Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Recent Nuclear/Climate News Australia

It’s hard to stay focussed on nuclear news, as the climate news really can’t be ignored. As always, non European, non anglophone, and poor countries are copping it most – Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages. But right now, much media focus is on the Northern hemisphere – new heat records being set across Europe, wildfires, heat records in Alaska.

Climate change problems, and effective remedies, are often ignored. Air-conditioning is both a partial remedy, but also a big cause of global warming. Energy efficiency is the single best answer to climate change, but often a neglected one.

On the nuclear theatre- well, it seems to be all theatre – with Donald Trump basking in the spotlight entering North Korea – no actual  negotiation achievement – but then the spotlight itself was the goal. More of a worry is the escaling tension and confusion over Iran, as it builds up enriched uranium, and Europe struggles to keep Iran in the nuclear agreement.

Urgent need for international diplomacy: the world facing a renewed nuclear arms race.

Bonn climate talks: Key outcomes from the June 2019 conference. Despite Donald Trump, the G20 nations (except USA) are sticking to the Paris climate agreement.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR. Will Scott Morrison repeat John Howard’s mistake, and join in military action against Iran? Scott Morrison backs Donald Trump in getting tough on Iran.

A new book argues that Australia will need nuclear weapons.   Christopher Pyne – Defence Minister in May – Defence Industry Lobbyist in July.      Australia’s escalated defence spending, Christopher Pyne and his convenient advice to Ey defence consulting.

Nuclear enthusiasm from Australia’s right-wing MPs – the triumph of quackery over substance.  Industry Super Australia (ISA) hitches its wagon to the nuclear unicorn.   Energy Users Association of Australia opposes nuclear power: it’s ‘not the answer’.

CLIMATE.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. South Australia the leader in energy efficiency . States doing heavy lifting on renewables, but NSW and Queensland lag behindRooftop solar rebate reopens to “pent-up” demand in Victoria.

 

 

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July 4, 2019 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australian unions reject Industry Super’s backing of the nuclear industry

Unions revolt over Industry Super’s nuclear backing, Financial Review, David Marin-Guzman 3 July 19  The Electrical Trades Union has condemned a report from Industry Super Australia that backed nuclear energy as an option to confront the energy crisis, sparking a split between unions and industry funds’ own peak body.

ETU national secretary Allen Hicks said industry fund participants were not consulted on the ISA energy paper released last week and called on unions to condemn the paper’s recommendations, which he said promoted a “highly risky investment with deadly consequences”.

While the paper titled Modernising Electricty Sectors stressed it was not “pro nuclear” it said nuclear must be considered as part of the energy investment mix and questioned the capabilities of battery and renewable options.

“The ETU has very strong concerns about this ISA report that broadly spruiks nuclear power while using flawed assumptions and poor modelling to write down the capacity of renewables and battery technology,” Mr Hicks said.

This report has been developed without consulting key industry stakeholders or actual members of ISA that we have been in contact with.”

The comments mark a significant push-back against the industry fund peak body, which is chaired by former Australian Council of Trade Unions chief Greg Combet.

The ETU has representatives on industry funds Cbus and Energy Super and its anti-nuclear position is shared by the maritime union, which opposes shipping nuclear material into ports.

Cbus, whose board members include building unions such as the CFMEU, joined the ETU in disagreeing with the ISA paper’s position.

“The ISA paper raises a number of interesting points for discussion. However, from an investment perspective Cbus doesn’t see nuclear as a part of Australia’s energy mix and we are actively pursuing other energy opportunities,” a spokesman for the fund said.

Mr Hicks said he supported ISA taking the lead on energy investment due to government inaction. But he argued it should focus on maximising returns, not promoting an industry that “would put at risk the very people who industry super represents – union members”.

The ETU has opposed nuclear power and uranium mining since the Second World War due to perceived risks to workers and the public.

Mr Hicks said members had “witnessed first-hand the death and destruction that comes with this form of power” and “more recent disasters in Fukushima and Chernobyl only reinforce this view”.

That’s why it’s so vexing that industry funds our members pay their retirement savings into would offer any support to a report giving the nod to nuclear.”

…….  ETU national industry co-ordinator Matthew Murphy claimed the ISA report “fluffed up” the benefits of nuclear power while including flawed assumptions on renewables “that had no basis in reality”.

This report is biased toward nuclear power and against renewables and that clearly bears out in shoddy maths and assumptions like ‘a battery will only run for one hour’ or that the island nation of Australia is not suitable for offshore wind and tidal power,” he said.

Mr Murphy said the “most glaring” statement in the paper was that 100 to 150 nuclear power plants was enough to power half the country.

Unlike the numbers in the report, we can’t pluck nuclear reactors out of thin air. And there is likely to be huge public opposition from the 150 towns where these deadly power plants would be built.” https://www.afr.com/leadership/workplace/unions-revolt-over-industry-super-s-nuclear-backing-20190702-p5239a

July 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment | Leave a comment

The disastrous effects of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe continue

You’ve seen the TV series, now understand the Chernobyl catastrophe is far from over.  https://www.smh.com.au/national/you-ve-seen-the-tv-series-now-understand-the-chernobyl-catastrophe-is-far-from-over-20190625-p5217u.html By Helen Caldicott, 4 July 19   It is 33 years since the radioactive accident at Chernobyl. The HBO miniseries Chernobyl has re-awakened interest in this dreadful moment in history. But Chernobyl is by no means over. And with commentators once again flagging the idea of overturning Australia’s long-standing opposition to a home-grown nuclear industry – and even suggesting our own nuclear weapons – it is timely to revisit its consequences.

The Chernobyl death toll is highly contentious, from the absurdly low 31 following the initial blast trauma to 4000 (the conclusion of a joint consortium of the United Nations and the governments of UkraineBelarus, and Russia in 2005 and 2006) to 93,000 (Greenpeace’s prediction in 2006).
However, there is the study Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009, which covers more than 5000 medical and epidemiological papers from the Ukraine, Russia, Europe and Britain. It was authored by three noted scientists: Russian biologist Dr Alexey Yablokov, former environmental adviser to the Russian president; Dr Alexey Nesterenko, a biologist and ecologist in Belarus; and Dr Vassili Nesterenko, a physicist and, at the time of the accident, director of the Institute of Nuclear Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

Their book – while the subject of both positive and negative reviews, and not peer-reviewed by Western standards – concludes some 985,000 people died prematurely, mainly of cancer, as a result of the Chernobyl accident. Despite its limitations, it “is a treasure trove of data that if taken as a whole is overwhelming”, according to the noted evolutionary biologist Tim Mousseau.

Millions were initially exposed to very high doses of radiation from short-lived isotopes. But the report indicates that medical effects will continue to impact millions of exposed people because 40 per cent of the European land mass is polluted , and will remain contaminated for thousands of years by long-lived isotopes – plutonium 239, 238 and 241, americium 241, cobalt 60 and technetium 132. Parts of Turkey and Britain also received high fallout, which affected their crops and livestock.

A large body of literature now records the medical impact. In Belarus and nearby regions, 90 per cent of children were once healthy, now only 20 per cent, says the Chernobyl study. A million children still live in highly radioactive areas.

The study reports ongoing abnormalities of the immune system led to increased cases of bacterial and fungal infections, chronic joint and bone pain, osteoporosis, periodontal disease and fractures. Strontium 90 and plutonium concentrate in bones and teeth.

Premature ageing with heart attacks, hypertension, strokes and type 2 diabetes and alopecia are recorded in children. Multiple endocrine abnormalities including diabetes, hypo and hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease, as well as menstrual disorders, have increased as cesium concentrates in endocrine organs and cardiac muscle.

Intellectual retardation was recorded in babies who were in utero at the time of the accident. A noted embryologist, Wladimir Werteleki, recorded high incidences of microcephaly and microphthalmia in babies and severe neural tube defects in the Polissia region of the Ukraine related to very high levels of cesium 137 and 134 in the food eaten by pregnant women. Increased incidence of congenital cataracts, retinal pathology and adult cataracts occur in many European countries.

The Chernobyl study indicated that thyroid carcinoma arose two to four years after the accident, in Belarus increasing to 7000 cases by 2000 and, despite surgery, 30 per cent were aggressive and had metastasised. Congenital thyroid cancer in newborns also was documented.

Increases in a wide range of cancers – including stomach, colon, bladder, pancreas, breast and leukemia – are still recorded in the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Germany, the UK, Greece, Rumania and Europe.

Many thousands of children have been born with severe teratogenic deformities and homes around the Chernobyl area house hundreds of these children.

The Chernobyl study also found that of the 830,000 mainly young men known as ‘‘liquidators’’ – who were recruited from all over the Soviet Union to help clean up the contaminated area and were exposed to massive doses of radiation –112,000 to 125,000 died within the first 19 years.

Tim Mousseau has also conducted surveys of wildlife and birds in the exclusion zones, revealing genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, sterility in male swallows, small brains, tumours, and other anatomical abnormalities.

A huge and ill-informed debate persists about how many people have died as a result of Chernobyl. Sadly, the World Health Organisation has supported the International Atomic Energy Agency, which promotes nuclear power, in the estimate of about 4000 deaths related to Chernobyl.

Much of the data is more than a decade old. There is an urgent need for further extensive epidemiological studies on the exposed populations in Russia, the Ukraine, Europe, England, Turkey and other countries, and for treatment and support to be instituted for the many thousands of victims now and in the future. Because the long-lived radiological contamination of the soil and subsequent bio-concentration of the radioactive isotopes in the food chain will continue to poison children and adults for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Dr Helen Caldicott is an Australian physician, author and founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, which was among the international groups of doctors awarded the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear submarine disaster a blow to Putin and his much touted navy

Russia’s nuclear submarine disaster will test President Vladimir Putin and his navy. ABC News, By Alexey Muraviev  4 July 19, Russia’s Ministry of Defence has officially acknowledged an incident this week with one of its deep-submergence vehicles (DSV) within Russian territorial waters.

The incident seems to point to one of Russia’s most closely guarded naval assets — the Project 10831 AS-31 (AS-12) Kalitka (Norsub-5), more commonly known as Losharik.

It is named after a popular Soviet cartoon character because of its design specifications — a series of titanium spheres under the hull designed to withstand extreme water pressure.

A secret assignment    According to the latest reports, all those killed onboard were assigned to a secret naval unit stationed in St Petersburg, which is responsible for operations of Project 18510 Nel’ma (X-Ray) “autonomous deep-sea stations” — Russia’s official description of the DSV-type platforms — the AS-21 and the AS-35.

However, the declared number of casualties and the seniority of the deceased personnel is unclear…….

Covert trials of a nuclear-armed torpedo?   While official word suggests the submarine was undertaking scanning of the seabed in one sector of the Barents Sea, the actual mission being undertaken may be different.It is possible the submarine was taking part in the covert sea trials of the Poseidon sub-sea strategic combat system (a large calibre nuclear torpedo) .

The tragedy would be the first reported large-scale fatality sustained by GUGI’s secret force.

But it cannot be compared with previous disasters involving Russian nuclear-powered submarines such as the RFS Kursk Oscar II class catastrophe back in 2000 or the incident onboard RFS Nerpa Akula IIclass back in 2008.

This disaster has happened within a unit designed specifically to operate in extreme physical environments where the safety and professionalism of the crew is a key to survival and success.  The crew comprises only middle-to-senior rank officers…….

Was a nuclear disaster averted?

It is understood that the fire onboard led to the fatal intoxication of more than half of the crew — about 14 out of some 25 onboard — and serious injuries of another four or five onboard.

Any submariner would concur that a fire onboard a submarine on deployment poses a serious risk. Fire onboard a nuclear-powered submarine is even worse.

While it is unknown what triggered that fatal fire, a mechanical failure or a human error, the fact is clear: the crew, at the cost of their lives, prevented a potentially major environmental disaster if the DSV had sunk to the bottom of the ocean, or exploded…… https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-03/russias-nuclear-submarine-disaster-test-vladimir-putin-navy/11274964

July 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

News Corpse comes out with a weird pro nuclear ramble

(salient bits of the long, rather weird ramble)

The nuclear energy option   A new paper undermines the claim it’s more about culture wars than electricity generation. THE AUSTRALIAN , By GRAHAM LLOYD , 4 July 19,   “……….. A discussion paper prepared for the union-backed Industry Super Australia provides a blueprint for patient capital in the energy sector.

……….The view globally is that nuclear power provides the best emissions-free hedge against a failure of renewables to satisfy more than about one-third of a nation’s energy requirements.

Ed. the view globally –   whose view exactly?

The Prime Minister is being urged to give his blessing to a review of the potential for nuclear energy in Australia.

Queensland MPs Keith Pitt and James McGrath have proposed terms of reference for an inquiry that will review advances in nuclear energy including small nuclear reactors and thorium.

The NSW parliament will conduct its own review.

One Nation MLC Mark Latham has legislation before parliament to legalise uranium mining and nuclear facilities.

“The climate change challenge is real but a renewables fetish can’t solve it,” he says.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has called for a national vote to end the ban and says the northern cities of Tamworth or Armidale could be the site of a new nuclear power station.

Scott Morrison says he won’t oppose nuclear if the economics stack up but no one is offering to build a reactor in Australia.

Advocates of the nuclear option are playing a long-term game.

In April, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency director general William Magwood made his first official visit to Australia. He met the energy ministry, the Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the Energy Policy Institute of Australia……

Magwood’s discussions highlighted uranium resource issues but also focused on NEA analyses related to the decarbonisation of electricity systems and radioactive waste management.

While Australia has no plans to build nuclear plants, in 2016 the country joined the Generation IV International Forum, for which the Nuclear Energy Agency acts as technical secretariat.

Ed note: Let us not forget that nuclear industry law-unto-himself Dr Adi Paterson signed Australia up to this with no Parliamentary discussion and no government authorisation . A month later a senate committee ratified this – still no parliamentary discussion, despite the fact that Australa has laws against constructing nuclear reactors.

Magwood’s talks with Australian authorities included the latest research and development on advanced nuclear systems………

One of the themes of the discussion paper is that mainstream thinking on the energy market may be misleading in many areas…….Ultimately, there is the prospect that some wind and solar projects themselves may become stranded assets.

The problems of intermittency are at the heart of global concerns. Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is trying to address the issue with a reliability obligation for generators………

nuclear has advantages that intermittent sources of energy cannot provide.

And a recent OECD report assesses the levelised cost using a 3 per cent interest rate at $US100 per megawatt hour for commercial solar, $US70 per megawatt hour for onshore wind and $US50 a megawatt for nuclear………..

Ed. note. Really – source?

Australia lagging

It was noted that Australia is one of the few First World economies without nuclear power and experience in managing a nuclear plant…….

Ed note.  Along with Austria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, and Portugal. Belgium, Germany, Spain and Switzerland are phasing-out nuclear power

Not considering nuclear puts Australia in the minority of First World economies. It is also lagging several Second and Third World economies in our region and elsewhere such as Argentina, Mexico, Bangladesh and Turkey and geographical neighbours such as ­Indonesia and Vietnam…….

Based on the Tesla battery in Adelaide, achieving 1½ days’ energy storage would cost $6.5 trillion, enough to build about 1000 nuclear reactors.

For household batteries, it would cost about $US7000 per household every 10 years to provide back-up for 36 hours……..

One important step would be to build some capacity to operate a nuclear facility.

This would provide insurance against failure in alternative options or rapid change in technology.

It says a single reactor would be a relatively small investment.

Ed note:  really? https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/report-argues-for-the-nuclear-energy-option/news-story/f3faf4befb3d68cedc01c6735d467976

July 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

Former Environment Minister rejected department advice and approved uranium mine day before election called

Melissa Price approved uranium mine knowing it could lead to extinction of 12 species  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/04/melissa-price-approved-uranium-mine-knowing-it-could-lead-to-extinction-of-12-species?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other  Former environment minister rejected department advice and approved Yeelirrie mine day before election called. Lisa Cox,  4 Jul 2019  The former environment minister Melissa Price acknowledged that approval of a uranium mine in Western Australia could lead to the extinction of up to 12 native species but went ahead with the decision anyway.

The admission is contained in a statement of reasons signed by the minister before she approved the Yeelirrie uranium mine, 500km north of Kalgoorlie, the day before the federal election was called in April.

The document also shows the environment and energy department recommended conditions that would require the developer, Cameco, to ensure the project would not result in the extinction of up to 11 stygofauna, which are tiny groundwater species.

But Price instead adopted a weaker set of conditions aimed at reducing the risk to groundwater species but which the department said contained “significant uncertainties” as to whether or not they would be successful.

Price acknowledged the department had recommended tougher conditions but said in the statement that if they were imposed there was “a real chance that the project would not go ahead”.

“In making this recommendation, the department considered only the environmental outcomes, and did not weigh the environmental risks against the social and economic benefits of the project,” she said.

“Rather, as the department’s briefing noted, this balancing exercise was for me to do”.

Price wrote that she “accepted that there was a risk” that species could be lost but that the department’s advice was this was not “inevitable” if the project went ahead.

The statement of reasons also notes that the project could lead to the wipeout of the entire western population of a species of saltbush, known as the Atriplex yeelirrie.

The saltbush has just two distinct populations, the western and eastern population, both of which are found on Yeelirrie station.

The statement of reasons says the western population occurs entirely within the proposed area for the mine and there is a risk the development would clear all of it.

The Australian Conservation Foundation, which requested Price’s statement of reasons, described the document as “an extraordinary piece of decision making”.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Climate change is damaging the nuclear industry: nuclear reactors can’t cope with heat and drought

Nuclear Power, Once Seen as Impervious to Climate Change, Threatened by Heat Waves
The nuclear power sector is often portrayed as resistant to unpredictable weather associated with climate change. Heat waves, however, are punching holes in that narrative.   U
S News,
By Alan Neuhauser, Staff WriterJuly 1, 2019,   THERE’S A REASON nuclear plants are built close to water.

Harnessing the enormous power of nuclear fission, plants generate steam, which shoots through pipes to spin a turbine that generates massive amounts of electricity. To keep from getting dangerously hot, the plants suck up surrounding water from the nearby rivers, lakes or oceans around which they’re built to cool the steam.

Now, increasingly, more frequent heat waves and hotter average temperatures are making those waters so warm that engineers are concerned that it can’t do the job. Analysts say climate change is to blame.

In little-noticed but publicly available reports to regulators, nuclear plant owners revealed that unusually hot temperatures last year forced them to reduce the plants’ electricity output more than 30 times – most often in the summer, when demand from nuclear plants is at its highest. In 2012, such incidents occurred at least 60 times. At one plant in Connecticut a reactor was taken offline for nearly two weeks when temperatures in the Long Island Sound surged past 75 degrees.

The incidents, submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, reflect a sharp uptick from even a decade ago, when plants appear to have submitted only nine such reports in 2009. In 1988, 1989 and 1991, there was just one such report. The dramatic increase mirrors the rise in average U.S. and global temperatures spurred by climate change.

“I’ve heard many nuclear proponents say that nuclear power is part of the solution to global warming,” says David Lochbaum, a retired nuclear engineer who compiled the reports based on data submitted to the NRC, and former director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union for Concerned Scientists. “It needs to be reversed: You need to solve global warming for nuclear plants to survive.” 

Regulations set strict temperature limits for the water around each plant: 75 degrees for Millstone Generating Station in Connecticut, 85 degrees for Braidwood Generating Station outside Chicago, as high as 90 degrees for Turkey Point Generating Station south of Miami. Nuclear plants are now more regularly bumping up against those limits.

And even when water temperatures only approach those thresholds, plants can still be forced to dial down their output if the water used to cool their reactors will cause the temperatures in surrounding waterways to rise so much that it will endanger the habitats of fish and plants.

Limerick Generating Station outside Philadelphia, for example, reported turning down its output 79 times between 2008 and 2016……..

Climbing temperatures are not the first climate impact to strike nuclear power plants: The sector has also faced challenges from periodic but increasingly frequent droughts that can cause local water sources to run low.

And it’s not just water temperatures that plants have to contend with. Air temperatures can also cause conditions inside the plant to get too hot to operate. So desperate was a power plant in France during last year’s heat wave that it began spraying water on the outside of the building to keep the interior from overheating. Plants in the U.S., meanwhile, have regularly slashed their output by anywhere from 3% to 60%.

Such dynamics could cause output from nuclear plants to fall by as much as 16% in the coming decades, according to a 2012 analysis. Moreover, climate concerns threaten to pierce nuclear’s carefully constructed – and increasingly embattled – narrative that it’s the only reliable source of zero-emissions power. Already, the country’s aging fleet of nuclear plants is facing stiff competition from cheap natural gas and, more recently, falling prices for solar and wind paired with battery storage.

Rising temperatures, by forcing nuclear plants to reduce their output, have “made this already problematic resource even less viable in the current energy environment and economy, says Dan Kammen, a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of California-Berkeley…… https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-07-01/nuclear-power-once-seen-as-impervious-to-climate-change-threatened-by-heat-waves

July 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The high carbon emissions of UK’s nuclear reactor project

Nuclear power is helping to drive the climate crisis, Guardian, 3 July 19 

Linda Rogers says the CBI has its head in the sand over nuclear reactors and Iain Climie wants politicians prepared to fund action to combat the climate emergency
Has the Confederation of British Industry got its head in the sand, or in the record levels of carbon-intensive concrete just poured at the Hinkley C nuclear site (Build more nuclear reactors to help climate crisis, says CBI, 28 June)? Nuclear power, apart from destroying biodiversity throughout its life cycle, produces up to 37 times the CO2 emissions of renewable energy sources, owing partly to the mining and refining of uranium. The impact of this process on people and the environment is not included in the rationale for nuclear power in the UK.

As the CBI looks for investment from abroad, UK taxpayers will pick up the bill for the likely time and cost overruns of new nuclear build under the regulated asset-based funding proposals so welcomed by the CBI. Nuclear has failed to achieve the investment needed so far because it is no longer seen as economically viable. Even Hitachi (one of the world’s largest multinationals) cannot magic Wylfa Newydd into a commercially viable business. In January this year, Hitachi announced it had failed to squeeze the UK government for the very high levels of subsidies desired by large investors upfront for Wylfa. Nobody can afford the costs or the many risks attached to building new nuclear power stations.    PAWB (Pobl Atal Wylfa B/People Against Wylfa B)   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/02/nuclear-power-is-helping-to-drive-the-climate-crisis

July 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is the ultimate unsustainable form of energy.

The simple reason why nuclear power is finished – Dr Richard Dixon https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/the-simple-reason-why-nuclear-power-is-finished-dr-richard-dixon-1-4957211

Half of Scotland’s nuclear reactors are off-line over safety concerns, but the lights still stayed on, writes Dr Richard Dixon. July 3  2019

Nuclear power is the ultimate unsustainable form of energy. For some electricity today, we are leaving a thousand generations of future humans dangerous radioactive waste.

During the 1990s public inquiry into the Hinkley Point C nuclear station, I saw a poster showing a Roman legionary standing outside a nuclear plant and carrying the message “If the Romans had had nuclear power, we would still be guarding the waste”.

I thought it was terribly clever but it took me quite a while to realise that Roman Britain was far too close at hand. To cover the generally accepted 25,000 years, it would need to have referred to Cro-Magnon humans.

The politics of Scotland mean that new reactors here are almost unthinkable and the price of the renewable energy alternatives has fallen so far below the cost of nuclear that you would have to be crazy to go for new nuclear.

Labour’s Jack McConnell was the First Minister who said he would block new nuclear plants until there was a solution to the waste problem (14 years later, there is none). And while it is in the SNP’s DNA to oppose nuclear power. EDF and some unions do still try to lobby Scottish Ministers and officials, but to no avail. Meanwhile the industry is doing a great job of showing how terrible a bet nuclear is.

The nuclear industry is almost unique in that every new reactor costs more than the last, while everything else gets cheaper, including offshore wind power which is now coming in at just over half the price of nuclear for a unit of energy.

Hinkley Point C, the only nuclear station under construction in the UK, was supposed to be cooking the Christmas turkey in 2017. It is now expected to be producing electricity at the end of 2025 at the earliest. The only way it could be built was for the UK Government to agree that electricity consumers would pay bills well over the odds for the next 35 years.

The same sort of reactor is being built in Finland. It may start producing electricity next year – 11 years late. The other one of the same design is in France and is currently running 12 years late, at twice the original budget.

The latest wheeze the industry has come up with is to ask the UK Government to agree to pay any costs more than 30 per cent above the original budget for any more reactors. Not a good bet given their history.

Of course we already have four reactors in Scotland. The two at Torness are the second newest in the UK, having been opened by Margaret Thatcher in 1989. The two at Hunterston in Ayrshire are already well past their sell-by date, having started up in 1976. They were supposed to have closed in 2006 but have had three extensions with planned closure now in 2023. Because of a large number of cracks in their cores one reactor stopped generating in March last year and the other in October. Owners EDF are arguing with regulators about whether they can safely restart.

Did you notice the lights going out across Scotland with Hunterston not producing a single electron for eight months? No, thanks largely to renewables having a record first quarter of 2019 and supplying nine out of ten households in Scotland.

We certainly don’t need new nuclear and, with renewables rapidly on the rise, we should not take the unnecessary risk of starting up the Hunterston reactors ever again.

Dr Richard Dixon is director of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear Weapons and the 2020 USA Presidential Candidates

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The Other Existential Threat: Nuclear Weapons & the 2020 Presidential Campaign https://blog.ucsusa.org/sean-meyer/nuclear-weapons-candidates-primaries

SEAN MEYER, | JULY 3, 2019   The 2020 presidential campaign kicked off in earnest with last week’s Miami debates, and many of the “high profile” topics were covered: climate change, immigration, gun control. One topic was a little more unexpected: nuclear weapons. On the first night, three of the ten candidates on stage said nuclear weapons or the threat of nuclear war is the biggest geopolitical threat facing the United States.

This should not be surprising: recent polling shows that in key primary states, including New Hampshire and Iowa, over 80% of respondents want to know what candidates think about nuclear weapons. We also know from recent national polling that more than 80% of people support arms control treaties with Russia.

Unfortunately, current US policies put the public at danger from nuclear use. Today, the United States retains the right to use nuclear weapons first in a crisis and maintains hundreds of land-based missiles on hair trigger alert. New, more usable nuclear weapons are being developed as part of a trillion-dollar plan to re-build and maintain the entire nuclear arsenal (a proposal mind you that dates to the Obama administration). For its part, the Trump administration has pulled out of crucial nuclear agreements that have kept us safe, including the Iran nuclear deal and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and seems poised to walk away from the New START Treaty as well.

These kinds of policies should be a major topic of discussion among candidates in the 2020 election, and candidates are already being asked about their positions on the campaign trail. Their responses and comments show a range of thought and understanding on the topic. You can see videos of the conversations with the presidential candidates about nuclear weapons on our YouTube channel.We’ll keep adding videos to this channel as members of the public and activists around the country continue to have these conversations with the candidates in the months ahead.

Indeed, voters have a critical role to play by raising the profile of these discussions and helping to elevate this important conversation and debate—both within our communities and online.

Nuclear weapons and climate change are the two existential threats facing humanity. They are serious. They are growing. They are urgent.  And our country and leaders must act—before it’s too late.

So that’s where “we the people” come in. Let’s educate others. Let’s raise our voices. Let’s insist that those who wish to lead our country do just that—lead us on a path that reduces the risks these horrible weapons pose.

The Union of Concerned Scientists aims to increase public discussion about the use of nuclear weapons; we are posting these videos to highlight such discussion by candidates for president. As a 501c3 nonpartisan organization, UCS does not support or oppose any candidate for election.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Eye witnesses to Russian nuclear submarine disaster

Fishermen witnessed nuclear submarine drama, The sub quickly surfaced and there were subsequent signs of panic on the deck, the local fishermen say. The accident might have been caused by a gas explosion. Barents Observer, By  Atle Staalesen,July 03, 2019

They were out doing illegal fishing and do not want to reveal their names. But the men who late Monday evening were onboard a small local fishing boat off the coast of the Kola Peninsula told news agency SeverPost that they witnessed what appeared as a state of emergency.

Eye witnesses

It happened around 9.30 pm near the Ura Bay, one of the witnesses says.

«We were heading towards Kildin, and then, about half past nine in the evening, a submarine surfaces. Suddenly and completely surfaces. I have never seen anything like it in my life. On the deck, people were running around and making fuss,» he told SeverPost.

The fishermen hid in nearby bay from where they saw that a navy vessel and two tugs quickly arrived on site. Around 11 pm, the vessels accompanied the submarine away from the area. There was no sign of smoke, they say.

Other locals later reported that they saw bodies being taken out of the submarine and to an approaching ship.

A source in the Russian Navy later told SeverPost that the submarine seen by the local fishermen was most likely the «Podmoskovie», the mother vessel of the special purpose submarine «Losharik» (AS-31). The «Podmoskovie» is a rebuilt Delta-IV class submarine designed to carry the much smaller «Losharik».

Sources in the Navy on Tuesday told Russian media that the accident had happened in the «Losharik». …… https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2019/07/fishermen-witnessed-nuclear-submarine-drama

 

July 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

14 Russian Sailors Killed in Fire on Nuclear Submarine

14 Russian Sailors Killed in Fire on Nuclear Sub https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/02/14-russian-sailors-killed-in-fire-on-nuclear-sub-reports-a66257  3 July 19 Fourteen submariners on board a Russian Defense Ministry research vessel were killed in a fire while carrying out a survey of the sea floor off Russia’s Arctic coast, the ministry was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

The incident took place on the AS-31 deep-sea nuclear submarine nicknamed Losharik, an unnamed source in the security forces told the RBC news website. Launched in 2003, Losharik was designed for research, rescue and special military operations and can hold up to 25 crew members.

The fire broke out at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, RBC cited its source as saying, nearly a day before the ministry released the news. “On July 1 in Russian territorial waters a fire broke out on board a deep-water scientific research vessel that was studying the marine environment of the world ocean on behalf of the Russian navy,” Interfax cited a ministry statement as saying.

“Fourteen submariners died as the result of smoke inhalation … Work is underway to establish the cause of the incident. The investigation is being conducted by the commander-in-chief of the navy.”

The fire has been extinguished and the submarine is now at the Russian Northern Fleet’s base in Severomorsk on the Barents Sea, Interfax quoted the ministry as saying. The statement as cited by the agencies did not identify the type or model of the underwater vessel.

This is the largest accident to take place on a Defense Ministry submersible since 2008, when a freon gas leak on the nuclear-powered submarine Nerpa killed 20 and injured 21.

In August 2000, the Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kursk sank to the floor of Barents Sea after two explosions in its bow, killing all 118 men aboard.That accident, soon after President Vladimir Putin took office, focused official attention on the state of the military and its hardware, which had been subject to underfunding and neglect after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since then, Putin has overseen a massive increase in military funding that has allowed the armed forces to renew their equipment and improve training and morale.

However, accidents have continued to happen as the military, used by the Kremlin to project its growing international muscle, has ramped up its activities and extended into new theatres of operation.

In December 2016, a Russian military plane carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, crashed into the Black Sea en route to Syria where Russian forces are deployed. Everyone on board was killed.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Epidemic of cancer at Basra – city affected by depleted uranium weapons

Cancer hits Iraqi oil city of Basra,   https://menafn.com/1098716339/Cancer-hits-Iraqi-oil-city-of-Basra  
MENAFN – Iraq Business News) By Mustafa Saadoun forAl Monitor 3 July 19, The deputy governor of Basra province, Zahra al-Bijari, claimed June 6 that cancer rates have been growing dramatically in the province as a result of pollution, both from oil production and from depleted uranium dust that a doctor says is causing “another Hiroshima.”
The province of Basra is registering 800 new cases of cancer per month, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, which attributed the cause to ‘multiple reasons, including environmental pollutants, whether in the air such as emanating from oil combustion, in water and soil, and resulting from effects of war.’

July 4, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Victoria rooftop solar rebate in hot demand, with July quota filled in just days — RenewEconomy

Victorian households waiting to install half-price solar might have to wait another few weeks, after the July quota of the state government’s rooftop rebate was filled within days. The post Victoria rooftop solar rebate in hot demand, with July quota filled in just days appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Victoria rooftop solar rebate in hot demand, with July quota filled in just days — RenewEconomy

July 4, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 3 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Four Reasons Renewables Will Continue To Dominate Fossil Fuels” • Renewables will dominate energy markets in the US because of their economics, even without the support of policy, some analysts agree. To start with, as renewables gain more market share, fossil fuels are displaced, driving up their per-unit costs. But there is more. […]

via July 3 Energy News — geoharvey

July 4, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment