Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Australians! Don’t get “emotional” about the Pro Nuclear Royal Commission

April 18, 2015

Kevin Scarce expects debate around the future of the nuclear fuel cycle in SA to be ‘emotional’ CAMERON ENGLAND THE ADVERTISER APRIL 17, 2015 “……. Commissioner Scarce said he expected there to be a lot of “emotion” associated with the debate, and he was committed to running a transparent process.

“Today really is the start of business,’’ Commissioner Scarce said. “We are issuing our first issues paper which covers the opportunity to expand mining and exploration, and also the risks and costs of doing that……..

“I think there’s going to be a lot of emotion about the nuclear industry. We can’t walk away from the factcartoon- emotional
that when there are accidents they are catastrophic and I would expected there will be a lot of emotion about the risks, the impact on the environment, and I want to encourage people, again in an evidence-based way, to give us their views on that, but at the end of the day, the purpose of a Royal Commission is to inquire and to get evidence-based information back…….

The issues paper addresses issues around exploration, mining and milling uranium, and poses 13 questions for discussion around what could be done to foster more activity, whether that is economically viable, and what the environmental and social costs might be.

Three further issues papers will be released over the next two to three weeks, looking at fuel management and storage, fuel enrichment and power generation.

Commissioner Scarce said once all of the issues papers were released there would be 90 days for companies, organisations and individuals to make submissions.

“The we’ll take all of that evidence, bring it together in a report, and then we will engage the community in the outcomes of all of the reports that come to us through the issues papers.’’

Commissioner Scarce will spend the next month travelling to areas such as Aboriginal communities including the APY Lands, and Maralinga and regional areas including Port Pirie and Whyalla……

Kevin Scarce to jetset to global nuclear industry sites. Who else is going?

April 18, 2015

International nuclear-site visit on cards for royal commissioner MEREDITH BOOTH THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 18, 2015

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionSouth Australia’s nuclear fuel cycle royal commissioner Kevin Scarce will visit nuclear sites in Finland, France, Britain and Japan as well as prioritise talks with indigenous people before reporting his findings on May 6 next year……
Later this year, the commission would visit countries successfully using nuclear power and storage, as well as Japan, which was hit by the devastating nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant in March 2011…….

Nuclear Royal Commission chief Kevin Scarce makes an unconvincing start

April 17, 2015

Scarce,--Kevin-glowDennis Matthews 17 April 15 Commissioner Kevin Scarce has made an unconvincing start to his inquiry into the nuclear industry, now officially “The Nuclear Fuel Cycle” Royal Commissioner.

By accepting the nuclear industry spin that it is a nuclear fuel cycle he has immediately identified himself with the nuclear industry. Do we talk about the coal fuel cycle or the gas fuel cycle? No, like nuclear fuel these are one way processes – fuel in, heat and waste out.

It is typical of the nuclear industry that they would like to give the impression that it is otherwise – fuel in, more fuel out – a mirage fostered by its so-called fast breeder programme, itself another example of nuclear spin. The only thing fast about fast breeders is that they use fast neutrons to attempt to slowly produce nuclear fuel in a nuclear reactor. This technology has not only failed to produce significant amounts of nuclear fuel but has rapidly consumed huge amounts of tax payers money.

If Kevin Scarce and the SA Government want to retain any skerrick of credibility then they will take immediate steps to change the name to the “Nuclear Industry” commission.

20th April narrow technical focus for S Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission’s first forum

April 17, 2015

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionThey don’t mention the health and environmental aspects of the nuclear fuel chain. They don’t mention the national laws that will have to be overturned. They don’t mention the existing problems from Australia’s history of uranium mining.

And then there’s the continuing nuclear radiation crisis at Fukushima – you can bet that will not be on the agenda. Nor will they be talking about the global nuclear decline in the nuclear industry, and the fact that the new geewhiz nuclear reprocessing reactors (a) don’t exist yet and (b) nobody wants to invest in them

17 APRIL 2015 – NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE ROYAL COMMISSION VISITS MOUNT GAMBIER The first public forum of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission will be held in Mount Gambier on Monday 20 April – the formal start of a three month state-wide community engagement program.

The public meeting to be held at City Hall at midday is an opportunity for community, industry and other interested stakeholders to hear more about the Royal Commission and how they might take part in the process. It will also be the first time the Commission’s Issues Papers will be presented to the public for comment.

While in Mount Gambier, Royal Commissioner Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR (Rtd) will also meet with city representatives and community leaders.

Key areas of discussion will include those activities relating to the potential for the expansion of exploration and extraction of minerals; the undertaking of further processing of minerals and manufacture of materials containing radioactive substances; the use of nuclear fuels for electricity generation; and the storage and disposal of radioactive and nuclear waste……


South Australia Nuclear Royal Commission headed by pro nuke, + 3 pro nuke experts

April 17, 2015

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionSouth Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission:  3 out of 5 of those named for the Expert Advisory Committee are well known pro nuclear industry advocates.

1. Professor Barry Brook purports to be a leader in climate action, but in fact is internationally known as a strident advocate for the nuclear industry

2. Dr Timothy Stone  comes from the Office for Nuclear Development (OND): it  “focuses on removing potential barriers to investment, and signals clearly to the industry the serious intent of the Government to push forward nuclear new build”

3. John Carlson – advocate for An Asia Pacific Nuclear Energy Community Royal Commissioner the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR (Rtd) detailed two key milestones today with announcement of the Expert Advisory Committee and the first of the Commission’s Issues Papers.

The Expert Advisory Committee comprises eminent leaders from academia, law, industry and the community and includes:

  • Visiting professor at University College London Dr Timothy Stone CBE
  • Professor of Environmental Sustainability Professor Barry Brook from Tasmania
  • Past president of the Australian Conservation Foundation and Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Griffith University Ian Lowe
  • South Australian’s chief scientist Dr Leanna Read, who has a medical science background, and Mr John Carlson, former director of the Australian Safeguards and Non Proliferation Office (ASNO).

However, the committee does include Ian Lowe  who has a long and honourable record of pointing out the risks and the diseconomics of the nuclear industry

Commissioner Scarce said the Expert Advisory Committee had been engaged to provide high-level expert advice to him and the Commission’s staff for the duration of the Royal Commission.

“The members of this Committee have been chosen to ensure that the Commission receives a broad range of advice and reflects the diversity of views that the community holds,” he said.

“The membership of the Committee comprises both proponents and opponents of the nuclear fuel cycle, and I believe this type of diverse contribution will ultimately allow the Royal Commission to develop a comprehensive final report.”

Commissioner Scarce said that the release of the first of four Issues Papers today was a key milestone for the Royal Commission and marked the start of the formal engagement process.

“Today is also an important step in the consultation process with the release of the first Issues Paper, which will help guide the community and industry in their understanding of the nuclear fuel cycle and assist them in making their submissions,” he said.

“I want this Royal Commission to be a far reaching enquiry into the nuclear fuel cycle, investigating the associated risks and opportunities.

“I am seeking to engage in a conversation with the South Australian community, speak to people, hear their lived experience and obtain the views of those who wish to have a say on this important matter.”

The Commission also announced its first public forum will be held at Mount Gambier City Hall at noon on Monday, April 20, with future metropolitan and regional meeting dates to be confirmed.

Written submissions can be made through  and must be lodged by July 24, 2015.

Senator Sean Edwards goes allout to promote the full nuclear chain for South Australia

April 11, 2015

Yesterday, I wrote about the media publicity given to Senator Sean Edwards, a former estate agent, who is going very public in support of South Australia getting the entire nuclear fuel chain (around its necks). Meanwhile, Dr Helen Caldicott, a world authority, was denied publicity to put the counter case.

Today, I learn that Sen Edwards has now set up a website to promote this theme.  It’s a corker.


He starts with an attack on the Greens – they should be  “morally and philosophically compelled to support advanced nuclear energy”

Moves quickly on to the argument for nuclear power as “free energy” and the $billions of revenue for South Australia, in importing the world’ radioactive trash.

“Polling proves South Australians want this and they want it yesterday” – says Edwards.  Actually – no! Polling shows thatSouth Australians voters reject expansion of the nuclear industry.

He asserts that “nuclear reactors produce no emissions that contribute to global warming”. (That’s untrue, but especially untrue if you ignore the entire nuclear fuel chain)

They “deliver abundant energy without any mining”. Hey – he doesn’t count the mining required for the conventional reactors to produce the wastes to put into the reprocessing reactors that he is touting! Edwards must be a bit confused. One of the main arguments for the South Australian expansion, as put by nuclear proponent Oscar Archer, is that it will  give a strong boost to Australia’s uranium mining and uranium export industry.

Edwards tells us how very safe the nuclear industry  – except for 3 what he calls “incidents” (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima).

And without any evidence at all, he asserts that – for the new non existent untested reprocessing nuclear reactors  – “The science is sound, the business case has been made and the public is behind us”


Murdoch news publicises South Australian pro nuclear Senator – won’t publish Dr Helen Caldicott

April 10, 2015

News-Limited1Isn’t it interesting that when a Liberal politician, with a background in auctioneering and estate agency, produces his particular pro nuclear argument, it gets coverage from THE AUSTRALIAN?  But when Dr Helen Caldicott, an internationally regarded expert on matters nuclear offers an informed insight into the South Australian nuclear proposals – then there’s no room for that, in the same newspaper.

Liberal Senator Sean Edwards is repeating a story that sounds remarkably familiar: “We could end up with zero or low-cost power” … “The more you reprocess, the more electricity you have to get rid of.”


Senator Edwards is “briefing”  Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Trade Minister Andrew Robb on the (non existent)Integral Fast Reactor 

Removing restrictions on the nuclear industry in Australia: one aim of the Energy White Paper

April 10, 2015

Federal Gov White Paper on Energy prepares way to cut red tape on nuclear industry by: CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL BUSINESS EDITOR From: The Advertiser, 8 Apr 15 

Abbott-nukemonkTHE Federal Government is positioning itself to cut red tape blocking development of a nuclear industry in South Australia.

The Federal Government’s White Paper on Energy, launched on Wednesday by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, says the Commonwealth will consider the findings of SA’s royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle.

“The royal commission will allow for a considered and informed community discussion on nuclear industries and energy, examining the opportunities and the risks,” the White Paper says.

It adds the government wants to work with states by “responding to technical developments and the streamlining and removal of any unnecessary regulation”.

Mr Macfarlane has said the Federal Government will not lead a push for nuclear energy. His spokeswoman said yesterday this remained the case but the Federal Government wanted to ensure it had the expertise to deal with any change advocated by SA.

SA Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis welcomed federal co-operation. “A lot of the imports and exports of this industry are regulated by the Commonwealth,” he said. “Having Canberra on side with our royal commission is a great boost.

“It’s important to understand exactly what impediments there are to the importation of spent fuel rods.

“It’s important to understand the impediments to exporting uranium through all of our ports around the country; understanding exactly what grade of uranium can be exported and imported.

“So the red tape reduction is all about making sure that whatever industry we want to build in this state can be accomplished.

South Australian govt ‘disappears’ Submissions from its Nuclear Royal Commission website

March 28, 2015

The very short time allowed for people to submit for the draft Terms of Reference nevertheless was enough for over 1000 submissions to be sent – the overwhelming majority raising issues that I bet the

nuclear lobby would not want raised.  No surprise then that the promised web page of all these submissions just vanished within  a day or two.

However, here below is  a sample of some of these excellent submissions. It is from  DR. PETER BURDON ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ALEXANDER REILLY MR. PAUL LEADBETER of the University of Adelaide


To Whom It May Concern, RE: Royal Commission – Our role in nuclear energy

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into South Australia’s nuclear industry potential. We note the short window for submissions, but hope that we have the opportunity to contribute to the broader consultation between 23 February – 13 March.

While it is not part of the terms of reference, we think it is important that at least one-third of the appointed independent experts have demonstrated outstanding service, concern, and public interest in environmental policy. Moreover, given the likely impacts of any proposed expansion on aboriginal communities, we think that an additional two experts should be of Aboriginal descent.

  • With regard to the terms of reference, we contend that the commission should be charged to investigate in detail: 
  • The environmental legacy of the uranium industry in South Australia; 
  • All questions of safety of humans and the natural environment related to proposals to develop nuclear power in South Australia; 
  • The required regulatory framework to safeguard the environment and Indigenous interests in the areas affected by the development of a nuclear industry; 
  • All questions of safety of humans and the natural environment related to proposals to store radioactive waste in South Australia, including risks of transportation and how the technical integrity of the facility could be ensured over the period of radioactive decay of the wastes; 
  • The technical, engineering and construction requirements of the facility itself to protect against leakage of radioactive material to the surface, into the atmosphere and into groundwater;
  • The impact of nuclear waste storage on Indigenous communities; 
  • Any conflict that might arise within local communities during consideration of the proposal and subsequently affected by the construction and operation of the facility;
  • The reputational risks associated with proposals for South Australia to host an international repository for high-level nuclear waste; 
  • The impact of nuclear power on South Australia’s carbon reduction targets, including the carbon dioxide emissions which would result from construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear power facilities; 
  • Impact of nuclear facilities on the insurance industry; 
  • The economic implications of proposals for uranium enrichment in South Australia, including realistic assessment of the scale of public subsidies that would be needed to establish and operate the industry; 
  • The workforce implications of creating a nuclear industry in terms of predicted labour force participation in the industry, the types and sustainability of the jobs created; 
  • The political security/policing arrangements that would need to be applied within Australia as a consequence of the construction and operation of a facility and what ,if any, implications they would have for freedom of speech and freedom of association for Australians; 
  • The impact of nuclear energy development on alternative energy sources and energy consumption patterns;; 
  • The measures necessary to ensure Australia has secure and environmentally sustainable energy supplies in the future; and 
  • The relationship of the uranium and nuclear industry to the stated goal of Ecologically Sustainable Development. Yours faithfully, DR. PETER BURDON ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ALEXANDER REILLY MR. PAUL LEADBETER

Nuclear Royal Commission: narrow Terms of Reference announced

March 28, 2015

Below are the Terms of Reference.  You will note how very few related issues are included.nuclear-fuel-chain3

The Terms cover:

  • feasibility of expanding mining of radioactive materials
  •  feasibility of conversion, enrichment, fabrication or re-processing in South Australia
  • feasibility of generating electricity from nuclear fuels
  • feasibility of establishing facilities in South Australia for the management,
    storage and disposal of nuclear and radioactive waste
  • and a little nod to the impact on economy, environment, and community

Australia, Governor in and over the State of South Australia:
A. At present, minerals containing naturally occurring radioactive materials are
extracted and milled in South Australia for shipment and sale. Small quantities
of radioactive substances are produced in South Australia for medical use
locally. Limited quantities of industrial and scientific radioactive wastes are
stored in South Australia, in addition to the storage and disposal of mine
wastes on mining sites. Otherwise, South Australia does not participate in the
conversion or enrichment of materials for the nuclear fuel cycle, the generation
of electricity from nuclear fuels, or in the management, storage and disposal of
other nuclear wastes.
B. Detailed consideration and analysis is required to be given to the potential of
South Australia’s further participation in the nuclear fuel cycle, whether
through the expansion of the current level of exploration, extraction and milling
of minerals containing radioactive materials, the further processing of those
minerals or processing and manufacture of materials containing radioactive
and nuclear substances, the establishment and operation of facilities to
generate electricity from nuclear fuels, or the establishment of facilities for the
management, storage and disposal of nuclear waste, and to the risks and
opportunities that those activities would present.
I, the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, DO HEREBY
APPOINT YOU to be a Commissioner to inquire into and report upon the following
Exploration, Extraction and Milling
1. The feasibility of expanding the current level of exploration, extraction and
milling of minerals containing radioactive materials in South Australia, the
circumstances necessary for such an increase to occur and to be viable, the
risks and opportunities created by expanding the level of exploration,
extraction and milling, and the measures that might be required to facilitate
and regulate that increase in activity.
Further Processing and Manufacture
2. The feasibility of further processing minerals, and processing and
manufacturing materials containing radioactive and nuclear substances (but
not for, or from, military uses), including conversion, enrichment, fabrication or
re-processing in South Australia, the circumstances necessary for processing
or manufacture to be viable, the risks and opportunities associated with
establishing and undertaking that processing or manufacture, and the
measures that might be required to facilitate and regulate the establishment
and carrying out of processing or manufacture.
Electricity Generation
3. The feasibility of establishing and operating facilities to generate electricity
from nuclear fuels in South Australia, the circumstances necessary for that to
occur and to be viable, the relative advantages and disadvantages of
generating electricity from nuclear fuels as opposed to other sources
(including greenhouse gas emissions), the risks and opportunities associated
with that activity (including its impact on renewable sources and the electricity
market), and the measures that might be required to facilitate and regulate
their establishment and operation.
Management, Storage and Disposal of Waste
4. The feasibility of establishing facilities in South Australia for the management,
storage and disposal of nuclear and radioactive waste from the use of nuclear
and radioactive materials in power generation, industry, research and
medicine (but not from military uses), the circumstances necessary for those
facilities to be established and to be viable, the risks and opportunities
associated with establishing and operating those facilities, and the measures
that might be required to facilitate and regulate their establishment and
In inquiring into the risks and opportunities associated with the above activities,
consideration should be given, as appropriate, to their future impact upon the
South Australian:
a. economy (including the potential for the development of related sectors and
adverse impact on other sectors);
b. environment (including considering lessons learned from past South
Australian extraction, milling and processing practices); and
c. community (incorporating regional, remote and Aboriginal communities)
including potential impacts on health and safety.
You are required to report as soon as practicable but no later than 6 May 2016.
GIVEN under my hand and the Public Seal of South Australia, at Adelaide, this 19th
day of March 2015.
By command,
Recorded in Register of Commissions,
Letters Patent, Etc., Vol. XXVII


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