Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Tim Flannery now sees nuclear power as useless, except for nuclear weapons

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 20 Oct 18I note Tim Flannery’s words in the transcript. Listen to the pod cast below from the 21 minute mark to see how his position regarding nuclear has evolved – he talks about how solar and wind has become so cheap, so quickly, he talks about the Tesla battery, gearless wind turbines, how fantastic that South Australia is now coal free and that the only reason he can see why a country would fund nuclear these days is if they want to develop nuclear weapons...https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/?multi_permalinks=2157916570906655&comment_id=2160264634005182&notif_id=1539904501184162&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic

Tim Flannery on climate catastrophe and his new book   Tim Flannery, head of the Climate Council, weighs in on this week’s IPPC report, the government’s greenhouse emissions report card, and discusses his new book Europe: a natural history https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/tim-flannery/10361616?fbclid=IwAR0fUXgQJAHQ0HcHc30j057P60bpOMikYWKzKZYT3aT7gE5D1qX0BWtaY7M

October 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change denial – this forms the Morrison government’s biggest economic problem?

The Morrison government’s biggest economic problem? Climate change denial, The Conversation, Judith Brett,  Emeritus Professor of Politics, La Trobe University, October 19, 2018   “…………. the heart of the problem, which is the inability of the Coalition to face the reality of climate change and its stubborn determination to live in a parallel universe of business as usual. It is climate change denial that is preventing the government from developing a coherent economic narrative. …..

Doubting the risks of climate change, opposing serious counter measures and believing in coal’s long-term future is an identity issue for many Coalition politicians.

As an identity issue, it is largely impervious to evidence, as we saw in government ministers’ hasty dismissal of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report – before they had even read it, one suspects. Identity issues are also resistant to the normal processes of bargaining and compromise with which many political conflicts are resolved. The National Energy Guarantee was the last of the government’s energy policies to founder on the suspicion that a market mechanism might damage coal. Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Clean Energy Target met the same fate.

So now, some members of the party of private enterprise and the free market, which argued for and oversaw the privatisation of most of Australia’s power utilities, are seriously advocating that the government develop a coal-fired power station. Barnaby Joyce has been at it again in recent weeks…….

To state the obvious, the stubborn commitment to coal is pulling the government’s economic policy towards the sort of state socialism it is supposed to abhor. No wonder it is having difficulty developing a coherent economic narrative.

Further, it is alienating the government, and the Liberal Party in particular, from its natural supporters in the business community. With the collapse of the NEG, the government has no energy policy to provide certainty to business and investors. The focus of the new minister for energy, Angus Taylor, has contracted to reducing power prices for consumers. Climate policy has been shifted back into the portfolio of the Minister for the Environment, separating energy from emissions and further demonstrating the identity denialism that distorts the government’s economic narrative. Faced with doubts about Australia’s capacity to meet its agreed to Paris targets, the government blithely sayswe are “on track”.
But most big business outside the fossil fuel industries is not in denial about the real risks of climate change, nor the imperatives of international action. Since Turnbull walked away from the NEG in a vain attempt to appease his critics and save his leadership, the Australian Industry Group and the Business Council of Australia have both been discussing ways to “go it alone” on emissions reduction……..

because climate policy has become an identity issue for some members of the Coalition, and they fight on it tooth and nail, is has been removed from the normal processes of policy formation.

No wonder the government can’t develop a coherent economic narrative. https://theconversation.com/the-morrison-governments-biggest-economic-problem-climate-change-denial-105125

October 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | 1 Comment

Minister Price is not right — RenewEconomy

When the lights are on and the cameras are rolling, most government Ministers know that they must at least pretend to believe in and care about the impacts of climate change. The post Minister Price is not right appeared first on RenewEconomy.

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

Microgrid funding to help Yackandandah reach 100% renewables — RenewEconomy

Victorian government backs microgrid in Victoria’s north-east that will trial the use of solar, storage and smart controls at the grid edge. The post Microgrid funding to help Yackandandah reach 100% renewables appeared first on RenewEconomy.

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

Free rooftop solar for low-income households in NSW govt deal — RenewEconomy

NSW government trial will install 2.5kW of rooftop solar, free, for low-income households that forego their energy rebate. The post Free rooftop solar for low-income households in NSW govt deal appeared first on RenewEconomy.

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

October 19 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Trump’s Failure to Fight Climate Change is a Crime Against Humanity” • President Donald Trump, along with others who oppose action to address human-induced climate change, should be held accountable for climate crimes against humanity. Their policies deny the rights to life, health, and property to their own citizens and people worldwide. [CNN] […]

via October 19 Energy News — geoharvey

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

Genetic effects of nuclear testing in Australia in the 1950s and 60s

UK to probe poisonous genetic legacy of nuclear test ‘guinea pigs’ SMH, By Nick Miller, 19 October 2018 London: The UK government is considering a new study into the health of the children of British veterans used as guinea pigs in its Australian and Pacific nuclear weapons tests, to test fears of a poisonous genetic legacy.

If a link can be found it may form the basis of a claim for compensation from the UK government, despite courts previously turning down such claims from the veterans themselves.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has told officials in the Ministry of Defence to look at the feasibility of a study into the health and well-being of the children of nuclear test veterans, an MOD spokesman said.

Decades ago, around 22,000 British military personnel witnessed nuclear weapons tests in South Australia, on the Montebello Islands off Western Australia, and on Kiribati’s Christmas Island in the Pacific.

Some felt the heat of the explosion on their backs and were ordered to turn around and observe the mushroom cloud. One veteran told the BBC in February the tests “bowled people over” and left them on the ground screaming. He had watched “another sun hanging in the sky”, dressed only in a t-shirt, shorts and thongs.

“We were guinea pigs,” Bob Fleming, 83, said. He said 16 of his 21 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had birth defects or health problems: his youngest daughter has thyroid problems and severe breathing difficulties.

The family believe it is a result of the radiation Mr Fleming was exposed to during the test.

Another veteran, RAF sergeant Roy Kirkland, slept a half a mile from Ground Zero and was ordered to collect dead seabirds from the Christmas Island test site.

His grandson, Wayne, was diagnosed with cancer of the nervous system at age three and died before he was 10. Wayne’s aunt told the Daily Mirror “the biggest health issue for these veterans now is their descendants”.

The new feasibility study follows a campaign by the Mirrorand Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who have been pushing for recognition and compensation for the veterans who were exposed to radiation during the tests in the region between 1952 and 1967 – and their families.

In 2007 a study of New Zealand nuclear test veteransfound they had more than double the expected amount of genetic damage for men of the same age – even higher than that detected in workers close to the Chernobyl nuclear accident or involved in the clean-up.

The study by researchers from Massey University found the genetic damage was most likely attributable to the veterans having been on board NZ navy frigates observing nuclear tests at Christmas Island.

Britain’s Health Protection Agency reviewed the Massey research and agreed with their conclusions. Earlier this year the UK’s Centre for Health Effects of Radiological and Chemical Agents at Brunel University in London announced a three-year genetic study looking for any possible damage to the veterans’ DNA caused by the tests.

In 2014 a study by European researchers found a “significant excess” of infant mortality and congenital illnesses in nuclear test veterans’ children. The veterans’ wives had five times as many stillbirths, and 57 children of veterans had congenital conditions – ten times the rate in the control group and eight times the national average. There were also significantly higher congenital illnesses – and cancer – among the veterans’ grandchildren. The researchers said their results were “highly statistically significant”. …….. https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/uk-to-probe-poisonous-genetic-legacy-of-nuclear-test-guinea-pigs-20181019-p50alz.html

October 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Canada’s nuclear waste nightmare

60,000 tons of dangerous radioactive waste sits on Great Lakes shores

THE EFFECTS OF A WORST-CASE SCENARIO — FROM A NATURAL DISASTER TO TERRORISM — COULD CAUSE UNTHINKABLE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE GREAT LAKES REGION.   Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press Oct. 19, 2018  More than 60,000 tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel is stored on the shores of four of the five Great Lakes — in some cases, mere yards from the waterline — in still-growing stockpiles.

“It’s actually the most dangerous waste produced by any industry in the history of the Earth,” said Gordon Edwards, president of the nonprofit Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

The spent nuclear fuel is partly from 15 current or former U.S. nuclear power plants, including four in Michigan, that have generated it over the past 50 years or more. But most of the volume stored along the Great Lakes, more than 50,000 tons, comes from Canadian nuclear facilities, where nuclear power is far more prevalent.

It remains on the shorelines because there’s still nowhere else to put it. The U.S. government broke a promise to provide the nuclear power industry with a central, underground repository for the material by 1998. Canada, while farther along than the U.S. in the process of trying to find a place for the waste, also doesn’t have one yet.

The nuclear power industry and its federal regulator, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, point to spent nuclear fuel’s safe on-site storage over decades. But the remote possibility of a worst-case scenario release — from a natural disaster, a major accident, or an act of terrorism — could cause unthinkable consequences for the Great Lakes region.

Scientific research has shown a radioactive cloud from a spent fuel pool fire would span hundreds of miles, and force the evacuation of millions of residents in Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto or other population centers, depending on where the accident occurred and wind patterns.

It would release multiple times the radiation that emanated from the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 — a disaster that led to mass evacuations, no-go zones that exist to this day, and a government ban on fishing in a large, offshore area of the Pacific Ocean because of high levels of radioactive cesium in the water and in fish. The fishing industry there has yet to recover, more than seven years later.

“The Mississippi and the Great Lakes — that would be really bad,” said Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist and professor of public and international affairs emeritus at Princeton University.

Added Jim Olson, environmental attorney and founder of the Traverse City-based nonprofit For Love of Water, or FLOW: “The fact that it’s on the shorelines of the Great Lakes takes that high consequence that would be anywhere and paints it red and puts exclamation marks around it.”

Spent nuclear fuel is so dangerous that, a decade removed from a nuclear reactor, its radioactivity would still be 20 times the level that would kill a person exposed to it. Some radioactive byproducts of nuclear power generation remain a health or environmental hazard for tens of thousands of years. And even typically harmless radioactive isotopes that are easily blocked by skin or clothing can become extremely toxic if even small amounts are breathed in, eaten or drank,  making their potential contamination of the Great Lakes — the drinking water supply to 40 million people — the connected Mississippi River and the prime agricultural areas of the U.S. a potentially frightening prospect. ……….

For five years, Michigan residents, lawmakers, environmental groups and others around the Midwest have, loudly and nearly unanimously, opposed a planned Canadian underground repository for low-to-medium radioactive waste at Kincardine, Ontario, near the shores of Lake Huron.

Meanwhile, spent nuclear fuel, vastly more radioactive, sits not far from the shores of  four Great Lakes — Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario — at 15 currently operating or former nuclear power plant sites on the U.S. side. In Michigan, that includes Fermi 2; the Donald C. Cook nuclear plant in Berrien County; the Palisades nuclear plant in Van Buren County, and the former Big Rock Point nuclear plant in Charlevoix County, which ceased operation in 1997 and where now only casks of spent nuclear fuel remain.

Neither the U.S. nor the Canadian government has constructed a central collection site for the spent nuclear fuel. It’s not just a problem in the Great Lakes region — more than 88,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel, an amount that is rising, is stored at 121 U.S. locations across 39 states…….

Spent nuclear fuel isn’t only radioactive, it continues to generate heat. It requires storage in pools with circulating water for typically five years before it can be moved into so-called dry-cask storage — concrete-and-steel obelisks where spent fuel rods receive continued cooling by circulating air.

In practice, however, because of the high costs associated with transferring waste from wet pools to dry casks, nuclear plants have kept decades worth of spent fuel in wet storage. Plant officials instead “re-rack” the pools, reconfiguring them to add more and more spent fuel, well beyond the capacities for which the pools were originally designed.

“The prevailing practice in the United States is you re-rack the pools until they are just about as dense-packed as the nuclear core,” von Hippel said.

Only in recent years have nuclear plants stepped up the transition to dry cask storage because there’s no room left in the wet pools. Still, about two-thirds of on-site spent nuclear fuel remains in wet pools in the U.S.

That’s a safety concern, critics contend. A catastrophe or act of terrorism that drains a spent fuel pool could cause rising temperatures that could eventually cause zirconium cladding — special brackets that hold the spent fuel rods in bundles — to catch fire.

Such a disaster could be worse than a meltdown in a nuclear reactor, as spent nuclear fuel is typically stored with nowhere near the fortified containment of a reactor core.

“The long-term land-contamination consequences of such an event could be significantly worse than those from Chernobyl,” a 2003 research paper by von Hippel and seven other nuclear experts stated.

The reference is to the worst nuclear power disaster in world history, the April 1986 reactor explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former Soviet Union, now a part of the Ukraine, where 4,000 to 90,000 are estimated to have died as a result of the radiation released. A study by the University of Exeter in Great Britain, released this June, found that cow’s milk from farms about 125 miles from the Chernobyl accident site still — more than 30 years later —- contains the radioactive element cesium at levels considered unsafe for adults and at more than seven times the limit unsafe for children.

Allison Macfarlane, a professor of public policy and international affairs at George Washington University, served as chairman of the NRC during the Obama administration from July 2012 until December 2014.

“What I think needs more examination is the practice of densely packing the fuel in the pool,” she said.

The NRC does not regulate how much fuel can be in a pool, in what configuration it’s placed, and how old the fuel is, Macfarlane said. ……….

In a Great Lakes region where magnitude-9.0 earthquakes and tsunamis aren’t a potential threat to stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel, terrorism remains possible………

In a Great Lakes region where magnitude-9.0 earthquakes and tsunamis aren’t a potential threat to stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel, terrorism remains possible.

“The NRC’s position on beyond design basis threats is essentially that this is a matter for the national security apparatus — it’s not our job, so somebody else will take care of it,” he said. “But if you look at the Pentagon, Homeland Security, I think you will look in vain to find any part of that apparatus that is addressing that area that the NRC says is not its job.”……….

Welcome to Zion, nuclear waste dump  ………..

Canada’s Yucca Mountain

Because nuclear power is much more widely used in Canada — the province of Ontario alone has 20 nuclear reactors at three plants — it also generates much more nuclear waste.

In Ontario, nearly 52,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel is stored on-site at nuclear plants along Lakes Huron and Ontario.

“There’s a huge amount of high-level, radioactive waste stored right along the water,” said Edwards, the president of the nonprofit Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility……….  https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/10/19/nuclear-waste-great-lakes/1417767002/

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

American town dreading the prospect of becoming known as the nuclear waste town

When businesses are considering locating in Zion or making real estate investments, the nuclear waste presents a negative perception of our community,” Hill said. “Plans call for the development of the lakefront, and we are unable to attract investments to that..”

“I speak for all the citizens of Zion when I say we do not want to be a storage facility for radioactive waste.”

Failures of Congress Keep Nuclear Waste Scattered Across the US, Government’s liability is $34 billion and growing as communities wait and wait some more,  Roll Call , Jeremy Dillon 15 Oct 18, In Zion, Illinois, 257 acres of prime lakefront property about 40 miles northwest of Chicago should be at the center of a redevelopment plan to revive a struggling community caught in the aftermath of a closed nuclear plant, says its mayor, Al Hill.  But after decades of federal inaction on a comprehensive strategy to move the nation’s high-level radioactive waste from some 121 sites across the country, Zion and its local officials are coming to the same stark realization as many other communities with shuttered or aging plants: The federal government’s foot-dragging on nuclear waste policy may seem as long as the radioactive materials’ 10,000-year half-life.

Some 64 so-called dry cask storage units containing 2.2 million pounds of deadly spent nuclear fuel rods are stored on the site of what was the Zion Nuclear Power Station, the remnants from generating nuclear power since 1974. And they’ve left Zion in a kind of purgatory, unable to move on from its nuclear past even as it must shoulder the public safety and health risks from the inability of Congress and multiple administrations to decide how to dispose of the radioactive waste. Continue reading

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

Second wave of big batteries about to join Australia’s main grid — RenewEconomy

The second wave of big batteries – two in Victoria and one in South Australia – are going through the commissioning phase, and should be ready to join the main grid in time for the coming summer. The post Second wave of big batteries about to join Australia’s main grid appeared first on RenewEconomy.

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Do consumers want to pay reliability premium in era of rooftop solar and storage? — RenewEconomy

What is the cost, or value, of power outages? It may come down to whether you like cooking or not. The energy regulator is trying to find out. Seriously. The post Do consumers want to pay reliability premium in era of rooftop solar and storage? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

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Large-scale solar boom lures German energy heavyweight Down Under — RenewEconomy

PRESS RELEASE A leading global provider of independent energy monitoring systems has opened an office in Australia to support the development of the nation’s growing large-scale solar market. Founded in Germany in the 1970s, meteocontrol delivers cutting-edge monitoring equipment to maximise the efficiency and functionality of commercial and large-scale solar projects. It currently monitors around……

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Autonomous, electric air taxis set to land in NZ soon — RenewEconomy

Kitty Hawk, the air taxi company started by Google’s co-founder Larry Page, and Air New Zealand, means autonomous, electric air taxis could soon be a thing. The post Autonomous, electric air taxis set to land in NZ soon appeared first on RenewEconomy.

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Tesla grid battery to be tested in WA’s top solar postcode — RenewEconomy

WA government-owned network operator Western Power and retailer Synergy will connect a 105kW/420kWh Tesla battery to the grid in Meadow Springs, a suburb of Mandurah. The post Tesla grid battery to be tested in WA’s top solar postcode appeared first on RenewEconomy.

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