Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear news week to 18 January

The undersea volcano near Tonga is bad enough. But one wonders what would be the effect of disrupting nuclear wastes undersea, whether they  be from atomic bomb testing, or from the dumping of nuclear trash.

Coronavirus.  It’s not that I have given up on studying this: it’s just that the news, and changes, come thick and fast, and we all live in uncertainty.

Climate change. It’s all happening. Keep up with the latest at Radio Ecoshock – Arctic Will Change Your Life. Nitrous Oxide, Sea Ice, & Western Fires.

Nuclear. This week,  Ukraine stalemate, and the same old issues drag on – Europe’s struggle to depict nuclear as ”green”, UK’s struggle to finance the nuclear industry, France’s struggle with old, (and some cracking) reactors. And Fukushima’s crisis springs eternal.

Some bits of good news. By the way, – biggest response ever this newsletter has received on any subject –   about the butterfly story last week!   Some wins for the planet in 2021.  Nice stories about animals – including several ”non-extinctions”.   Beavers Saved From Euthanasia Transform and Replenish Rivers in the Utah Desert.

AUSTRALIA.

Nuclear. .   AUKUS an unwelcome guest at the table of nuclear disarmament.

 In Western Australia, first Cameco’s Kintyre uranium project was disallowed, now Toro’s uranium project also rejectedToro Energy misses deadline to start work at Wiluna uranium mine    

 Climate.   Federal Labor pledges climate resilience funding,   Nationals pledge allegiance to coal — RenewEconomy

It’s not just WA: Sydney and Melbourne will see dangerous 50C temperatures soon enough

‘We’ve worked our whole life, this is our family home’: What the future of climate change means for coastal property owners.

South Australia breaks record, runs for a week on renewable energy

Charities are sick of fighting off attacks by the Morrison government

INTERNATIONAL

Is US extradition inevitable for Julian Assange? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aw4Yz0Va1c

In 2022, nuclear power’s future looks grimmer than ever.   Nuclear: economically unsustainable, inherently dangerous and absolutely unfeasible as a solution to climate change.      A hopeless pursuit? National efforts to promote small modular nuclear reactors and revive nuclear power. Small modular reactors (SMRs) offer no hope for nuclear energy.

Climate change crisis ranked as the biggest threat facing the global economy ahead of wars and pandemics. The environmental impact of emissions from space launches: a comprehensive review .

The Guardian view on The Green Planet: verdant and necessary

We study ocean temperatures. The Earth just broke a heat increase record.

Global heating linked to early birth and damage to babies’ health, scientists find

Stoltenberg: NATO ready for war in Europe.

Horrors of Hiroshima, a reminder nuclear weapons remain global threat.

ARCTICClimate change destroying homes across the Arctic. Fieldwork in the High Arctic found cataclysmic impact of climate change happening 70 years ahead of what the scientific models expected.

UKRAINEThe media downplays Ukraine’s ties to Nazism, as they promote weapons sales, and war against Russia.  This is how I feel about the Ukraine crisis.

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

AUKUS an unwelcome guest at the table of nuclear disarmament.

AUKUS is emblematic of a belligerence that is at odds with moral and ethical demands for the future. It posits a vision of military aggression and confrontation that increase the risk of war and war turning nuclear; and concedes authoritarianism and lack of debate as defining principles for the present

AUKUS an unwelcome guest at the table of nuclear disarmament, Pearls and Irritations,
By Sanjay BarboraJan 16, 2022
   Despite many shortcomings, the Non-Proliferation Treaty remains a symbol of an inconsistent effort to ensure a world without threats of nuclear war.

The 2022 Review Conference (RevCon) of the Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which was to meet from January 4 to 28 in New York has been postponed because of the resurgent virus. Consultations are under way to set a new meeting time.

………………As governments and civil society consider their priorities for the review conference, what then are we to expect? This question assumes greater significance for Australia, as the country’s leaders respond to the changing climate following the hastily announced AUKUS trilateral pact for the supply of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia in 2021.

Three closely related aspects ought to be considered by the country’s decision makers as they address the review conference. They are (a) Australia’s commitment to international obligations, (b) security implications of the proposed AUKUS submarines, and (c) reactions within civil society, either as they exist now or as may be anticipated in the future.

………………. In the past, Australia’s stated position was to aim for greater accountability from the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS), while widening the scope of non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) to pursue the development of domestic nuclear energy. However, this position was undermined by its active opposition to and attempts to derail the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2017.

A decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS partnership would threaten this fraught history with further uncertainties. It would offer the United States an even greater say in Australian foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific-Indian Ocean region.

The specious defence that eight-nuclear propelled submarines do not constitute a breach of Australia’s commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation has two obvious problems.

Firstly, politicians and political commentators have made it clear that current tensions with China have played a substantial role in the current government’s decision to override earlier agreements for creating domestic capacities to build submarines with French support.

Secondly, this dystopian vision of a future world of nuclear showdowns could encourage governments of other NNWS in the region and elsewhere to follow a similar disingenuous narrative for nuclear militarisation.

In any case, the pathway from civil use to military weaponisation remains an issue of concern, that any sovereign country might follow. This could undo several decades of Australian diplomacy that sought to place the country as a reliable partner for securing peaceful policies and development in the Asia-Pacific-Indian Ocean region.

AUKUS is emblematic of a belligerence that is at odds with moral and ethical demands for the future. It posits a vision of military aggression and confrontation that increase the risk of war and war turning nuclear; and concedes authoritarianism and lack of debate as defining principles for the present…………..

The NPT Review Conference, therefore offers an opportunity to revive Australian civil society’s responsibility to reiterate its commitment to regional and global peace and a world free of nuclear weapons.

Professor Sanjay Barbora, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India, is a Research Affiliate with the University of Melbourne’s Initiative for Peacebuilding. This article was stimulated by a closed-door roundtable discussion, “Would AUKUS undermine the NPT?” hosted by the Initiative for Peacebuilding on December 10. https://johnmenadue.com/aukus-an-unwelcome-guest-at-the-table-of-nuclear-disarmament/

January 17, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Australia breaks record, runs for a week on renewable energy

South Australia breaks record, runs for a week on renewable energy

Analysts believe South Australia’s more than six-day run on green energy may be a global first for a power grid supporting an advanced economy.

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘We’ve worked our whole life, this is our family home’: What the future of climate change means for coastal property owners

For decades

‘We’ve worked our whole life, this is our family home’: What the future of climate change means for coastal property owners

For decades Australians have happily paid a premium for their very own piece of coastline. But with up to a metre of sea-level rise all but locked in by the end of the century, will waterfront living remain a viable option?

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global heating linked to early birth and damage to babies’ health, scientists find

Global heating linked to early birth and damage to babies’ health, scientists find

Studies show high temperatures and air pollution during pregnancy can cause lifelong health effects

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Charities are sick of fighting off attacks by the Morrison government

Charities are sick of fighting off attacks by the Morrison government

Andrew Leigh

Public policy debates are enriched through the voices of charities. But the Coalition believes volunteers should be seen, not heard

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Western Australian gas producers pay paltry royalties to government — RenewEconomy

The bulk of Western Australia’s LNG production is subject to little or no tax, despite surging income, new analysis shows. The post Western Australian gas producers pay paltry royalties to government appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Western Australian gas producers pay paltry royalties to government — RenewEconomy

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The science-based case for excluding nuclear power from the EU taxonomy

Not green and not sustainable,  The science-based case for excluding nuclear power from the EU taxonomy, Beyond Nuclear, 15 Jan 2022,

A statement by Dawn Slevin, Dr. Erik Laes, Paolo Masoni, Jochen Krimphoff, Fabrizio Varriale, Andrea Di Turi, Dr. Ulrich Ofterdinger, Dr. Dolores Byrne, Dr. Petra Kuenkel, Ursula Hartenberger, Kosha Joubert, Dr. Paul Dorfman, Anders Wijkman, Prof. Petra, Seibert, Rebecca Harms, Joseph Kobor, Michel Lee, Dr. Stuart Parkinson, and Dr. Ian Fairlie

One of the most influential policy initiatives of the European Commission in the past years has been the “EU Taxonomy”, essentially a shopping list of investments that may be considered environmentally sustainable across six environmental objectives

To be deemed EU Taxonomy aligned, the activity must demonstrate a substantial contribution to one environmental objective, such as climate change mitigation, whilst causing no significant harm to the remaining five environmental objectives (climate change adaptation, sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources, transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention and control, and protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems).  

All eligible activities are required to comply with technical screening criteria (TSC) for ‘substantial contribution’ and ‘do no significant harm’ and to demonstrate that social safeguards are in place. The EU Taxonomy provides a common language for sustainability reporting, a foundation for green bond reporting and much more. It is intended to be used by international financial markets participants whose products are sold within the EU in order to evaluate the sustainability of their underlying investments.  

The use of the EU Taxonomy is furthermore compulsory for the EU and member states when introducing requirements and standards regarding environmental sustainability of financial products, such as an EU ecolabel for investment products or an EU Green Bond Standard. It will also apply to 37% of activities earmarked as ‘climate-friendly’ financed by the EU COVID-19 recovery funding. Its science-based approach is designed to give confidence to a wide range of international stakeholders that environmental claims are not greenwashing. 

The question whether nuclear fission energy complies with the ‘do no significant harm’ (DNSH) criteria of the EU Taxonomy was the focus of the Technical Expert Group (TEG) DNSH assessment on nuclear fission technologies which recommended to the Commission that nuclear should not be included in the EU Taxonomy of environmentally sustainable activities.

Taking into account the significant financial implications of adopting the TEG recommendations, it became the starting point of intense behind-door lobbying. France led a coalition of 10 EU Member States arguing that nuclear fission as well as gas-fired power plants should be included in the Taxonomy. Together with Finland (Olkiluoto-3), France is at present the only EU country constructing a new nuclear power plant (Flamanville-3). 

The Finnish and French construction sites were meant to be the industrial demonstration of an evolutionary nuclear technology (the “European Pressurised water Reactor” or EPR). Olkiluoto-3 was meant to start generating power in 2009, followed by Flamanville-3 in 2012. Instead, the projects turned out to have multiple engineering difficulties and financial constraints that resulted in significant delays culminating in missed deadlines for various production start dates and tripling unit cost. 

Nevertheless, in October 2021 president Macron announced that France will continue to invest heavily in the construction of EPR ‘light’ versions, next to research into small modular reactor (SMR) technology. Following consultation with Member States, the Commission charged its former nuclear Joint Research Centre (JRC) to draft another technical report in 2020 – the “Technical assessment of nuclear energy with respect to the ‘do no significant harm’ criteria of Regulation (EU) 2020/852”. This report was reviewed by two sets of experts, the Group of Experts on radiation protection and waste management under Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty (having no specific competences in sustainability impact assessment other than impacts incurred by radiation) and the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks on environmental impacts (Sheer). 

While the Sheer group pointed out some omissions, the Article 31 Group of Experts, unsurprisingly supported the conclusions of the JRC. Nevertheless, a minority report opposed the lack of integration of economic and environmental aspects, as put forward by the Rio principles for Sustainable Development. 

The JRC, supported by the Art. 31 experts, concluded amongst others that:  “…deep geological repositories are considered, at the state of today’s knowledge, appropriate and safe means of isolating spent fuel and other high-level waste (HLW) from the biosphere for very long timescales and the necessary technologies are now available;” “..the standards of environmental control needed to protect the members of the public are likely to be sufficient to ensure that other species are not put at risk;” “… the requirements in the [EU Taxonomy] TSC regarding protection of humans and the environment from harmful effects of ionising radiation are automatically satisfied in the EU if a licence can be issued.” 

Notwithstanding the findings of the JRC and the Article 31 Group of Experts, members of the TEG DNSH maintain our position that nuclear fission energy should not be included in the EU Taxonomy of environmentally sustainable activities. We the TEG DNSH members observe that the above JRC/Article 31 Group of experts’ statements and conclusions drawn thereof cannot be fully based on scientific evidence as deep geological disposal of high-level nuclear waste entails the need for adequate quality assurance and control of waste form compatibility, as well as for monitoring of health impacts and preservation of knowledge and memory for possibly thousands of years. It also requires operational demonstration of disposal within Europe. 

The fact that according to the current technical state of knowledge there is no alternative to deep geological disposal as a ‘solution’ for the nuclear waste problem does not take away from its ethically problematic character. Moreover the independent scientific evidence which the TEG presented to the European Commission, shows evidence of adverse impacts to the natural environment arising from the many processes involved in the nuclear power lifecycle (from uranium mining to waste disposal) that are operational today.  

Therefore, we maintain our recommendation to the European Commission that nuclear fission energy has no place on the EU Taxonomy of sustainable activities, whether or not it is licensed. It is furthermore our view that the proponents of nuclear energy have guided the interpretation of scientific knowledge and the framing of sustainability assessment in order to use the EU Taxonomy to place a ‘scientific’ stamp on what is primarily a political position on nuclear fission energy aiming to satisfy the few EU member states that wish to promote the associated technologies.  

Does the present generation of nuclear fission power plants ‘do no significant harm’? ……… 

The Taxonomy architecture is not designed to cater for such risks that carry an intergenerational impact lasting for thousands of years, making it an unsuitable instrument to decide on the sustainable nature of nuclear power. ………..

Other concerns with regard to DNSH criteria ……………………………..

Should nuclear fission power be included in the taxonomy as a transition activity? ……………………………………..

Further issues of justice beyond the DNSH criteria …………………….

The Way Forward .

Controlling nuclear technologies, investments, and practices requires a high level of technical expertise, which emphasizes the need for expert structures which are independent of the nuclear industry and can therefore better safeguard the common good at international, European and national levels. 

The nuclear industry is currently self-regulating with oversight provided by the IAEA (with a mandate to promote the peaceful applications of nuclear technology), EURATOM framing and international committees such as UNSCEAR depending too much on international diplomacy (which recently cast doubt on the health effects of exposure to low levels of radiation). 

We highlight the need for an independent international agency requiring revision of the EURATOM treaty as well in order to be able to review nuclear power issues with a focus on society’s need of sustainable development above nuclear sectoral interests, in terms of safeguarding public and environmental health, economic and energy security and general issues of justice. 

The proposed inclusion of nuclear fission energy in the EU Taxonomy will channel much needed capital away from proven sustainable energy sources, create more long-term operational and waste management risks and adverse environmental and social impacts that will undermine the principles and technical screening criteria of the EU Taxonomy and crucially, undermine Europe’s credibility and standing amongst its own citizens and international peers. 

Instead of giving the nuclear industry a new financial injection for solutions of the past such as the large scale EPR, the EU should focus on pressing issues such as looking for common solutions to the existing HLW problem in EU Member States (and internationally) and taking up a strong regulatory position on nuclear safety and peaceful developments in nuclear technology. 

It is the responsibility of Euratom to demonstrate a real European collaboration in solving the technical as well as the environmental and economic challenges related to HLW management (emergency management, harmonised safety and QA/QC criteria for waste forms, insurances). 

The signatories of this letter understand the need of the nuclear industry to receive ongoing regulatory support to ensure that their current operations, management of waste, and decommissioning are authorized and carried out in a safe manner. We therefore encourage the JRC and EU Institutions to extend and harmonise their support and strategic direction of the nuclear industry in the new energy transition paradigm, but we state categorically that the proposed inclusion of nuclear fission energy on the EU Taxonomy  of environmentally sustainable activities is contrary to the TEGs recommendation to the European Commission. 

The above is the content of a Statement of Concern sent by the EU Taxonomy subgroup DNSH TEG members and expert supporters to the Commission on December 21, 2021. The statement can also be downloaded in PDF format. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3774941784

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Small modular reactors (SMRs) offer no hope for nuclear energy

There is also a “Catch 22”. The economics will only be tested when large numbers of reactors manufactured on production lines have been built and their cost known. Private industry is not going to take the risk of paying for production lines and buying large numbers of reactors that could well prove uneconomic. So, it will be public money, as it nearly always has been the case with nuclear power, that will be risked.

Small modular reactors offer no hope for nuclear energy,  https://www.advancedsciencenews.com/small-modular-reactors-offer-no-hope-for-nuclear-energy/ by M.V. Ramana | Jan 14, 2022,

Many believe that small modular reactors will help solve the energy crisis, but this belief is grossly optimistic.  In December 2021, the government of Belgium joined an increasing number of countries expressing an interest in building what are called small modular reactors, which generate under 300 megawatts of electrical power — much smaller than the 1000 to 1700 megawatts typical of large reactors that dominate today’s nuclear power landscape.

Belgium’s interest in small modular reactors was paired with a decision to phase out the country’s operating nuclear power plants by 2025, with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declaring that the decision amounted to bidding goodbye to the old nuclear reactors but looking to nuclear energy of the future.

Does replacing ageing nuclear capacity with these smaller reactors make economic sense and will it happen?

Belgium is hardly alone in being interested in small modular reactors. At the forefront of efforts to commercialize these designs are the governments of the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, all of which provide large amounts of taxpayer money to subsidize their development. These three countries have long histories in nuclear power and are influencing other countries to follow their lead.

Decline in nuclear power

The background to interest in small reactors is the consistently declining share of nuclear power in global electricity generation, from 17.5% in 1996 to around 10% in 2020. This decline reflects the steep falloff in orders for nuclear power from the mid-1980s onward.

Although often blamed on public opposition to nuclear power, especially resulting from the devastating accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima, the main cause for the drop in nuclear power’s importance has been the steadily rising cost of nuclear reactors and the almost invariable tendency for project construction costs and time to escalate dramatically.

An illustration is the Vogtle project in the U.S. state of Georgia, where two large 1100 megawatt AP1000 reactors are being constructed. These two reactors are among approximately 30 new reactor proposals announced after the U.S. government offered handsome financial incentives for nuclear power plant construction in 2005. Of these, only four reactors moved to the construction stage.

The other project was in the nearby state of South Carolina and also involved two AP1000 reactors. After $9 billion was spent on this project, the utility company abandoned construction in 2017 because capital costs and building schedules had escalated beyond control.

Construction of the Vogtle reactors continues despite the project cost increasing from an initial estimate of $14 billion to over $30 billion, and the plant is still at least two years from completion. This is typical of such projects, and the poor construction record has made nuclear power plants difficult to finance because financiers are unwilling to be exposed to these risks.

The economic challenges of small reactors

Advocates for small modular reactors claim that this strategy will lower costs in the long run. They blame rising costs and delays on the size and complexity of large reactors and on the difficulty in managing the large amount of work they need to construct on-site. Small modular reactors are expected to be cheaper because they will use production line-made modules that will require much less work at the site.

These arguments have superficial attractions and do not stand up to scrutiny. The main strategy for combating nuclear power’s historic lack of competitiveness has been to build ever-larger reactors because the expenses associated with constructing and operating a reactor should not increase in direct proportion to the power generated. Small modular reactors cannot defy this economic logic. The scale economies that will be lost cannot be compensated for by factory manufacturing, and they will cost more than large reactors for each unit (megawatt) of generation capacity.

Experience also suggests that factory manufacturing of modules will not be a panacea. The AP1000 design used at the Vogtle and Summer sites relied heavily on using modular factory-made components, but that reliance did not prevent the large cost and time overruns as well as quality problems that have bedeviled these projects.

There is also a “Catch 22”. The economics will only be tested when large numbers of reactors manufactured on production lines have been built and their cost known. Private industry is not going to take the risk of paying for production lines and buying large numbers of reactors that could well prove uneconomic. So, it will be public money, as it nearly always has been the case with nuclear power, that will be risked.

Renewables are a better alternative

Whether small modular reactors can beat large reactors in terms of economics is not the issue; it is their competitiveness with renewables. While nuclear costs have been relentlessly rising for decades, costs of renewables have plummeted and are now far lower than for nuclear. In its most recent estimate, the Wall Street firm, Lazard, estimated that a new nuclear plant will generate electricity at an average cost of $167 per megawatt hour, over four times the corresponding estimates of $38 and $34 per megawatt hour for new wind and solar energy plants, respectively.

Renewables can also be deployed much quicker and more reliably than nuclear — a key factor in dealing with a climate emergency. And the myth that electrical grids cannot be operated reliably with renewables because the Sun does not shine all the time and wind does not always blow is just that: a myth. In fact, renewables can be the basis of a reliable electricity system provided suitable and affordable options, such as energy efficiency, demand response, technological and geographic diversity, and some storage, are incorporated.

The economic problems associated with small reactors means that they will not be built in large numbers, and they will not halt the decline in nuclear power. The track record in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. so far suggests that the development efforts in these countries are unlikely to succeed. If even these countries, with their long history of exploiting nuclear power and large financial and skills resources cannot commercialize these technologies, then the prospects in other countries will also be bleak.

All of this can be ignored but for the “opportunity costs” of pursuing small modular reactors. Throughout nuclear power’s history, governments have continually believed that nuclear power would solve the energy problems of the day, whether it is dependence on hostile suppliers of oil and gas, acid rain, or now, climate change.

This belief has resulted in grossly over-optimistic and unfulfilled forecasts of nuclear expansion. The attempt has diverted money and resources away from the options that would have addressed these issues. If governments continue to pursue small reactors, this will jeopardize our attempts to mitigate climate change.   Written by: M. V. Ramana and Stephen Thomas

Reference: Stephen Thomas and M. V. Ramana, A Hopeless Pursuit? National Efforts to Promote Small Modular Nuclear Reactors and Revive Nuclear Power, WIRES Energy and Environment (2022). DOI: 10.1002/wene.429

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power plants – ”no significant harm?”-risks of catastrophic accidents, wastes dangers to future generations, water consumption.

Not green and not sustainable,  The science-based case for excluding nuclear power from the EU taxonomy, Beyond Nuclear, 15 Jan 2022,  ”………………………Does the present generation of nuclear fission power plants ‘do no significant harm’? 

To answer this question, two specific issues for nuclear power stand out: the risk of a catastrophic accident and the management of high-level nuclear waste (HLW). Nuclear fission energy is characterized by low probability, high consequence risks to humans and the environment. Even the JRC recognizes that the risk of a severe nuclear accident cannot be excluded, even in the best commercially available nuclear power plants. 

The disaster in Fukushima (2011) was triggered by a process that these nuclear reactors were not “designed” to withstand. These circumstances shed light on the limitations of the technical risk assessments, which have not fully taken into account beyond design risks in particular of core melt accidents. 

The events in Fukushima have made it apparent that such assessments are based on specific assumptions, for example on seismic safety or the maximum height of a tsunami, and that reality can disprove these assumptions. Deciding whether such risks belong to the category of ‘tolerable risks’ for a given society depends on the various risk regulation measures put in place. Especially relevant for nuclear fission power is the fact that the liability of the operator in the case of a severe accident is limited and the remaining costs are (largely) taken on by the state (privatization of profits, socialization of risks).

The Taxonomy architecture is not designed to cater for such risks that carry an intergenerational impact lasting for thousands of years, making it an unsuitable instrument to decide on the sustainable nature of nuclear power. 

The characteristics and nature of HLW generated by the nuclear fission process present long-term intergenerational risks and thereby challenge the principle of ‘do no significant harm’ to the extent that nuclear fission energy may not be considered eligible for the EU Taxonomy. 

This was made abundantly clear to the Commission in the TEG’s recommendations, which were not published in their entirety. Independent, scientific, peer-reviewed evidence compiled by TEG provided confirmation of the risk of significant harm arising from nuclear waste. 

The back end of the fuel cycle is currently dominated by the containment of spent fuel rods and waste from nuclear power facilities. Safe and secure long-term storage of nuclear waste remains unresolved and has to be demonstrated in its operational complexity. Whilst the nuclear industry and international nuclear waste experts provide assurances of multiple engineered safeguards designed to reduce the risks from nuclear waste through geological disposal, the question remains whether, despite the solid scientific basis and thorough geological knowledge gathered, in the absence of experience with this technology, one can really guarantee that HLW will remain isolated from humans and the environment for thousands, let alone millions of years. 

The fact that a ‘solution’ has to be found for the existing quantities of waste (as well spent fuel as conditioned high level waste forms), and that geological disposal is the least bad solution for this, does not imply that nuclear power can suddenly be classified as a ‘green’ energy source. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the risks presented by nuclear fission energy to the ‘do no significant harm’ principle and technical screening criteria of the EU Taxonomy means that it can not be considered EU Taxonomy eligible or aligned as long as the technology and fuel cycle management has not proven to be sustainable as a whole.  

Other concerns with regard to DNSH criteria 

Nuclear fission power plants require about three cubic metres of cooling water per megawatt hour (MWh) produced. A nuclear plant’s cooling water consumption is higher than that of fossil-fuel plants. Throughout the world, new nuclear plants and existing plants increasingly face cooling water scarcity induced by heat waves, a situation that is likely to be aggravated by climate change. More efficient cooling technologies could be considered, but this adds to the already high costs of nuclear power plants. 

For reasons of having access to enough cooling water, nuclear plants are mostly sited in coastal or estuarine locations, but this makes them vulnerable to flooding and extreme events that climate change may occasion. The siting of nuclear power plants along coastal zones presents adaptation risks associated with sea-level rise, water temperature rise, coastal erosion as well as natural catastrophes such as the Fukushima disaster demonstrates. 

The Fukushima disaster reveals how powerless human operators are when nuclear systems escape full, continuous control. Instead of helping to address the impacts of the Tsunami as renewable energy sources would have, the devastated nuclear power plant strongly aggravated the emergency relief in the province and left huge new problems of liquid waste and radioactive waste resulting from infrastructure and land cleaning activities, never encountered before in densely populated industrial areas. 

Furthermore, when major nuclear plant accidents occur significant land areas become unsuitable for human habitation (e.g. Chernobyl, Fukushima). 

Advocates of nuclear power draw attention to the survival of natural flora and fauna in zones contaminated by radioactive materials and precluding human access. However, this is presumably not the type of ecological protection and resilience that the EU Taxonomy aims to achieve. Surface or underground mining and the processing of uranium ore can substantially damage surrounding ecosystems and waterways. The huge volumes of associated mining waste in developing countries are normally not considered in life cycle waste inventories of nuclear energy producing countries. 

More critically, the adverse effects on local environmental conditions of routine discharging of nuclear isotopes to the air and water at reprocessing plants have not been considered thoroughly enough. A number of adverse impacts (of radiation) on soil/sediment, benthic flora and fauna and marine mammals has been demonstrated ………………………………  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3774941784

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons are a crime — Beyond Nuclear International

Protesting them shouldn’t be

Nuclear weapons are a crime — Beyond Nuclear International

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 16 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “Why Nuclear Power Can Never Be Green” • Calling nuclear power “green” or “sustainable,” attempting to equate a nuclear reactor with a solar panel or a wind turbine, is plain and simple fraud. Nuclear power does not lead to carbon emissions once production begins, but to give it the same treatment as a […]

January 16 Energy News — geoharvey

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment