Monday 20th of May 2024

No Australian Nuclear Reactors- Downer

In a coastal town at the shores of Mr Downer's Mayo electorate, the nuclear debate is rippling through the community.

fellow S.A. Senator Anne McEwen has cheekily suggested that the tourism
city of Victor Harbor, known to many as "God's Waiting Room" would be an ideal site
because of the abundance of water.

The Minister for Foreign
Affairs has responded rather cattily to the suggestion, describing
McEwen as a senator that nobody has heard of.

"There is no plan to build a nuclear power station anywhere in the
whole of Australia, least of all in Victor Harbor." Mr Downer told the Victor Harbor Times.

NO Ozzie Nuke Reactors to be built .

If my neighbour had said these words I would have believed him . But coming from a pollie it instantly reminds me of " there will be no GST ". etc,etc. They are not worthy of trust to the value of a pinch of salt . Sad , but true.

No plan - yet.

With uranium enrichment the game where the big boys are playing, I wonder if Our Alex has had a look in? I didn't notice his curly locks in the gang lined up behind Condi and Margaret, in tonight's video of the generous offer from the 'international community' to give Iran another chance to bargain. It seems like enrichment capability is going to coalesce behind old banners - the US-dominated West, up against Russia acting as locus for the others, and China sitting back.

While pondering the Snowy Hydro sale this morning, I took a sip of the green cordial. 'Uranium enrichment' and 'abundant, cheap electricity' bumped into each other. Then Lex's spectre of Pyong-yang's nukes hove into view, and the deep tunnels in the mountains started to look promising. I waited for Halliburton to slither into the picture, but then the newsflash interrupted, and Gary Nairn's painful haemorrhoids were eased..

Anyhow, has anyone drafted some costings for U enrichment as a new industry for Oz?  Or have we been frozen out of the haggling?


Trevor, how can our good friend manage the above comments and then propose nuclear powered water desalination? I mean, he's going to say that it's only a proposition, and not a plan, but even a used car salesman would have more credibility than Downers (must say it) flip-flopping

In passing, you might be interested to know that the Halliburtonisation process has become a little unstuck over here.  Our transport minister is facing major blowouts in planned infrastructure costs and completion timeframes.  Mr Conlon is saying that the South Australian Transport Department has "lost" the skills necessary to the task.  Nobody is saying where the figures that were used in the initial projections came from, but you could take a guess.

I'm beginning to wonder about this whole debate.... we stand a fair chance of Howard, Downer and Costello coming to a Pontius Pilate style of decision and leaving us in the not-so-benevolent hands of the oil mercenaries. 

A low point

Well, if we do need a full-blooded debate about further involvement in the nuclear fuel industry, then we are starting off a low base. In Debate nuclear issue first: Bishop the government holds up a report from ANSTO:

Ms Bishop released a report commissioned by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) which found that nuclear power was economically competitive with gas and coal.

Duh! What else would an industry body say? That it's own business is not viable? For goodness sake! Ms Bishop should be embarassed, if that is the best she can do. Christine Milne (Greens) scored an easy goal on that score. However, Bishop could be on the right track. Mug punters apparently believe it when the chook farmers' lobbyist says 'eat more chikin'.

That report (see above article) on the SA Transport Dept probably reflects a similarly diminished capacity in many areas where we used to rely on government. If there was a top level Energy Commission, it would establish an independent inquiry to get at the facts on nuclear energy.

Howard's government has a deep problem. It relies on close "friends" to advise it, and its' pronouncements tend toward being ideologically sound, rather than being based on the 'frank and fearless'. It's going to be difficult for it to stimulate this debate, control the outcomes so that it gets the answers it (or, more likely, its' corporate power base) wants and avoid the perception that it cannot be honest.

On a more practical level, any government will soon find out that a grand nuclear project will have some serious holes. A power station, for example, will have to be well away from a major population centre. A major project will have to attract skilled and professional staff. The frist thing an engineer in Melbourne or Milwaukee will ask about a post that's 100km from Adelaide will be about conditions for his family. Like, what sort of healthcare and schooling.

In modern healthcare, the key is access to information, and the ability to share it quickly. There is almost no connectivity in the metro, let alone out back. Take the discipline of pathology, where all that essential baseline testing is done. There are several nationwide companies, all competing with each other for the same market. They do not "talk" to each other. Neither do the public hospital laboratories. So it is conceivable any one person will have records about their health in several different repositories, all in isolation. The electronic health record was supposed to pull it all together, but it has withered under Abbott and his predecessors.

The problems of rural and remote healthcare will be looked at by Four Corners tomorow, June 5th.

Remote healthcare needs broadband connectivity. It ought to be a matter of supreme national interest, and one where Telstra has a key role. Watch what they do with Telstra. If they let it go without a thought for provision of broadband to the bush, they do not deserve to govern.  

Now, that was not circuititous, it was a case of -

Bate to Yze to Davey to NEITZ! Goal.

If Howard has a grand nation-building scheme in his little bonnet, he'd better get a new team.

No Guarantees

From Iran's supreme leader threatens oil supplies:

... Khamenei said the United States and its allies would be unable to secure oil shipments passing out of the Gulf through the strategic Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean. At its narrowest point, the strait - which separates Iran from the Arabian peninsula, is only 70 kilometers (44 miles) wide. "You will never be able to protect the energy supply in this region. You will not be able to do it," he said. ...

John Howard's political future hangs on his attachment to solving Australia's energy crisis. He will find it pretty difficult to massage the "nuclear debate" while voters buy gas-guzzlers, and public transport is in its present state.

His opinion piece in The Age (this placement, in itself, smacks of micro-management) runs his flag up the mast. His problem is that he has lined up his protagonists, and seems to expect the political opposition to mount the opposing arguments. If that's so, he has an ill-placed faith in the ability of his mode of government to deliver the best outcome for the public interest. His recent backdown on the Snowy was informed by Alan Jones, more than anything else, and certainly not by parliamentary proceedings.

Howard's successors must sense that this is the moment of change. Howard will be able to claim the victory, by setting the agenda for policy change, and hand over the task to his anointed, or he will have the rug pulled from under him by those who prefer anyone-but-Costello.

So, what will Malcolm Turnbull be turning over in the vast expanses of his gigantic mind? When his leader asks Malcolm for an honest opinion, how many will Mal be able to produce? Will Mal be 'fearless and frank' in his advice, or will he keep some of it to himself? Howard's run up to this Inquiry is already nobbled by bias. For it to proceed in good faith, it needs a good dose of objectivity, for example Don't endanger energy debate, a letter in Financial Review, June 5th:

The report on nuclear energy commissioned by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and authored by British nuclear expert John Gittus appears to be an alarming example of vested interests corrupting the energy debate in Australia.

As revealed in your "Atomic power author in conflict" (June 1) Gittus's report may have been compiled under the guiding influence of commercial interests, but has, much more significantly, damaged the real case for nuclear power in the media.

It should also be noted that true costs of alternative power generation should be considered over the long term and not just in the context of the next 10 years.

Future Directions Australia (FDI) conducted a study which was launched in federal parliament on October 6, 2005 entitled Australia's Energy Options, which outlined the possibilities for nuclear power generation within Australia and was conducted from a bipartisan, objective and strategic perspective, notably deficient of commercial interest. Where other reports, such as the ANSTO report, gain widespread media attention for their claims, they do not raise critical issues surrounding nuclear power generation.

The FDI study revealed that there are benefits in the use of thorium, not just uranium, in generating nuclear power that includes potential for thorium reactors to use spent uranium fuel rods as a dual fuel source, thus reducing the half-life of waste. Australia's proven, large resources of both thorium and uranium could give the country a major strategic advantage.

Also, critical to the energy debate is the subject of biomass, which FDI recommended requires further discussion and development to become a key part of our future energy mix.

As long as the energy debate remains focused on uranium and dominated by commercial interest, Australia's energy security could be compromised. Energy generation must be considered from a strategic perspective, which includes the role of new nuclear technology, to ensure that Australia's energy mix supports priorities of energy security.

Craig Lawrence, Executive director, Future Directions International, Perth, WA.

If Howard is persuaded to just push ahead, and select his own spear-carriers, can he bully it through by sheer force of will? He has a distinct problem with Julie Bishop, his flashy Minister-for-looking-good-in-a-leisure-suit. How will she look in a hard hat?

Turnbull has the position to place well-meaning duds next to Howard's ear, and the means to pay for his own research. He can front the water project, and engineer the nuclear debate to his own advantage behind the scenes.

Costello probably thought the invitation to brag about his superannuation reform, to the G8 in Russia, was a good start to taking up his boss's travel itinerary. Mal would have encouraged him to attend.

Finally, on the point about Telstra and information technology for healthcare, see Hospital mishaps cost $2bn:

... But Ms Pike said the HealthSMART system — including electronic prescriptions — would not be completely rolled out for another three to four years.

A letter to Financial Review (Telstra's growth), by Telstra Company Secretary:

... Rural customers might in future "lose their CDMA mobile communications", as Darley claims, but only after CDMA is replaced by a superior 3G service that will finally guarantee rural consumers have access to the same service as their city counterparts. Without upgrades of this kind, our rural citizens would still be using the telex, rotary dial phones and party lines. ...

To which rural healthcare providers should reply - Oh, yeah?


Flying turtles

In PM's nuclear path off track: Beazley

... He said Mr Howard's decision to hold an inquiry that would look at the economic viability of nuclear power, but not reveal proposed sites, was "ultimate arrogance". "If you are going to get a nuclear industry going you have got to put the reactors near cities.

"Therefore you must say, if you are going to do the economics of it properly, where the reactors will go." ...

Maybe, maybe not. But, the argument "reactors must be near cities because that's where the power grids are", leads to the question - what is Basslink, then?

Beazley is taking the wrong tack on this one, especially as he knows Howard is seeking to split the ALP over uranium. The ALP should be saying nothing, at this stage. Say nothing when Ziggy's report is released. Say nothing when Howard makes up his mind, and keeps on taunting Labor to show their hand. Wait till the government makes an actual decision about location for generators. Then let the public decide. Howard hopes Labor will be all over this one, and thereby get public engagement and a de facto policy position.

Uranium enrichment sites will be well away from the east coast, and much less contentious, especially as the plants will be privately funded. They'd better watch out for Orange-bellied Parrots and Flatback Turtles, though.

The flat backed turtle and the Halliburton Hare

Pand O (who are laying the pipes) Halliburton and all the crew beaten by a turtle?  Serves them right.  Say, should this problem have been picked in the enviromental impact assessment that KBR would have carried out?

That why I worry about impact statements being carried out by companies that tender for the jobs.  In the face of all those billions of work your ethics would have to be very solid to produce a document contradictory to your financial objectives.

A la Aesop, this story definitely has a moral


From the ABC

US moves to block uranium enrichment don't faze PM
Prime Minister John Howard says he is not worried about the United States program to discourage other countries from entering the uranium enrichment industry.

US President George W Bush is pursuing a global nuclear energy partnership, which seeks to curb the expansion of uranium enrichment beyond nations that already have the capacity.

A Federal Government inquiry is considering whether uranium enrichment should be conducted in Australia.

Mr Howard says he is not concerned about the US position against such a move.

"I don't need to talk to the US President every day about everything that pops up," Mr Howard said.

"I mean he's running his own country and I'm Prime Minister of Australia and we sort of go our separate ways - we don't talk to each other each few days," he said.
Gus: A Dorothy Dix conundrum that is not one because secret deals on the subject have already been made... but being spoon-fed bit by bit to the Australian public like to a baby... agoo agoo agoo... So that it does not appear like a mountain of pureed carrots to swallow...

Mission "boomdeeboom"

From the [|New York Times]

Web Archive Is Said to Reveal a Nuclear Primer

Published: November 3, 2006
Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.
But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.
Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”
Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.
Gus: and our Primal Munster is determined to find that Aussies are not against nuclear power as they have been in the past... He's been massaging public opinion for a while now, implanting false premises and using an enquiry — not to find about the pros and cons of Nukepower, including inevitable proliferation of weapons, but about the economic viability in a country where burning coal is a unfortunate second nature... while the sun can give as much as it likes we won't collect it much, individually... very sneaky... like the framing of the republican debate... "You want what I want... Lookatmoy! You are very sleepy..."

Decommission the Prime Minister

WA Govt says PM's support for nuclear energy 'bizarre'
Western Australia Energy Minister Fran Logan has described Prime Minister John Howard's push toward nuclear energy in Australia as "bizarre".

Mr Howard told a Liberal conference in Queensland yesterday that Australia would be foolish to ignore nuclear power production.

The Federal Government's nuclear energy task force has found a nuclear power industry could be commercially viable within 15 years.

Mr Logan says Australia does not need nuclear power.

"It is a ridiculous argument for a country like Australia, which is the largest exporter of coal in the world," she said.

"Here in Western Australia we've got some of the largest gas reserves and 120 years worth of coal.

"That we should even consider nuclear, I mean the whole argument is just bizarre."

He rejects Mr Howard's assertion that Australian attitudes to nuclear power are changing.

Mr Logan says the costs involved in building and decommissioning nuclear plants outweighs any economic benefit.

"What John Howard should do is actually talk to his counterpart in the UK Tony Blair and the Minister for Energy in the UK and talk to them about the cost of decommissioning six and seven nuclear power stations that's going on in the UK at the moment - it runs into the hundred of billions of pounds," he said.

Actually the decommissioning cost in the UK is approaching 150 BILLION Pounds which is about 350 BILLION AUDs, about the third of the now trillionaire Aussie budget... And not only that the Brits do not have that kind of money to spend so the problem is increasing... If decommissioning costs are not included in JOHNNEE's fancy footwork, then we're in for another monster form the Primal Monster. Nuclear power stations need to be decommissioned every 30 to 45 years... depending on the type of operation. Some decommission themselves, like Chernobyl... And do not let the magical ability of the French to make nuclear work economically... The end product ends up in bombs here and there. As well, it should be noted that during the heat wave a few years ago, when the mercury hit 40, some nuke-stations had to be shut down because the cooling water was not cooling enough.

government subsidies to private nuke pockets

From our ABC

Nuclear power report set for release

The Federal Government's review of nuclear power will be handed down today in Canberra.

Former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski has led the five-month inquiry into uranium mining and nuclear power.

Acting Prime Minister Mark Vaile says the Government will consider the report.

"I just want to ensure that there is a balanced and informed debate [that] takes place in Australia on this issue," he said.

Finance Minister Nick Minchin is one Government frontbencher who is sceptical about nuclear power.

"It is simply, it is not commercially viable at the moment," he said.

Labor's Anthony Albanese says the inquiry is flawed because it will not reveal possible sites for nuclear reactors.

"Where will the nuclear reactors go?" he asked.

Greenpeace chief executive Steve Shallhorn fears that it will pave the way for nuclear power, which he says is not viable.

"The only way it is going to be viable in Australia is if there is massive subsidies," he said.

"Nuclear power is the only technology that can light up your city and destroy your city."


Gus: Read our Mr Downer comment at top of this line of blog.... and see how the greater game is subtly played, with denials and shifts of position, more denials and more shifts like tug and pulls with a bit of let go... and then "balanced" reports that are already tipped in favour to make sure the flavour the government wants is definitely "sold"... Only a hard line against nuclear energy can do. Expose the sinister and double standards of that industry, including the clean up bills which we are passing onto future generations. Should nuclear  energy be operational by 2020, by 2050, when the major clean up is due, the bill will be in the vicinity of ONE TRILLION dollar per 2.5 nuclear reactors.  Furthermore your energy bill will be about 3 times the cost of what it is now in real terms. In inflationary terms it could be as high as 10 times present costs. 

Support solar, wind... and geothermal energy sources... First, the proper set-up cost would be smaller than nuclear energy anyway, the running costs would be minimal and the true cost cheaper than present energy bills... without hidden future costs such as waste disposal with half lives up to 250,000 years. But then one cannot make bombs out these... Nor is there a huge amount of money to be made. The more expensive the stint, the more "one" can cream at the top, cannot "one"? How can we defend ourselves against the North Korean nukes will be the next furphy...

New slogans?



The little riding hood: Campbell

FROM THE ABC Campbell accuses nuclear opponents of scaremongering

Federal Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell has accused opponents of scaremongering by claiming proposed new laws will allow Australia to import nuclear waste that is generated in other countries.

The Greens and the Democrats say the ANSTO Amendment Bill, which is due to be debated in Parliament next week, would allow Australia to take back the waste material generated from any uranium it exports in the future.

Senator Campbell would not confirm that is the case, but says Prime Minister John Howard has already ruled it out.

"The Prime Minister's made it quite clear that we're not storing other people's waste - that's quite clear," he said.

"Quite frankly if the Greens are serious about climate change, they'll stop going around and scaremongering about nuclear and they'll start telling a few truths, rather than distort it."

The Democrats are planning an amendment to the Bill, calling on the Government to rule out importing waste generated overseas.

Australian Democrats Senator Lyn Allison says the Bill will allow Australia to take back radioactive material to enrich it.

"We possibly move to nuclear power and that we may as well be a dump for other countries too," she said.


Gus:  "Quite frankly if the Government is serious about climate change, it'll stop going around and it'll stop promoting nuclear energy and it'll start telling a few truths, rather than distort it."


As usual, more crap...

"The question of whether it ever goes any further will be a matter for commercial decision."


after firm assurances from our Clowner of "no noclear power plant in Australia (see top blog) and then this "commercial decision" crap from our Rattus whetherus porkii, we could be left confused... and that is the speciffic purpose of the contradictions —hot and cold showers. Once one is confused on this intent and the pathways of the what's what, there is little room left to manufacture and defend an opposing viewpoint. One, thus, is eaten alive... Not our Rudd though. He knows the ridiculous spin coming at him...

Thus, all the PM's "chiding Rudd over the nuclear power conspiracy theory" is just more crap. Rudd is right but the Rattus, like a cornered calamari, spews a lot of black ink to hide his real intent, to come back withing five minutes and do what he wanted in the first place...

Conspiracy? Our rattus would not know the meaning of the word... but he could have had plenty of occasions to practice it. Who knows (some people in the liberal party might know)? A certain person(s) might have given him a hand and knows something too...? The cone of silence? The pledge at the Freemason Lodge? The top secret's act? Is johnnee a CIA agent? Or is he is doing impressions like a warm up comic at the begining of a show?

The "intelligence" build up to the war in Iraq was certainly a conspiracy, not a cock up, for starters...

So? "Eat your greens"... "take your medicine" and" dig.. for commercial deciderazation"...


El Turnbull eats uranium for breakfast

From the impartially imbalanced ABC: 50 % good Labor babble versus 50 % loaded right-wing ratted porkies

Turnbull says Labor waging nuclear scare campaign

Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull has attacked what he calls Labor's scare campaign on nuclear reactors.

The Opposition is pushing the Government to explain where nuclear power plants might be built if a nuclear industry is developed in Australia.


Gus: Gus says Turnbull waging nuclear love-in porky campaign... Support solar, wind farm, fart collecting devices but please oh please stop lauding the nuclearization of the world, including Orstralya... It's buy now, pay heaps (nuke energy is not cheap) and pays heaps more later with clean ups and residual waste for 250,000 years plus the reality that nuke power stations produce plutonium and uranium of weapon grade quality. Any caveat one can place on the use of such material is barely worth the paper it's written on but not the ink of the dribble convoluted unenforceable edict. 


And while our John Anderson of GM spruikers Inc. climbs of his box of insecticide, holding a herbicide concentrate in his ultra right pocket:


Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Keepers in Peril
Ann Johansson for The New York Times
Published: February 27, 2007

VISALIA, Calif., Feb. 23 — David Bradshaw has endured countless stings during his life as a beekeeper, but he got the shock of his career when he opened his boxes last month and found half of his 100 million bees missing.

In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers have gone through similar shocks as their bees have been disappearing inexplicably at an alarming rate, threatening not only their livelihoods but also the production of numerous crops, including California almonds, one of the nation’s most profitable.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Mr. Bradshaw, 50, said from an almond orchard here beginning to bloom. “Box after box after box are just empty. There’s nobody home...


Gus: as Gus alerted before on this site, honey bees have suffered a similar fate in Europe and the chemical culprits were many but one insecticide was mostly at the source of this amazing decline... bees have not reccovered yet and still declining I believe... 

Unfortunately, due to sections having been archived, no more postings can be made there and some of the archiving has trimmed off the substantial developments of information and only kept the short intro.

Now for some good news on this bee-topic, the forest of Eucalypts nearby is is bloom sending bees and lorrikeets totally bananas... But for how long, with more GM spruiking in the wind... ?