Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Earth Day 22 April – time to speak out boldly on climate change

Earth Day and the Hockey Stick: A Singular Message https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/earth-day-and-the-hockey-stick-a-singular-message/

On the 20th anniversary of the graph that galvanized climate action, it is time to speak out boldly

By Michael E. Mann on April 20, 2018 Two decades ago this week a pair of colleagues and I published the original “hockey stick” graph in Nature, which happened to coincide with the Earth Day 1998 observances. The graph showed Earth’s temperature, relatively stable for 500 years, had spiked upward during the 20th century. A year later we would extend the graph back in time to A.D. 1000, demonstrating this rise was unprecedented over at least the past millennium—as far back as we could go with the data we had.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, publishing the hockey stick would change my life in a fundamental way. I was thrust suddenly into the spotlight. Nearly every major newspaper and television news networkcovered our study. The widespread attention was exhilarating, if not intimidating for a science nerd with little or no experience—or frankly, inclination at the time—in communicating with the public.

Nothing in my training as a scientist could have prepared me for the very public battles I would soon face. The hockey stick told a simple story: There is something unprecedented about the warming we are experiencing today and, by implication, it has something to do with us and our profligate burning of fossil fuels. The story was a threat to companies that profited from fossil fuels, and government officials doing their bidding, all of whom opposed efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the vulnerable junior first author of the article (I was a postdoctoral researcher), I found myself in the crosshairs of industry-funded attack dogs looking to discredit the iconic symbol of the human impact on our climate…by discrediting me personally.

In my 2013 book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, I gave a name to this modus operandi of science critics: the Serengeti strategy. The term describes how industry special interests and their facilitators single out individual researchers to attack, in much the same way lions of the Serengeti single out an individual zebra from the herd. In numbers there is strength; individuals are far more vulnerable.

The purpose of this strategy, still in force today, is twofold: to undermine the credibility of the science community, thus impairing scientists as messengers and communicators; and to discourage other researchers from raising their heads above the parapet and engaging in public discourse over policy-relevant science. If the aggressors are successful, as I have argued before, we all lose out—in the form of policies that favor special interests over our interests.

As the Serengeti strategy has been deployed against me, I have beenvilified on the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal and other conservative media outlets, and subject to inquisitions by fossil fuel industry–funded senators, congressmen and attorneys general. My e-mails have been stolen, cherry-picked, taken out of context and broadcast widely in an effort to embarrass and discredit me. I have been subject to vexatious, open-records law requests by fossil fuel industry–funded front groups for my personal e-mails and numerous other documents. I have experienced multiple death threats and have endured threats against my family members. All because of the inconvenience my scientific findings posed to powerful and influential special interests.

Yet, in the 20 years since the original hockey stick publication, independent studies again and again have overwhelmingly reaffirmed our findings, including the key conclusion: recent warming is unprecedented over at least the past millennium. The highest scientific body in the U.S., the National Academy of Sciences, affirmed our findings in an exhaustive independent review published in June 2006. Dozens of groups of scientists have independently reproduced, confirmed and extended our findings, including a team of nearly 80 scientists from around the world who in 2013 published their finding in the premier journal Nature Geoscience that recent warmth is unprecedented in at least the past 1,400 years.

The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the most authoritative and exhaustive assessment of climate science on the planet, concluded recent warmth is likely unprecedented over an even longer time frame than we had concluded. There is tentative evidence, in fact, that the current warming spike is unprecedented in tens of thousands of years.

Of course, the hockey stick is only one of numerous lines of evidence that have led the world’s scientists to conclude climate change is (a) real, (b) caused by burning fossil fuels, along with other human activities and (c) a grave threat if we do nothing about it. There is no legitimate scientific debate on those points, despite the ongoing effort by some people and groups to convince the public otherwise.

Their preferred tactic is to exaggerate the uncertainty in models that project where climate change is heading and argue such uncertainty is a cause for inaction, when precisely the opposite is the case. Arctic sea ice is disappearing faster than the climate models have predicted. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets appear prone to collapse sooner than we previously thought—and with that, estimates of the sea level rise we could see by the end of this century have doubled from previous estimates of about three feet to more than six feet. If anything, climate model projections have proved overly conservative; they are certainly not an exaggeration.

Scientists are finding other examples as well. In part as a result of our own work three years ago, there is an emerging consensus—as publicized in recent news accounts—that the “conveyor belt” of ocean circulation may be weakening sooner than we expected. The conveyor delivers warm waters from the tropics to the higher latitudes of the North Atlantic, supporting vibrant fish communities there and moderating climates in western Europe and eastern North America. The earlier melt of Greenland ice, it appears, is freshening the surface waters of the subpolar North Atlantic, inhibiting the sinking of cold, salty water that helps drive the conveyor.

When the hockey stick was first attacked in the late 1990s I was initially reluctant to speak out, but I realized I had to defend myself against a cynical assault on my science and on me. I have come to embrace that role. What more noble cause is there than to fight to preserve our planet for our children and grandchildren?

There is great urgency to act now if we are to avert a dangerous 2- degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) planetary warming. My own recent work suggests the challenge is greater than previously thought. Yet I remain cautiously optimistic we will act in time. Along with many other Americans, I have been inspired by the renewed enthusiasm of our youth, who are demanding action now when it comes to the societal and environmental threats they face. Indeed, I have committed myself to helping insure a future in which we avoid catastrophic climate change. So let me conclude with this exhortation from the epilogue of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars:

“While slowly slipping away, that future is still within the realm of possibility. It is a matter of what path we choose to follow. I hope that my fellow scientists—and concerned individuals everywhere—will join me in the effort to make sure we follow the right one.”

April 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Rental solar scheme targets 15,000 Queensland investment homes — RenewEconomy

Queensland property groups join forces to install solar and smart technology on 15,000 investment properties across the state, offering bill crunching PV to landlords and renters.

via Rental solar scheme targets 15,000 Queensland investment homes — RenewEconomy

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

States wave through NEG that is even worse than thought — RenewEconomy

States quickly agree on approval for more work to be done on National Energy Guarantee. But concerns remain about the emissions target, and new analysis that suggests the electricity sector is being asked to address just 5 per cent of required reductions.

via States wave through NEG that is even worse than thought — RenewEconomy

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week that was in Australian nuclear news

Donald Trump says he’s ready to pull the plug on the summit meeting with Kim Jong Un, if he feels it’s “not going to be fruitful.”   It took years of careful multi-national negotiations to develop a nuclear deal with Iran. Trump apparently expects Kim Jong Un to quickly agree to “complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of the North Korean program”.  That can’t be done quickly, even if Kim agreed. And what would Kim want, in return?

Remembering that Donald Trump’s main aim is to be the centre of attention – what better centre-stage position, than walking out of the summit, and bringing us all to the nuclear brink again?

Dr Helen Caldicott – forthright and clear – on Donald Trump, and the nuclear war danger.

AUSTRALIA

48 submissions now published on the Senate website –  Inquiry into Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia.  This top submission from ENUFF not yet published.

Australia to join global health and climate change initiative.  Whichever way you cut it, Turnbull’s climate policy is still a sham . Coalition squibs on emissions in new energy policy paper.

Aboriginal Tent Embassy camp shines light on frontier wars. Indigenous rangers facing ‘nervous wait’ over funding.

New South Wales New South Wales Acting Premier John Barilaro is gung ho for nuclear power. He claims that nuclear power – Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) are “inevitable for Australia”.

Time to close the unnecessary Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, now that bushfires are contained?   New South Wales firefighter warns on the importance of climate change bringing extreme weather (near to nuclear reactor) Climate change – unseasonably hot weather made bushfires near Lucas Heights nuclear reactor become “apocalyptic” blazes. Government and media silence on the bushfire danger to Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. ANSTO closed the Lucas Heights nuclear complex to all but the most essential staff.

South Australia. Visit of pro nuclear Resources Minister Canavan has strengthened Aboriginal opposition to nuclear waste dump.   Australian government successfully bribing Kimba community to host radioactive trash?  Maralinga – Britain’s guinea pig land for toxic nuclear bomb testing.

Environment Victoria welcomes revelations of final brown coal project collapse .

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

The best yet: ENUFF’s Submission to Senate Inquiry on Nuclear Waste Dump Site Selection

 

This is the best of several submissions to the Senate Inquiry, that I have read so far. It can be heavy going for the reader, because it is densely informative.  For a start, I have summarised some of the major arguments,

ENUFF argues that “the Taskforce has not properly nor fully informed either the wider public; nor their arbitrary ‘local community’ cohort; nor the State Government; &, it would appear, not even their own Federal Minister – about the whole radioactive waste regimen. Instead they almost only & exclusively accentuate & promote Australian usage of medical radioisotopes. ”

The community consultation methods have been inadequate and unfair. There is no scientific need for Lucas Heights nuclear wastes to be transported to rural South Australia, and medical wastes amount to only a tiny fraction of the radioactive wastes planned for the S.A. Dump.

Stirling North and Leigh Creek residents would be affected, but were excluded from the consultation. Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association were NOT consulted prior to the Wallerberdina preferred site announcement , contrary to UN endorsed Indigenous Rights.

In surveys run by Flinders Local Action Group a clear majority voted “no” to the establishment of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in the area .

Scrutiny of the Barndioota Consultative Committee NRMWT survey reveals questionable and biased methodology and results.

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility’s communications and publicity have been deceptive with its pretense that the waste is predominantly medical Low Level Wastes, ignoring Intermediate Level Waste volumes intended for ‘temporary’ storage

Given the prime-facie maladministration ans deficiencies described above, ENuFF calls for a judicial inquiry into the NRWMF ‘s processes.

ENuFF-SA Submission 1 to the Senate ERC NRWMF Inquiry (not yet published on the Senate website) 

CONTENTS Page 2 Acronyms 3 Introduction 5 Executive Summary 6 History 8 Contemporary Action 9 Wallerberdina 16 Indigenous appraisal 19 Correspondence with the Taskforce 22 Afterword 25 Bibliography

In order to determine whether or not maladministration &/or negligence has any bearing upon the community consultation process, ENuFF asks the committee to recommend a judicial inquiry into the performance of the NRWMF Taskforce…..

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Continue reading

April 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales Acting Premier is gung ho for nuclear power

Barilaro slams “ignorant 1970’s thinking” on nuclear, 2GB.com  – 19 Apr 18 MICHAEL MCLAREN  

Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro has been speaking on energy, declaring nuclear power “inevitable” and slamming the “ignorant 1970’s thinking” that has inhibited the development of our nation’s uranium reserves.

Michael McLaren is also pointing out the hypocrisy of Australia’s engagement with nuclear energy, noting that despite being the world’s third largest exporter of uranium, Australia has a banning moratorium on the resource.

“In 2016, Australia exported uranium worth more than $900 million to other places around the world. But we didn’t use one iota of it at home,” says Michael.

“If you ask me, that’s completely stupid.”  “It has been forgotten for no other then ideological reasons.”…..  Download this podcast here   https://www.2gb.com/podcast/barilaro-slams-ignorant-1970s-thinking-on-nuclear/

April 20, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Time to close the unnecessary Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, now that bushfires are contained ?

With the prospect of more bursts of extreme weather in the future, yet another danger of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor is apparent.

Meanwhile, other countries are turning to the safer and far more practical methods of producing medical radioisotopes.  (After all, the  tax-payer funded Australian National Science and Nuclear Technology Organisation ANSTO  claims that the only purpose of the reactor is medical) . Map above shows Canada’s network for production and distribution of the most important medical radioisotope, Technetium-99m , as well s as others.

Bushfire now contained   About 200 firefighters worked on Tuesday at Holsworthy and Barden Ridge backburning and creating containment lines.

By 6:30pm, the Holsworthy bushfire was considered contained, Mr Garlick said.

“Over the next few days our crews have a lot of hard work ahead of them mopping up and extinguishing all the hotspots within the containment lines of this fire,” he said.

“As these days continue, we are expecting milder conditions which will ease that threat, but residents should monitor those conditions and take advice from firefighters on the ground and through our website.”

As a result of backburning operations, some smoke would continue to remain in the Sydney area, potentially even as far as the Blue Mountains.more https://tinyurl.com/yaky4nqf

April 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales firefighter warns on the importance of climate change bringing extreme weather

Menai bushfire reveals problem we must confront https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/menai-bushfire-reveals-problem-we-must-confront-20180418-p4zabg.html –By Jim Casey, 

I’m a professional firefighter employed by Fire Rescue NSW and working out of Balmain fire station.

When I arrived at work on Sunday, the crew who were just finishing their shift looked dead on their feet. There was a pile of dirty hose in the backyard, and the fire engine stank of smoke.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Unlike the Kimba/Hawker area, the 82 residents of quiet French village Bure are up in arms against nuclear waste dumping

Quiet no more, French village becomes centre of anti-nuclear protest, Reuters  Gilbert ReilhacLucien Libert, 19 Apr 18.

The 82 residents of the French village of Bure lived a quiet life until the government began testing the feasibility of storing nuclear waste there. Now Bure is rocked by protests as a final decision on the project looms.

For the past 20 years, French nuclear waste agency Andra has tested the stability of the clay of the northeastern village to see if it could hold radioactive waste for hundreds of thousands of years. Andra is preparing a formal request for next year to build the 25 billion euro ($31 billion) facility to hold waste from the reactors of state-owned utility EDF.

“Life will become unbearable here with the nuclear waste and all the demonstrators,” said Bure mayor Gerard Antoine, who breeds beef cattle.

Antoine approved the installation of Andra research facilities two decades ago but said he now regrets that decision and would say no if he were asked today.

Hundreds of demonstrators who built a camp nearby were kicked out by police in February but say they are there for the long run and will fight the project until the government changes its plans.

“We are heading straight for … a nuclear disaster, that’s why we’re against it,” said Jean-Marc Fleury, a local elected official with an environmentalist party.

Police are maintaining a heavy presence while protesters have regrouped in and around a house in the Bure village centre…..

For now, spent fuel from French nuclear reactors is stored in pools next to the reactors before it is shipped to state-owned nuclear fuel group Orano’s recycling plant in La Hague, western France.

But La Hague is not designed for long-term storage and France does not have a solution 40 years after investing heavily in nuclear energy. Other countries that use nuclear power face the same problem……..https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-nuclearpower-waste/quiet-no-more-french-village-becomes-centre-of-anti-nuclear-protest-idUKKBN1HP1S7

April 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Donald Trump says he’s ready to pull the plug on the summit meeting with Kim Jong Un

Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with North Korea leader, Military Times, Matthew Pennington, The Associated Press , 19 Apr 18, WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said that although he’s looking ahead optimistically to a historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he could still pull out if he feels it’s “not going to be fruitful.”

April 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

JAPAN is lying to the world about nuclear-ravaged Fukushima’s recovery

RADIOACTIVE PIGS   Japan ‘covering up’ Fukushima nuclear danger-zone radiation levels and blackmailing evacuees to return to radiated areas swarming with radioactive pigs and monkeys
Three reactors went into meltdown after the 2011 Japanese tsunami in the worst accident since Chernobyl, leaving an apocalyptic vision of ghost towns and overgrown wildernesses and scared residents refuse to return  Sun UK, By Patrick Knox  19th April 2018 

April 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) supports summit between Trump and Kim

 The Latest on the United States and North Korea , WASHINGTON (AP) Chron — 19 Apr 18  The anti-nuclear weapons group that won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize says it’s “very supportive” of a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, after months of risky tensions between them.

Executive director Beatrice Fihn of ICAN says that mutual threats between the two leaders have made the risk of nuclear confrontation “really dangerously high.”

Speaking to reporters, Fihn said that if the summit in late May or early June makes progress on disarmament, “we’ll definitely applaud it … every step forward is positive.”    Overall, she reiterated ICAN’s support for a nuclear weapons ban treaty, saying, “It’s hard to see the world being able to solve one nuclear-armed state at this point in isolation from the other states.”…..https://www.chron.com/news/politics/article/The-Latest-US-says-it-s-maintaining-pressure-on-12847167.php

April 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Mars colonists can look forward to cancers, blindness and brain damage from space radiation

Two main types of radiation in space are extremely harmful to humans: protons spewed out by the sun and cosmic rays. These high-energy particles and the secondary radiation they create penetrate deep into cells, promoting chronic and sometimes deadly diseases such as cancer.

Cancer is a major risk of radiation exposure, but there are more immediate and surprising symptoms. Deep-space radiation might promote cataracts and impair eyesight

Animal-based experiments also suggest radiation could damage the nervous system, including the brain, which might impair astronauts’ focus and memory.

“You’re somehow losing cognitive ability,”

Mars colonists will get blasted with radiation levels 8 times higher than government limits — here’s what they’re up against https://www.businessinsider.com.au/mars-radiation-levels-spacex-nasa-exposure-2018-4?r=US&IR=T, DAVE MOSHER, SKYE GOULD, APR 20, 2017 

April 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

KILLer Power: NASA keen to put even more cancer-causing radiation into space

Nasa to make announcement about nuclear power in space https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nasa-announcement-nuclear-power-space-kilopower-reactor-a8312491.html  The ‘Kilopower’ project could be used to generate clean [?]  energy on the moon, Mars and further into the universe  Andrew Griffin @_andrew_griffin 

Nasa is to make a major announcement about its project to put nuclear power in space.

The agency has been working on “Kilopower” – a project to use a nuclear reactor to generate clean energy on the Moon, Mars and beyond – for some time. And now it will hold a press conference to reveal the latest results from its plans to unveil a new space exploration power system, it has said.

The conference will see the agency discuss the results of its latest experiments, it said in a release. It has been conducted from November 2017 through until March 2018, at the Nevada National Security Site or NNSS.

That site, deep in the Nevada desert, has long served as a testing ground for nuclear experiments. In the 1950s, for instance, it was used to detonate nuclear bombs that could be felt across the state and into Las Vegas.

Nasa hopes that Kilopower can use some of that same nuclear technology to provide energy for space explorers as they make their way through the solar system.  They will need energy for a wide variety of tasks, from generating the light, water and oxygen they need to conducting experiments and sending information back to Earth.

“That’s why NASA is conducting experiments on Kilopower, a new power source that could provide safe, efficient and plentiful energy for future robotic and human space exploration missions,” Nasa wrote in a statement in January.

“This pioneering space fission power system could provide up to 10 kilowatts of electrical power — enough to run two average households — continuously for at least ten years. Four Kilopower units would provide enough power to establish an outpost.”

Using nuclear fission will allow astronauts to be able to generate energy wherever they are. If people on Mars, for instance, the amount of energy coming from the sun varies wildly; on Moon, the night lasts for 14 days.

“We want a power source that can handle extreme environments,” says Lee Mason, NASA’s principal technologist for power and energy storage. “Kilopower opens up the full surface of Mars, including the northern latitudes where water may reside. On the Moon, Kilopower could be deployed to help search for resources in permanently shadowed craters

April 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Union of Concerned Scientists Statement on Thorium-fueled Reactors

    https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/nuclear_power/thorium-reactors-statement.pdf Some people advocate the use of thorium to fuel nuclear power plants. Thorium could be used in a variety of different types of reactors, including conventional light-water reactors, which are the type used in the United States. However, thorium cannot be used by itself to sustain a nuclear chain reaction: it must be used together with a fissile material such as enriched uranium, uranium-233, or plutonium.

 Nuclear reactors fueled with thorium and uranium do not provide any clear overall advantages over reactors fueled with uranium alone. All types of nuclear fuels, whether uranium- or thorium-based, generate large amounts of heat during reactor operation, and failing to effectively remove that heat will lead to serious safety problems, as was seen at Fukushima. The U.S. Department of Energy has concluded after a review that “the choice between uranium-based fuel and thorium-based fuel is seen basically as one of preference, with no fundamental difference in addressing the nuclear power issues [of waste management, proliferation risk, safety, security, economics, and sustainability].”1 However, the report also notes that “Since no infrastructure currently exists in the U.S. for thorium-based fuels, and the processing of thorium-based fuels is at a lower level of technical maturity when compared to processing of uranium-based fuels, costs and RD&D [research, development and deployment] requirements for using thorium are anticipated to be higher.”
Some people believe that liquid fluoride thorium reactors, which would use a high-temperature liquid fuel made of molten salt, would be significantly safer than current-generation reactors. However, such reactors have major flaws. There are serious safety issues associated with the retention of fission products in the fuel, and it is not clear these problems can be effectively resolved. Such reactors also present proliferation and nuclear terrorism risks because they involve the continuous separation, or “reprocessing,” of the fuel to remove fission products and to efficiently produce U-233, which is a nuclear weapon-usable material. Moreover, disposal of the used fuel has turned out to be a major challenge. Stabilization and disposal of the remains of the very small “Molten Salt Reactor Experiment” that operated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s has turned into the most technically challenging cleanup problem that Oak Ridge has faced, and the site has still not been cleaned up.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment