Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear news – week to 12 August

NUCLEAR. This week , the spotlight has been on Russia, as conflicting and ambiguous reports come out, about a Russian rocket test explosion that caused radiation levels to spike in the Arkhangelsk region. The Russian nuclear agency Rosatom finally admitted its involvement. Russia honours as ‘national heroes’ the 5 nuclear scientists who died in this suspected secret testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile.

CLIMATE. While governments and the older generation in general continue on their merry way with business as usual, young people are ever more concerned about climate change. It’s THE issue at this week ‘s International Congress of Youth Voices, in Puerto Rico.  High school students are organising Youth Climate Strikes.    Why stay in school if our planet will die?


Three  Parliamentary Nuclear Inquiries are now underway, with short deadlines for submissions. (You can bet that the nuclear lobby’s well-paid shills have sent theirs in already.)

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce’s heavy-handed, repressive, approach to community consultation. It’s even more undemocratic than the one in Wales, UK. Federal nuclear waste management “consultative committees” – secretive – a farce?  Nuclear waste: residents near proposed dump told to sign draconian code of conduct.   Bangarla people call on Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt to intervene in support of their vote on nuclear waste dump.

Jervis Bay and previous governments’ secret plans for nuclear weapons.

Does Energy Minister Angus Taylor REALLY believe that nuclear energy would be viable in Australia. Energy Minister Angus Taylor orders inquiry into nuclear energy – a distraction from Australia’s climate policy failure?. Australia’s Liberal Coalition government still dreaming about nuclear power.

Australia’s strategy for ‘new nuclear’ – based on non-existent plantSmall Modular Nuclear Reactors don’t operate anywhere yet – but USA companies are keen to sell them to Australia.  Nuclear advocate Switkowski admits that Small Modular Reactors have big problems.

Australia needs intelligent long-term energy policy – nuclear does not ‘stack up’.  Pro nuclear promoter Warren Mundine back on the propaganda trail.

CLIMATE. Australian coal lobby plans another multi-million PR campaign.  EnergyAustralia plunges into red after massive writedowns, coal problems.

RENEWABLE ENERGY.  Queensland officially opens its first completed large scale wind farm. Stunning low costs inspire Alinta to ramp up renewables push, sees early coal exit. Rooftop solar slashes demand levels and emissions across main grid . AGL plans more storage as it eyes $200 billion energy transition opportunity,  Finley solar farm starts sending power to NSW grid.


How the viewing public was ‘protected’ from seeing what the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombing did to people.  Hiroshima nuclear bombing, and the birth of the Doomsday Clock.

Another expensive nuclear weapons race about to take off. Putin And Trump are ‘normalising’ the increasing numbers, and the use, of nuclear weapons.

Wildfire cloud study sheds light on the processes of ‘nuclear winter”

Harm to astronauts’ brains from space radiation.

Even the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)  is concerned about radioactive trash management from Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Submissions can be sent to three Parliamentary Inquiries about nuclear issues now underway

There are currently at least 3 parliamentary inquiries underway that are relevant to nuclear issues. There are opportunities to make submissions to each of them. Details below:

1. Sustainability of energy supply and resources in NSW (Submissions close 15 September 2019)

2. Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia (Submissions close 16 September 2019)

3. Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019 (Submissions close 18 October 2019)

August 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce’s heavy-handed repressive approach to community consultation

August 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Spent nuclear fuel from small nuclear reactors would pose a real problem for Australia

August 12, 2019 Posted by | technology, wastes | Leave a comment

Jervis Bay and previous governments’ secret plans for nuclear weapons

August 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Opposition to nuclear, opposition to nuclear, politics, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s radiation leak “clearly a bigger issue than the Russians are letting on”.

Russia nuclear leak: Mysterious footage of hazmat officials escalates radiation panic

CHILLING footage from Russia has intensified fears of a nuclear radiation accident after ambulances were spotted lined with protective chemical sheets and hospitals workers were seen wearing hazmat suits.

By OLI SMITH, Sun, Aug 11, 2019  Russian President Vladimir Putin has remained silent, amid growing speculation that a nuclear missile accident has caused a dangerous radiation leak at a naval base. The Kremlin have confirmed that a “rocket engine explosion” at the Archangelsk base in northern Russia killed five people and injured three. Last night, Russia’s nuclear energy agency Rostam admitted that they had been involved in the aftermath of the incident, raising concern of a radiation leak.

Rostam added that the explosion took place during the testing of an “isotope power source”.

The official said five of its employees had died as a result of the accident and three more were being treated for burns.

However, the extent of the incident and threat of radiation  has not been disclosed, amid growing global concern.

The Archangelsk naval base has been placed under emergency lockdown for a month, with the nearby White Sea also closed to commercial shipping.

sudden radiation spike detected in the region following the explosion prompted the initial speculation that the incident was related to a nuclear missile test.

The radiation level was recorded as 20 times higher than the normal level in the nearby city of Severodvinsk.

This has been reinforced by chilling footage filmed in the aftermath of the incident.

One video showed hospital workers wearing hazmat suits while they loaded the injured into an ambulance. Another terrifying video revealed a security escort of ambulances transporting the injured to Moscow.

In this footage, one of the ambulance is clearly coated in a chemical protection film.

A defence ministry source said that the worker’s clothes had been burned as soon as they were hospitalised with suspected radiation. Experts have linked the incident to the testing of the new nuclear-powered cruise missile Burevestnik mentioned during a speech by Vladimir Putin last year.

Local people have reportedly been urged to take precautions against radiation, with children from local kindergartens taken indoors after the blast.

There has also been a rush to buy iodine in Russia’s far north.

Russian expert Dr Mark Galeotti said the incident was “clearly a bigger issue than the Russians are letting on”.

He told the BBC: “Despite what the Kremlin have said, there must have been some sort of radiation leak – and they want people to not just stay out of harm’s way, but also don’t want people coming to the site with Geiger Counters.”

August 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s radioactive water storage approaching full capacity – what next?


Ticking Clock

The effort to safely decommission Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant just got hit by a looming deadline.

In about three years, the plant will run out of space for the massive quantities of treated but still-radioactive water that officials have been storing there, according to The Associated Press. While a government panel came up with a few possible courses of action, the most feasible one at the moment is to simply dump the water into the Pacific — a bleak sign for nuclear disasters in the future.

Maximum Capacity

At the moment, Fukushima has over 1 million tons of water stored in almost 1,000 on-site tanks, the AP reports. Plans are in place to build enough to store nearly 1.4 million more tons, but that even those will reach capacity by mid-2022.

Local fishers and residents of the area say that dumping the water would devastate the area’s fishing and agriculture industry, per the AP. Other options considered by the panel include vaporizing the radioactive water or injecting it deep underground.

“When we talk about Fukushima’s reconstruction, the question is if we should prioritize the decommissioning at the expense of Fukushima people’s lives,” University of Tokyo professor of disaster social science Naoya Sekiya told the AP. “The issue is not just about science.”

August 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

India and Pakistan on the nuclear brink over Kashmir?

Hair-Trigger Nuclear Alert Over Kashmir, Common DreamsIndia and Pakistan, where people starve in the streets, waste billions on military spending because of the Kashmir dispute. Now some of India’s extreme Hindu nationalists warn they want to reabsorb Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even Sri Lanka into Mother India.  by Eric Margolis  11 Aug 19

Two of the world’s most important powers, India and Pakistan, are locked into an extremely dangerous confrontation over the bitterly disputed Himalayan mountain state of Kashmir. Both are nuclear armed.

Kashmir has been a flashpoint since Imperial Britain divided India in 1947. India and Pakistan have fought numerous wars and conflicts over majority Muslim Kashmir. China controls a big chunk of northern Kashmir known as Aksai Chin.

In 1949, the UN mandated a referendum to determine if Kashmiris wanted to join Pakistan or India. Not surprisingly, India refused to hold the vote. But there are some Kashmiris who want an independent state, though a majority seek to join Pakistan……

What makes this confrontation so dangerous is that both sides have important tactical and nuclear forces arrayed against one another. These are mostly short/medium-ranged nuclear tipped missiles, and air-delivered nuclear bombs. Strategic nuclear weapons back up these tactical forces. A nuclear exchange, even a limited one, could kill millions, pollute much of Asia’s ground water, and spread radioactive dust around the globe – including to North America. ….

August 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Does Angus Taylor REALLY believe that nuclear energy would be viable in Australia

Nuclear energy inquiry: is Angus Taylor’s move logical or just for the backbench?
Guardian,   Adam Morton Environment editor @adamlmorton 11 Aug 2019 Political arguments about nuclear power in Australia are not new, but the energy minister, Angus Taylor, says this time is different.

Announcing a parliamentary inquiry into what would be necessary to develop a nuclear energy industry, Taylor suggested people should no longer be thinking of the large-scale plants that had dominated the global industry since the 1950s. The future of nuclear, if it had one, was small.

“The technology that’s emerging is not gigawatt power, it is actually small modular reactors,” Taylor told the ABC.

He said there were no plans to drop Australia’s moratorium on nuclear energy, but there were different points of view on the subject and the cost of small modular reactors was changing quickly. “Finding affordable, sustainable, reliable, baseload power for the decades ahead is an important role of government and of parliament and that’s why I have asked for this inquiry,” he said.

The Guardian asked Taylor’s office what had shaped his belief that small modular reactors were getting cheaper, but did not get an answer.

At least in part, the minister seems to have been informed by the work of SMR Nuclear Technology, a company hoping to bring the technology to Australia. Its directors include coal power plant owner and Coalition donor Trevor St Baker, who the company says has met Taylor on the issue.

Small nuclear reactors are in some ways not a new idea. Similar technology is employed in nuclear-powered submarines and icebreakers. But they are next to non-existent in power generation.

The model favoured by SMR Nuclear Technology is being developed by a US company, NuScale Power, which originally hoped to have a plant running by 2022. Its plan for 60-megawatt nuclear modules is yet to receive regulatory approval in the US. The company hopes to clear this hurdle by September 2020, for construction of the first module to start in 2023 and for it to start producing electricity by late 2026.

The industry says small modular reactors have several benefits: they have less nuclear material and better temperature regulation and are therefore easier to keep safe; the reactor can be installed underground to provide protection from above ground risks such as extreme weather and terrorism; the initial capital cost is low and building modules in factories can cut costs further.

Given the technology has yet to complete a three-year review, the cost is difficult to assess, but some experts have given estimates. In Australia, the last full examination of nuclear power was a 2016 South Australian royal commission that found neither large nor modular nuclear reactors were likely to deliver a commercial return between now and 2050 even if a strong carbon price was introduced, something the government says it has no intention of doing.

It found that while the smaller version had the benefit of requiring less upfront capital investment, it also raised a number of potential cost hurdles. They included that small modules were likely to require more fuel than large reactors, and promised cost-savings from building in factories would not kick in unless the industry reached a scale that justified a production line.

More recently, an analysis of the cost of electricity generation by the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator published in December found modular nuclear power was likely to be far more expensive out to 2050 than all other forms currently used or seriously considered by the government, including solar and wind with storage.

From a global perspective, an assessment by the International Energy Agency in May found nuclear power in the developed world was in decline, with plants closing due to age and little new investment. Only four large-scale plants are under construction in Europe and North America, and all have suffered delays, cost blowouts or both. Construction costs have nearly doubled since 2015……..

In Australia, the industry is blocked by a legislated ban on “nuclear action” in national environment laws. Tony Irwin, technical director of SMR Nuclear Technologies, acknowledges the political challenge of winning bipartisan support for change and believes nuclear plants will be built here only if communities volunteer to host them. He says some have expressed an interest, but declines to name them…….

The inquiry by the standing committee on the environment and energy is due to report back within four months.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s repression of democratic discussion on nuclear waste dump is worse than UK’s


Cumbria Trust 11th Aug 2019 The Guardian has reported that residents in Southern Australia, who face having a nuclear waste storage facility imposed on them, are being forced
to sign an excessively restrictive code of conduct if they wish to attend
community meetings. This prevents them from taking notes, repeating certain
views expressed in the meeting, or trying to take part in the committee

This appears to go well beyond the steps required to maintain
an orderly meeting, and serves to suppress democratic accountability. While
the last search process in Cumbria, MRWS, didn’t go to such extreme
lengths, there were some unnecessary restrictions which obstructed local
democracy. Specifically, executive members of the borough councils, and
cabinet members of Cumbria County Council, were told that they could not
give any public indication of whether they were minded to vote for the
process to proceed to the next stage. This ‘predetermination’ rule
allowed senior councillors to completely avoid public scrutiny on the

August 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Pacific nuclear veterans’ descendants sought for study

August 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear tourism- a pretty sick idea, really

Nuclear tourism is so hot right now,

Matthew Abraham, Sunday Mail (SA), August 10, 2019   It was 3.40am precisely on March 1, 1954, when the great Adelaide earthquake rumbled into town, looking for a fight.

Rattled awake, Mum and Dad leapt out of bed, grabbed my older brother from his bedroom, and raced outside. They forgot something.


I was three weeks old at the time, bouncing around but still sound asleep at the foot of their double bed.

While the Home Alone moment is part of our family folklore, a far more sinister threat to babies in our sleeping city came just over two years later.
It was silent, invisible and a dirty little secret.

The UK Government began merrily blowing up South Australia’s backyard, detonating atomic “devices” on the Maralinga lands in a series of trials stretching from 1956 to 1963.

In radiation lingo, some of these trials were particularly “dirty”.

On October 11, 1956, an unexpected southerly wind shift carried a radioactive cloud from one such blast right across Adelaide. Almost a year to the day later, on October 9, 1957, radioactive rain from an even dirtier nuclear blast – a 25-kilotonne bomb detonated at Maralinga’s Taranki test site – fell on Adelaide.

We were all blissfully ignorant, and that’s how the UK and Australian Governments liked it. The full extent of these trials was covered up for more than 30 years. The denials and callous disregard for the lives of the indigenous people of the Maralinga lands remains an unmitigated disgrace.

You’d think that soaking up a little Strontium-90 with the Farex as a two-year-old might have been more than enough nuclear joy for anyone.

Strange then, that in 1984 I became a nuclear tourist, strolling across the ground zero sites of three of the Maralinga atomic blasts – Taranki, TM100 and TM101.

This is how it happened.

The then Labor premier, the late John Bannon, was pushing hard for the UK to pay for cleaning up the radioactive mess it’d left blowing around our desert.

Much of the credit for what proved to be a successful campaign should really go to his then press secretary, later premier, Mike Rann.

In May 1984, Rann invited journalists to fly to Maralinga to cover an inspection tour by Bannon and Labor’s resources minister, Peter Walsh.

As then political reporter for The Advertiser, I was on the jaunt.

Despite evidence of uncovered plutonium particles, nobody wore masks, protective clothing or special footwear. I wore my trusty, lightweight Dunlop KT-47s.

Before heading back to the airstrip, I pocketed a small piece of aluminium that had been melted out of shape, almost certainly from one of the towers erected to hold the bombs.

Of all the dumb things I’ve done in my life, this was by far the dumbest.

We were issued with monitoring badges but discovered these only measured background radiation, not airborne plutonium particles.

On arriving home I binned the Dunlops and all my clothes from the trip – including the nuked souvenir.

Later we were flown to the Australian Radiation Laboratories in Melbourne for a four-hour scan of our lungs and livers for any evidence of ingested plutonium particles.

They were negative, which is terrific, because plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years and the tiniest particle lodged in a lung will give you cancer.

Last Tuesday marked 74 years since the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. We’re all so much wiser now. Aren’t we? Nah.

In Ukraine, tourists are reportedly flocking to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the focus of a recent TV drama dealing with the 1986 explosion that turned the nearby city into a ghost town.

The Ukrainian Government has announced it’s transforming the 30km exclusion zone around the still-melting reactor No.4 into a “tourist magnet”, improving mobile phone reception, lifting video bans, and creating walking trails and waterways.

The disaster quickly claimed the lives of 31 workers from direct radiation, while an estimated 5000 people developed thyroid cancer.

Now tourists are posting Chernobyl selfies on Instagram, including a young lady semi-naked in a white contamination suit. It’s all good clean atomic cataclysmic fun.

Nuke tourism? Been there, done that. Give me a small earthquake any day.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, personal stories | Leave a comment

Letter to Minister Wyatt in support of Barngarla letter

Dear Minister Wyatt,
I write in support of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation’s letter to you of 10 August, imploring you to support them in their desire to have their democratic rights respected. All the Barngarla people ask is to for their members be given a vote in whether or not a national radioactive waste management facility is established on their traditional lands around Kimba in country SA.
The Barngala people do not live in the KImba area because of racism, and it is not fair that Aboriginal people are excluded from having a say in what happens on their Country.
Please speak to Minister Matt Canavan and ask him to include the Barngala people in the Kimba vote.
Thank you.
Yours sincerely
Robyn Wood
Street address

August 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Stunning low costs inspire Alinta to ramp up renewables push, sees early coal exit — RenewEconomy

Alinta ramps up renewables push, says falling costs will force coal to close early and that change in coming rapidly to the grid. The post Stunning low costs inspire Alinta to ramp up renewables push, sees early coal exit appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Stunning low costs inspire Alinta to ramp up renewables push, sees early coal exit — RenewEconomy

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment