Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia needs independent Inquiry on nuclear production and wastes. Kimba nuclear dump plan is not supported by facts.

Nuclear waste and nuclear medicine in Australia

Jim Green, Online Opinion, 16 Nov 2021, https://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=21721&page=0

Claims that the Australian government’s proposed national nuclear waste storage and disposal ‘facility‘ near Kimba in South Australia is required to support nuclear medicine are not supported by the facts.

Australia’s radioactive waste arises from the production and use of radioactive materials in scientific research and industrial, agricultural and medical applications. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), operator of the research reactor at Lucas Heights, south of Sydney, is the main source of waste destined for a national nuclear waste facility. (Other waste streams ‒ such as those generated at uranium mines, and wastes from nuclear weapons testing ‒ would not be disposed of at the national facility.)………….

Scare-mongering

Regardless of the outcome of the current push for a national waste facility ‒ and bearing in mind that all previous plans have been abandoned ‒ there will be an ongoing need for hospitals to store clinical waste. After nuclear medicine is used in a patient, the vast majority is stored on site while it decays. Within a few days, it has lost so much radioactivity that it can go to a normal rubbish tip. There will always be multiple waste storage locations even if a national facility is established.

The government’s claim that a national waste facility is urgently required lest nuclear medicine be affected amounts to scare-mongering………….

health professionals noted in a joint statement in 2011: “The production of radioactive isotopes for nuclear medicine comprises a small percentage of the output of research reactors. The majority of the waste that is produced in these facilities occurs regardless of the nuclear medicine isotope production. Linking the need for a centralised radioactive waste storage facility with the production of isotopes for nuclear medicine is misleading.”………..

ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site

ANSTO’s Lucas Heights site cannot be used for disposal of nuclear waste. It is unlikely that the site would meet relevant criteria, and in any case federal legislation prohibits waste disposal there.

But nuclear waste can be (and is) stored at Lucas Heights; indeed much of the waste destined for a national facility is currently stored there.

Claims that storage capacity at Lucas Heights is nearing capacity and that a national waste facility site is urgently needed have been flatly rejected by Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, CEO of the federal nuclear regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). Dr Larsson stated in parliamentary testimony in 2020: “Waste can be safely stored at Lucas Heights for decades to come”.

Similar comments have been made by ANSTO officers, by the federal government department responsible for radioactive waste management, and by the Australian Nuclear Association. ANSTO officers have noted that “ANSTO is capable of handling and storing wastes for long periods of time” and that waste is stored there “safely and securely”.

Long-lived intermediate-level waste

Of particular concern is long-lived intermediate-level waste (ILW) including waste arising from the reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel from the OPAL research reactor at Lucas Heights as well as earlier research reactors. The government plans to move this ILW to the Kimba site for above-ground storage while a deep underground disposal site is found. (Lower-level wastes will be permanently disposed of at Kimba if the project proceeds.)

But the process of finding an ILW disposal site has barely begun and will take decades; indeed ARPANSA has flagged a timeline of 100 years or more.


The vast majority of ILW is currently stored at Lucas Heights. Why not leave it at Lucas Heights ‒ described by an ANSTO officer as “the most secure facility we have got in Australia” ‒ until a disposal site is found? The government doesn’t have a good answer to that question ‒ indeed it has no answer at all beyond false claims about storage capacity limitations and scare-mongering about nuclear medicine supply.

Until such time as a disposal site is available, ILW should be stored at Lucas Heights for the following reasons:

* Australia’s nuclear expertise is heavily concentrated at Lucas Heights;

* Storage at Lucas Heights would negate risks associated with transportation over thousands of kilometres;

* Security at Lucas Heights is far more rigorous than is proposed for Kimba (a couple of security guards); and

* Ongoing storage at Lucas Heights avoids unnecessary costs and risks associated with double-handling, i.e. ILW being moved to Kimba only to be moved again to a disposal site.

Conversely, above-ground storage of ILW in regional South Australia increases risk, complexity and cost ‒ for no good reason.

Need for an independent inquiry

The current plan for a waste facility at Kimba should be scrapped. It is unacceptable to be disposing of nuclear waste against the unanimous wishes of Barngarla Traditional Owners, and ILW storage at Kimba makes no sense for the reasons discussed above.

Australia needs a thorough independent inquiry of both nuclear waste disposal and production. We need a long-term disposal plan that avoids double-handling and unnecessary movement of radioactive materials and meets world’s best practice standards.

An inquiry should include an audit of existing waste stockpiles and storage. This could be led by the federal nuclear regulator ARPANSA in consultation with relevant state agencies. This audit would include developing a prioritised program to improve continuing waste storage and handling facilities, and identifying non-recurrent or legacy waste sites and exploring options to retire and decommission these.

An inquiry would also identify and evaluate the full suite of radioactive waste management options. That would include the option of maintaining existing arrangements until suitable disposal options exist for both ILW and lower-level wastes.

Radioisotope production options

We also need to thoroughly investigate medical radioisotope production options with the aim of shifting from heavy reliance on reactor production in favour of cyclotrons (a type of particle accelerator). Among other advantages, cyclotrons produce far less radioactive waste than research reactors………….  https://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=21721&page=0

November 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The consumerism that destroys life is also the cause of the environmental emergency — Hawkins Bay Dispatch — Barbara Crane Navarro

The consumerism that destroys life is also the cause of the environmental emergency, https://hawkinsbay.wordpress.com/2021/11/13/the-consumerism-that-destroys-life-is-also-the-cause-of-the-environmental-emergency/

Decades ago, corporations and governments invented the traits we now call ‘human nature.’ COP26 has shown ‘consumers’ that buying something ‘different’ is not working. 13 November 2021 | Graham Peebles | Euroasia Review The natural environment has been poisoned, vandalized and trashed in accordance with the demands and values of the all-pervasive socio-economic system, and as long as it persists it is impossible to imagine the steps required to save the natural world being taken

The consumerism that destroys life is also the cause of the environmental emergency — Hawkins Bay Dispatch — Barbara Crane Navarro

greed, ownership of things (homes, cars, clothes etc.), and the general accumulation of stuff is insisted upon, for the simple reason that it is consumerism that feeds the monster. This very same consumerism, which is perpetuating unhappiness and fuelling ill health, is also the underlying cause of the environmental emergency.

As COP26 draws to an unimpressive close, governments haggle over emission targets, funding of fossil fuels and money for the global south, and a new poll reports that most people (in the 10 countries polled, including UK, US, Germany, France) say they are unwilling to alter their way of life to save our planet. We must once again ask, what will it take for humanity to wake up and change?

Economic considerations and short term self-interest will continue to be applied and the devastation will continue.

Continue reading

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewable technology is highly suitable for Australia – compared to the severe wastes problem of nuclear power

Imagine nuclear waste stored at Katandra Reserve   https://coastcommunitynews.com.au/central-coast/news/2021/11/imagine-nuclear-waste-stored-at-katandra-reserve/  Col Hodgson, NOVEMBER 15, 2021Forum –There will always be environmental problems with energy generation, transformation, transport and consumption.

Probably the main problem will be energy conversion efficiencies as energy losses from the conversion and transmission systems necessitate larger installations to provide the overall energy requirement of and to the customer.

There is also the problem of disposal of used generating equipment.

Solar panels have a useable life of 20 to 30 years in commercial installations.

They can and are being recycled (aluminium and glass recovery), while panels whose output may have decreased below commercial requirements can still be used at reduced costs in less demanding situations.

Wind turbine blades can last up to 30 years before maintenance replacement.

Research is underway on the production of wind turbine blades that can be recycled (Scientific American November 27, 2020).

This technology may take some years to fully develop.

Hydro systems, both generation and pumped storage, involve the construction of water catchment systems and dams – no need to explain the environmental impact.

Batteries (rechargeable varieties) can and are being recycled.

This leaves the main problem with nuclear energy.

What period of time is required for the safe, radiation free disassembly of a nuclear reactor at the end of its design life?

Spent fuel rods can and are processed to recover the original un-reacted uranium atoms so replacement rods can be manufactured.

However, the separated highly radioactive fission products cannot be recycled to other uses and must be stored in biological isolation until their level of radioactivity has decreased to biologically safe levels.

In some cases this may take tens or even hundreds of thousands of years.

Comments have been made that Australia has an extremely large renewable energy capability with technology already in existence.

Perhaps this is the main reason (CCN317) why decisions have been made for Australia not to start on the nuclear energy path.

Finally, if all the used nuclear waste products from the US, as claimed, can be stored in a volume of 100 x 50 x 10 metres (CCN 316) imagine the storage facility being placed at Katandra reserve, Mount Elliot.

How far would the biological isolation zone extend plus the security extension and for what period of time?

The reserve would be unusable and surrounding acreages would have to be resumed. 

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

America’s relentless pursuit of Australian Julian Assange is a threat to any journalist who might expose a USA massacre of civilians

Julian Assange currently sits in Belmarsh Prison waiting to find out if British judges will overturn a lower court’s ruling against his extradition to the United States to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act for journalistic activity which exposed U.S. war crimes. War crimes not unlike those that were just exposed by The New York Times in its reporting on the Baghuz massacre

The precedent the U.S. government is trying to set with its persecution of Assange will, if successful, cast a chilling effect over journalism which scrutinizes the U.S. war machine, not just in the United States but around the world.

Syria Massacre Coverup Shows Danger of Assange Precedent, https://consortiumnews.com/2021/11/15/syria-massacre-coverup-shows-danger-of-assange-precedent/ November 15, 2021  The precedent the U.S. government is trying to set with its persecution of Assange will, if successful, cast a chilling effect over journalism which scrutinizes the U.S. war machine, writes Caity Johnstone. By Caitlin Johnstone

CaitlinJohnstone.com The New York Times has published a very solid investigative report on a U.S. military coverup of a 2019 massacre in Baghuz, Syria which killed scores of civilians. This would be the second investigative report on civilian-slaughtering U.S. airstrikes by The New York Times in a matter of weeks, and if I were a more conspiracy-minded person I’d say the paper of record appears to have been infiltrated by journalists.

The report contains many significant revelations, including that the U.S. military has been grossly undercounting the numbers of civilians killed in its airstrikes and lying about it to Congress, that special ops forces in Syria have been consistently ordering airstrikes which kill noncombatants with no accountability by exploiting loopholes to get around rules meant to protect civilians, that units which call in such airstrikes are allowed to do their own assessments grading whether the strikes were justified, that the U.S. war machine attempted to obstruct scrutiny of the massacre “at nearly every step” of the way, and that the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations only investigates such incidents when there is “potential for high media attention, concern with outcry from local community/government, concern sensitive images may get out.”

“But at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike,” The New York Times reports. “The death toll was downplayed. Reports were delayed, sanitized and classified. United States-led coalition forces bulldozed the blast site. And top leaders were not notified.”

Journalist Aaron Maté has called the incident “one of the U.S. military’s worst massacres and cover-up scandals since My Lai in Vietnam.”

Asked by the Times for a statement, Central Command gave the laughable justification that maybe those dozens of women and children killed in repeated bomb blasts were actually armed enemy combatants:

“This week, after The New York Times sent its findings to U.S. Central Command, which oversaw the air war in Syria, the command acknowledged the strikes for the first time, saying 80 people were killed but the airstrikes were justified. It said the bombs killed 16 fighters and four civilians. As for the other 60 people killed, the statement said it was not clear that they were civilians, in part because women and children in the Islamic State sometimes took up arms.

I mean, how do you even address a defense like that? How do you get around the “Maybe those babies were ISIS fighters” defense?

Reading the report it becomes apparent how much inertia was thrown on attempts to bring the massacre to light and how easy it would have been for those attempts to succumb to the pressure and just give up, which naturally leads one to wonder how many other such incidents never see the light of day because attempts to expose them are successfully ground to a halt.

The Times says the Baghuz massacre “would rank third on the military’s worst civilian casualty events in Syria if 64 civilian deaths were acknowledged,” but it’s clear that that “acknowledged” bit is doing a lot of heavy lifting there.

And it really makes you appreciate how much work goes into getting information like this in front of the public eye, and how important it is to do so, and how tenuous the ability to do so currently is.

Julian Assange currently sits in Belmarsh Prison waiting to find out if British judges will overturn a lower court’s ruling against his extradition to the United States to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act for journalistic activity which exposed U.S. war crimes. War crimes not unlike those that were just exposed by The New York Times in its reporting on the Baghuz massacre. 

The precedent the U.S. government is trying to set with its persecution of Assange will, if successful, cast a chilling effect over journalism which scrutinizes the U.S. war machine, not just in the United States but around the world.

If it can succeed in legally establishing that it can extradite an Australian journalist for publishing information in the public interest about U.S. war crimes, it will have succeeded in legally establishing that it can do that to any journalist anywhere. And you can kiss investigative reporting like this goodbye.

This is what’s at stake in the Assange case. Our right to know what the most deadly elements of the most powerful government on our planet are doing. The fact that the drivers of empire think it is legitimate to deprive us of such information by threatening to imprison anyone who tries to show it to us makes them an enemy of all humanity.

November 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Low dose radiation has its medical benefits, but has harmful effects on the immune system

Low dose ionizing radiation effects on the immune system, Science Direct, Environment International Volume 149, April 2021, 106212KatalinLumniczkya NathalieImpensb GemmaArmengolc SergeCandéiasd Alexandros G.Georgakilase SabineHornhardtf Olga A.Marting FranzRödelh DörtheSchaue

Abstract

Ionizing radiation interacts with the immune system in many ways with a multiplicity that mirrors the complexity of the immune system itself: namely the need to maintain a delicate balance between different compartments, cells and soluble factors that work collectively to protect, maintain, and restore tissue function in the face of severe challenges including radiation damage. The cytotoxic effects of high dose radiation are less relevant after low dose exposure, where subtle quantitative and functional effects predominate that may go unnoticed until late after exposure or after a second challenge reveals or exacerbates the effects. 

For example, low doses may permanently alter immune fitness and therefore accelerate immune senescence and pave the way for a wide spectrum of possible pathophysiological events, including early-onset of age-related degenerative disorders and cancer. 

 By contrast, the so called low dose radiation therapy displays beneficial, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties in chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases

 In this review, epidemiological, clinical and experimental data regarding the effects of low-dose radiation on the homeostasis and functional integrity of immune cells will be discussed, as will be the role of immune-mediated mechanisms in the systemic manifestation of localized exposures such as inflammatory reactions.

The central conclusion is that ionizing radiation fundamentally and durably reshapes the immune system. Further, the importance of discovery of immunological pathways for modifying radiation resilience amongst other research directions in this field is implied…………..  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016041202032167X

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power company First Energy prosecuted for corruption, but still finds it worthwhile to bribe politicians


It is the largest fine ever imposed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.

But it is a pittance when compared to the earnings it brought in last year: $1.1 billion. For that reason, the company’s stock has a 52-week range of between $26 and its current high of $39 a share. 

Paying Bribes Got FirstEnergy In Trouble, But It Is Still Making Political Donations , Forbes, 15 Nov 21,

Has FirstEnergy Corp. learned anything from its nuclear energy scandal and criminal probe? Prosecutors say that if the company fully cooperates then it will drop the charges against it in three years. But the utility is still giving millions to lobby lawmakers — a bit cringeworthy, given the events. 

It’s legal. But the company’s chief executive since March, Steven Strah, has said that FirstEnergy FE +1.2% will play a more subtle political role. The protocol now is strict oversight of its lobbying activities — the kind of thing that would avoid, for example, bribing public officials to keep open struggling nuclear plants. For sure, FirstEnergy’s campaign spending is already at $1.5 million this year. That is in line with the contributions it has been making for the last decade. 

FirstEnergy is sticking to “the way they did business 50 years ago,“ said Ashley Brown, a former Ohio public utilities commissioner, who now leads the Harvard Electricity Policy Group. “That’s part of why they’re just a lobbying firm with a utility sideline.” 

Brown’s comments appeared in a story by Eye on Ohio, which joined with Energy News Network in the endeavor. Eye on Ohio is a division of the Ohio Center for Journalism. 

In a deferred prosecution agreement reached over the summer between FirstEnergy and federal prosecutors, the utility admitted that it conspired with and subsequently bribed public officials: $60 million, which was used to secure a $1.3 billion bailout package for its nuclear units and to also help defeat a voter initiative that would have thrown out that law. 

The company was penalized $230 million — money to be split equally between the federal and state government. In Ohio, it will be used to help low-income citizens pay their utility bills. It is the largest fine ever imposed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio. But it is a pittance when compared to the earnings it brought in last year: $1.1 billion. For that reason, the company’s stock has a 52-week range of between $26 and its current high of $39 a share. 

Prosecutors said that they wanted the penalty to “sting” but they did not want to disrupt the company’s business. They filed one charge: conspiracy to commit honest services and wire fraud, which will be dismissed if FirstEnergy continues to cooperate. 

“Our activity in this space will be much more limited than it has been in the past, with closer alignment to our strategic goals and with additional oversight and significantly more robust disclosure,” says CEO Strah, before investors. “These efforts, together with enhanced policies and procedures, will help to bring additional clarity around appropriate behaviors at FirstEnergy.” 

The bargain between prosecutors and the utility examines how FirstEnergy took monies from its regulated units and then paid off public officials. Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder has already been charged. Former Ohio Public Utilities Commission Chairman Sam Randazzo has resigned his position. The power company used a dark money group called Generation Now to hide its efforts. A lobbyist has pleaded guilty along with a staffer for Householder, who set up the shady organization to receive the dirty money.

A New Track

Subsequent to this criminal settlement, Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost added FirstEnergy’s former CEO Charles Jones to a list of defendants his office is suing. (Prosecutors would not comment on whether Jones is also in criminal trouble.) The civil complaint also includes ex-FirstEnergy senior vice president Michael Dowling and Sam Randazzo. 

The “corruption was more cancerous than previously thought––necessitating adding additional defendants and giving rise to additional claims,” the lawsuit says. Ohio’s legislature, meantime, has revoked the $1.3 billion bailout. ……  https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2021/11/15/paying-bribes-got-firstenergy-in-trouble-but-it-is-still-making-political-donations—and-amends/?sh=1e29ece1150a

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

COP 26, especially Australia, has failed First Nations people

 At this supposedly historic event, I saw a conference that relied on dated colonial constructs and ignored Indigenous people. I watched the Australian pavilion used to promote gas and carbon capture and storage, sponsored by corporations such as Santos. Outnumbered by fossil fuel lobbyists, First Nations people witnessed an aggressive big business approach to climate negotiations, hardly the turning away from and permanent closure of extractive, polluting industries that we are all calling for.

 Guardian 15th Nov 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/nov/15/empty-words-no-action-cop26-has-failed-first-nations-peopl

November 16, 2021 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

COP 26 – the death knell for coal power?

Boris Johnson has told a Downing Street press conference that the COP26
deal “sounds the death knell for coal power”. The Prime Minister, who
was accompanied at the press briefing at COP26 President Alok Sharma, said
the Glasgow climate deal was a “game-changing agreement” which sounds
“the death knell for coal power”.

 iNews 14th Nov 2021

https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/boris-johnson-cop26-deal-sounds-death-knell-coal-despite-watered-down-deal-1300220

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Worker safety before corporate profits! — — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

By MIKE ALEWITZ  REMEMBERING KAREN SILKWOOD (February 19, 1946 – November 13, 1974) Karen Silkwood died in 1974 under suspicious circumstances while traveling to a meeting with a reporter investigating unsafe conditions at a Kerr-McGee plutonium fuel plant in Oklahoma. These are excerpts from the dedication speech …. Worker safety before corporate profits! — By […]

Worker safety before corporate profits! — — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia hails COP26 “green light for more coal,” won’t budge on 2030 target — RenewEconomy

With the ink barely dry on Glasgow Climate Pact, the Morrison government settled straight back into its domestic routine of climate obfuscation and obstruction. The post Australia hails COP26 “green light for more coal,” won’t budge on 2030 target appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia hails COP26 “green light for more coal,” won’t budge on 2030 target — RenewEconomy

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia curtailed nearly as much wind and solar on Sunday as it used — RenewEconomy

South Australia produced nearly twice as much wind and solar as it could use, with curtailment records around the main grid. The post South Australia curtailed nearly as much wind and solar on Sunday as it used appeared first on RenewEconomy.

South Australia curtailed nearly as much wind and solar on Sunday as it used — RenewEconomy

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia renewable hydrogen hub wins Japanese backing — RenewEconomy

A green hydrogen pilot project being developed by Marubeni Corp and the South Australian government has won the backing of the Japanese government. The post South Australia renewable hydrogen hub wins Japanese backing appeared first on RenewEconomy.

South Australia renewable hydrogen hub wins Japanese backing — RenewEconomy

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The lies of the land – “I don’t think, I know!” – Who suffers when truth lies bleeding? — Sustainability Bites

There is both anecdotal and empirical evidence demonstrating that lying by our political leaders is becoming more prevalent. And every lie erodes the trust bank of social capital, the keystone of our society’s resilience to deal with the growing environmental challenges coming at us with greater frequency.

The lies of the land – “I don’t think, I know!” – Who suffers when truth lies bleeding? — Sustainability Bites

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November 15 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “How Much Is Spent Supporting Fossil Fuels And Green Energy?” • Despite pledges to limit support, governments around the world spend more than $420 billion each year subsidizing non-renewable energy, according to the UN Development Programme. How do fossil fuel subsidies work and which countries are spending the most? [BBC] Abandoned open pit […]

November 15 Energy News — geoharvey

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment