One of the questions I am happiest to be asked, and I am asked it a lot, is “What can I do to help?”.

Being able to answer that efficiently and effectively is one of the reasons I started this blog over three years ago.

Upon reflection, I suggest actions pretty rarely. That’s because I don’t want to waste people’s time, I don’t want to burn people out and … I want you to respond when I do ask!

Today, I have two important actions for the Australian readers and a third for all readers. Here they are.

  1. Respond to the gazettal from the Department of Industry in relation to siting a low/intermediate level waste repository

Currently, the Federal Department of Industry has released a notification of intent to open the process of siting a low/intermediate level waste repository to a nation-wide, voluntary process. This notification is open to feedback and the feedback really does matter. So, if you support the notion of a bottom-up, voluntary process where land with clear title can be brought forward for consideration in hosting this facility then please, follow the link and say so.

As I have argued this year both in on-line print and on radio, a facility such as this is both essential and safe. That being the case, I believe a bottom-up, voluntary process is absolutely the correct way to proceed. It provides the opportunity to do this right, with realistic reflections on the need for the facility, the negligible hazard it represents and the serious opportunity is may represent for a region, without the encumbrances of real-or-perceived imposition by Government.

Please consider, Australia is a nuclear nation. We have been for the long time. We have one of the world’s most important research and medical reactors. Our inability, thus far, to licence and operate a LLW/ILW repository, something that is a non-issue in about 30+ countries is a major gap in our maturity as a nuclear nation and it must be resolved. This is a strong step in the right direction so please, tell the Department. They need it on the record. This process closes on 11 November 2014, so set some time aside and make sure you do it.

2. Respond to the Energy Green Paper


The Energy Green Paper has been released and you can make a submission. Now, the paper is not a tub-thumping march toward nuclear energy in Australia. Nor is it a total cop-out on the nuclear topic, as was the case in the work done by the previous Labor Government. There are important signals of intent in relation to the removal of arbitrary legislative barriers for uranium mining and nuclear energy, and the discussion of nuclear energy is fair and shows that the informed pro-nuclear voice has been heard.

Don’t let the opportunity pass. Make a submission that supports these directions. It’s clear, to me at least, that these potential changes are more about a desire to improve regulation across the board, and less (if at all) about unshackling nuclear for its decarbonisation potential. But the result is the same.

Please, if submitting, do so in the format that is called for, and refer directly to the questions asked by the submission tool to which you wish to respond. You don’t need to respond to every question. Your responses can be short and to the point. Often that will be preferred. Make it easy for the people at the other end. Green Paper processes are not the time for essays and dissertations; they are generally not appreciated and don’t really help. Save your energy!

This process closes on 4 November 2014 so again, set some time aside and make sure it happens.

Update: Here is an example submission. Brief, clear, to the point, and the author chose not to address every question. The author is also energy writer Martin Nicholson. Feel free to use this as an idea of how to respond. It really won’t take much time.

Example response

3. Sign up to Energy for Humanity!


Many of you will have noted the arrival on the scene of Energy for Humanity. This new organisation is the first global, civil, independent organisation for the promotion of nuclear power for environmental and humanitarian reasons. It is the product of Robert Stone (Director of Pandora’s Promise) and Kirsty Gogan (CEO) with philanthropist Daniel Aegerter. I am delighted to have been invited to join the advisory committee of the organisation, a role I have accepted.

EfH in many ways represents exactly what I would have created if I thought I could, except better than I could have done it J. It’s an organisation so many of us can support with our hearts, our time and our wallets when the need arises. I had the honour of meeting Irene and Simon Aegerter yesterday. I remarked that I feel like I have a home again. I have been in the wilderness for years since I felt no option but to withdraw my support for the ENGOs that had been with me since my early twenties. No longer. EfH puts humanity back in to the middle of environmentalism, where it belongs. It has joined the dots on how we can create and preserve the greatest possible version of both Earth and humanity, with our inextricably linked futures, in the 21st century. It is eco-modernism, taking up the climate fight with the brains and compassion that environmentalism seemed unable to muster.

So, visit www.energyforhumanity.org and sign-up to be a part of it. A few years ago now I called for pro-nuclear to stop being an opinion and start being a movement. Energy for Humanity brings that reality within reach, let’s get on board and make it happen!

One last thing: share this page! Movements need numbers on actions, and that needs networks to pull together.

Thanks!

Ben.

15 comments

  1. I’ll consider the repository feedback and EfH. I still have my DVD of Pandora’s Promise so it’s adding to the promo. However on some forums like The Conversation it has been suggested the Green Paper should not be dignified with a reply. It says coal and coal exports are non-negotiable. It’s a bit like helping little old ladies across the road only so long as they support your football team. The gesture is not logically consistent.

    In my opinion the main task is to convince lazy thinkers that wind and solar will not adequately replace fossil fuels.

    1. “suggested the Green Paper should not be dignified with a reply.”

      Do you REALLY think that’s a smart approach? In politics, silence is tacit approval. As a protest gesture, that would be meaningless. We have to act to get the good outcomes from this process.

      “In my opinion the main task is to convince lazy thinkers that wind and solar will not adequately replace fossil fuels.”

      The experience of Ontario and France would suggest the main task is building nuclear power plants. The recent experience of the US would suggest the main task is bringing the cost of a power source clearly below that of coal.

      Take care: Are you acting for change, or acting to satisfy your annoyance with other people?

      1. I’ve subscribed to EfH and written a short submission via the online form for the Dept Industry. Both organisations send confirmation. I’ll have to think some more about the Green Paper.

  2. Almost went Dr Seuss there with your title.

    Great points. I’d also like to add, if I may(?), is gauge the responses in private of your local representatives. From experience if it’s verbal (face-to-face) and in confidence it’s quite interesting what the response will be. Emailing or writing a letter will most likely be responded to by an electorate officer and as it is in writing it not get a definitive response.

    When you give politicians an ounce of plausible deniability it is amazing what they will tell you.

  3. Ben, the governments’ comments surrounding the launch of the Energy Green paper were very clear. This government is not opposed to nuclear power but will only proceed if it has bipartisan support. Thus, although I think these actions are important, its also valuable to think about ways to prompt rational debate in the ALP.

    We know that previous attempts to debate nuclear in the ALP have been quashed by the leadership and this makes strategic political sense (why talk about anything other than the budget when that works so well). However, I wonder if there’s a possibility that the (generally irrational) Labor-Green animosity might give create an opportunity. If Labor could do a deal where they agreed to support nuclear energy in exchange for a raised emissions abatement target, this could transform the national climate change debate, and might create an attractive (to Labor) opportunity to sideline the Greens.

  4. Further to Jon’s comment above, I have previously sent this link – http://www.sacome.org.au/media/media-releases/512-call-for-mature-debate-on-nuclear-power-as-survey-shows-positive-public-opinion-of-south-australians.html – both my Federal and State MP’s. Given that pollies spend their waking (and sleeping, I suspect) hours obsessing over the next opinion poll, this may provide them with a soupçon of courage to reduce their paralyzing fear of this topic at least. Oh, orright, I’m a cock-eyed optimist.

  5. G’day Ben,
    Well done again. You’re certainly making your mark, AND good progress. I’ve sent a submission to the Green Paper people and am looking forward to the White Paper, when it becomes available. My submission was rather lengthy as I had already sent it [unsolicited] to the SA Resources Infrastructure Taskforce as indeed I had to several other pro – nuclear people ,including the ANA, [John Harries] Ian Hore-Lacy, the late Keith Alder [he died a few weeks ago] and former head of Rio Tinto, John Reynolds etc. They all gave it the thumbs up. I modified it slightly for the White Paper Taskforce. I’ve also been encouraged by further discussions with my local member, Peter Treloar [Liberal]. We’re coming over for the Festival in late February. I’m hope that you and I may be able to get together for a chat sometime then.

    Cheers

    Terry

  6. Regarding the Green Paper:
    Page 71 – No industrial activity can be represented as entirely risk-free. However, the relative safety of nuclear power is reflected in a 2013 study commissioned by Friends of the Earth, which concluded that, “overall the safety risks associated with nuclear power appear to be more in line with lifecycle impacts from renewable energy technologies, and significantly lower than for coal and natural gas per MWh of supplied energy.”
    That doesn’t seem to be their usual gist! 😉

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