Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear power industry exists to provide the nuclear weapons industry – theme for December 17

Yes, they’re joined at the hip, and this is now becoming public news. The World Nuclear News spells it out proudly -“ A robust US nuclear energy sector is a “key enabler of national security”, helping the US military to meet specific defence priorities “In Britain, this is revealed in the BEIS  Committee Brexit Inquiry.

The fact that the nuclear power industry supplies essential resources and personnel to the nuclear weapons industry explains why governments are so keen to subsidise this completely uneconomic method of providing electricity.

Of course, the fat cats and shareholders behind both industries are happy to sell nuclear anything to anybody.

We see Russia, especially,  doing financial lending acrobatics to sell both industries to dodgy Middle Eastern and African dictatorships. But the wonderful Western  democracies are not far behind – happy to sell “peaceful” nuclear power to India, for example – a country intent on nuclear weapons expansion.

The nuclear weapons lobby knows damn well, that the first step in selling to a country is to sell (un)commercial nuclear power.

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December 12, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Significant radiation dose” received by Lucas Heights worker in nuclear accident

Radioactive liquid spills on worker at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/radioactive-liquid-spills-on-worker-at-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor-in-sydney/news-story/a14c71d0d093ddad94d39f5ea614359f, Peter Jean, Political Reporter, The Advertiser, December 14, 2017 A WORKER received a “significant radiation dose” when a vial of radioactive liquid spilt onto their hands in the most serious recorded safety incident to ever occur at Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.

The Advertiser can reveal the accident occurred on August 22 when a vial of the nuclear medicine product Molybdenum-99 was dropped when its cap was being removed during a quality-control test. The incident was rated “severe” by regulators and has led to changes in safety procedures.

Molybdenum-99 is produced by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights, below, for use in cancer and heart disease scans.

ANSTO Health general manager Mark Moore said the analyst has a slightly elevated risk of developing skin cancer after the liquid spilt on their hands.

“The analyst was working in a shielded fume cupboard that, in normal operation, limits a dose received, but the dropping of the vial resulted in the radiation dose,’’ Mr Moore said.

“Our employee remains at work and is currently performing alternative quality assessment work in the nuclear medicine field.”

Mr Moore said the staff member had burn-like symptoms, including blistering and reddening of the skin.

“While ANSTO is still waiting to be advised on the final estimate dose by an independent clinical specialist, we know it was above the annual statutory dose limit of 500 millisieverts, and expect to be issued with a formal breach from the regulator,” Mr Moore said.

“At this stage, the dose is estimated to be more than 20 Sieverts, which is 40 times above the extremity dose limit.”

The incident was reported to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

An ARPANSA investigation criticised some safety practices in Lucas Heights’ radiopharmaceutical production facilities.

December 15, 2017 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales, reference | Leave a comment

Federal Nuclear Waste Dump: Locals NOT WELCOME to attend the Barndioota Consultative Committee December Meeting

Tim Bickmore, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 14 Dec 17, This week some locals tried to attend the Barndioota Consultative Committee December Meeting – but were not welcome. They were advised that 1] there were no protocols for allowing such, & 2] should the BCC formulate observer guidelines then there was a high probability that peeps would need to sign a confidentiality agreement.

This is a joke, right? Isn’t it a foundation purpose of the committee to provide an interface? What business could they have which requires official secrets remain hidden from the rest of us?
http://www.radioactivewaste.gov.au/…/Barndioota%20Consultat…

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

For the first time, scientists identify severe weather caused by climate change

Global heat waves in 2016 resulted purely from human-driven climate change: study, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/global-heat-waves-in-2016-resulted-purely-from-human-driven-climate-change-study SBS, 15 Dec 17, Last year’s global heat record, extreme heat in Asia and unusually warm waters off the coast of Alaska happened purely because the planet is getting warmer because of human activities like burning fossil fuels, a study said Wednesday.

The findings mark the first time that global scientists have identified severe weather that could not have happened without climate change, said the peer-reviewed report titled “Explaining Extreme Events in 2016 from a Climate Perspective.”

Until now, the contribution of human-driven climate change has been understood to raise the odds of certain floods, droughts, storms and heat waves – but not serve as the sole cause.

“This report marks a fundamental change,” said Jeff Rosenfeld, editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, which published the peer-reviewed report.

“For years scientists have known humans are changing the risk of some extremes. But finding multiple extreme events that weren’t even possible without human influence makes clear that we’re experiencing new weather, because we’ve made a new climate.”

The report included 27 peer-reviewed analyses of extreme weather across five continents and two oceans.

A total of 116 scientists from 18 countries took part, incorporating historical observations and model simulations to determine the role of climate change in nearly two dozen extreme events.

Records shattered

In 2016, the planet reached a new high for global heat, making it the warmest year in modern times.

These record average surface temperatures worldwide were “only possible due to substantial centennial-scale anthropogenic warming,” said the report.

Asia also experienced stifling heat, with India suffering a major heat wave that killed 580 people from March to May. Thailand set a new record for energy consumption as people turned on air conditioners en masse to cool off.

Even though the tropical Pacific Ocean warming trend of El Nino was pronounced in 2015 and the first part of 2016, researchers concluded that it was not to blame.

“The 2016 extreme warmth across Asia would not have been possible without climate change,” said the report.

“Although El Nino was expected to warm Southeast Asia in 2016, the heat in the region was unusually widespread.”

In the Gulf of Alaska, the nearby Bering Sea, and off northern Australia, water temperatures were the highest in 35 years of satellite records.

This ocean warming led to “massive bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and one of the largest harmful algal blooms ever off the Alaska shore,” according to the report.

“It was extremely unlikely that natural variability alone led to the observed anomalies.” Another chapter found that the so-called “blob” of sub-Arctic 2016 warmth “cannot be explained without anthropogenic climate warming.”

Most, not all

Most of the extreme events studied were influenced to some extent by climate change, as in the past six years that the work has been published.

Climate change was found to have boosted the odds and intensity of El Nino, the severity of coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, and warmth in the North Pacific Ocean.

Flash droughts over southern Africa, like the one in 2015 and 2016, have tripled in the last 60 years mainly due to human-caused climate change, it said.

“Extreme rains, like the record-breaking 2016 event in Wuhan, China are 10 times more likely in the present climate than they were in 1961.” The unusual Arctic warmth observed in November–December 2016 “most likely would not have been possible without human-caused warming,” it added.

But not all extreme weather was influenced by global warming.

About 20 percent of the events studied were not linked to human-caused climate change, including a major winter snowstorm in the Mid-Atlantic United States, and the drought that led to water shortages in northeast Brazil.

The findings were released at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans.

December 15, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia resists efforts to ban nuclear weapons, and Australian Prime Minister snubs ICAN Nobel Peace Prize win,

Instead of congratulating ICAN on its Nobel Peace Prize, Australia is resisting efforts to ban the bomb , The Conversation, Earlier this week in Oslo, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was officially givento the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a global campaign that was launched in Melbourne in 2007.

ICAN lobbied to establish a special UN working group on nuclear disarmament, campaigned for the UN General Assembly’s December 2016 resolution to launch negotiations on a prohibition treaty, and was an active presence at the UN conference that negotiated the treaty.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull failed to congratulate the Australian faces of ICAN, adding to the growing body of evidence of his flawed political judgement.

There were no political downsides to phoning ICAN, noting the difference of opinion on the timing and means to effective nuclear disarmament, but warmly congratulating ICAN for the global recognition of its noble efforts to promote nuclear peace.

Out of step with the global nuclear order

The global nuclear order has been regulated and nuclear policy directions set by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) since 1968.

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal and North Korea’s unchecked nuclear and missile delivery advances show the benefits and limitations of the NPT respectively.

The transparency, verification and consequences regime mothballed Iran’s bomb-making program by enforcing its NPT non-proliferation obligations. These will remain legally binding even after the deal expires in 2030.

By contrast, the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program has intensified within the NPT framework. Heightened geopolitical tensions in Europe, the Middle East and south and east Asia have further stoked nuclear fears. Meanwhile the NPT-recognised five nuclear weapon states have no plan to abolish their nuclear arsenals.

Frustrated by the stubborn resistance of the nuclear weapon states to honour their NPT commitment to nuclear disarmament and alarmed by rising nuclear threats, on July 7 this year, 122 countries adopted a UN treaty to stigmatise and ban the bomb.

The nine nuclear powers and all the NATO and Pacific allies who shelter under US extended nuclear deterrence dismissed the treaty as impractical, ineffective and dangerous……..

Australia’s preferred approach does not challenge the social purposes and value of nuclear weapons nor question the legality and legitimacy of these weapons and the logic and practice of nuclear deterrence. It leaves nuclear agency entirely in the hands of the possessor states, accepting that they can safely manage nuclear risks by appropriate adjustments to warhead numbers, nuclear doctrines and force postures.

To critics, the nuclear powers are not so much possessor as possessed countries. Within the security paradigm, nuclear weapons are national assets for the possessor countries individually. In the ban treaty’s humanitarian reframing, they are a collective international hazard.

The known humanitarian consequences of any future use makes the very possibility of nuclear war unacceptable. Dispossession of nuclear weapons removes that future possibility. Stigmatisation and prohibition are normative steps on the path to nuclear disarmament.

The nuclear weapons states have instrumentalised the NPT to legitimise their own indefinite possession of nuclear weapons while enforcing non-proliferation on anyone else pushing to join their exclusive club. For them, the problem is who has the bomb.

But increasingly, the bomb itself is the problem.

A curcuit breaker

The ban treaty is a circuit-breaker in the search for a dependable, rules-based security order outside the limits of what the nuclear-armed countries are prepared to accept.

The step-by-step approach adopts a transactional strategy to move incrementally without disturbing the existing security order. The ban treaty’s transformative approach transcends the limitations imposed by national and international security arguments.

For Australia, nuclear disarmament is of lower priority than bolstering and indefinitely sustaining the legitimacy and credibility of nuclear deterrence. In its view, the ban treaty will neither promote nuclear disarmament nor strengthen national security.

Australia’s instinct is to support incremental, verifiable and enforceable agreements and commitments. There is no detailed framework for actual elimination, verification and enforcement.

The Foreign Policy White Paper repeats the familiar mantra that a complex security environment requires a patient and pragmatic approach. It simply ignores the adoption of the ban treaty, pretending it does not exist.

Australia should join global efforts to ban the bomb

The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a good faith effort by 122 countries to act on their NPT responsibility to take effective measures on nuclear disarmament.

A constructive approach would be for Australia to lead a collaborative effort with like-minded countries like Canada, Japan and Norway to explore strategic stability at low numbers of nuclear weapons and the conditions for serious and practical steps towards nuclear disarmament.

Instead, Australia has chosen to join the nattering nabobs of negativism.  https://theconversation.com/instead-of-congratulating-ican-on-its-nobel-peace-prize-australia-is-resisting-efforts-to-ban-the-bomb-88940

December 15, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New research indicates that sea level rise will be much greater than previously estimated

We may be in for far higher amounts of sea level rise than ever thought before, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN, 15 Dec 17, The amount of sea level rise that many of us will experience in our lifetimes may be more than double what was previously anticipated, unless we sharply curtail greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study that factors in emerging, unsettling research on the tenuous stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

 Importantly, the study highlights that cuts we could still make to greenhouse gas emissions during the next several years would significantly reduce the possibility of a sea level rise calamity after 2050.

Published Wednesday in the open access journal Earth’s Future, the study is the first to pair recently discovered mechanisms that would lead to the sudden collapse of parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, such as the disintegration of floating ice shelves and mechanical failure of tall ice cliffs facing the sea. The study also goes a step further by showing how the new projections could play out city by city around the world.

Researchers from several institutions, including Rutgers University, Princeton, Harvard, and the nonprofit research group Climate Central found that sea level rise predictions that incorporate a faster — even sudden — disintegration of huge parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet would yield far more dire projections.

 This is especially the case when compared to the consensus put forward by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014.

The IPCC did not incorporate the possibility that the Antarctic Ice Sheet could become unstable as air and sea temperatures warm, and essentially crumble into the sea, in rapid succession.

 More than 4 feet of sea level rise

Specifically, the new study finds a median sea level rise projection of 4 feet and 9 inches during the 21st Century if greenhouse gas emissions remain on their current high trajectory.

Or, when expressed as a range, the study shows that a high emissions scenario that takes new Antarctic melt mechanisms into account would yield between 3 and 8 feet of global average sea level rise by the year 2100. This contrasts with the projection that does not include the rapid Antarctic melt mechanisms, which shows just 1.6 to 3.9 feet of sea level rise through 2100.

The new study paints a far more alarming picture compared to what the IPCC found, which was a median projection of two feet and five inches of sea level rise by 2100 under a high emissions scenario. Most sea level rise predictions since that report was published have indicated that figure was too low, however.

The study shows that global average sea level is projected to increase by one foot by the year 2050, and several more feet by the year 2100, depending on the significance of any cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. If the temperature targets in the Paris Climate Agreement are met — which is a big if at the moment — then we’re unlikely to trigger a rapid Antarctic meltdown, the study found.

Prior sea level rise projections have not included the recently discovered mechanism of marine ice-cliff instability in Antarctica. Instead, those projections relied on other assumptions of how significantly the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets might melt during the course of the 21st Century. Nor have they included all of the ways that floating ice shelves might disintegrate rapidly, either, weakening inland ice………. http://mashable.com/2017/12/13/sea-level-rise-could-be-double-previous-estimates-climate-change-study/#rZy6GL2FCSqM

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Sydney could become a zero-carbon city

Sydney’s closer to being a zero-carboncity than you think, The Conversation, You live in one of the sunniest countries in the world. You might want to use that solar advantage and harvest all this free energy. Knowing that solar panels are rapidly becoming cheaper and have become feasible even in less sunny places like the UK, this should be a no-brainer.

Despite this, the Australian government has taken a step backwards at a time when we should be thinking 30 years ahead.

Can we do it differently? Yes, we can! My ongoing research on sustainable urbanism makes it clear that if we use the available renewable resources in the Sydney region we do not need any fossil resource any more. We can become zero-carbon. (With Louisa King and Andy Van den Dobbelsteen, I have prepared a forthcoming paper, Towards Zero-Carbon Metropolitan Regions: The Example of Sydney, in the journal SASBE.)

Enough solar power for every household

Abundant solar energy is available in the Sydney metropolitan area. If 25% of the houses each installed 35 square metres of solar panels, this could deliver all the energy for the city’s households.

We conservatively estimate a total yield of 195kWh/m2 of PV panel placed on roofs or other horizontal surfaces. The potential area of all Sydney council precincts suited for PV is estimated at around 385km2 – a quarter of the entire roof surface.

We calculate the potential total solar yield at 75.1TWh, which is more than current domestic household energy use (65.3TWh, according to the Jemena energy company).

Wind turbines to drive a whole city

If we install small wind turbines on land and larger turbines offshore we can harvest enough energy to fuel our electric vehicle fleet. Onshore wind turbines of 1-5MW generating capacity can be positioned to capture the prevailing southwest and northeast winds.

The turbines are placed on top of ridges, making use of the funnel effect to increase their output. We estimate around 840km of ridge lines in the Sydney metropolitan area can be used for wind turbines, enabling a total of 1,400 turbines. The total potential generation from onshore wind turbines is 6.13TWh.

Offshore turbines could in principle be placed everywhere, as the wind strength is enough to create an efficient yield. The turbines are larger than the ones on shore, capturing 5-7.5MW each, and can be placed up to 30km offshore. With these boundary conditions, an offshore wind park 45km long and 6km wide is possible. The total offshore potential then is 5.18TWh.

Altogether, then, we estimate the Sydney wind energy potential at 11.3TWh.

Turning waste into biofuels

We can turn our household waste and green waste from forests, parks and public green spaces into biogas. We can then use the existing gas network to provide heating and cooling for the majority of offices………

Extracting heat from beneath the city

Shallow geothermal heat can be tapped through heat pumps and establishing closed loops in the soil. This can occur in large expanses of urban developments within the metropolitan area, which rests predominantly on deposits of Wianamatta shale in the west underlying Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith.

Where large water surfaces are available, such as in Botany Bay or the Prospect Reservoir, heat can also be harvested from the water body…….

Hydropower from multiple sources

The potential sources of energy from hydro generation are diverse. Tidal energy can be harvested at the entrances of Sydney Harbour Bay and Botany Bay, where tidal differences are expected to be highest………

Master plan for a zero-carbon city

All these potential energy sources are integrated into our Master Plan for a Zero-Carbon Sydney. Each has led to design propositions that together can create a zero-carbon city.

The research shows there is enough, more than enough, potential reliable renewable energy to supply every household and industry in the region. What is needed is an awareness that Australia could be a global frontrunner in innovative energy policy, instead of a laggard. https://theconversation.com/sydneys-closer-to-being-a-zero-carbon-city-than-you-think-85976

December 15, 2017 Posted by | energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Corporates waking up to “new world” of cheap renewables, says Westpac — RenewEconomy

Westpac says at least 20 big companies are tendering for wind and solar plants as they look to bypass soaring grid costs and look for self-generation.

via Corporates waking up to “new world” of cheap renewables, says Westpac — RenewEconomy

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Audit office slams Australia’s dud investments in “clean coal” — RenewEconomy

Audit office slams Australia’s CCS funding programs, saying $450 million spent, and nothing achieved: Not a single tonne of CO2 saved, no technology ready for deployment, from a scheme that has been a governance catastrophe.

via Audit office slams Australia’s dud investments in “clean coal” — RenewEconomy

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CEFC passes 1GW big solar milestone, after backing two new projects — RenewEconomy

CEFC notches up 1 gigawatt of big solar investment across Australia, after committing another $207m to two new projects in Victoria and Queensland.

via CEFC passes 1GW big solar milestone, after backing two new projects — RenewEconomy

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For 1st time, a high court rules against nuclear plant operations

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

13 dec 2017 high court halt Ikata NPP.jpg
Lawyers hold up signs outside the Hiroshima High Court on Dec. 13 proclaiming an injunction had been ordered on operations at the Ikata nuclear power plant.
For 1st time, a high court rules against nuclear plant operations
HIROSHIMA–A high court for the first time has banned operations at a nuclear power plant.
The Hiroshima High Court issued the injunction in a verdict Dec. 13 that applies to the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, operated by Shikoku Electric Power Co.
In the ruling, the high court concluded there was a chance the Ikata plant could be affected by a pyroclastic flow from Mount Aso if an eruption occurred similar in scale to a massive one 90,000 years ago on the southern island of Kyushu.
A computer simulation by Shikoku Electric of the possible effects from an eruption like the one in ancient times…

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December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One Fukushima Tepco employee’s Leukemia certified, how many of the subcontracted employees ignored?

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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In the background, from left, the No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 reactor buildings of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant are seen, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 31, 2016. In front are tanks used to store contaminated water.
Gov’t certifies Fukushima TEPCO employee’s leukemia as work-related illness
The leukemia that developed in a Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employee in his 40s working on the aftermath of the damaged Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant was certified as a work-related illness by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Dec. 13, it has been learned.
According to the ministry, the man was in charge of ensuring the safety of the reactors at the Fukushima plant since April 1994. After the reactor meltdowns in March 2011, he donned protective clothing and a mask and also led the effort to cool the overheating reactors with water. He developed…

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December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Worsening Weather to Feed Monstrous Thomas Fire Through Sunday — robertscribbler

It shouldn’t be happening in typically wetter, cooler December. But, due to human-forced climate change, it is. The Thomas Fire, at 242,000 acres, is now the fourth largest fire in California history. Alone, it has destroyed 900 structures — a decent town’s worth gone up in smoke. And today it threatens pretty much all of […]

via Worsening Weather to Feed Monstrous Thomas Fire Through Sunday — robertscribbler

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tesla big battery goes the full discharge – 100MW – for first time — RenewEconomy

Tesla big battery discharges at full capacity – 100MW – for first time as world’s largest lithium ion battery continues shake-down of capabilities.

via Tesla big battery goes the full discharge – 100MW – for first time — RenewEconomy

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Six factors that make battery storage add up for households — RenewEconomy

New Queensland study based on a series of home battery storage trials gives some insight into what can make batteries interesting for households, what might motivate them, and how the network might use these assets into the future.

via Six factors that make battery storage add up for households — RenewEconomy

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Byron bay’s world-first solar train gets ready to trundle — RenewEconomy

World-first solar train – running with its own solar and battery storage – to be launched in Byron Bay on Saturday.

via Byron bay’s world-first solar train gets ready to trundle — RenewEconomy

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment