Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan resorts to threas when asked to be transparent

MINISTER DAN van HOLST PELLEKAAN RESORTS TO THREATS WHEN ASKED TO BE TRANSPARENT, from Senator Rex Patrick’s fb page 18 Dec 20
In response to a request for transparency, Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has outrageously instructed the Crown Solicitor to threaten me with costs.
Everything the SA Government does it does for public purpose and using SA taxpayer’s money. As such, South Australians are entitled to see all that the State Government does, admittedly with some exceptions.
I asked Minister van Holst Pellekaan’s office to provide me with correspondance between the State and Federal Government on the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba, using SA Freedom of information laws. At first he failed to respond to the request in the timeframe required by the law, then he made a decision that hid (presumably embarrassing) information from me.
I have asked SACAT, the State’s independent umpire, to review the Minister’s decision. Minister van Holst Pellekaan has now threatened me with “costs” if I proceed. That prompts two questions: 1) what’s he trying to hide and 2) if he’s prepared to threaten a senator seeking transparency, how would he treat a regular South Australian that reasonably requested information from him? –

December 19, 2020 Posted by | politics, secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Federal govt accepted Queensland’s “NO” to nuclear dump. Why not South Australia’s?

Kazzi Jair No nuclear waste dump anywhere in South Australia, 19 Dec 20, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929
So….Queensland Government said a straight out NO, and the Feds accepted that! Oman Ama QLD, in fact was a strong contender for the dump as one of the SIX sites deemed suitable by the Feds.
So it all goes back to the “co-incidental” timing of this National Dump by the Feds, and the South Australian Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Industry!
South Australia has said NO before in 2004. We also said NO to an International Nuclear Dump in 2016.
When will they get it that NO MEANS NO!

December 19, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The insanity of the big push for nuclear power in space

The Big Push for Nukes in Space,   https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/15/the-big-push-for-nukes-in-space/?fbclid=IwAR1rGf0qomJlTKuhqCOsTTl3EkKOQzxf2QxOJ-3n0MnxGWNLvybgxXPovTU     BY KARL GROSSMAN.– 15 Dec 20, Last week a SpaceX rocket exploded in a fireball at the SpaceX site in Texas. “Fortunately,” reported Lester Holt on NBC TV’s Nightly News, “no one was aboard.”

But what if nuclear materials had been aboard?

The nuclear space issue is one I got into 35 years ago when I learned—from reading a U.S. Department of Energy newsletter—about two space shuttles, one the Challenger which was to be launched the following year with 24.2 pounds of plutonium aboard.

The plutonium the shuttles were to carry aloft in 1986 was to be used as fuel in radioisotope thermoelectric generators—RTGs—that were to provide a small amount of electric power for instruments on space probes to be released from the shuttles once the shuttles achieved orbit.

The plutonium-fueled RTGs had nothing to do with propulsion.

I used the U.S. Freedom of Information Act to ask what would be the consequences of an accident on launch, in the lower or upper atmosphere—and what about the dispersal of deadly plutonium. A few years earlier, I wrote Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power, so I was well familiar with plutonium, considered the most lethal radioactive substance.

For 10 months there was a stonewall of challenges to my FOIA request by DOE and NASA. Finally, I got the information, heavily redacted, with the claim that the likelihood of a shuttle accident releasing plutonium was “small.”

Said one document: “The risk would be small due to the high reliability inherent in the design of the Space Shuttle.” NASA put the odds of a catastrophic shuttle accident at one-in-100,000.

Then, on January 28, 1986 the Challenger blew up.

It was on its next mission—in May 1986—that it was slated to have a plutonium-fueled RTG aboard.

From a pay phone in an appliance store –amid scores of TV sets with that horrible video of the Challenger exploding—I called The Nation magazine and asked the folks there whether they knew that the next launch of the Challenger was to be a nuclear mission. They didn’t.

They had me write an editorial that appeared on The Nation’s front page titled “The Lethal Shuttle.” It began, “Far more than seven people could have died if the explosion that destroyed Challenger had occurred during the next launch…”

And I got deeper and deeper into the nukes-in-space issue—authoring two books, one The Wrong Stuff, presenting three TV documentaries, writing many hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and speaking widely on the issue.

NASA, incidentally, later in 1986, drastically increased the odds of a catastrophic shuttle accident to one-in-76. It turned out the one-in-100,000 estimate was based on dubious guessing.

I found that accidents involving the use of nuclear power in space is not a sky-is-falling threat. In the then 26 U.S. space nuclear shots, there had been three accident, the worst in 1964 involving a satellite powered by a SNAP 9-A radioisotope thermoelectric generator fueled with plutonium.

The satellite failed to achieve orbit, broke up in the atmosphere as it came crashing back down to Earth, its plutonium dispersing as dust extensively on Earth. Dr. John Gofman, an M.D. and Ph.D., professor of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley, formerly associate director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, author of Poisoned Power and involved in early studies of plutonium, long pointed to the SNAP 9-A accident as causing an increase in lung cancer on Earth.

Today the use of nuclear in space is being pushed harder than ever.

“US Eyes Building Nuclear Power Plants for Moon and Mars,” declared the headline this July of an Associated Press dispatch. “US Eyes Building Nuclear Power Plants for Moon and Mars”.

As Linda Pentz Gunter, editor at Beyond Nuclear International, recently wrote here on CounterPunch, “Yet undeterred by immorality and expense, and apparently without the slightest concern for the radioactive dirt pile these reactors will produce, NASA and the Department of Energy are eagerly soliciting proposals.” https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/10/21/nukes-on-the-moon/

In July, too, the White House National Space Council issued a strategy for space exploration that includes “nuclear propulsion methods.” “US Ramps Up Planning for Space Nuclear Technology”

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems has come out with a design for a nuclear propulsion reactor for trips to Mars.

Nuclear propulsion, its promoters are saying, would get astronauts to Mars quicker.

Shouted the headline in Popular Mechanics last month: “The Thermal Nuclear Engine That Could Get Us to Mars in Just 3 Months.”

And Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Space X, has been touting the detonation of nuclear bombs on Mars to, he says, “transform it into an Earth-like planet.” https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/elon-musk-mars-nuke-humans-live-mirrors-spacex-a9072631.html

As Business Insider explains, Musk “has championed the idea of launching nuclear weapons just over Mars’ poles since 2015. He believes it will help warm the planet and make it more hospitable for human life.”

As space.com says: “The explosions would vaporize a fair chunk of Mars’ ice caps, liberating enough water vapor and carbon dioxide—both potent greenhouse gases—to warm up the planet substantially, the idea goes.” https://www.space.com/elon-musk-nuke-mars-terraforming.html

It’s been projected that it would take more than 10,000 nuclear bombs to carry out the Musk plan.

The nuclear bomb explosions would also would render Mars radioactive.

The nuclear bombs would be carried to Mars on the fleet of 1,000 Starships that Musk wants to build—like the one that blew up this week.

SpaceX is selling T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Nuke Mars.”

Beyond the this completely insane plan to ruin Mars, as on Earth, solar energy can provide all the power needed for would-be settlements on Mars and the Moon. Continue reading

December 19, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Unsafe levels of radiation found in Chernobyl crops

Unsafe levels of radiation found in Chernobyl crops, By Harry Baker – Staff Writer   https://www.livescience.com/chernobyl-radioactive-isotopes-crops.html19 December 20, The effects of the explosive 1986 disaster can still be seen in nearby crops.

Crops grown near the Chernobyl nuclear site in Ukraine are still contaminated with radiation from the explosive 1986 disaster.

In a new study, researchers found that wheat, rye, oats and barley grown in this area contained two radioactive isotopes — strontium 90 and cesium 137 — that were above safe consumption limits. Radioactive isotopes are elements that have increased masses and release excess energy as a result.

“Our findings point to ongoing contamination and human exposure, compounded by lack of official routine monitoring,” study author David Santillo, an environmental forensic scientist at Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter, said in a statement, referring to the fact that the government suspended its radioactive goods monitoring program in 2013.

Santillo and his colleagues, in collaboration with researchers from the Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology, analyzed 116 grain samples, collected between 2011 and 2019, from the Ivankiv district of Ukraine — about 31 miles (50 kilometers) south of the nuclear plant.

This area is outside of Chernobyl’s “exclusion zone,” which is a 30 mile (48 km) radius around the plant that was evacuated in 1986 and has remained unoccupied. They found radioactive isotopes, predominantly strontium 90, were above safe consumption level in 48% of samples. They also found that wood samples collected from the same region between 2015 and 2019, had strontium 90 levels above the safe limit for firewood.

The researchers believe that the lingering radiation in the wood, in particular, may be the reason for the continued contamination of crops, almost 35 years after the disaster. When analyzing the wood ash from domestic wood-burning ovens, they found strontium 90 levels that were 25 times higher than the safe limit. Locals use this ash, as well as ash from the local thermal power plant (TPP), to fertilize their crops, which continues to cycle the radiation through their soil.

However, computer simulations suggest that it could be possible to grow crops in the region at “safe” levels if this process of repeated contamination ceased. The researchers are now calling for the Ukrainian government to reinstate its monitoring program and create a system for properly disposing of radioactive ash.

“Contamination of grain and wood grown in the Ivankiv district remains of major concern and deserves further urgent investigation,” study author Valery Kashparov, director of the Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology, said in the statement. “Similarly, further research is urgently needed to assess the effects of the Ivankiv TPP on the environment and local residents, which still remain mostly unknown.”

The findings were published on Dec. 17 in the journal Environment International.

Originally published on Live Science.

December 19, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA government resists paying compensation to nuclear workers made ill by ionising radiation

the labor department ignored overwhelming evidence that her husband became sick from working at SRS

the system has become hard to navigate, with the government often fighting tooth-and-nail against the workers they were supposed to help

More than 2,200 workers had spent five years or more going through the exhaustive claims process, according to McClatchy’s 2015 “Irradiated’’ series. Some workers who filed for benefits died while awaiting decisions from the government, McClatchy found.

Death and despair. How the feds refused to help a nuclear worker’s family in SC, The State, BY SAMMY FRETWELL, December18, 2020 Every time Jerry Bolen came home from a construction job at the local nuclear weapons complex, he took off his dusty coveralls before stepping into the house he shared with his wife and children.

It was a precaution against tracking hazardous, radioactive materials into the family’s home in rural Barnwell County, says his widow, recalling how she would gingerly place the contaminated garment into the washing machine.

But while the effort protected the couple’s three kids, Jerry Bolen suffered. The long days he spent working at the Savannah River Site, exposed to chemicals and radiation, eventually killed him, his widow says.

Now, an exasperated Carolyn Bolen has sued the U.S. Department of Labor following a 13-year battle with the government over whether the family should receive compensation for the cancer that took Jerry Bolen’s life in 2006. Continue reading

December 19, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

December 18 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Top 11 Clean Energy Developments of 2020”  • This will be a year to remember. We will remember it for a global pandemic, wildfires, economic recession, racial justice protests, and locust swarms. But there are plenty of exciting and positive things that happened in the energy space this year. The Rocky Mountain Institute […]

December 18 Energy News — geoharvey

December 19, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The modelling that helped Morrison win in 2019 was based on ludicrous assumptions — RenewEconomy

A new report reveals reveals the dodgy assumptions used by the Coalition and Murdoch media to fan fears about renewable and climate action at 2019 federal election. The post The modelling that helped Morrison win in 2019 was based on ludicrous assumptions appeared first on RenewEconomy.

The modelling that helped Morrison win in 2019 was based on ludicrous assumptions — RenewEconomy

December 19, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CEFC defends record, after watchdog cites failures to hit “unrealistic” government targets — RenewEconomy

ANAO finds the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is meeting its objectives, but says it should keep ministers more informed of its investment strategies. The post CEFC defends record, after watchdog cites failures to hit “unrealistic” government targets appeared first on RenewEconomy.

CEFC defends record, after watchdog cites failures to hit “unrealistic” government targets — RenewEconomy

December 19, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As consumers harness the sun, who is controlling their energy data? — RenewEconomy

Australia needs a consumer data right for energy users that puts people in control of who has access to their data, and for what purposes they use it. The post As consumers harness the sun, who is controlling their energy data? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

As consumers harness the sun, who is controlling their energy data? — RenewEconomy

December 19, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Repurposing coal plants with solar and batteries beats decommissioning them — RenewEconomy

New analysis shows that repurposing coal plants into solar and battery plants can deliver five times more value than decommissioning them. The post Repurposing coal plants with solar and batteries beats decommissioning them appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Repurposing coal plants with solar and batteries beats decommissioning them — RenewEconomy

December 19, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s first remote, renewable hydrogen microgrid to be built at Denham — RenewEconomy

Horizon Power appoints local outfit to build Australia’s first renewable hydrogen demonstration plant in a remote power system in Denham, Western Australia. The post Australia’s first remote, renewable hydrogen microgrid to be built at Denham appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s first remote, renewable hydrogen microgrid to be built at Denham — RenewEconomy

December 19, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tesla sales in Australia top 10,000, still selling twice as many EVs as all rivals combined — RenewEconomy

Tesla has shipped more than 10,000 electric cars to Australia since 2014, and is still selling double that of all other car makers combined in 2020, new data has revealed. The post Tesla sales in Australia top 10,000, still selling twice as many EVs as all rivals combined appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Tesla sales in Australia top 10,000, still selling twice as many EVs as all rivals combined — RenewEconomy

December 19, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment