Australian news, and some related international items

The constipated nuclear industry wants to dump its wastes on South Australia

Anne McMenamin Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 26 Sept 18,  There will be some individuals who will profit from setting up the National Dump, but the main beneficiaries will be the big mining and weapons manufacturing companies (many are both). The industry is in the doldrums because it can’t get rid of it’s waste. (It’s constipated, that why it wants to dump on SA!!) Given the demonstrated lack of solid arguments for need for the National Dump, the foot in the door for the International Dump is the only real argument for the National Dump, and one of the most important reasons to oppose it. It’s spelt out in as many words in Richard Yeeles’ submission to the Royal Commission. Sadly, some people here are resistant to this argument, saying, “We’ll tackle one dump at a time”.

September 26, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Weapons-making corporation, Raytheon hoping for nuclear industry in SouthAustralia?

John Matheson Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 26 Sept 18, Weapons-making corporation, Raytheon purchased and renovated a two story office building on Greenhill Road, Parkside a couple of years ago. it is a substantial building and the lights are on, but nobody seems to be home. I wonder whether the Raytheon “headquarters” in Adelaide is just a shopfront for the lobbying and tendering of the $squillions up for grabs if – sorry when – the nuclear dump is coerced by guvmint.

September 26, 2018 Posted by | business, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The elusive “willing host community” for nuclear wastes

A conversation with Dr. Gordon Edwards: contemporary issues in the Canadian nuclear industry, and a look back at the achievements of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR), Montreal, August 25, 2018,   Nuclear waste management: an exercise in cynical thinking., 24 Sept 2018. The elusive “willing host community”DR: I know too there have been a lot of targeted “willing host communities” that have rejected it. Do you think they’ll succeed in finding one?

GE: Here in Canada they have gone through this process of looking for a “willing host community,” which is kind of foolish because these communities are very small. For example, I just visited two of them within the last few weeks way up above Lake Superior. In the two communities that I visited, Hornepayne and Manitouwadge, I gave presentations. These communities have less than a thousand residents in each one of them and they get $300,000 a year as basically bribe money in order to keep them on the hook, to keep them interested in learning more. It’s called the “learn more” program, and as long as they’re “learning more,” they can get $300,000 a year. Well, they are both interested in getting the money, and consequently they’re still in the running, but do they really want to be a nuclear-waste community? If this is such a good deal for them, then why aren’t other communities bidding for this—larger communities? Of course, one of the points that comes to mind immediately is that if you had a city of a million people or so, then you’d have to shell out $300 million instead of $300,000 every year, so this idea of a “willing host community” exists only because of the bribes that are given by the industry in order to keep these communities supposedly interested in receiving the waste. And in some of them, of course, there are people who see dollar signs and who see an opportunity for them to make a lot of money. In a small community, a certain small number of people can make a lot of money by capitalizing on an opportunity like that without being concerned very much about the long-term wisdom of it.

DR: Yeah, and the seventh future generation doesn’t get a voice.

I did speak to two other communities a couple of years ago in that same general area north of Lake Superior. One of them was the town of Schreiber, and one of them was White River, and both of those communities are now off the list. They’re no longer candidates, so we now have only three communities up north of Lake Superior which are still actively pursuing this program of taking money and “learning more.” I have spoken now to two of them and I haven’t yet been invited to go to the third one.

10. The great unknowable: long term care for nuclear waste. Who pays? Who cares?When I go there I try and point out to them not only the fact that this whole exercise is questionable, but also the fact that once the nuclear waste is moved up to a small remote area like this, what guarantee is there that it’s really going to be looked after properly? Because these small communities do not have a powerful voice. They don’t have economic clout, and so they can’t really control this. If a person like Donald Trump, for example in the United States, or Doug Ford in Ontario, who many people think is a kind of a mini Donald Trump, thinks, “Why are we going to spend money on that? Forget it we’re not going to spend money on that,” then it’s going to not be pursued as originally planned. And it could become just a surface parking lot for high-level nuclear waste. Who is going to guarantee that it is actually going to be carried out? Now the nuclear plants are in danger of closing down. We’re having fewer nuclear plants every year than we had the year before now in North America, and consequently there’s not the revenue generation that there used to be. The money that’s been set aside is nowhere near adequate to carry out the grandiose project they’re talking about, which here in Canada is estimated to cost at least twenty-two billion dollars. They have maybe five or six billion, but that’s not nearly enough.

So there’s also another problem lurking in the wings, and that is that if you do want to carry out this actual full-scale program of geological excavation with all the care that was originally planned, how do you generate revenue? What company is willing to spend twenty-two billion dollars on a project which generates absolutely no revenue?

There are only two ways you can generate revenue from that, and one way is to take waste of other countries and charge a fee for storing the waste. The other thing is to sell the plutonium. If you extract the plutonium, then you could have a marketable product, but both of these ideas are extremely far from what these communities are being told. In other words, the plan that’s being presented to them does not include either one of these possibilities, and it changes the game considerably. As we all know, getting the plutonium out of the spent fuel involves huge volumes of liquid radioactive waste. It involves very great emissions, atmospheric emissions, and liquid emissions. The most radioactively polluted sites on the face of the earth are the places where they’ve done extensive reprocessing, such as Hanford in Washington, Sellafield in northern England, La Hague in France, Mayak in Russia, and so on.

DR: And Rokkasho in Japan.

GE: That’s right, and so this is a completely different picture than what they’re being presented with. Now whether or not that would actually happen is anybody’s guess, but it’s written right in their documents that this is an option, and they’ve never excluded that option. They’ve always included the option. In fact, the first sentence of the environmental impact statement written by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited many years ago says that when we say high-level nuclear waste we mean either irradiated nuclear fuel or solidified post-reprocessing waste. They have always kept that door open for reprocessing.

11. A disturbed “undisturbed” geological formation is no longer undisturbed But even under the best of circumstances we know that you can’t get waste into an undisturbed geological formation without disturbing it. As soon as you disturb it, it’s no longer the same ballgame. The other thing that people are unaware of, generally, is the nature of this waste. They really don’t realize that this waste is not inert material, that it’s active. It’s chemically active. It’s thermally active. It generates heat for fifty thousand years. They have a fifty thousand-year time period they call the thermal pulse, and the degree of radio-toxicity staggers the mind. Most people have no ability to wrap their mind around that. Take a simple example like Polonium 210 which was used to murder Alexander Litvinenko, and which will breed into the irradiated fuel as time goes on… According to the Los Alamos nuclear laboratories (it’s on their website), this material is 250 billion times more toxic than cyanide. That’s a staggering concept. In fact, nobody can wrap their mind around that, really. 250 billion times more toxic?! Theoretically that means that if you had a lethal dose of cyanide, and you had the same amount of Polonium 210, the cyanide could kill one person. The Polonium 210 could kill 250 billion persons. That’s amazing. How do you possibly wrap your mind around that?

September 26, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste management: an exercise in cynical thinking.


A conversation with Dr. Gordon Edwards: contemporary issues in the Canadian nuclear industry, and a look back at the achievements of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR), Montreal, August 25, 2018,   Nuclear waste management: an exercise in cynical thinking., 24 Sept 18, :

“……….Dennis Riches (DR): Instead of a question I thought we would ask you to comment on something that has been published by an organization called Waste Management Symposia (Waste Management Symposia Inc. ). They are a non-profit organization, but they seem to be something that was set up by the nuclear industry so that different players in the field could get together and talk about waste management issues. They have a symposium coming up in March of 2019.

Gordon Edwards (GE): Well it’s an exercise in cynical thinking……….Of course, the problem is that there’s no way of destroying this stuff. There’s no way of getting rid of it that is technically or economically feasible, so all we’re really doing is repackaging. We’re not getting rid of it, and of course the packages do not last forever, so you can’t eliminate this liability by simply repackaging it and moving it from one place to another. It may be justified on the basis of environmental protection—for example, moving it away from waterways and so on so as to have less opportunity for the material to be dispersed, but once again you really can’t get rid of it. So the with language itself, they talk about “disposal.” Disposal implies that you somehow magically eliminate or get rid of this waste when in fact all you’re doing is reconstituting it in a different form, a different physical form, a different chemical form, but generally not changing the nature of the problem fundamentally.

2. Private solutions for public problems

So when the last government approached this problem they decided, being Conservative, that it’s better to get private enterprises to look after these things, so they hired a consortium of multinational corporations to solve the problem for us, and in the absence of any policy—the trouble is that Canada has absolutely no policy regarding any nuclear waste except for the irradiated nuclear fuel itself………..

3. Early days: ignorance about nuclear waste

But if we just back off on all this, the way my organization sees the picture, my organization being the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, which formed in the early 1970s—Well, basically in 1974 we formed, and from our view, the first thirty years of the nuclear age were characterized by a total ignorance about nuclear waste. That is, the public was not informed that there was such a thing as nuclear waste and the decision-makers who authorized the spending of billions of dollars in building a nuclear infrastructure and nuclear reactors were also not informed that this was a major unsolved problem. So it was basically a lie.

Nuclear energy was presented as an absolutely clean energy source and people interpreted that to mean, “Hey, no problem. There is no waste.” When it became clear that it is, in fact, the most dangerous industrial waste ever produced on the face of the earth, in the form of the irradiated nuclear fuel, the industry then embarked upon a second lie which was, “Yes, we do have this waste product, the irradiated fuel, and it is very dangerous, and it is essentially indestructible, but we know exactly what to do with it. We know how to solve the problem, and the solution is simply to stick it underground in an undisturbed geological formation and then it’s all safe. We just walk away from it, and no problem.”

4. Belated realization of the problem

Well, of course, that was then and this is now, and in the light of experience in the intervening years…  In the mid-1970s there was a series of reports in Canada, the United Kingdom, the USA and other countries calling attention to this nuclear waste problem and basically saying quite plainly that unless this problem could be adequately solved that there should be no more nuclear power plants built. So I call this the nuclear ultimatum. It was really an ultimatum to the nuclear industry: You do not have a future if you don’t solve this problem. And because the industry said that they knew what to do with it, the expectation was that they could solve it in ten or twenty years. It would only take ten or twenty years……….

DR: But it seems like they want to keep up the impression that the solution is being worked on. It’s underway. As long as they can keep doing that, the nuclear plants can keep running.

GE: That’s correct, and people have been bamboozled by this empty promise really, and of course it’s become increasingly clear. There have been eight attempts in the United States to locate a high-level waste repository, all of which have failed. There have been two underground repositories in Germany which have failed, for low-level and intermediate-level waste. There’s no facility anywhere in the world which is operational for high-level waste, although there are some that have been built like the one in Finland, for example, near Olkiluoto.

5. Barbaric plans for nuclear waste  And now we have this consortium of private companies that has come into Canada to deal with not the irradiated nuclear fuel, but the decommissioning waste and the other post-fission waste, and they have come up with what we consider to be barbaric suggestions…….

we’re calling upon the Canadian government to actually stop these plans and to launch true consultations with Canadians and with First Nations, and to follow up on the recommendations that have been made by several independent bodies in Canada, all of which have recommended that there should be a nuclear waste agency completely independent from the nuclear industry and which has on its board of directors major stakeholders, including First Nations people, in order to ensure that the sole efforts of this organization should be the protection of the public and the environment, and not the furtherance of the nuclear industry, the promotion of expansion of the nuclear industry, which is what the consortium is interested in……….

September 26, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

$millions later, Transatomic’s molten salt nuclear reactor project shuts down

A nuclear startup will fold after failing to deliver reactors that run on spent fuel, MIT Technology Review, James Temple, 25 Sept 18

Transatomic Power, an MIT spinout that drew wide attention and millions in funding, is shutting down almost two years after the firm backtracked on bold claims for its design of a molten-salt reactor.

High hopes: The company, founded in 2011, plans to announce later today that it’s winding down.

Transatomic had claimed its technology could generate electricity 75 times more efficiently than conventional light-water reactors, and run on their spent nuclear fuel. But in a white paper published in late 2016, it backed off the latter claim entirely and revised the 75 times figure to “more than twice,” a development first reported by MIT Technology Review…….

The longer timeline and reduced performance advantage made it harder to raise the necessary additional funding, which was around $15 million. “We weren’t able to scale up the company rapidly enough to build a reactor in a reasonable time frame,” Dewan says.

Transatomic had raised more than $4 million from Founders Fund, Acadia Woods Partners, and others. ……

September 26, 2018 Posted by | General News | 2 Comments

Greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion causing Antarctic Ocean to heat up

What’s Causing Antarctica’s Ocean to Heat Up? New Study Points to 2 Human Sources

With help from floating data-collectors, a new study reveals the impact greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion are having on the Southern Ocean. Inside Climate News, Sabrina Shankman SEP 24, 2018 The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is warming at an alarming rate—twice that of the rest of the world’s oceans. Now, researchers have developed more powerful evidence pointing to the human causes.

Though warming had been observed in the past, there was little historical data to allow scientists to pinpoint the causes with much certainty.

In a new study, researchers used climate models, the past observations that did exist and data flowing in from new ocean-going sensors to show how greenhouse gas emissions and the depletion of ozone in the atmosphere have led to both a warming of the Southern Ocean and an increase in its freshwater content. The findings also rule out natural variability as a major source of those changes.

“The observed warming is due to human influence,” said oceanographer Neil Swart, a research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada who led the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience. “That may have been suspected or proposed before, but this is the evidence that really proves it.”

Ocean-Going Floats and Climate Models……..

September 26, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

September 25 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “Global warming harms national parks more than rest of US, study finds” • According a climate study published by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin, areas that are chock-full of national parks, places like Alaska and the American Southwest, have already seen dramatic temperature hikes. […]

via September 25 Energy News — geoharvey

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Judith Sloan’s nonsense attack on Victoria’s renewable energy scheme — RenewEconomy

Economist Judith Sloan launches another attack against renewables. Again, she has her facts hopelessly wrong. The post Judith Sloan’s nonsense attack on Victoria’s renewable energy scheme appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Judith Sloan’s nonsense attack on Victoria’s renewable energy scheme — RenewEconomy

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IEA debunks St Baker claim on wind and solar limits — RenewEconomy

Coal plant owner Trevor St Baker wants Australia to impose limits to limit wind and solar to 50% of energy output at any one time, citing International Energy Agency guidelines. The IEA says no such guidelines exist. The post IEA debunks St Baker claim on wind and solar limits appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via IEA debunks St Baker claim on wind and solar limits — RenewEconomy

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coal baron Trevor St Baker and his nonsense about wind curtailment — RenewEconomy

Coal baron Trevor St Baker’s team says wind is curtailed 60 per cent of the time. AEMO data suggests that is not even in the same postcode as the truth. The post Coal baron Trevor St Baker and his nonsense about wind curtailment appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Coal baron Trevor St Baker and his nonsense about wind curtailment — RenewEconomy

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar hybrid pump cuts NSW irrigator’s fuel bill in half — RenewEconomy

A cotton farm in regional NSW has halved its annual diesel fuel consumption, with “Australia’s largest” solar hybrid irrigation pump. The post Solar hybrid pump cuts NSW irrigator’s fuel bill in half appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Solar hybrid pump cuts NSW irrigator’s fuel bill in half — RenewEconomy

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NZ to offer more EV incentives, as registrations reach 10,000 — RenewEconomy

NZ flags new policies to encourage EVs, including a penalty for buyers of high emissions vehicles and a rebate for low or zero emission cars. The post NZ to offer more EV incentives, as registrations reach 10,000 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via NZ to offer more EV incentives, as registrations reach 10,000 — RenewEconomy

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment