Australian news, and some related international items

Curiouser and curiouser – the dishonest acrobatics of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)

it does not matter what are the capabilities of the expert eventually selected by the tender offer as this will not overcame either the inherently unsuitable nature of Napandee for the government’s facility or the gross lack of regulatory compliance by the government of the internationally prescribed safety codes and regulatory requirements for the Napandee facility 

the disgraceful and insincere performance by the ANSTO management

28 Dec 20, It is amazing how much information you are given by various sources once you have begun to expose situations of improper or unfair conduct at a public level

I have just found out that ANSTO has approached two overseas experts in the field of nuclear waste to submit tenders in response to the tender offer published on 11 December 2021

In both instances the experts were told that their prime tasks would be  the corporatisation of the nuclear medicine facility at Lucas Heights as a separate entity to ANSTO and to establish the nuclear waste management facility at Napandee as planned by the federal government

It was suggested that the route to corporatise the nuclear medicine facility is now quite clear due to recent management changes at ANSTO

This probably relates to the resignation in rather unusual circumstances of Adrian Paterson as the chief executive officer of ANSTO since he was apparently against the corporate plans for the production of nuclear medicine

It was explained to the experts as to the other task that the Napandee facility has to reach operational status as quickly as possible and at the same time to discredit or prohibit the Azark Project underground repository at Leonora as this was proving a major embarrassment to the government

The words apparently used with regard to Azark were to “torpedo it” or “sink it”

It was suggested that the Leonora facility would cut across the efforts of the government to find a suitable location for the final disposal of the intermediate level waste which can only be stored at Napandee on a temporary basis

As neither of these experts has any presence in Australia which is a requirement of the tender ANSTO actually mentioned a couple of local groups who would be prepared to collaborate with those experts

While I am presently unable to verify this fact it seems that one of the overseas experts is linked with another expert group which is already a consultant for the Azark Project and it was also suggested that this consultancy be terminated as part of the tender process

If this can be established surely it is an attempt to lessen completion which becomes misleading and unconscionable conduct in trade or commerce under the Australian Consumer Law or is ANSTO exempt from any liability by Crown privilege?

However it does not matter what are the capabilities of the expert eventually selected by the tender offer as this will not overcame either the inherently unsuitable nature of Napandee for the government’s facility or the gross lack of regulatory compliance by the government of the internationally prescribed safety codes and regulatory requirements for the Napandee facility

You only need to watch the disgraceful and insincere performance by the ANSTO management at the Senate estimates committee hearing on 29 October 2020 including the inability to answer various questions which stemmed mainly from information I had given to the committee members

ANSTO has over 1,000 employees yet still suffers from gross errors in its operations and planning with seemingly little overview of its activities – moreover it remains a mystery what all these employees do because little realistic research and development has come from ANSTO.

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

Donald Trump’s dangerous nuclear legacy

Donald Trump Is A Nuclear President—His Legacy Is More Nukes, Fewer Controls
David AxeForbes Staff  In his single term in the White House, Donald Trump expanded America’s nuclear arsenal and undermined decades of arms-control efforts. While President-elect Joe Biden could reverse some of Trump’s atomic initiatives, it’s highly unlikely he can undo all of them.

And it’s impossible for Biden to travel back in time and seize opportunities for nuclear arms-reduction that Trump squandered—with North Korea, in particular.

For that reason alone, Trump’s atomic legacy will be a meaningful one. “He drove the final few nails in the coffin for the first era of arms-control,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California.

Kingston Reif, a missile expert at the Arms Control Association in Washington, D.C., neatly summarized Trump’s nuclear initiatives on Twitter in mid-December. To paraphrase:

1. Trump nudged the Pentagon to double the number of low-yield nuclear weapons, which according to experts raise the risk of nuclear war by making nukes seemingly more “useable” in an armed clash between major powers. At the same time, Trump’s nuclear doctrine expanded the list of external threats that officially justify nuclear retaliation. Perhaps most notably, the list of threats now includes a major hacking event. The U.S. Navy subsequently deployed the low-yield W76-2 variant of its Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile.

2. At the opposite end of the yield spectrum, the billionaire president accelerated development of high-yield SLBMs and canceled a Pentagon plan to decommission the megaton-class B83-1 gravity bomb.

3. To arm these new weapons, Trump took steps to restart production of plutonium cores for nuclear warheads, despite arguments that the United States already possesses plenty of cores. The core-production falls under a roughly $9-billion budgetary boost that Trump helped push through for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Agency, which oversees America’s nukes.

4. Citing Russian development of banned weapons, Trump withdrew the United States from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, which limited ground-launched nukes in Europe. The former reality TV star also pulled America out of the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, which allows the United States, Russia and many European states to monitor each other’s atomic arsenals via photographic-reconnaissance flights. Finally, Trump has been reluctant to approve an extension—due in February—of the 2010 New START, a U.S.-Russian accord that puts a cap on nuclear weapons and helped both countries reduce their atomic arsenals in the years prior to Trump’s presidency. It’s possible Biden could bring the USA back into Open Skies while also scrambling to extend New START, but the INF Treaty almost certainly is dead, as both the United States and Russia now openly are developing intermediate-range nukes.

5. After failing several times to negotiate any kind of enforceable arms limitations with North Korea, Trump became the first president since the 1960s not to negotiate any new nuclear arms-control agreement. Instead, he did the very opposite—loosened controls, encouraged proliferation and, as a result, is “the first post-Cold War president not to reduce the size of the nuclear warhead stockpile,” according to Reif.

“The Trump administration’s nuclear legacy is one of failure,” Reif said. “The administration inherited several nuclear challenges, to be sure, but it has made nearly all of them worse.”

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

Nuclear power ridiculously expensive an uncompetitive – the market has spoken

“nuclear is ridiculously expensive and uncompetitive”. So, nothing really needs to happen for renewable energy investment to grow. The reality is that the market has said “no” to nuclear and “yes” to renewables.

The Reality Is that the Market Has Said “No” to Nuclear and “Yes” to Renewables, RIAC, Paul Dorfman PhD, Honorary Senior Research Associate at the UCL Energy Institute University College London; Chair of the Nuclear Consulting Group; Member of the Irish Govt. Environment Protection Agency Radiation Protection Advisory Committee,  and Tatyana Kanunnikova27 Dec 20, 

“……….   As for nuclear energy, can it be used to help mitigate climate change? What are the problems associated with nuclear energy?

With mounting public concern and policy recognition over the speed and pace of the low carbon energy transition needed to mitigate climate change, nuclear power has been reframed as a response to the threat of global warming. However, at the heart of the question of nuclear power, there are differing views on how to apply foresight, precaution, and responsibility in the context of the poor economics of nuclear, the possibility of accidents, the consequences of those accidents, and indeed whether there exists a place for nuclear at all within the swiftly expanding renewable evolution.

When one considers nuclear, it is absolutely important to consider its life cycle in terms of carbon emissions. A study by Prof Benjamin Sovacool looked at 103 different studies and concluded that the average value for nuclear in terms of life cycle emissions was about 66 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour produced. This compares to about 9 grams per kilowatt-hour for wind and 32 grams per kilowatt-hour for solar. This puts nuclear as the third-highest carbon emitter after coal-fired plants and natural gas.

So, in terms of carbon emissions, nuclear is lower than fossil fuel but produces significantly more carbon dioxide in terms of its life cycle than renewable power. And perhaps more importantly, with ramping predictions for sea level rise and climate disturbance, nuclear will be an important risk, since climate change will impact coastal nuclear plants earlier and harder than is currently expected. Proposed new reactors, together with radioactive waste stores, including spent fuel located on the coasts, will be vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding, and storm surge. These coastal sites will need considerable investment just to protect them against sea level rise, and in the medium term, they will even be subject to abandonment or relocation.

Adapting coastal nuclear power to climate change will entail significantly increased expense for construction, operation, waste storage, and decommissioning. Inland nuclear power plants will do no better. This is because they must be cooled by significant amounts of water and they have to shut down if that cooling water is either too warm or the river flow is reduced. These are two factors that will absolutely happen with increased climate change. We are seeing this already in France where their reactors stationed by rivers, reliant on river water for cooling, have both diminished river flow and increased water temperatures in the summertime. That implies that there will be a significant inland nuclear station nuclear power shutdown in the future.

The other problem is one of economics, since nuclear is so hugely expensive. Carrying on constructing and prolonging the life of current nuclear plants is enormously costly. New construction is eye-wateringly expensive, which means that if we continue to build nuclear plants, we have much less resource, money, to put into the real solution to climate change, which is renewable power, demand-side management, and storage.

What are the advantages of solar and wind power?

A recent report by Standard and Poor, the key market analyst, found that renewable energy technology global investment has been running at about 350 billion dollars per year for the last few years. But for nuclear, it fell to about 17 billion for last year.

Standard and Poor say that they see “little economic rationale for new nuclear build in the US or Western Europe owing to massive cost escalations and renewables cost-competitiveness, which should lead to a material decline in nuclear generation”. Similarly, Lazard—the world’s leading financial advisory and asset management firm—has just compared the cost of new nuclear, which runs at about $119 to $192 per megawatt-hour, compared to $32 to $42 for utility-scale solar and between $20 and $54 for onshore wind per megawatt-hour. So there is a huge cost difference between nuclear and renewable technologies. Lazard go on to say that the unsubsidized, levelized cost of energy of large-scale wind and solar are at a fraction of the cost of new nuclear or even coal generators, even if the very great cost of nuclear decommissioning and ongoing maintenance is excluded.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance agrees with Lazard’s analysis. The key disadvantage to nuclear power is that it is just too expensive. For renewables, the cost is far lower and continues to fall, which is why what we see is the majority of new nuclear only being constructed with the support of vast state and public subsidy. So, given the reality that funding is limited, we need to make a choice between very expensive nuclear and very inexpensive renewables.

What hinders investments in renewable energy?

In fact, all of the markets are putting all of the money into renewable energy and none of the markets are putting their money into nuclear. There is no market investment in new nuclear. All the investment is going into renewable energy, as I have just discussed. The only problem is, of course, is that if governments via state subsidy put enormous amounts of the low carbon energy budgets into nuclear, they will have less money to invest properly in real low carbon energy technologies such as renewables, storage, and demand-side management.

What initiatives could help promote investments in renewable energy?

I do not think renewable energy needs pushing. The cost of renewables is a fraction of the cost of new nuclear. As Mr. Tanaka, a former director of the International Energy Agency and a former long-standing nuclear advocate, says, “nuclear is ridiculously expensive and uncompetitive”. So, nothing really needs to happen for renewable energy investment to grow. The reality is that the market has said “no” to nuclear and “yes” to renewables……………..

In the journey to manage the decline of fossil fuels, not all low carbon technologies are equal. The reality is that nuclear is far less benign, far more expensive, and far more carbon-intensive than other renewable options. Nuclear will struggle to compete with the technological, economic, and security advantages of the coming renewable evolution. In bidding goodbye to fossil fuels, we should also say goodbye to nuclear. And given the ramping costs and risks that cling to this, essentially late 20th-century technology, it is not before time.

Interviewed by Tatyana Kanunnikova.

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

Storage of Chernobyl nuclear waste – in reality unsafe for 1000s of years

Paul Waldon  Fight to Stop a Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia, 28 Dec 20, 
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has been tasked by the international community to manage funds, financing the efforts to transform Chernobyl into a safe and secure state. In a recent address to the public there have been interesting points of claim.
1: Chernobyl has reached a milestone in nuclear safety.
2: The first spent reactor fuel from the infamous nuclear power plant has been securely stored at last.
3: The risk of an accident is being mitigated.
4: The fuel will safely be stored for at least a century.
“My take on the subject is”
1: A nuclear plant that has a reactor meltdown is not safe.
2: The reactor’s main function is to manufacture radioactive waste, fuel is not spent but used!
3: As long as the waste remains, the risks remain.
4: 100 Year storage is but a respite in the timeline of radioactive fuel when we look back at the first nuclear reactor that was fired up by Enrico Fermi 78 years ago and that waste is still with us today. Chernobyl’s first reactor was completed 43 years ago, then a meltdown gave birth to Chernobyl’s place in history nearly 35 years ago. So to imply that 100 years is an adequate time to manage fuel, waste and debris from reactors is nothing short of irresponsible.

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

December 27 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Combating Climate Change Through High-Performance Districts” • If we are going to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C, we need to fix our buildings. They are the largest end-users of energy, generating nearly 40% of our greenhouse gas emissions. But fixing one building at a time won’t work. It has to be […]

December 27 Energy News — geoharvey

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