Australian news, and some related international items

Safety problems at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor




Nuclear radiation spills spur Lucas Heights review, THE AUSTRALIAN, SIAN POWELL, Higher Education & Science Writer, Sydney SEAN PARNELL-Health Editor, Brisbane @seanparnell

Australia’s nuclear safety agency has ordered a review of Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear medicine facility after two radiation spills, and a separate investigation is under way into a mechanical failure that has caused delays in diagnostic tests across the country.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has had four safety breaches in 10 months and in recent weeks has had to call on US…….

Distribution of the replacement nuclear medicine supplies was also disrupted this month after airline delays from the US prevented the medicine reaching clinics and hospitals for some days……….

The supply problems caused by the mechanical failure have come as a review was ordered by the independent regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and its chief executive Carl-Magnus Larsson, who issued the organisation with a direction under the Aus­tralian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act.

The agency said the independent review it had directed would focus on quality control of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the radio­active agent used in diagnostic imaging.

After the first safety breach when a staff member’s hands were contaminated on August 22 last year, ARPANSA found ANSTO to be noncompliant with its licence conditions, according to a statement from the safety agency.

“Three further events including the latest event on 7 June, 2018, indicate ongoing safety issues at ANSTO Health,” ARPANSA said………

An internal review is being conducted into the conveyor failure on June 22 while the separate independent safety review into the ageing ANSTO facility is ­undertaken.

ANSTO will appoint an independent reviewer. “This appointment is the next step on a path of continuous improvement.

“Using recommendations from the review, we’ll identify what more can be done to make that facility safer,” a spokesman for ANSTO said.

…….The conveyor has been fixed but compliance checks and a thorough audit will keep the production of nuclear medicine at a standstill for some time.

Repairs were originally delayed because ANSTO staff members were forced to wait until radiation levels in the conveyor room fell to a safe level……..

July 21, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Continuing production of medical radioisotopes with no need of nuclear reactor

Covenant Radiation Center expanding, adding second linear accelerator Midland Daily NewsAs part of the health system’s commitment to maintaining a quality-driven, state-of-the-art cancer treatment facility, Covenant HealthCare is adding a second linear accelerator to the Covenant Radiation Center.

In 2016, Covenant unveiled the first linear accelerator at the radiation center. In 2017, the team of cancer providers saw the need to add additional resources in the fight against cancer. After state approval in spring of 2018, construction began at 4141 Tittabawassee Road, Saginaw. Construction will continue through the summer and will be followed by rigorous testing. The second system will begin treating patients in February of 2019, allowing the radiation team to treat more patients with shorter wait-times. Continue reading

July 21, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian governments finally admitting the dire fate of the Great Barrier Reef

Australian governments concede Great Barrier Reef headed for ‘collapse’ The Age, By Nicole Hasham, 20 July 18 ,  The world’s climate change path means the Great Barrier Reef is headed for “collapse” according to a plan endorsed by state and federal governments that critics say turns a blind eye to Australia’s inadequate effort to cut carbon emissions.

The federal and Queensland governments on Friday released a “new and improved” Reef 2050 Plan to save the iconic natural wonder, which explicitly acknowledges climate change poses a deadly threat to the reef.

The comments depart starkly from previous official efforts to downplay damage wrought on the reef for fear of denting the tourism industry.

Based on current climate projections, the outlook for coral reefs generally is “one of continuing decline over time, and in many regions, including the Great Barrier Reef, the collapse and loss of coral reef ecosystems”, the plan says.

It concedes that consecutive coral bleaching events and other stressors “have fundamentally changed the character of the reef”, which is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. “Coral bleaching is projected to increase in frequency … those coral reefs that survive are expected to be less biodiverse than in the past,” the plan says.

The reef is the world’s largest living structure, covering an area roughly the size of Italy.

Coral reefs are particularly sensitive to the effects of climate change including higher sea temperatures, ocean acidification and more intense storms and cyclones.

The plan recognised that “holding the global temperature increase to 1.5°C or less is critical to ensure the survival of coral reefs”.

However WWF-Australia head of oceans Richard Leck said Australia’s emissions reduction efforts were not even in line with limiting warming to 2°.

He cited a 2017 report by the United Nations environment program that found Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions were set to far exceed its pledge under the Paris accord. This agreement aims to limit global temperature rises this century to well below 2° and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°.

“It is simply not good enough for the revised plan to suggest the global community must work to limit warming when Australia is not doing its fair share,” Mr Leck said.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society’s reef campaign director Imogen Zethoven said increased recognition of climate change as a threat to the reef must be followed by action…….

July 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Global TV news media fails to cover unprecedented global heat wave

Global heat wave: an epic TV news fail

By Dawn Stover, July 19, 2018

This month’s scorching heat wave broke records around the world. The Algerian city of Ouargla, with a population of half a million, had a temperature of 124.3 degrees Fahrenheit on July 6, the hottest reliably measured temperature on record in Africa. In Ireland and Wales, the unusually hot weather revealed ancient structures normally hidden by grass or crops. In Chino, California, the mercury soared to 120 degrees. Another round of hazardous summer heat is expected this week, with record high temperatures possible in the southern United States.

The prolonged heat wave has been a staple of television news for weeks. However, most of the coverage has been sorely lacking in context: Humans are warming the planet, and scientists have already linked some heat waves to climate change. A recent analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change concludes that human-driven climate change, rather than natural variability, will be the leading cause of heat waves over the western United States and Great Lakes region as early as the 2020s and 2030s, respectively.

Like the heat itself, much of the media coverage was stupefying. “Major broadcast TV networks overwhelmingly failed to report on the links between climate change and extreme heat,” according to a Media Matters survey. “Over a two-week period from late June to early July, ABC, CBS, and NBC aired a combined 127 segments or weathercasts that discussed the heat wave, but only one segment, on CBS This Morning, mentioned climate change.”

TV coverage would undoubtedly improve if weather forecasters were better informed about climate science. But four Republican senators with close ties to the fossil fuel industry are trying to eliminate government funding for a National Science Foundation designed to help forecasters (and by extension, the general public) “become more familiar with the science behind how their local weather and its trends are related to the dynamics of the climate.”

July 21, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine.

graph above illustrates the presence of radioactive cesium in wines during the period of atmospheric nuclear testing, and again due to Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents

Technology Review 19th July 2018 Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine. The Japanese
nuclear disaster bathed north America in a radioactive cloud. Now
pharmacologists have found the telltale signature in California wine made
at the time.

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 20 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Rosatom as a Tactic in Russia’s Foreign Policy” • Russia has continued to supply record amounts of coal, oil, and gas to global markets, but it has also identified nuclear power generation as a new energy export option. Russian leadership has embarked on active nuclear power diplomacy globally, with Rosatom as its centerpiece. […]

via July 20 Energy News — geoharvey

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Double standards on climate risks – Government protects sophisticated investors, not taxpayers — RenewEconomy

Aussie taxpayers are staring down the barrel of huge financial losses as a result of climate change risks.

via Double standards on climate risks – Government protects sophisticated investors, not taxpayers — RenewEconomy

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Has AEMO downplayed speed of clean energy transition? — RenewEconomy

A year ago, Finkel’s modelling was telling us we should keep coal generators operating longer. Now, AEMO is telling us its cheaper to close them and replace with renewables and storage. That’s a big step in 12 months, but AEMO could have gone further.

via Has AEMO downplayed speed of clean energy transition? — RenewEconomy

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For how long will nuclear waste canisters be safe? It’s all experimental


World Nuclear News 19th July 2018, A scaled test assembly that simulates a dry cask storage container for used nuclear fuel has been constructed by researchers at the USA’s Sandia National Laboratories. It will be used to study how fuel temperatures change during storage and how the fuel’s peak temperatures affect the integrity of the metal cladding surround the fuel.

The inaccessibility of the interior of an actual storage cask and the high radioactivity of the used fuel make it difficult to monitor the temperature, Sandia said. During a three-year project for the Department of Energy and the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission, a team at Sandia designed and constructed a dry cask simulator for boiling water reactor assemblies. Everything inside the cask was built to closely simulate the way it would be for a utility storing
used nuclear fuel. However, instead of actual used fuel, the simulator features electrical heaters shaped like fuel rods.

July 21, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia joins in nuclear industry’s propaganda to schoolchildren in Asia Pacific

IAEA nurtures nuclear education in Asia Pacific July 2018

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held the first in a series of six regional training courses for secondary school science teachers last month in Indonesia. The courses aim to equip teachers in Asia Pacific to inspire a new generation of nuclear scientists and engineers by engaging students and enhancing their understanding of nuclear science and technology.

The first two-week course was attended by 26 teachers from 17 countries. The course comprised presentations, laboratory work and technical visits to Indonesia’s National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan). It also served a good opportunity for teachers from different countries to network and exchange experiences in teaching. The IAEA said the course marks the first time that it had formally engaged with the secondary education teaching community.

The participants were introduced to diverse methods of teaching nuclear science and technology to children aged 12-18 in an effective and engaging manner. The IAEA said it hoped the attendees will become mentors to other teachers in their countries. “This way, the project aims to reach one million students by 2021,” it said.

Sunil Sabharwal, a radiation processing specialist at the IAEA, said: “The idea is to introduce teachers to the link between the key role being played by nuclear science in enhancing the quality of our everyday life and the simple nuclear concepts being taught in schools as well as to provide them with innovative methods to deliver this knowledge to students through academic as well as extra-curricular approaches.”

Following the course, Jordanian teacher Amal Al-Khassawneh said, “The training course provided me with the necessary confidence, courage and knowledge to talk about the real facts of nuclear science with students.”

The course followed a Regional Workshop on Curriculum Development and Launching of Nuclear Science and Technology for Secondary Schools that took place in the Philippines in February. During an earlier workshop, in Japan, a regional nuclear science and technology competency framework was established that serves as reference for national educational curriculums. The IAEA said the competency framework was crucial in the preparation of the training course in Indonesia.

The next regional training course for secondary school teachers will take place at the Argonne National Laboratory in the USA in August. The following four will take place in Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Australia this year and next.

Between 2012 and 2016, the IAEA and experts from Australia, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea and the USA developed a compendium that collects unique teaching strategies and materials to introduce science and technology in education systems across Asian countries. This compendium was piloted in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and the UAE and reached 24,000 students. The IAEA said the pilot demonstrated that students “were more receptive to learning about nuclear science and technology when teachers used a diverse set of methods, which also increased their problem-solving skills”.

The IAEA said an updated version of the compendium will be prepared over the coming years.

July 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Education | Leave a comment

Thorium market is limited by health and environmental concerns

Thorium Market Regulations and Competitive Landscape Outlook to 2025 July 18, 2018 tanuj Market Research  “….health and environmental concerns due to radioactive nature of thorium is expected to hinder the growth of the thorium market. Release of thorium in large amount in the environment contaminates the flora and fauna of the ecosystem. Another factor to be considered is the waste disposal which is performed strictly under appropriate local, state and federal regulations…”

July 21, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Minerals Council still dangerously wrong on coal and climate — RenewEconomy

The Minerals Council report on market demand for Australian coal not only defies economic logic, it ignores climate risk and its impact on MCA’s business, and the business of its members.

via Minerals Council still dangerously wrong on coal and climate — RenewEconomy

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NEG would drive electricity prices up, not down, says report — RenewEconomy

Report says NEG would fail in most basic and important function: reduction of Australia’s wholesale electricity prices. Rather, it would drive them up after 2020.

via NEG would drive electricity prices up, not down, says report — RenewEconomy

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AEMO’s ‘cohesive’ energy plan falls short because it omits two key economic facts — RenewEconomy

Is the sun setting fast enough on coal-fired power?

via AEMO’s ‘cohesive’ energy plan falls short because it omits two key economic facts — RenewEconomy

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment