Archive for the ‘New South Wales’ Category

Arrest of top Lucas Heights nuclear security official, over ‘official secrets’ and illegal gun possession

December 26, 2016

secret-agent-AustLucas Heights security boss Anthony Haddad charged over ‘official secrets’, gun SMH, 24 Dec 16, Eamon Duff. A security consultant who held a “top secret” government clearance inside Australia’s only nuclear facility has been arrested and charged with the
illegal possession of “official secrets” and an unauthorised weapon.

Until February last year, Anthony Rami Haddad was manager of security and operations at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, safeguarding the site against theft, diversion and sabotage.

However, following  a stint in the Middle easrt where he worked on another nuclear security project, he returned hom eto Sydney, and last month became entangled in an unrelated investigation being run by the Australian Federal Police’s fraud and anti-corruption team.

A fortnight ago, Haddad appeared before Sydney’s Downi8ng Centre Local court, where he pleaded guilty to unauthorised receipt of official secrets under the Commonwealth crimes Act.

He has yet to enter a plea for a second charge, ppossessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm. His barrister, Nikolaos Siafakas, will apply to have the outstanding matter dealt with under section 32 of teh Mental Health Act……..

According to ANSTO documents, Haddad’s many responsibilities at Lucas Heights included the “mamagement of security operations” at the onsite Little Forest radioactive waste dump and its “seamless integration” into the facility’s “wider” protective security systems.

Haddad will reappear in court on February 7  http://www.smh.com.au/national/lucas-heights-security-boss-anthony-haddad-charged-over-official-secrets-gun-20161223-gthdwv.html

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Arrest of Lucas Heights nuclear security consultant

December 24, 2016

secret-agent-AustWhy is this article , from The Age print version, not published on the Internet version?

The Age, 24 Dec 16, Eamon Duff. A security consultant who held a “top secret” government clerance inside Australia’s only nuclear facility has been arrested and charged with the
illegal possession of “official secrets” and an unauthorised weapon.

Until February last year, Anthony Rami Haddad was manager of security and operations at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, safeguarding the site against theft, diversion and sabotage.

However, following  a stint in the Middle easrt where he worked on another nuclear security project, he returned hom eto Sydney, and last month became entangled in an unrelated investigation being run by the Australian Federal Police’s fraud and anti-corruption team.

A fortnight ago, Haddad appeared before Sydney’s Downi8ng Centre Local court, where he pleaded guilty to unauthorised receipt of official secrets under the Commonwealth crimes Act.

He has yet to enter a plea for a second charge, ppossessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm. His barrister, Nikolaos Siafakas, will apply to have the outstanding matter dealt with under section 32 of teh Mental Health Act……..

According to ANSTO documents, Haddad’s many responsibilities at Lucas Heights included the “mamagement of security operations” at the onsite Little Forest radioactive waste dump and its “seamless integration” into the facility’s “wider” protective security systems.

Haddad will reappear in court on Februaty 7. No link available. I couldn’t find this on the Internet

International Ato,ic Energy Agency targeting schoolkids, including in Australia

May 19, 2016

spin-L-Heights

IAEA Invites Students to Learn Nuclear Science Through Play. IAEA,  By Laura Gil, IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication, 12 May 16,  Teachers have reached almost 10 000 students in four Asian countries through a guidebook designed to bring nuclear science and technology closer to young adults. The compendium, which is being tested by the IAEA and education experts from several countries, collects unique teaching strategies and materials to introduce science and technology in education systems.

“We want to challenge students’ curiosity and show them the important role nuclear science and technology play in everyday life,” said Maria Violeta Tupas, Education Programme Supervisor at the Department of Education in the Philippines, who has used the compendium. “And we want to do this during the students’ formative years, so that they realize what it is that motivates them before they choose their career path.”

By generating interest in science among young generations, the compendium aims at contributing to the sustainability of the nuclear industry and related technologies in the future. With populations growing, applications of nuclear technology rapidly expanding, and active nuclear scientists ageing, a new generation of professionals will soon need to step up……

In preparation for the curriculum, experts collected ideas from, for example, Japan, where teachers often organize field trips for students; India, where education centres convoke essay contests all across the country to create an interest in the student community; Israel, where the government has built a nuclear science park and museum; and Australia, where school children are invited to an exhibition centre in the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation already from an early age. https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-invites-students-to-learn-nuclear-science-through-play

Lucas Heights Nuclear reactor mainly for “medical uses” That’s a lie!

January 18, 2016
nuclear-medicine
it would be highly misleading to attribute this predominantly to medical isotope production given the broad range of uses of the HIFAR and MOATA reactors over the last 60 years.
Radioactive waste in Australia, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) 18 Jan 16   “……..How much medical
waste will be deposited in the repository?
Less than 1% is medical waste (leftover radium and some disused sources). Most states and territories each only have a few cubic metres of low level medical waste.
 There are broadly two areas in which radioactive material is used for medical purposes:
Nuclear scans for investigating disease. These produce the vast bulk of medical nuclear waste. This is short-lived and decays on the medical facilities’ premises until its activity is negligible. It then is disposed of safely and appropriately in the usual manner of most waste (sewers, incineration, landfill tips etc.) according to set standards.
Cancer treatment radiotherapy. Most radiotherapy uses X-rays or electromagnetic radiation which do not produce any waste at all. A very small proportion of cancer treatment actually relies on radioactive materials, which almost all decay rapidly. Longer lived sources must be returned to their (overseas) sources when used up and so do not need local disposal. The provision of nuclear medicine services does not depend on a permanent waste repository.
What about the radioactive waste derived from the production of medical isotopes at Lucas Heights?
 • Firstly, most countries import their medical isotopes and clearly do not store the waste involved in its production. Medical isotope supply is a globalised industry with five reactors supplying over 95% of the world’s supply. Australia’s domestic production of medical isotopes is a policy choice not a medical necessity.
 • Secondly, Canada (the world’s biggest supplier) is switching to non-reactor isotope production, which does not create radioactive waste. This will significantly reduce Canada’s accumulation of waste. In contrast, ANSTO is proposing to dramatically increase reactor isotope production to sell to 30% of the world market. As a result Australia will accumulate much more waste from international isotope sales. Developing cyclotrons instead (like Canada) would eliminate radioactive waste from isotope production. • Thirdly, as outlined above, the majority of waste requiring long term disposal is not medically related at all. ANSTO emphasizes “only 40% of low level radioactive waste” arises from its activities. But ANSTO does not just make medical isotopes; it also produces isotopes for industrial research activities , manufacture of semiconductors and analysis of minerals and samples2 . The contribution to waste production of medical radiopharmaceuticals has been overstated.
Although 61% of Intermediate level waste is ANSTO related, this is only 5.8% of the total waste for the repository. Furthermore, this does not include the returning reprocessed spent fuel, since ANSTO does not classify spent fuel waste. And again it would be highly misleading to attribute this predominantly to medical isotope production given the broad range of uses of the HIFAR and MOATA reactors over the last 60 years……… https://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/Radioactive%20waste%20in%20Australia%20colour%20FINAL.pdf https://www.mapw.org.au/download/radioactive-waste-australia-fact-sheet-2016

MP John Cobb ‘very relaxed’ to host nuclear wastes: his farming constituents ARE NOT!

November 21, 2015

greed-1

On Friday, Member for Calare John Cobb said he was very relaxed about the
proposal to consider Sallys Flat for the dump.

He said he felt the waste was so non-threatening that a person could put it in a bag and sleep on it without feeling any ill-effects.

Merino farmers at Sallys Flat fear nuclear dump next door, Western Advocate, 17 Nov 15  PRIME wool producers around Sallys Flat fear the potential establishment of a nuclear waste dump on a neighbouring property could put their livelihoods at risk.

Geoff and Robyn Rayner produce some of the best superfine fleece in the world at their Pomanara Merino Stud, close to a neighbouring property which has been shortlisted for a permanent radioactive waste dump.

The Rayners’ home is the closest residence to the site ……The Sallys Flat site has been offered to the Federal Government for use by the landowner.

The Rayners have just signed up to become a sustainable operation and said they had to meet stringent criteria. Now, with the prospect of nuclear waste on their doorstep, all that has been put at risk.  “The stigma sticks,” Mr Rayner said. Three generations of the family have made their living from the land. Now they wonder if they will have a future.

“What will we do? You can’t just pack 2000 sheep up and move. Where do we go?” Mrs Rayner said.

 On Friday, Member for Calare John Cobb said he was very relaxed about the proposal to consider Sallys Flat for the dump.

He said he felt the waste was so non-threatening that a person could put it in a bag and sleep on it without feeling any ill-effects.

“We’re disgusted by Mr Cobb’s response,” Mr Rayner said………

“We feel like second-class citizens. Farmers are being treated like they don’t matter,” Mr Rayner said.

The Rayners are angry that the first they heard of the proposal was on Friday when it was announced in the media.

Mr Rayner said those directly affected should have been consulted before Sallys Flat was announced as a shortlisted location.

“There is no excuse for all this secrecy,” he said…….

Mr and Mrs Rayner said they are concerned that once the facility is built, waste that is even more dangerous will follow.

“You don’t know what they are going to do once they have one foot in the door,” Mr Rayner said.

Murray and Nella Price also have a large sheep property in the area and say they are very upset about this proposal.

They share a fence line with the ‘volunteered’ property.

“We were very riled up when we heard about it that morning,” Mrs Price said.

“We are extremely upset and angry.” Mr Price has made a sign and has stuck it on their front fence.

They are afraid that if anything goes wrong with the storage of the nuclear waste it would run directly into the Turon River at the bottom of the property, which then flows into the Macquarie River and is moved by pipeline to Orange.

“I think Orange should be concerned as well,” Mrs Price said.

She added that being a dumping ground for nuclear waste would also have an impact on tourism in the region…… The government said the community that is chosen will get $10 million. I can’t see them spending $10 million on Hill End, so who is going to get it? The only person I can see it benefiting is the landholder,” she said.

“John Cobb’s lost my vote.” http://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/3495986/merino-farmers-fear-nuclear-dump-next-door/?cs=115

Lucas Heights nuclear wastes – best answer is temporary storage near reactor site

November 9, 2015

nuclear-waste1

Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation, 9 Nov 15 Last week Natalie Wasley (BNI) and myself spent a few days talking to a range of stakeholders in Sydney and Sutherland Shire and this note seeks to provide some context for the ENGO response to this development.

The BBC Shanghai left the French port of Cherbourg in mid-October carrying twenty five tonnes of Australian origin intermediate level waste returning here after reprocessing in France.

There has been controversy about the shipment, including safety and capacity concerns raised by Greenpeace about the vessel and a statement from the Indonesia’s Maritime Security Board that it can not pass through Indonesian waters. There is sure to be more domestic and international media attention when it arrives in Port Kembla (Wollongong), expected to be in early December.

After arrival in Kembla it is planned that the waste – which is in solid form inside a special transport container – will be moved by road to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s Lucas Heights reactor facility in southern Sydney.

Some local residents are/will be calling for this material to not be stored in Sydney – this is an understandable response, but it is not one supported by the wider national nuclear free movement and key civil society partners.

We advocate that extended interim storage at Lucas Heights is the current least worst option as:

  • ANSTO is already both the continuing producer of and home to the vast majority of Australia’s higher level radioactive waste
  • ANSTO has certain tenure, a secure perimeter and is monitored 24/7 by Australian federal police
  • Storing the waste at ANSTO means the waste will be actively managed as operations at the site are licensed for a further three decades – it also keeps waste management on the radar of the facility/people with the highest concentration of nuclear expertise and radiation response capacity in Australia
  • Since the government realised in 2012 that the planned national waste dump at Muckaty would not be in place prior to the return of this waste, ANSTO has constructed and commissioned a new purpose built on site storage shed dedicated to housing this waste
  • Extended interim storage at ANSTO helps reduce the political pressure to rush to find a ‘remote’ out of sight, out of mind dump site and increases the chances of advancing responsible management
  • Storage at ANSTO has been publicly identified as a credible and feasible option by ANSTO, the nuclear industry lobby group, the Australian Nuclear Association and the federal nuclear regulator, the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)

Importantly, this approach also provides the ability to have a circuit breaker in this long running issue in the form of an evidence based and open review of the best longer term management options.

Nothing about the nuclear industry, especially nuclear waste, is clean or uncomplicated and some in the wider community might be critical of this position.

However we believe that extended interim storage is the least worst approach and that coupled with a sustained ENGO call for a wider public review, is the path that is most likely to usefully advance the debate about future management options.

There is also an unusually high level of common acceptance that storage at Lucas Heights is the best option in the current circumstances – as well as ENGO’s this view is shared by the Sutherland Shire Council, local Greens and environmentalists, ANSTO and the Maritime Union.

Given this, pending a safety inspection upon the ship’s arrival, we do not forsee protest action aimed at disrupting the transfer of this waste from the Port to ANSTO – we want to see that happen with as low risk as possible. There are plans for a peaceful presence to witness the arrival and transfer and convey that while we (reluctantly) accept the need for this transport to occur we will not accept these shipments becoming routine and will actively resist moves to impose a national waste dump on remote communities or develop international waste dumps/storage in Australia.

Clearly this is an important message to convey in the context of the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission and recent comments by PM Turnbull and other senior Coalition figures.

There is also both a real opportunity and need for a clear social and wider media profile at this time on the need for an open review of the best ways to manage this material and to end/reduce its production.

Radioactive trash ship leaves France to voyage to Australia

October 17, 2015

 

radioactive trashShip carrying nuclear waste heads to Australia, West Australian  CHERBOURG, AFP October 16, 2015 A ship carrying 25 tonnes of reprocessed nuclear waste is steaming to Australia despite protests from activists about an “environmental disaster waiting to happen”.

The BBC Shanghai left the northern French port of Cherbourg after approval from local officials, who carried out an inspection on Wednesday, and is due to arrive by the end of the year in NSW. It is laden with radioactive waste from spent nuclear fuel that Australia sent to France for reprocessing in four shipments in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation says.

The reprocessing involves removing uranium, plutonium and other materials, with the remaining substances stabilised in glass and stored in a container…….

Greenpeace, French environmental campaign group Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) and a leading Greens MP have called for the shipment, sent by Areva, to be halted. “Areva, almost bankrupt, are using a dustbin ship to carry waste, without any serious inspection!” Denis Baupin a senior MP with the French green party, tweeted.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific said the ship, owned by German firm BBC Chartering, was an “environmental disaster waiting to happen”, claiming the Shanghai was “blacklisted by the United States because of its safety record”……

But Areva’s external relations director, Bernard Monnot, said the ship was “not banned from ports in the United States but banned from transporting material for the American government”.

Nathalie Geismar from Robin des Bois said other ports had found it had a “staggering number of flaws”……

ANSTO said the material would be kept at the Lucas Heights facility in southern Sydney until a nuclear waste dump site, which has yet to be chosen, is found and constructed……https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/29834316/ship-carrying-nuclear-waste-heads-to-australia/

 

Revolutionary huge solar powered glasshouse for Hunter Valley, New South Wales

June 22, 2015

solar glasshouseMassive solar-powered glasshouse in NSW Hunter Valley to employ refugees, migrants , ABC News, By Jackson Vernon  21 June 15 Construction is underway on Australia’s biggest glasshouse, in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, which is solar powered and already providing employment opportunities for new migrants and refugees.

Excavators have started the groundwork on the vegetable growing facility at Fullerton Cove, about 40 minutes outside of Newcastle. At more than 16 hectares, it will cover the size of 20 rugby fields.Dutch investor Cor Disselkoen has developed glasshouses throughout the Netherlands and has brought in materials and labour for construction here.

Once operating, the facility will produce 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums every year. “We are producing 14 times more per square metre so we have a huge production compared to open field growing,” Mr Disselkoen said.

“It’s year-round, reliable, independent from whatever climactic circumstances so we can guarantee year around delivery to our clients.”

It has taken many years since the project was first announced to get to this point, after assessments in both Port Stephens Council and the Joint Regional Planning Panel. The project was mired in controversy initially, over plans to power it with a nearby coal seam gas well. But now it will be run solely on clean energy.

“We don’t get any natural gas or coal to fire or heat, we don’t use any electricity from coal fired electricity mains,” Mr Disselkoen said. “We catch the rainfall, which falls on our roof, which is enough for us to grow our plants.” “It’s the most efficient way, but environmentally the best way to do in the future.”

Glasshouse employs refugees and migrants

Refugees and migrants in the Hunter region will be among the 125 workers employed at the glasshouse…….the farm would be a major employment opportunity for dozens of people starting lives in Australia…….

Government welcomes growth to agriculture industry

NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the new facility would help ensure more local produce was grown and consumed.

“[It] means that we can grow different crops out of season and capitalise on some of the markets that traditionally we may have had to rely upon imported products for,” Mr Blair said.

Mr Blair said the alternative farming method worked side by side with traditional practices and will help grow the $15 billion primary industries sector.

“When we look at glasshouse and intensive production it’s something that we’ve done a lot of investment and research into through the Department of Primary Industries,” Mr Blair said.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-21/massive-solar-powered-glasshouse-in-nsw-to-employ-refugees/6561424

Least worst way to manage nuclear waste returning to Lucas Heights nuclear reactor

May 15, 2015

text-cat-questionWhy does the Australian government persist in the lie that the nuclear waste contracted to return from UK and France originated from medical/scientific research?  The medical radionuclides are but a tiny, tacked on part of the Lucas Heights reactor, and they are short-lived and not requiring export for reprocessing. The returning high level wastes originated from the reactor’s own process.

Federal budget 2015: Why Australia’s nuclear waste legacy will cost $27 million May 13, 2015  National political reporter The Abbott government will spend nearly $27 million over four years to return radioactive waste that has been treated in the United Kingdom to Lucas Heights.

We believe the waste coming back to Lucas Heights is the least worst way to manage it In what the Australian Conservation Foundation has described as the “least worst option” the material will be stored in a temporary, purpose-built storage facility at Lucas Heights while Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane examines possible sites for a future Australian nuclear waste dump.The funding is part of an agreement with the UK to return one of two batches of Australian waste, which the government said was largely generated from scientific research and nuclear medicine over a number of decades.

The second batch of nuclear material was sent to a facility in France for processing and its return has been funded in budgets since 2010.

Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear-free campaigner David Sweeney said of the federal money: “We believe the waste coming back to Lucas Heights is the least worst way to manage it.”

“That is – it’s still not a good thing,” he said.

“But because of the expertise, security and the presence of a purpose built facility at Lucas Heights it is the most appropriate option for the nation.”……….http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/federal-budget-2015-why-australias-nuclear-waste-legacy-will-cost-27-million-20150513-gh0i49.html

Nuclear waste legally bound to return to Australia – but nowhere to put it

January 19, 2015

Nuclear waste returning to Sydney from France http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nuclear-waste-returning-to-sydney-from-france-20150117-12seco.html  State Politics Editor, The Sun-Herald   A shipment of radioactive waste being returned to Sydney from France by December has raised concerns Lucas Heights is becoming a “de facto” national store.

Federal government plans to build a national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory collapsed last year, and a new search for a site will begin in March.

With no permanent national repository, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has been forced to build an interim waste store at Lucas Heights for the French shipment. It will include 28 stainless steel canisters of reprocessed waste, and six cemented drums of technological waste, including gloves and protective clothing worn by French nuclear workers.

The waste will be shipped from La Hague from July, immobilised in glass in canisters and shielded inside a specially designed forged steel transport container with 20-centimetre thick walls.

Australia sent the radioactive material from its nuclear research reactor to France in the 1990s for reprocessing, but under legal agreements, it must be removed from France by December 2015. More waste will be returned from Britain in 2017.

Public submissions to the nuclear regulator, which is considering ANSTO’s licence application to operate the store, closed on Friday.

ANSTO had emphasised Lucas Heights should only be an interim solution until the permanent national store is built. A spokesman for the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency said public submissions had raised concerns Lucas Heights would become the “de facto” national store. He said the law doesn’t permit this.

Sutherland Shire said it was also concerned about the long term future of nuclear waste being stored in suburban Sydney, and the Commonwealth government needed to urgently address the issue.

Nuclear radiologist Peter Karamoskos, a public representative on ARPNSA’s radiation health committee, said successive governments have ignored the international best practice rules that require medium-level waste to be buried several hundred metres underground and disposed of.

“ARPANSA has said countless times this is what should be done, but governments have screwed it up, most recently with Muckaty,” Mr Karamoskos said.

“Previous governments kicked the can down the road and thought that someone will come along in 100 years. But you can’t defer your waste on future generations yet to be born.”

He said a permanent site could only be chosen with the cooperation of local communities.

“The bottom line is you can’t impose radioactive waste on an unwilling public.”