Plan to use Aboriginal land as a nuclear waste dump is flawed and misguided

This week, federal resource minister Gary Gray is talking radioactive waste with Aboriginal people in remote central Australia.

Six years ago an Aboriginal clan group, the Northern Land Council (NLC) and the then Howard government signed a secret deal to develop Australia’s first purpose-built national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

The commercial-in-confidence plan saw the clan group “volunteer” an area of the shared Muckaty Land Trust for the burial and above ground storage of radioactive waste in return for federal payments, promises and a “package of benefits” worth around $12m.

The deal was not known about or supported by the rest of the Muckaty Traditional Owners and remains the source of bitter contest, deep opposition and a Federal Court challenge. Now Gray is back to talk with the NLC about a second site nomination on Muckaty. Unfortunately the new plan appears to follow the old pattern of secrecy, exclusion and contest.

Written by Dave Sweeney. To read the full article, click here.

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Could Solar Power Ride to the Rescue in Southern California?

For decades, the twin domes of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, perched along the beach in Orange County, have been a landmark for anyone driving from L.A. to San Diego. The domes aren’t going anywhere, but on June 7, SoCal Edison voted to permanently shutter the plant, which has been closed for repairs since January 2012, when engineers discovered that hundreds of little cooling tubes were defective.

Cue the hand-wringing, as everyone in Southern California tries to figure out whether the A/C-hungry region can make it through a hot summer without rolling blackouts now that a plant that used to generate enough power for 1.4 million homes is offline. What’s going to replace the energy from San Onofre’s clean nuclear power plant?

Written by RL Miller. To read the full article, click here

Solar power still better than nuclear in the fight against climate change

George Monbiot claims in a gentlemanly article to have won our £100 bet, made three years ago, that solar PV would be at grid parity – the same cost as conventional retail electricity – by 2013.

The very good news is that over the past three years, the actual average price of installed residential solar PV has come down some 60%, while the cost of new nuclear has gone up 70% and is still rising. I base the former on the real achievement at my company Solarcentury and the latter on a recent compilation in Le Monde of data for EDF’s Flamanville EPR reactor, the type of nuclear plant nuclear advocates like George want to foist on the UK economy at great cost to the public, starting at Hinkley Point.

Written by Jeremy Leggett. To read the full article, click here