Australia-India nuclear deal fails to meet its objectives - and other nuclear news

Besides its collateral damage to Australia's security, commercial and diplomatic interests, the soon-to-be ratified Australia-India nuclear cooperation agreement notably fails to meet its objectives. The aim was to give a green light to Australian uranium exports to India. Two objectives were to be served, one commercial, the other diplomatic. A vast new market was to be opened for Australian uranium exporters and India was to be convinced Australia was a reliable partner, worthy of a closer relationship. 


By Ron Walker, currently a visiting fellow at the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at ANU. Ron is a former DFAT officer who worked for 20 years in Australia's nuclear diplomacy. Among the positions he occupied were the first Head of the Nuclear Safeguards Branch and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency

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Instead, as has been exposed in the Joint Parliamentary Committee, the Australian side gave away so much in the course of the negotiations on safeguards against nuclear proliferation and left open such loopholes for Australian uranium to end up in bombs or otherwise help their manufacture, that this proposed treaty does not do what Australia's 23 existing nuclear safeguards treaties do.

Unlike them, it does not give Australian exporters legally watertight guarantees that the trade will be subject to effective controls against misuse of the uranium in ways Australian companies neither want nor could afford. So many deficiencies in the proposed treaty have been exposed it amounts at best, not to a greenlight but to a blinking yellow one. Not 'all is guaranteed safe' but 'proceed carefully at your own peril'. And JSCOT's main recommendation is a red light: no uranium exports to be permitted for the foreseeable future.

How Australian companies will respond and what risks they will be prepared to take remains to be seen, but no responsible government would have placed them in this situation.

The Indian Government has every reason to feel it too has been dudded. Instead of a reliable supply, there is a big element of precariousness. As for a demonstration of the Australian Government's trustworthiness as a close partner, the contrary impression is conveyed of a bumbling inability to manage our own end of the deal.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission hears Adelaide Hills site earmarked as suitable for nuclear reactor

September 18, 2015. SITES in the Adelaide Hills and Port Augusta have been earmarked as suitable for a nuclear power plant should one be built in South Australia, a royal commission has heard.

Too dangerous to sell India uranium

Dave Sweeney

Our Parliament has provided a welcome circuit breaker to a very dangerous government proposal. After examining the controversial plan to sell Australian uranium to India, the influential Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has found that unresolved safety, security, legal and nuclear weapons issues need to be addressed before any uranium is sold or supplied to India.

IAEA holds briefing on Fukushima accident report

September 18, 2015. The International Atomic Energy Agency has briefed its members on its report on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011. It says an assumption that nuclear power plants are safe meant Japan was unprepared for a severe accident.
The IAEA held the briefing at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday. The 1,200-page-plus report was put together by about 180 experts from more than 40 member countries.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said the report will be useful for all countries that either have, or are planning to build, nuclear power plants. Experts pointed out in the report that Japan was not sufficiently prepared for a severe nuclear accident due to the assumption that nuclear plants were safe.

Koizumi calls for national movement to lead fight against nuclear power

September 13, 2015. Although he has no plans to return to national politics, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi tells the electorate not to lose hope in the campaign against nuclear power.

Reactor Next to a Volcano? Japan’s New Nuclear Gamble

Japan’s post-Fukushima safety guidelines are being ignored and face a possible trial by fire, by law and maybe by terror.

Massive earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal waves, and natural disasters galore - Japan would seem a rather precarious perch for nuclear power plants. Flooding from Tropical Storm Etau, which overwhelmed the water pumps at the infamous ruins of Fukushima, washing more radioactive waste into the ocean, ought to serve as yet another reminder of how fragile Japan’s atomic energy program really is.

More than 300 bags from Fukushima cleanup washed away during Tochigi floods

September 18, 2015. NIKKO, Tochigi Prefecture--At least 334 bags containing radioactive grass and soil from the Fukushima nuclear disaster cleanup have apparently been swept into a tributary of the Kinugawa river during recent torrential rains, according to Nikko city.

Solar power farms grow in shadow of Fukushima plant

Sep 16, 2015. FUKUSHIMA - Parcels of farmland totalling 250 hectares near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are returning to life and being covered with solar panels, amid government incentives to invest in renewable power.

850 tons of decontaminated Fukushima water dumped into ocean

15 September 2015. The first batch of radioactive groundwater filtered below ‘measurable limits’ at Japans tsumani-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant has been dumped into the ocean, as TEPCO seeks to ease toxic water building-up at the site.

TEPCO dumps treated water in sea to ease toxic water buildup

Sep. 14, 2015. FUKUSHIMA  The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Monday discharged groundwater filtered after being pumped up from wells around damaged reactor buildings into the ocean, in an effort to curb the amount of toxic water building up at the complex.

TEPCO releases first batch of decontaminated Fukushima groundwater to sea

September 14, 2015. Tokyo Electric Power Co. was set to release 850 tons of treated radioactive groundwater into the sea off the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant by sundown on Sept. 14.

The discharge marks the first release under the utility's “subdrain plan," an additional measure conceived to help diminish the build-up of contaminated groundwater at the crippled facility.

North Korea's renewed nuclear threat keeps experts guessing

Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons complex relaunch seen as sabre rattling - or the prerequisite for another nuclear test.

Norway, Russia sign deal on nuclear accidents

Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority and Rosatom have signed a set of joint notification procedures in case of nuclear incidents.

South Africans denied nuclear cost reports

THREE reports by top international consultancies which explore the cost of building 9,600MW of nuclear power in SA have been classified as secret and will not be made available to the public, the Department of Energy has said.

Five reasons not to build Hinkley

Sep 11, 2015. The endgame for the UK’s new reactor project at Hinkley Point is nearing. A Chinese state visit to the UK in October may be the make-or-break point for the project to get the go-ahead. As that moment approaches, we give five reasons not to build the plant. This is an excerpt from our EU Power Weekly, which is available to our BNEF EMEA and BNEF All clients.

Last week, French energy giant EDF  announced delays to two key new reactor  projects. Firstly, Flamanville 3 in France will only come online in 2018, six years behind the initial plan and three times over budget. Also, Hinkley Point C in the UK will not be completed by 2023 due to delays in reaching a final investment decision. This adds to the uncertainty around the 3.2GW reactor project. Here are five reasons not to build Hinkley.

Query over UK’s civil and military nuclear links

13 September, 2015. Experts are asking whether the UK government’s determination to build more nuclear power stations is linked to its wish to maintain its nuclear deterrent.

Britain's nuclear plans: the Corbyn factor

17 September 2015. In the debate about replacing the Trident nuclear system, there is space for options that link British to international experience.


Entergy’s FitzPatrick Reactor May Be Next Nuclear Casualty

09/14/2015. Entergy’s 850-MW James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant located near Oswego, N.Y., may be the next reactor doomed to close on profitability woes.

Nun who broke into nuclear weapons complex resentenced

September 15, 2015. NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- An 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists have been resentenced to time served for vandalizing a storage bunker that held much of the nation's bomb-grade uranium.

Last bid to kill Iran nuclear deal blocked in Senate

Sep 17, 2015. U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked legislation meant to kill the Iran nuclear deal for a third time, securing perhaps the greatest foreign policy win of President Barack Obama's six years in office and clearing the way to implement the accord.

‘I was only 50/50’: Russian who saved world from nuclear war

FRYAZINO, Russia - The elderly former Soviet military officer who answers the door is known in the West as ‘the man who saved the world.’ A movie with that title, which hits theaters in the United States on Friday, tells the harrowing story of Sept. 26, 1983, when Stanislav Petrov made a decision credited by many with averting a nuclear war.

An alarm had gone off that night, signaling the launch of US intercontinental ballistic missiles, and it was up to the 44-year-old lieutenant colonel to determine, quickly, whether the attack on the Soviet Union was real.

‘I realized that I had to make some kind of decision, and I was only 50/50,’ Petrov told the Associated Press.

Read more & view movie trailer here:

(For details of other films to be shown at the International Uranium Film Festival Berlin 2015, September 24 to 30, go to: