Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

”Low Level” radioactive trash to be removed to USA from posh Sydney suburb, while govt plans to send Higher Level nuclear waste to Kimba, rural South Australia.

This is very interesting. They say it’s ”low leve” – presumably ”safe”. Yet for the residents of a posh Sydney suburb, its worth a century-long fight to get it removed – and sent to America !! Makes you see why the residents of Lucas Heights , – now called Bardon Ridge – might be keen to have their much higher-level radioactive trash foisted on distant rural Kimba, South Australia

Hunters Hill radioactive waste to be removed  sent to United States  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-30/hunters-hill-radioactive-waste-to-be-removed-sent-to-us/1001
BRani Hayman  1 May 21,

Key points:

  • The land was the former site of the Radium Hill refinery, which closed in 1915
  • The removal will begin in the coming weeks and take 12 months
  • Melinda Pavey said the issue had taken a long time to resolve because it was “complicated”

Several properties on Nelson Parade at Hunters Hill were built on land contaminated by a former uranium processing site, which closed in 1915. 

The area was also occupied by a carbolic acid plant until the early 1900s and a tin smelter until the 1960s.

Residents have spent decades fighting for the state government to remove the affected soil.

Finally, their calls have been heard, with the waste due to be excavated and sent to the United States.

Philippa Clark from the Nelson Parade Action Group said she was pleased the issued had finally been resolved.

“This is the way you deal with this kind of contamination and the best way possible for us and the environment and future generations,” she said.

The NSW government said the process would begin in the next few weeks and was expected to take 12 months. 

The Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the health and safety of the community would be the main priority during site remediation works and the transportation of the material.

“The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) will supervise the excavation and packing of the contaminated material into sealed bags and containers prior to transport to the USA,” she said.

While there is a sense of relief within the community, the decades-long battle has put strain on the affected residents.

When asked why it has taken so long to find a solution, Ms Pavey said: “Because it was complicated.”

A parliamentary committee in 2008 called for a comprehensive remediation plan for the site and in 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a management order to Property NSW to commence the works — although it said the development consent still had not been issued.

A plan to move the contaminated material to Kemps Creek in Sydney’s west was also abandoned in 2014 following community backlash.

The Mayor of Hunters Hill, Ross Williams, said the residents were looking forward to the area being rehabilitated.

“It’s been a health issue and a legacy issue for all that time.

It’s low-level radioactive material and it came from an industry that was essential [really?] back in those days,” he said.

“In modern times the environmental consequences wouldn’t have been tolerated.

“Once it’s totally cleaned up it will be available for any use.”

Ms Clark is pleased with the outcome despite how long it has taken.

“The government has listened to what we all wanted and what the parliamentary inquiry recommendation had been,” she said.

“We overwhelmingly just want to see ordinary houses and [go] back to [living in] an ordinary street, but without the stigma and without the constant anxiety that we’ve had to live with.”

May 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Morrison in mad scramble to boost fossil fuels while the world changes fast — RenewEconomy

A taxpayer funded gas plant and a proposed subsidy for fossils on the grid. As the world shifts away from coal and gas, Australia’s government doubles down. The post Morrison in mad scramble to boost fossil fuels while the world changes fast appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Morrison in mad scramble to boost fossil fuels while the world changes fast — RenewEconomy

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Antarctic ‘doomsday glacier’ may be melting faster than was thought

Christina Macpherson <christinamacpherson@gmail.com>11:29 AM (3 hours ago)
to me

Antarctic ‘doomsday glacier’ may be melting faster than was thought

Antarctic ‘doomsday glacier’ may be melting faster than was thought

Study finds more relatively warm water is reaching Thwaites glacier than was previously understood,  Guardian,    Matthew Taylor Fri 30 Apr 2021
,   An Antarctic glacier larger than the UK is at risk of breaking up 

after scientists discovered more warm water flowing underneath it than previously thought.

The fate of Thwaites – nicknamed the doomsday glacier – and the massive west Antarctic ice sheet it supports are the biggest unknown factors in future global sea level rise.

Over the past few years, teams of scientists have been crisscrossing the remote and inaccessible region on Antarctica’s western edge to try to understand how fast the ice is melting and what the consequences for the rest of the world might be.

“What happens in west Antarctica is of great societal importance,” said Dr Robert Larter, a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey and principal investigator with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, the most ambitious research project ever carried out in Antarctica. “This is the biggest uncertainty in future sea level rise.”……….

Wahlin said the front of the Thwaites glacier was resting on a number of “pinning points” under the sea. But as relatively warm water from the deep ocean increased the melting, she said, these would be lost, breaking up the ice and allowing warm water further under the ice. This would speed up the flow of the glacier into the sea……..

The worst-case scenarios for Thwaites are grim. It is the widest glacier on the planet, more than 1km deep and holds enough ice to raise the sea level by 65cm.

Ice loss has accelerated in the last 30 years and it now contributes about 4% of all global sea level rise. Experts say this could increase dramatically if the ice at the front of Thwaites breaks up, with knock-on effects for other glaciers in the area.

To heighten scientists’ concerns, west Antarctica has been one of the fastest-warming place on Earth in the past 30 years, and since 2000 it has lost more than 1tn tons of ice.

Last year, a team of British scientists discovered cavities half the size of the Grand Canyon under Thwaites that, like decay in a tooth, allow warm ocean water to erode the glacier, internally accelerating melting. And because a lot of the ground on which the glacier sits is below sea level, it is thought to be particularly vulnerable to melting as warmer water encroaches further under the ice inland……

Ella Gilbert, a research scientist at the University of Reading, said what was happening in the polar regions demanded an urgent response from the international community.

“The polar regions are the canary in the coalmine – they are the symbol of climate change,” said Gilbert, who was a joint author of a recent study warning of the catastrophic impact of global heating on Antarctic ice.

“We really do need to minimise our emissions because if we lose the polar regions, not only are we going to amplify climate change … it will contribute to sea level rise which affects everyone around the globe.”   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/30/antarctic-doomsday-glacier-may-be-melting-faster-than-was-thought

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Extinction Rebellion climate activists block Faslane nuclear base

Extinction Rebellion block Faslane nuclear base entrance,  Climate activists set up a blockade at the Faslane nuclear base by attaching themselves to plant pots.  https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-56941041 30 Apr 21,

Members of Extinction Rebellion Scotland staged the protest at the north gate of the base on the Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute.

The all-female group placed three planters painted with the words “Safe”, “Green”, and “Future” on the road.

Police Scotland said they were made aware of the incident at 06:20 and officers were at the scene.

HMNB Clyde – known as Faslane – is the Royal Navy’s main presence in Scotland.

It is home to the core of the submarine service, including the UK’s nuclear weapons, and the new generation of hunter-killer submarines.

The protest group said they were demanding a future “safe from the threat of nuclear weapons and environmental destruction”.

Extinction Rebellion said the action was part of the Peace Lotus campaign, a global day of anti-war resistance celebrating the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

An HMNB spokesman confirmed police were in attendance and assisting Ministry of Defence officers in dealing with the protest. He added: “Well-established, fully co-ordinated procedures are in place to ensure the effective operation of HMNB Clyde is not compromised because of protest action.”

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mobile nuclear reactors? Scathing report slams ‘disturbing’ military program

Mobile nuclear reactors? Scathing report slams ‘disturbing’ military program, Times, 1 May 21, Todd South The author of an academic report on Pentagon plans to build mobile nuclear reactors to power future combat bases called the effort “extremely disturbing” and “based on a lie.”

The report released Thursday slams the Pentagon and Army G-4, logistics — specifically the Army office’s 2018 report that lays out the potential uses and needs for such mobile nuclear reactors in future operations.

Alan J. Kuperman wrote the 21-page report titled, “Proposed U.S. Army Mobile Nuclear Reactors: Costs and Risks Outweigh Benefits,” in his role as coordinator of the University of Texas at Austin’s Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project.

“They don’t reduce casualties, they increase costs and they increase threats to the lives of U.S. service members,” Kuperman said.

The program, known as “Project Pele,” is prototyping the mobile advanced microreactor concept under the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office……..

The DoD spokesman pointed out that the project is part of a collaboration involving the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private industry. Project Pele is not being designed for a specific military service branch but does include experts across defense for a variety of requirements.

Army officials for G-4 deferred comment on the program to DoD……..

Congress approved funding for prototype reactors and the Army awarded $40 million in contracts to three nuclear reactor companies in March 2020 for Project Pele, according to the NPPP report.

Kuperman struck at the Army’s rationale, calling the project unnecessary and dangerous. He counters some of the main justifications that have been provided by DoD and Army reports:


  • High cost
     – Kuperman said the Army’s claims that nuclear power can provide cheaper electricity for powering future forward bases is “based on unrealistic assumptions.” Those include that such a reactor would have low construction costs and operate for 18 hours a day over 40 years. The more likely scenario is a mobile reactor would run for half that time over about 10 years, meaning nuclear electricity could cost 16 times more than estimates and still seven times more than diesel-generated power.
  • Vulnerability to missile attacks – The report points to the 2020 missile attack on forces at al-Asad air base in Iraq. Even with warnings hours ahead of time, more than 100 U.S. personnel suffered traumatic brain injury from the 11 strikes that hit the facility. And the missiles were 10 times more accurate than the Army has predicted in its report on the vulnerability of reactors to precision strikes. The service admits that a direct hit on a reactor would destroy the device. Kuperman notes that even the Army’s plans to protect the reactors, by burying them underground, could inadvertently cause meltdowns by impeding air cooling and causing overheating. A similar strike on an similar such future base with a reactor could cause far more devastating consequences.

  • Captured reactors 
    – Should a U.S. base housing a mobile reactor be overrun or abandoned, the radioactive waste from the reactor could be used in “dirty bomb” terror attacks.
  • No mission for reactors – One of the chief purposes of pursing such reactor programs was to reduce casualties from diesel transport to remote bases. But Defense Department data shows a dramatic drop in casualties of five per 1 million gallons of fuel delivered in 2005 to nearly zero by 2013.
  • High-energy weapons don’t need reactors – Kuperman states that the justification that future high-energy or laser weapons that the Army hopes to have protecting bases don’t require a reactor to power. “A high energy weapon would have to be fired millions of times to justify a reactor,” Kuperman said. “In reality such a weapon would be fired perhaps hundreds of times in its lifetime.”
  • Transport problems – The Army wants to air deliver these reactors to combat posts. Kuperman questions the “regulatory nightmare” that would create. The program calls for initial tests flying the reactors domestically to run then returning them, and their radioactive waste, to another domestic location. Foreign transport would require approval of countries airspace traversed and the approval of a host nation where the reactor would be placed, he said. Other Army recommendations include truck or rail transport domestically and either ship or over-the-ocean flights to friendly ports to then move the reactors again via truck or rail.

  • Army Times
     reported on the proposed program in 2019, which had drawn backlash from the Union of Concerned Scientists and its then-director of the Nuclear Safety Project, Edwin Lyman, who called the proposal, “naïve.”The original proposal, approved by the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office asked for industry solutions in January 2019 on providing a less than 40-ton small, mobile nuclear reactor design that could operate for three years or more and provide 1 to 10 megawatts of power.Planners want the reactor to fit inside a C-17 cargo plane for air transport to theater. More recent moves have reduced the power output to 5 megawatts……..

Lyman notes a major failure with one of the original eight designs in 1961 when a core meltdown and explosion of the ML-1 reactor in Idaho killed three operators.

The three deployed to Antarctica, Greenland and Alaska proved “unreliable and expensive to operate,” Lyman wrote in his response to the Army’s 2018 report on the mobile reactor program.Lyman told Army Times on Thursday that a number of those old reactors required decades of decommissioning and one used at Fort Belvoir, Va., near Washington D.C. is finally scheduled for decommissioning in late 2021……….. https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2021/04/30/mobile-nuclear-reactors-scathing-report-slams-disturbing-military-program/

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May 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 30 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Climate Migration” • Climate change is already displacing millions of people. And if countries fail to make sharp cuts to carbon pollution, it will displace hundreds of millions more. By one estimate, climate disasters could uproot upwards of 1 billion people by 2050, raising important questions about how the world will respond. [CleanTechnica] […]

April 30 Energy News — geoharvey

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment