Australian news, and some related international items

A safety issue that Fukushima’s operators got right

Fukushima: The Story Of A Nuclear Disaster’ Reveals New Insight Into Japanese Catastrophe International Business Times, By on February 11 2014 “……It could have been even worse, if not for one key thing that Fukushima’s operators did right:

The spent fuel pools — which store the radioactive fuel rods that have been taken out of reactors — at many U.S. reactors are crowded, a huge risk should a plant suffer an accident or a terrorist attack. Fukushima’s operators were much more proactive about adopting a system known as “dry storage,” where spent fuel is loaded into sealed metal canisters within concrete and steel casks. The heat from the fuel is removed by passive cooling, meaning workers don’t have to worry about pumping water to keep the fuel from releasing radiation.

The 408 spent fuel assemblies in dry storage at Fukushima were jostled around by the earthquake and temporarily submerged by the inundation of the tsunami wave, but were otherwise unharmed. Unlike the spent fuel in the pools, the fuel in dry storage wasn’t an immediate threat: it didn’t need to be sprayed with fire hoses or have water dumped on it from helicopters to be kept in check.

“There are lessons to be learned from what went wrong at Fukushima,” Lochbaum, Lyman and Stranahan wrote. “There are equally important lessons to be learned from what went right.”

February 12, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear reactors not the answer to climate change

Will Thorium Save Us From Climate Change? EcoWAtch, | February 11, 2014″…….What are “safer nuclear power systems?” And are they the answer?

Proposed technologies include smaller modular reactors, reactors that shut down automatically after an accident and molten salt reactors. …….One idea is to use thorium instead of uranium for reactor fuel. Thorium is more abundant than uranium. Unlike uranium, it’s not fissile; that is, it can’t be split to create a nuclear chain reaction, so it must be bred through nuclear reactors to produce fissile uranium……..

Although they may be better than today’s reactors, LFTRs still produce radioactive and corrosive materials, they can be used to produce weapons and we don’t know enough about the impacts of using fluoride salts. Fluoride will contain a nuclear reaction, but it can be highly toxic, and deadly as fluorine  gas. And though the technology’s been around since the 1950s, it hasn’t been proven on a commercial scale. Countries including the U.S., China, France and Russia are pursuing it, but in 2010 the U.K.’s National Nuclear Laboratory reported that thorium claims are “overstated.” Continue reading

February 12, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy development pact between Fushima and Germany

Fukushima signs renewable energy pact with German state Global Post 12 Feb 14 Fukushima Prefecture has signed an agreement with the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia to work together to promote the use of renewable energy.

The prefecture, which hosts Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crippled by the 2011 quake and tsunami, aims to introduce renewable energy technologies from Germany, a leader in the field, to realize a society not dependent on nuclear power…..

State environment minister Johannes Remmel said at the ceremony that Germany and Japan are technologically competent to accomplish worldwide success in the field of renewable energy.

Fukushima and North Rhine-Westphalia will host alternately trade fairs featuring renewable energy businesses and promote joint research among businesses in the next three years…….

February 12, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) Scheme saved Victoria from power blackouts

energy-efficiency-manMixed Greens: Climate youth want 100% renewables in 10 years, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 10 February 2014″……Power outages, sparked by the periods of extreme heat that have characterised Victoria’s 2013-14 summer, would have been much more common but for the contributions of energy efficiency, a new report has found. The report, released today by the Energy Efficiency Certificate Creators Association (EECCA), found that the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) Scheme helped reduce peak demand by 187MM over the January heat wave. “Without the contribution from the VEET, the demand at 4pm on 16th January would have been 10,427 MW exceeding the previous electricity peak of 10,415 MW on 29 January 2009 in the lead up to the Black Saturday bushfires,” the report says. As well as saving over $500 million in the reduction of Victorian household and business energy bills, the report says the energy efficiency scheme reduced stress on infrastructure during the hot spell and likely reduced the prevalence of system black outs. Continue reading

February 12, 2014 Posted by | efficiency, Victoria | Leave a comment

Britain snubs interntional humanitarian conference

No doubt Australia will copy Britain and USA

MPs criticise UK refusal to attend nuclear weapons conference Britain will not attend conference promoted by non-nuclear states on humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons  Guardian 12 Feb 14 Britain will not attend an international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, ministers will tell the Commons on Wednesday. Continue reading

February 12, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian and Chinese companies team up to develop renewable energy

Mixed Greens: Climate youth want 100% renewables in 10 years, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 10 February 2014Chinese solar giant, Yingli Solar, has entered into a distribution agreement with Australian PV dealer, Energy Matters, to supply and install Yingli Solar’s monocrystalline PANDA Series modules and multicrystalline YGE Series modules to homes and businesses. It will also distribute Yingli Solar modules to solar installers through its wholesale distribution arm, Apollo Energy. The deal, announced on Monday, leverages Yingli Solar’s position as the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer and Energy Matter’s nine years’ experience in Australia’s residential and commercial renewables market. 

February 12, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment