Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

May 4 Energy News

geoharvey

Science and Technology:

¶ Carbon dioxide, the No 1 greenhouse gas leading to man-made global warming, has reached a dubious new milestone. The level of the gas in the atmosphere, as measured by instruments on top of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, topped 410 parts per million for the month of April. Scientists say this is the highest level in 800,000 years. [CNN]

Sunset from above the clouds, Mauna Loa Observatory
(LCDR Eric Johnson, NOAA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ NASA officials announced the results of the Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology (KRUSTY) experiment. They said it demonstrated that the system can create electricity with fission power and is also stable and safe regardless of the environment. The demonstration took place after NASA conducted extensive tests. [R & D Magazine]

¶ Electric motors are the beating heart of any electric vehicle, and thanks to a startup in Belgium, your…

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May 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trading in premium solar tariffs could spark home battery boom — RenewEconomy

Report finds 76% of Australian solar homes on premium feed-in tariff would trade it in for chance to upgrade systems – in particular, to add battery storage.

via Trading in premium solar tariffs could spark home battery boom — RenewEconomy

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The fertile crescent of Australian solar farms now tops 30GW — RenewEconomy

Latest update on solar projects presents striking image of development across the country. In total, more than 250 solar projects representing more than 30GW.

via The fertile crescent of Australian solar farms now tops 30GW — RenewEconomy

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pilbara renewables hub adds 3GW wind and solar to $20bn plan — RenewEconomy

Plans for huge renewable energy hub in Pilbara expanded to 9GW of wind and solar, producing as much as planned by Australia’s renewable energy target. Hydrogen storage has also been added to the $20 billion project menu.

via Pilbara renewables hub adds 3GW wind and solar to $20bn plan — RenewEconomy

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Germany reaches 100% renewables for a few hours, 42% so far this year — RenewEconomy

Germany reached 100% renewables for a few hours on Sunday and has averaged 42% for the year – well ahead of its 2020 target.

via Germany reaches 100% renewables for a few hours, 42% so far this year — RenewEconomy

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pastoralist Donald Fels finds that Barndioota, South Australia, is a totally unsuitable site for a nuclear waste dump

I feel we are scapegoats for the eastern seaboard. There is 450 hectares at Lucas Heights and only 60 hectares at present. It has been said that only an area the size of three Olympic swimming pools are required so there is room at Lucas Heights for many years to come – why shift it now.

Mr Donald Fels  Submission to inquiry regarding the proposed nuclear waste repository at Barndioota, Submission 76 to Senate Inquiry on Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia

I am a 65 year old 4th generation pastoralist, owner of Merna Mora Station, which has been in the family for 130 years, and is located approximately 19 kms from the proposed facility. I also own Wintabatinyana Station located 10 – 15 kms northwest of the facility site.

As well as running stock we have a tourist development at Merna Mora which commenced 50 years ago. From this clean, green belt we have been selling steers to the Japanese market for 24 years via AMH and JBS Swift as marbled shorthorn beef now part of Thousand Guineas Beef as well. We have very good quality merino wool and sheep meat which is sought after. We recently sold wethers to Turkey and as such must meet strict marketing codes. It has been important to keep our options
open as margins are very small in the meat and wool game. We definitely do not need the stigma of nuclear waste for our products or indeed in terms of our equity if we are ever to sell.

We are in the driest state in the driest continent in the world so water is another great concern and needs very little to upset the ecosystem. My grandchildren are 6th generation here and wish to continue here but none of the family want a waste facility near us.

The land here is very seismically unstable, the ground is very porous and the water table very close to the surface within 1 -2 km radius is less than a metre down.

The process of selection was not done properly. Many people were not surveyed. A lot of younger people who only have mobile phones were not surveyed. We were not surveyed and there are 4 families of us. We were advised why bother we were against it anyway. When consultants are employed to do surveys the right questions are asked to get the outcome needed.

Five very talented long term geologists working in an immediate area advised that it is not the right area in which to construct as the ground is too unstable, porous and prone to flooding. In a one in a hundred year flood it could result in a major catastrophe. Temporary Intermediate storage could
result in a longer term than this.

As for the job creation very few would eventuate as most construction would be by a major firm such as Downer or John Holland. They would bring in their preferred sub- contractors and place in a mobile camp. Tours would be unlikely to persist and really don’t see this as continuing.

The landlord is absentee, never likely to live here. Neighbours and community were not consulted prior to the land being offered. Land is perpetual lease country which is out of district council areas.

In outback areas, perpetual lease is exempted from native title but not native heritage.

I feel we are scapegoats for the eastern seaboard. There is 450 hectares at Lucas Heights and only 60 hectares at present. It has been said that only an area the size of three Olympic swimming pools are required so there is room at Lucas Heights for many years to come – why shift it now.

I feel strongly against this proposal to build this facility – please take these points into your consideration in the selection process. The consultation process has caused a deep rift in our once close knit community with many friendships now very distanced. All some see is the money but there is so much more to this. No monies should go to individual businesses only to community projects but there is already a bad precedence right from the first round. Several individuals received funds and now it is expanding to whole of the Flinders Ranges Council area 70 – 80 kms away.

I have been disappointed with the lack of continuity by ANSTO and do not feel that the consultation process has been fair and equitable.

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The North Shore Environmental Stewards – Liberals aim to unseat Tony Abbott, over his climate denialism

Liberal activists target Tony Abbott’s seat over climate change policy
Sydneysiders urged to join party in former PM’s seat to ‘shift the politics’ and speak up for the environment,Guardian,  Anne Davies, 3 May 18, 

Tony Abbott’s political future could be under threat from a group of activists who have been organising environmentally conscious voters to join Liberal partybranches on Sydney’s north shore – a move that could unseat the former prime minister.

Billing themselves as “the counterweight” to the pro-coal power Monash Forum, the North Shore Environmental Stewards have held at least two recruitment functions at which attendees were urged to tap into their networks of environmentally conscious people to join the Liberal party branches in Abbott’s seat of Warringah and on the lower north shore.

The NSES has a Facebook page that says the group “supports clean energy and a healthy environment, and believes in traditional Liberal party values of environmental stewardship”………https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/03/environmentally-conscious-liberals-urged

 

May 4, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

For the last month, carbon dioxide level in atmosphere exceeded 410 parts per million

Earth’s atmosphere just crossed another troubling climate change threshold
Carbon dioxide concentrations have now passed 410 parts per million, sustained over a month…. (subscribers only)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/05/03/earths-atmosphere-just-crossed-another-troubling-climate-change-threshold/?utm_source=rss_energy-environment&utm_term=.343412e431ac

May 4, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactors on Mars – Whoopee! Pity there’s no plan for disposing of their radioactive wastes.

We Now Have A Working Nuclear Reactor for Other Planets — But No Plan For Its Waste, Futurism, Claudia Geib, 23 May 18      If the power goes out in your home, you can usually settle in with some candles, a flashlight, and a good book. You wait it out, because the lights will probably be back on soon.

But if you’re on Mars, your electricity isn’t just keeping the lights on — it’s literally keeping you alive. In that case, a power outage becomes a much bigger problem.

NASA scientists think they’ve found a way to avoid that possibility altogether: creating a nuclear reactor. This nuclear reactor, known as Kilopower, is about the size of a refrigerator and can be safely launched into space alongside any celestial voyagers; astronauts can start it up either while they’re still in space, or after landing on an extraterrestrial body.

The Kilopower prototype just aced a series of major tests in Nevada that simulated an actual mission, including failures that could have compromised its safety (but didn’t).

………. Nuclear reactors are not an unusual feature in space; the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, now whizzing through deep space after departing our solar system, have been running on nuclear energy since they launched in the 1970s. The same is true for the Mars rover Curiosity since it landed on the Red Planet in 2012.

But we’d need a lot more reactors to colonize planets. And that could pose a problem of what to do with the waste.

If the power goes out in your home, you can usually settle in with some candles, a flashlight, and a good book. You wait it out, because the lights will probably be back on soon.

But if you’re on Mars, your electricity isn’t just keeping the lights on — it’s literally keeping you alive. In that case, a power outage becomes a much bigger problem.

NASA scientists think they’ve found a way to avoid that possibility altogether: creating a nuclear reactor. This nuclear reactor, known as Kilopower, is about the size of a refrigerator and can be safely launched into space alongside any celestial voyagers; astronauts can start it up either while they’re still in space, or after landing on an extraterrestrial body.

The Kilopower prototype just aced a series of major tests in Nevada that simulated an actual mission, including failures that could have compromised its safety (but didn’t)

But we’d need a lot more reactors to colonize planets. And that could pose a problem of what to do with the waste.
According to Popular Mechanics, Kilopower reactors create electricity through active nuclear fission — in which atoms are cleaved apart to release energy. You need solid uranium-235 to do it, which is housed in a reactor core about the size of a roll of paper towels. Eventually, that uranium-235 is going to be “spent,” just like fuel rods in Earth-based reactors, and put nearby humans at risk.

When that happens, the uranium core will have to be stored somewhere safe; spent reactor fuel is still dangerously radioactive, and releases lots of heat. On Earth, most spent fuel rods stored in pools of water that keep the rods cool, preventing them from catching fire and blocking radiating radioactivity. But on another planet, we’d need any available water to, you know, keep humans alive.

…….Right now, all we can do is speculate — as far as we know, NASA doesn’t have any publicly available plan for what to do with spent nuclear fuel on extraterrestrial missions. That could be because the Kilopower prototype just proved itself actually feasible. But not knowing what to do with the waste from it seems like an unusual oversight, since NASA is planning to go back to the Moon, and then to Mars, by the early 2030s.

And in case you were wondering, no, you can’t just shoot the nuclear waste off into deep space or into the sun; NASA studied that way back in the 1970s and determined it was a pretty terrible idea. Back to the drawing board.   https://futurism.com/nuclear-reactor-space-waste/

 

May 4, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

NASA renews its hype about nuclear reactors on Mars

NASA demos little nuclear power plant to help find little green men, Kilopower experiment looks good for 10 kilowatts on the Moon, Mars or beyond By Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor 

May 4, 2018 Posted by | General News | 2 Comments

Over-population should not be overlooked as a cause for global environmental destruction

With 250 babies born each minute, how many people can the Earth sustain?   UN data suggests that the world’s population will hit 11 billion by 2100, with the fastest rises being recorded in Africa and Asia, Guardian,  by Lucy Lamble  24 Apr 2018

We don’t know for sure as all figures are estimates, but UN data suggests there were about a billion people in 1800, 2 billion in 1927, 5 billion in 1987 and just over 7.5 billion today.

There are on average about 250 babies born every minute – more than 130 million in a year. It is projected that there will be 11 billion people by 2100. New UN figures are due out in June.

………https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/apr/23/population-how-many-people-can-the-earth-sustain-lucy-lamble

 

May 4, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

What is electromagnetic radiation? and how safe is it?

Why does this article not mention the difference in vulnerability between children and adults?

What is mobile phone radiation and how safe is it? ABC Science,By science reporter Belinda Smith

“…. What is electromagnetic radiation?

We are surrounded by all sorts of different types of electromagnetic radiation every day: your eyes pick up visible light, your bag is scanned by X-rays at airport security, microwaves heat your lunch and too much ultraviolet light gives you sunburn.

At its essence, electromagnetic radiation is energy comprising an electric field and magnetic field, which travel together, but perpendicularly, in waves.

Sometimes the length of these waves (or wavelength) is very short — a few nanometres for X-rays — while others are much longer — a few centimetres up to kilometres.

It’s these long wavelengths, called radio waves, that are the electromagnetic radiation of choice for mobile phones and base stations.

Unlike shorter wavelengths, such as visible light, radio waves can pass through walls. The longer the wavelength, the better it can penetrate solid stuff.

Another term you might see is frequency, which is the number of times a wave makes a full oscillation each second.

Frequency and wavelength are closely related. Wavelength is the speed of light divided by the frequency, so long wavelengths also have low frequency.

What are ionising and non-ionising radiation?

The radio frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum is home to what’s known as “non-ionising radiation”, said Rodney Croft, from the University of Wollongong and director of the Australian Centre of Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research.

It’s the high-frequency, short wavelength radiation, such as X-rays, that can tinker with your DNA and are linked to cancer.

These waves are small enough and carry enough energy to knock electrons off atoms, ionising them.

Radio frequency used in mobile communications simply doesn’t have the energy to do that. But that’s not to say it doesn’t exert any effects on the matter it travels through.

“It’s an oscillating wave, which swings between positive and negative,” Professor Croft said

“If you have a bunch of molecules rotating, that causes friction, and energy is given off as heat. It’s how a microwave oven works.”

Does anyone regulate radio frequency limits?

In Australia, mobile phone and base station exposure limits are set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The ARPANSA standard looks at how much energy a user absorbs from a mobile phone over time.

The maximum limit is currently 2 watts per kilogram of tissue. Phone manufacturers usually specify their maximum absorption rate in their manual.

You can find how much radio frequency is emitted by base stations at the Radio Frequency National Site Archive.

According to ARPANSA, it’s “typically hundreds of times below the [ARPANSA] limits”.

What are the effects of mobile radio frequency on tissues?

So are we microwaving our head whenever we answer the phone? A tiny bit, but not enough to be worried about, Professor Croft said.

He and his team found mobile phone radiation exposure increases the temperature of the outer grey, wrinkled layer of the brain called the cortex, but it’s only “maybe about 0.1 degree, which is very small compared to the temperature variation the body normally has to contend with”, he said.

“We do find that we get a slight change to thermoregulation, so the body, even with that small change, is sending a bit more blood out to the periphery to cool it, so your body doesn’t end up warming up.”

……...What about cancer in rodents?

Mobile phones are classed as “possibly carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, putting them in the same category as aloe vera, bracken fern and Asian pickled vegetables.

And while radio frequency is non-ionising radiation — remember, it can’t knock electrons off atoms, fiddle with genetic material and trigger tumour growth like ionising radiation can — studies still investigate possible links.

Research published in February this year by the US National Toxicology Program found tumours grew in the nerves around the heart of male rats if they were bathed in extremely high levels of mobile radiation.

But, Professor Croft said, “there were so many difficulties with that study.

………Risks and benefits

Despite research showing no link between safe levels of radio frequency and cancer, telecommunications companies and other organisations do offer suggestions if you want to reduce exposure.

The obvious action, Dr Halgamuge said, is to limit mobile phone use: “You have no control over base stations, because that radiation is around you all the time, but you do have control over your mobile phone.”

The ARPANSA also recommends using hands-free or texting instead of calling, “but none of those things are actually based on any health effects”, Professor Croft said.

………So: does radio frequency have any effect on human tissue, apart from heating it a fraction of a degree?

That question is still open, Professor Wood said.

“Even though some of the evidence [that radio frequency causes damage] on the face of it looks quite compelling, there’s still a question of consistency…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-04-30/mobile-phone-radiation-health-explainer-biophysics/9702630

 

May 4, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Commercial solar hots up in WA, as business wakes up to savings — RenewEconomy

Perdaman Group says WA commercial PV market is booming, as businesses seek to cut their exposure to grid electricity costs.

via Commercial solar hots up in WA, as business wakes up to savings — RenewEconomy

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The subsidy-free wind farms that returned money to ACT consumers in 2017 — RenewEconomy

ACT consumers got a net payment in calendar 2017 from first two wind farms built to help meet its 100% renewables target. And with no subsidies.

via The subsidy-free wind farms that returned money to ACT consumers in 2017 — RenewEconomy

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Netanyahu’s Fake Claims About Iran’s Nuclear Program: Netanyahu’s Own Secret Nuclear Weapons — Political Vel Craft

Netanyahu is a serial liar. Netanyahu’s disinformation on Iran’s nuclear program not coincidentally was announced days ahead of Trump’s decision on whether to stick with or pull out of the JCPOA. He urges the latter, wanting nuclear-related sanctions reimposed, killing the deal, along with terror-bombing Syrian military sites where Iranian military advisors are based, hoping […]

via Netanyahu’s Fake Claims About Iran’s Nuclear Program: Netanyahu’s Own Secret Nuclear Weapons — Political Vel Craft

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment