Australian news, and some related international items

Australia – lucky to be Nuclear- Free, in the time of Pandemic – theme for April 2020

Australia really is “The Lucky Country” when it comes to nuclear issues, in this pandemic situation. . We don’t have to worry about staffing and securing dangerous nuclear reactors, nuclear waste facilities, nuclear submarines, nuclear weapons.

We do have one unnecessary nuclear research reactor –   the industry’s “foot in the door”, and its high level wastes. The government may well be quietly proceeding with imposing a nuclear waste dump on Kimba, South Australia, – while everybody is distracted by the Covid19 .

The nuclear lobby is lobbying hard in the Australian Parliament and in the States, to overturn Australia’s very wise nuclear bans. This lobby is working for oversees supporters, “small nuclear power (SMRs)” companies like NuScam.  In the present time of pandemic, Australians, especially politicians, should think about this –  the exorbitant tax-payer cost of SMRs, along with the same dangers as in the large reactors. And with the advantages of renewable energy, especially home rooftop solar.


March 28, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

With the pandemic, and the bushfires, we now must strengthen the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC)

in the immediate term we need to advocate for vital improvements to the EPBC. It is extraordinary that the Howard legacy of deliberately excluding a project’s climate impacts from the triggers to require assessment still hasn’t been remedied. That must now be fixed, as must the fact that there is no mechanism for assessing the cumulative ecological impacts of various proposals. After this summer’s destruction of huge areas of remaining healthy ecosystems, we need to institute, in both legislation and the practice of assessment, a presumption of protection instead of a culture of managed destruction.

March 28, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Webinar: Yeelirrie – A Case for Environmental Law Reform 

Nuclear Free WA In an effort to bring our community together, we are hosting a webinar: Yeelirrie – A Case for Environmental Law Reform

The focus of this webinar will review the Yeelirrie uranium mine assessment process as a case study on the urgent need for improved environmental laws that prevent political influence in decision making and improves the agility in the Commonwealth environment department to identify and classify threatened and endangered species.

We are only weeks away from the deadline to make a submission to the EPBC Act review. The outcome will set the pace of environmental protection over the next decade. It is critically important for you to have your say on the urgent need for improved environmental laws.  We have a stellar line up of speakers who will give some important insights to help with your submission.  More information here.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen will outline the state assessment process and decision for Cameco’s Yeelirrie uranium mine proposal in the Northern Goldfields of WA.

Environmental Defenders Office, Ruby Hamilton will give an outline of the Yeelirrie court challenge.

Australian Conservation Foundation, Environmental Investigator, Annica Schoo will give an update on her FOI findings from the Federal environmental approval of the Yeelirrie uranium mine just days before the election was called.

Mia Pepper, Mineral Policy Institute will identify problems with the current assessment process in the context of the current review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Submissions to the EPBC Act review close on 16th of April and we hope this will give you important insights to help with your submission.

Date: Thursday 2 April  5:00 pm (awst) | NSW/VIC/ACT: 8 pm | NT: 6.30 pm | QLD: 7 pm | SA 7.30 pm 

March 28, 2020 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), the great white hope of OLO’s nuclear enthusiasts, fail public liability and cost of security criteria.

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), the great white hope of OLO’s nuclear enthusiasts, fail public liability and cost of security criteria.


“Transport issues arising from the modular construction model are too often glossed over. Dr David Lowry notes that the UK’s so-called Expert Finance Working Group on Small Nuclear Reactors (EFWG)36

“makes no attempt to provide an analysis of how to provide market based insurance for SMRs, against accidents and terrorist attack on modules in transit to site and in situ; nor how to privately fund SMR radioactive waste management: yet these are real risks for nuclear power, SMRs included.

For example, the EFWG (p.11) talks of “road transportable modules which are easily installed on site” but makes no calculation of the exposure to disruption or indeed destruction of such an SMR module being transported on public roads from fabrication facility to operating site, possible hundreds of miles distant.”

Furthermore internal estimates indicate the size of the security protection unit (around 60 men and 10 attack dogs) for an SMR would be as expensive as that required for a large reactor.

Also the razor wire protected exclusion zones for SMRs would need to be as large as those for large reactors. Note population and siting concerns

Posted by plantagenet, Thursday, 26 March 2020

March 28, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

COVID-19 impacts nuclear industry worldwide

COVID-19 impacts nuclear industry worldwide, Nuclear Engineering International, 26 March 2020

United States

In the USA, Maria Korsnick, president of the Nuclear Energy Institute told the New York Times that some operating reactors are “considering measures to isolate a core group to run the plant, stockpiling ready-to-eat meals and disposable tableware, laundry supplies and personal care items.”……

DHS Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), has identified 14 employment categories as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers, which include energy sector employees.

According to US media, electric power utilities are planning to set up housekeeping for cadres of healthy workers at the plants to keep them operating.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said on 23 March that it expected to issue guidelines for operators to request permission for employees to work longer than allowed under current regulations…….

The NRC had hosted a phone meeting with the nuclear industry on 20 March to discuss regulatory impacts due to COVID-19.

During the call, Ho Nieh, director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation said possible measures being discussed included steps to isolate key personnel to deal with major absenteeism in critical areas that may require increasing work limits.

He also said if a facility was unable to meet a regulatory requirement, the NRC had “a variety of mechanisms to consider,” including plant closures. “We are in an unprecedented situation,” he said……..

EDF told Reuters that its nuclear plants could operate for three months with a 25% reduction in staffing levels, and for two to three weeks with 40% fewer staff. There are currently 40 reactors in operation in France.

EDF has also scrapped its nuclear generation target for 2020 on an anticipated fall in output this year because of the coronavirus crisis. It said that its maintenance schedule for reactors had been “interrupted” by the order from authorities for workers to remain at home.  As a result, EDF said its the projection of 375-390TWh of nuclear production in France in 2020 is being reviewed and will be adjusted downwards…….

Elsewhere in France, Orano has suspended operation of its La Hague reprocessing plant, saying it is taking measures to protect its employees and secure its industrial facilities while maintaining critical activities. Presenting its 2019 results, Orano suspended its outlook for 2020 “given the immediate and future impact on our markets and operations of this looming global health crisis.”  …

France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has also temporarily suspended most of its inspections in medical facilities carrying out nuclear activities to enable health professionals to focus on the response to the pandemic. …..

UK sees reduction in construction work at Hinkely Point C

In the UK, EDF Energy is reducing the workforce at its Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant by more than half. The number of workers at the site would be reduced to about 2000 from 4500, the company said, noting that the remaining skilled workers will focus on critical areas and work in shifts with extra transport and staggered breaks to minimise contact.

EDF Energy said it had taken steps such as home working for those who can, temperature checks for people at the site, extra cleaning and changes to movement patterns…….

Sellafield Ltd has implemented a controlled shutdown of its facilities, including the Magnox Reprocessing Plant, after 8% of its 11,500-strong staff were forced to self-isolate to avoid infection. Ithas told most of its workers to stay away from its main site and satellite offices and to work from home. ……

More broadly, NIA said the UK Office of Nuclear Regulation, has confirmed that all UK nuclear sites have minimum staffing levels, and contingency plans should they fall below these levels, to enable them to remain in control of activities that could impact on nuclear safety under all foreseeable circumstances……

Canada. Cameco said it is temporarily suspending uranium production at its Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan and placing the facility in safe care and maintenance mode during the COVID-19 pandemic. In consultation with Cameco, Orano Canada is suspending production at its McClean Lake uranium mill, where ore from Cigar Lake is processed.

Russian nuclear industry reaction to COVID-19

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said on 23 March that it had set up a special headquarters for the fight against COVID-19 in the Russian nuclear industry.

“We have introduced additional measures at all of Russia’s nuclear power plants, including regular health check-ups of our personnel,” said Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachev.

“We have arranged for as many employees as possible to work remotely and purchased personal protective equipment and hygiene-related products in bulk; we are constantly disinfecting our production facilities and vehicles and have essentially cancelled all business trips,” he added.

Rosatom reported the first case of COVID-19 disease on 19 March after an employee of subsidiary company, Turbine Technologies AAEM tested positive for coronavirus after visiting a foreign country on vacation. All employees who had contact with her were quarantined……

Rosatom has also taken similar measures at its nuclear power construction sites, and is continuing with its export new build projects, despite the challenges related to the spread of the coronavirus in a number of countries.

Bulgaria sees delays to Belene tender

In Bulgaria the government has pushed back the deadline for submitting offers for a tender to choose an investor for the construction of the two-unit Belene nuclear power plant after measures over the coronavirus outbreak limited access to the project’s data room. …..
Russia’s Rosatom, China National Nuclear Corporation and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co had been expected to file their offers as investors by the end of April. France’s Framatome and US-based General Electric had offered to supply equipment for the project.


March 28, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry’s hopes for a glorious 2020 Olympic torch relay- dashed

Now Postponed, The Olympic Torch Relay Was To Bring Hope To Ravaged Fukushima, March 26, 2020, Heard on All Things Considered“………….This region was devastated nine years ago when the largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history triggered a massive tsunami. The giant wave washed away nearly 20,000 people, including thousands in Fukushima. It also hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station right down the coast, causing a partial meltdown that sent plumes of radioactive particles for miles. The area has been trying to rebuild ever since.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe billed this year’s Olympics as the “recovery games,” hoping to highlight the massive cleanup efforts by the Japanese government along this coast. To drive that point home, the torch relay was supposed to start in Fukushima on Thursday, run by some of the people most affected by the events of 2011. The runners would weave the flame through the former nuclear exclusion zones.
Now both the Olympics and the torch relay are postponed due to the global spread of COVID-19, and Fukushima’s chance to have the world’s attention for a celebration instead of disaster is on hold.

Ueno, a 46-year-old wheat farmer, was supposed to run the torch on Thursday through his hometown of Minamisoma. His current home, down the street from the empty field he’s standing in, is one of the only buildings around. His old houseused to be here too…..

This part of Fukushima, in the area around the Daiichi power plant, is still suffering from high levels of radiation. Only a tiny fraction of the population has returned, most over the age of 60, and many streets still sit empty and deserted, left exactly as they were nine years ago tumbled by the earthquake and rotting. It’s not the same Fukushima that it was before the disaster. …

March 28, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear Industry Says #StayHomeSaveLives..Unless Building New NUKILLER —

The video from Sellafield of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary – well there is nothing sinister about it at all (?!). The text says “We stand together today and everyday. CNC and @mitie Civilan Guard Force are proud to #ClapForOurCarers #StayHome #COVID2019 #StayHomeSaveLives #StrongerTogether #EmergencyServices @TimNeedham10 @nuclearpolice @SellafieldLtd @BBC_Cumbria“ So why are the nuclear industry continuing […]

via Nuclear Industry Says #StayHomeSaveLives..Unless Building New NUKILLER —

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate of Pandemic — Announcement and Contents — robertscribbler

Scribbling through a Global Pandemic The present tragedy of the COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted us all. For my own part, I am now at home under quarantine with my wife. This is a decision I have made to protect myself, my family, and my fellows here in Maryland, America, and across the world. As […]

via Climate of Pandemic — Announcement and Contents — robertscribbler

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March 27 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Stop The Lies! Electric Cars Do NOT Have Higher Emissions Than Conventional Cars” • One popular meme for those who are opposed to EVs is that EV have higher carbon lifetime emissions than conventional cars. However, the author of a study on the subject, “The idea that electric vehicles could increase emissions is […]

via March 27 Energy News — geoharvey

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cancel. The. Olympics. — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

A board in Yokohama, Japan, on Monday showed the number of days until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Credit… Amid a pandemic, it would be wildly irresponsible for the Games to go on. March 18, 2020 Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizers insist that the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games […]

via Cancel. The. Olympics. — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s newest and biggest wind farm sets benchmark for lowest price — RenewEconomy

Australia’s biggest wind farm is also likely to have set a new benchmark on price as well, the first public tender to set a contract below $50/MWh. The post Australia’s newest and biggest wind farm sets benchmark for lowest price appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australia’s newest and biggest wind farm sets benchmark for lowest price — RenewEconomy

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Environment department begins purging website of historical emissions data, projections — RenewEconomy

Australian emissions data goes missing as historical data and projections scrubbed from the environment department’s website. The post Environment department begins purging website of historical emissions data, projections appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Environment department begins purging website of historical emissions data, projections — RenewEconomy

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victoria council works around Covid-19 restrictions to approve 200MW solar farm — RenewEconomy

A 200MW solar and battery project that faced delays due to Coronavirus restrictions has gained special passage through the local council approval process. The post Victoria council works around Covid-19 restrictions to approve 200MW solar farm appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Victoria council works around Covid-19 restrictions to approve 200MW solar farm — RenewEconomy

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment