Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Today’s thought: Australia, Liberal and Labor, mindlessly toes the USA propaganda line.

March 31, 2022

UKraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Australian Parliament – to enthusiastic applause, a standing ovation. Fair enough. He’s a brave guy, with a good cause.

Did any of those donkeys in the Parliament understand that Zelensky has been trying to negotiate a peace deal with Russia? A dea lthat would involve Ukraine NOT joining NATO, and would involve fair treatment and some autonomy for the ethnic Russian areas in the Donbas, and recognition of Crimea as part of Russia. (nb. Crimea was not ”annexed” by Russia. They overwhelmingly voted to join Russia).

Do Australia’s sycophantic politicians understand that Joe Biden refuses to join in those negotiations? Do they understand that this war could have been prevented by the USA? That this is another, more sophisticated version of the proxy wars that USA has been orchestrating for decades?

Anthony Albanese, spineless opponent of the Liberal’s blustering bully Scott Morrison, joined in the fervour, comparing Putin to Hitler. All agreed that Australia must send more weapons so Ukraine – must join USA in continuing its lucrative, preferably endless, fight against Russia – a fight to the last Ukrainian!

Ukraine war – a boon for Morrison to campaign on fear and war with China?

February 26, 2022

This changes everything, from the world stage to polling booths far from the fatal steppes, MICHAEL SWEST MEDIA, By Mark Sawyer, February 25, 2022   As the world watches in horror the Russian assault on Ukraine, it seems crass to discuss what it means for a little election in faraway Australia. But local political operators in the big parties and the small will be doing nothing else this weekend, writes Mark Sawyer.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a disaster for more than 40 million people, a threat to Europe, a challenge to the US and a catastrophe for the world.

It’s hard to imagine that Vladimir Putin’s war, while just about as far away from Australia as any world event could be, would have no bearing on the thoughts of voters in the expected May election. And it’s clear we were already gearing for a security election. The Coalition has installed one of its head-kickers, Peter Dutton, in the Defence post and his warnings are as much about the dangers of a Labor government as any foreign foe.

The government has stooped to describing Labor leader Anthony Albanese as China’s preferred Australian leader and deputy Labor leader Richard Marles as the Manchurian candidate. (A term now synonymous with being a traitor in the service of China, but its provenance is from a book and film about US soldiers brainwashed during the Korean War to become assassins back home). Memories of former senator Sam Dastyari’s dalliance with Chinese interests remain fresh enough for the government to exploit.

Opponents of the Morrison government will be wondering whether the Coalition will be saved by a military crisis. Labor fears being robbed of victory. Both sides will be thinking of the same election: 2001.

Khaki elections, Australian style: est 1914

In fact khaki elections have not always been bad for Labor.   In 1914 Andrew Fisher won the federal election held just a month after the outbreak of the Great War. He pledged Australia would ”stand beside the mother country [Britain] to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling”. A year later, an exhausted Fisher handed over to Billy Hughes, who tried to introduce conscription……………….

   Billy Hughes, [originally Labou) styled as ”the Little Digger”, became the personification of the Australian war effort. In 1917 he won a decisive victory, and another one in 1919, fresh on the back of his participation in the postwar treaty negotiations.In 1943 Labor under John Curtin won a thumping vote of confidence for its handling of the most serious threat to the nation in white history. (The negative role of militant unions on the home front is a less storied aspect of Labor history.)…………………………………………………………………..

The last word should go to Calwell again. Remember, this speech was made in 1965:

The government justifies its action on the ground of Chinese expansionist aggression. And yet this same government is willing to continue and expand trade in strategic materials with China. We are selling wheat, wool and steel to China. The wheat is used to feed the armies of China. The wool is used to clothe the armies of China. The steel is used to equip the armies of China. 

Yet the government which is willing to encourage this trade is the same government which now sends Australian troops, in the words of the Prime Minister, to prevent ” the downward thrust of China “. The government may be able to square its conscience on this matter, but this is logically and morally impossible.https://www.michaelwest.com.au/ukraine-attack-changes-everything-including-australian-election/

Meet Australian Public Affairs, the lobbying firm that pushed the Kimba nuclear waste dump for the Federal Government

February 24, 2022

The representation by Australian Public Affairs of companies working within or directly linked to the energy, mining and uranium mining industries—many of which obviously have an interest in a nuclear waste dump—does not appear to have been disclosed to the public at any stage of their lobbying work for the federal government on the campaign for a national nuclear waste management facility.

Meet the lobbying firm that pushed the Kimba nuclear waste dump for the Federal Government while claiming “commitment to Indigenous Australians”. Matilda Duncan, 24 Feb 22,

Australian Public Affairs company officers: Tracey Cain, Phillip McCall, Kathryn Higgs, Nick Trainor, Paula Gelo, Matthew Doman, Dominique Wolfe,

Having pocketed six years worth of consulting fees campaigning on behalf of the federal government for their proposed nuclear waste dump in SA, Australian Public Affairs claims “success” as the Barngarla people of the Eyre Peninsula continue to fight the dump through the courts.

It’s a grim project brief few public relations firms would want: convince Australia it’s acceptable to establish not just a national nuclear waste dump, but an international dump site that would potentially accept nuclear waste from the United Kingdom and France.

The requirements of the job: advocate for a radioactive waste facility being built in the middle of one of Australia’s largest wheat and agricultural belts. Urge locals to support a nuclear waste dump near Kimba, despite the site neighbouring both a conservation park and a national park. Avoid publicly questioning why the company the federal government hired to assess the shortlisted dump sites has a U.S. parent company that manufactures nuclear weapons.

Think up methods of pushing the dump in a state that has already been subjected to the stress of a government nuclear waste dump site selection process an inexplicable 4 times in 23 years—and rejected it, to the point the Olsen Government passed legislation to prevent radioactive waste being brought into the state: the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000, which was subsequently strengthened by the Rann Government.

Sell the nuclear dump to the public in a state in which traditional owners have already been subjected to decade upon decade of trauma thanks to the nuclear industry and materials for nuclear weapons being sourced from their lands. Avoid mention of the damaging mining conducted at Radium Hill, the uranium mining that continues to this day at Olympic Dam, the grotesque takeover of land to establish a weapons testing range double the size of England, or the hideous government decision to allow Britain to test 7 atomic bombs at Maralinga and Emu Field without adequately warning the Indigenous people living there—bombs that, in a full circle of destruction, were made using uranium sourced from Radium Hill.

In the face of this depraved and dark history of governmental abuse, the job: tell the locals it will be worth it because the nuclear waste dump will bring “45 jobs”.

Tracey Cain and Alastair Furnival willingly took on the work.

For the past seven years, their lobbying firm Australian Public Affairs has been working behind the scenes for the Federal Government, providing media and campaign strategy advice to help the government promote the nuclear waste dump—presented as the “National Radioactive Waste Management Facility”—and steer them through what continues to be a long, flawed and troubled dump site selection process.

A married couple, Cain and Furnival share a property worth $5 million in Cremorne and equal ownership of Australian Public Affairs Pty Ltd. Furnival is also a staffer at another consulting firm, Elevate Consulting.

Their company made national headlines in 2014, during Furnival’s time as a federal government staffer. That year, Cain and Furnival’s company was lobbying for the junk food sector, representing Cadbury, the Australian Beverages Council and Mondelez Australia (formerly Kraft), while Furnival was working as chief of staff for the federal assistant health minister, Fiona Nash.

According to media reports, Senator Nash and Furnival intervened to pull down a food health star rating website less than 24 hours after it was launched, despite it having been in development for two years and approved by state and territory food ministers.

Furnival owned half of Australian Public Affairs while intervening in public policy decisions as Nash’s chief of staff. Furnival resigned in the wake of the scandal.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STAFFERS VS. LOBBYISTS WRITING SPIN

The Morrison Government appear to have given Australian Public Affairs plenty of latitude to complete their work promoting the nuclear waste dump, extending permission to act directly as Government spokespeople.

Numerous times over the past 2 years, media enquiries about the national nuclear waste management facility sent to the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) and it’s superseding [new] department have been responded to directly by an Australian Public Affairs staffer rather than federal government staff.

Media enquiries from this journalist were responded to directly by Australian Public Affairs Director Nick Trainor, who in an introductory email two years ago claimed to “work with” the federal government.

Trainor provided a response on behalf of DIIS and the “National Radiactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce” in that email, without disclosing that he was in fact working for a lobbying firm representing the federal government on the nuclear waste dump project…………………………………

A DISAPPEARING ETHICS POLICY

Sometime after 2015, Cain and Furnival removed an ethics policy for Australian Public Affairs from their company website.

The policy claimed Australian Public Affairs was ‘committed to an ethical and quality approach to servicing our clients’. The company would ‘refuse causes, ideas or programs which pose harm to the community’, the policy claimed, ‘never promote deception or unsupportable claims’ and ‘at all times act as a leader in the pursuit of ethical practice.’……………………………………

Australian Public Affairs’ Deputy CEO, Phillip McCall, previously worked for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) with oversight of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor . APA’s client list has also included mining, gas and energy giants such as Santos—Australia’s second largest independent oil company and owner of the Moomba oil and gas fields in South Australia’s north-east.

APA staff were registered as lobbyists with the South Australian Government on Santos’ behalf from 2017 to late 2018. Uranium mining exploration projects in Santos’ Moomba gas fields were announced the following year, in 2019

APA also represented Santos on their Narrabri coal seam gas project.

Earlier this year—as their work for the Morrison Government on the nuclear waste dump continued—Australian Public Affairs began representing MaxMine (Resolution Systems), a mining technology company with offices in South Australia and South Africa. The company claims its “mission is to become the world’s biggest miner without owning a mine.”

MaxMine has been linked to Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group, after—according to MaxMine’s own promotional material—conducting work on their technology with Fortescue in 2010.

WASTE DUMP POLITICAL CONNECTIONS

Andrew Forrest has invested in uranium mining for years. In 2014, he bought EMA, the company that owned uranium deposits at Mulga Rock in Western Australia. Just two months ago, a new uranium mining operation commenced there. Forrest’s private company, Squadron Resources, has an interest in the uranium mining company working at Mulga Rock, Vimy Resources.

The former Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, was appointed to a CEO Position with Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation after he left public office.

Weatherill was behind the “unusual step” of setting up a Royal Commission in 2015 to consider South Australia’s potential role in the nuclear industry—despite the aforementioned decades of proposals for nuclear waste dumps being rejected by the community and legislation being enacted to ban nuclear waste being brought into the state. Weatherill spen much of his time as Premier pushing a proposal for a high-level nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia.

Weatherill has further personal connections to the current nuclear waste dump proposal. During his tenure as SA Premier, his wife Melissa Bailey was appointed to a position at AECOM Australia Pty Ltd—the company commissioned by the federal government to write site assessment reports for each of the shortlisted nuclear waste dump sites, covering topics like environmental impacts, climate change and wildlife impacts…………………………..

Questioned about the employment of Jay Weatherill’s wife at AECOM Australia Pty Ltd and why the federal government hired the company to assess the nuclear waste dump sites despite its association with nuclear weapons development, Australian Public Affairs responded on behalf of the federal government to both queries with the same phrase: “AECOM Australia Pty Ltd was selected to provide the required services through an open tender process and evaluation conducted in accordance with an approved procurement plan.”


The representation by Australian Public Affairs of companies working within or directly linked to the energy, mining and uranium mining industries—many of which obviously have an interest in a nuclear waste dump—does not appear to have been disclosed to the public at any stage of their lobbying work for the federal government on the campaign for a national nuclear waste management facility.

THE KIMBA COUNCIL

Remarkably, Cain has already claimed her company’s work on the government’s nuclear waste management facility project to be a “success”—even as the Traditional Owners, the Barngarla people, are again challenging the project through the courts.

For years the Barngarla people have repeatedly stated they have not been consulted about the storage of radioactive waste on their land. Representatives of the Barngarla people were excluded from a community vote to gauge local support for the nuclear waste facility—after the District Council of Kimba decided to exclude native title holders from the vote.

Despite major mainstream news outlets including the ABC, Guardian, Channel Ten’s The Project and NY Times visiting Kimba and publishing coverage of Jeff Baldock—the man who volunteered to sell his land at Napandee to the government for the nuclear waste management site—no attention was given by these outlets to his relative and business partner Graeme Baldock, a member of the Kimba Council that determined the Barngarla people would be excluded from the community vote on the nuclear waste dump………..

Graeme and Jeff Baldock had previously purchased thousands of hectares of land in the region near Kimba—in the region where the dump site is set to be established—according to information published in 2015 by the Baldock family farming company, Karinya Agriculture.

A member of the District Council of Kimba since 2010, Graeme Baldock was communicating directly with the federal government agency responsible for the nuclear waste management facility site selection process, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), between 2017 and 2019.

In response to a freedom of information application made in early 2020 seeking access to Graeme Baldock’s emails with DIIS over two years, DIIS stated that the “documents contain personal information of certain individuals” and due to privacy provisions in freedom of information legislation, “8 third parties” would need to be consulted before the government might consider releasing the documents.

The Department of Industry then sought to impose administration charges of $500 to process the request for Graeme Baldock’s emails.

“COMMITTED TO CLOSING THE GAP”

As the Barngarla traditional owners pursue some semblance of justice through the courts, Tracey Cain continues to advertise her company’s services in the “Indigenous Affairs sector” today, writing: “Australian Public Affairs has extensive communications expertise with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, on behalf of traditional landowners and Indigenous organisations, and for governments, corporates and NFPs wishing to engage with these communities.”

It’s not just the Barngarla people APA’s work on the nuclear waste dump process has affected—the traditional owners of other sites shortlisted for the dump, like South Australia’s Adnyamathanha people, have already publicly described the stress it caused. “The emotional stress we’re feeling is off the charts,” Regina McKenzie, an Adnyamathanha traditional owner, told the ABC in 2016. “We’re still the custodians here; we’ve always looked at it that way.”

Australian Public Affairs’ company spiel continues: “Within this work, APA is particularly committed to social and economic initiatives which support the Closing the Gap agenda, to provide Indigenous Australians with the same level of opportunity as the rest of the nation: including in health, mental health, education and social policy.”

In another section of APA’s website, the company characterises an “increase in environmental concern – not least amongst farmers and indigenous communities” as leading to “a rise in red tape and cost of compliance”.

In addition to APA working on projects that have contributed to the disenfranchisement of Indigenous communities, Furnival—Cain’s husband and co-owner of Australian Public Affairs—worked for the Abbott Government, an administration that cut $535 million from Indigenous programs.

Cain was contacted for comment about her husband’s role with the Abbott Government and asked if APA staff were directly involved with negotiations with the Barngarla people and other local communities involved in the nuclear waste dump site processes.

Cain was asked if Australian Public Affairs staff made it clear to these communities that they were a lobbying firm, not federal government staffers, when responding to their enquiries and concerns about the nuclear waste dump. She did not directly address these questions.

HISTORY REPEATING

Australian Public Affairs is not the only public relations firm to have chosen to assist the Government to continue perpetuating the toxic legacy of uranium in South Australia. Michels Warren have taken on the task too—an Adelaide PR firm that first represented the Howard Government during their attempt to establish a dump in South Australia from the late nineties until at least 2004. Freedom of information applications revealed the company’s dirty campaign to “soften up the community” and sell something its own staff knew had no benefit to South Australians: “The National Repository could never be sold as “good news” to South Australians. There are few, if any, tangible benefits such as jobs, investment or improved infrastructure. Its merits to South Australians, at the most, are intangible and the range and complexity of issues make them difficult to communicate.”

Despite having their ugly tactics exposed, Michels Warren chose not to leave their involvement with the nuclear industry and nuclear waste in the past. They went on to represent the Weatherill Government’s aforementioned unusual Royal Commission into nuclear power in 2016—a decision that might be explained, in part, by their previous campaigning on behalf of the corporate owners of the Beverley and Honeymoon uranium mines in South Australia.

 IRATI WANTI

Almost two decades ago, the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a council of senior Indigenous women based near Coober Pedy in South Australia, were into their eighth year of fighting the Howard Government proposal to dump nuclear waste from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor on their traditional lands.

In April 2003, the council’s founders, Eileen Kampakuta Brown and Eileen Wani Wingfield, received the Goldman Prize for environmental activism—an award akin to the Nobel Prize—and $US125,000 to continue their campaign against the nuclear waste dump. The women were fighting the Howard Government into their seventies, with a campaign slogan of “Irati wanti” which roughly translated as “The poison – leave it”.

The founder of the prize, Richard Goldman, said the women had been chosen for a campaign that “exemplifies how much can be accomplished when ordinary people take extraordinary action to protect the health of our planet”.

Mrs Brown said at the time that she was talking on behalf of her ancestors so that her children and grandchildren might also be able to live on the land, telling the Sydney Morning Herald in 2003 through her granddaughter: “There’s a lot of life out there.” https://matildaduncan.net/stories/22/feb/23/australian-public-affairs-tracey-cain-nuclear-waste-dump

Nuclear Waste Dump Plan for Kimba – Craig Wilkins of Consrvation Council of South Australia

February 23, 2022

Monday 21st February 2022 on Peter Goers’ program ABC 891 with Conservation Council of South Australia CEO Craig Wilkins to discuss the Nuclear Waste Dump at Kimba.

Also presentation by Greg Bannon Flinders Local Action Group too, and others who contributed to the program. Interesting that Resources MinisterKeith Pitt, Sam Usher CEO · Australian Radioactive Waste Agency and MP Rowan Ramsey were no shows although they were invited to be involved!

The Conservation Council of South Australia has produced a new booklet on Nuclear waste – domestic Australian issues. Craig Wilkins was the prime author, though not the only author’

Transcript of interview. (basically accurate, but not absolutely word perfect)

CRAIG WILKINS: The book asks what is the best solution for Australia’s radioactive wastes. International best practice is to bury it deeply. That’s not the chosen option. Big difference between the low level waste and intermediate level waste.

PETER GOER. Kimba is very divided – hsad 300mm of rain.   We had calls from farmers asking what will happen if nuclear waste is buried there.

CRAIG WILKINS: Wallerberdina was rejected for a site because it was recognised as a flood plain area.

PETER GOER. Govts have seized on this idea and pushed through.  The benchmark of 65% community agreement was lowered as only 62% agreed.   What’s to stop us importing nuclear waste from overseas in the future?

CRAIG WILKINS This is what is called ”project creep”. The rules change over time. People are concerned about this, particularly the Bangarla who were given native title to this region 2015,  – this is one of the first true tests, about how seriously we consider that issue of native title. They did ask to be polled. but were deliberately excluded from the vote. They are fighting this legal battle now, in the Supreme Court. They say they weren’t consulted.

PETER GOER. you cite theUN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. tates should ensure that no storage of hazardous materials should be sited on indigenous land The former SA govt voted not to have a nuclear dump in SA. SA has not been consulted, only Kimba people have been consulted. Politicians have come on this show and mocked people who don’t live in Kimba, even though it’s a state issue, it’s a national issue surely.  This material is either to come by sea, or be trundled through 3 states to get here.

GREG BANNON of Flinders Action Group – This site is in the wrong place. It’s just not scientific.The Whole approach  has been to find a swilling community, and then try to make the facility  fit the geology there for a nuclear waste site. It’s just not scientific.    In the last month, Kimba has received record rain.  One of the IAEA guidelines state that a nuclear waste facility should not be sited where you’ve got cross country water flow, or subsoil water, – water table underneath. When the Industry Department had their sites examined by AECOM, they produced 3 reports –    the recent floods should be factored in.

Philippa.  phoned in – pointing out the success in Canada, marketing radioactive isotopes made not from a nuclear reactor, but from cyclotrons.  She mentions the risk of this dump becoming the thin end of the wedge – for importing other countries’ nuclear wastes.

Calls in, especially pointing out the risk to the Eyre Peninsula community   region’s clean reputation as an agricultural area.

PETER GOER. Also  this has divided Kimba. calls in – suggesting that Kimba has been bribed.  A struggling rural community – the promise of more and more money, and jobs. Also questions about how the promised jobs might not materialise –  larger waste facilities oversea employ fewer people than promised for this facility. Hard for people of Kimba to turn their backs on these ”rivers of gold”

CRAIG WILKINS It has been a disappointing process. The community there, like every other SA community, deserves a decent medical facility, decent services –  there’s been a package of support being offered, in return for them accepting this facility.- which contains investments by govt that should be standard for any community. That makes it a very challenging position for the Kimba people – to work out whether to accept it or not. There’s nothing more divisive than this whole question of nuclear facilities.  A previously very close-knit  community has had this bomb placed in the middle of  it and it has really divided them. It is a terrible shame.

PETER GOER.I do feel for the people of Kimba.  Soon Kimba is going to be known world-wide as the nuclear dump town, not the town that’s halfway across Australia, not the home of the big galah.  …..perhaps the butt of many jokes  Kimba. will be known for that one thing.

CRAIG WILKINS. Places associated with nuclear activity very soon get that name,  rather than being known as a        very successful agricultural region, rural town of the year fantastic people …

PETER GOER. Rowan Ramsey pointed out that the population of Kimbawas very knowledgeable.

CRAIG WILKINS. Queried this  – suggested that the truth was stretched.

Many calls in, mainly supporting the Conservation Council’s case 

CRAIG WILKINS responding to questions on waste disposal –   old mining sites not  necessarily a solution –   much research has to be done.

Kimba doesn’t have to accept this plan. It is not the solution, and is placing this community at a disadvantage.

Radioactive waste in Australia, Kimba as a Nuclear Sacrifice Zone

February 4, 2022

ANSTO, MInister Keith Pitt, and other political and corporate nuclear zealots are still working on making the small agricultural area of Kimba the nation’s ”nuclear waste sacrifice zone”.  It’s done with the curious appeal to both greed and patriotic self-sacrifice, perfected in Japan, with its notorious ”nuclear villages”.

Australia has the High Level Wastes  – now called Intermediate Level , created originally at Lucas Heights, and thr prospect of equally High Level wastes from its much touted nuclear submarines, to be purchased for $171billion from USA.

 Australia has a twofold problem with nuclear wastes deception.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and a few greedy politicians and businessmen are promoting the nuclear industry, in pushing the view that in Australia  there is no  problem. ANSTO’s nuclear reactor keeps producing high level toxic wastes, while they pretend it’s a medical necessity. ( only a very small percentage of isotopes produced are used in Australia’s hospitals, and of these, only a tiny few are used to treat illness).

Their other pretense is that they actually know how to deal with nuclear waste –  it’s all solved – it’s all safe.  But, in reality they don’t know, nobody really knows, for how long ‘high’ and ‘intermediate’ level waste will be safe in Holtec’s ‘temporary’ canisters.  ‘Temporary’ means for a hundred years, perhaps more – sitting in a rural area, a (formerly) agricultural community – stuck with this poisonous stuff, which gets transported across the continent, potentially exposing many communities to radioactive danger.

And by the way – they all realise now that the dump site is a flood-prone area, and totally unsuitable. But the Australian media and government don’t mention that.

Channel 10’s ”The Project” did have the guts to show Australia the Kimba nuclear waste dump story

February 2, 2022

How happy was the nuclear lobby, to keep this under wraps from the Australian public.!

In typical form, the nuclear lobby chooses a rather remote small rural community, and then blankets thenm with propaganda from ANSTO and any other pro nuclear institution they can find. Only the pro nuclear spin got to that community.along with lovely financial ”incentives”.

In the current floods, no media mention is made of the clear threats to a Napandee nuclear waste dump, from flooding – to add to the other threats, such as the ruination of the local agricultural reputation.

Only Channel 10 has had the guts. And I write as a person who is biased against the commercial TV channels. Always a fan of the ABC – I now see it as a rather timourouis organisation, always in dread of having their funding cut – as the Scott Morrison government continues in the good old Liberal tradition of death to the ABC by a thousand cuts.

WASHED AWAY – Minister Keith Pitt’s grand dream of a Kimba nuclear waste dump

January 27, 2022

there is now no earthly hope of it ever being established at Kimba.

It is all over for Pitt so he should pick up his marbles and go home.

Peter Remta, 27 Jan 22, The recent events at Kimba resulting from the severe flooding have exposed a number of aspects included in the planning of the waste management facility that had been either inadequately covered or
completely ignored in the planning and accompanying studies.

While there are several instances of these insufficiencies it becomes most concerning that the federal government has spent huge amountsof money on developing its South Australian proposals and more
importantly has failed to inform the communities of the true situation

There will no doubt be attempts to downplay any forewarning of the flooding possibility at Kimba but the fact remains that none of the government studies gave much credence to the Pirie – Torrens corridor
which has always been a risk as to flooding and rising water tables for a large part of the Eyre Peninsula

MINISTER’S COMMENTS

Minister Pitt tweeted on 24 January 2022:
” It’s been a challenging couple of days for communities around Kimba inmSA after a big rain event. Thanks to those who took time out to joinmdiscussions for the new radioactive waste facility. It’s a critically important piece of national infrastructure #auspol

The mention of “a big rain event” sounds more like some ancient tribalnwar dance than the devastating flooding in the Kimba region while thenrest of his tweet is hard to follow.

Surely he must be extending his thanks to those who previously joined in the past discussions for the waste facility as there is now no earthly hope of it ever being established at Kimba.

It also undoes the years of disingenuous exaltations of the facility by the government which in many instances were an insult to the community.

It is all over for Pitt so he should pick up his marbles and go home.

His biggest fault besides his numerous and unfounded statements was that he never gave the community the opportunity to get is ownnindependent assessment of his government’s proposals as is required by
all international prescriptions in these situations

OPINIONS
In closing here are a couple of comments by leading international experts whose anonymity I have preserved for commercial confidentiality:

A. Kimba – What a perfect site with floods – has groundwater at 20 mnand within 20-30 km of towns and wheatfields.

B. ……if the plan is to store waste fractions from spent fuel reprocessinginto what qualifies as intermediate level near-surface facility, and thennplace this facility in an area of obvious flooding risk … …it seems to
reach internationally competitive levels of stupidity. And …… it doesn’t help if it’s only interim storage, since we are not looking long term but a risk that would be well plausible during our generation

Kimba flooding: Australian government must immediately abort nuclear waste dump project.

January 25, 2022

Peter Remta 25 Jan 22, Is this where the federal government should be placing its proposed above ground nuclear waste management facility?

There is no doubt that the sever flooding caused by the heavy rains in South Australia which included the Kimba district is a serious and essential reason for immediately aborting the proposed nuclear
waste management facility at Napandee farm.

From expert advice it is quite clear that Kimba as a whole – and not just Napandee – is far too dangerous to be an installation for theholding of nuclear waste particularly as the results of the present flooding may take up to ten years to overcome without any further flooding

This is especially the case as nuclear isotopes are dispersed and travel freely in water which can affect and contaminate all the surrounding land for many centuries making it completely unusable.

The federal government as the proponent of the Kimba nuclear waste facility cannot deny knowledge of floods and fires as risks for the purposes of the safety requirements for nuclear waste in Australia

As a result of advice by overseas experts that these two major risks are far more pertinent to Australia than other countries with nuclear waste the regulatory bodies should or must include these risks
within the Australian Radioactive Waste Management Framework and other applicable prescriptions and and standards for the longterm management of Australia’s radioactive waste including the storage or disposal of this waste at suitably sited facilities

I informed the officer at ARPANSA in charge of the Kimba facility development about formal inclusion of these risk and the requirement for the long overdue start of the safety case and her response was:

‘I think that it is not necessary at this stage however will take you up on the offer when we feel is the right time’

In view of the drastic situation that has now developed it is it is imperative that the federal government provides immediate funding to the Kimba community for an independent assessment and review of the government’s proposals



A mutual suicide pact: Australia’s undeclared nuclear weapons strategy

January 20, 2022

A mutual suicide pact: Australia’s undeclared nuclear weapons strategy, Pearls and Irritations, By Michael McKinleyJan 20, 2022  As the world’s nuclear arsenals build even more killing power, the need for Australia to abandon this perilous defence arrangement only increases.

The conventional wisdom has it that in the matter of nuclear weapons Australia is an exemplary international citizen. According to the Standard Version, it diligently supports the various nuclear arms control and disarmament regimes, and adheres to the position which regards nuclear weapons as instruments of nuclear deterrence and thus of the stable relations between major powers. Nuclear war-fighting is eschewed. Virtue is asserted. Res ipsa loquitor. The problem is that both claims are not only false, but embedded within what passes for defence policy with increasing willed ignorance, deceit and dishonesty.

At issue is the Australia’s unqualified general support for the various postures the US adopts and the particular role which it provides through the joint Australia-US facilities at Pine Gap and Northwest Cape. Their status as integral components in US global nuclear strategy – and thus nuclear targets in the event of major, peer-to-peer-war challenges the concept of government by consent of the governed.

The arrangements and agreements between Canberra and Washington have never been made public; indeed, successive governments have been industrious in their attempts to close off anything resembling national dialogue or debate on them.

This, of course, is a traditional and dishonourable tradition. Its origins are to be found in the official dishonesty surrounding Australia granting the British government the right to conduct a series of nuclear weapons tests at Maralinga, Emu Plains and the Montebello Islands from 1952 to 1963.

Unabated, it has coarsened the legal and ethical fabric of the nation’s security and foreign policy ever since to the point where the obvious has to be restated because, essentially, it no longer gives cause for shame, outrage, or anger.

Consider just six issues on which policymakers and mainstream national security commentators and scholars have been mute.

Diplomacy, it seems, has been substituted for by bellicose statements by high-level military and civilian personnel which exhibit, little more than its relegation to an irrelevance beyond its cosmetic utility.

Second, there is proliferation by stealth. The US initiative to modernise its nuclear arsenal by installing the burst-height compensating super-fuze has extraordinary implications. It effectively triples the killing power of its ballistic missiles and, as described by three of America’s most respected weapons analysts (Hans Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie and Theodore Postol) in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists the situation is one in which the US has developed “the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.”

Third, the advent of weapons with warheads described as “variable yield,” “low yield,” “clean” (sic), or “mini nukes” has encouraged declarations at the highest levels in the US that, under certain circumstances, nuclear weapons have “tactical” utility. And they are a matter of pride: as the head of US Strategic Command told a congressional committee in 2020, these innovations made him “proud to be an American.”

Fourth, this embrace of tactical nuclear weapons cannot be separated from the explicit intention to envisage nuclear weapons as inescapably enmeshed in the overarching concept of deterrence. Put another way, for Admiral Richard, and those of a like mind, there is no meaningful distinction to be made between conventional and nuclear deterrence: they comprise a single entity, the former being dependent on the latter for its intellectual and strategic credibility.

By extension the fifth comes into focus: the US to continuing to reserve to itself the right to a nuclear first strike. In 2020, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Tod Wolters, commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, went so far as to enthuse over it with this endorsement: “I’m a fan of flexible first use policy.”

Sixth and finally, there is nuclear deterrence itself. The term is employed in polite conversation as though it was simply a technical description; in reality, however, it is an obscenity and this becomes obvious when its explicit principle is confronted.

In simple terms it is a mutual suicide pact to the preserve the status quo of the time. Richard Tanter on this site has accurately described Australia’s position within the alliance and under the nuclear umbrella as one which it expects the US to commit genocide in the name of the country’s defence.

An important point is missed here: this understanding or expectation has never been put to the Australian people. …………  …… https://johnmenadue.com/a-mutual-suicide-pact-australias-undeclared-nuclear-weapons-strategy/

What future for Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) in Australia ?

January 11, 2022

Small nuclear reactor? It’s a lemon!

Large taxpayer subsidies might get some projects, such as the NuScale project in the US or the Rolls-Royce mid-sized reactor project in the UK, to the construction stage. Or they may join the growing list of abandoned SMR projects

In 2022, nuclear power’s future looks grimmer than ever, Jim Green, 11 Jan 2022, RenewEconomy

”……………………………………….. Small modular reactors

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are heavily promoted but construction projects are few and far between and have exhibited disastrous cost overruns and multi-year delays.

It should be noted that none of the projects discussed below meet the ‘modular’ definition of serial factory production of reactor components, which could potentially drive down costs. Using that definition, no SMRs have ever been built and no country, company or utility is building the infrastructure for SMR construction.

In 2004, when the CAREM SMR in Argentina was in the planning stage, Argentina’s Bariloche Atomic Center estimated an overnight cost of A$1.4 billion / GW for an integrated 300 megawatt (MW) plant, while acknowledging that to achieve such a cost would be a “very difficult task”. Now, the cost estimate is more than 20 times greater at A$32.6 billion / GW. A little over A$1 billion for a reactor with a capacity of just 32 MW. The project is seven years behind schedule and costs will likely increase further.

Russia’s 70 MW floating nuclear power plant is said to be the only operating SMR anywhere in the world (although it doesn’t fit the ‘modular’ definition of serial factory production). The construction cost increased six-fold from 6 billion rubles to 37 billion rubles (A$688 million), equivalent to A$9.8 billion / GW. The construction project was nine years behind schedule.

According to the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency, electricity produced by the Russian floating plant costs an estimated A$279 / MWh, with the high cost due to large staffing requirements, high fuel costs, and resources required to maintain the barge and coastal infrastructure. The cost of electricity produced by the Russian plant exceeds costs from large reactors (A$182-284) even though SMRs are being promoted as the solution to the exorbitant costs of large nuclear plants.

SMRs are being promoted as important potential contributors to climate change abatement but the primary purpose of the Russian plant is to power fossil fuel mining operations in the Arctic.

A 2016 report said that the estimated construction cost of China’s demonstration 210 MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) is about A$7.0 billion / GW and that cost increases have arisen from higher material and component costs, increases in labour costs, and project delays. The World Nuclear Association states that the cost is A$8.4 billion / GW. Those figures are 2-3 times higher than the A$2.8 billion / GW estimate in a 2009 paper by Tsinghua University researchers.

China’s HTGR was partially grid-connected in late-2021 and full connection will take place in early 2022.

China reportedly plans to upscale the HTGR design to 655 MW (three reactor modules feeding one turbine). China’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology at Tsinghua University expects the cost of a 655 MW HTGR will be 15-20 percent higher than the cost of a conventional 600 MW pressurised water reactor.

NucNet reported in 2020 that China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp dropped plans to manufacture 20 additional HTGR units after levelised cost of electricity estimates rose to levels higher than a conventional pressurised water reactor such as China’s indigenous Hualong One. Likewise, the World Nuclear Association states that plans for 18 additional HTGRs at the same site as the demonstration plant have been “dropped”.

The World Nuclear Association lists just two other SMR construction projects other than those listed above. In July 2021, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) New Energy Corporation began construction of the 125 MW pressurised water reactor ACP100. According to CNNC, construction costs per kilowatt will be twice the cost of large reactors, and the levelised cost of electricity will be 50 percent higher than large reactors.

In June 2021, construction of the 300 MW demonstration lead-cooled BREST fast reactor began in Russia. In 2012, the estimated cost for the reactor and associated facilities was A$780 million, but the cost estimate has more than doubled and now stands at A$1.9 billion.

SMR hype

Much more could be said about the proliferation of SMRs in the ‘planning’ stage, and the accompanying hype. For example a recent review asserts that more than 30 demonstrations of ‘advanced’ reactor designs are in progress across the globe. In fact, few have progressed beyond the planning stage, and few will. Private-sector funding has been scant and taxpayer funding has generally been well short of that required for SMR construction projects to proceed.

Large taxpayer subsidies might get some projects, such as the NuScale project in the US or the Rolls-Royce mid-sized reactor project in the UK, to the construction stage. Or they may join the growing list of abandoned SMR projects.

failed history of small reactor projects. A handful of recent construction projects, most subject to major cost overruns and multi-year delays. And the possibility of a small number of SMR construction projects over the next decade. Clearly the hype surrounding SMRs lacks justification.

Everything that is promising about SMRs belongs in the never-never; everything in the real-world is expensive and over-budget, slow and behind schedule. Moreover, there are disturbing, multifaceted connections between SMR projects and nuclear weapons proliferation, and between SMRs and fossil fuel mining.

SMRs for Australia

There is ongoing promotion of SMRs in Australia but a study by WSP / Parsons Brinckerhoff, commissioned by the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, estimated costs of A$225 / MWh for SMRs. The Minerals Council of Australia states that SMRs won’t find a market unless they can produce power at about one-third of that cost.

In its 2021 GenCost report, CSIRO provides these 2030 cost estimates:

* Nuclear (SMR): A$128-322 / MWh

* 90 percent wind and solar PV with integration costs (transmission, storage and synchronous condensers): A$55-80 / MWh

Enthusiasts hope that nuclear power’s cost competitiveness will improve, but in all likelihood it will continue to worsen. Alone among energy sources, nuclear power becomes more expensive over time, or in other words it has a negative learning curve.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and the author of a recent report on nuclear power’s economic crisis. https://reneweconomy.com.au/in-2022-nuclear-powers-future-is-grimmer-than-ever/