Archive for the ‘New South Wales’ Category

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.


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.”……….

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

January 19, 2015

Nuclear waste returning to Sydney from France  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.”

Australia’s nuclear reactor cuts safety staff!

July 26, 2014

safety-symbolFears for safety at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor: permanent supervisors to be dumped as part of cost-cutting GEOFF CHAMBERS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH JULY 25, 2014 PERMANENT frontline safety supervisors will be dumped and Australian Federal Police roles overhauled as part of cost-cutting measures at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.

Lucas-09The Daily Telegraph can reveal that six permanent ­safety positions will be ­outsourced from next month at the Australian Nuclear ­Science and Technology ­Organisation (ANSTO).

Workers at the facility in Sydney’s south have expressed concern about the removal of permanent safety inspectors.

The AFP will retain an armed presence but it is ­expected that light duties, including boom gate operation and CCTV monitoring, will be outsourced.

With 260 production, ­laboratory and technical staff on its books, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union has firmly opposed what it describes as a “cost-cutting exercise” by ANSTO.

The union’s state secretary, Tim Ayres, said that the reactor site was an important local ­employer and crucial for the innovation and manufacturing industry.

“This is in no way an ­improvement to safety at ­Sydney’s only nuclear facility, this is a decision to wind back the safety protections purely on the basis of costs,” he said.

“This is a nuclear facility in the middle of a very large population centre — they’ve had to work very hard to get the confidence of the community that it can operate ­safely. But outsourcing the senior level safety inspectorate to some private company is going to absolutely shatter the confidence that this place can be run to the standard of safety and quality that the community expects.”

Mr Ayres said having ­permanent safety inspectors on staff should be a priority for management.

The inspectors, many with years of experience, are the first point of contact at Lucas Heights during an emergency situation.

      “This sends a message that safety is a second-order issue. It will set the safety culture back,” he said………

Relief: Lucas Heights radioactive trash will go to Northern Territory, not stay in Sutherland Shire

May 17, 2014

Oscar-wastesFederal Budget 2014: Radioactive waste funding relief St George & Sutherland Shire Leader May 17, 2014 THE federal budget provides $22.6 million to develop detailed design options for a national radioactive waste management site at a location outside Sutherland Shire.

This is the first firm indication that the Coalition government will press ahead with plans for a permanent nuclear waste storage.

It is expected to be welcomed by Sutherland Shire Council, which opposes plans for a temporary storage site to be built at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights.

It is thought the federal government is considering several sites in the Northern Territory……The allocation of $22.6 million over three years for the design of the permanent nuclear storage site comes under the federal Department of Industry budget.

ANSTO also received a $654 million, four-year funding allocation under the budget.

This includes $76.6 million over five years for the OPAL reactor at Lucas Heights — Australia’s only nuclear research reactor…….

Sutherland Shire anxious about hosting radioactive waste dump, but OK with nuclear reactor

November 30, 2013

Oscar-wastesSutherland Shire to get radioactive waste storage facility  St George and Sutherland Shire Leader By Jim Gainsford and Kate Carr Nov. 29, 2013 The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has given the green light to the controversial plan to build a nuclear waste storage facility at ANSTO.

Construction of the facility at Lucas Heights is set to begin next year, with intermediate-level radioactive waste set to arrive back in Australia from France in 2015.

Sutherland Shire mayor Steve Simpson said this afternoon that the council was ‘‘strongly supportive of the work ANSTO does but we are still calling on the federal government to expedite a permanent waste storage facility for nuclear waste collected throughout Australia’’………

This waste is returning from France in 2015 in accordance with agreements relating to the processing of the waste. The waste will comprise one flask of processed nuclear fuel and six smaller drums of waste. Fortunately the licence from ARPANSA will not cover waste to be returned from the UK which we’re told is due to be returned at a later date.

“The fact that the waste will end up at ANSTO as there is no National Radioactive Waste Repository is not good enough for the residents of the Sutherland Shire who are concerned about the safe transportation and storage of this nuclear waste.

“Indeed the ARPANSA approval notes that the interim storage of the waste at ANSTO is not in line with international best practice and ARPANSA stresses the need to establish a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF), as storage of nuclear waste at Lucas Heights is not an acceptable long term solution.

“The continued transportation of Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste to Lucas Heights in the form of reprocessed fuel represents an unnecessary risk to the surrounding residents and communities”…..

Problem of old dead reactor and radioactive trash at Lucas Heights, Sydney

May 16, 2013

Nuclear waste on the move in clean-up  May 16, 2013 Heath Aston  Radioactive waste and parts of Australia’s oldest nuclear reactor will be trucked out of Sydney under plans to clean up the Lucas Heights nuclear facility and develop a national hazardous-waste dump in the outback.

But residents in Sydney’s south are concerned at the prospect of having radioactivematerial transported past their homes.

They believe the dismantling and removal of the 1960s-era ”high-flux Australian reactor” and spent fuel rods is a bid to clear the way for further development at Lucas Heights and the production of more dangerous waste.

The plan to move the retired reactor, switched on by former prime minister Robert Menzies in 1958 and taken out of service in 2007, emerged in the budget papers.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, which manages Lucas Heights, has been given $28.7 million to prepare for the move. The four-year funding package will pay for ”pre-disposal conditioning of existing radioactive waste in preparation for long-term storage and disposal, and for the clean-up of buildings and infrastructure containing hazardous materials” at Lucas Heights.

Separately, the government has put $35.7 million into securing a site to become the nation’s repository for radioactive material. It will host waste from Lucas Heights and may provide the state government with a destination for contaminated soil from the former uranium smelter site at Hunters Hill.

An area at Muckaty, 800 kilometres south of Darwin, is the government’s preferred site after it struck an agreement with the Northern Land Council. But development of the semi-arid claypan site is bogged down in a legal challenge by some traditional owners. The budget papers do not identify Muckaty specifically, but a spokesman for Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray said Muckaty, 100 kilometres north of Tennant Creek, remained the only location under consideration.

Within four years a facility that could centralise waste from Lucas Heights, and 100 or so other industrial and medical waste facilities, would be ready for construction. An ANSTO spokesman confirmed the plan to move the reactor and waste. The load will include fuel rods due to arrive in Botany Bay for transportation back to Lucas Heights after they were reprocessed at a nuclear facility in France.

Local resident groups who supported a previous plan to encase the reactor in concrete will meet ANSTO management in Engadine in the next few days.

Australian Labor Party’s half hearted effort to help Kemps Creek community against radioactive waste dumping

February 25, 2013

Despite being invited to address the meeting, NSW Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann was told at the last minute that she would not be seated on the stage and would only get to speak at the start of discussion time.

She raised the proposal of shifting the waste to the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor site, and said that if the federal Labor government wanted to, they could step in now to make this a reality through an amendment to national laws.Despite a number of people in the crowd pressing the speakers to address this idea, all preferred to side step it.

Labor MPs hijack local outrage over uranium dump plan 22, 2013 By Fred Fuentes   Angry residents from Kemps Creek and surrounding neighbourhoods packed the local sports and bowling club auditorium on February 18 to protest against the state government’s plan to dump radioactive waste in the area.

The NSW Liberal government is proposing to shift 5800 tonnes of soil from an area in Hunters Hill, where a uranium ore processing plant once stood, to the Kemps Creek SITA dump site.

Cancer clusters have been detected in Hunters Hill, which have been linked to the contamination left behind at the former plant site.

The amount of community concern against the project was shown by the more than 3000 submissions against the proposal over the past two months.

The meeting was addressed by three federal politicians and a councillor from Penrith, all from the ALP. (more…)

Nuclear “spin” as New South Wales government wrestles with Hunter’s Hill radioactive waste problem

December 17, 2012

But the new plan involves reclassifying most of the contaminated earth as ”restricted solid waste”, allowing it to be trucked to Kemps Creek.

The Labor MP for Auburn, Barbara Perry, told Parliament in June that the move to reclassify the contaminated earth as restricted but non-hazardous was ”clever spin”.

Based on a series of tests by ANSTO, government and independent scientists, the detection of some hazardous radioactive material seems likely.

Uranium smelter’s legacy moves on, SMH December 16, 2012 Ben Cubby THE controversial clean-up of a radioactive site in Hunters Hill is set to begin early next year, with any hazardous waste to be moved from the harbourside suburb to Lidcombe, the NSW government says.

The contaminated properties in Nelson Parade – once the site of a uranium smelter – have been a thorn in the side of residents and governments for nearly a century.
After years of denials from successive governments about the extent of the contamination, the clean-up will now be extended to include suspected radioactive hot spots in neighbouring backyards and at the harbour foreshore.

The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, all but ruled out dumping the contaminated dirt at a Kemps Creek waste facility in western Sydney last year, in the face of protests from Penrith residents and councillors. (more…)

Growing public opposition to uranium exploration, mining, in New South Wales

August 20, 2012

The waste from any uranium mining in NSW would remain dangerous long after the O’Farrell government is gone from Macquarie Street.

Rather than promoting the unsafe uranium sector the government should building an energy future that is renewable, not radioactive

Nuke South Wales? By Natalie Wasley and Pepe Clarke -, 20 August 2012       Earlier this year, in a sharp break with a long standing and bi-partisan ban, the NSW Government announced it would allow uranium exploration across the state. This abrupt reversal of a 26-year prohibition came without warning or consultation and against the backdrop of the global nuclear industry reeling from the continuing

Fukushima disaster.

At the time, Premier O’Farrell cited the narrowly won ALP national conference vote allowing uranium sales to India as rationale for the policy change, but outside of cabinet responses ranged from wariness to outright hostility.
The decision to allow uranium exploration was – and is – fiercely opposed by NSW Labor and the Greens. Speaking against the move in both state parliament and a recent public meeting, Shadow Environment Minister Luke Foley captured the strength of this resistance: “As long as I am in public life I will argue against this dangerous industry

Civil society and community groups are increasing both the light and the heat on the Premier’s atomic ambitions including through this week’s launch of a NSW Uranium Free Charter in Sydney. The Charter highlights the dangers of the nuclear industry,calls on government to rule out uranium mining in New South Wales and has already gathered strong support state and national trade unions, environment groups, public health and student organisations. (see attached and ).

The Charter signals the start of a new campaign to keep NSW free from uranium mining and promises to increasingly locate this controversial mineral on the state political radar . (more…)