Australian news, and some related international items

#NuclearCommissionSAust needs to learn about the DisEconomics of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)

SMRs AustraliaConclusion:  There are no benefits to the smaller, modular nuclear power plants that some nuclear power proponents advocate. 

No Benefits From Smaller Modular Nuclear Plants  Sowells Law Blog, July 2015 There is a contingent of nuclear power proponents that insists that costs per kW can be reduced by building smaller plants, more of them, and building them in controlled factory conditions.   But, are those assertions true?

The short answer is, No.  Supposedly, the benefits are shorter construction times, less inflation, less interest on loans, all of which lead to lower costs.  But, loss of economy of scale overwhelms such benefits.  Consider 1200 MWe vs 600, 400, 300, and note that Dept of Energy defines Small Modular Reactors as 300 MW or less.  Each of the smaller size plants must be delivered much more quickly to achieve any savings in materials inflation and interest on construction loans.    A shorter construction period very likely cannot be done due to fabrication and delivery of large items: the reactor, steam generators, turbines, and pumps. …….

we can compute the number of years that the modular plant must require for construction, at inflation of 5 percent per year.   Calculations show that approximately 5.5 years at 5 percent per year yields the desired result.  To save any on the final costs, then, the modular plants must be built in less than 5.5 years.   Stated another way, savings are realized only if the plant can be brought online in 3 or 4 years from notice to proceed.

The question is, then, can it be done?  Once again, the nuclear industry is scrambling, trying to find a way to justify itself.   Small, modern design, modular-constructed nuclear power plants have never been built in the US, indeed, they are not even approved by the NRC.   The first projects would suffer all the problems of first-of-a-kind projects, and likely have no cost reductions at all.

The same analysis can be performed for smaller plants, such as 300 MW, where four plants would be required to produce 1200 MW of power, and 200 MW, where six plants would be required.  The results are as follows.  The 300 MW plants must be constructed in 4 years to have zero savings, with any savings produced only if construction time is 2 or 3 years.  The 200 MW plants must be  constructed in 2.1 years to have zero savings over the cathedral design.    It seems highly unlikely that small, modular plants can be built on such short timescales.

The analysis is dependent on the inflation or escalation rate for equipment, labor, and services over the life of the project.  If the inflation rate is higher, as many forecasters predict must be the case, then the situation is worse.  The amount of time required to build the plant and yield a cost savings will be less and less as the inflation rate increases.


There are no benefits to the smaller, modular nuclear power plants that some nuclear power proponents advocate.   The loss of economy of scale requires much shorter construction times for any savings to be had.

July 2, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s Energy Minister hails wind farms, disagrees with Tony Abbott

WIND-FARMState Energy Minister Matthew Groom hails wind farms in departure from PM HELEN KEMPTON MERCURY JULY 03, 2015 UNLIKE the Prime Minister, Tasmania’s Energy Minister Matthew Groom is a fan of wind farms and says more infrastructure needs to be built to capitalise on the state’s renewable energy headstart.

“I support the renewable energy broadly,” Mr Groom said after speaking at yesterday’s Tasmanian Minerals and Energy conference at Queenstown. “We have extraordinary resources in Tasmania and some of the best sites on the face of the planet on which to build them

Mr Groom said he was pleased the passing of Australia Renewable Energy Target legislation had given certainty to the wind industry and he looked forward to seeing progress on a new wind farm at Granville Harbour, near Zeehan.

Mr Groom said building a second interconnector cable across Bass Strait to export power was a key part of making the most of our renewable energy advantages. He said that cable needed to be viewed as a national infrastructure and, unlike Basslink 1, should be funded as such.“If a second cable is justified by a business case, it should be seen as a regulated asset funded through mainland users and perhaps a federal contribution,” Mr Groom said.

He said Japanese investors who recently visited Tasmania were gobsmacked by the state’s energy mix, and we needed to harness that competitive advantage………

July 2, 2015 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Miners target green charities

The Minerals Council of Australia has called for some environmental organisations to be stripped of their charity status…. (subscribers only)

July 2, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New wave power technology set to boost economy in Port Fairy, Victoria

Hope for $21m Port Fairy prototype wave power unit to boost local jobs, 2 July 15 

Moyne Shire Council says the construction of the state’s first prototype wave power unit off the Port Fairy coast, in south-west Victoria, is set to boost the local economy.

wave energy Port Fairy

The $21 million project, which will be installed in November, is expected to feed 250 kilowatts of renewable energy into the national grid.Mayor Colin Ryan said it was a significant event for the renewable wave energy industry and Victoria.He is hoping it will create new jobs in the region.

“I’m very happy to hear the news, I think it’s a great opportunity for Port Fairy with potential work opportunities for our locals, be it employment directly involved with the project or service industries and businesses in the town supporting the workers that come for the project,” he said.

“It being the first type of its power generation is a significant event and being the first one in Victoria … to do with currents and it was the desired locality for the operation, which is good news.”

July 2, 2015 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

As #NuclearCommissionSAust heads to Canada, Canada revs up nuclear marketing



Is South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission aware of Canada’s World Bank status as the most corrupt country, due to the corruption in its nuclear  industry?


antnuke-relevantOrganization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI)…..supports member companies in both domestic and international nuclear markets

MOU promotes stronger ties among Canadian and Romanian nuclear suppliers Market Watch,  July 2, 2015 BUCHAREST, Romania, Jul 2, 2015 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) — The Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI) is proud to announce the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Romanian Atomic Forum Association (ROMATOM)……..

The Partnering Workshop included an update on the planned Cernavoda 3/4 CANDU project as well as presentations by Canadian and Romanian nuclear suppliers on their nuclear capabilities and experience along with discussions on their mutual interest in collaborating on the Cernavoda 3/4 CANDU Project.

This MOU outlines several ways that OCI and ROMATOM will work together including identifying opportunities at nuclear projects in Romania, Canada, and other countries on which OCI and ROMATOM companies can cooperate. Continue reading

July 2, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

@Rottoturbine hits back at Abbott

My European wind turbine friends are laughing at me. The government’s own review showed that more renewable energy would actually decrease costs for consumers.”

wind-turb-smlogo-twitterRotto Wind Turbine uses Twitter to hit back at PM’s ‘ugly’ insults, WA Today, July 1, 2015  Rottnest Wind Turbine is using Twitter to carry out a spirited self-defence against the insults of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

@Rottoturbine now has more than 700 people following its tweets, which vary from wind energy-related links and information, banter about Mr Abbott’s “visually awful” description of turbines and pictures of generators against stunning rural backdrops, hashtagged #notvisuallyawful.

@Rottoturbine consented to share some of its views with Fairfax Media though an email interview, facilitated by its “human helper”, a Perth man in his thirties who the turbine says shares its concerns about renewable energy.

“I set up the Twitter account after hearing about the Prime Minister making some rather hurtful comments about me,” it said.

“I had been aware of negative views being expressed by some government Ministers about wind farms in general and this was concerning, but personal attacks against me were the last straw. Continue reading

July 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Victoria, unlike USA, may slash solar tariff, rather than promote home solar


For intense, apart from avoided, line losses, there is no credit for network benefits, or environmental benefits. The contrast with some US states, where pricing regulators put the “fair” solar tariff at close to the retail price, is striking.

Regulator wants to slash Victoria solar tariff by 20 per cent By  on 2 July 2015 Victorian energy regulator the Essential Services Commission has recommended that the minimum feed-in-tariff paid for surplus rooftop solar output fed back into the grid be cut to 5c/kWh from the current level of 6.2c/kWh in 2016.

The recommendation, included in a report released this week, suggest that the falling cost of wholesale electricity prices – coincidentally the result of reduced demand and increased renewable energy – justifies the cut. [good graph here on original]  Continue reading

July 2, 2015 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Scrutiny on Fukushima nuclear station, with Tokyo hosting 2020 Olympics

With Tokyo hosting 2020 Olympics, Fukushima plant faces more scrutiny, South China Japan-Olympics-fearMorning Post  Agence-France Presse in Tokyo Critics blast prime minister Abe for saying problem of contaminated water under, 11 June, 2015, Japan’s efforts to clean up its nuclear disaster face intense global scrutiny ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, observers say, but despite government promises that Fukushima is “under control”, the crisis will not be over by 2020.

Speaking to Olympic chiefs in Buenos Aires just ahead of their weekend decision to award the 2020 Games to Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said there was nothing to worry about at the plant……………

“I was flabbergasted by Abe’s speech,” said Hiroaki Koide, associate professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute. “The problem of contaminated water is far from being solved. This problem has been going on all the time since the reactors were destroyed. Contaminated water has been leaking into the ocean ever since.”

On Monday, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) reported spiking levels of radiation in groundwater and said it was “likely” leaks from tanks storing highly polluted water had made their way into subterranean water that flows out into the sea.

Tomoo Watanabe, director of the Research Centre for Fisheries Oceanography and Marine Ecosystems, said his understanding of the situation at Fukushima was not that it was “contained” in the way Abe explained it………….

July 2, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 29 Energy News



¶ The first prototype wave power unit in the Australian state of Victoria is ready to be installed off its south-west coast later this year, with its builders saying it could be the start of a “new era” for renewable energy. The $21-million project is expected to provide 250 kWh of renewable energy annually. [ABC Online]

Victoria's first prototype wave power unit will be deployed in November. (BioPower Systems Pty Ltd)Victoria’s first prototype wave power unit will be deployed in November. (BioPower Systems Pty Ltd)

¶ Australian economist and climate change advisor Professor Ross Garnaut pointed out that the costs associated with stranded assets are already greater than the costs associated with action on climate change. This was part of a rather direct attack on the economic policy that Australia has taken in recent years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ BMW is still pursuing its plan to convert all of its various model platforms to electric drivetrains (this includes range-extending engines and…

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July 2, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment