Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Which South Australian parties have the guts to say NO to the Federal nuclear waste dump plan? – theme for March 18

Is there some reason why the greedy nuclear lobby, the secretive agency ANSTO, and the weak Australian government all seem to think that it’s OK to transport nuclear reactor trash for thousands of km across the land, and dump it on agricultural land in South Australia?

Is it because they’ve decided that South Australia is already radioactively trashed, because the Australian government allowed the British to test 12 major nuclear weapons and hundreds of “minor” ones on Maralinga, S.A.?

It is some sort of weird payback because this State never had convicts dumped on them – so the dominant Eastern States want to put the South Australians in their place?

South Australia is  a beautiful place. It has never generated nuclear trash. Let the nuclear trash be kept, (as international conventions and best  practice dictate) near to the point of production – AT LUCAS HEIGHTS in Sydney. And then let Australia come to its senses and stop making the foul stuff.

This is NOT  a “Kimba” issue, not just a regional issue, – it’s certainly a STATE issue, and a NATIONAL issue.

Aware citizens in Australia are waiting to see if the South Australian Labor Party, Liberal Party, SA Best Party have the guts to join the Greens in saying NO to the Federal nuclear waste dump plan.

 

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March 5, 2018 Posted by | Christina themes, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia election: Greens OPPOSE, SA Best nearly oppose, nuclear waste dump in SA: Labor and Liberal vacillate

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: OUR FUTURE: SCORECARD , 5 March 2018
All of the four party responses are signed by the leader and are dated 28 Feb 2018.
Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives
Note: The “Australian Conservatives” were invited to respond and did not provide any response.
 
 
SA Best is pleased to provide the following response to … :

11a Categorically rule out the creation of an international high and/or intermediate
level radioactive waste storage and disposal facility
Yes
11b Actively oppose the federal government plan for a radioactive waste facility in SA.

Refer to SA-BEST environment policy.
We do not oppose a low-level waste facility in principle, recognising the benefits of nuclear medicine and research and the need to dispose of this waste.
However, until such time as the federal government demonstrates full transparency around the consultation and selection process, SA-BEST would not be supportive.
We would use legislation in SA to block it if the process is not acceptable.

11c. Actively support the state Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.
Commit to further strengthen this legislation by removing the modified section
Question 11c on the High level nuclear waste..
We support and commit the current legislation as it now stands.
My understanding is the modifications have already been put in place.
 
Yours sincerely
Nick Xenophon
 
The Liberal Party of SA makes the following commitments in response to…
11a Categorically rule out the creation of an international high and/or intermediate
level radioactive waste storage and disposal facility
Yes
 
11c. Actively support the state Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.
Commit to further strengthen this legislation by removing the modified section

Other: The Liuberal Party supports the current Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.
 
Yours Sincerely
Steven Marshall MP
State liberal Leader
 
Note:  The Liberal response (as published) does not provide an answer to Q 11b:
 
Actively oppose the federal government plan for a radioactive waste facility in SA.
 
 

“The Greens have made the following commitments in response to … :

11a Categorically rule out the creation of an international high and/or intermediate
level radioactive waste storage and disposal facility
Yes
 
11b Actively oppose the federal government plan for a radioactive waste facility in SA.
Yes
 
11c. Actively support the state Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.
Commit to further strengthen this legislation by removing the modified section
Yes. Done, Thanks to a Greens bill.
Yours sincerely
Mark Parnell MLC
Parliamentary Leader Greens SA
 
Labor: “Thanks for opportunity to outline our position. A detailed response to your questions is attached:
 
see p.36 of doc, extract:
We have written to Turnbull government outlining our strong expectation around community support for any proposed facility, including a veto for the local Aboriginal community. …” 
 
Hon. Jay Weatherill MP
Premier of SA
 
Note: The Labor response (as published) does not provide an answer to Q 11a:
 
Categorically rule out the creation of an international high and/or intermediate
level radioactive waste storage and disposal facility   more https://www.ourfuturesa.org.au/scorecard

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear Waste issue highlighted in Port Augusta ahead of state election

Mara Bonacci, 5 March 2018    On Saturday 3rd March, members of Adelaide-based group Don’t Dump on SA joined Adnyamathanha and Barngarla people and members of the Flinders Local Action Group (FLAG) on the Princes Highway in Port Augusta to highlight concerns over the Federal government’s plan to site a radioactive waste facility in South Australia.

The lively and colourful event involved a giant inflatable radioactive waste barrel, music, free cuppas and a lime green three-headed kangaroo. It received a positive response and lots of encouragement from locals and passing traffic.

Locals who stopped for a chat were given showbag-style information packs and encouraged to send a submission to the federal Senate Inquiry into the selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia. An online submission template can be found athttps://nowastedump.good.do/wastedumpsenateinquiry/submission/.

Barngarla woman Linda Dare said “We’re here today to tell people that we don’t want a radioactive waste facility in South Australia. We want people to support us in the fight to stop it”.

FLAG member and Hawker GP, Dr Susi Andersson, said “The federal government is treating this as an issue for the local people only, but many people visit and care about the Flinders Ranges and don’t want a dump there.  I feel the broader community need to know about and discuss this issue”.

In response to earlier federal moves to dump radioactive waste in SA our Parliament passed the Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000. The objects of this Act are “to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia and to protect the environment in which they live by prohibiting the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in this state.”

In the lead up to the state election on 17 March, people concerned about the imposition of a nuclear waste facility in SA are being encouraged to vote for parties who will defend this legislation. Information can be found at https://www.ourfuturesa.org.au/scorecard.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

The hypocrisy of Ben Heard on nuclear weapons proliferation

Jim Green shared a link. Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South , 4 Feb 18 Australia   Ben Heard – the paid nuclear lobbyist whose so-called environment group ‘Bright New World’ accepts secret corporate donations – claims that “Peace is furthered when a nation embraces nuclear power, because it makes that nation empirically less likely to embark on a nuclear weapons program. That is the finding of a 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed journal International Security.”

That’s false twice over. Firstly, it isn’t true. Secondly, Heard’s assertion isn’t supported by the International Security journal article, written by Nicholas Miller from Dartmouth College.

Miller’s article downplays the power/weapons connections but much of the information in his article undermines his own argument. In Miller’s own words, “more countries pursued nuclear weapons in the presence of a nuclear energy program than without one”, “the annual probability of starting a weapons program is more than twice as high in countries with nuclear energy programs, if one defines an energy program as having an operating power reactor or one under construction”, and countries that pursued nuclear weapons while they had a nuclear energy program were “marginally more likely” to acquire nuclear weapons (almost twice as likely if North Korea is considered to have had a nuclear energy program while it pursued weapons).

Nuclear power/weapons connections are multifaceted, repeatedly demonstrated, disturbing and dangerous:

• Nuclear power programs were involved in the successful pursuit of weapons in four countries (France, India, Pakistan, South Africa) according to Miller (and India and North Korea could be added to that list) and have provided many other countries with a latent weapons capability.

• Power programs have provided ongoing support for weapons programs to a greater or lesser degree in seven of the nine current weapons states (the exceptions being Israel and North Korea).
• The direct use of power reactors to produce plutonium for weapons in all or all-but-one of the declared weapons states (and possibly other countries, e.g. India and Pakistan).
• The use of power reactors to produce tritium for weapons in the US (and possibly other countries, e.g. India).
• Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising enrichment and reprocessing programs that have fed proliferation.
• Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising research (reactor) programs which can lead (and have led) to weapons proliferation.
• And last but not least, the training of experts for nuclear power programs whose expertise can be (and has been) used in weapons programs.

 So why does Heard claim that “when a nation embraces nuclear power, because it makes that nation empirically less likely to embark on a nuclear weapons program”? He ignores most of Miller’s article (and Miller himself ignores much that is known about power/weapons connections) and focuses on these findings:


1. The annual probability of starting a weapons program is more than twice as high in countries with an operating power reactor or one under construction (a statistically-significant finding).
2. The annual probability of starting a weapons program is somewhat lower in countries with operating power reactors compared to countries without them (a statistically non-significant finding).

So why does Heard privilege the second of those findings when only the first is statistically significant? Why does Heard privilege the finding that excludes countries with power reactors under construction (but not in operation) when the inclusion of such countries provides a fuller, more accurate assessment of the power/weapons connections? Perhaps Heard’s selectivity is connected to his work as a paid nuclear lobbyist whose so-called environment group accepts secret corporate donations. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

Connections between civil and military nuclear programs Detailed 2015 paper: The myth of the peaceful atom – debunking the misinformation peddled by the nuclear industry and its supporters Nuclear power and weapons – explaining the connections 2017 – nuclear industry body and lobbyists acknowl…

March 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Federal govt cannot override South Australia law against nuclear waste dump

Cameron Scott,  Submission to ARPANSA on draft Code for Radioactive Waste, 4 Mar 18 It needs to be stated in the Code for Disposal of radioactive Waste that the Federal Government can not override state legislation for building a national facility. The code needs to include a clause protecting farming land from becoming home to hazardous waste. Licensing should require communities to nominate land not individuals.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Submission opposing dump for high level and intermediate level nuclear waste,

Colin Mitchell, Submission to ARPANSA on Radioactive Waste Code, 4 Mar 18  .I am against changing the Code to include other types of disposal facilities such as the above-ground storage for Intermediate Level nuclear waste from Lucas Heights that the Federal Govt wants to locate at their proposed National dump. This higher-level waste which remains dangerous for thousands of years should stay at Lucas Heights where it can be securely monitored. No deep-disposal facility should be permitted either. No National dump should be built – all waste should stay where it is.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Cory Bernardi, Sean Edwards, Anne Rushtown showed their ignorance on nuclear issues, at Port Augusta Liberal Senators symposium

Paul Waldon  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA,  3 Mar 1 Port Augusta Liberal Senators symposium was chaired by Cory Bernardi where he failed to address multiple questions on the abandonment of radioactive waste, food contamination, cyclotrons, ANSTO’s planed expansion, and recent nuclear accident history.

Sean Edwards and Anne Ruston failure to pull Cory’s fat out of the fire, reaffirms the fact that Cory, Sean and Anne are struggling to understand the direction of the South Australian people.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

March 5, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

San Onofre’s above ground nuclear waste storage – a permanent danger to people and the environment ?

How much nuclear waste has gone into dry storage at San Onofre? Here are the latest numbers,  Orange County Register,  4 Mar 18,  After “safely and successfully” loading the first multi-purpose spent fuel canister into its new home inside a concrete monolith at San Onofre in early February, Southern California Edison continues to move spent fuel into containers just a short distance from where surfers take on waves at the world-famous surf break. 

The most recent fuel tally as of Feb. 20 shows that:

  • The reactor known as Unit 2 had 1,207 fuel assemblies in its spent fuel pool. Three canisters, containing 111 fuel assemblies, had been moved to dry storage.
  • Unit 3 had 1,350 fuel assemblies in its pool, with none yet moved to dry storage.

Dry storage is far safer than pools, nuclear experts say. All of the spent fuel is slated to be moved into the “concrete bunker” that is the Holtec HI-STORM UMAX dry storage system by the middle of 2019, Edison said.

Opponents fear it will remain there for decades and pose grave danger to people and the environment.

The most recent fuel tally as of Feb. 20 shows that:

  • The reactor known as Unit 2 had 1,207 fuel assemblies in its spent fuel pool. Three canisters, containing 111 fuel assemblies, had been moved to dry storage.
  • Unit 3 had 1,350 fuel assemblies in its pool, with none yet moved to dry storage.

Dry storage is far safer than pools, nuclear experts say. All of the spent fuel is slated to be moved into the “concrete bunker” that is the Holtec HI-STORM UMAX dry storage system by the middle of 2019, Edison said.

Opponents fear it will remain there for decades and pose grave danger to people and the environment……… 

The most recent fuel tally as of Feb. 20 shows that:

  • The reactor known as Unit 2 had 1,207 fuel assemblies in its spent fuel pool. Three canisters, containing 111 fuel assemblies, had been moved to dry storage.
  • Unit 3 had 1,350 fuel assemblies in its pool, with none yet moved to dry storage.

Dry storage is far safer than pools, nuclear experts say. All of the spent fuel is slated to be moved into the “concrete bunker” that is the Holtec HI-STORM UMAX dry storage system by the middle of 2019, Edison said.

Opponents fear it will remain there for decades and pose grave danger to people and the environment………https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/02/how-much-nuclear-waste-has-gone-into-dry-storage-at-san-onofre-here-are-the-latest-numbers/

March 5, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Canberra arboretum goes green-er, ditching diesel for solar and storage — RenewEconomy

ACT’s National Arboretum has replaced its diesel generator for 100% solar and battery storage – a shift that will pay for itself within 8 years.

via Canberra arboretum goes green-er, ditching diesel for solar and storage — RenewEconomy

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear technology is a dead end

Thorium ‒ a better fuel for nuclear technology?   Thorium ‒ a better fuel for nuclear technology? Nuclear Monitor,   by Dr. Rainer Moormann  1 March 2018 An important, detailed critique of thorium by Dr. Rainer Moormann, translated from the original German by Jan Haverkamp. Dr. Moormann concludes:

The use of technology based on thorium would not be able to solve any of the known problems of current nuclear techniques, but it would require an enormous development effort and wide introduction of breeder and reprocessing technology. For those reasons, thorium technology is a dead end.”

Author: Dr. Rainer Moormann, Aachen (r.moormann@gmx.deThorium is currently described by several nuclear proponents as a better alternative to uranium fuel.

Thorium itself is, however, not a fissile material. It can only be transformed into fissile uranium-233 using breeder and reprocessing technology. It is 3 to 4 times more abundant than uranium.

Concerning safety and waste disposal there are no convincing arguments in comparison to uranium fuel. A severe disadvantage is that uranium-233 bred from thorium can be used by terror organisations for the construction of simple but high-impact nuclear explosives. Thus development of a thorium fuel cycle without effective denaturation of bredfissile materials is irresponsible. Continue reading

March 5, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear reactors were never commercially practical

Dispelling Claim 2: Thorium did not get a chance in the  nuclear energy development because it is not  usable for military purposes   Thorium ‒ a better fuel for nuclear technology? Nuclear Monitor,   by Dr. Rainer Moormann  1 March 2018

In the early stages of nuclear technology in the USA (from 1944 to the early 1950s), reprocessing technology was not yet well developed. Better developed were graphite moderated reactors that used natural uranium and bred plutonium.

For the use of thorium (which, other than uranium, does not contain fissile components), enriched uranium or possibly plutonium would have been indispensable. Continue reading

March 5, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

NSW regional council weighs building its own solar grid — RenewEconomy

NSW shire of Parkes to explore feasibility of building its own “virtual solar network,” based on existing PV investments and future solar and storage installs.

via NSW regional council weighs building its own solar grid — RenewEconomy

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victoria town’s breakthrough deal on network tariffs as it pursues 100% renewables — RenewEconomy

Central Victoria town achieves a breakthrough deal on network tariffs that could pave the way for a community solar farm and 100 per cent renewable energy within a few years.

via Victoria town’s breakthrough deal on network tariffs as it pursues 100% renewables   — RenewEconomy

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear reactors DO have weapons proliferation risks

Dispelling Claim 3: Thorium use has hardly any proliferation risk   Thorium ‒ a better fuel for nuclear technology? Nuclear Monitor,   by Dr. Rainer Moormann  1 March 2018

The proliferation problem of Th / U-233 needs a  differentiated analysis ‒ general answers are easily misleading. First of all, one has to assess the weapon capability of U-233. Criteria for good suitability are a low critical mass and a low rate of spontaneous fission. The critical mass of U-233 is only 40% of that of U-235, the critical mass of plutonium-239 is around 15% smaller than for U-233. A relatively easy to construct nuclear explosive needs around 20 to 25 kg U-233.

The spontaneous fission rate is important, because the neutrons from spontaneous fission act as a starter of the chain reaction; for an efficient nuclear explosion, the fissile material needs to have a super-criticality of at least 2.5 (criticality is the amount of new fissions produced by the neutrons of each fission.)

When, because of spontaneous fissions, a noticeable chain reaction already starts during the initial conventional explosion trigger mechanism in the criticality phase between 1 and 2.5, undesired weak nuclear explosions would end the super-criticality before a significant part of the fissile material has reacted. This largely depends on how fast the criticality phase of 1 to 2.5 is passed. Weapon plutonium (largely Pu-239) and moreover reactor plutonium have – different from the mentioned uranium fission materials U-235 and U-233 – a high spontaneous fission rate, which excludes their use in easy to build bombs.

More specifically, plutonium cannot be caused to explode in a so-called gun-type fission weapon, but both uranium isotopes can. Plutonium needs the far more complex implosion bomb design, which we will not go into further here. A gun-type fission weapon was used in Hiroshima – a cannon barrel set-up, in which a fission projectile is shot into a fission block of a suitable form so that they together form a highly super-critical arrangement.   Here, the criticality phase from 1 to 2.5 is in the order of magnitude of milliseconds – a relatively long time, in which a plutonium explosive would destroy itself with weak nuclear explosions caused by spontaneous fission.

One cannot find such uranium gun-type fission weapons in modern weapon arsenals any longer (South Africa’s apartheid regime built 7 gun-type fission weapons using uranium-235): their efficiency (at most a few percent) is rather low, they are bulky (the Hiroshima bomb: 3.6 metric tons, 3.2 meters long), inflexible, and not really suitable for carriers like intercontinental rockets.

On the other hand, gun-type designs are highly reliable and relatively easy to build. Also, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reckons that larger terror groups would be capable of constructing a nuclear explosive on the basis of the gun-type fission design provided they got hold of a sufficient amount of suitable fissile material.1

Bombs with a force of at most 2 to 2.5 times that of the Hiroshima bomb (13 kt TNT) are conceivable. For that reason, the USA and Russia have tried intensively for decades to repatriate their world-wide delivered highly enriched uranium (HEU).

A draw-back of U-233 in weapon technology is that – when it is produced only for energy generation purposes – it is contaminated with maximally 250 parts per million (ppm) U-232 (half-life 70 years).2 That does not impair the nuclear explosion capability, but the uranium-232 turns in the thorium decay chain, which means ‒ as mentioned above ‒ emission of the highly penetrating radiation of Tl-208. A strongly radiating bomb is undesirable in a military environment – from the point of view of handling, and because the radiation intervenes with the bomb’s electronics.

In the USA, there exists a limit of 50 ppm U-232 above which U-233 is no longer considered suitable for weapons.

Nevertheless, U-232 does not really diminish all proliferation problems around U-233. First of all, simple gun-type designs do not need any electronics; furthermore, radiation safety arguments during bomb construction will hardly play a role for terrorist organisations that use suicide bombers.

Besides that, Tl-208 only appears in the end of the decay chain of U-232: freshly produced or purified U-233/U-232 will radiate little for weeks and is easier to handle.2 It is also possible to suppress the build-up of uranium-232 to a large extent, when during the breeding process of U-233 fast neutrons with energies larger than 0.5 MeV are filtered out (for instance by arranging the thorium in the reactor behind a moderating layer) and thorium is used from ore that contains as little uranium as possible.

A very elegant way to harvest highly pure U-233 is offered by the proposed molten salt reactors with integrated reprocessing (MSR): During the breeding of U-233 from thorium, the intermediate protactinium-233 (Pa-233) is produced, which has a half-life of around one month. When this intermediate is isolated – as is intended in some molten salt reactors – and let decay outside the reactor, pure U-233 is obtained that is optimally suited for nuclear weapons.

An advantage of U-233 in comparison with Pu-239 in military use is that under neutron irradiation during the production in the reactor, it tends to turn a lot less into nuclides that negatively influence the explosion capability. U-233 can (like U-235) be made unsuitable for use in weapons by adding U-238: When depleted uranium is already mixed with thorium during the feed-in into the reactor, the resulting mix of nuclides is virtually unusable for weapons.

However, for MSRs with integrated reprocessing this is not a sufficient remedy. One would have to prevent separation of protactinium-233.9

The conclusion has to be that the use of thorium contains severe proliferation risks. These are less in the risk that highly developed states would find it easier to lay their hands on high-tech weapons, than that the bar for the construction of simple but highly effective nuclear explosives for terror organisations or unstable states will be a lot lower.

 

 

March 5, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Another major 300MW solar farm proposed for Queensland coal centre — RenewEconomy

Renew Estate proposes 300MW solar farm for Gladstone, Queensland, to help wean the regional centre off coal, and power industrial growth.

via Another major 300MW solar farm proposed for Queensland coal centre — RenewEconomy

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment