Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear,Climate, and of course, Coronavirus News -Australia

There’s  no avoiding coronavirus news, and it changes all the time.  The focus has shifted to”post – virus”, though it is not clear that it is “post” now, or even within 2020.  At present, New Zealand and Vietnam are looking like shining success stories.  The secret of their success? –  strategic testing, aggressive contact tracing and effective public communications campaigns. That last point -all important -that everyone, down to small kids, understands the basic story, the national plan and what they need to do.  Planning needs to be national, and then, international.

Who knows whether the post-Covid-19 period will move towards a cleaner and more humane world, or back to “business as usual” or worse?     Meanwhile the non-stop news cycle takes its toll, and of course, being news, it’s all bad.   It’s probably good to (a) take lots of breaks from the news, and (b) follow good news.  Some examples:

  • The IEA says greenhouse gas emissions will fall by more than 8% this year, the largest annual decrease ever recorded. NPR
  • A decade ago over 40% of the UK’s electricity came from coal. This week, it clocked up its first full coal free month since the advent of the power grid in 1882. Gizmodo
  • Sweden has closed its last coal-fired power station two years ahead of schedule, becoming the third European country to exit coal. Independent .
  • Freshwater insect species have risen by 11%, possibly due to efforts to clean up rivers and lakes. Science

You can find good news at FUTURE CRUNCH, and at GOOD NEWS NETWORK.

AUSTRALIA

The torture that awaits Julian Assange in the US.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley will not support protection of Murray-Darling river systems

NUCLEAR. The push to weaken Australia’s law regulating the uranium industry, in the review of Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.  New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro got it so wrong about Britain and small nuclear reactors.

Kimba Nuclear Waste Dump Plan:   Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) question government’s plan for nuclear waste dump near Kimba, South Australia.  13 top Australian non government organisations say that the Kimba nuclear waste dump plan is illogical.     Cameron and Toni Scott: brief but compelling critique of National Radioactive Waste Management.  Marty and Rachel Yates: the wrong nuclear dump process- individuals nominate their own land for their own personal gain.

CLIMATE. New climate models suggest that Australia could reach 7C temperature rise by 2100. A Covid-19 Green Recovery for Australia. Australia listened to the science on coronavirus. Imagine if we did the same for coal mining.   How the Murdoch press defended fossil fuel industry while Australia burned. Experts warn of growing fossil fuel influence in Prime Minister Morrison’s Covid-19 response .   Cheap electricity is back, and the next casualty will be a coal fired generator.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. Australian investors play key role in huge 690MW solar and battery project – America’s largest.  UNSW solar researcher wins global award, as funding remains in doubt. Tesla big battery recoups cost of construction in little over two years.  Balancing act: Tesla battery system earns university nearly $74,000 in 3 months.

Australia’s reputation as solar leader under threat if ARENA funding not extended. Tasmania unveils action plan to reach 200 per cent renewablesQueensland urged to unlock $36bn renewable investment boom in lead-up to election.  Australia is uniquely placed to be able to reinvigorate manufacturing through renewable energy.

INTERNATIONAL

Latest climate models suggest global heating could be worse than we thought. Killer heat and humidity already with us.   Covid-19 highlights risks of doing nothing on global heating.    Water loss in northern peatlands threatens to intensify fires, global warming.

How much radioactive waste is stored on our planet?

The race to nuclear suicide continues despite Covid-19 crisis.  $73 billion world spent in 2019 on nuclear weapons, half of it by USA.  The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty– its promise and its failure.

THE ATOM: A LOVE AFFAIR – nuclear dream to global nightmare.

 

May 18, 2020 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

John Barilaro got it so wrong about Britain and small nuclear reactors

May 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

New hold-up to NuScam’s “small nuclear reactors” (yes, they’re the ones touted for Australia)

Nuclear Intelligence Weekly 15th May 2020, The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said that NuScale has not “sufficiently validated” the design and performance of the steam generator in its 50 megawatt small modular reactor (SMR) currently under design certification review. The NRC is nevertheless still expected to certify the SMR design but without granting “finality” to the steam generator, toutedmby the Fluor subsidiary as one of the key innovations to its smaller”cost-competitive” design.
That will likely inhibit the company’s ability to attract further investment to the project, which Fluor itself is no longer investing in.  NuScale submitted its design certification applicationto the NRC in December 2016 and the NRC is expected to grant the certification later this year or early next year.
That, however, depends on the outcome of a staff review of unrelated changes to the SMR’s emergency
core cooling system that NuScale plans to submit to the NRC on May 20.  Instead of resolving the steam generator design issue ahead of design certification, the NRC is deferring to the plant operator Energy Northwest
to resolve the issue during the licensing process, after construction. http://www.energyintel.com/pages/eig_article.aspx?DocId=1072564

May 18, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fraud in a nuclear research reactor may cause safety problems in other reactors worldwide

Faked-data scandal might jeopardize safety at unknown number of nuclear power plants   An investigation at Norway’s now-closed Halden research reactor reveals that results from a number of nuclear fuel experiments were tampered with in an effort that was “planned and well hidden,” according to the facility’s operator — a discovery that could have consequences for numerous nuclear power utilities around the world. Bellona,   May 15, 2020 by Charles Digges

An investigation at Norway’s now-closed Halden research reactor reveals that results from a number of nuclear fuel experiments were tampered with in an effort that was “planned and well hidden,” according to the facility’s operator — a discovery that could have consequences for numerous nuclear power utilities around the world.

Many of Halden’s former customers are foreign governments and nuclear utilities that relied on Halden’s data to make decisions about how to fuel their own nuclear reactors. The purpose of research facilities like Halden is to simulate how various nuclear fuels behave under different circumstances, thus allowing nuclear power companies a greater margin of safety in their operations.

While officials have not revealed which nuclear operators might have been impacted by the falsifications, the say the report casts doubt on seven fuel experiments that took place between 1990 and 2005.

“What scares us is that companies around the world operating nuclear reactors may have relied on data from the Halden reactor,” says Frederic Hauge, Bellona’s president. “If data has been manipulated, security can be jeopardized, because the research is used to make decisions about how the reactors are operated.”

The Halden reactor, which is one of four research reactors run in Norway, began operations in 1955 and was shuttered in 2018 after a long period of financial difficulties and technical problems. Kvamme Associates, an Oslo-based anti-corruption research group, led the investigation into the suspect data. The group provided its results to the Institute of Energy Technology, or IFE, Halden’s operator, earlier this week.

According to investigators, the IFE’s suspicions about data manipulation arose last summer. The ensuing inquiry revealed fraud so serious that the IFE reported it to Norway’s economic crimes unit.

The investigation report, which IFE released to Bellona this week, shows that a number of fuel tests were fabricated either because researchers failed to meet test requirements, or because they ran up against deadlines they were unable to meet.

“We have found that data was changed,” IFE director Nils Morten Huseby, told Norway’s national broadcaster, NRK. “What was reported to customers is not what the tests actually showed. It can potentially be serious, but we need to know more about how the customers used the data.”…….

Three other projects carried out at Halden are also under suspicion and are currently under review, NRK said.

Bellona’s Hauge questioned the IFE’s oversight of the experiments in question, and called for a broader investigation into the institute’s management practices………

According to NRK, the Kvamme Associates report states that four international projects conducted at the Halden reactor were found to contain fabricated data. Independent experts found that two of the cases involved no security or safety risks, the broadcaster reported, while two other cases have not been fully evaluated.

Three other projects carried out at Halden are also under suspicion and are currently under review, NRK said.

……The revelations come as a blow to the IFE, which until Halden’s closure had struggled with criticism that the reactor was too costly to the Norwegian public and had battled allegations that it was unsafe following a 2016 iodine leak.

“The fact that IFE’s reputation as a research institution is at stake here is one thing,” said Hauge. “But that it may have affected the safety of an unknown number of nuclear power plants in an unknown number of countries – that’s very, very serious.”…..

Bellona’s Hauge questioned the IFE’s oversight of the experiments in question, and called for a broader investigation into the institute’s management practices. https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2020-05-faked-data-scandal-might-jeopardize-safety-at-unknown-number-of-nuclear-power-plants

May 18, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radiation leak at nuclear research reactor

Germany: Radiation leak detected at research reactor, DW, 17 May 20, 

A research reactor near Munich has emitted excess C-14 radiation, says the Bavarian city’s technical university. The “slight” leak late March had shown up Thursday when monthly readings were collated.

Munich’s technical university (TUM) said Saturday a neutron reactor located at Garchingjust north of the metropole was found to have leaked nuclides into the atmosphere “slightly” above the level permitted annually in its license.

Neither human beings nor the surrounding environment had been endangered, said the TUM and Bavaria’s environmental ministry — responsible for oversight.

Monthly figures collated on Thursday had shown an excess in C-14 particles 15% above the permitted yearly level, with the potential to cause “theoretically” a load for the public of 3 Mikrosieverts at the maximum…….

The facility was put on hold on March 17 because of the current pandemic, leaving many scientists unable to glean results for industry and medicine, said Görg.

The FRMII reactor, inaugurated in 2005, remains controversial among organizations like Germany’s branch of Friends of the Earth (BUND) and opposition Greens in Bavaria’s state assembly…….   https://www.dw.com/en/germany-radiation-leak-detected-at-research-reactor/a-53467330

May 18, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment