Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Dr Jim Green addresses Australia’s Federal Nuclear Inquiry

Dr Green: Thanks for the invitation to speak. Mr O’Brien, I would respectfully ask you to revisit and reconsider your express view that small modular reactors and other new technologies are leading to ‘cleaner, safer and more efficient energy production’. That argument would be compelling if there were fleets or networks of these SMRs operating anywhere in the world and operating successfully, but as you know, and as Dr Switkowski mentioned in his testimony, there are no such networks anywhere in the world, so we have no idea if or how a network of SMRs might operate in Australia. Further, there isn’t even one single SMR operating anywhere in the world. There isn’t even one prototype SMR operating anywhere in the world. So operating SMRs, of which there are precisely none, clearly provide no basis for arguing that new technologies are leading to cleaner, safer and more efficient energy production.

The next level of evidence that we would logically turn to would be SMRs under construction. And if we ignore the icebreakers, and the floating nuclear power plant under construction by the Chinese and Russian governments, then we’re left with just two SMRs under construction. One is the disaster in Argentina, which has been several decades in gestation. The latest cost estimate for that is $32.4 billion per gigawatt, so wildly uncompetitive. The second one is China’s high-temperature SMR. There’s not a great deal that we know about that reactor, but we do know that plans for 18 further high-temperature SMRs at the same site have been dropped—to use the language from the World Nuclear Association. There have clearly been cost overruns. There have clearly been delays. It’s not terribly promising.

Given the absence of any operating SMRs and the unpromising nature of the two under construction, or the two relevant ones under construction, the argument that SMRs are leading to cleaner, safer and more efficient energy production could only possibly be justified with reference to paper designs until the unproven claim is promoted by the nuclear industry. It ought to be obvious, and I’m sure it is obvious, to everyone here that paper designs and corporate claims are no basis for public policy, especially given the history of the past decade.
The current cost estimates for EPR reactors in the UK are seven times greater than the estimates going back to the mid 2000s—not seven per cent greater or even 70 per cent greater but 700 per cent greater. It’s even worse in the United States where the current cost estimates for AP1000 reactors are 10 times greater than the numbers being floated by Westinghouse in 2006, a 1,000 per cent increase. So we need to be incredibly sceptical with corporate cost claims. I think a good starting point for those claims is to add a zero onto the end and it’s a good chance that your estimate would be better than the company estimates.

NuScale is said to be the next big thing in the SMR world, if only because most of its competitors have collapsed. It’s notable that the South Australian royal commission’s estimate of NuScale costs is 2.4 times higher than NuScale’s own estimate. That’s highly significant because if NuScale can deliver power at its projected costs it will certainly be competitive. But if the royal commission’s figures are correct, as I believe they will be and quite possibly understanding the real costs, then it’s not going to be competitive. The royal commission’s figure was $225 per megawatt hour……….

The private sector is not prepared to bet billions of dollars on SMRs, not even to get a prototype up and running. This is what we see in the US, the UK, Canada and elsewhere. It will not build a single prototype in the absence of very large amounts of taxpayer subsidies, amounting at a bare minimum to hundreds of millions of dollars and almost certainly into the billions of dollars. To date governments are resisting. The British government has invested tens of millions of pounds in grants, but that would need to be increased by one to two orders of magnitude if a single prototype is to be built, let alone a fleet of SMRs. In the US, government largesse has amounted to roughly half a billion dollars. Once again, it’s not even close to getting a single prototype off the ground. The debate in Canada is at an earlier stage, and they haven’t come up with any serious ideas about how they’re going to get a single prototype SMR funded, let alone a fleet of SMRs.

The only thing that would actually change in Australia if the ban against nuclear power were repealed is that nuclear companies would descend on Canberra to try to gouge as much taxpayer money as they could possibly get from the federal government.  That would be the one practical change. Dr Switkowski told the committee that, because of Australia’s prohibition against nuclear power, the US company TerraPower can’t collaborate with an Australian company. But if an Australian company were rich or brave or crazy enough to invest in TerraPower, they’d be most welcome. TerraPower, like all of these other companies, has no intention of building even a single prototype in the absence of huge taxpayer subsidies. So, once again, if Australia’s legal prohibition against nuclear power were repealed, the only change would be that TerraPower company representatives would be lined up outside ministerial offices trying to stitch together a package of direct and indirect taxpayer subsidies.

There are dozens of start-ups involved in the SMR sector and the advanced reactor sector. There are said to be well over 50 in the United States alone. But if all of those companies pooled all of their money into one single pot it’s highly doubtful they would have enough money to build one single prototype—hence the attempts to get billions of dollars of taxpayer money. The executive summary from our joint NGO submission includes a very long and growing list of failed SMR and advanced reactor projects, and there have been further failures in the short time since this committee was initiated.
Finally, Mr O’Brien, in light of the findings of the South Australian royal commission, I would ask you to reconsider your expressed view that SMRs are leading to cleaner, safer and more efficient energy production. The royal commission investigated these issues in detail. It commissioned expert research, and the royal commission concluded:

… fast reactors or reactors with other innovative designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in South Australia in the foreseeable future. No licensed and commercially proven design is currently operating. Development to that point would require substantial capital investment. Moreover, the electricity generated has not been demonstrated to be cost-competitive with current light water reactor designs……

October 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Julian Assange and Wikileaks have exposed nuclear scandals

What we know about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry thanks to WikiLeaks

“The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Why I support the nomination of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.” Open Democracy, Felicity Ruby, 7 October 2019  The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been nominated for the prize again this year, as they have since 2010. As the first staffer of the campaign that won the Peace Prize in 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), I support this nomination for a number of reasons.

The vast majority of governments on this planet want nuclear disarmament negotiations to occur and produce results. ICAN has been mobilising this willingness to push for a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons. From the outset, the campaign deployed accurate information to mobilise public opinion and reeducate a new generation. In facing the truth about nuclear dangers, answers became available and courageous action was taken. Facing the truth about climate change similarly involves the public having accurate information and courageously acting on it.
WikiLeaks and Assange have made a great deal of information available about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry. A search on the WikiLeaks site for the word ‘nuclear’ brings up 284, 493 results. These documents traverse the nuclear fuel cycle – from uranium mining to nuclear waste – with many thousands exposing nuclear energy industry giants, and nuclear weapon threat assessments, numbers, doctrines and negotiations.
Ten examples

Below are just ten examples of where WikiLeaks exposed wrongdoing on the part of governments and corporations that meant citizens could take action to protect themselves from harm, or governments were held to account:

– Chalk River nuclear reactor shut down – released 11 January 2008 – Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on Chalk River reactor

After the Chalk River nuclear reactor was shut down for routine maintenance on 18 November 2007, inspectors verified the reactor’s cooling systems had not been modified as required by an August 2006 licensing review. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) did not start the reactor but said upgrades could be done as part of maintenance while still operating safely. This impasse lasted a month, with the government intervening to grant an exemption to the reactor to allow its restart. The responsible Minister for Natural Resources, Gary Lunn MP, fired Linda Keen, the President of the Nuclear Safety Commission. Their exchange of letters revealed much about the safety standards and routine practices of the Canadian nuclear regulatory system, and particular problems with the ageing Chalk River reactor previously unknown to the public.

– Footage of the 1995 disaster at the Japanese Monju nuclear reactor – released 25 January 2008
Following the 2008 announcement that the Japanese Monju fast breeder nuclear reactor would be reopened, activists leaked the suppressed video footage of the sodium spill disaster that led to its closure in 1995. Named after the Buddhist divinity of wisdom, Monju, located in Japan’s Fukui prefecture, is Japan’s only fast-breeder reactor. Unlike conventional reactors, fast-breeder reactors, which “breed” plutonium, use sodium rather than water as a coolant. This type of coolant creates a potentially hazardous situation as sodium is highly corrosive and reacts violently with both water and air. On December 8, 1995, 700 kg of molten sodium leaked from the secondary cooling circuit of the Monju reactor, resulting in a fire that did not result in a radiation leak, but the potential for catastrophe was played down the extent of damage at the reactor and denied the existence of a videotape showing the sodium spill. Further complicating the story, the deputy general manager of the general affairs department at the PNC, Shigeo Nishimura, 49, jumped to his death the day after a news conference where he and other officials revealed the extent of the cover-up.

– Serious nuclear accident lay behind Iranian nuke chief’s mystery resignation – released 16 July 2009 WikiLeaks revealed that a source associated with Iran’s nuclear program confidentially told the organisation of a serious, recent, nuclear accident at Natanz. Natanz is the primary location of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and the site targeted with the Stuxnet worm that contained 4 zero days and was designed to slow down and speed up centrifuges enriching uranium. WikiLeaks had reason to believe the source was credible, however contact with this source was lost. …………..

WikiLeaks and Assange have brought forward many truths that are hard to face, publishing well over 10 million documents since 2006. Often forgotten is that each one was provided by a whistleblower who trusted this platform to publish, and who sought reform of how political, corporate and media power elites operate. Each release has shared genuine official information about how governments, companies, banks, the UN, political parties, jailers, cults, private security firms, war planners and the media actually operate when they think no one is looking.

Assange is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of these many releases of information, used as evidence in court cases, freeing prisoners and exposing scandals, torture, murder and surveillance for which redress is only possible when the wrongdoing is dragged into the light. For publishing this true information, Assange, an Australian based in the UK at the time of publication, is on the health ward of Belmarsh Prison, facing extradition and charges attracting 175 years in a US jail, an effective death sentence….. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/what-we-know-about-nuclear-weapons-and-nuclear-industry-thanks-wikileaks/

October 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Federal nuclear waste dump plan- it’s really High Level wastes!

Regina McKenzie‎ to Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA

Thing about this waste dump is, it is not “low” level At all but a Intermediate nuclear waste dump
Intermediate-level waste (ILW) contains higher amounts of radioactivity compared to low-level waste. It generally requires shielding, but not cooling. Intermediate-level wastes includes resins, chemical sludge and metal nuclear fuel cladding, as well as contaminated materials from reactor decommissioning
By standards in Europe, this is classified high , they say it’s only gloves and other stuff, but don’t go into detail about the the intermediate material, what are they really trying to do? Is this the High Level Nuclear Dump by the back door?
Come on South Australia wake up and smell what Canberra is cooking, they want us to be the dump state  https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/

October 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Climate protest in Perth: arrests in Sydney, Brisbane – Melbourne?

October 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Arrests in the global climate rebellion

Global climate ‘rebellion’ sees mass arrests and blocked roads,  https://www.sbs.com.au/news/global-climate-rebellion-sees-mass-arrests-and-blocked-roads   7 Oct 19, The global environmental movement aims to save the Earth from “extinction”.   Climate protesters from Sydney to New York blocked roads Monday, sparking mass arrests, as they started two weeks of civil disobedience demanding immediate action to save the Earth from “extinction.”The demonstrations, triggered by the group Extinction Rebellion, were mostly limited to a few hundred people in each city, far from the size of last month’s massive Greta Thunberg-inspired demonstrations.

Protesters chained themselves to vehicles and other structures and lay down in the middle of streets in defiance of police across Europe and parts of Asia, Africa and North America.

Protesters chained themselves to vehicles and other structures and lay down in the middle of streets in defiance of police across Europe and parts of Asia, Africa and North America.

Police had made 217 arrests by 17:15 pm (1615 GMT).

“Getting arrested sends a message to the government that otherwise law-abiding citizens are desperate,” IT consultant Oshik Romem, from Israel but working in Britain for 19 years, told AFP while sitting on a road outside parliament.

‘Running out of time’

Hundreds of Australians joined a sit-in on a busy inner Sydney road before being dragged away by the police. Thirty people were later charged.

“We have tried petitions, lobbying and marches, and now time is running out,” Australian activist Jane Morton said.

Australia’s conservative government has resisted adopting new environmental standards and backed lucrative coal exports.

Protests occurred in 60 cities around the world, including New Delhi, Cape Town, Paris, Vienna, Madrid and Toronto.

At New York’s Battery Park, some 200 demonstrators took part in a “funeral march” to Wall Street, where protesters threw fake blood over the financial district’s famous bronze statue of a bull.

“We need imagery like this in order to get people’s attention,” 29-year-old James Comiskey told AFP, as he carried a cardboard coffin in the procession.

‘Burn capitalism!’

The movement is partially credited with pushing the UK government in June to become the first in the Europe Union to commit itself to a net-zero target for harmful emissions by 2050.

Extinction Rebellion is demanding governments reach that target by 2025, as well as holding “citizens assemblies” to decide on policies to achieve that aim.

The parliament in Norway, not an EU member, in June adopted a target of 2030.

There has been less movement in other parts of Europe or the most impacted cities of Asia.

And not everyone out on the streets was impressed with the campaign.

“They’re taking it out on everyday people trying to go about their business. They should go after big people,” London taxi driver Dave Chandler told AFP.

Extinction Rebellion counters that emergencies like the one heating up the climate demands action from everyone across the world.

Hundreds barricaded themselves inside a Paris shopping center for hours over the weekend.  Groups unfurled banners with slogans such as “Burn capitalism, not petrol” above Paris restaurants and fashion boutiques.

And hundreds brought blankets and sleeping bags to one of the main roundabouts in central Berlin which police expect to be shut down for many days.

Extinction Rebellion’s tactics in Australia prompted senior conservative politicians to call for protesters’ welfare payments to be cut.

Sydney assistant police commissioner Mick Willing accused protesters of putting themselves and others at risk, warning that such disruptive protests in the future would “not be tolerated”.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

UN officials call nuclear power “Irrelevant” to climate action

October 8, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Flogging the life out of coal plants is not the answer to Australia’s energy woes — RenewEconomy

Federal government’s strategy of “picking winners” – Snowy 2.0 and its underwriting program – has failed, and flogging the life out of coal plants is not the answer. The post Flogging the life out of coal plants is not the answer to Australia’s energy woes appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Flogging the life out of coal plants is not the answer to Australia’s energy woes — RenewEconomy

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia could aim for 700 per cent renewables, ARENA boss — RenewEconomy

ARENA boss Darren Miller says Australia has an opportunity to build 700GW of wind and solar for the global renewable hydrogen market, and be guaranteed cheap green power as a result. The post Australia could aim for 700 per cent renewables, ARENA boss appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australia could aim for 700 per cent renewables, ARENA boss — RenewEconomy

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian solar thermal company wins global innovation award — RenewEconomy

Australian firm Vast Solar takes out SolarPACES technology innovation award for concentrating solar thermal and energy storage technologies. The post Australian solar thermal company wins global innovation award appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australian solar thermal company wins global innovation award — RenewEconomy

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Massive 5,000MW solar and wind projects set to fuel WA’s hydrogen expansion — RenewEconomy

Siemens-backed project targets up to 5,000MW of large scale wind and solar near Kalbarri to fuel hydrogen production for export market. The post Massive 5,000MW solar and wind projects set to fuel WA’s hydrogen expansion appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Massive 5,000MW solar and wind projects set to fuel WA’s hydrogen expansion — RenewEconomy

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japanese citizens nationwide opposed to Pacific Ocean discharge of Fukushima radioactive water support storage and processing – new opinion poll — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

October 1, 2019, Tokyo… Nearly four times as many Japanese citizens oppose the discharge of highly contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean than support it, according to a Greenpeace commissioned poll .(1) The polling of 3000 citizens in Fukushima and Niigata prefecture, as well as wider Japan, showed […]

via Japanese citizens nationwide opposed to Pacific Ocean discharge of Fukushima radioactive water support storage and processing – new opinion poll — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Prosecutors appeal TEPCO acquittal in Fukushima case — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

September 30, 2019 TOKYO (AP) — Prosecutors in the only criminal trial involving the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown appealed Monday against the acquittal of three former Tokyo Electric Power Co. executives. The Tokyo District Court on Sept. 19 found ex-TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and two others not guilty of professional negligence in the disaster […]

via Prosecutors appeal TEPCO acquittal in Fukushima case — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Group launches petition to appeal acquittal of ex-TEPCO execs over Fukushima disaster — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

People sign a petition to urge lawyers to file an appeal against the Sept. 19 ruling that acquitted three former Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Holdings Inc. executives of professional negligence causing death or injury over the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, at Koriyama Station in Fukushima Prefecture on Sept. 29, 2019. September 30, 2019 […]

via Group launches petition to appeal acquittal of ex-TEPCO execs over Fukushima disaster — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Popular Resistance: the UN, Syria, Venezuela, Assange and Russia, NATO, Cuba, and more — Rise Up Times

Pertinent articles from the Popular Resistance Daily Digest

via Popular Resistance: the UN, Syria, Venezuela, Assange and Russia, NATO, Cuba, and more — Rise Up Times

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment