Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear lies in Australia, about radioactive trash – theme for March 19

As Australia grapples with its growing mountains of plastic, industrial. domestic garbage, the question of radioactive trash is not publicly discussed, (except for being happily promoted to small communities in South Australia, who are being bribed to accept a nuclear waste dump)

Australia’s corporate and political leaders,  the tax-payer funded nuclear agency ANSTO,and the mindless mainstream media, have been able to portray radioactive trash as something separate from the wastes problem. Good heavens! Something vaguely political, so we shouldn’t be talking about it?

But the reality is that Australia has a twofold problem with nuclear wastes deception.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and a few greedy politicians and businessmen are promoting the nuclear industry, in pushing the view that in Australia  there is no  problem. ANSTO’s nuclear reactor keeps producing high level toxic wastes, while they pretend it’s a medical necessity. ( only a very small percentage of isotopes produced are used in Australia’s hospitals, and of these, only a tiny few are used to treat illness).

Their other pretense is that they actually know how to deal with nuclear waste –  it’s all solved – it’s all safe.  But, in reality they don’t know, nobody really knows, for how long ‘high’ and ‘intermediate’ level waste will be safe in Holtec’s ‘temporary’ canisters.  ‘Temporary’ means for a hundred years, perhaps more – sitting in a rural area, a (formerly) agricultural community – stuck with this poisonous stuff, which gets transported across the continent, potentially exposing many communities to radioactive danger.





February 23, 2019 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Australia participating in the Waigani Convention, – banning import of nuclear wastes to island countries, controlling their transport

Ban of hazardous radioactive wastes tops agenda,  Fiji Sun, by Ministry of Environment,  21 Feb 2019 
The seventh meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAG-7) of the Convention to Ban the Importation of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes into Pacific Island Countries and to Control the Trans boundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and the Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region  (Waigani Convention) is underway in Nadi .
The two day regional meeting, chaired by the Director of Environment, Sandeep Singh, discussed the sound management of hazardous wastes and radioactive waste in the region. The outcomes from this meeting will be presented before the 10th Conference of the Party of the Waigani Convention in September 2019.
The 1995 Waigani Convention is a regional treaty that bans the exporting of hazardous and radioactive wastes to Pacific Island Forum countries, and prohibits forum island countries from importing such wastes.
The meeting is being attended by Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Other parties to the Waigani Convention included the Federated States of Micronesia, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands.

February 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

Earth facing ‘global warming Armageddon’ in less than 150 years 

By Mark Waghorn, SWNS, February 21, 2019 Earth is facing global warming Armageddon in just 140 years, warns a new study.

Scientists say, New York Post  the concentration of carbon dioxide is rising faster than at any time since the age of the dinosaurs.

And our planet is just 140 years away from a climate change event similar to one that triggered mass extinctions, according to the research.

It could lead to species being wiped out on a massive scale in fewer than five generations.

Lead author Professor Philip Gingerich, of the University of Michigan, said: “You and I won’t be here in 2159, but that’s only about four generations away.

“When you start to think about your children and your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren, you are about there.”

The study, published in the journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, found humans are pumping CO2 into the air at a rate ten times higher than 56 million years ago.

That sparked an event known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) when temperatures rose by five to eight degrees Celsius (9 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit).

It killed off both land and sea animals — and took more than 150,000 years for the planet to return to normal. This has been used as a benchmark for modern climate change in the past. But the latest finding shows we are on track to meet it much sooner than feared.

The pace of today’s warming far outstrips any climate event that has happened since the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Professor Gabriel Bowen, a geophysicist at the University of Utah who reviewed the research for the journal, said: “Given a business-as-usual assumption for the future, the rates of carbon release that are happening today are really unprecedented, even in the context of an event like the PETM……..

February 23, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The Waigani Convention – on banning import of radioactive wastes, and controlling their transboundary movement

Waigani Convention, SPREP – Pacific Environment  The Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region, also known as Waigani Convention, entered into force in 2001.

The Waigani Convention is modelled on the Basel Convention and constitutes the regional implementation of the international hazardous waste control regime (Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. There are however some differences between the two conventions: the Waigani Convention covers also radioactive wastes and extends to the Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles) rather than the territorial sea (12 nautical miles) under Basel.
The Convention is also strongly related to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by dumping of wastes and other Matters, 1972 (London Convention)…….

Members are listed – include  Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Other parties to the Waigani Convention included the Federated States of Micronesia, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands……more

February 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – full of problems, not likely to get far

The quest for boundless energy, Adrian ChoSee all authors and affiliations

Science  22 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6429, pp. 809
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6429.809  


For all their innovations, NuScale Power’s small modular reactors remain conventional in one way: They would use ordinary uranium-based reactor fuel that’s meant to be used once and safely disposed of. But for decades, nuclear engineers envisioned a world powered by “fast reactors” that can breed an essentially boundless supply of plutonium that can be reprocessed into fuel. Early in the atomic age, experts believed nuclear energy would one day supply most of the world’s power, raising the specter of a uranium shortage and boosting interest in fast breeder reactors.

However, the reactors are complex and must be cooled with substances such as liquid sodium or molten salt. The chemically intensive recycling process produces plenty of its own hazardous waste. And the closed fuel cycle also would establish a global market for plutonium, the stuff of atomic weapons, raising proliferation concerns. Perhaps most important, the world is in no danger of running out of uranium. So some experts doubt fast reactors will ever become mainstream.

February 23, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear energy has a poor track record, and looks to have a poor commercial future

the millions in subsidies thorium will require to become commercially viable would be better spent on solar, wind and other alternative energy sources.
Can Thorium Offer a Safer Nuclear Future?  Thomas net by David Sims.    

Nuclear energy has numerous advantages, but there are drawbacks as well: nuclear waste poses a significant environmental threat, meltdowns are a possibility and nuclear materials can be used to create weapons of mass destruction.

However, advocates of using thorium as a nuclear fuel instead of uranium point out that it solves many of these problems……. (unsuitable for nuclear weapons, wastes last less long, can’t melt down )

If it’s so great, why aren’t we using it? Continue reading

February 23, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Bill Gates at Global Energy Forum, fails to mention his $7 billion investment in radioactive waste management company

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 22 Feb 19,  Stanford Energy, has touted Bill Gates as a entrepreneur while denouncing wind and solar calling it unreliable, at a recent Global Energy Form.

However the uncomfortable looking Bill Gates fails to mention his vested interest in the nuclear arena with 108,502,519 shares worth about $7 billion in the company “Republic Services” that manages radioactive waste, and has failed at satisfying the general public and residents of St Louis with the cleanup of Bill and other shareholders toxic waste. Placing money before the health of people in a estranged community can be easy when void of a conscience.

February 23, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

In China, Wind and Solar power to far outpace Nuclear

Wind & Solar In China Generating 2× Nuclear Today, Will Be 4× By 2030,  Clean Technica, February 21st, 2019 by Michael Barnard, Close to five years ago I published an assessment of nuclear scaling vs wind and solar scaling using China as the proving ground in the CleanTechnica article “Wind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation.” Today, the China example is more clear proof that wind and solar are the better choice for global warming mitigation than nuclear generation.China’s example is meaningful because it disproves several arguments of those in favor of increased nuclear generation. It’s not suffering under regulatory burden. It’s mostly been using the same nuclear technologies over and over again, not innovating with every new plant. It doesn’t have the same issues with social license due to the nature of the governmental system. The government has a lot of money. The inhibitors to widespread deployment are much lower.

Yet China has significantly slowed its nuclear generation rollout while accelerating its wind and solar rollout. Even strong industry insiders accept this, ones such as former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd, writing in Nuclear Engineering International in 2017.

Kidd estimates that China’s nuclear capacity will be around 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, well below previous expectations. Forecasts of 200 GW by 2030 were “not unusual only a few years ago,” he writes, but now seem “very wide of the mark.” And even the 100 GW estimate is stretching credulity ‒ nuclear capacity will be around 50 GW in 2020 and a doubling of that capacity by 2030 won’t happen if the current slow-down sets in.

Why is China slowing its nuclear rollout so drastically? Because nuclear is turning out to be more expensive than expected, new nuclear designs are proving to be uneconomical, and new wind and solar are dirt cheap and much easier to build.

Recently I published an assessment of the potential for wind and solar to massively exceed US CO2 reductions from nuclear in the CleanTechnica article US Could Achieve 3× As Much CO2 Savings With Renewables Instead Of Nuclear For Less Money. As usual, many of the comments from nuclear advocates related to the relative success of China, its speed of deployment compared to other jurisdictions and similar things.

In the discussion threads, I attempted to find apples-to-apples comparisons of China’s nuclear, solar, and wind generation compared, but none seemed to exist. As a result, I developed a model spanning 2010 to 2030, core years for all three programs. The charts are generated from the model

As I noted in 2014, the wind generation program had started much later than the nuclear program yet had been able to build much more capacity much more quickly, roughly six times more real wind energy capacity than nuclear per year over the years of 2010 through 2014. At the time, I used best of breed capacity factors for both wind and nuclear. One of the arguments against this at the time and on an ongoing basis is that China is curtailing wind and solar generation and achieving lower capacity factors. However, China is also experiencing less than best of breed capacity factors with its nuclear fleet, averaging 80% instead of 90%. This would have put the real world generation in the range of 3–4 times better for wind than for nuclear.

It doesn’t really matter as even with the diminished capacity factors for wind and solar currently experienced, they generated more than double the electricity generated by nuclear in 2018. Wind and solar each generated more electricity last year than nuclear did. By 2030, the ratio is very likely to be 4:1 in favor of wind and solar. And as Lazard has shown, wind and solar are much, much cheaper than nuclear, so China will be getting a lot more electricity at a lower cost point.

The chart above uses the capacity factors being experienced for wind, solar and nuclear to date in China and projects that all three will improve over the coming decade as operational efficiencies and grid connections improve………….

The quote from Kidd above suggests China might achieve only 100 GW of nuclear capacity by 2030. That’s an overestimation according to the actual data. Nuclear reactors in construction today only bring Chinese nuclear capacity to 55 GW by 2023. Reactors scheduled to start construction in the next three years only bring that number to 66 GW. Reactors planned but not scheduled at all are only likely to see 88 GW by 2030. There is no planned capacity that achieves even 100 GW, never mind the heady days when 200 GW was thought to be possible.

And to be clear, even if 200 GW of nuclear had been realized, it still would have been less actual generation than wind and solar.

As I indicated in the recent article on US ability to decrease carbon load, nuclear is much lower carbon per MWh than either coal or gas generation, as well as being free of chemical and particulate pollution. However, wind is still quite a bit lower than nuclear in CO2e per MWh and solar is around the same. Given the speed of deployment per GW of capacity and the much lower price per MWh of wind and solar, nuclear as part of the mix doesn’t make a lot of sense in most places…………

February 23, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA Congress investigating Trump’s push to sell nuclear technology to SaudiArabia

House launches probe of US nuclear plan in Saudi Arabia

20 February 2019 

The US is rushing to transfer sensitive nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia, according to a new congressional report.

A Democratic-led House panel has launched an inquiry over concerns about the White House plan to build nuclear reactors across the kingdom.

Whistleblowers told the panel it could destabilise the Middle East by boosting nuclear weapons proliferation.

Firms linked to the president have reportedly pushed for these transfers.

The House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee report notes that an inquiry into the matter is “particularly critical because the Administration’s efforts to transfer sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia appear to be ongoing”.

President Donald Trump met nuclear power developers at the White House on 12 February to discuss building plants in Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia.

And Mr Trump’s son-in-law, White House adviser Jared Kushner, will be touring the Middle East this month to discuss the economics of the Trump administration’s peace plan.

Lawmakers have been critical of the plan as it would violate US laws guarding against the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons programme.

They also believe giving Saudi Arabia access to nuclear technology would spark a dangerous arms race in the volatile region. Continue reading

February 23, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Donald Trump, in abandoning weapons treaty, opened the door for nuclear weapons proliferation

February 23, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia increasing protection for whistleblowers, (at least on matters financial)

Australia ramps up whistleblower protection, International Adviser, By Kirsten Hastings, 21 Feb 19 “…..Individuals who expose illegal or unethical behaviour at Australian institutions will be granted greater protections following updates to the law.

The changes follow a particularly damning period for Australia’s financial services industry, which has been hammered by a Royal Commission into banking, superannuation and financial services…..

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) welcomed the passing of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whilsteblower Protections) Bill 2018, which was approved on 19 February.

What are the reforms?

Collectively, they will:

Broaden the whistleblower definition to include both current and former employees, officers and contractors, as well as their spouses and dependents, and anonymous disclosures.

Extend the protections to whistleblower reports that allege misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances about any matter covered by financial sector laws, as well as all commonwealth offences punishable by imprisonment of 12 months or more.

Create civil penalty provisions, in addition to the existing criminal offences, for causing detriment to (or victimising) a whistleblower and for breaches of confidentiality.

Provide protections for disclosures to journalists and parliamentarians in certain circumstances.

Provide whistleblowers with easier access to compensation and other remedies if they suffer loss……..

February 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

February 22 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Plugging The Hole: How Can Solar Fill UK Nuclear’s Void?” • The UK has had something of a rocky relationship with new nuclear in the past few years, but developments in January 2019 pushed it firmly into ‘it’s complicated’ territory. The country is now scrambling for alternatives, meaning some sort of renewable energy. […]

via February 22 Energy News — geoharvey

February 23, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is this the day that solar and wind changed the W.A. grid forever? — RenewEconomy

AEMO issues market direction for back-up power for first time in W.A. grid and wants quick adoption of technology and market solutions to deal with increased volatility. The post Is this the day that solar and wind changed the W.A. grid forever? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Is this the day that solar and wind changed the W.A. grid forever? — RenewEconomy

February 23, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cost-effective, clean, reliable grid: “You can have it all,” says Zibelman — RenewEconomy

In the same week as conservatives shout down renewables and climate policy, AEMO boss Audrey Zibelman says Australia can have a renewables-based grid that is cost effective, zero carbon, reliable and secure. The post Cost-effective, clean, reliable grid: “You can have it all,” says Zibelman appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Cost-effective, clean, reliable grid: “You can have it all,” says Zibelman — RenewEconomy

February 23, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SA Water on path to “net zero” power bills, with 154MW solar rollout — RenewEconomy

SA Power Networks subsidiary Enerven awarded contract to deliver SA Water’s 154MW solar and 34MWh storage roll-out. The post SA Water on path to “net zero” power bills, with 154MW solar rollout appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via SA Water on path to “net zero” power bills, with 154MW solar rollout — RenewEconomy

February 23, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment