Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Would we benefit from a giant nuclear waste dump in SA?  – James Glenday

In an era where short-term populist thinking prevails, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is pushing forward a project that is not only ridiculously long-term but has proven to be political dynamite.

So, Mr Weatherill would have to pull off something that has never been done anywhere else, a project even Finland thinks is too hard, one that could prove a major political headache, all to dump hazardous spent radioactive fuel Australia does not even use?

Weatherill glowWhy Jay Weatherill is in Finland to investigate Australia’s nuclear future, ABC News ANALYSIS By Europe correspondent James Glenday In case you missed it, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is in western Finland.

Why?

To investigate whether his state should build a high-level international nuclear waste dump to store radioactive uranium deep underground for at least 100,000 years.

The industry aficionados call it a “final repository”, but basically it is a big tomb-like system of tunnels built into solid bedrock where spent fuel rods are encased in steel, copper and clay.

Why should you care?

In an era where outrage is the cheapest commodity and short-term populist thinking prevails, the Premier is pushing forward a project that is not only ridiculously long-term but one that has proven elsewhere to be political dynamite.

A number of scientists believe a dump could be safely built and many economists think it could make South Australia $100 billion.

But it is also important to point out there is no pressing national need for this facility.

Australia does not produce high-level nuclear waste.

So, why is he in Finland?

Somewhat by chance, Finland is leading the world in the construction of a high-level waste facility 420 metres below Olkiluoto Island on the country’s west coast.

The company building it, Posiva, has been working on the idea since the 1970s, but quite reasonably assumed bigger nations like the United States, Britain, France, Sweden or Germany would come up with a solution they could copy.

But community opposition and controversy has killed, crippled or delayed plans for several radioactive dumps.

So, despite a couple of cost blow-outs, Finland has found itself at the front of the line.

And why do the Finns love the idea?

On a national level, opinion is actually mixed.

But around the “final repository”, the tax cuts, welfare increases, community facilities and jobs the nuclear industry has funded got the dump over the line.

Locals near Olkiluoto Island said, because they have benefited from nuclear energy, they also have a responsibility to safely manage the waste.

Currently, it is in a series of pools.

So, why not build an international dump then?

Ah, here is where we hit Finland’s “red line”.

According to Posiva executives, it would be “politically impossible”.

“Finland doesn’t want to become the waste dump of the world,” one said.

It is also against federal law.

Is it not also against Australian law?

Yes, it is.

But putting the politics aside, Posiva thinks it could help South Australia design and construct a high-level facility within 15 to 20 years.

Unsurprisingly, they are keen to try to sell their success to the world…………

OK. Is Jay Weatherill really likely to push on with this project?

He is likely to keep making positive noises, consulting and talking about how the waste facility discussion “must be led by the community”.

But the Labor Premier knows the biggest political threat to its development comes from his own side of politics…….

To realistically get a dump built in Australia, it will require the enthusiastic backing of a local community, industry, the South Australian Government and the Commonwealth for a period of at least 20 years, probably longer.

It is worth remembering proposals for many previous nuclear projects have proved controversial in Australia.

Also, you would have to convince a majority of people it is completely safe.

So, Mr Weatherill would have to pull off something that has never been done anywhere else, a project even Finland thinks is too hard, one that could prove a major political headache, all to dump hazardous spent radioactive fuel Australia does not even use?  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-20/why-jay-weatherill-is-in-finland-to-investigate-nuclear-future/7859812

 

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September 21, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

European countries cannot afford nuclear decommissioning and waste disposal costs

antnuke-relevantEU auditor sees nuclear decommissioning funds shortfall, Reuters,  By Alissa de Carbonnel, 20 Sept 16,  | BRUSSELS European Union plans for financing the decommissioning of nuclear plants in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia are inadequate and more resources need to be put aside, the European Court of Auditors said in a report.

The report criticizing costly delays and warning of technical hurdles ahead shines a spotlight on the challenges facing Germany and other nations within the bloc that are planning to retire their nuclear reactors.

The EU’s spending watchdog said the estimated cost of decommissioning the three Soviet-era plants closed more than a decade ago had risen 40 percent since 2010 to at least 5.7 billion euros ($6.4 billion) by 2015. That figure doubles if the cost of disposing spent fuel once and for all is included.

The EU auditors said while the bloc’s budget covered the vast majority of the costs of shutting down the reactors in the three member states, significant funding was still needed to take the plants offline completely.

They said the reactor buildings at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy, Lithuania’s Ignalina and Slovakia’s Bohunice had yet to be dismantled and no solution had been found for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel……..

The only repository for spent fuel being dug deep underground in Europe has been under construction in Finland for nearly 40 years and won’t be ready until after 2020…….

A working paper by the European Commission, seen by Reuters in February, showed the bloc was short of more than 118 billion euros needed to dismantle its nuclear plants. ($1 = 0.8945 euros)(Editing by David Clarke) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-nuclearpower-idUSKCN11Q12A

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Finland companies keen to market their nuclear waste technology to South Australia

nuclear-marketing-crapFinland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility want to export the technology to South Australia, The Advertiser Daniel Wills, Helsinki, Finland, The Advertiser September 21, 2016 OPERATORS of the world’s most advanced nuclear disposal facility want to export the technology to South Australia and form an alliance to help the state develop its own commercial facility to take waste from around the world.

At a briefing with Premier Jay Weatherill at Finland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility, Posiva Solutions Oy managing director Mika Pohjonen said his company would be willing to licence intellectual property and engineering solutions to SA if it were to proceed with expanding the local nuclear industry.

Posiva is a joint venture owned by two of Finland’s biggest energy companies — Teollisuuden Voima Oyj and Fortum Power and Heat. It is set to become the first organisation in the world to bury a canister of spent nuclear fuel when they begin inserting them into the bedrock from 2020. Mr Pohjonen said SA could hope to move from site selection to burying canisters within about 15 years, less than half the time taken by Finland, because the Scandinavians had already undertaken the slow work of proving the technology………

The Onkalo disposal site is about 10 times smaller than that conceived by SA’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.……

Mr Weatherill will by the end of the year declare a formal State Government position to Parliament on expansion of the industry………

“The next major step is a threshold question about whether we maintain our prohibition against a facility for spent fuel or whether we take a step to explore it further.”-  Mr Weatherill said ….

Weatherill nuclear dream

….http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/finlands-onkalo-nuclear-waste-disposal-facility-want-to-export-the-technology-to-south-australia/news-story/5b26cc6e0bf9f342bac97fa5ba81c444

September 21, 2016 Posted by | marketing for nuclear, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

South African govt will be made to reveal companies seeking to sell nuclear technology; (What about South Australian govt?)

text-cat-questionSouth Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission has kept secret the names of companies submitting to it, wanting to sell their nuclear wares to South Australia.  Surely the Nuclear Royal Commission should com eclean on this?

flag-S.Africaantnuke-relevantMinister will have to release all nuclear-bid information’, IOL News, NEWS / 21
September 2016,  Craig Dodds Cape Town –
The chairman of Parliament’s energy oversight committee is to write to Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to request all documents related to nuclear procurement by October 11, after she refused to release them on the basis that they were “sensitive”.

This comes after a legal opinion sought by another parliamentary committee confirmed that it had the right in terms of the National Assembly rules to “summon any person to produce any document it requires in carrying out its functions”………

In a written reply to a request from Mackay earlier this month, Joemat-Pettersson refused to provide a number of key documents related to nuclear procurement.

 These included the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure review by the International Atomic Energy Agency; terms of reference for the National Nuclear Energy Executive Co-ordinating Committee (NNEECC); the phased decision-making approach of the NNEECC for implementing the government’s nuclear programme; and a 2004 bilateral international agreement with the Russian Federation…….

Majola said the National Assembly rules provided a mechanism for the committee to deal with confidential documents, which gave the chairperson of the committee, and not the minister, the authority to determine what should be kept from public view, and how.

“We will have to ask for the documents. We will go through legal advice to see which of the documents can be dealt with by the committee differently, not which of the documents will not be seen by the committee,” Majola said.

He committed to write to Joemat-Pettersson immediately, requesting that the department furnish the committee with all the documents.http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/minister-will-have-to-release-all-nuclear-bid-information-2070774

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cleanup costs after explosion at nuclear waste dump massively over budget

WIPPWIPP nuclear waste accident will cost US taxpayers $2 billion. Ecologist, Dr Jim Green 20th September 2016    The clean-up after the February 2014 explosion at the world’s only deep underground repository for nuclear waste in New Mexico, USA, is massively over budget, writes Jim Green – and full operations won’t resume until at least 2021. The fundamental cause of the problems: high level radioactive waste, poor regulation, rigid deadlines and corporate profit make a dangerous mix.

An analysis by theLos Angeles Timesfinds that costs associated with the February 2014 explosion at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) could total US$2 billion.

The direct cost of the clean-up is now estimated at US$640 million, based on a contract modification made in July with contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership.

The cost-plus contract leaves open the possibility of even higher costs as the clean-up continues and, as the LA Times notes, it does not include the complete replacement of the contaminated ventilation system (which failed after the 2014 explosion) or any future costs of operating the repository longer than originally planned.

The lengthy closure following the explosion could result in waste disposal operations extending for an additional seven years, at an additional cost of US$200 million per year or US$1.4 billion (€1.25b) in total. Thus direct (clean-up) costs and indirect costs could exceed US$2 billion.

And further costs are being incurred storing waste at other nuclear sites pending the re-opening of WIPP. Federal officials hope to resume limited operations at WIPP by the end of this year, but full operations cannot resume until a new ventilation system is completed in about 2021……….

GAO identifies a host of problems

An August 2016 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the federal Department of Energy (DOE) did not meet its initial cost and schedule estimates for restarting nuclear waste disposal operations at WIPP, resulting in a cost increase of about US$64 million (€57m) and a delay of nine months.

Worse still, mismanagement of the clean-up has involved poor safety practices. Last year, the DOE’s Independent Office of Enterprise Assessments released a report that found that WIPP clean-up operations were being rushed to meet the scheduled reopening date and that this pressure was contributing to poor safety practices.

The report states: “The EA analysis considered operational events and reviews conducted during May 2014 through May 2015 and identified a significant negative trend in performance of work. During this period, strong and unrealistic schedule pressures on the workforce contributed to poor safety performance and incidents during that time are indicators of the potential for a future serious safety incident.”

The report points to “serious issues in conduct of operations, job hazard analysis, and safety basis.” Specific problems identified in the report include:……….

the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) – a semi-autonomous agency within the DOE – is itself a big part of the problem of systemic mismanagement of nuclear sites. A June 2015 Government Accountability Office report strongly criticised NNSA oversight of contractors who manage the nation’s nuclear weapons facilities.

The report points to a litany of ongoing failures to properly oversee private contractors at eight nuclear sites, including those managing LANL. The report found that the NNSA lacked enough qualified staff members to oversee contractors, and it lacked guidelines for evaluating its contractors.

Greg Mello from the Los Alamos Study Group was blunt in his criticism of the NNSA: “An agency that is more than 90 percent privatized, with barely enough federal employees to sign the checks and answer the phones, is never going to be able to properly oversee billion-dollar nuclear facilities of vast complexity and danger.”   http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988145/wipp_nuclear_waste_accident_will_cost_us_taxpayers_us2_billion.html

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry and International Atomic Energy Agency’s conflict of interest, downplaying accident risks

conflict-of-interestNuclear industry, watchdog downplaying accident risks http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/nuclear-industry-watchdog-downplaying-accident-risks/news-story/4967dc11bc7d2acc642cc0893986ccbTOM WHIPPLE September 20, 2016 The risks of nuclear power are being significantly underestimated because of systematic under-reporting of accidents by industry bodies with conflicts of interest, scientists have said.

The largest analysis of the risks of nuclear accidents has calculated a Fukushima-magnitude event is “more probable than not” in the lifetimes of people born today.

The British government gave assent last week to the construction of the £18 billion ($31bn) Hinkley Point C reactor, the biggest nuclear investment in a generation. However, scientists from Britain and Switzerland said its true cost may not have been calculated correctly because of risks may be underestimated. They also called for greater transparency in the nuclear industry, saying its estimates were hampered by “flawed and woefully incomplete” data.

Much of the data is meant to be held by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which collates national reports of nuclear accidents and rates them for severity. However, the scientists wrote in the journal Risk Analysis, the IAEA does not publish a historical database, which they said was “astonishing”. They also argued the scale used underplays the severity of large events.

“Given that the IAEA has the dual objective of promoting and regulating the use of nuclear energy, one should not take the full objectivity of the … data for granted,” they wrote.

The French regulator is known to report hundreds of events every year deemed “significant to nuclear safety”, yet few turn up on the IAEA public records. Only 216 safety events since 1950 were available for the most recent analysis, but more than half had to be gleaned from press reports and other public data.

Benjamin Sovacool, of the University of Sussex, said the IAEA had a conflict of interest, dating back to the Cold War, for encouraging civil nuclear power.

“It relates back to ‘Atoms for Peace’,” he said. “The goal was to show that the atom could be a force for good, not just evil. Because of that, the IAEA has a strong promotional arm.”

National agencies were hugely under-reporting accidents, some involving millions of dollars of damage, Professor Sovacool said. “In Japan, incidents where people got killed only came up years later. China has a strong interest in exporting nuclear technology and in keeping secrets,” he said.

One consequence of under-­reporting is the true costs of plants such as Hinkley Point C cannot be calculated. The analysis found more than $1.7bn should be budgeted each year for dealing with nuclear accidents globally.

Professor Thomas Rose, from University College London, who was not involved in the research, said it showed that more openness was essential.

“The secretiveness around nuclear event data is a huge problem,” he said. “Especially when investments like Hinkley Point have to be discussed and decided. Because of the international treaties, it is probably impossible to get the data from the IAEA.”

Professor Sovacool agreed. “It’s a matter of the industry not reporting to national regulators, regulators not reporting to the IAEA, and the IAEA not reporting all.”

A spokeswoman for the IAEA said: “The IAEA neither regulates nor promotes the nuclear industry. Our job is to help countries that use nuclear power to do so safely, securely and sustainably.”

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

180 nuclear transport mishaps in UK nuclear weapons convoys

radiation-truckUK nuclear weapons convoys ‘have had 180 mishaps in 16 years’ Vehicles carrying nuclear weapons have had collisions, breakdowns and brake failures, disarmament campaign says, Guardian, , 21 Sept 16Military convoys carrying nuclear weapons through Britain’s cities and towns have experienced 180 mishaps and incidents, including collisions, breakdowns and brake failures during the last 16 years, according to a report produced by a disarmament campaign.

The incidents catalogued in the report – based on official logs released under theFreedom of Information Act – include fuel leaks, overheated engines, clutch problems, and other mechanical faults in the convoys.

At other times, according to the report, the convoys went the wrong way, were diverted, and lost communications with commanders. The rate at which the incidents have occurred has risen in recent years, with 43 in the last three years.

In its report published on Wednesday, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) warns that a serious accident involving the convoys could spread radioactivity over cities, contaminating communities and increasing cancer risks.

The convoys pass through cities and towns between Scotland and southern England. However, an opinion poll commissioned by Ican shows that nearly two-thirds of British adults did not know that the military transports nuclear warheads on British roads, prompting the campaigners to argue that members of the public have not given their consent to the dangers they pose.

Materials for nuclear weapons are driven through or flown over 122 local councils in the UK, including densely-populated areas such as Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle, according to Ministry of Defence data…….

The Ican report describes how nuclear warheads are carried in dark green, 44-tonne trucks between a bomb factory at Burghfield near Reading in Berkshire and a naval depot at Coulport on Loch Long near Glasgow, where they are loaded onto submarines.

The 900-mile round trips, usually spread over one or two days, are completed between two and six times a year, with the most recent onereported to have been completed this week.

According to Ican, the convoys – comprising up to 20 vehicles including police cars and a fire engine – use a variety of routes. One from Burghfield, where the warheads are assembled and maintained, goes along the M40, round Birmingham and past Preston on the M6, and then the M74 to Glasgow……..

Matt Hawkins, spokesman for Ican, said the report “painted a grim picture of the great risks posed by nuclear convoys”, adding that nuclear weapons “only add danger to our lives, exposing us all to the risk of radiation leaks or an attack by terrorists on one of these convoys”.

In 2003, following pressure from the Guardian, the MoD was forced to publish a list of accidents involving nuclear weapons between 1960 and 1991 after decades of secrecy. It showed that the weapons had been dropped, struck by other weapons and carried on a truck that slid down a hill and toppled overhttps://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/sep/21/uk-nuclear-weapons-convoys-have-had-180-mishaps-in-16-years


September 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

80 % of ABC North and West listeners oppose South Australia’s nuclear waste import plan

text-NoNuclear waste storage proposal draws ire of SA regional community on the ground ABC North and West By Angela Smallacombe, 20 Sept 16,  Plans for a high-level nuclear waste dump being touted by the South Australian Government have found strong opposition at ground level, according to an unofficial ABC poll.

The ABC North and West breakfast program, based in Port Pirie, asked listeners whether they were for, against, or undecided regarding the State Government’s proposal to import nuclear waste from other countries and store it in South Australia.

Eighty per cent of respondents were against the nuclear plans, 15.29 per cent were for the plans, and 4.71 per cent were undecided.

Votes were taken via text messages and phone calls, with 85 responses to 10am, but the “no” responses continued for hours afterwards.

The results came from listeners in the regional area that holds nuclear sites Maralinga, Radium Hill, Roxby Downs and Beverly Uranium Mine.

Listeners were also in areas previously mooted for nuclear waste facilities at Kimba, Woomera and aproperty near Hawker that is still being considered for a federal project to house domestic nuclear waste……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-21/port-pirie-community-reacts-to-nuclear-waste-dump-proposal/7865200

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) lodges appeal against Federal Court’s approval of giant Adani coal mine

coal CarmichaelMine219 September 2016  “The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has lodged an appeal to the Federal Court’s decision which found the approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine to be lawful.

“ACF disputes the Environment Minister’s argument in court that the burning of coal from Carmichael mine will not have an impact on global warming and the Great Barrier Reef.

““This is a profound moment in the history of protecting Australia’s environment, as we attempt to stop a coal mine that would create 4.6 billion tonnes of climate pollution if it is allowed to proceed,” said ACF’s President Geoff Cousins.

““Australia’s system of environment laws is broken if it allows the Federal Environment Minister to approve a mega-polluting coal mine – the biggest in Australia’s history – and claim it will have no impact on the global warming and the reef.

““If our environment laws are too weak to actually protect Australia’s unique species and places,they effectively give companies like Adani a licence to kill.

““Be in no doubt, Adani’s Carmichael proposal is massive and will lock in decades of damaging climate pollution if it goes ahead, further wrecking the reef. … “

September 21, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal, Queensland | 1 Comment

Russia worried that UK’s costly Hinkley project will discredit the global nuclear industry

scrutiny-on-costsRussia issues Hinkley nuclear warning, climate news,network  September 19, 2016, by Terry Macalister  State-owned Russian nuclear corporation says the industry’s credibility is at risk if building the new UK power plant is delayed or runs over budget.

LONDON, 19 September, 2016 – A major nuclear developer has warned the French energy giant EDF that it must deliver the Hinkley Point project in the UK on time and on budget or risk damaging the credibility of the wider industry.

In an exclusive interview with Climate News Network, Kirill Komarov, first deputy chief executive of Russian state-owned corporation Rosatom, expressed fears that problems at other EDF schemes − such as Flamanville in France andOlkiluoto in Finland − could be repeated.

Rosatom believes the decision by the UK prime minister, Theresa May, to give the go-ahead to the first new nuclear reactors in Britain for over 20 years was a major step forward, but knows that the eyes of the world will now be on a good performance at the Hinkley power plant in southwest England.

Komarov said: “It’s a good signal that the government confirmed its commitment to nuclear. At the same time, record-high cost and the risks of possible delays and cost overruns might undermine the reputation of the sector.”

The Russian group, which is constructing nuclear reactors in China, India and the Middle East, believes its own prices are up to 30% lower than EDF’s…………

Rosatom believes the UK should be wary of the potential delays attached to the new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) designs that are being trialled at Olkiluoto, Flamanville and soon at Hinkley.

The company also reckons that the 1600 megawatt capacities of EPRs may be too large for the needs of the modern world. It believes its own VVER-designed 1000-1200 MW reactors are more suitable, especially in developed countries where power demand is unlikely to grow too much, because of energy efficiency and demand reduction policies.

Rosatom is clearly keen to sell its reactors in the UK, which has relatively tight regulations and is seen by EDF and others as a good shop window for the world http://climatenewsnetwork.net/russia-issues-hinkley-nuclear-warning/

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China now requiring local public consent before going ahead with nuclear projects

flag-ChinaChina nuclear developers must seek public consent: draft rules, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-nuclear-safety-idUSKCN11Q18K (Reporting by David Stanway; editing by Jason Neely), 20 Sept 16 

China’s nuclear developers must seek the consent of local stakeholders before going ahead with new projects, according to draft rules published by the country’s cabinet on Monday.

Developers will need to assess the impact a nuclear project will have on social stability and solicit public opinion through hearings or announcements, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council said.

China is in the middle of a rapid nuclear reactor building program and aims to have 58 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in full commercial operation by the end of 2020, up from 30.7 GW at the end of July.

But despite a strong safety record at existing plants, the government has struggled to convince the public about the safety of nuclear power.

Protests in the eastern coastal city of Lianyungang last month led to the cancellation of a proposed $15 billion nuclear waste processing plant.

“Japan’s Fukushima accident once again created doubt about the safety of nuclear power among the public, and also caused feelings of fear and opposition to occur from time to time,” the Legislative Affairs Office said in a statement.

It said the new draft rules would improve information disclosure and allow the public to participate more actively in the construction and supervision of nuclear projects.

The Legislative Affairs Office has made the draft guidelines available to the public and will accept suggestions until Oct. 19, it said in a notice posted on its website (www.chinalaw.gov.cn).

A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency said this month that China’s “unparalleled” nuclear expansion would pose challenges for its regulators, and more work needed to be done in areas such as waste management and the handling of ageing reactors.

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment