Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear  news to 15th March – Australia and international

The Fukushima anniversary is over. A sigh of relief?  We can now all forget about it? Not really.

Numerous well-researched articles on the event conclude that Japan’s struggle with the aftermath has no end in sight. A hastily released ”comforting ” health report from The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has been criticised as unconvincing and inconsistent. The Japanese government, and the  global nuclear lobby doggedly persist in planning for the ”Recovery Olympics” in Tokyo in July.  But in view of the pandemic and the lingering radiation, that may not be a done deal

Meanwhile – global heating plugs along – without much publicity – Siberia’s warming shows climate change has no winners.   Without changes to mitigate global warming, summer could last nearly six months, study finds.
Global coronavirus cases are beginning to rise again, and there are a number of nations where the situation is worsening by the day.
A bit of good news – USA – Fauci Agrees We Can Reach Normalcy by Fourth of July.


Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima .  Australia must learn the lessons of Fukushima.– Time that Australia looks beyond uranium mining, and towards rehabilitation of the environment.  Time for Australia to clean up uranium mining damage, and end this toxic industry – Western Australia could lead the way.

Refuting Senator Matt Canavan’s inaccurate hype about small nuclear reactors.  New South Wales Energy Minister ”excited about the opportunities” for nuclear power. – Energy minister backs nuclear option. MP Josh Wilson’s excellent submission Senate, about nuclear wastes.


Fukushima: “How Japan was blinded to the predicted certainty of disaster“.     10 years after Fukushima – still nuclear regulatory capture, and poor safety culture.  Whitewashing of Fukushima meltdown by United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

Nuclear power faces a wobbly future.  Ten years on from Fukushima, nuclear power continues to struggle with deeper problemsNuclear power is unpopular: promoted only by those with vested interests.

Billionaire Bill Gates’ nuclear ambitions would make climate disaster worse.

Global nuclear industry in decline since 1996, even without Fukushima disaster.

The long-term problem of ”peaceful” plutonium.

The radiation danger to astronauts– cancer, heart disease -an ethical problem.  Space radiation – harmful to astronauts, not only with cancers, but also with heart and blood vessel effects.  Low doses of radiation used in medical imaging lead to mutations in cell cultures.

The growing threat of space debris.

How the world came close to nuclear war catastrophe.

‘Every euro invested in nuclear power makes the climate crisis worse‘.  Small modular reactors not the solution, says German nuclear authority .

Need to establish compensation schemes for future nuclear accidents.

So-called ”cloud” computing means huge electricity use in data so-called ”farms”.

March 15, 2021 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Time for Australia to clean up uranium mining damage, and end this toxic industry

It’s time to clean up not start up! On this 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it is time to learn one simple lesson; radioactive risk is more constant than a politician’s promise. It is time to move beyond the risk of opening a uranium mine to safely rehabilitating existing exploration and trial mine sites. If we fail to act and allow small unproven company assurances to take the place of evidence, then we are both failing those affected by Fukushima and increasing the odds of fuelling a future one.

By Kerrie-Ann Garlick – , 12 March 2021
On the 10th anniversary of the Australian uranium-fuelled Fukushima nuclear disaster, it is time for a rethink on uranium Australia-wide and for WA to look beyond mining towards rehabilitation. WAs four proposed uranium mines and the 85 exploration sites have been unable to develop into mines and all pose serious environmental, economic and public health risks. Some of the companies involved no longer exist, others are hanging on by a thread. With a stagnant uranium price and a global nuclear power industry that is struggling to maintain status quo, we should be looking to clean up Barnett’s failed attempt to establish uranium mines in WA and close that chapter in our history book.

Ten years after the devastating earthquake and Tsunami and subsequent multiple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Fukushima is still one of the most radioactive places on earth. It remains a profound human, economic and environmental tragedy one that was fuelled by Australian uranium. In Parliament in 2012 Dr Robert Floyd, Director General, Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation confirmed that Australian uranium was in each of the reactors at the time of the meltdown. Following the disaster, the UN Secretary General urged every uranium producing country to hold “an in-depth assessment of the net cost impact of the impacts of mining fissionable material on local communities and ecosystems.”

Our government did not respond to the catastrophic disaster at Fukushima with any kind of review of our role in supplying uranium. There was no critical review from Australia of the warning signs we missed with TEPCO who had a history of falsifying records, mismanagement and accidents.

In the decade since the disaster there have been no new uranium mines in Australia. After 40 years of imposed mining in Kakadu the Ranger uranium mine has now closed and in attempting rehabilitation. Uranium mining in Australia is now confined to South Australia with just two operating mines – Olympic Dam and Four Mile and three mines – Honeymoon, Beverley & Beverley Four Mile – all in extended ‘care and maintenance’ (not closed but not operating). What is needed to make sure Australian uranium is not fuelling another Fukushima nuclear meltdown, is clearly to leave it in the ground.

The four uranium projects, Kintyre, Wiluna, Yeelirrie and Mulga Rock have all been unable to proceed in the face of high operating costs, a low uranium price and continued and sustained community opposition to mining uranium. With the imminent expiry of environmental approvals for the four uranium sites, the WA Government has an opportunity and a responsibility to manage these sites in a way that protects the environment, public & workers health and the WA taxpayers. The incoming government would be uniquely placed to legislate a ban on uranium mining in WA avoiding a repeat of the last decade of uncertainty, legal and procedural battles, and significant government resources.

There are a further 85 exploration sites, of those 56 projects are listed as being inactive or suspended of those 23 do not have an active owner, any rehabilitation of those sites would now be a cost to WA taxpayers. The risk of uranium will far outlive the uranium companies who have exploration sites across our state. The WA government should act now and ensure the best possible rehabilitation outcomes for those sites while there are still companies who can be held to account.

Small uranium companies like Vimy Resources who have the Mulga Rock uranium proposal to the NE of Kalgoorlie and Toro Energy with the Wiluna proposal, and underdeveloped projects like Cameco’s Kintyre and Yeelirrie have been deferred or placed on extended care and maintenance due to the depressed uranium market and low commodity price. Their time is up, we need to start to clean up these sites – not lock in an industry that has a history of being constrained by political uncertainty, that has a consistent lack of social license and one that has been met with strong Aboriginal and community resistance.

On this 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it is time to learn one simple lesson; radioactive risk is more constant than a politician’s promise. It is time to move beyond the risk of opening a uranium mine to safely rehabilitating existing exploration and trial mine sites. If we fail to act and allow small unproven company assurances to take the place of evidence, then we are both failing those affected by Fukushima and increasing the odds of fuelling a future one.

March 15, 2021 Posted by | environment, Western Australia | Leave a comment

The Bluff and the Bribing continue as Minister Keith Pitt spruiks on radio about Kimb nuclear waste dump plan

Kazzi Jai,  No nuclear waste dump anywhere in South Australia, 15 Mar 21, 
Minister for Resources, Keth Pitt having a news grab this morning Monday 15/03/2021 on ABC 639 North and West. Had nothing new to say – same old, same old – …..but it was the first interview from him for the dump for 2021!
Following Pitt was a short interview from opposition Labor spokesperson for resources Madeline King reiterating that Pitt could declare the site already right now – he doesn’t need change in the current legislation to do this – and what Pitt wants instead is to remove JUDICIAL REVIEW which is the RIGHT OF EVERY AUSTRALIAN!
The timing of Pitt’s interview is interesting though…because if you haven’t noticed, Kimba Council is posting that it is “excited” and “delighted” for their NUCLEAR BRIBE GRANT MONEY being used for two economic advancement projects….although strangely enough they LEAVE OUT MENTIONING where the money is coming from!
The two projects are: The Kimba Future Workforce and Training Plan….and Economic Development Officer. Remember most importantly that all Grant money projects must be completed by May 31st 2022, as part of Grant conditions.
Hmmmm….May 2022…..isn’t that the latest that the Federal Government can call an election?
The BLUFF and BRIBING continues…..
Interview begins at 48:37 and ends 54:45. There is then the shortened news clip 55:15 to 56:25.

March 15, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Why Bill Gates is wrong — Beyond Nuclear International

His nuclear path would lead to, not prevent, a climate disaster

Why Bill Gates is wrong — Beyond Nuclear International

Billionaire’s nuclear ambitions would make climate disaster worse,   By Linda Pentz Gunter, 14 Mar 21, 

In an interview for the Washington Post Magazine during his current book tour, billionaire Bill Gates, whom we are now expected to accept as an authority on climate change, said: “I’ll be happy if TerraPower was a waste of money.” TerraPower is Gates’s nuclear power company pushing so-called “advanced” reactors. His book is called How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.

Well, Bill, I have some good news for you. You can start celebrating! Because, yes, TerraPower is indeed a colossal waste of money. It’s also a waste of precious time. And the idea that nuclear power could “lift billions out of poverty” as the TerraPower website boats, is on a par with any number of outlandish theories, conspiratorial or otherwise, that are making the all too frequent rounds these days.

So has Gates really drunk the Kool-Aid (OK it wasn’t actually Kool-Aid but Flavor Aid that was consumed at the 1978 Jonestown massacre)? Does he really plan to throw away $1 billion of his own money, plus an equal match from investors and possibly some state funding, too, and then just shrug it off when the whole thing proves redundant? Is that really true stewardship of the climate?

You don’t need to be a mathematician to work out what $2 billion plus would buy in renewables, and how much faster that particularly delivery would arrive at the doorsteps of the world’s poor, whom Gates claims he aims to protect.

Here is what Lazard’s estimated in terms of costs comparisons for new nuclear plants and other energy options, as laid out by Amory Lovins in his landmark Forbes article

New nuclear power would cost $118–192/MWh (of which $29 is typical operating cost) while utility-scale solar power would cost $32–42/MWh and onshore windpower $28–54/MWh. 

As Lovins has consistently pointed out: “To protect the climate, we must save the most carbon at the least cost and in the least time, counting all three variables—carbon and cost and time.” 

And, “costly options save less carbon per dollar than cheaper options. Slow options save less carbon per year than faster options. Thus even a low- or no-carbon option that is too costly or too slow will reduce and retard achievable climate protection.” 

Right now, a so-called “advanced” TerraPower reactor is just a glimmer in Gates’s eye. Like the prevailing fantasies about life on Mars, his toy reactor won’t materialize anywhere near soon enough to ease the agonies of the climate crisis. And even if it eventually shows up, and passes the necessary safety requirements, it will demonstrate only a triumph in physics, having by then no economical or practical utility whatsoever.

As the absence of progress on small modular reactors has shown, there is simply no viable market for new reactors, “advanced” or otherwise. Even the enticing prospect of rolling hundreds of small reactors off assembly lines (a jobs killer for on-site workers), is pie-in-the-sky, given the huge upfront costs that could never be recouped unless there were hundreds, possibly thousands, of orders.

To show just how detached from nuclear reality Bill Gates has become, he is happy to throw in the towel on TerraPower if fusion triumphs instead. Fusion, he says along with fission and “a miracle in storage” are the “only” ways to “make electricity cheap and reliable.”

Yes, this is the same fusion that has been thirty years away for countless decades. And still is. This is the fusion that uses more energy to create electricity than it delivers; that is sucking billions of dollars into research that could be applied to instant fixes in the renewable energy sector.

This is the same “cheap” that saw the costs at the two still unfinished new nuclear reactors in Georgia balloon to $21 billion in 2021, more than double the original cost and counting. And it’s the same “reliable” that resulted in Texans shivering in the dark during the recent big freeze (and no, it wasn’t frozen wind turbines, and I don’t have a fire-starting space laser, either).

There is a reason we are no longer searching for gold in them thar hills. We don’t need to waste years panning for a few elusive grams, hoping eventually to build a fortune. The Gold Rush is over. So, if there ever was one, is the Nuclear Rush.

Gates wants to save lives conquering malaria. But he’s fine with exposing people to radiation and leaving a legacy of toxic waste with no known solution.

Take a look around. In addition to the Vogtle debacle, a similar project in South Carolina was abandoned unfinished with ratepayers footing the bill. In the UK, Hitachi has fled for the Welsh hills, ditching its new reactor plans in that country. Before that, a proposed three-reactor site in Cumbria in north west England saw a similar corporate exodus. The new reactor at Bradwell, UK, is on “pause.” 

Meanwhile, as nuclear costs — largely due to their equally huge risks — continue to soar, renewable prices are plummeting. Solar and wind are the cheapest and fastest forms of new energy. Nuclear power is the most expensive and the slowest. So if you choose to spend your next $2 billion on trying to invent the better nuclear mousetrap, then you are not helping to avoid a climate disaster. You are enabling it.

March 15, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fukushima at 2021- Aftershocks, Lies, and Failed Decontamination

Fukushima at Ten: Aftershocks, Lies, and Failed Decontamination,  BY JOHN LAFORGE   It’s now 10 years since the catastrophic triple meltdowns of reactors at Fukushima in Japan. As Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Public Health project put it three years ago, “Enormous amounts of radioactive chemicals, including cesium, strontium, plutonium, and iodine were emitted into the air, and releases of the same toxins into the Pacific have never stopped, as workers struggle to contain over 100 cancer-causing chemicals.”

There is news of the shortage of Fukushima health studies, big earthquakes (aftershocks) and typhoons rattling nerves, reactors and waste systems, novel radioactive particles dispersed, and corporate and government dishonesty about decontamination.

Very few health studies

“So far only one single disease entity has been systematically examined in humans in Fukushima: thyroid cancer,” says Dr. Alex Rosen, the German chair of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Other diseases, such as leukemia or malformations, which are associated with increased radiation exposure, have not been investigated, Rosen told the German medical journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt March 2. (Five studies have focused not on disease, but on birth abnormalities in the areas most affected: three on infant mortality rates, one on underweight newborns, and one on declining birth rates 9 months after March 2011.*)

The one disease study of the population was a screening for thyroid cancer in 380,000 local children under the age 18. In January 2018, the journal Thyroid reported 187 cases after five years. A typical population of 380,000 children would produce 12 cases in five years, reported Joseph Mangano, director of the Radiation and Pubic Health Project. The increase among children is “exactly what would be expected if Fukushima were a factor, as radiation is most damaging to the fetus, infant and child,” Mangano said.

New Earthquakes Rattle Wreckage and Nerves

Another large earthquake, magnitude 7.3, struck Feb. 13, again off the coast of the Fukushima reactor complex, and the reported 30 seconds of terror was followed by14 aftershocks up to magnitude 5.

The quake was severe enough that its Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) operators and federal regulators suspect it caused additional damage to reactors 1 and 3 where cooling water levels fell sharply, the Associated Press reported. The Feb. 13 quake was felt in Tokyo 150 miles away. Japan’s meteorological agency said it was believed to be an aftershock of the record 2011 quake.

At a Feb. 15 meeting, government regulators said the quake had probably worsened existing earthquake damage in reactors 1 and 3 or broken open new cracks causing the cooling water level drop, the AP said.

“Because (the 2011 quake) was an enormous one with a magnitude of 9.0, it’s not surprising to have an aftershock of this scale 10 years later,” said Kenji Satake, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.

There have been six major aftershocks in the Fukushima area since March 2011: April 7, 2011 (magnitude 7.1); April 11, 2011 (6.6); July 10, 2011 (7.0); Oct. 26, 2013 (7.1); Nov. 26, 2016 (6.9); and Feb. 13, 2021 (7.3). All six of these earthquakes were named Fukushima in one language or another.

Earthquake shocks are not the only recurring nightmare to haunt the survivors of the record quake that killed 19, 630. Typhoon Hagibis slammed into Tamura City in October 2019, and swept away an unknown number of bags of radioactive debris that had been stacked near a river.

Since March 2011, over 22 million cubic meters of contaminated soil, brush and other matter from areas hard hit by fallout has been collected in large black plastic bags and piled in temporary storage mounds in thousands of places. (“Fukushima residents fight state plan to build roads with radiation-tainted soil,” Koydo, Japan Times, Apr. 29, 2018) Yet the volume is the tip of the iceberg: According to R. Ramachandran, in The Hindu, January 31, 2020, no decontamination activities are planned for the majority of forested areas which cover about 75 per cent of the main contaminated area of 9,000 square km.”

Cover-ups and disinformation Continue reading

March 15, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New South Wales Energy Minister ”excited about the opportunities” for nuclear power

Energy minister backs nuclear option   , Daily Telegraph, 14 Mar 21, 

NSW’s energy minister has said the state is “excited about the opportunities” being afforded by nuclear power as he denied climate policies were leading to the closure of coal-powered plants…… (subscribers only)

March 15, 2021 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Space radiation – harmful to astronauts, not only with cancers, but also with heart and blood vessel effects

From Vitamin C to Spinach: Researching Ways to Protect Astronaut Cardiovascular Health From Space Radiation.   Review explores ways that space radiation can damage cardiovascular health, and discusses how we can protect astronauts, from vitamin C to spinach. SciTech Daily 14 Mar 21, Space: the final frontier. What’s stopping us from exploring it? Well, lots of things, but one of the major issues is space radiation, and the effects it can have on astronaut health during long voyages. A new review in the open-access journal Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine explores what we know about the ways that space radiation can negatively affect cardiovascular health, and discusses methods to protect astronauts. These include radioprotective drugs, and antioxidant treatments, some of which are more common than you might think.

Space is incredibly inhospitable. Outside of low earth orbit, astronauts are bombarded with radiation, including galactic cosmic rays, and ‘proton storms’ released by the sun. This radiation is harmful for the human body, damaging proteins and DNA, and is one of the major reasons that we haven’t yet been able to send anyone to Mars, or beyond.

These issues inspired Dr Jesper Hjortnaes of the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands to investigate what we know about the harmful effects of space radiation. “If we want to see human long distance space travel, we need to understand the impact of space-induced disease and how to protect our bodies from it,” said Hjortnaes. However, Hjortnaes has an interest in a specific aspect of space radiation: its cardiovascular effects.

You may be surprised to learn that aside from the illnesses we typically associate with radiation, such as cancer, it can also have serious effects on the cardiovascular system. Suffering from cardiovascular illness would be catastrophic for crew members on long-haul space missions, and so it’s important to identify what the risks are, and how to reduce them.

Hjortnaes and colleagues reviewed the evidence to establish what we know about the cardiovascular risks of space radiation. Much of what we know comes from studying people who have received radiation therapy for cancer, where cardiovascular disease is a common side-effect, or from mouse studies of radiation exposure.

So, what are the effects? Radiation can cause myocardial remodeling, where the structure of the heart begins to change, and tough, fibrous tissue grows to replace healthy muscle, potentially leading to heart failure. Other effects include atherosclerosis in blood vessels, which can cause stroke or heart attack. Radiation exerts its effects by causing inflammation, oxidative stress, cell death and DNA damage.

Researchers have also investigated potential ways to protect astronauts. These include drugs that an astronaut could take to protect themselves from space radiation, and antioxidants. Interestingly, an antioxidant diet, including dairy products, green vegetables such as spinach, and antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C, has potential in protecting astronauts from the damaging reactive oxygen molecules produced during radiation exposure.

Overall, the review revealed that so far, research has only scratched the surface of space radiation and the best methods to protect astronauts from it. There is little conclusive evidence of radiation-induced cardiovascular disease in astronauts themselves, as so few of them have ever gone further than low earth orbit, and mouse studies aren’t an exact match for humans……..

March 15, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Low doses of radiation used in medical imaging lead to mutations in cell cultures

March 15, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear power losing out in the UK – not a good omen for the global nuclear industry

Seeking Alpha 13th March 2021, My comments on offshore wind making other forms of energy uncompetitive in 2017 have only become more clear in the past 3 years. Now the adoption ofnoffshore wind is happening elsewhere around the world including in the US, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, India.
Here I review the current statusnof the UK nuclear power program because the UK nuclear sector is a key
indicator for the status of nuclear power adoption in the West. I concludenthat, notwithstanding a lot of lobbying for SMR (Small Modular Reactor) technology, nuclear power is a fading force.
This has particular relevance for investors interested in  SMR technology. Indicating the desperate state of the UK nuclear industry, a new report from the Centre for Policy Studies “Bridging the gap: the case for new nuclear investment” concludes that at least one new nuclear plant needs to be built to support the Hinkley Point C development.
However it is acknowledged that this will not be possible with current financing. An interesting example of creative financing being considered is the Regulated Asset Base model which would allow developers to start charging
consumers before the nuclear reactor commences power generation. It will be interesting to see how such a model of financing might be regarded.
The essence of the SMR argument is that it will be more cost effective to build SMRs in a factory for delivery on site. Rolls Royce is a serious contender in the race to develop a Small Modular Reactor and it is proposing to build
not one, but 16 of these plants with a capacity of 440 MW at a cost of 2 billion pounds each.

The Rolls Royce strategy is that by building multiple SMRs it will get good at it and the cost might go down. The reality behind this proposal is that it seems pretty ambitious to set out to build 16 plants before one has been successfully constructed. Time seems against this concept as the UK will have largely exited nuclear power by 2030.

March 15, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How to convince households to offer battery storage to boost the grid — RenewEconomy

Sydney start-up UPowr to apply behavioural science techniques in study into how to boost participation in solar and storage orchestration initiatives. The post How to convince households to offer battery storage to boost the grid appeared first on RenewEconomy.

How to convince households to offer battery storage to boost the grid — RenewEconomy

March 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March 14 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “A Victory In The Fight To Save Our Coast, But The War Isn’t Won” • Louisiana coastal advocates have been celebrating release of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental impact study on the state’s proposed Myrtle Grove river sediment diversion. It is to cost $50 billion. But it won’t be $50 billion, […]

March 14 Energy News — geoharvey

March 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment