Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian govt keeps mum about Japan’s plan to dump nuclear waste-water into the Pacific (no suprise – it originated from Australian uranium)

Australian Government quiet over Japan’s nuclear waste condemnation, Independent Australia, By Dave Sweeney | 23 April 2021While Japan faces international backlash over its decision to dump contaminated wastewater, Australia remains quiet due to its part in the Fukushima disaster, writes Dave Sweeney.

AGAINST A BACKDROP of runners carrying a small torch to light the Olympic flame for the July Tokyo Olympics, there are growing flames of discontent over the Japanese Government’s plan to release large volumes of contaminated wastewater from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant directly into the Pacific Ocean.

…………Whatever the water’s pathway, it is now polluted. And, with the volume growing each day, direct ocean disposal is the quickest and cheapest management option.

The aqua dump plan, set to start in two years and continue in stages for years to come, has attracted fierce domestic and international criticism.

In a rare moment of unity, Taiwan has condemned the move while China has described the plan as extremely irresponsible. South Korea has seen street protests and a move from President Moon Jae-in to explore legal options, including through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

A Philippines presidential spokesperson highlighted that “we are one ecosystem… we are interconnected” and three U.N. Human Rights rapporteurs specialising in food, toxics and the environment declared that the release ‘into the marine environment imposes considerable risks to the full enjoyment of the human rights of concerned populations in and beyond the borders of Japan’.

TEPCO has stated that the water will be treated before release using a system known as A.L.P.S. — the Advanced Liquid Processing System.

However, TEPCO’s assurances are cold comfort to many.

The company was caught out in 2018 having falsely claimed that earlier releases contained no radioactive materials. This time, TEPCO has changed its tune and acknowledges that radioactive tritium will be released along with the dumped water. Tritium is very difficult to separate from water as it is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that remains active for between 60-100 years.

Many observers also hold grave concerns that other longer-lived radioactive wastes including ruthenium, cobalt, strontium and plutonium could also be discharged into the Pacific given that not all are always captured by the A.L.P.S. process.

This concern has seen Pacific activists refer to the Japanese nuclear sector as a house without a toilet and the Pacific Islands Forum declare that:

‘…steps have not been sufficiently taken to address the potential harm to our Blue Pacific Continent, including possible environmental, health, and economic impacts. Our fisheries and oceans resources are critical to our Pacific livelihoods and must be protected.’……..

Critics are concerned that the plan is not based on the best possible technology, but rather being driven by corner and cost-cutting.

Japanese and international groups and experts called for other options to be fully evaluated before direct release was approved. These include continued interim tank storage, enhanced evaporation and mortar solidification, where contaminated water is mixed with cement and sand and stored. This technique is used to manage liquid contaminants at other nuclear facilities, including Savannah River in the USA.

Some Australian environment groups have criticised the direct dumping plan and used the recent tenth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster to call on the Japanese Government to reconsider this approach.

To date, the Australian Government has made no comment or call. This is hardly surprising given that Australian uranium was inside the Fukushima reactors at the time of the meltdown. Since this time, successive Australian governments have avoided any comment or criticism and instead prioritised trying to find new markets for our flatlining uranium sector.

As an island nation steeped in coastal culture and salt-water stories, the deliberate degradation of our shared global waters should be a concern. The long-term protection of communities, cultures, creatures and currents needs to be given preference over short-term nuclear industry expedience.   Dave Sweeney is the Australian Conservation Foundation’s nuclear-free campaigner and was a founding member of ICAN. You can follow him on Twitter @nukedavesweeney.  https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australian-government-quiet-over-japans-nuclear-waste-condemnation,15015

April 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

University students to meet to plan climate activism.

Climate Strike Organising Meeting 

Wed 28 April | 2pm | Old Quad G10, Uni of Melbourne.

Come along to the first USCJ campus meeting of the semester, where we’ll discuss building the May 21 Uni Student Climate Strike at UniMelb, the university’s ties to the fossil fuel industry and how we’re going to rebuild the climate movement. USCJ is the best way to get involved in climate activism at Melbourne Uni, so don’t miss it! 

The oceans are rising, Texas experienced a life threatening snowstorm, hurricanes are ripping through Central America creating hundreds of climate refugees and NSW is flooding. Climate change is getting worse.

2050 targets are the new version of climate denial. We can’t wait decades into the future, we need to act now. We also can’t rely on climate summits to fix the issue. In Australia, it’s even worse with the gas-led economy recovery and Scott Morrison reminding us we should rely on the “animal spirits” of the business community to solve the problems while the Labor party continually pledges commitment to the coal industry after 2050. Our very own Melbourne Uni admin also has strong ties with climate criminals like Rio Tinto. 

We need a mass, radical student movement to challenge our uni to divest and create a political crisis for the government. 

Get involved with climate activism on campus! 

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison’s climate summit speech was littered with downright dodgy claims,

Scott Morrison’s climate summit speech was littered with downright dodgy claims, https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/australian-politics/2021/04/24/scott-morrison-climate-summit-facts/ Richie Merzian,   I have sat through countless speeches on climate change from world leaders, both working for the government and outside it, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s rant at President Joe Biden’s climate summit last night was one of the worst performances I have ever seen.

Technical glitches and the dreaded mute button were the least of Morrison’s worries, as he mounted the (virtual) stage, armed with three-word slogans, self-congratulations, and downright dodgy greenhouse gas emission numbers.

  Most major nations before him   (and there were many) had pledged stronger climate targets or concrete policies to curb carbon pollution.  Japan and Canada vowed significant increases on their 2030 targets. India and the Republic of Korea announced new partnerships with the United States. Even Brazil, a highly problematic country in the climate space, announced it would advance its carbon neutrality target by a decade.

In contrast, Morrison’s speech was heavy on bluster, light on policy. No new commitments were brought to the table, further cementing Australia’s inadequate Paris target of a 26-28 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Then like the dinner guest that turns up to a pot-luck empty-handed and complains about what others have brought, Morrison dismissed the serious efforts of other nations whilst offering nothing himself.

When it came time to talk numbers, Morrison’s claim that we have reduced emissions by 19 per cent broadly and 36 per cent excluding exports, had me and many others dumfounded. Where did these numbers come from?    What dodgy accounting tricks were at play? Turns out 19 per cent is cherry-picked from the middle of the pandemic and the 36 per cent number is just off the reservation. The PM is reinventing UN accounting rules, asking the world to forget about the rising emissions from the production of gas and coal we export!

If there is one thing we can establish, Morrison can always be relied upon for accounting tricks. Until recently, the Morrison government tried to cash in on leftover carbon credits from the last climate agreement, to avoid reducing emissions required under the current Paris Agreement. This is What dodgy accounting tricks were at play? Turns out 19 per cent is cherry-picked from the middle of the pandemic and the 36 per cent number is just off the reservation. The PM is reinventing UN accounting rules, asking the world to forget about the rising emissions from the production of gas and coal we export!

If there is one thing we can establish, Morrison can always be relied upon for accounting tricks. Until recently, the Morrison government tried to cash in on leftover carbon credits from the last climate agreement, to avoid reducing emissions required under the current Paris Agreement. This is akin to attempting to use an old Starbucks loyalty card to pay for a Big Mac. Only after he was named and shamed by his international peers did Morrison back away from this dodgy loophole.

Much like a guest knows there are topics you do not talk about at a dinner party, every world leader knows the formalities and conventions of a climate summit. Every world leader it seems, bar Morrison. After undermining the speakers before him by belittling ‘targets’ and ‘promises’ with a tone-deaf arrogance, Morrison went on to awkwardly name-check his big-polluting industry mates, and claim Australia would somehow replicate the US’ success in Silicon Valley through our own ‘hydrogen valleys’.

Morrison rattled off ‘pioneering Australian companies’ from BHP to RioTinto, seemingly forgetting he was speaking on the international stage not addressing the Business Council of Australia at some inner-city wine bar. Perhaps most bizarre, was the name-dropping of Allan Finkel. While most Australian’s probably don’t know who Allan Finkel is, let alone the rest of the world – those who do, likely know him as the former Chief Scientist whose controversial views on gas sparked an open letter from leading Australian scientists.

In December 2019, when I watched Angus Taylor address the United Nations climate talks in Madrid without acknowledging the catastrophic bushfires that were devastating the nation, I thought I’d seen Aussie climate diplomacy at its worst. Then came Morrison’s performance at this summit.

Fortunately, the US had placed Morrison so far down the speaking list that President Biden had already left the room.

The United States – the world’s largest economy and second-largest polluter after China kicked off the event by announcing it would at least halve emissions by 2030, a target that Australia Institute research shows Australia should replicate. If it did, then we would have something to brag about.

Richie Merzian is Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute. You can follow him on Twitter at @richiemerzian

April 24, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Morrison finds shameless new way to fake climate action as world steps up — RenewEconomy

As major emitters took major steps to enhancing climate action, Scott Morrison figured out a stunning new way to fake emissions reductions. The post Morrison finds shameless new way to fake climate action as world steps up appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Morrison finds shameless new way to fake climate action as world steps up — RenewEconomy

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victoria puts out call for virtual power plants with rooftop solar and batteries — RenewEconomy

Victoria government puts out call for aggregators to expand the state’s offerings of virtual power plants harnessing resources of rooftop solar and household batteries. The post Victoria puts out call for virtual power plants with rooftop solar and batteries appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Victoria puts out call for virtual power plants with rooftop solar and batteries — RenewEconomy

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is the US nuclear community prepared for the extreme weather climate change is bringing? 

Is the US nuclear community prepared for the extreme weather climate change is bringing?  https://thebulletin.org/2021/04/is-the-us-nuclear-community-prepared-for-the-extreme-weather-climate-change-is-bringing/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=ThursdayNewsletter04222021&utm_content=NuclearRisk_NuclearExtremeWeather_04202021 By Susan D’Agostino | April 20, 2021 

In May 2000, a planned burn to remove dead, dried underbrush on New Mexico’s drought-stricken Cerro Grande peak in the Bandelier National Monument grew out of control. As the sky darkened with smoke, a wall of flames fueled by high winds burned through tens of thousands of acres of land where people, elk, and bald eagles made their homes. The monstrous blaze escaped the monument’s containment line and headed to the forested birthplace of the atomic bomb—Los Alamos National Laboratory. There, it raced over soil, rocks, and trees contaminated from decades-old nuclear weapons testing, releasing radioactive particles into the air and setting 47 buildings ablaze. As the devastation unfolded, the wildfire inched close to, but stopped short of, a facility containing tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen.

In May 2000, a planned burn to remove dead, dried underbrush on New Mexico’s drought-stricken Cerro Grande peak in the Bandelier National Monument grew out of control. As the sky darkened with smoke, a wall of flames fueled by high winds burned through tens of thousands of acres of land where people, elk, and bald eagles made their homes. The monstrous blaze escaped the monument’s containment line and headed to the forested birthplace of the atomic bomb—Los Alamos National Laboratory. There, it raced over soil, rocks, and trees contaminated from decades-old nuclear weapons testing, releasing radioactive particles into the air and setting 47 buildings ablaze. As the devastation unfolded, the wildfire inched close to, but stopped short of, a facility containing tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen.

The US response to potential climate impacts on the country’s various nuclear activities has, in the eyes of many experts, fallen far short of what it needs to be.

“All of these [nuclear] structures were built on the presumption of a stable planet. And our climate is changing very rapidly and presenting new extremes,” Hill said. “There’s harm that stems from that.”

Drought and spent nuclear waste. When forests are drier for long periods of time, they act as kindling for wildfires. Extreme drought exacerbated by climate change is a key driver of wildfires in the Western United States, which are increasing both in frequency and in size. For nuclear infrastructure in the heart of wildfire territory, this trend spells trouble.

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April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Chernobyl story continues

Chernobyl: The next phase   https://www.ebrd.com/news/2021/chernobyl-the-next-phase.html By Axel  Reiserer, 23 Apr 2021

At 01:23:40 on 26 April 1986, the failure of a routine test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, caused reactor 4 to explode, releasing parts of its radioactive core. It was the worst nuclear accident the world had ever seen, with far-reaching political, economic and ecological consequences. Thirty-five years on, Chernobyl is still as well-known as it was a generation ago.

Fires broke out, causing the main release of radioactivity into the environment. Wind carried contaminated particles over Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, as well as parts of Scandinavia and wider Europe. The 50,000 inhabitants of the adjacent town of Pripyat were evacuated, never to return.

The accident destroyed reactor 4, killing 30 operators and firemen within three months and causing numerous other deaths in weeks and months that followed. To this day, it remains the only accident in the history of the civil use of nuclear power when radiation-related fatalities occurred. The precise number of short- and longer-term victims remains heavily disputed.

By 06:35 on 26 April, all fires at the power plant had been extinguished, apart from the fire inside reactor 4, which continued to burn for many days. Some 5,000 tonnes of boron, dolomite, sand, clay and lead were dropped from helicopters in a bid to extinguish the blaze. When the destroyed reactor was later enclosed in a provisional structure – the so-called sarcophagus – these fuel-containing materials were also walled in.

The sarcophagus was built under extremely hazardous conditions and unprecedented time pressure. By November 1986, a steel and concrete shelter was in place to lock away the radioactive substances inside the ruined reactor building and to act as a radiation shield. It was always intended as a temporary measure, with an estimated lifespan of 20-30 years

The search for a long-term solution started soon after, alongside the massive challenge of cleaning up the accident site. By the end of 1991, the Soviet Union had dissolved and newly independent Ukraine had been left with the Chernobyl legacy. Following a G7 Action Plan to improve nuclear safety in central and eastern Europe, the Nuclear Safety Account was set up at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 1993. Two years later, the scope of the programme was extended to include Chernobyl.

A breakthrough came with the Shelter Implementation Plan in 1997, which provided a road map of how to the tackle the immediate and longer-term tasks. In the same year, the G7 officially invited the EBRD to set up and manage the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, which became the main vehicle for all efforts to ensure that the destroyed reactor 4 remained in an environmentally safe and secure state.

Emergency repairs in 1998 and 1999 prevented the imminent collapse of the sarcophagus, as well as a vent stack that was endangering the adjacent turbine hall over reactor 3, which was still in operation. It was only at the end of 2000 that all nuclear power generation in Chernobyl ceased. The following year saw a landmark decision to build an arch-shaped steel structure, called the New Safe Confinement (NSC), to seal off reactor 4.

In the subsequent years, several tasks were carried out simultaneously. Detailed technical work on the NSC started. The site had to be stabilised and prepared for the construction work. The first project the EBRD managed was the construction of a liquid radioactive waste treatment plant (LRTP) to handle some 35,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level liquid waste at the site. Meanwhile, the safe storage of the spent fuel assemblies from reactors 1, 2 and 3 came into focus.

All this has been achieved. The LRTP has been operational since 2014. A new interim storage facility for the treatment and storage of spent fuel has been built and, after successful hot tests, is currently awaiting a permanent licence from the Ukrainian regulator. The NSC, the most visible Chernobyl project, was slid into position in late 2016 and then handed over to the Ukrainian authorities.

In total, the Bank has managed close to €2 billion in donor funds through the Chernobyl Shelter Fund and Nuclear Safety Account. Of this, the EBRD provided €715 million of its own resources to complete the Interim Storage Facility and New Safe Confinement.

Today, the New Safe Confinement dominates the skyline over Chernobyl, as the sarcophagus once did. The steel structure is 108 metres high and 162 metres long, with a span of 257 metres and a lifetime of at least 100 years. It was assembled in two stages in a cleaned area near the accident site and, despite its size and weight of 36,000 tonnes, was pushed 327 metres into position. It is the largest moveable structure ever built.

This is not where the story ends, however. The fact that the NSC has a lifespan of 100 years means that the next phase of work now has to be planned, agreed and implemented. The estimated 200 tonnes of radioactive nuclear fuel inside reactor 4 are now shielded by the New Safe Confinement. However, parts of the sarcophagus are becoming unstable and will have to be removed at some point. Once this is done, work will come closer to the reactor’s interior.

The EBRD remains a key partner in these efforts. Following a request by Ukraine, in November 2020, the Bank established the new International Chernobyl Co-Operation Account, aimed at creating an integrated plan for the site to serve as the basis for developing and implementing longer-term projects. The new fund will hold it first assembly meeting on Tuesday – fittingly one day after the 35th anniversary. The Chernobyl story continues.

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA: Small nuclear reactors cannot meet the critical climate need – now, or ever

The critical need for deep carbon pollution reductions this decade calls on us to focus on the low-carbon technologies we have now. And those are wind and solar. SMRs will be a dollar short and a day too late. They cannot meet critical climate deadlines, not by 2030 or 2035, and likely never.

Advanced Nuclear Dreaming in Washington State, CounterPunch, PATRICK MAZZA  19 Apr 21, It was once known by one of the most inadvertently appropriate acronyms ever, WPPSS, the Washington Public Power Supply System.  “Whoops!,” as they called it, in the early 1980s brought on what was then the worst municipal bond default in U.S. history trying to build five nuclear reactors in Washington state at once, completing only one.

But faith in the nuclear future lives on at “Whoops!,” today rebranded as Energy Northwest. On April 1, the day perhaps also inadvertently fitting, the consortium of Washington state public utilities announced a move aimed at the first advanced nuclear reactor deployment in the U.S. Energy Northwest will partner with Grant County Public Utility District, a member utility serving a desert county in the center of the state, and X-energy, a leading developer of the nuclear industry’s bright shining hope, the small modular reactor (SMR)…………….

The WPPSS default was part of the first wave of nuclear failures in the U.S. In the wake of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, approximately 100 proposed nuclear plants were cancelled. Recent years have seen a second round of failures. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 put $25 billion in nuclear subsidies on the table. That jumpstarted all of four nuclear reactors, two each in Georgia and South Carolina.  The only way Wall Street would touch the projects was to make ratepayers carry the risk by paying for “work in progress” before the first watt is delivered. South Carolina ratepayers won’t even see that. Cost overruns killed the project there in 2017 after $9 billion was thrown away, setting up a political and court fight over whether ratepayers will continue to be soaked.  The last two standing, Georgia’s Vogtle plants, were to have cost $14 billion and come on line in 2016-17. Now costs have doubled to $28 billion and scheduled completion this year and next is considered unlikely.

IS THE SMR A SOLUTION?

SMRs are the nuclear industry’s answer to avoid such failures in the future. Instead of being custom-built and individually licensed, SMRs are intended to cut costs by licensing a single design manufactured at a plant and sent for final assembly to their operating site.  Smaller than the 1,000-megawatt-plus plants with which we’re familiar, SMRs are 100 MW or less, and designed with safety features to prevent meltdowns such as experienced at Japan’s Fukushima plant in 2011. Though there are questions about that, as covered below…………..

CAN THE SMR SAVE THE CLIMATE?

For now, the question is whether SMRs such as X-energy’s can really revive the nuclear industry, and most importantly, provide a climate solution with low-carbon electrical power in a meaningful timeframe. The answer, by simple logic, is no

…………Though deep carbon cuts must start quickly, the Washington state partnership gives a completion date for its SMR pilot project as 2027-28. Considering the nuclear industry’s track record, delays and cost overruns are likely. And that would only be the beginning of a long-process to create the entire manufacturing supply chain needed to make SMRs an economical alternative. If they can be. The key issue is economies of scale.

“Power generation scales on volume of the reactor vessels,” notes Arjun Makhijani, who has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, with a specialization in nuclear fusion, from the University of California at Berkeley. “The materials and labor scale more slowly.  That’s a basic reason that there are economies of scale and big reactors were built.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) cites a study which shows that a reactor with 1,100 MW capacity would cost three times as much to build as a 180 MW plant, but produce six times the electricity, “so the capital cost per kilowatt would be twice as great for the smaller plant.”

SMRs lose those economies of scale, but proponents hope to make that up with mass manufacturing and licensing, avoiding costs of custom-built plants.

ROCKY ROAD TO MASS PRODUCTION

“The road to such mass manufacturing will be rocky,” Makhijani and M.V. Ramana write in a recent article, “Why Small Modular Reactors Won’t Help Counter the Climate Crisis.” “Even with optimistic assumptions about how quickly manufacturers could learn to improve production efficiency and lower cost, thousands of SMRs, which will all be higher priced in comparison to large reactors, would have to be manufactured for the price per kilowatt for an SMR to be comparable to that of a large reactor.”

That sets up “a chicken-and-egg economic problem,” they write. “Without the factories, SMRs can never hope to achieve the theoretical cost reductions that are at the heart of the strategy to compensate for the lack of economies of scale. But without the cost reductions, there will not be the large number of orders to stimulate the investments needed to set up the supply chain in the first place.”………….

WE DON’T NEED NUCLEAR

The world is running out of time to address all the concerns facing SMRs and advanced reactor designs in general.

“If you look at the cold facts from a climate point of view we have a shortage of time and money. New reactors cannot help materially,” Makhijani told The Raven. “How are we going to have a carbon-free electricity system by 2035 in which SMRs will play a significant role when the first one isn’t even supposed to come on line till the late 2020s? Those who are advocating new nuclear reactors should address the time constraint, and whether we can do it without nuclear. If we could not do it without, that would be another question. But we can. So there should be no question.”

Many studies document the capacity of wind and solar to replace fossil fuel electricity. The challenge of varying sunlight and wind speeds is met with a smart grid that can adjust energy demand to available supply and link diverse geographies. So when the wind is blowing on the Great Plains, it can supply juice while clouds block sunlight in Chicago. For times when none of that is sufficient, storage in many forms can be used, from batteries to pumped storage reservoirs. Even household water heaters. If all else fails, backup generators fueled with stored hydrogen can be brought into play.  Hydrogen can be electrolyzed from water through solar and wind energy that would otherwise go unused because generation exceeds the demands of the grid.


Mark Jacobson
 of Stanford has done many studies documenting the capacity of wind, water and solar to meet all energy needs. A NOAA study showed carbon pollution from electricity could be cut up to 80% from 1990 levels by 2030, largely with wind and solar, needing no new nuclear and energy storage, while actually cutting electricity costs. That would require building a continental grid with efficient high-voltage DC lines to link diverse geographies. A study done by Makhijani for the Institute for Environmental and Energy Research, of which he is president, lays out a path to zero carbon electricity in Maryland.

ANOTHER WHOOPS?

Despite towering obstacles facing SMRs, from economic chicken-and-egg problems of ramping up production, to unsolved waste and proliferation issues, to remaining safety questions, the nuclear faithful at Energy Northwest soldier on. Yes, they now have operated a nuclear plant successfully since the 1980s, though questions have been raised about earthquake hazards in light of emerging seismic knowledge. Washington state has enacted a goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045, and nuclear advocates see it filling a role.  In any event, new nuclear power from SMRs will be incapable of supplying a significant portion of low-carbon energy until well into the 2030s, even if economic and other issues are resolved.

All that time, any new nuclear reactors will be facing continuing cost declines in wind, solar and storage, as well as increasing deployment of smart grid technologies and advanced long-distance power transmission. If the Washington state partnership’s SMR installation actually is built and operated, with the 2027-8 timeline likely to be stretched out and the projected $2.4 billion cost figure likely to be exceeded, it could well be a costly white elephant, a relic of faith in a technology whose time has passed. The critical need for deep carbon pollution reductions this decade calls on us to focus on the low-carbon technologies we have now. And those are wind and solar. SMRs will be a dollar short and a day too late. They cannot meet critical climate deadlines, not by 2030 or 2035, and likely never.  https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/04/19/advanced-nuclear-dreaming-in-washington-state/

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Britain’s unlikely-to-succeed bet on Rolls Royce small nuclear reactors

 

…..Advanced Modular Reactors are unlikely to be available before 2045 if ever – much too late to be any help in tackling the climate emergency. .….

Small Modular Reactors s will only proceed if the risk to RR money is minimal. That means RR will only put serious effort into design development with government guarantees given now, before the design exists, and it has been reviewed by ONR, a demonstration plant has been completed, and costs are known. 

SMRs will only proceed if the risk to RR money is minimal. That means RR will only put serious effort into design development with government guarantees given now, before the design exists, and it has been reviewed by ONR, a demonstration plant has been completed, and costs are known. 

UK taxpayers would have to provide a large proportion of the cost of design development, navigating the regulators design assessment and assist in the setting up of component production lines. It would also have to guarantee orders for a minimum of 16 reactors, which, even on Rolls Royce’s unrealistic cost estimate, would be a commitment to spend nearly £30bn before it has progressed beyond a conceptual design.

Johnson Loves Pie in the Sky nuClear News N0. 131 April 2021, We saw in June 2020 (nuClear News No. 126) how the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) has been advising the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that we need three streams of nuclear product development and deployment:

 • large-scale Light Water Reactors (LWRs), which are currently available and suitable for baseload electricity generation;
 • small modular reactors (SMRs), which are based on the same proven technology and can offer additional flexibility to meet local energy needs;

 • advanced modular reactors (AMRs), which typically have a higher temperature output, enabling them to contribute to decarbonisation through heat and hydrogen production, as well as generate electricity at competitive costs. 

Small modular and advanced nuclear reactors are proposed, supposedly, as potential ways of dealing with some of the problems of large nuclear reactors —specifically economic competitiveness, risk of accidents, link to proliferation and production of waste. Yet Gregory Jaczko, Former Chair US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, says Advanced Nuclear Technologies should only be supported “if they can compete with renewables & storage on deployment cost & speed, public safety, waste disposal, operational flexibility & global security. There are none today.” (1) 

The UK Government’s Policy Paper on ‘Advanced Nuclear Technologies’ (ANTs) specifies two broad categories of ANT. Firstly, Generation III water-cooled reactors similar to existing nuclear power station reactors but smaller, it calls Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). This is despite the fact that the Rolls Royce design which it is supporting is 470MW – much larger than the maximum 300MW defined by IAEA as small.   

  Secondly, Generation IV which use novel cooling systems or fuels to offer new functionality (such as industrial process heat) it calls Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs). (2) 

In July 2019 the UK Government gave an initial £18m to Rolls-Royce to help them develop the design for an SMR. This was to be matched with funding from the consortium led by Rolls-Royce (and including Assystem, SNC Lavalin/Atkins, Wood, Arup, Laing O’Rourke, BAM Nuttall, Siemens, National Nuclear Laboratory, and Nuclear AMRC). (3)

A year earlier, in June 2018, as part of the UK government’s £200 million Nuclear Sector Deal, £56 million was put towards the development and licensing of advanced modular reactor designs. Eight non-light water reactor (non-LWR) vendors each received £4 million to perform detailed technical and commercial feasibility studies. Those vendors were Advanced Reactor Concepts, DBD, LeadCold, Moltex Energy, Tokamak Energy, U-Battery Developments, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), and Westinghouse Electric Company UK. (4) This was Phase One of the Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) Feasibility and Development Project. Then in July 2020 Phase Two was announced with 3 AMRs receiving a share of £40m: U-Battery (4MW hig   temperature reactor), Westinghouse (450MW lead-cooled fast reactor) & Tokamak (fusion). A possible further £5m was also made available to regulators to support this. (5) In November 2020, Boris Johnson’s 10 Point Plan confirmed the Government’s commitment to advancing large, small and advanced reactors, and announced an Advanced Nuclear Fund of up to £385 million which included:


 • funding of up to £215 million for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs); • up to £170 million for Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs); • up to £40 million to develop regulatory frameworks and support UK supply chains to help bring these technologies to market.

According to the Energy & Climate Change Intelligence Unit (ECIU) the investment in small modular reactors (SMRs) was less than expected. “If I was in the SMR game I’d be disappointed with this because £2bn support for a small initial fleet of reactors has been paired back to just over £500M.” (6) 

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April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biden pledges to slash emissions by at least half by 2030, Japan and Canada follow suit — RenewEconomy

Joe Biden has confirmed the new climate target for the United States will be to slash emissions by at least half by 2030. Australia refuses to budge. The post Biden pledges to slash emissions by at least half by 2030, Japan and Canada follow suit appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Biden pledges to slash emissions by at least half by 2030, Japan and Canada follow suit — RenewEconomy

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 23 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Finally, The Wind Is At Our Back On The Climate Crisis” • History will remember this decade as the climate turning point, the moment we finally woke up to the fact that despite (and because of) shocks like Covid-19, decarbonization, the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is now inevitable. The only question is […]

April 23 Energy News — geoharvey

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“We were losing major parts of the system:” Zibelman’s push for smarter grids — RenewEconomy

Audrey Zibelman cites Australian bushfire experience as she signs up the US and UK to global program to invest in smarter renewable grids. The post “We were losing major parts of the system:” Zibelman’s push for smarter grids appeared first on RenewEconomy.

“We were losing major parts of the system:” Zibelman’s push for smarter grids — RenewEconomy

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment