Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear news to 4 January – Australia and overseas

As Omicron rips around the world, attention turns to medical science. In this ever-changing story, conspiracy theories are rife, and trust in science is shaken. Trust in science is diminished, too, in climate change. By and large, media and governments seem content with a ”business as usual” policy.

And now, the European Union is about to declare that nuclear power has miraculously become ”clean”, ”green” and ”sustainable” – worthy of tax-payer funding – this is a real blow to the credibility of science.


 Australia’s nuclear-free collective efforts and achievements in 2021. 

  Nuclear waste from Britain heading to Lucas Heights – first load of many . Nuclear waste returning from UK to Australia. Dave Sweeney – Australia needs a genuine discussion about nuclear waste. The Australian government’s Kimba nuclear waste decision rides roughshod over Australia’s obligations under international law, 

Despite war-mongering Peter Dutton, a Defence review finds it not necessary to overturn Darwin port agreement with Chinese company.


Why a U.S.-Russia War Would Inevitably Be a Globe-Annihilating Nuclear War.

Will the European Commission buy into the lie that nuclear power is clean and green? Angry response in Europe to the draft European Commission plans to accept nuclear power ”climate-friendly” – eligible for tax-payer financial help.

Land and water ecosystems ‘stressed to a critical point’ .

Nuclear Twilight – the ”limited” nuclear war.

Germany, France, Britain, U.S. discuss Ukraine crisis, Iran nuclear talks.

The murky world of financing Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs).

Increased compensation for those damaged by nuclear accident – OECD.

Threat of nuclear war: Not a thing of the past. UN Nuclear Ban Treaty conference postponed again because of Covid-19.

Radioactive radiation could damage biological tissue also via a previously unnoticed mechanism.

More fusion folly — Beyond Nuclear International

World urgently needs a Paris-style agreement for biodiversity .

COP 27 – the risk of the climate summit becoming a stalemate.

Our Oceans Are Not Sewers.

January 3, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

The Australian government’s Kimba nuclear waste decision rides roughshod over Australia’s obligations under international law

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Australian Human Rights Commission advised that Article 29(2) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that ‘no storage of hazardous materials shall take place on Indigenous lands without their free, prior and informed consent.’ 265

1.255 The Commission submitted that in order for Indigenous people to make informed consent, adequate resourcing to representative groups needs to be provided to ensure appropriate and informed consultation. 267


Self-determination and participation
When Australia officially endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2009, the Government stated its intent was to reset relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and to build trust in order to work together to overcome the legacy of the past and shape the future together. Furthermore, in Australia’s pledge as a candidate to the United Nations Human Rights Council 2018-2010, it committed to give practical effect to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ Outcome Document.

Self-determination is a fundamental element of the Declaration whereby indigenous peoples have the right to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development (Art. 3 of UNDRIP) and have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions (Art. 4). The Declaration also sets out that indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which affect their rights (Art. 18).

While Australia has adopted numerous policies aiming to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait socio-economic disadvantage, the failure to respect the right to selfdetermination and the right to full and effective participation in these is alarming. The compounded effect of these policies has contributed to the failure to deliver on the targets in the areas of health, education and employment in the Closing the Gap strategy and has contributed to aggravating the escalating incarceration and child removal rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

The Letters Patent, long title “Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom erecting and establishing the Province of South Australia and fixing the boundaries thereof”, defined the boundaries
of the Province of South Australia:

Provided Always that nothing in those our Letters Patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives

January 3, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

German Greens fight plan to funnel billions of euros into the nuclear industry via deceptive taxonomy ”sustainable” label

German Greens lead attack on EU plan to label nuclear power ‘sustainable’. Brussels’ proposal is central to European goal of channelling billions of euros into green investments,,  Mehreen Khan in Brussels and Joe Miller in Frankfurt 3 Jan 21,
  Germany, Austria and Luxembourg have hit out at Brussels’ plans to classify nuclear power as a sustainable technology in the EU’s landmark labelling system for green investment, which is central to Europe’s plans to decarbonise the bloc’s economy. German economy minister Robert Habeck, who is a member of the Green party in the country’s governing coalition, said: “It is questionable whether this greenwashing will even find acceptance on the financial market.” He told German press agency DPA on Saturday: “In our view, there was no need for this addition to the taxonomy rules.”  

Brussels’ proposal is part of a so-called “taxonomy” list, which aims to help channel billions of euros of investment needed to decarbonise the bloc’s economy. The plan, the first attempt by a leading regulator to bring clarity to investors seeking to put private capital into sustainable economic activity, covers about 80 per cent of the bloc’s emissions and is intended to be a “gold standard” for markets to decide what is truly green or not. But the process has been beset by fierce political infighting inside the European Commission and its member states.

Leonore Gewessler, Austria’s minister for climate and energy, said on Saturday that Vienna would consider suing the European Commission if the classification of nuclear power as green went ahead. Claude Turmes, Luxembourg’s energy minister, meanwhile called the inclusion of nuclear power a “provocation”.  The inclusion of nuclear power is widely seen as a victory for the French government which has urged Brussels to ensure the new rules do not punish a technology that provides almost two-thirds of French electricity. Nuclear reactors do not generate CO2 emissions but produce highly toxic waste…………..
The Brussels draft text will form part of a consultation with EU countries and independent experts that will run until January 12. However, anti-nuclear EU governments do not have the power to veto the taxonomy, which diplomats say is likely to win majority support in the EU Council. Astrid Matthey, one of the independent experts who advises the commission on the rules, criticised the draft for “contradicting the very purpose of the taxonomy”. 

“The conditions under which both technologies are to be included are far from ensuring that we reach the Paris climate targets and do-no-significant-harm to the environment. There is still a long way to go for this draft to become aligned with the Green Deal and the EU’s environmental targets”, said Matthey.

January 3, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Growing radioactive waste crisis at Fukushima nuclear power plant

The continuous accumulation of radioactive slurry and other nasty substances, coupled with the problem of finding a safe way to dispose of melted nuclear fuel debris at reactors No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, has plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. frantically scratching around for ideas.

One problem is that storage containers for the tainted slurry degrade quickly, meaning that they constantly have to be replaced.

TEPCO slow to respond to growing crisis at Fukushima plant, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN,  by Yu Fujinami and Tsuyoshi Kawamura, January 2, 2022Radioactive waste generated from treating highly contaminated water used to cool crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has thrown up yet new nightmarish challenges in decommissioning the facility, a project that is supposed to be completed in 30 years but which looks increasingly doubtful.

The continuous accumulation of radioactive slurry and other nasty substances, coupled with the problem of finding a safe way to dispose of melted nuclear fuel debris at reactors No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, has plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. frantically scratching around for ideas.

One problem is that storage containers for the tainted slurry degrade quickly, meaning that they constantly have to be replaced. Despite the urgency of the situation, little has been done to resolve the matter.
Fuel debris, a solidified mixture of nuclear fuel and structures inside the reactors melted as a consequence of the triple meltdown triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster has to be constantly cooled with water, which mixes with groundwater and rainwater rainwater that seep into the reactor buildings, producing more new radioactive water.

The contaminated water that accumulates is processed via an Advanced Liquid Processing System to remove most of radioactive materials. The ALPS is housed in a 17-meter-tall building situated close to the center of the plant site.

Reporters from the Japan National Press Club were granted a rare opportunity in late November to visit the crippled facility to observe the process.

The building houses a large grayish drum-like container designed especially to store radioactive slurry. The interior of each vessel is lined with polyethylene, while its double-walled exterior is reinforced with stainless steel.

ALARMING DEVELOPMENTS The use of chemical agents to reduce radioactive substances from the contaminated water in the sedimentation process produces a muddy material resembling shampoo. Strontium readings of the generated slurry sometimes reach tens of millions of becquerels per cubic centimeter.

TEPCO started keeping slurry in special vessels in March 2013. As of November, it had 3,373 of the containers.

Because the integrity of the vessels deteriorates quickly due to exposure to radiation from slurry, TEPCO and the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) predict that durability of the containers will reach the limit after exposure to an accumulated total of 5,000 kilograys of radiation–a level equivalent to 5 million sieverts.
Based on that grim forecast, TEPCO speculated the vessels will need replacement from July 2025.

But the NRA accused TEPCO of underestimating the impact of the radiation problem. It blasted the operator for measuring slurry density 20 centimeters above the base of the container when making its dose evaluation.

“As slurry forms deposits, the density level is always highest at the bottom,” a representative of the nuclear watchdog body pointed out.

The NRA carried out its own assessment in June 2021 and told TEPCO that 31 containers had already reached the end of their operating lives. Its findings also showed an additional 56 would need replacing within two years.The NRA told TEPCO to wake up and “understand how urgent the issue is since transferring slurry will take time.”………………..

With no drastic solutions in sight, a succession of containers will reach the end of their shelf lives shortly.

ANOTHER NIGHTMARE PROBLEM Radioactive slurry is not the only stumbling block for decommissioning.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2011 disaster, TEPCO stored contaminated water in the underground spaces below two buildings near the No. 4 reactor. In doing so, bags full of a mineral known as zeolite were placed in the temporary storage pools to absorb cesium so as to reduce the amount of radioactive substances.

Twenty-six tons of the stuff are still immersed in the dirty water on the floors under the buildings. Radiation readings of 4 sieverts per hour were detected on their surfaces in fiscal 2019, enough to kill half of all the people in the immediate vicinity within an hour.

TEPCO plans to introduce a remotely controlled underwater robot to recover the bags, starting no earlier than from fiscal 2023, However, it has not determined how long this will take or where to store the bags once they are retrieved.
In addition, radioactive rubble, soil and felled trees at the plant site totaled 480,000 cubic meters as of March 2021, leading TEPCO to set up a special incinerator. The total volume is expected to top 790,000 cubic meters in 10 years, but where to dispose of the incinerated waste remains unclear.

TEPCO is in a race against time. That’s the view of Satoshi Yanagihara, a specially appointed professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Fukui who has specialist knowledge on processes to abandon reactors.

“Now, only 30 years remain before the target date of the end of decommissioning set by the government and TEPCO,” said Yanagihara.As decommissioning work is due to shortly enter a crucial stage, such as recovering nuclear fuel debris on a trial basis from as early as 2022, Yanagihara noted the need for careful arrangements before forging ahead with important procedures.

“The government and TEPCO need to grasp an overall picture of the massive task ahead and discuss how to treat, keep and discard collected nuclear debris and the leftover radioactive waste with local residents and other relevant parties,” he said.

January 3, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More fusion folly — Beyond Nuclear International

Fusion reactors present unsolved risks and still produce nuclear waste

More fusion folly — Beyond Nuclear International

January 3, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Britain’s National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) advises government against new nuclear power projects.

UK NIC backs alternatives to nuclear,   Renew Extra Weekly, 2 Jan 21, The UK Government asked the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) for its advice on whether an additional new nuclear plant, beyond the proposed Sizewell C project, was needed to deliver the UK’s sixth Carbon (reduction) Budget, due in 2035. In response, the NIC said no, it was not needed or viable for 2035, since new nuclear was slow to deploy. It asserted that ‘it is highly unlikely that a new large scale nuclear plant is deliverable in the next 15 years; trying and failing would jeopardise delivery of the sixth Carbon Budget’. Instead it backed renewables, hydrogen and low/negative carbon technology- which is said could be deployed faster.
It noted that ‘since 1990, nuclear projects have faced significant delays all around the world. Even just in Europe around half of all plants have faced at least a 50% delay in construction, and 1 in 4 plants have faced at least a 90% delay in construction’. So it said that ‘any nuclear project schedule estimate should be expected to take at least 50% longer than planned. If a new project began development next year and took the same amount of time as the Hinkley Point C project is expected to take to complete, it would not come online until at least the mid 2040s’. So that put it well outside the 2035 timeframe.

Small Modular/advanced reactors might be a faster option, but the NIC said ‘relying on significant capacity being deployed before 2035 would be risky’. It pointed out that ‘no SMR has gone through the Generic Design Assessment process and some developer proposals are conditional on government support to progress project development. There are no SMRs in operation in countries similar to the UK.

To fill the same capacity gap illustrated in the BEIS modelling, at least six SMRs would be needed by 2035, if not more. This would require compressing the normal delivery timeline and doing things in parallel rather than in sequence, significantly increasing the risk of delays. Delivery success will also be dependent on the capability of the developer.’

Alternatives  likely to be faster 

Instead of these nuclear options, for delivery within the timeframe to 2035, it backed ‘renewables with a combination of gas power plants with carbon capture and storage, hydrogen fired gas plants and bioenergy with carbon capture & storage’. It said ‘these alternatives are more likely to be deliverable at scale in the next 15 years’. …………………..

even without costing analysis, it said its analysis clearly demonstrated ‘that a third new nuclear plant is not necessary to reach the 2035 emissions target and that more gas CCS, hydrogen powered gas plants, and BECCS could be deployed instead. Whilst these technologies are yet to be deployed at scale, the Commission considers them to be a lower delivery risk than nuclear.’ And it claimed that its proposed alternative technology mix was supported by analysis previously conducted for the Commission and by other bodies such as National Grid ESO & the Climate Change Committee. …………………

It’s odd that the NIC plunge into CCS and Hydrogen, rather than talking about renewables more. Maybe they are taken for granted. But if, led by wind and solar, they could be expanded much faster than BEIS and NIC envisage, then maybe we could forget about fossil CCS, BECCS and also Sizewell C. That might be helped if tidal stream technology could also get going- with CfD help, it ought to be able to by 2030. Geothermal too, for heat and power. All NIC says is that, from the BEIS analysis, it’s clear that ‘significant volumes of renewables are needed to deliver a low carbon power system by 2035. This is supported by previous analysis for the Commission and others. Rapid cost reductions and short and reliable build profiles mean that renewables will be the backbone of any future GB power system’. OK, fine, but we need details & plans now for faster expansion, along with a much improved commitment to energy saving!

January 3, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 2 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “Sands Of Time Are Slipping Away For England’s Crumbling Coasts Amid Climate Crisis” • Norfolk is a real-time lesson in how weather and sea can drastically alter a landscape. One man said, “You hear about erosion, but you don’t know what it means, what it involves, until you witness it. And it’s a […]

January 2 Energy News — geoharvey

January 3, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

European Commission drafts plan to label gas and nuclear investments as ”green”

EU drafts plan to label gas and nuclear investments as green, Reuters, By Kate Abnett and Simon JessopSummary

EU drafts plan to label gas and nuclear investments as green Reuters, By Kate Abnett and Simon JessopSummary

EU drafts plan to label gas and nuclear investments as green Reuters, By Kate Abnett and Simon JessopSummary 2 Jan 22

  • European Commission drawing up green investment rules
  • Draft proposal labels nuclear, some gas plants as green
  • Countries disagree on the fuels’ green credentials
  • EU advisors said gas not compatible with climate goals

Jan 1 (Reuters) – The European Union has drawn up plans to label some natural gas and nuclear energy projects as “green” investments after a year-long battle between governments over which investments are truly climate-friendly.

The European Commission is expected to propose rules in January deciding whether gas and nuclear projects will be included in the EU “sustainable finance taxonomy’.

EU countries and a panel of experts will scrutinise the draft proposal, which could change before it is due to be published later in January. Once published, it could be vetoed by a majority of EU countries or the European Parliament.

Brussels has also made moves to apply the system to some EU funding, meaning the rules could decide which projects are eligible for certain public finance.

A draft of the Commission’s proposal, seen by Reuters, would label nuclear power plant investments as green if the project has a plan, funds and a site to safely dispose of radioactive waste. To be deemed green, new nuclear plants must receive construction permits before 2045.

…………………. Gas and nuclear power generation would be labelled green on the grounds that they are “transitional” activities – defined as those that are not fully sustainable, but which have emissions below industry average and do not lock in polluting assets.

…………….. The policy has been mired in lobbying from governments for more than a year and EU countries disagree on which fuels are truly sustainable.

……………. Some environmental campaigners and Green EU lawmakers criticised the leaked proposal on gas and nuclear.

“By including them… the Commission risks jeopardising the credibility of the EU’s role as a leading marketplace for sustainable finance,” Greens president Philippe Lamberts said……….

January 3, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment