Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia and the uneconomic “new nuclear” push – theme for April 19,

The global nuclear lobby has Australia in its sights.  And they have a  faithful servant in Dr Adi Paterson and his Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.  Never mind that Australia has laws against developing nuclear power.  Never mind that as a political ally of USA, Australia shouldn’t be partnering with China to develop nuclear reactors.  Adi’s just signed us up to do that, anyway.

Apart from the dodgy politics of this, the big problem is the DISECONOMICS of new nukes – “Generation IV ” nuclear reactors.

The global nuclear lobby, getting desperate about the increasing financial quagmire of nuclear power, is obsessed with selling nuclear reactors overseas. Russia and China, with government owned nuclear firms, offer other countries huge loans, to buy their product.  The West can’t do this, as the industry is owned by commercial firms, not by the government.

Now the push is on, to develop “new nukes” – “Generation IV nuclear reactors, – and sell them to overseas countries.  AS there’s no market for these reactors, because they’re simply not economic, then the buyer, and the funding developer, must be the government.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) , (? fortunately) is funded by the tax-payer, (much as they pretend to have a huge future in selling medical isotopes) .  Dr Paterson and ANSTO seem to be a law unto themselves.  Is the Australian government asleep at the wheel?

I mean – let’s pretend for a moment that ethical issues, health, safety, environment nuclear weapons proliferation,  – all those things just don’t matter.  BUT – WHAT ABOUT COSTS?  What about Australian tax-payers money being chucked out at a commercially unviable industry? Omigawd!

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

Australia is to build new nuclear reactors, in partnership with China (does Parliament know?)

Australia is back in the nuclear game, Independent Australia,  By Noel Wauchope | 24 March 2019, One of Australia’s chief advocates for nuclear power Dr Adi Paterson, CEO of Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, (ANSTO), has done it again.

This time in China, he quietly signed Australia up to spend taxpayers’ money on developing a new nuclear gimmick — the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR).

This new nuclear reactor does not physically exist and there is no market for it. So its development depends on government funding.

Proponents claim that this nuclear reactor would be better and cheaper than the existing (very expensive) pressurised water reactors, but this claim has been refuted. The TMSR has been described by analyst Oliver Tickell as not “green”, not “viable” and not likely. More recently, the plan has been criticised as, among other things, just too expensive — not feasible as a profitable commercial energy source.

Paterson’s trip to China and his signing up to this agreement received no Parliamentary discussion and no public information. The news just appeared in a relatively obscure engineering journal.

The public remains unaware of this.

In 2017, we learned through the Senate Committee process that Dr Paterson had, in June 2016, signed Australia up to the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems (also accessible by Parliament Hansard Economics Legislation Committee 30/05/2017).

This was in advance of any Parliamentary discussion and despite Australia’s law prohibiting nuclear power development. Paterson’s decision was later rubber-stamped by a Senate Committee……..

Dr Paterson was then obviously supremely confident in his ability to make pro-nuclear decisions for Australia.

Nothing seems to have changed in Paterson’s confidence levels about making decisions on behalf of Australia.

Interestingly, Bill Gates has abandoned his nuclear co-operation with China. His company TerraPower was to develop Generation IV nuclear reactors. Gates decided to pull out of this because the Trump Administration, led by the Energy Department, announced in October that it was implementing measures to prevent China’s illegal diversion of U.S. civil nuclear technology for military or other unauthorised purposes.

Apparently, these considerations have not weighed heavily on the Australian Parliament.

Is this because the Parliament doesn’t know anything about Dr Paterson’s trip to China and his agreement for Australia to partner with the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP) in developing Thorium Molten Salt Reactors?   https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/australia-is-back-in-the-nuclear-game,12488#.XJWdhxDqitc.twitter

March 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, secrets and lies, technology | Leave a comment

Poor outlook for small nuclear reactors – they have a dismal history of failure

Many of the expenses associated with constructing and operating a reactor do not change in linear proportion to the power generated. For instance, a 400 MW reactor requires less than twice the quantity of concrete and steel to construct as a 200 MW reactor, and it can be operated with fewer than twice as many people.

In the face of this prevailing wisdom, proponents of small reactors pinned their hopes on yet another popular commercial principle: “economies of mass production.”

In 1968, the same year Elk River shut down, the last of the AEC’s small reactors was connected to the grid: the 50 MW La Crosse boiling water reactor.19 That plant operated for 18 years; by the end, its electricity cost three times as much as that from the coal plant next door, according to a 2012 news account about the disposal of the plant’s spent fuel. Dealing with the irradiated uranium-thorium fuel proved difficult too. Eventually, the spent fuel was shipped to a reprocessing plant in southern Italy.

Since then, not a single small reactor has been commissioned in the United States.

Without exception, small reactors cost too much for the little electricity they produced, the result of both their low output and their poor performance.

The forgotten history of small nuclear reactors  Nuclear Monitor Issue: #872-873 4775 07/03/2019  M.V. Ramana ‒ Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia

Article  April 2015 ‒ A tantalizing proposition has taken hold again in the nuclear industry: that small nuclear reactors have economic and other advantages over the standard-size ones being built today. The idea is that by reducing the substantial financial risk of a full-scale nuclear project, small reactors are the best option for kick-starting a much-discussed revival of nuclear power……

the technology remains in stasis or decline throughout the Americas and Europe. …..

A fundamental reason for this decline is indeed economic. Compared with other types of electricity generation, nuclear power is expensive. Continue reading

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

The bugocalypse – study after study shows the dramatic declines in insect populations

Why are insects dying in such numbers?   https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/why-are-insects-dying-in-such-numbers-20190319-p515hb.html By Greg Callaghan March 23, 2019  It’s been dubbed the bugocalypse – study after study rolling in from countries across the globe pointing to dramatic declines in insect populations. In Germany, an 82 per cent fall in midsummer invertebrate populations across 63 nature reserves between 1990 and 2017; in the Puerto Rico rainforest, a 75 per cent reduction in the volume of insects between 1976 and 2013; in the UK, a one-third fall in the honeybee population over the past 10 years. Across the US, monarch butterfly and ladybird beetle numbers are at record lows.

In alpine NSW, there’s been a collapse in bogong moth populations, resulting in starving pygmy possums, who feed on them. Most worrying, a research review of 73 existing surveys, released last month by the University of Sydney’s Institute of Agriculture, discovered that 40 per cent of insect species will likely be in catastrophic decline within a century.

So what’s going on? Just more scary headlines, or a real indicator of an eco-crisis ahead? A bit of both. While certain “beneficial” insect populations (butterflies, grasshoppers, mayflies, dragonflies, ground beetles, fireflies) appear to be in unprecedented retreat, others considered pests and a risk to human health (tsetse flies, ticks, mosquitoes) are on the offensive again.

We’re all sure a decline is happening,” explains Dr David Yeates, director of the Australian National Insect Collection in Canberra. “But to obtain a useful measure, we need to compare insect numbers today with those of 30, 40 or 50 years ago – but invertebrate counts weren’t being done then.”

So what’s causing the bug die-off? The top culprit is likely to be wilderness loss – many insects feed off native plants, and the relentless spread of single-crop farmland and insecticides has shrivelled their range, says Yeates. Another culprit: global warming, which favours some insects over others. Cut out insects and you lose all the creatures that feed on them, including frogs, lizards and birds. Of course, a large proportion of the food we eat comes from plants pollinated by insects, and they also clean up the environment, notes Yeates. “Waking up in a world without insects would be like waking up in a garbage dump.”

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

The spectacularly rising costs of cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

Think tank puts cost to address nuke disaster up to 81 trillion yen  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201903100044.html By ATSUSHI KOMORI/ Staff Writer, 23 Mar 19 

March 10, 2019  In a startling disparity, a private think tank puts the cost of addressing the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster between 35 trillion yen and 81 trillion yen ($315 billion and $728 billion), compared with the government estimate of 22 trillion yen.

The calculation, by the Tokyo-based Japan Center for Economic Research, showed that the total could soar to at least 60 percent more and up to 3.7 times more than the 2016 estimate by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In releasing the latest estimates on March 7, the center said it is time for serious debate over the role nuclear energy should play in the nation’s mid- and long-term energy policy.

Of the highest price tag of 81 trillion yen, 51 trillion yen would go toward decommissioning the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and treating and disposing of radioactive water. The ministry put the cost for these tasks at 8 trillion yen.

The center calculated the compensation to victims at 10 trillion yen, while the comparable estimate by the ministry was 8 trillion yen.

Although the center’s estimate for the decontamination operation was 20 trillion yen, the ministry’s projection was 6 trillion yen.

The biggest disparity in the estimates between the think tank and the ministry is that the former put the treatment and disposal of contaminated water at 40 trillion yen and included the cost for disposing of polluted soil produced during cleanup operations in the overall costs.

If contaminated water is released in the sea after it is diluted with water, the overall costs could be 41 trillion yen, including 11 trillion yen estimated for decommissioning and disposal for tainted water.

The least expensive way of coping with the accident–35 trillion yen–would be to encase the plant in a concrete sarcophagus, rather than undertaking the formidable challenge of retrieving melted nuclear fuel from the reactors, and releasing contaminated water into the sea. In this case, it would cost 4.3 trillion yen to close down the plant and dispose of the radioactive water.

But this scenario drew fire from residents in the affected municipalities as they view covering nuclear fuel debris with a massive structure would be tantamount to asking them to give up hope of eventually returning to their hometowns.

The center’s latest projections followed its estimates two years ago, in which the number varied from 50 trillion yen to 70 trillion yen.

It updated its projections based on the findings about treatment and disposal of radioactive water and progress in cleanup operations over the past years.

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

Independent report found ANSTO’s health staff lacking in knowledge about radiation exposure

Kazzi Jai  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA

“In addition, based on interviews with ANSTO Health staff working in high hazard areas, the majority of staff did not understand the various health effects of radiation exposures, this being appropriate to individual duties with respect to the hazardous areas in which they work. This is believed by the reviewers to put at risk the ability to verify all persons
performing high risk activities are fully competent to do so. More importantly, this puts the individual at risk.”
– (excerpt from page 7) “INDEPENDENT SAFETY REVIEW OF THE ANSTO HEALTH APPROACH TO OCCUPATIONAL RADIATION SAFETY AND OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES”
OCTOBER 2018

On 5 October 2018, following a direction from ARPANSA’s CEO Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) provided ARPANSA with a report produced by an independent expert review team outlining 85 recommendations to improve ANSTO’s occupational radiation safety processes and operational procedures.
Dr Larsson issued the direction to initiate an independent review on 29 June 2018 under section 41(1A) of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the Act) following four separate events with safety implications at ANSTO Health in less than 10 months.

https://www.arpansa.gov.au/sites/g/files/net3086/f/independent_review_of_ansto_health.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2xPg2bd2radOa8-vobBySWY_kHUrKR3_FuVoKIo8IbrtNzRvwmg9UJl-U

 

Seems this report was somewhat “buried” in ANSTO’s bright new webpages..….but I got mine from ARPANSA’s webpage instead, since they are the regulator.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

March 23, 2019 Posted by | health, New South Wales, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Home Affairs Minister, and wannabe Australian P.M> Petewr Dutton rubbishes the climate action schoolkids

‘Defies common sense’: Peter Dutton takes aim at school climate strikers Peter Dutton has taken aim at school students who protested about inaction on climate change, saying they would be sitting in the dark without coal-fired power.  https://www.sbs.com.au/news/defies-common-sense-peter-dutton-takes-aim-at-school-climate-strikersHome Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has laid the boot into Australian students who skipped school to  rally against inaction on climate change.

Nearly 40,000 students took the day off school last Friday to participate in strikes around the country.

Mr Dutton said it was “100 per cent right” to suggest people would be left to sit in the dark if coal-fired power was stripped from the grid for 48 hours.

“Let the teachers tell their students that and go out on strike – but their mobile phones aren’t being charged,” he told 2GB radio on Thursday.  This is how stupid the debate’s gotten, it defies common sense.”

March 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment