Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear for climate? – DON’T MENTION RADIATION! – theme for October 21.

Recommending nuclear power as a a cure for climate change is like recommending cigarette-smoking as a cure for obesity – Helen Caldicott

Well, it’s just not nice to talk about ionising radiation right now – when we’re all gearing up for the COP26 Glascow climate change talkfest . I mean, by now the nuclear lobby has probably bribed its way into the conference, along with other corporations.

You’re allowed to mention – costs , safety, even time delay – in assessing the relationship of the nuclear industry to global heating.

Strangely – you can talk about the rapid health effects of tiny invisible viruses. BUT NOT the slow drawn out effects of tiny particles of low-level ionising radiation. Health impacts of unseen dangers 

Especially ignored are thg effects of Internal exposure – radioactive particles taken in by breathing or swallowing:

The dangers are probably still  small for most foods, but hazards are tenfold to a hundredfold for children, infants, and fetuses, who have the fastest rates of mitosis and development. Rapidly dividing cells in the young are most sensitive in any organism. Similarly, organs with rapidly dividing cells are affected (bone marrow, digestive tract, skin).  So risk avoidance is most important for the young.

Some of the list of long-term impacts for human health include the following:

  • Circulatory damage (high blood pressure, rhythm disturbances, MI, stroke, cardiomyopathies, rhythm disturbances artery spasm, especially during cardiac stress such as temperature extremes, physical/emotional stress) (Bandazhevsky, 2001)
  • Hematologic problems (leukemias especially)
  • Endocrine problems (especially Hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules/Cancer, and Diabetes)
  • Immune system
  • Uro-genital system
  • Musculoskeletal system
  • Dental problems as cesium replaces calcium in teeth and bones
  • Central nervous system and psyche
  • The eye (cataracts and retinopathies)
  • Increase in congenital malformations
  • Increase in cancers
  • Accelerated aging
  • Increased frequency of mutations
  • Fertility problems and Change in secondary sex ratio (Yablokov, 2012)

October 9, 2021 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Kimba Consultative Committee living in la la land over the prospect of stranded nuclear wastes.

A VIEWING PLATFORM……Soooooo….let me get this right….People from around the world, will come flooding into Kimba (this is paraphrasing Adi Paterson’s claim that it will be a “tourist” attraction), to “view” the dump from a viewing platform!!!

And it gets better – “Members seem to be strongly for the visitor centre in the township and liked Mr Osborn’s idea about the viewing platform. It was also raised that they did not want to see the visitor centre offer coffee or lunch, as it would affect local businesses.” 

Kazzi Jai  Fight to stop a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, 8 Oct 21,

For those time poor, here is a brief summary of the latest minutes of the Kimba Consultative Committee August 26th 2021

1. Downplaying Judicial Review….What a surprise! Biggest laughable line – “Choosing Napandee is an educated decision based on in-depth community consultation and extensive technical assessment work undertaken over a 4 year period, which started with voluntary land nomination by the owners of land.”!!

2. Cultural Heritage Assessment….to be done AFTER site acquisition because apparently “the work is quite costly and it would be prudent to wait until the site is acquired to spend further public money on this activity.”!! 

3. Fluff words – no substance – “ARWA will work with ANSTO, CSIRO, and others to develop this research and implement an Australian appropriate disposal pathway in due course” – with respect to the “temporary” storage of Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste!

NOT ONE RED CENT SPENT YET TO DEAL PROPERLY WITH INTERMEDIATE LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE – SO NOT GOING TO HOLD ONE’S BREATH ON THIS “PROMISE”….ALWAYS “LOOKING INTO IT” SEEMS TO BE THE FALLBACK ANSWER TO “APPEASE” PEOPLE….FROM WHAT WILL BE IN FACT STRANDED WASTE!!!!! ….Again….why is there no mention of a HOT CELL should the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste be stored in Kimba? TN-81 casks ONLY have a 40 year lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. Given that it will now NOT be ANSTO’S PROBLEM – THEY ARE ONLY THE CUSTOMERS……WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE THE TN-81 WASTE??

4. Seems there is a REDUCTION in ACTUAL SECURITY already happening BEFORE EVEN DECLARATION OF THE SITE HAS HAPPENED!!…..”There were questions around the police presence in the community with an influx of people for construction, and whether this is something that has been considered. Mr Osborn said that this is something that needs further discussion with South Australian Police and Council. There will be security at the site, however it is yet to be decided if it will be Australian Federal Police (AFP).”
5. “Mr Osborn said that he envisaged a visitor centre in town and the possibility of there being a viewing platform at the facility where people can look over the site to get a birdseye view.”

A VIEWING PLATFORM……Soooooo….let me get this right….People from around the world, will come flooding into Kimba (this is paraphrasing Adi Paterson’s claim that it will be a “tourist” attraction), to “view” the dump from a viewing platform!!!

And it gets better – “Members seem to be strongly for the visitor centre in the township and liked Mr Osborn’s idea about the viewing platform. It was also raised that they did not want to see the visitor centre offer coffee or lunch, as it would affect local businesses.”  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556

October 9, 2021 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Opal nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights is simply not economically viable

The BIG question is ECONOMIC VIABILITY given the continued uptake of cyclotrons worldwide. On this basis alone it will fail, but the Feds fervidly will try to continue to prop it up anyway – purely for political and NOT practical reasons!

In fact it is high time to move with the times! Canada has been through all of this already and decided to go with cyclotrons to produce their isotopes. They could no longer justify their taxpayers footing the bill for exporting isotopes and all of its inherent costs! And cyclotrons mean they can tailor make the isotopes they need rather than producing mass “available” isotopes which may or may not be used which is the model currently used for Australia!

Kazzi Jai shared a link.   Fight to stop a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, 8 Oct 21,

So….what do you do when you are ACTING MINISTER FOR SCIENCE, INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY? Seems the lucky ACTING MINISTER for that portfolio- Angus Taylor – knew EXACTLY what to do on 30th September 2021!

ANSTO welcomes the joint announcement from The Acting Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, the Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham and the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP to safeguard the future of Australia’s nuclear medicine production. The government has announced it will safeguard Australia’s sovereign capability to produce vital nuclear medicines by launching a $30 million project to design a new world-leading manufacturing facility to be built at our Lucas Heights campus in Sydney. About 80 per cent of nuclear medicine isotopes used to fight diseases like cancer are produced at Lucas Heights and one of the key facilities that makes this possible is nearing the end of its operating life.” – ANSTO website “Safeguarding the future of Australia’s nuclear medicine”

When the likes of Angus Taylor uses the words “safeguard Australia’s sovereign capability”…you KNOW there’s something shonky going on! Too bad he isn’t worried about “Australia’s sovereign capability” with regards to iron, gas, water, ports, utilities, land acquisition etc etc….the list goes on!

Anyway, this “wish list” is separate to the brand new ANM facility (The Australian Nuclear Medicine Molydenum-99 Facility (ANM Mo99), which has now become known as ANSTO Nuclear Medicine Facility 😳) which cost taxpayers $168 million and has had a number of teething problems since it was built in 2019 and only has become fully functional in March 2020.

Using the wording in the announcement, the “$30 million project to design a new world-leading manufacturing facility to be built”….means this is only a commitment by the Feds to give $30 million to DESIGN the facility which will replace “building 23” which is an “ageing nuclear medical facility” according to the now ex-CEO Adi Paterson back in 2018.Ideally, ANSTO would LOVE for the Feds to cough up $210 million to replace it – probably costing more than that now, since that was quoted 2018 figures not 2021 figures!!

The BIG question is ECONOMIC VIABILITY given the continued uptake of cyclotrons worldwide. On this basis alone it will fail, but the Feds fervidly will try to continue to prop it up anyway – purely for political and NOT practical reasons! In fact it is high time to move with the times! Canada has been through all of this already and decided to go with cyclotrons to produce their isotopes. They could no longer justify their taxpayers footing the bill for exporting isotopes and all of its inherent costs! And cyclotrons mean they can tailor make the isotopes they need rather than producing mass “available” isotopes which may or may not be used which is the model currently used for Australia!

With regard to treatment,which is only a tiny amount of what isotopes are used for – they are predominantly used for diagnostic imaging- the trend now is to do the least amount of damage to normal cells as is possible. Isotopes are rather a blunt instrument in that regards, and now techniques like immunotherapy and nanotechnology are the fields of advancement in that respect.There’s even advancements in radiotherapy which went to LINAC machines (linear accelerators) many decades ago…and now proton therapy units are finding their way into our major capital cities! Neither need nuclear reactors!https://www.minister.industry.gov.au/…/safeguarding…MINISTER.INDUSTRY.GOV.AUSafeguarding the future of critical medicine supply | Ministers for the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556

October 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, health, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear power for Australia? It’s not going to happen!

Nuclear enthusiasts and fellow travellers like me once said of solar it’s the greatest future source of power and always will be. Solar investors may aim that rhetorical dart at small modular reactors and, indeed, the nuclear sector as its energy share, for years stagnant, proceeds to go backwards.

In Australia nuclear attracts not the remotest investor interest. If nuclear were an option a merchant bank or superannuation fund might be manoeuvring to own the space. They might have formed a consortium with a miner and a construction company or two, with a brace of lobbyists at work. It’s not happening.

The contrast with the surge to renewables is stark………..

[ED. An interesting and important piece here re the failure of nuclear power in today’s Australian.
Important because Bob Carr used to be pro-nuke and has changed in response to evidence.
This is timely and a good reinforcement to federal Labor re their strong opposition to any domestic nuclear industry.
]

Nobody’s really interested in the nuclear option

BOB CARR, OCTOBER 7, 2021,THE AUSTRALIAN

Australians may be open to nuclear power, as evidenced by Tuesday’s Newspoll. But nuclear is not open for them.

Globally the industry is moribund. “The dream that failed,” says The Economist magazine, concluding it needs government money for life support.

In 2010 one enthusiast predicted within 10 years fourth-generation reactors and small modular reactors would be commonplace, including in Australia. None exists, here or abroad.

More damning, the industry lacks a single example in a Western country of a new power plant being built remotely on time and budget. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, 94 plants were to come on line across the last decade but 98 get decommissioned. Yet 48 of those to be built are to be in China. Remove them and that leaves 46 coming online and – stubborn fact – 98 being decommissioned in the rest of the world.

In 2019, for the first time, renewable sources, excluding hydro, generated more power than nuclear.

In Australia nuclear attracts not the remotest investor interest. If nuclear were an option a merchant bank or superannuation fund might be manoeuvring to own the space. They might have formed a consortium with a miner and a construction company or two, with a brace of lobbyists at work. It’s not happening.

The contrast with the surge to renewables is stark. Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes are prepared to put their own funds into a vast solar farm in the Northern Territory and Forrest to make a huge commitment to hydrogen. There is no single investor with a comparable zest for nuclear power, either high net worth individual or institution.

Ziggy Switkowski produced a report on nuclear power for John Howard in 2007. It was to be the foundation of Australian nuclear power, a decades-long dream. Even with a partiality for the industry Switkowski could only conclude nuclear power, at double the price of coal and gas, would require a price on carbon – and even additional government subsidy.

Three prime ministers – Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison – have not reopened the debate. For his part, by becoming chair of Crown in August, Switkowski seems to demonstrate more confidence in gaming-based tourism than the commercial potential of the nuclear fuel cycle.

I argued a pro-nuclear case within the Labor Party and scorned what I saw as the left phobia against the nuclear option. Like British scientist James Lovelock I thought coal more destructive and nuclear the bridge to the era of renewables.

But it’s now clear nuclear is lumbering, subject to breakdowns and cripplingly expensive. New renewable sources such as wind and solar increased by 184 gigawatts last year while nuclear grew by only 2.4GW. The number of active reactors has barely changed since the 1980s.

France was the poster child. But no new reactor has been connected to its grid since 1999. It closed its pressurised water reactor in 1991 and followed by terminating two fast breeder reactors and a small heavy-water reactor.

Poor reliability plagues the fleet. On any day at least four plants are at zero output because of technical failures. The average per plant is a month per year at zero production. But investment in upgrades faces competition from renewables and tough new EU energy efficiency standards.

Not even Scandinavian efficiency can provide a happy pro-nuclear narrative. Finland became the first country in western Europe to order a new nuclear reactor since 1988 but it’s running 13 years late, plagued with management and quality control issues, bankruptcies and investor withdrawals.

Who could have the faintest confidence that Australia could throw up a nuclear reactor with more panache – exceeding with efficiency not only the Finns but the British with their delays and cost blowouts and the Americans with their construction disasters in Georgia and South Carolina?

Doing big complex projects is hardly an Australian competitive edge. Think of the 50 years opining about a second Sydney airport, or – killer fact – the fumbling with submarines.

Where is the shire council putting up its hand to host a nuclear power plant? Harder to find than a sponsor for a high-temperature toxic waste incinerator.

Nobody in the Hunter Valley has urged nuclear for the Liddell site, even on the footprint of this coal-fired power plant scheduled to close. And not even invoking the prospect of a small modular reactor that 10 years back was the vanguard of the nuclear renaissance. About to be planted across the Indonesian archipelago and the rest of Asia, we were promised. Today they exist only on the Rolls-Royce drawing boards they have adorned since the 1970s.

Nuclear enthusiasts and fellow travellers like me once said of solar it’s the greatest future source of power and always will be. Solar investors may aim that rhetorical dart at small modular reactors and, indeed, the nuclear sector as its energy share, for years stagnant, proceeds to go backwards.

Bob Carr is the longest-serving premier of NSW and a former Australian foreign minister.

October 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment

Growing pressure for Australia to scrap the plan for nuclear submarines fuelled by Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

Experts warn Joe Biden supplying nuclear submarines to Australia threatens US security

Malcolm Turnbull says reactor not a ‘plug and play’ power pack as former US officials raise national security concerns, Guardian   Tory Shepherd, Fri 8 Oct 2021  Malcolm Turnbull says reactor not a ‘plug and play’ power pack as former US officials raise national security concerns.

There is growing pressure on the new Aukus partners to scrap plans to use weapons-grade uranium on submarines.

A group of former US officials and experts has written to the US president, Joe Biden, warning the deal could threaten US national security by encouraging hostile nations to obtain highly enriched uranium (HEU).

At the same time, the former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says if Australia does buy the submarine reactors without a domestic nuclear industry – and therefore the nuclear expertise – it will be “more plug and pray” than “plug and play”.

The former Nato deputy secretary general Rose Gottemoeller has called on Australia to make a new deal with France to use their uranium, which is not weapons grade. That would heal the rift with France and ease nuclear proliferation fears, she said.

In the letter to Biden, the seven signatories called on him to commit to using low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is what the French use in their submarine program.

“The Aukus deal to supply Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines fuelled with weapons-grade uranium could have serious negative impacts on the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and thereby on US national security,” wrote the group, which includes former White House officials.

At the heart of their concern is that if Australia, as a non-nuclear country, gets HEU then other countries would use that example to justify their own acquisition of the material.

Iranian officials intimated to the UN that, like Australia, they might want HEU for naval purposes.

France described Australia’s decision to ditch the $90bn submarine project in favour of the Aukus deal as a “stab in the back”, while Australia has argued that switching to nuclear-propelled submarines is strategically necessary.

There will now be an 18-month process to work out the details of the deal, which has come under heavy criticism.

Turnbull told Guardian Australia that the government should have stuck with the French deal, bought an initial three diesel-electric boats, then switched to their LEU technology.

That would be the “honest and straightforward” course, and would speed up the process because crews would already train in a very similar boat.

“(And) we wouldn’t have double-crossed France and destroyed people’s trust in Australia,” he added.

He said one of the reasons Australia had chosen France over Germany and Japan was the possibility of transitioning to nuclear……………

 Morrison has said Australia won’t need a nuclear industry because the reactor will be made overseas then put into the Australian-built boat.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/08/experts-warn-joe-biden-supplying-nuclear-submarines-to-australia-threatens-us-security

October 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US nuclear attack submarine hits object in South China Sea, injuring crew

US nuclear attack submarine hits object in South China Sea, injuring crew,  ABC, 8 Oct 21, A nuclear-powered submarine collided with an unknown “object” while submerged in the South China Sea, United States military officials confirmed.

Key points:

  • The submarine’s nuclear propulsion plant was not damaged and is operating normally
  • It is not clear what the sub collided with, but officials say it could have been a sunken vessel 
  • An investigation will be launched into the incident   

The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut struck the “object” on October 2 and while about a dozen sailors were hurt, none of the injuries were life-threatening, the US Navy said in a statement.

Officials said the submarine’s nuclear propulsion plant was not impacted and remained fully operational. 

“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition,” the statement said.

“The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed.” 

US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the incident took place in international waters in the South China Sea.

They said it was not yet clear what object the sub had struck but that it was not another submarine.

One official said it could have been a sunken vessel, a sunken container or other uncharted object…………….

In 2009, two British and French nuclear subs were damaged after colliding in the Atlantic while in 2019 14 Russian naval officers were killed in a fire on a nuclear-powered submersible near the Barents Sea. …………….. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-08/us-nuclear-sub-hits-object-south-china-sea/100523164

October 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Morrison’s decision on AUKUS and nuclear submarines was made with no debate in Parliament

Our PM, Scott Morrison, struts the world stage, vilifies China (some of it deserved), but in the process is locking in Australia’s subservience to US foreign policy while guaranteeing increased US troop access and US spy stations on Australian territory for the future. Add to this the crippling cost of procurement of nuclear powered subs and the possible return of Donald Trump to ‘guide’ our nation into the future.

This sabre rattling at an external enemy will allow Morrison some catch up in the polls while the ALP is wedged. The huge crime here is to make a decision without debate in the Federal Parliament.

Times change, but some things regarding the nuclear industry and international political posturing remain the same.

Local anti-nuclear activists who chose to make a difference…https://www.echo.net.au/2021/10/local-anti-nuclear-activists-who-chose-to-make-a-difference/ By Ian Cohen October 7, 2021    Following the Nuclear Disarmament Party’s close loss with front man Peter Garrett in 1984, nuclear issues were at the forefront of people’s minds. We extended our influence far beyond our Shire. The pending arrival of nuclear armed warships sent the local region into overdrive. Benny Zable from Nimbin rolled out his ‘radioactive’ barrels for street theatre. Dean Jefferys based in Brunswick Heads came with his ultralight, Hoss (Ian Hoskens) of Main Arm with his megaphone voice and me with my surfboard.

September 1986 heralded the arrival of the largest assembly of international ships in Sydney Harbour’s history. Many were nuclear armed.

Our north coast contingent was vital to the success of the protest actions. Driven by a reckless, but heartfelt, desire to impact on the nuclear arms race and send a direct message to US President Ronald Reagan and USSR’s Yuri Andropov.

The mad concept of surfing the nose of a nuclear armed warship was mine, but Sydney Morning Herald photographer, Robert Pearce, from a media barge directly in front of myself and the warship, captured the image of a vulnerable surfer hanging onto the nose of a nuclear armed destroyer that went global.

Continue reading

October 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, opposition to nuclear, reference | Leave a comment

Birth defects in the Chernobyl region

What about studying consequences rather than causes?  Studying birth abnormalities in places where they occur more often than is normal? The Omni-Net Ukraine Birth Defects Prevention Program, came up with this different approach, reported in July 2012.  http://ibis-birthdefects.org/start/pdf/BaltimoreAbstr.pdf Measuring radiation is difficult, and can produce ambiguous results.  But measuring babies with malformations is a concrete matter. Facts are facts here As Dr Vladimir Wertelecki says “ a baby that has no head is a baby that has no head.”

THE PROGRAM

The program started in 2000, conducting a 10 year study on 5 provinces of the Ukraine – measuring and monitoring all newborn babies. The study, led by Dr  Wertelecki, was done in co-operation with Ukraine health authorities.  This was a descriptive epidemiological study. It could prove only a difference between geographical areas. It cannot  prove the cause of difference.

Within 2-3 years it was obvious that the rates of spina bifida and other defects of the nervous system, were many times greater than expected, particularly in one province.  A few years later an excess of conjoined twins (“Siamese twins”) was found. They found other nervous system problems, mainly microcephaly (tiny head) ..  After 10 years of study they published a report showing an excess of frequency of anomalies of nervous system and of these conjoined twins.

This was found especially in the northern half of the province – an area that is a unique ecology niche – mainly wetlands. And this area also has a unique population, an ethnic group living there since recorded history. They live in small villages, very isolated, and they rely completely on local foods.

These foods are all radioactive. The soil there is such that plants absorb many times more radioactivity. People there are absorbing much higher levels of radiation. – 20 times more than there would be in soil 50 km. away.

Dr Wertelecki reminds us that there are many causes of birth abnormalities. One well recognised cause is foetal alcohol syndrome, due to alcoholism in the mother.   However, the program did in fact research this question.  6 universities joined it in a  very well funded and thorough study of pregnant women. It showed that in this Northern area, alcohol use among pregnant women is statistically less than in the Ukraine in general. . Alcohol does not explain the birth abnormalities. Radiation is the obvious major cause.

ABNORMALITIES IN THE DEVELOPING FOETUS- TERATOGENESIS

Little research has been done on the causes of this in humans. Studies on non human species show that foetuses in first three months are about 1000 times more vulnerable to environmental effects.

Dr Wertelecki’s team focused on teratogenesis – changes caused by environmental interference to a developing foetus, a foetus with with normal genes.  This must be distinguished from gene mutations, inherited from parents and the two processes have different effects.  The genetic, inherited defects are most likely to cause mental disability. But with the teratogenic abnormalities, the baby, if it survives, most often is of normal intelligence.

This process can begin very early, before the ovum has been implanted in the wall of the womb –  before the woman knows that she is pregnant. That very early “line” of the embryo can split. In this case – the result is – twins.  This split can be incomplete – resulting in conjoined twins, (“Siamese twins”).  A  fetiform teratoma is a sort of failed Siamese twin,  a monster like mass, containing a mixture of tissues.

Abnormalities that are started at a little later stage of pregnancy include spina bifida, ( opening in lower back  body wall), opening in front body wall with  heart on the exterior,  anencephaly (absence of head or of most of the skull and brain)

Later effects  –  anophthalmia , (missing eyeball) , microphthalmia (tiny eye)

Full article at http://noelwauchope.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/a-baby-that-has-no-head-is-a-baby-that-has-no-head/

October 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment