Archive for the ‘wastes’ Category

Nuclear propagandist Ben Heard caught out in shoddy misinformation on nuclear waste importing plan

February 4, 2017

heardben

The only way to avoid gambling hundreds of millions or billions of SA taxpayers’ dollars would be in the wildly improbable scenario that potential client countries would take that gamble.

Taipower clearly states that it would not consider sending waste to another country unless and until that country has developed a repository. Yet the economic case developed by Jacobs and MCM collapses if revenue (and waste) is not received before construction of a repository.

Finally, Mr Heard’s promotion of fast breeder reactors is beyond stupid….. Most of the countries that invested in fast breeder reactors have given up, deciding not to throw good money after bad. Last year, Japan decided to give up on the Monju fast breeder reactor, a fiasco that will cost Japanese taxpayers A$17.3 billion in construction, operation and decommissioning costs despite the fact that the reactor rarely operated.

The Royal Commission completely rejected proposals advanced by Heard and others for ‘advanced fast reactors’, noting in its final report that such reactors are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future; that the development of such a first-of-a-kind project would have high commercial and technical risk

Friends of the Earth Australia has today written to all Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council, and SA political representatives in the Federal Parliament, responding to the latest round of misinformation from those proposing to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump.

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To: Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council

From: Jim Green
National nuclear campaigner
Friends of the Earth, Australia     Feb. 3, 2017

EXPOSING THE LATEST MISINFORMATION FROM THE NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP LOBBY

Dear Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council,
The Advertiser has today run an article including false claims from nuclear lobbyist / uranium industry consultant / PhD student Ben Heard that Jay Weatherill’s plan to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump could be pursued without the need to gamble hundreds of millions or billions of dollars with no guarantee of any return on the investment.

Mr Heard is quoted saying that the “notion of high upfront cost to South Australia is a persistent and deliberate lie first peddled by deceitful environmental groups and now, sadly, taken up by the Liberal Party.”

In fact, the necessity of gambling hundreds of millions or billions of dollars ‒ without the slightest guarantee of any return on the investment ‒ is clearly spelt out by Jacobs, the economics consulting firm commissioned by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

Jacobs Project Manager / Consultant Tim Johnson told the SA Joint Select Committee that “total expenditure prior to the decision to proceed” is likely to be from around A$300 million to in excess of A$600 million, depending on the timing of the decision to proceed. (Letter to Joint Standing Committee, 5 July 2016.)

Dr Johnson told the Joint Select Committee that the project entails very significant economic risks: “It isn’t a risk-free process to go into this. There is a very significant risk.” Yet the nuclear waste dump lobby persist with the fabrication that the project can be pursued without economic risks.

Jacobs noted the potential for initial outlays in the billions in its report for the Royal Commission: “Under the cash-flow assumptions of the baseline, where no revenues ahead of delivery are assumed (a deliberately conservative assumption), there is an initial outlay of A$2.4 billion (real) in net terms.” (Jacobs, Paper 5, sec 4.4, Cash flow profile for the baseline, p.205.)

Any suggestion that the nuclear waste dump project could be a quick fix for the SA economy were dispelled by the Royal Commission’s report, which stated (emphasis added): “Careful characterisation over several decades is required to confirm the suitability of the geological conditions.”

The only way to avoid gambling hundreds of millions or billions of SA taxpayers’ dollars would be in the wildly improbable scenario that potential client countries would take that gamble. If anyone needs any convincing as to the improbability of that scenario, it came late last year in correspondence from the Taiwanese government’s energy and nuclear agencies. As Daniel Wills reported in The Advertiser: “TAIWAN’S state-owned energy company has bluntly rejected Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith’s claim the country would consider paying to help set up a nuclear waste dump in SA, saying in a letter that it “hereby declares this is a false information”.”

Taipower clearly states that it would not consider sending waste to another country unless and until that country has developed a repository. Yet the economic case developed by Jacobs and MCM collapses if revenue (and waste) is not received before construction of a repository. The Final Report of the Royal Commission states (p.300) (emphasis added): “Figure J.8 also demonstrates that a facility configuration scenario is viable only with the establishment of a surface interim storage facility capable of accepting used fuel prior to construction of geological disposal facilities. Configurations 3 and 4, which did not include interim storage facilities (see Table J.1), did not generate profits because of the delay in receiving waste and associated revenues.”

Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council is clearly sensitive to SA public opinion, pointing to the Citizen Jury’s rejection of the proposal and noting that: “Without the understanding and support from Australian … nuclear waste storage cannot be developed.”

The nuclear waste dump lobbyists are hanging on to the ludicrous proposition that potential client countries will gamble hundreds of millions or billions of dollars on a waste dump plan that is:
* Opposed by three political parties in SA (Liberals, Greens, NXT) and by many within the ALP.
* Opposed by a majority of South Australians (e.g. 31% support vs. 53% opposition in the SA Government’s statewide consultation process; and a November 2016 poll commissioned by the Sunday Mail found just 35% support.)
* Opposed by a vast majority of Aboriginal Traditional Owners on whose land the high-level nuclear waste dump would necessarily be located. (The SA government’s Community Views Report said: “There was a significant lack of support for the government to continue pursuing any form of nuclear storage and disposal facilities. Some Aboriginal people indicated that they are interested in learning more and continuing the conversation, but these were few in number.”)
* Rejected by two-thirds of the 350-strong Citizens’ Jury “under any circumstances”.

Taiwan has clearly stated that it has no intention of gambling vast sums of money on a nuclear dump in SA and it is equally improbable that any other potential client country would do so. In which case South Australians would need to gamble hundreds of millions or billions of dollars on a project with no guarantee of any return on the investment.

Late last year, Mr Heard had to correct a statement falsely claiming that most South Australians support the high-level nuclear dump plan and he begins 2017 with another falsehood. He should have the decency to apologise to the Liberal Party and to environment groups for his latest falsehood and slander. Interestingly, the statement falsely claiming that most South Australians support the high-level nuclear dump plan was endorsed by SA’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Leanna Read. Shamefully, the state’s chief fact-checker didn’t bother to check her facts.

Mr Heard also conveniently ignores real-world experience with nuclear waste projects:
* Estimates of the clean-up costs for a range of (civil and military) UK nuclear sites including Sellafield have nearly doubled from a 2005 estimate of £56 billion (A$91.6 billion) to over £100 billion (A$163.6 billion)
* In 2005, the French government’s nuclear waste agency Andra estimated the cost of a deep geological repository at between €13.5 and €16.5 billion (A$19.0‒23.2 billion). In 2016, Andra estimates the cost of the repository at between €20 billion to €30 billion (A$28.1‒42.2 billion). As with the UK, the latest French estimates are nearly double the earlier estimates.
* Between 2001 and 2008, the estimated cost of constructing the Yucca Mountain high level nuclear waste repository in the USA and operating it for 150 years increased by 67%, from US$57.5 billion to US$96.2 billion (A$75.1 billion ‒ $125.7 billion). Yucca Mountain was abandoned – so the USA wasted US$13.5 billion (A$17.6 billion) and still doesn’t have a repository.

The Nuclear Economics Consulting Group report commissioned by the SA Joint Select Committee concluded that the nuclear waste import project could be profitable under certain assumptions but the report then raises serious questions about most of those assumptions. The NECG report notes that the Royal Commission’s economic analysis didn’t even consider some important issues which “have significant serious potential to adversely impact the project and its commercial outcomes”; that assumptions about price are “overly optimistic” and if that is the case “project profitability is seriously at risk”; that the 25% cost contingency for delays and blowouts is likely to be a significant underestimate; and that the assumption the project would capture 50% of the available market had “little support or justification”.

Finally, Mr Heard’s promotion of fast breeder reactors is beyond stupid. For all the rhetoric about Generation IV fast breeder reactors, and the US$100+ billion invested worldwide, only five such reactors are operating worldwide (three of them experimental) and only one is under construction (in India). Most of the countries that invested in fast breeder reactors have given up, deciding not to throw good money after bad. Last year, Japan decided to give up on the Monju fast breeder reactor, a fiasco that will cost Japanese taxpayers A$17.3 billion in construction, operation and decommissioning costs despite the fact that the reactor rarely operated.

The Royal Commission completely rejected proposals advanced by Heard and others for ‘advanced fast reactors’, noting in its final report that such reactors are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future; that the development of such a first-of-a-kind project would have high commercial and technical risk; that there is no licensed, commercially proven design and development to that point would require substantial capital investment; and that electricity generated from such reactors has not been demonstrated to be cost competitive with current light water reactor designs.

Hansard reveals how Australian government tricks the public on High Level Nuclear Waste

February 4, 2017
text-half-truth Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 4 Feb 17   Seems like Australia put a lot of effort to get other nations to call “High Level Waste” intermediate level. It didn’t work. USA, Canada, France, Japan and UK still call Vitrified reprocessed waste “High Level”.
From Hansard: “Mrs CROSIO – If we have international definitions, why in evidence we have received do they keep on saying that ANSTO refer to their waste at one level as intermediate waste where America would classify that same waste as high level waste? Why are we different?

Prof. Garnett – America is the one that is different. America has not yet adopted the internationally agreed definitions. Dr Cameron is on the committee. He is also involved in the International Atomic Energy Agency. My director of materials, Dr Jostsons, whom you met, is also on relevant committees, and at this stage America is not conforming with the internationally agreed definitions.” Joint Committee on Public Works 14/05/99
In a response to Professor Garnett 21/02/2002 – “Senator SCHACHT —We have had a raging debate in South Australia about whether there should be a depository for low level nuclear waste, high level nuclear waste and—now I can see—intermediate level waste. If you want to go to South Australia and announce that no high level nuclear waste from Lucas Heights will be stored in the future, but we are going to call it intermediate nuclear waste from the spent fuel rods after reprocessing, good luck to you as you get chased out of town. No-one is going to believe you that that is a thing that South Australians want to live with.”decades.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

Australian government confused about nuclear waste- as extracts from Hansard show

January 21, 2017
 Australian environmental watchdog activists are studying  the tired old arguments rehashed in Parliament   since the 1950s. Here’s  a sample of their findings on nuclear waste .
Steve Dale  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia From 2006 – “We need to know what sort of fuel we are talking about, and it is important that we understand this. It is not physically Australian waste material that will be returned.
If you listen to the government, you would say we are getting a neat package of fuel sent back to us after it has been reprocessed. This is simply not the case. What we will get back will be a proportion of the by-product of spent fuel from every country that sends its waste to France for reprocessing, divided between the contributing countries.
Each country of origin of the waste will receive a proportion of different elements from the reprocessing of the fuel. The main elements are vitrified fission product—high-level waste compacted residues, the hulls and end pieces from the metallic casings—and also high-level waste uranium and plutonium.” Mr Snowden, 19 October 2006. Found with search terms “nuclear vitrified high”
  In various places it was mention that radioactive waste would be “safe” after 300 years. Members were obviously being told that by their advisors. The intense Gamma from Cesium-137 would be gone after 300 years, but the Plutonium etc. will be there for hundreds of thousands of years – I really got the impression that the members of Parliament were not being told the complete truth by their advisors/lobbyists.
diagram-waste-levels
 
Is vitrified waste from La Hague High Level? Back in 1997 the government thought so – “(2) The high-level radioactive waste being carried by the Pacific Teal is in a vitrified form,…… ” – Senator Hill 24 March 1997 and “(3) The waste being carried by the Pacific Teal is high-level radioactive waste (HLW), consisting of mixed fission products resulting from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. The waste is in a vitrified form ….” Senator Hill 4 March 1997.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

Nuclear lobbyist Ben Heard gathers Big Nob support for nuclear waste importing to South Australia

December 12, 2016

logo-bright-new-world

12 Dec 16 Australian nuclear lobbyists have had remarkable success in making themselves famous internationally, which is probably their main aim. . Barry Brook set this off, with a thin veil of environmentalism covering his dedication to the nuclear industry, in Brave New Climate. He got a heap of well-meaning environmentalists to sign up to a pro nuclear letter.

Now Ben Heard has gone a step further, with HIS nuclear front group – Bright New World. He’s got 25 important people to sign up to a pro nuclear campaign for South Australia.  As with Brook’s disciples, some of these people seem quite altruistic and disconnected with the nuclear and mining industries.

Others do not:

Dr Ian Gould:   chairing South Australia Energy and Resources Investment Conference 23-24 May 2017  Adelaide, geologist with  40 years experience in the minerals industry in diverse and senior positions, mainly within the CRA/Rio Tinto Group, current Chancellor of the University of South Australia and was awarded an AM in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to mining.

David Klingberg is a South Australian businessman, civil engineer and former Chancellor of the University of South Australia. director of ASX listed companies E & A Ltd and Centrex Metals Ltd. Klingberg is chair of a technical sub-group working on the Australian Government‘s National Radioactive Waste Management Project. 

Dr Leanna Read is South Australia’s  Chief Scientist, Expert Advisory Committee of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission in South Australia.] Read is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering,[which advocated for nuclear power in Australia in August 2014.. Read is also the Chair of the South Australian Science Council.

Stephen Young  director or Chairman on a number of companies including ,Electricity Trust of South Australia, Australian Submarine Corporation ,The University of Adelaide ,E&A ltd and its Subsidiaries.

Mr Jim McDowell Chancellor of the University of South Australia   Jim McDowell is currently Chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and non-Executive director of a number of private and listed companies. He advises the Federal Government in a number of areas of Defence and Defence Procurement. He is a member of the First Principles Review of the Department of Defence and is currently on the Expert Advisory Panel for the Future Submarine. Formerly CEO OF BAE Systems Australia, the nation’s largest defence contractor.

Michael John Terlet  Primary qualification in Electrical EngineeringNon Executive Chairman of Sandvik Mining and Construction Adelaide Ltd, a Director of Australian Submarine Corporation Pty. Ltd. Served as the Chief Executive Officer at AWA Defence Industries, Chairman of SA Centre for Manufacturing, Defence Manufacturing Council SA (MTIA)

Graham Douglas Walters AM, FCA Mr. Graham Douglas Walters, AM, FCA, serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Minelab Electronics Pty Ltd. Mr. Walters serves as Chairman and Director at Minelab International Pty Ltd.

First a Federal nuclear waste dump for South Australia – then the commercial waste importing plan?

December 8, 2016

zombie-rising-wastes

It seems there is no way that the federal plan could develop into that grandiose project [the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission importing plan].

But the federal nuclear waste project starts the process in some important ways.

Environmentalists had better stop rejoicing and start examining the machinations behind the Federal Government plan.

Exhuming South Australia’s nuclear waste import dump plan, Independent Australia,  7 December 2016,  The SA nuclear waste dump may be dead in the water but a nuclear waste import plan may now be a Federal affair, writes Noel Wauchope.

POLITICAL SUPPORT for South Australia’s nuclear waste import project has collapsed……..

You would think that, with an election coming up in 2018, Jay Weatherill might ponder on the advantages of making a gracious retreat, respecting the remarkably strong recommendation from his own Citizens’ Jury, that the international nuclear dump was not to go ahead “under any circumstances“.

But Jay Weatherill is persisting with the plan, even though it is a bell tolling his political suicide. We can only suspect that Weatherill has some very poor advisers, or that he is beholden to the nuclear lobby.

Let not the anti-nuclear movement rejoice

The plan for importing nuclear waste to South Australia has been several decades in the making and this recent government push has cost at least $13 million. The nuclear lobby is not giving up so easily. The focus now shifts to the plan for a Federal Government nuclear waste dump in Barndioota.

 

It would be naive to think that these two plans are not connected.

Australia has a relatively small but enthusiastic pro-nuclear lobby, led by Ben Heard and Barry Brook. Ben Heard – who has just started a pro-nuclear group seeking charity status – made the connection between the two waste dump plans, explaining why South Australia could take not only Australia’s but also the world’s nuclear waste.

It is a simple, and in a way logical, idea to say that once a place is radioactively polluted, well, why not choose that place to dump more radioactive pollution? ……..what if we got a nuclear waste dump in South Australia? One that started out storing “low level medical” nuclear waste but then got “intermediate level” nuclear waste originally derived from Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor? Especially as medical nuclear wastes are so short-lived — radioactivity lasting generally for just hours, or a few days, it would be pretty silly to have a great big repository site, with not enough wastes to fill it.

……..if medical wastes are radioactive for only hours, or a few days, why would they need to be transported for thousands of miles across the continent? They are produced in very small quantities and currently stored near the point of use — in hospitals. (There’s actually a strong argument for the use of non-nuclear cyclotrons to produce these isotopes close to the hospitals, rather than at the centralised nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney.)

So, an underground nuclear waste facility for medical wastes, at remote Barndioota, in South Australia, doesn’t seem necessary.

But then there’s the processed nuclear waste returning to Lucas Heights, from France and the UK. The Australian Government describes this as intermediate-level waste that isn’t harmful unless mismanaged. The French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has classified it as high-level (long-life) waste according to standards set by ANDRA, the French national radioactive waste management agency. High-level waste is ANDRA’s most severe nuclear waste classification.

Nuclear Shipment Truth Exposed

It is pretty clear that the purpose of the proposed Barndioota nuclear waste dump is the disposal of Australia’s intermediate to high-level waste returning from overseas…….

It seems there is no way that the federal plan could develop into that grandiose project [the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission importing plan].

Federal nuclear waste project to start the process

But the federal nuclear waste project starts the process in some important ways.

First, the plan must navigate several legal difficulties. In 2010, former premier Mike Rann brought in laws to prevent a national nuclear waste dump being placed in South Australia — laws which would have to be repealed before the Federal Government could proceed. Federally, the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 did water down prohibitions on nuclear waste dumping but there are still provisions that have to be overcome, particularly in relation to Aboriginal rights.

Secondly, there is that Aboriginal question. I think that the State and Federal governments are justifiably wary of the opposition they might meet from Indigenous communities — and they are working on that problem. The South Australian Government recently imposed Aboriginal Regional Authorities upon the State’s Indigenous communities. These are being used to fast-track and rubber stamp development over much of the land. They would be integral to Jay Weatherill’s strategy of manufacturing consent……

An unspoken part of the process must surely be the development of the Federal Government’s nuclear waste facility in South Australia, which would conveniently overcome some big hurdles and would make that State look like an attractive place for a nuclear hub.

Environmentalists had better stop rejoicing and start examining the machinations behind the Federal Government plan. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/exhuming-south-australias-nuclear-waste-import-dump,9814

New move to suggest Kimba, South Australia, as national nuclear waste dump

November 30, 2016

poster-flinders-ranges

Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 30 Nov 16  TheNational Radioactive Waste Management Facility project team was invited to Kimba, South Australia, last week by the local group Working for Kimba’s Future.
The team discussed with locals the possibility of Kimba rejoining the process to nominate a site to host the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.
The team will visit Kimba again on December 6, 7 and 8.

Paul Waldon There always a politician behind something like this, you just have to look and you will find.
Steve Dale Kimba is close to the proposed Iron Road project. I’ve seen Jacobs name associated with that project. Cape Hardy port could be used for exporting ore and importing waste. Maybe the Flinders location was used as a distraction for the Federal election to take some of the heat off the local member.
Charlotte Alyce Jane Markwick Wouldn’t surprise me, they’re so calculating and dishonest 
Annette Ellen Skipworth Port hardy is located 60 kilometre north of port lincoln and there is a proposed rail line to the mine about 40 kilometres from the proposed nuclear dump site
 Steve Dale Any national dump in South Australia will be pushed into becoming an international dump – no nuclear dumps in South Australia.
Noel Wauchope Steve Dale The federal dump doesn’t have to be expanded to an international one. It would work to get the idea psychologically accepted that South Australia is THE PLACE for another dump, a global nuclear dump – heck a global nuclear hub – nuclear submarines the full nuclear chain etc.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/#

Key Findings of South Australia’s Nuclear ‘Community Views Report’.

November 14, 2016

community-consultation

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency, November 2016, ‘Community Views Report’.

http://assets.yoursay.sa.gov.au/production/2016/11/11/09/37/34/0c1d5954-9f04-4e50-9d95-ca3bfb7d1227/NFCRC%20CARA%20Community%20Views%20Report.pdf

Jim Green, 13 Nov 16  Page 19: The report states: “Over thirty per cent (31%) of South Australians interviewed in the three rounds of telephone surveys supported the storage and disposal of nuclear waste from other countries in the state, while 53% opposed the proposal and 16% were unsure or didn’t know enough.”

Page 18: The report distinguishes ‘representative feedback’ (participation in telephone surveys and focus groups by random selection) from self-selected feedback (feedback forms, online survey, conversation kit). In the representative feedback (4016 people), 43% of people supported or strongly supported continuing to explore the nuclear waste dump proposal, while 37% were opposed or strongly opposed. In the self-selected feedback (4499 people), 64% of people opposed or strongly opposed continuation, more than double the 29% who supported or strongly supported continuation.

Adding the figures together (which the report does not do):

1727 + 1305= 3032 people support continuing to explore the proposal

1486 + 2879 = 4365 people oppose continuing to explore the proposal

Page 34: Within the structured channels of feedback forms and telephone and online surveys, 198 people who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander provided feedback. In terms of support for continuing to explore the establishment of a nuclear storage facility for international waste in SA, 34% of Aboriginal people in the representative sample (total 56 people) were supportive and 50% were opposed, compared to 16% supportive and 73% opposed in the self-selected feedback (total 138 people).

Combining the figures (which the report does not do):

Support continuing to explore the proposal: 19 + 22 = 41 people

Oppose continuing to explore the proposal: 28 + 101 = 129 people

The report states (page 9): “Many [Aboriginal] participants expressed concern about the potential negative impacts on their culture and the long-term, generational consequences of increasing the state’s participation in the nuclear fuel cycle. There was a significant lack of support for the government to continue pursuing any form of nuclear storage and disposal facilities. Some Aboriginal people indicated that they are interested in learning more and continuing the conversation, but these were few in number.”

Page 22: How confident are you that nuclear waste can be transported and stored safely?

Confident or very confident 20%

Not confident or not at all confident 70%

In four places the report produces survey results regarding what the next steps should be. In all cases the most common response was that the nuclear waste dump proposal should be stopped. In three of the four cases, stopping the proposal was vastly more popular than the second most common response:

p.23: 28% stop the proposal vs next most common response 7%

p.26: 18% stop the proposal vs next most common response 17%

p.29: 25% stop the proposal vs next most common response 8%

p.31: 28% stop the proposal vs next most common response 8%

Page 24: Self-selected feedback channels showed that confidence that the government would consider community views in its decision was low at 20%, with 70% not confident.

Page 28: Asked about confidence in government’s ability to regulate any new nuclear industry activities in South Australia, 43% of the representative sample (total 4016 people) said they were not confident, compared with 38% who were confident. Of the self-selected feedback (total 3330 people), 74% were not confident and 18% were confident.
Combining the figures (which the report does not do):

Confident: 1526 + 599 = 2125

Not confident: 1726 + 2464 = 4190

Page 30: On the question of confidence that a nuclear waste disposal facility would bring significant economic benefits to SA, 66% of the people who submitted online

South Australia’s Nuclear Citizens Jury showed, yet again, indigenous people’s strong opposition to nuclear waste dumping

November 13, 2016

heartland-2Nuclear citizens’ jury: five surprising things INDaily , 7 Nov 16 “……The State Government is today pondering what to make of the report of the second citizens’ jury which looked at whether South Australia should pursue the establishment of a facility to accept the world’s high level nuclear waste.

Two thirds of the 350 jurors rejected the proposition – under any circumstances.

The report shows not only a lack of faith in the concept outlined in the state’s nuclear industry royal commission, but along the way, the 50-odd pages of the citizen’s jury report has offered an indictment of a whole generation of South Australian politicians.

You wouldn’t know it from much of the media coverage since the report was handed down yesterday, but a key factor in the jury’s decision was the overwhelming Aboriginal opposition to a nuclear waste dump.

“There is a lack of aboriginal consent,” the report says. “We believe that the government should accept that the Elders have said NO and stop ignoring their opinions. The aboriginal people of South Australia (and Australia) continue to be neglected and ignored by all levels of government instead of respected and treated as equals.”

Premier Jay Weatherill, who is pushing on with analysing the wider community’s response beyond the citizens’ jury process, will find it impossible to ignore these statements.

When the ABC’s Q&A program visited Adelaide in September, Weatherill was challenged by Aboriginal leader Karina Lester about why the Government was pushing on with the proposal despite clear indigenous opposition (Lester’s father Yami lost most of his vision as a result of the Maralinga atomic tests).

Weatherill – and he’s quoted in the jury report – told a national television audience that a dump would “require essentially the explicit consent of traditional owners” and that “if it did not exist, it wouldn’t happen”.

It seems clear the majority of Aboriginal people will never agree to a high level waste dump – and the jury accepted that proposition…….

A majority of the jurors believed that building a nuclear waste dump in South Australia would damage our global reputation.

They believe “the risks to brand damage are not worth the cost and possible long-term negative outcomes”.

As evidence of South Australia’s esteem in the world, the jury report quoted a Lonely Planet announcement that was trumpeted loudly by the Government just a few weeks ago.

“South Australia’s recently ranked the ‘5th Best Regional Centre in the World’ by Lonely Planet for 2017,” the report says. “‘Lonely Planet is a brand the largest travel guide book publisher in the world’, and is a brand general population of the world know and trust. We need to stay with our brand’s essence.”……..

The jury report says the economics of the proposal was one of four key determining principles, along with content, trust and safety.

“Multiple threads of concern are present that undermine the confidence of jurors in the Royal Commission report’s validity,” the report says. “These concerns collectively combine to affect a powerful NO response to the concept of pursuing the storage and disposal of high level nuclear waste in SA…. Read the full report here.    http://indaily.com.au/news/local/2016/11/07/nuclear-citizens-jury-five-surprising-things/

Australia as global nuclear toilet? (corrected version)

October 28, 2016

Weatherill nuclear dream

Will Australia become the global nuclear toilet?, [corrected version] Noel Wauchope, 29 Oct 16  It’s not obvious to the rest of the nation, but this question is about to be advocated in two South Australian events, that will have repercussions for the whole of Australia. These are the second Nuclear Citizens’ Jury in Adelaide on October 29 and the South
Australian Labor Party Conference, also on October 29.  The ALP conference is really the most important one, as Premier Weatherill will surely need the backing of his own party as he moves to the process of overturning South Australia’s law against nuclear waste importing.

Indeed, the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is really irrelevant. Whatever decision it makes, is in no way binding on the government. And anyway, this so-called “Jury” of 350 persons cannot make a convincing decision. The brief given to them is worded, in terms that come straight from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission South Australia’s (NFCRC)  report that advocated nuclear waste importing:

Under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?

I understand that some jurors wanted a change from this question, but no change was allowed.

The previous Citizens’ Jury had some very dubious witness presentations, particularly on the health effects of ionising radiation. This was not entirely the fault of the organisers, DemocracyCo, as the 50 jury members themselves selected the witnesses to be invited.

One might expect this second Citizens’ jury to be better served by witnesses, but the new witness list is a curiously mixed bag.  Of the 31 names,  16 are likely to be supporters of nuclear waste importing, 11 opposing it, and 4 appear to be neutral.
The most worrying section in this Citizens’ Jury is the session on SAFETY, dealing with general safety, siting and transport. For this session, there are 7 witnesses. Of these, only one witness, Dean Summers , appears to be anti nuclear, and one  a neutral expert. This is Professor Sandy Steacy who knows all about earthquakes.

The witnesses are:

  1. Professor David Giles, of Minerals & Resources Engineering Future Industries Institute has all too strong a background in the mining industry. 
  2. Dr John Loy: his theme is all about medical waste(an almost negligible component of Australia’s own Lucas Heights nuclear waste), and over-confidence on the safety of nuclear waste facilities. He has a background in promoting nuclear power to United Arab Emirates.
  3. Frank Boulton, General Manager  WMC (Olympic Dam Marketing) Pty Ltd
  4. Dr AndrewHerczeg, formerly of the International Atomic Energy Agency 
  5. Ian Hore-Lacy formerly of the Uranium Institute in Australia-he now works for the World Nuclear Association. Mr Hore-Lacy is unusual: he sees support for nuclear power as areligious and moral duty (He is also very critical of Pope Francis’ ideas on environment)

These pro nuclear experts have had much to say on storage of nuclear wastes. But none seems to have taken much interest in the issues around transporting highly radioactive wastes over thousands of kilometres across oceans and land.  With the increasing volatility of weather events, as climate change progresses, and with the also growing concerns about terrorism, this omission is one of the greatest weaknesses of the case for importing nuclear wastes. The subject just glossed over in a few brief paragraphs in the NFCRC Report.

On the subject of SAFETY, focussing on the aspect of human health, one witness,  Tony Hooker is a bit of a worry. He worked with Professor Pamela Sykes on her mouse studies, at Flinders University?   Funded by America’s Department of Energy, Syke’s research purported to show that low dose radiation is actually good for you. 

The 6 witnesss for this section are not evenly matched, with Dr Margaret Beavis and Dr Robert Hall opposing nuclear waste importing, and Dr Paul Degman, Dr Sami Hautakangas , Dr Stephan Bayer  and Dr Tony Hooker likely to support it.

The vital section could well turn out to be ECONOMICS.  And here, there IS a surprise, with an apparent bias towards the negative camp.   Speakers Adjunct Professor Richard Blandy,Richard Dennis, Professor Barbara Pocock and Assoc. Professor Mark Diesendorf (via Skype) all have views opposing waste importation. The remaining speaker, Tim Johnson, from Jacobs, is supportive of the plan, but only cautiously so. 

If economics were the only consideration, the waste import plan might conceivably die a quiet death, following this Citizens’ Jury, and a possibly negative report from a Parliamentary Inquiry. However, there are other considerations, such as underlying connections with the defence industry.

The South Australian Labor government, led by Premier Jay Weatherill, is enthusiastically backing the nuclear lobby’s campaign for setting up South Australia as the first place in the world to invite in the world’s nuclear waste, as a profit-making enterprise.

In practical terms, you can forget this government’s extravagant public relations promotion of the nuclear industry, culminating in these “Citizens’ Juries”. They really matter very little, in comparison with the actual steps to be taken for the pro nuclear campaign to succeed.
Step One is to overturn a South Australian law – the NuclearWaste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000. It includes:

8           Prohibition against construction or operation of nuclear waste storage facility

9          Prohibition against importation or transportation of nuclear waste for delivery to nuclear waste storage facility   (The Act does have exemptions for the nuclear waste generated within Australia, e.g from Australia’s research reactor at Lucas Heights).

The government has already weakened this Act (In April 2016) by amending this provision:

13—No public money to be used to encourage or finance construction or operation of nuclear waste storage facility

(1)     Despite any other Act or law to the contrary, no public money may be appropriated, expended or advanced to any person for the purpose of encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State.

They had to change it quickly – to allow for financing community consultation or debate on the desirability or otherwise of constructing or operating a nuclear waste storage facility in this State.  – seeing that they had already spent $7.2 million promoting nuclear waste storage, in the NFCRC

Anyway, prior to overturning this Act, Premier Weatherill is surely going to need to have the Labor Party onside. At last year’s ALP Conference, He and State Labor president Peter Malinauskas made a big push for South Australia going nuclear     As the national ALP policy remains clearly opposed to all nuclear industry further development, we can expect that Weatherill will meet with some opposition to his nuclear plan from Labor members at the conference.

Perhaps the nuclear lobby, their captive South Australian Premier, and subservient national media, will not be able to press on with their plan without an unpleasant fracas.

Australia importing the world’s nuclear wastes? – an ethical case for this

October 27, 2016


ethics-nuclear-1

If indeed, the waste importing idea were conditional on a Japanese plan to close down the industry, and help Japan overcome its very serious dilemma, this could be one big move towards halting the global nuclear industry juggernaut, with its undoubted connection to nuclear weapons. Japan could pay a reasonable amount to the waste host country, without being ripped off, without that country expecting to become mega wealthy. That would be one circumstance in which it would be an ethical choice for Australia to import and dispose of nuclear waste.

“Pie in the sky!”  I hear your cry.

Yes, sadly so. Is there any chance that such an ethical decision would ever be made? I doubt it. The Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is left with the question of whether or not to support the NFCRC’s plan for a nuclear waste bonanza, or to risk possible State bankruptcy in the event of it all going wrong. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18603

Nuclear Citizens’ Jury: an ethical case for importing nuclear wastes, Online Opinion, Noel Wauchope, 25 Oct 16 The South Australian government will call another Nuclear Citizens’ Jury, on October 29 – 30. This time the jury must answer this question:

Under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?

That set me thinking. The main “circumstance” for recommending this “opportunity” is the State Government’s plan to eventually bring in a pot of gold for the State.   There really is no other argument for this project in the Report. In the 320 page report any arguments about Aboriginal issues, safety, environment, health, are aimed at rebutting criticism of the plan. They provide no argument on the plan actually improving health or environment, and are in fact quite defensive about Aboriginal impacts.

However, nuclear lobbyists have for a long time been promoting the idea that Australia has an ethical responsibility to import nuclear wastes. Terry Grieg, of the Australian Nuclear Association expressed it clearly on Robyn Williams’Ockham’s Razor show, in 2013.:….

This ethical argument is supported only by enthusiastic nuclear lobbyists. Even the World Nuclear Association is clear on the question of responsibility for nuclear wastes:

There is clear and unequivocal understanding that each country is ethically and legally responsible for its own wastes, therefore the default position is that all nuclear wastes will be disposed of in each of the 50 or so countries concerned.

So – the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury seems to be left with only one real circumstance under which it has the “opportunity” to store and dispose of nuclear wastes from other countries – the projected financial bonanza.

There are many serious critics of the economic argument, such as in submissions to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) by Senator Scott Ludlam , by Mothers For A Sustainable South AustraliaDr Mark Diesendorf, and by more recent articles such as the economic briefing by Independent Environment Campaigner, David Noonan. The current South Australian Parliamentary Inquiry has also criticised the economic plan. Senior Liberal MP Rob Lucas, a former state treasurer and the opposition’s Treasury spokesman suggested that:

…we, the taxpayers of South Australia, will be spending tens and maybe hundreds of ­millions of dollars on fool’s gold – fool’s uranium, fool’s nuclear waste dumps…….

Perhaps there IS an ethical argument for South Australia to import nuclear waste. I’m not referring to the uranium lobby’s hope that by Australia importing waste it will make their industry look good, and thus help to save its current decline.…….

At present Japan’s Shinzo Abe government is set on reviving the nuclear industry. However, there is much popular opposition to this, and Japan might well later move to the opposite policy. Interestingly, following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in 2013, Japan held a “deliberative poll” – a type of “citizens’ jury’, which resulted in this conclusion:

As a direct result of the deliberative polling process, Japan’s national government has pledged to have zero percent dependency on nuclear energy after 2030.

Here is where an ethical argument comes in. If Japan took the decision to keep its nuclear reactors closed, to close down the two that are now operating, and abandon the nuclear goal, it would still have to solve the radioactive waste problem.

Japan would need help, in many ways, to achieve that goal. It would indeed be an ethical decision for a country such as Australia, to help…….The present plan, for nuclear waste to be imported into South Australia, is based on the idea of helping South East Asian countries to set up their nuclear power projects, by conveniently solving their “back end” problem. It is above all, a plan to the benefit of the global nuclear industry, which is at present in quite a crisis.

If indeed, the waste importing idea were conditional on a Japanese plan to close down the industry, and help Japan overcome its very serious dilemma, this could be one big move towards halting the global nuclear industry juggernaut, with its undoubted connection to nuclear weapons. Japan could pay a reasonable amount to the waste host country, without being ripped off, without that country expecting to become mega wealthy. That would be one circumstance in which it would be an ethical choice for South Australia to import and dispose of nuclear waste.

“Pie in the sky!”  I hear your cry.

Yes, sadly so. Is there any chance that such an ethical decision would ever be made? I doubt it. The Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is left with the question of whether or not to support the NFCRC’s plan for a nuclear waste bonanza, or to risk possible State bankruptcy in the event of it all going wrong. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18603