Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Small Nuclear Reactors- the dying nuclear industry targets Australian tax-payers- theme for March 20

Desperate to survive, the global nuclear industry tries to sell uneconomic small nuclear reactors (SMRs) to the Australian government. They use media propaganda, buying politicians – whatever works.

Their first step is happening now. They are trying to remove Australia’s carefully planned State and Federal laws that prohibit the nuclear industry.

Cut through the spin:  SMRs are NOT cheap, NOT clean, NOT safe – and no use at all against global heating.

The several Parliamentary Inquiries are probably now hearing a complex collection of spin stories from NuScale  (NuScam) , and some of approximately 150 companies with their various individual designs (all still just on paper) – for SMRs.

For marketing reasons, even NuScam plans not to sell their product as individual reactors, but in a complex , becoming quite a large project. SMR now means Small and Medium reactors.

 

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, technology | 1 Comment

In Victoria the goal of the nuclear lobby is to remove Victoria’s Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act

Nuclear lobby takes aim at Victoria to tackle prohibitions, Michael West Media, by Noel Wauchope | Feb 26, 2020 Having dithered on real action to tackle global warming, some in the Coalition are now taking a keen interest in solving it — by going nuclear. Noel Wauchope investigates what’s behind the sudden push to overturn legislation prohibiting the exploration and mining of thorium and uranium and puts a definitive case against a nuclear industry in Australia.

A batch of Coalition MP’s are pushing nuclear power as Australia’s answer to climate change. The group includes Katie Allen inner-city Melbourne Liberal, Ted O’Brien, Queensland LNP, Trent Zimmerman, North Sydney Liberal, Bridget Archer Tasmanian Liberal, David Gillespie Nationals NSW, Rick Wilson West Australian Liberal, and Keith Pitt, LNP from North Queensland, who was this week promoted to cabinet as Resources Minister. Former deputy prime minister and Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce, is also a staunch proponent of nuclear power.

Arguing that nuclear power is the answer to bushfires and a heating climate when these are conversely nuclear’s greatest threat is akin to an argument by the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. The US National Academies Press compiled a lengthy and comprehensive report on risks of transporting nuclear wastes. They concluded that among various risks, the most serious and significant is fire. And indeed, climate change, in general, carries serious threats to nuclear reactors and the entire nuclear fuel chain.

But any port in a storm when you’re trying to sell a product that is expensive, unpopular, illegal in Australia and has the problem of long-lasting toxic wastes.

The Australian public’s renewed enthusiasm for action on climate change was timely. The nuclear lobby had, coincidentally already geared itself up for a campaign to overturn Australia’s State and Federal nuclear prohibition laws. The current Victorian inquiry is the latest in a spate of Parliamentary Inquiries aimed at removing these laws. Submissions are due by this Friday, 28 February.

The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference (TOR) are narrow:……..

It is clear the goal is to remove Victoria’s Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983. The very first TOR makes the mining of uranium and thorium as the prime concern. Given Victoria could run a nuclear power station with uranium/thorium sourced from elsewhere, it is clear that, after years of pressure by thorium lobbyists, the underlying goal of this inquiry is to overturn the legislation prohibiting the exploration and mining of thorium and uranium in Victoria.

The Victorian legislation was brought in to protect this State’s precious agricultural land and iconic ocean coast from polluting mining industries. South Gippsland is particularly rich in thorium.

Nuclear lobby tries to water down Victorian prohibition

The Terms of Reference are overtly biased: with no qualification, they promote the nuclear industry as undoubtedly beneficial to Victoria. This is ludicrous, as the global nuclear industry is in a state of decline.

Meanwhile, the renewable energy technologies of wind, solar and storage are now recognised by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator as, by far, the cheapest form of low carbon options for Australia, and are likely to dominate the global energy mix in coming  decades

This first Term of Reference assumes that the “exploration and production” will result in nuclear power plants for Victoria, otherwise why do it?  It also assumes that nuclear power will be effective in lowering C02 emissions.

However, there is no point in this “exploration and production” as it has been repeatedly demonstrated that nuclear power is no solution to climate change as in Dr. Paul Dorfman et al’s response to James Hansen on 20 December 2019 in the Financial Times.…….

The Terms of Reference are overtly biased: with no qualification, they promote the nuclear industry as undoubtedly beneficial to Victoria. This is ludicrous, as the global nuclear industry is in a state of decline.

Meanwhile, the renewable energy technologies of wind, solar and storage are now recognised by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator as, by far, the cheapest form of low carbon options for Australia, and are likely to dominate the global energy mix in coming  decades

This first Term of Reference assumes that the “exploration and production” will result in nuclear power plants for Victoria, otherwise why do it?  It also assumes that nuclear power will be effective in lowering C02 emissions.

However, there is no point in this “exploration and production” as it has been repeatedly demonstrated that nuclear power is no solution to climate change as in Dr. Paul Dorfman et al’s response to James Hansen on 20 December 2019 in the Financial Times.……… .https://www.michaelwest.com.au/nuclear-lobby-takes-aim-at-victoria-to-tackle-prohibitions/

February 27, 2020 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Legislation banning nuclear power in Australia should be retained

Jim Green, Online Opinion, 27 Feb 2020https://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=20758&page=0  

Nuclear power in Australia is prohibited under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. A review of the EPBC Act is underway and there is a strong push from the nuclear industry to remove the bans. However, federal and state laws banning nuclear power have served Australia well and should be retained.

Too cheap to meter or too expensive to matter? Laws banning nuclear power has saved Australia from the huge costs associated with failed and failing reactor projects in Europe and North America, such as the Westinghouse project in South Carolina that was abandoned after the expenditure of at least A$13.4 billion. The Westinghouse / South Carolina fiasco could so easily have been replicated in any of Australia’s states or territories if not for the legal bans.

There are many other examples of shocking nuclear costs and cost overruns, including:

* The cost of the two reactors under construction in the US state of Georgia has doubled and now stands at A$20.4‒22.6 billion per reactor.

* The cost of the only reactor under construction in France has nearly quadrupled and now stands at A$20.0 billion. It is 10 years behind schedule.

* The cost of the only reactor under construction in Finland has nearly quadrupled and now stands at A$17.7 billion. It is 10 years behind schedule.

* The cost of the four reactors under construction in the United Arab Emirates has increased from A$7.5 billion per reactor to A$10‒12 billion per reactor.

* In the UK, the estimated cost of the only two reactors under construction is A$25.9 billion per reactor. A decade ago, the estimated cost was almost seven times lower. The UK National Audit Office estimates that taxpayer subsidies for the project will amount to A$58 billion, despite earlier government promises that no taxpayer subsidies would be made available.

Nuclear power has clearly priced itself out of the market and will certainly decline over the coming decades. Indeed the nuclear industry is in crisis ‒ as industry insiders and lobbyists freely acknowledge. Westinghouse ‒ the most experienced reactor builder in the world ‒ filed for bankruptcy in 2017 as a result of catastrophic cost overruns on reactor projects. A growing number of countries are phasing out nuclear power, including Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Taiwan and South Korea.

Rising power bills: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because nuclear power could not possibly pass any reasonable economic test. Nuclear power clearly fails the two economic tests set by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Firstly, nuclear power could not possibly be introduced or maintained without huge taxpayer subsidies. Secondly, nuclear power would undoubtedly result in higher electricity prices.

Nuclear waste streams: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because no solution exists to for the safe, long-term management of streams of low-, intermediate- and high-level nuclear wastes. No country has an operating repository for high-level nuclear waste. The United States has a deep underground repository for long-lived intermediate-level waste ‒ the only operating deep underground repository worldwide ‒ but it was closed from 2014‒17 following a chemical explosion in an underground waste barrel. Safety standards and regulatory oversight fell away sharply within the first decade of operation of the U.S. repository ‒ a sobering reminder of the challenge of safely managing dangerous nuclear wastes for tens of thousands of years.

Too dangerous: The Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters results in the evacuation of over half a million people and economic costs in the hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition to the danger of nuclear reactor meltdowns and fires and chemical explosions, there are other dangers. Doubling nuclear output by the middle of the century would require the construction of 800−900 reactors. These reactors not only become military targets but they would produce over one million tonnes of high-level nuclear waste containing enough plutonium to build over one million nuclear weapons.

Pre-deployed terrorist targets: Nuclear power plants have been described as pre-deployed terrorist targets and pose a major security threat. This in turn would likely see an increase in policing and security operations and costs and a commensurate impact on civil liberties and public access to information. Other nations in our region may view Australian nuclear aspirations with suspicion and concern given that many aspects of the technology and knowledge-base are the same as those required for nuclear weapons.

Former US Vice President Al Gore summarised the proliferation problem: “For eight years in the White House, every weapons-proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a civilian reactor program. And if we ever got to the point where we wanted to use nuclear reactors to back out a lot of coal … then we’d have to put them in so many places we’d run that proliferation risk right off the reasonability scale.”

Too slow: Expanding nuclear power is impractical as a short-term response to climate change. An analysis by Australian economist Prof. John Quiggin concludes that it would be “virtually impossible” to get a nuclear power reactor operating in Australia before 2040. More time would elapse before nuclear power has generated as much as energy as was expended in the construction of the reactor: a University of Sydney report concluded that the energy payback time for nuclear reactors is 6.5‒7 years. Taking into account planning and approvals, construction, and the energy payback time, it would be a quarter of a century or more before nuclear power could even begin to reduce greenhouse emissions in Australia (and then only assuming that nuclear power displaced fossil fuels).

Too thirsty: Nuclear power is extraordinarily thirsty. A single nuclear power reactor consumes 35‒65 million litres of water per day for cooling.

Water consumption of different energy sources (litres / kWh):

* Nuclear 2.5

* Coal 1.9

* Combined Cycle Gas 0.95

* Solar PV 0.11

* Wind 0.004

Climate change and nuclear hazards: Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to threats which are being exacerbated by climate change. These include dwindling and warming water sources, sea-level rise, storm damage, drought, and jelly-fish swarms. Nuclear engineer David Lochbaum states. “I’ve heard many nuclear proponents say that nuclear power is part of the solution to global warming. It needs to be reversed: You need to solve global warming for nuclear plants to survive.”

In January 2019, the Climate Council, comprising Australia’s leading climate scientists and other policy experts, issued a policy statement concluding that nuclear power plants “are not appropriate for Australia – and probably never will be”.

By contrast, the REN21 Renewables 2015: Global Status Report states that renewable energy systems “have unique qualities that make them suitable both for reinforcing the resilience of the wider energy infrastructure and for ensuring the provision of energy services under changing climatic conditions.”

First Nations: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because the pursuit of a nuclear power industry would almost certainly worsen patterns of disempowerment and dispossession that Australia’s First Nations have experienced ‒ and continue to experience ‒ as a result of nuclear and uranium projects.

To give one example (among many), the National Radioactive Waste Management Act dispossesses and disempowers Traditional Owners in many respects: the nomination of a site for a radioactive waste dump is valid even if Aboriginal owners were not consulted and did not give consent; the Act has sections which nullify State or Territory laws that protect archaeological or heritage values, including those which relate to Indigenous traditions; the Act curtails the application of Commonwealth laws including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Native Title Act 1993 in the important site-selection stage; and the Native Title Act 1993 is expressly overridden in relation to land acquisition for a radioactive waste dump.

No social license: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because there is no social license to introduce nuclear power to Australia. Opinion polls find that Australians are overwhelmingly opposed to a nuclear power reactor being built in their local vicinity (10‒28% support, 55‒73% opposition); and opinion polls find that support for renewable energy sources far exceeds support for nuclear power (for example a 2015 IPSOS poll found 72‒87% support for solar and wind power but just 26% support for nuclear power). As the Clean Energy Council noted in its submission to the 2019 federal nuclear inquiry, it would require “a minor miracle” to win community support for nuclear power in Australia.

The pursuit of nuclear power would also require bipartisan political consensus at state and federal levels for several decades. Good luck with that. Currently, there is a bipartisan consensus at the federal level to retain the legal ban. The noisy, ultra-conservative rump of the Coalition is lobbying for nuclear power but their push has been rejected by, amongst others, the federal Liberal Party leadership, the Queensland Liberal-National Party, the SA Liberal government, the Tasmanian Liberal government, the NSW Liberal Premier and environment minister, and even ultra-conservatives such as Nationals Senator Matt Canavan.

The future is renewable, not radioactive: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because the introduction of nuclear power would delay and undermine the development of effective, economic energy and climate policies based on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. A December 2019 report by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator finds that construction costs for nuclear reactors are 2‒8 times higher than costs for wind or solar. Levelised costs for nuclear are 2‒3 times greater per unit of energy produced compared to wind or solar including either 2 hours of battery storage or 6 hours of pumped hydro energy storage.

Australia can do better than fuel higher carbon emissions and unnecessary radioactive risk. We need to embrace the fastest growing global energy sector and become a driver of clean energy thinking and technology and a world leader in renewable energy technology. We can grow the jobs of the future here today. This will provide a just transition for energy sector workers, their families and communities and the certainty to ensure vibrant regional economies and secure sustainable and skilled jobs into the future. Renewable energy is affordable, low risk, clean and popular. Nuclear is not. Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive.

More Information

* Don’t Nuke the Climate Australia, www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org.au

* Climate Council, 2019, ‘Nuclear Power Stations are Not Appropriate for Australia – and Probably Never Will Be’, https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/nuclear-power-stations-are-not-appropriate-for-australia-and-probably-never-will-be/

* WISE Nuclear Monitor, 25 June 2016, ‘Nuclear power: No solution to climate change’, https://www.wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/806/nuclear-power-no-solution-climate-change

Dr. Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, politics, safety, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Planet Is Screwed, Says Bank That Screwed the Planet

February 27, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear power, climate change and water use

Nuclear lobby takes aim at Victoria to tackle prohibitions, Michael West Media, by Noel Wauchope | Feb 26, 2020   “…………Nuclear power is vulnerable to climate change. Increasing temperatures can result in reduced nuclear reactor efficiency by directly impacting nuclear equipment. It is uniquely vulnerable to increasing temperatures because of its reliance on cooling water to ensure operational safety within the core and spent fuel storage. As the most water-intensive energy generation technology, nuclear reactors are located near a river or the ocean to accommodate hefty water usage, which averages between 1,101 gallons per megawatt of electricity produced to 44,350 gal/MWh depending on the cooling technology.

Inland reactors that use rivers as a source for cooling water are the most at risk during heat waves, which according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are “very likely” to occur more often and last longer in the coming decades.

In view of Australia’s growing bushfire threats, the introduction of nuclear power technology of any type is questionable. The safety of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor was cause for concern when bushfires occurred in its vicinity. The transport of nuclear wastes would also be threatened by bushfires .

Whilst the operation of nuclear reactors themselves release few greenhouse emissions, nuclear power plants require huge amounts of water to prevent fission products in the core and spent nuclear fuel from overheating. Nuclear is the most water intensive energy source in terms of consumption and withdrawal per unit of energy delivered. Unlike thermal power plants, solar and wind power can help alleviate water stress……https://www.michaelwest.com.au/nuclear-lobby-takes-aim-at-victoria-to-tackle-prohibitions/

February 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | 2 Comments

Barngarla Aboriginal Corporation lobby Senators- to oppose Bill to set up Kimba nuclear waste dump

February 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Facing Extinction: The Hope for Human Survival

At the present time, there are seven billion people on this planet pursuing a vision that is devouring the earth.  Medium.com  Violet Bee, Nov 15, 2019 

In a recent post, William E. Rees laid out the case that humanity is on a direct path toward destruction. He sums it up neatly at the end of his post as follows:

Disastrous climate change and energy shortages are near certainties in this century and global societal collapse a growing possibility that puts billions at risk.

It’s an uncomfortable notion, and enticing to write him off as a zealot, but a truth that many scientists are warning we’re perilously close to passing the point of no return. …….

Accept & Adapt

Rees’ recommended course to resolve these problems is nothing less than remaking of life as we know it. I urge you to read the original post, but I’ve included his full list here, with the addition of my own headings for each (in bold)……….

  1. Accept the End of Growth

    Perpetual, exponential growth has been the basis of our civilization for the past 10,000 years. GDP, population, consumption, everything. We’ve long been sold the myth that our economy and civilization cannot function without growth, but that is a lie built on greed and power.

    Accept a Lower Level of Consumption

    To feed our perpetual growth is the requirement of ever-increasing consumption. We’ve been turned from Humans to Consumers. A new way of life, focused on other than the lure of material wealth, is our only chance.

    Accept Renewable Energy Limitations

    Fossil fuels are an amazing source of power. Their abuse has made modern civilization possible. Renewables have their place in a post-carbon world, but we must remember that renewables are not a panacea. Wind turbines, solar panels, geo-thermal systems and all the others require fossil fuel and rare element inputs for construction and maintenance. Beyond that, we have yet to reach the point of their being distributable and transportable the way we’re used to consuming energy.

    The Work of Acceptance

    If the world is saved, it will be saved by people with changed minds, people with a new vision.

  2. Our work then, is to accept. Not superficially, but deep within us, accept that our entire world must change. The hopes and dreams we’ve had for ourselves and our children must change. The values deeply ingrained in us must change. Our path forward cannot start until we let go of the old system that is dragging us down. Accept, grieve, hope. ……. https://medium.com/radical-hope/facing-extinction-the-hope-for-human-survival-98c44d5b5b7

February 27, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How would nuclear benefit Victoria?

February 27, 2020 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Bridgat McKenzie fires up for nuclear

McKenzie fires up for nuclear THE AUSTRALIAN 26 Feb 20 Former Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie has thrown her support behind nuclear and hydrogen energy….(subscribers only)

 

February 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia could soon export sunshine to Asia via a 3,800km cable

February 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Former UN climate chief receives human rights award from Sydney Peace Foundation — RenewEconomy

Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres awarded the Gold Medal for Human Rights by the Sydney Peace Foundation. The post Former UN climate chief receives human rights award from Sydney Peace Foundation appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Former UN climate chief receives human rights award from Sydney Peace Foundation — RenewEconomy

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 26 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “Scientists Warn Climate Change Is Destroying California Kelp Forests” • Kelp forests off the West Coast are being reduced at an alarming rate by marine heat waves linked to climate change, according to seven top marine scientists. They have written an open letter about the problem and had it published in […]

via February 26 Energy News — geoharvey

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting off coal: Orderly exit or last-minute stampede — John Quiggin

I’m one of 10 000 Australian academics who signed an open letter to Unisuper (our industry superannuation fund) calling for a policy of divestment from carbon-based fuels. The first step in such a policy has to be divestment from thermal coal. Purely on fiduciary grounds, getting out of thermal coal is now a matter of…

via Getting off coal: Orderly exit or last-minute stampede — John Quiggin

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2020 – 100% carbon-offset in partnership with Powershop. — RenewEconomy

For the second time, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras largest events will be 100% carbon-offset in 2020 thanks to their partnership with Australia’s greenest energy retailer, Powershop. The post Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2020 – 100% carbon-offset in partnership with Powershop. appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2020 – 100% carbon-offset in partnership with Powershop. — RenewEconomy

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One cheer for Labor’s 2050 zero net emissions target — John Quiggin

If Labor plans to keep its promise of emission reductions by 2050, serious action must be taken as time is running out, My latest piece for Independent Australia argues that if the 2050 target is taken seriously, Labor must have policies for 2030 similar to those taken to the 2019 election.

via One cheer for Labor’s 2050 zero net emissions target — John Quiggin

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment