Australian news, and some related international items

The week in nuclear news, Australia and more

Keeping up with the pandemic – it’s all still happening.

The nuclear submarines and AUKUS have continued in the news, and re likely to keep going – problems about who’ll supply them, about their HEU fuel, about obsolescence, about anxieties in South East Asia, about revving up tensions between USA and China.
However, as this week develops, the news focus is shifting to the coming Cop26 climate conference. The nuclear lobby is now salivating about the possibility of it having a role in this international.summit


Australians for Assange call for help – save our failing democracy, as USA continues, by despicable means, their case against him.

Nuclear submarines. Can the Australian government ignore this powerful letter exposing the foolish decision to ”go nuclear” with submarines and AUKUS? Morrison’s decision on AUKUS and nuclear submarines was made with no debate in Parliament. Growing pressure for Australia to scrap the plan for nuclear submarines fuelled by Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU). It’s unfortunate that the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal looks like weakening global nuclear non proliferation. Nuclear submarine deal needlessly raises tensions — Highly Enriched Fuel a particular danger. Nuclear submarines – A step towards nuclear power and nuclear weapons?  

 US and UK begin jostling to supply Australia with nuclear submarine fleet. Taiwan endorses AUKUS pact, asks Australia for help in war with China.

       Minerals Council pushes for the nuclear industry, despite its failing record compared to renewables. The facts contradict the pro nuclear spin of the Minerals Council of Australia‘s report, written by Ben Heard.

Radioactive waste dump and ANSTO.  Kimba Consultative Committee living in la la land over the prospect of stranded nuclear wastes. Danger in transporting nuclear wastes from Lucas Heights, and ANSTO’s conflict of interest. Questions for Ministers Taylor, Birmingham and Hunt, on their extravagant claims about ANSTO’s ”great commercial future”.

‘Do more’: COP26 president urges Morrison to make climate top priority 

Scott Morrison’s bromance with Boris Johnson is being tested, because Morrison might not attend Glasgow climate conference. Scott Morrison gets a mention on global summary of climate change leaders – and it’s not good!. Prince Charles urges Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other leaders to attend COP26 

Australia could ‘green’ its degraded landscapes for just 6% of what we spend on defence.


Pandora Papers reveal world’s Tax Avoidance B-Team. Where’s the A-Team?

The CIA Plot to Kidnap or Kill Julian Assange in London is a Story that is Being Mistakenly Ignored. Deathly Silence: Journalists Who Mocked Assange Have Nothing to Say About CIA Plans to Kill Him.
Chris Busby on the truth about black rain, radiation and cancer.  Nuclear Radiation – Incompatible with Life. Low dose radiation and cancer – the Linear No Threshold model holds good.

Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World. Developing countries demand action on climate from the polluting rich countries

The stagnating landscape of the nuclear industry -no chance of competing with renewables.

Why Greta Thunberg’s speech was the best – blah none

What is Cop26 and why does it matter? The complete guide

Who’s who at Cop26: the leaders who hold the world’s future in their hands

Will all submarines, even nuclear ones, be obsolete and ‘visible’ by 2040Nuclear submarine deal needlessly raises tensions.

October 12, 2021 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Questions for Ministers Taylor, Birmingham and Hunt, on their extravagant claims about ANSTO’s ”great commercial future”

I suggest a proper independent and expert review and assessment by appropriately qualified experts. It would however be essential that ANSTO and all other government entities be compelled to provide on request all necessary information for the review

The Ministers released a joint statement -Technology. Safeguarding the future of critical medicine supply, 30 September 2021

Joint media release with the Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham and the Ministerfor Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP    MP,,
The Morrison Government is safeguarding Australia’s sovereign capability to produce vital nuclear medicines by launching a $30 millionproject to design a new world-leading manufacturing facility to be built at Lucas Heights in Sydney.

So many questions to be answered about this:

Question: What precisely is to be involved in this design project for a new  manufacturing facility?
What will the new facility comprise in an engineering and technical sense

In any case the purchase by Australia of overseas nuclear medicine during the several occasions when the OPAL reactor at Lucas Heights was shut down proved to be a relatively easy and cost effective manner of satisfying the local consumption with no greater sovereign risk than applicable to other essential imports

Acting Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Angus Taylor said the new facility will not only help to improve health care in Australia, but will also support nearly 1000 highly-skilled jobs across the country.

Questions. How will the improved health care be achieved by the new facility in light of the continued reduction in using reactor generated nuclear medicine – this goes against all the known facts?

How many of the total staff complement of ANSTO are actually involved in the production and associated services for the nuclear medicine isotopes?

The actual staff of ANSTO is more like 1,200 but their number and nature of work are really questioned despite the high government funding involved. Is this not another scheme by ANSTO to fund its large staff levels and its operational expenses?

Minister Taylor ‘s claims of expanding production of nuclear medicine, creating many high skilled jobs, collaboration with other agencies and radiopharmaceutical companes

Questions. Please identify which major or even medium sized pharmaceutical manufacturers internationally are involved at present in the manufacture of reactor generated isotopes
Who are the main overseas customers or purchasers of the ANSTO produced isotopes?
What price do they pay for them?

Will there be any third world countries who are unable to pay for their purchase as has already been the case for some years?

What price do they pay for them?

What are the full production costs of ANSTO for these isotopes? As it is known that the sales revenue derived by ANSTO is only a fraction of the production costs calculated in a properly commercial manner how and to what extent is this subsidised by the federal government?

Minister Hunt’s claims of improved health care across the nation.

Question. Again how will the improved health care be achieved?

Claims of expanding industry – Australia a world leader in nuclear  radiopharmaceuticals.

COMMENT. You cannot surely be serious when the production and use of reactor generated isotopes is in major decline worldwide due to its inherent dangerous nature and many alternative methods with far
less risk are now being used for diagnostic and treatment procedures


How will this sit with the proposed but somewhat limited inquiry by ARPANSA as to the public consultations for the licensing applications by ANSTO for what appears to be an unjustified
extension of its temporary but now described as interim solid ntermediate level nuclear waste facility at Lucas Heights?

If the now new proposal described by the government as the design a new world-leading manufacturing facility is to be built at Lucas Heights then I suggest that it be the subject of a proper independent
and expert review and assessment by appropriately qualified experts which should be as wide and far ranging as possible and include all related aspects.

I suggest this review in preference to a more formal parliamentary inquiry whether self constituted or called externally which ultimately will depend on research and advice by persons who would have limited knowledge and experience of the issue under consideration.

In all probability the review will need to be carried out by overseas experts since none is available locally.

Moreover this review should prove to be far more effective and suitable than a formal inquiry process and at a much lower cost.

It would however be essential that ANSTO and all other government entities be compelled to provide on request all necessary information for the review

October 12, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

We must question why small modular reactors and the rebirth of nuclear energy are all the rage

These considerations should lead us to make saner and more realistic choices for our children and our children’s children

Roland Ngam • 11 October 2021, We must question why small modular reactors and the rebirth of nuclear energy are all the rage,    Daily Maverick, 

Small modular nuclear reactors are being widely punted as the energy source of the future. But if we are looking only at costs, solar and wind are way cheaper than small modular reactors and battery technology is way better today than it was only three years ago.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) seem to be all the rage these days. Dismiss them at your peril. I am no conspiracy theorist, but everyone is talking about them just as energy prices are spiking in Europe, the UK is struggling to supply its filling stations with fuel, the green parties want to cancel Nord Stream 2 and China is rationing electricity after recent widespread outages in 22 states.

Could it be that some of these crises — and ergo, energy panic — are artificially made in order to give fossils one last hurrah in the limelight? Nuclear energy is renewable   [Ed. this is not true] , but I mean, you need fossils and a lot of capital investment to make them! Also, are those who are betting on SMRs as the technology of the future right to place their hopes in this sector rather than in greener alternatives?………………

America has been subsidising research in SMRs for more than a decade now. They paid $226-million in research grants for the light-water SMR built by Nuscale Power for Energy Northwest. The US Congress has already passed a nuclear production tax credit (PTC) act to subsidise energy from the plant for the next 10 years and the Department of Energy further approved $1.355-billion to fund the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP), which involves investing massively in SMRs.

China already has a bunch of floating SMR powerships and started construction on a 125 MWe land-based pressurised water reactor (PWR) in Hainan province in June 2021. The project was officially launched by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (which is another point I will get back to in a moment, i.e. that countries are pushing nuclear hard as the green solution of the future).

In the United Kingdom, SMRs are a key part of the decarbonisation strategy. Last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a £525-million investment in SMR development and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is about to approve a contract for Rolls-Royce to build a fleet of them in order to assure energy self-sufficiency, which has become a hotly debated topic after Brexit and now amidst the fuel shortages that have hit the nation.

Not to be outdone, French President Emmanuel Macron wants to make SMRs a cornerstone of his 2022 re-election campaign. It is believed that France will spend €50-million from the Euro Recovery Plan on SMR research. Industry players in the nuclear space have already announced plans for the construction of a university of nuclear research. About 30 research centres have also received funds from the France Relance plan for nuclear research. Although France is a world leader in nuclear technology, they have been caught napping by Russia, the US and China which are already way ahead of them in SMR technology.

So the race is on to scale up production of affordable commercial land-based SMRs which could potentially fill up the manufacturing companies’ order books.

Now, back to why nuclear technology is enjoying a comeback — well, it never went away, but it is enjoying a renaissance of sorts among the ever-more confident G20 leaders — because, as Maud Bregeon puts it in Nucléaire: un patrimoine industriel et écologique, even the IPCC and the UN say that “all low-carbon technologies are needed to meet our climate goals, including nuclear.

……..  is the world right to focus on SMRs as the future? If we are looking only at costs, solar and wind are way cheaper than SMRs and battery technology is way better today than it was only three years ago.

According to the International Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, the kilowatt-hour price for SMR is almost certainly always going to be higher than what bigger power plants can offer. It is for this reason that many question why South Africa’s Energy Minister is still determined to commit to new nuclear capacity in line with the integrated resource plan (IRP). That allocation could be shifted to a cheaper energy source.

Three billion dollars is a massive drop from the $10-billion that is the going rate for a big nuclear plant. However, even at $3-billion in start-up for a small plant, the average African country simply cannot afford this type of technology. By comparison, they can get going on a modular solar plant with only a few thousand dollars. 

Then there is the toll that continued investment in nuclear has on the environment. In an essay titled An Obituary for Small Modular Reactors, Friends of the Earth Australia argues that “about half of the SMRs under construction (Russia’s floating power plant, Russia’s RITM-200 icebreaker ships, and China’s ACPR50S demonstration reactor) are designed to facilitate access to fossil fuel resources in the Arctic, the South China Sea and elsewhere”.

Drought-hit Namibia, which has about 5% of the world’s uranium resources has seen an increase in investments in the uranium sector. Russia (

Helpless activists in Namibia have also been trying to draw the world’s attention to the unusually high numbers of former uranium mine workers who have been dying of cancer, without much success. As investments in uranium pick up, and as some environmental activists make the case for nuclear as green technology, it is important to remember the toll that it is taking on people and ecological systems in the Global South.

These considerations should lead us to make saner and more realistic choices for our children and our children’s children.


October 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment