunity ­- in my view – without bipartisan support both at the federal and state level to make the investment that would be necessary,” he said………http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/national/premier-jay-weatherill-at-loggerheads-with-senior-labor-members-over-nuclear-industry-gst/story-fnii5yv8-1227456054891


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