Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

NUCLEAR POWER and RADIOACTIVE WASTES – theme for January 2020

The world faces a dangerous and ever more pressing problem – nuclear wastes.

The logical steps to deal with nuclear wastes are:

1. Stop making the stuff.  Close down the commercial and military nuclear reactors that produce plutonium and other long-lived radioactive materials

2. Choose the “least worst” option to dispose of the existing nuclear wastes   – (a) Interim storage of radioactive wastes into above ground containers (b) Deep burial underground permanent repositories.

The nuclear lobby, desperate to stave off the death of its industry, comes up with grand promises of new Generation IV systems, reactors that will reprocess, “recycle” plutonium wastes into Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX)  to fuel for other Gen IV reactors.  At the end, highly toxic radioactive wastes are still produced.

And all this – despite the enormous costs, the very dangerous transport of plutonium, the risks of terrorism, the increased risks of weapons proliferation.

The nuclear lobby’s cries for Very High Temperature Reactors (VHTR)s, Super Critical Water Reactors (SCWR)s,  Molten Salt Reactors (MSR)s, Gas Cooled Fast rectors (GCFR)s, Sodium Cooled Fast Reactors (SCFR)s, Lead Cooled Fast Reactors (LCFR)s –  all desperate and conflicting cries for their own salvation, rather than any solution to wastes, costs, climate change, energy needs.

The worry is that the nuclear lobby might win, by manipulating governments and populations into buying their expensive and dangerous new toys –  because nobody really wants a nuclear waste tomb in their area.

The trouble is – nuclear cemeteries, however unappealing, are still the least worst option.

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

“Ecomodernists” – Ben Heard, Oscar Archer, Barry Brook, Geoff Russell, – Australia’s pro-nuclear fake environmentalists

even in Heard’s scenario, only a tiny fraction of the imported spent fuel would be converted to fuel for imaginary Generation IV reactors (in one of his configurations, 60,000 tonnes would be imported but only 4,000 tonnes converted to fuel). Most of it would be stored indefinitely, or dumped on the land of unwilling Aboriginal communities.
Russell’s description of Aboriginal spiritual beliefs as “mumbo-jumbo” is beyond offensive.
Silence from the ecomodernists about the National Radioactive Waste Management Act (NRWMA), which dispossesses and disempowers Traditional Owners in every way imaginable:
Now, Traditional Owners have to fight industry, government, and the ecomodernists as well.

 

January 24, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Kimba ‘no dump’ rally on Sunday Feb 2

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK planning deep disposal of nuclear wastes

How To Solve Nuclear Energy’s Biggest Problem  https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/How-To-Solve-Nuclear-Energys-Biggest-Problem.html  By Haley Zaremba – Jan 22, 2020, Nuclear waste is a huge issue and it’s not going away any time soon–in fact, it’s not going away for millions of years. While most types of nuclear waste remain radioactive for mere tens of thousands of years, the half-life of Chlorine-36 is 300,000 years and neptunium-237 boasts a half-life of a whopping 2 million years.

All this radioactivity amounts to a huge amount of maintenance to ensure that our radioactive waste is being properly managed throughout its extraordinarily long shelf life and isn’t endangering anyone. And, it almost goes without saying, all this maintenance comes at a cost. In the United States, nuclear waste carries a particularly hefty cost.

Last year, in a hard-hitting expose on the nuclear industry’s toll on U.S. taxpayers, the Los Angeles Times reported that “almost 40 years after Congress decided the United States, and not private companies, would be responsible for storing radioactive waste, the cost of that effort has grown to $7.5 billion, and it’s about to get even pricier.” 

How much pricier? A lot. “With no place of its own to keep the waste, the government now says it expects to pay $35.5 billion to private companies as more and more nuclear plants shut down, unable to compete with cheaper natural gas and renewable energy sources. Storing spent fuel at an operating plant with staff and technology on hand can cost $300,000 a year. The price for a closed facility: more than $8 million, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.” 

With the United States as a poster child of what not to do with your nuclear waste, the United Kingdom is taking a much different tack. The UK is currently undertaking what the country’s Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) department says “will be one of the UK’s largest ever environmental projects.” This nuclear waste storage solution comes in the form of a geological disposal facility (GDF), a waste disposal method that involves burying nuclear waste deep, deep underground in a cocoon of backfill, most commonly comprised of bentonite-based cement. This type of cement is able to absorb shocks and is ideal for containing radioactive particles in case of any failure. The GDF system would also be at such a depth that it would be under the water table, minimizing any risk of contaminating the groundwater.

According to reporting from Engineering & Technology, nuclear waste is a mounting issue in Europe and in the UK in particular. “Under European law, all countries that create radioactive waste are obliged to find their own disposal solutions – shipping nuclear waste is not generally permitted except in some legacy agreements. However, when the first countries charged into nuclear energy generation (or nuclear weapons research), disposal of the radioactive waste was not a major consideration. For several of those countries, like the UK, that is now around 70 years ago, and the waste has been ‘stored’ rather than disposed of. It remains a problem.”

In fact, not only does it remain a problem, it is a mounting problem. As nuclear waste has been improperly or shortsightedly managed in the past, the current administration can no longer avoid dealing with the issue. In the past the UK used its Drigg Low-Level Waste Repository on the Cumbrian Coast to treat low and intermediate level waste, but now, thanks to coastal erosion, the facility will soon begin leeching radioactive materials into the sea, although that might not be quite as scary as it sounds.

Back in 2014, the Environment Agency raised concerns that coastal erosion could result in leakage from the site within 100 to 1,000 years, although it was counter-claimed that the levels of radioactivity after such a time would be low enough to be harmless,” Engineering & Technology writes. “This would definitely not be the case for high-level wastes, where radioactivity could remain a hazard into and beyond the next ice age, hence the need for longer-term disposal.” 

Where exactly will that longer-term disposal be based? That’s up for debate. And it won’t be an easy thing to decide, as the RWM says that they will need a community to volunteer to be involved in such a costly, lengthy, and potentially unpopular project. And it’s not just an issue for the current inhabitants of potential locations in the UK, but for many generations to come over the next tens of thousands of years of radioactivity

January 24, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate and the Coalition’s new denialism

Nick Feik, In recent months the federal government’s position on climate change has shifted. Not in policy terms: the change has been restricted to its rhetoric. It has a new strategy to avoid responsibility. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has become adept at evading questions on climate change and its links to bushfires and judging by his satisfied expression as he fronted up for ABC’s 7.30 recently, he remains confident he has a form of words that, like armour, journalists will be unable to penetrate…. (subscribers only – or buy the print version)  https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2020/01/25/climate-and-the-coalitions-new-denialism/15798708009296

January 24, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

‘Money talks’: Outrage at billionaire climate sceptic’s political donations

‘Money talks’: outrage at billionaire climate sceptic’s political donations

Justine Landis-Hanley and Kishor Napier-Raman

Andrew Wilkie, Adam Bandt and Stirling Griff condemn Australia’s donations system which can effectively block action on climate change…. (subscribers only) https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/01/24/michael-hintze-donations-outrage/

January 24, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Greta Thunberg says climate demands ‘completely ignored’ at Davos

January 24, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Olympic events close to radioactive sites: Fukushima’s nuclear wastes’anxiety hangs over Olympics

In an Olympic year, Japan faces decision over contaminated Fukushima water Aaron Sheldrick  OKUMA, Japan (Reuters)24 Jan 2020, – At the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo, workers in protective suits are still removing radioactive material from reactors that melted down after an earthquake and tsunami knocked out its power and cooling nearly nine years ago.

On an exclusive tour of the plant, spread over 3.5 million square meters (865 acres), Reuters witnessed giant remote-controlled cranes dismantling an exhaust tower and other structures in a highly radioactive zone while spent fuel was removed from a reactor.

Officials from Tokyo Electric, which owns the plant, also showed new tanks to hold increasing amounts of contaminated water.

About 4,000 workers are tackling the cleanup, many wearing protective gear, although more than 90% of the plant is deemed to have so little radioactivity that no extra precautions are needed. Photography was highly restricted and no conversations were allowed with the workers.

Work to dismantle the plant has taken nearly a decade so far, but with Tokyo due to host the Olympics this summer – including some events less than 60 km (38 miles) from the power station – there has been renewed focus on safeguarding the venues…….

The buildup of contaminated water has been a sticking point in the cleanup, which is likely to last decades, and has alarmed neighboring countries. In 2018, Tepco said it had not been able to remove all dangerous material from the water – and the site is running out of room for storage tanks.

Officials overseeing a panel of experts looking into the contaminated water issue said in December choices on disposal should be narrowed to two: either dilute the water and dump it in the Pacific Ocean, or allow it to evaporate. The Japanese government may decide within months, and either process would take years to complete, experts say……..

Athletes from at least one country, South Korea, are planning to bring their own radiation detectors and food this summer.

Baseball and softball will be played in Fukushima City, about 60 km (38 miles) from the destroyed nuclear plant. The torch relay will begin at a sports facility called J-Village, an operations base for Fukushima Daiichi in the first few years of the disaster, then pass through areas near the damaged station on its way to Tokyo.

In December, Greenpeace said it found radiation “hotspots” at J-Village, about 18km south of the plant.

When Tokyo won the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared that Fukushima was “under control” in his final pitch to the International Olympic Committee.

In 2016, the Japanese government estimated that the total cost of plant dismantlement, decontamination of affected areas, and compensation would be 21.5 trillion yen ($195 billion) – roughly a fifth of the country’s annual budget at the time.

(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick: Editing by Gerry Doyle) https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1ZK0CV?__twitter_impression=true

January 24, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear-Free Earth – “Critical Need” : Karl Grossman —

A message from Professor Karl Grossman… “I’m speaking on the critical need for a nuclear-free Earth – no nuclear weapons, no nuclear power – on Libbe HaLevy’s Nuclear Hotseat this week. “I cite as a precedent for the practicality of the nuclear genie being put back in the bottle how chemical weapons were outlawed internationally […]

via Nuclear-Free Earth – “Critical Need” : Karl Grossman —

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bushfire crisis: The answer to future energy security lies on our rooftops — RenewEconomy

Australia’s bushfire crisis underscores urgent need to decentralise Australia’s electricity grid. Building up networks of solar batteries is the quickest, easiest, cheapest answer. The post Bushfire crisis: The answer to future energy security lies on our rooftops appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Bushfire crisis: The answer to future energy security lies on our rooftops — RenewEconomy

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 24 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “What The Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) Means For Clean Energy In PJM” • PJM, which coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and DC, submitted proposed MOPR values in its last filing as required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They will support fossil fuels and […]

via January 24 Energy News — geoharvey

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia singled out for climate denial as “Doomsday Clock” ticks closer to midnight — RenewEconomy

“Doomsday Clock” moved to 100 seconds to midnight as Morrison government is slammed for “mendacious” climate denial. The post Australia singled out for climate denial as “Doomsday Clock” ticks closer to midnight appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australia singled out for climate denial as “Doomsday Clock” ticks closer to midnight — RenewEconomy

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s new Liberal premier appoints himself as climate minister — RenewEconomy

New Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein appoints himself minister for climate change, marking the first time the state’s Liberal Party has created a separate portfolio for climate. The post Tasmania’s new Liberal premier appoints himself as climate minister appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Tasmania’s new Liberal premier appoints himself as climate minister — RenewEconomy

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian bushfires drive up global emissions as economic costs mount — RenewEconomy

Australian bushfires to drive global greenhouse gas concentrations to new records, as more than half of Australians report experiencing bushfire impacts. The post Australian bushfires drive up global emissions as economic costs mount appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australian bushfires drive up global emissions as economic costs mount — RenewEconomy

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia on track to 100 pct renewables, as regulator comes to party — RenewEconomy

Regulator approval for new transmission line boosts South Australia’s push towards 100 per cent renewables, and unlocks up to 5,000MW of wind and solar. The post South Australia on track to 100 pct renewables, as regulator comes to party appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via South Australia on track to 100 pct renewables, as regulator comes to party — RenewEconomy

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment