Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear news this week in Australia

On the Australian telly news, I saw English people having a lovely time on Brighton beach, because the weather is so warm.  But I think that there’s more to the story of warm days in the Northern hemisphere. Some of the heatwave effects are not so jolly. Could it possibly have something to do with climate change? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG-GlVSKbJQ

And, by the way, Japan’s heatwave is a problem, now, in 2018. The Tokyo Olympics are planned for exactly the same time of the year, in 2020.

AUSTRALIA

The death of Australia’s quality news media? – Fairfax gobbled up by Nine.

Prosecuting Julian Assange – a dangerous precedent threatening journalists’ rights.

NUCLEAR.

Wastes. South Australia sleeps on. Australia sleeps on, apparently quite unaware of the machinations of the nuclear lobby. Led by the secretive and highly tax-payer funded Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the aim has never wavered – to establish  the full nuclear fuel cycle in Australia. They tried in 2016, and failed. Now, using the deceitful story of “medical necessity”, they’re trying to set up a nuclear waste dump in Kimba, or in Hawker, South Australia, and putting it over the locals, big-time. Bribery helps.

The Senate Inquiry into this will report on 14 August. Read summaries of Submissions-.  The dilemma facing the towns of Kimba and Hawker.  99% of South Australians are excluded from vote on nuclear waste dump for South Australia. Nuclear waste dump opposed by Aboriginals, and will stigmatise the whole State of South Australia. Sham of ‘Broad Community Support’ for Kimba or Hawker for nuclear waste dump – Senator Rex Patrick.

Scrutiny on Hansard reveals the Australian government’s confusion about nuclear wastes. Kimba’s nuclear waste dump is planned to facilitate DOUBLING of nuclear wastes in Australia.

Scotland could help Australia deal with its nuclear waste.

Nuclear industry bigwig Jim McDowell now boss of South Australia’s public sector.

Safety problems at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.

CLIMATE CHANGE. Australian governments finally admitting the dire fate of the Great Barrier Reef.

RENEWABLE ENERGY   South Australia’s Liberal government now happy with progress towards 75% renewables target.   AEMC gives huge boost to solar PV and batteries.  Victoria’s biggest solar farm reaches financial close, to power steel works. Beryl solar farm to power NSW trains, may add battery storage.   WSU students win major US solar car race – a first for Australia.

 

 

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July 28, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

99% of South Australians are excluded from vote on nuclear waste dump for South Australia

Susan Craig Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 24 July 18 

A national radioactive nuclear waste dump is proposed by the Federal Government for Flinders Ranges and Kimba and 99% of South Australian’s are not allowed to vote in the ballot being held next month – 20th August! Only people within a 50km radius of these sites are allowed.
Many South Australian’s do not know this is happening and we are being blindsided. Speak now before it’s too late. You may not have been given an official vote, but you do have a powerful voice. Voice your opinion now and make a noise by contacting your local government representative. Australia has a burgeoning nuclear waste problem and ANSTO at Lucas Heights has the capacity (500 hectares) and the expertise to continue to store Australia’s national nuclear waste for another three decades. This time frame should be used to develop a cohesive and intelligent permanent underground solution and currently our Federal Government has no plans in place to address this. Moving radioactive nuclear waste from one location to another doesn’t make any sense.

• The proposed site is for an ABOVE GROUND temporary facility, stored in above ground bins, 40kms from Wilpena Pound and in our wheat farming land at Kimba.
• Both low level and INTERMEDIATE radioactive waste will be stored.
• INTERMEDIATE level is classified HIGH GRADE in France and has a half- life of TENS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS. The containers proposed for storage only last for a few hundred years.
• ANSTO have the capacity (500 hectares) and the expertise to continue storage at Lucas Heights for another three decades.
• We should use this time to prepare a PERMANENT UNDERGROUND intelligent and cohesive solution to Australia’s burgeoning nuclear waste.
• Not just move it from one site to another.
Mr. Canavan said and I quote: “It’s perfectly safe”. So why move it?
• ANSTO currently store 10 tonne of intermediate level nuclear waste at Lucas Heights NSW.
• Another similar quantity of intermediate level nuclear waste is arriving from Britain in a few years and proposed for South Australia.
• Current nuclear medicine using isotopes can be replaced with new technology using Cyclotrons which have a half-life of just hours rendering the waste benign. Awesome!
• Many countries around the world are moving to Cyclotrons for nuclear medicine and Australia should investigate this!
*ANSTO are developing a nuclear waste storage system called SYNROC it’s a synthetic casing for nuclear waste. However, this will only be used at LUCAS HEIGHTS and there is no intention of using SYNROC for the storage of nuclear waste proposed for South Australia.
The Federal Government is showing total disregard, disrespect and contempt for the people of South Australia, including the Adnyamathanha community of the Flinders Ranges. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

July 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | 1 Comment

Nuclear reactor’s costly processes for medical isotopes: cyclotron production clean and cheaper

Steve Dale  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA  28 July 18  ANSTO ships most of its isotopes overseas, yet Australia has to deal with 100% of the large amount of waste produced from its messy isotope process.

PET/cyclotron isotopes give better imaging and no waste. If ANSTO was truly a commercial company and had to pay the true cost of its waste it would go broke immediately. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

July 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Hot weather is really bad news for the nuclear industry

Hot Weather Spells Trouble For Nuclear Power Plants https://www.npr.org/2018/07/27/632988813/hot-weather-spells-trouble-for-nuclear-power-plants July 27, 2018  Nuclear power plants in Europe have been forced to cut back electricity production because of warmer-than-usual seawater.

Plants in Finland, Sweden and Germany have been affected by a heat wave that has broken records in Scandinavia and the British Isles and exacerbated deadly wildfiresalong the Mediterranean.

Air temperatures have stubbornly lingered above 90 degrees in many parts of Sweden, Finland and Germany, and water temperatures are abnormally high — 75 degrees or higher in the usually temperate Baltic Sea.

That’s bad news for nuclear power plants, which rely on seawater to cool reactors.

Finland’s Loviisa power plant, located about 65 miles outside Helsinki, first slightly reduced its output on Wednesday. “The situation does not endanger people, [the] environment or the power plant,” its operator, the energy company Fortum, wrote in a statement.

The seawater has not cooled since then, and the plant continued to reduce its output on both Thursday and Friday, confirmed the plant’s chief of operations, Timo Eurasto. “The weather forecast [means] it can continue at least a week. But hopefully not that long,” he said.

Eurasto says customers have not been affected by the relatively small reduction in output, because other power plants are satisfying electricity demand. The power plant produced about 10 percent of Finland’s electricity last year.

The company also cut production at the Loviisa facility in 2010 and 2011, also due to warm water, but Eurasto said this summer’s heatwave has been more severe than previous ones.

Nuclear power stations in Sweden and Germany have also reduced production because of cooling problems, Reuters reported. A spokesperson for Sweden’s nuclear energy regulator told the wire service on Tuesday that the Forsmark nuclear power plant in Sweden had cut energy production “by a few percentage points.”

Cooling issues at nuclear power plants may get worse in the future. Climate change is causing global ocean temperatures to rise and making heat waves more frequent and severe in many parts of the world. A 2011 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists warned that warmer seas could affect the efficiency of nuclear power plants, noting:

“…during times of extreme heat, nuclear power plants operate less efficiently and are dually under the stress of increased electricity demand from air conditioning use. When cooling systems cannot operate, power plants are forced to shut down or reduce output.”

It’s not just warmer oceans that could spell trouble for nuclear power plants. Climate change is also producing more powerful storms and contributing to drought conditions, threatening facilities on coasts with wave and wind damage, and reducing the amount of water available to plants that cool their reactors with fresh water.

July 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change will bring repeated heatwaves

Expect more heat waves due to climate change, experts warn, Jakarta Post, LIN TAYLOR, REUTERS London | Fri, July 27, 2018 The effects of climate change mean the world can expect higher temperatures and more frequent heat waves, climate experts have warned, with poor communities likely to be worst affected.

Heat is neglected because it is both an invisible and hard-to-document disaster that claims lives largely behind closed doors, they said, and because hot weather does not strike many people as a serious threat.

The warning comes as hot weather has swept the northern hemisphere. Britain has sweltered in a prolonged heat wave, with temperatures set to test national records, the country’s Meteorological Office said…..

Fires have also caused devastation in Greece, Sweden and the United States. In Greece, rescuers are searching scorched land and the coastline for survivors three days after a wildfire destroyed a village outside Athens killing at least 82 people.

Health risks

The past three years were the hottest on record, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization said in March.

The World Health Organization says heat stress, linked to climate change, is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year worldwide between 2030 and 2050.

Two weeks into Japan’s blistering heat wave, at least 80 people have died and thousands have been rushed to emergency rooms, as officials urged citizens to stay indoors to avoid temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) in some areas.

n a heat wave in May, more than 60 people died in Karachi, Pakistan, when the temperature rose above 40C ( 104F ).

Heat waves are becoming more frequent, and that is likely due to climate change because the global temperature is rising,” Sven Harmeling, head of climate change and resilience policy at aid group CARE International, said by phone.

He said climate change was altering weather patterns, and “we have to prepare for more of these consequences”.

…..Nearly one in three people around the world are already exposed to deadly heat waves, and that will rise to nearly half of people by 2100 even if the world moves aggressively to cut climate-changing emissions, a University of Hawaii study found in 2017.

……About 1.1 billion people in Asia, Africa and Latin America are at risk from a lack of air conditioning to keep them cool as global warming brings more high temperatures, the non-profit Sustainable Energy for All said in a study last week…..http://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2018/07/27/expect-more-heat-waves-due-to-climate-change-experts-warn.html

July 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) not commercially viable, but helpful to nuclear weapons industry

Small modular reactors have little appeal https://climatenewsnetwork.net/small-modular-reactors-have-little-appeal/ July 27, 2018, by Paul Brown , London 

The last hope of the nuclear industry for competing with renewables is small modular reactors, but despite political support their future looks bleak.

On both sides of the Atlantic billions of dollars are being poured into developing small modular reactors. But it seems increasingly unlikely that they will ever be commercially viable.

The idea is to build dozens of the reactors (SMRs) in factories in kit form, to be assembled on site, thereby reducing their costs, a bit like the mass production of cars. The problem is finding a market big enough to justify the building of a factory to build nuclear power station kits.

For the last 60 years the trend has been to build ever-larger nuclear reactors, hoping that they would pump out so much power that their output would be cheaper per unit than power from smaller stations. However, the cost of large stations has escalated so much that without massive government subsidies they will never be built, because they are not commercially viable.

To get costs down, small factory-built reactors seemed the answer. It is not new technology, and efforts to introduce it are nothing new either, with UK hopes high just a few years ago. Small reactors have been built for decades for nuclear submarine propulsion and for ships like icebreakers, but for civilian use they have to produce electricity more cheaply than their renewable competitors, wind and solar power.

One of the problems for nuclear weapons states is that they need a workforce of highly skilled engineers and scientists, both to maintain their submarine fleets and constantly to update the nuclear warheads, which degrade over time. So maintaining a civil nuclear industry means there is always a large pool of people with the required training.

Although in the past the UK and US governments have both claimed there is no link between civil and military nuclear industries, it is clear that a skills shortage is now a problem.

It seems that both the industry and the two governments have believed SMRs would be able to solve the shortage and also provide electricity at competitive rates, benefitting from the mass production of components in controlled environments and assembling reactors much like flat-pack furniture.

This is now the official blueprint for success – even though there are no prototypes yet to prove the technology works reliably. But even before that happens, there are serious doubts about whether there is a market for these reactors.

Among the most advanced countries on SMR development are the USthe UK  and Canada. Russia has already built SMRs and deployed one of them as a floating power station in the Arctic. But whether this is an economic way of producing power for Russia is not known.

Finding investors

A number of companies in the UK and North America are developing SMRs, and prototypes are expected to be up and running as early as 2025. However, the next big step is getting investment in a factory to build them, which will mean getting enough advance orders to justify the cost.

A group of pro-nuclear US scientists, who believe that nuclear technology is vital to fight climate change, have concluded that there is not a large enough market to make SMRS work.

Their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that large reactors will be phased out on economic grounds, and that the market for SMRs is too small to be viable. On a market for the possible export of the hundreds of SMRs needed to reach viability, they say none large enough exists.

They conclude: “It should be a source of profound concern for all who care about climate change that, for entirely predictable and resolvable reasons, the United States appears set to virtually lose nuclear power, and thus a wedge of reliable and low-carbon energy, over the next few decades.”

Doubts listed

In the UK, where the government in June poured £200 million ($263.8) into SMR development, a parliamentary briefing paper issued in July lists a whole raft of reasons why the technology may not find a market.

The paper’s authors doubt that a mass-produced reactor could be suitable for every site chosen; there might, for instance, be local conditions requiring extra safety features.

They also doubt that there is enough of a market for SMRs in the UK to justify building a factory to produce them, because of public opposition to nuclear power and the reactors’ proximity to population centres. And although the industry and the government believe an export market exists, the report suggests this is optimistic, partly because so many countries have already rejected nuclear power.

The paper says those countries still keen on buying the technology often have no experience of the nuclear industry. It suggests too that there may be international alarm about nuclear proliferation in some markets. – Climate News Network

July 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Media shows an unreasonable bias against North Korea

They have thus obscured the reality that the fate of the negotiations depends not only North Korean policy but on the willingness of the United States to make changes in its policy toward the DPRK and the Korean Peninsula that past administrations have all been reluctant to make.

These stories also underscore a broader problem with media coverage of the US-North Korean negotiations: a strong underlying bias toward the view that it is futile to negotiate with North Korea. The latest stories have constructed a dark narrative of North Korean deception that is not based on verified facts. If this narrative is not rebutted or corrected, it could shift public opinion—which has been overwhelmingly favorable to negotiations with North Korea—against such a policy.

How the Media Wove a Narrative of North Korean Nuclear Deception 38 North, BY: GARETH PORTER, JULY 26, 2018

Since the June 12 Singapore Summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the US media has woven a misleading narrative that both past and post-summit North Korean actions indicate an intent to deceive the US about its willingness to denuclearize. The so-called intelligence that formed the basis of these stories was fed to reporters by individuals within the administration pushing their own agenda.

The Case of the Secret Uranium Enrichment Sites

In late June and early July, a series of press stories portrayed a North Korean policy of deceiving the United States by keeping what were said to be undeclared uranium enrichment sites secret from the United States. The stories were published just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was preparing for the first meetings with North Korean officials to begin implementing the Singapore Summit Declaration.

The first such story appeared on NBC News on June 29, which reported: Continue reading

July 28, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Journalists’ rights in danger, if Julian Assange is prosecuted for Wikileaks

Judges Hear Warning on Prosecution of WikiLeaks https://www.courthousenews.com/judges-hear-warning-on-prosecution-of-wikileaks/  July 24, 2018MARIA DINZEO   NAHEIM, Calif. (CN) – Prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing leaked documents related to the 2016 presidential election would set a terrible precedent for journalists, the top lawyer for The New York Times said Tuesday.

Addressing a room full of federal and circuit judges at the Ninth Circuit’s annual judicial conference, David McCraw, the deputy general counsel for The New York Times, explained that regardless of how one feels about Assange and traditional news outlets receiving the same kind of deference over publishing leaked materials, his prosecution would be a gut punch to free speech.

“I think the prosecution of him would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers,” McCraw said. “From that incident, from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

McCraw went on to clarify that while Assange employs certain methods that he finds discomfiting and irresponsible, such as dumping unredacted documents revealing the personal information of ordinary people, Assange should be afforded the same protections as a traditional journalist.

“Do I wish journalism was practiced in a certain way, like it is with The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal? Of course. But I also think new ways of publishing have their value. Our colleagues who are not only challenging us financially but journalistically have raised an awareness that there are different ways to report,” McCraw said.

“But if someone is in the business of publishing information, I think that whatever privilege happens to apply – whatever extension of the law that would apply – should be there. Because the question isn’t whether he’s a journalist. It’s in that instance was he committing an act of journalism.”

Assange has long considered himself a journalist operating no differently than other news outlets. This has complicated matters, because if Assange can be prosecuted for publishing leaked information, why not prosecute news organizations like The New York Times?

Earlier this month, a grand jury returned an indictment against twelve Russian military spies for hacking into the servers and emails of the Democratic National Committee and state election officials, stealing documents and staging the release of those documents to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. While the indictment did not name Assange and WikiLeaks specifically, it has been widely suggested that WikiLeaks received the materials and could very well be the group referred to in the indictment as “Organization Number 1.”

Barry Pollack, who represents Assange in an ongoing criminal investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia, weighed in on the indictment Tuesday.

“If you read the indictment that just came out on Russians and you look at what Organization Number 1, which is clearly WikiLeaks, is alleged to have done in that indictment, it is doing exactly what The New York Times and The Washington Post do every day of the week,” Pollack said. “He [Assange] is communicating with a source, the source provides him with information, he publishes that information.

“There are no questions about the truthfulness or accuracy or authenticity of that information. And then he encourages the source to give him more information. He says ‘don’t give it to my competitors, give it to me. This story will have more impact if I publish it.’”

Pollack and McCraw spoke as part of a panel titled “The Law of Leaks,” a session on how the United States has ramped up efforts to prosecute people who have leaked state secrets. Thirteen people have been prosecuted under the first law against leaking state secrets, the Espionage Act of 1917, most under the Obama administration.

President Donald Trump has waged an unprecedented war against the media, taking to Twitter last year to call the media “the enemy of the American people.”  Yet no publisher has ever been indicted over leaks, and both McCraw and Pollack expressed doubts about whether it will happen any time soon.

“Unlike firing off a tweet, bringing a prosecution requires a career professional prosecutor to sign off on the prosecution, so there also is a tremendous check there that doesn’t exist in some of the rhetoric we hear,” Pollack said.

“Prosecutions of journalists would be difficult,” McCraw said. “I think they’d be unpopular, I think they’d be wrong, and I think they’d be unsuccessful. I see this PR campaign against the press as almost an alternative to legal measures.”

 

July 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, media | Leave a comment