Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

New opposition leader Peter Dutton says that nuclear energy is not Liberal Party policy

Nuclear energy ‘not on the table’: Dutton, 31 May 22,

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says nuclear energy is currently ‘not on the table’ for Liberal Party policy consideration. ”If that’s to change then that would be the decision of the shadow cabinet and the party room,” Mr Dutton told Sky News Australia. https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/politics/nuclear-energy-not-on-the-table-dutton/video/66c6a997343fa7c41b7a2e5fb54c0605

May 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Barnaby Joyce removed as leader of the National Party, goes out spruiking for the nuclear industry

Barnaby Joyce says he will accept frontbench position from David Littleproud, calls for nuclear energy, Canberra Times,  Finn McHugh, May 31 2022   Barnaby Joyce has declared he’s not going anywhere before the next election, and would accept a frontbench position from the man who deposed him……….

Speaking for the first time since Monday’s leadership spill, Mr Joyce also backed David Littleproud’s calls to shift to nuclear energy.

“Let’s be brave enough and start saying things like nuclear energy……….

Within hours of becoming Nationals leader, Mr Littleproud declared it was time for Australia to hold a “mature” conversation on nuclear energy – the subject of a bipartisan moratorium……………..  https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7760371/im-going-nowhere-lets-talk-nuclear-joyce/

May 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

New National Party leader pushes for small nuclear reactors

New Nationals leader David Littleproud lays down challenge to Anthony Albanese, Canberra Times, 30 May 22, ”………………………………………. Mr Littleproud will push for a debate on lifting the moratorium on nuclear energy in Australia, revealing he’s already planning to raise the issue with the new Prime Minister.

“Unfortunately, in the past, there has been this demonisation … without even putting the lens over new nuclear technology like small-scale modular,” he said.

“Our party room will come to a position on that and it’s one [issue] that obviously we’re very passionate about.”We should back ourselves as Australians to do it better and safer than anyone else. But we need to educate before we legislate.”

One of a small number of federal parliamentarians who doesn’t hold a university degree, Mr Littleproud hoped his rise to the Nationals leadership would inspire young people to pursue their dreams.”This reaffirms we live in the greatest country in the planet,” he said. https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7760371/im-going-nowhere-lets-talk-nuclear-joyce/

May 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Small nuclear reactors may produce more, and more toxic, wastes than large ones do – new research

Mini nuclear power stations may produce more waste than large ones. Small modular nuclear reactors may produce higher volumes and greater complexity of radioactive waste because they are naturally less efficient, researchers find, New Scientist, 30 May 2022, By Adam Vaughan,   A much-vaunted first wave of mini nuclear power stations may produce more radioactive waste than traditional large-scale ones when generating the same amount of power.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) have been mooted by their developers and proponents as a cheaper and faster way to build new nuclear power capacity, with UK prime minister Boris Johnson claiming they could be generating electricity by 2030. The US government has provided financial support to the firm NuScale Power to develop its version of the technology.

But to date there has been little independent assessment of how the radioactive waste produced by SMRs would compare with that from their large-scale peers.

Lindsay Krall at Stanford University in California and her colleagues used data NuScale Power has shared publicly with US authorities to assess the technology, and extrapolated to model the waste from three different SMR technologies. They compared the SMR technology with a conventional 1.1 gigawatt nuclear reactor, roughly a third of the capacity of a new nuclear plant being built in south-west England.

They have found that SMRs could increase the volume of short-lived low and intermediate level waste – the two lowest of three categories – by up to 35 times compared to a large conventional reactor, when looking at waste produced per unit of electricity generated.  For the long-lived equivalent waste, SMRs would produce up to 30 times more and for spent nuclear fuel, up to 5 times more. The variation in these figures reflects expected variation in the SMR designs now being developed.

“The information right now being put out by reactor developers can be seen as promotional,” says Krall. “SMR performed worse on nearly all of our metrics compared to standard commercial reactors.” Those metrics included the heat from radioactive decay and the radiochemistry of the spent fuel.

The study suggests that SMRs produce higher volumes and greater complexity of waste because they are naturally less efficient. Nuclear power generation involves a nuclear chain reaction, in which one single nuclear reaction in the reactor core creates neutrons that then go on to cause an average of one or more subsequent nuclear reactions. However, according to Krall’s team, SMRs leak more neutrons out of their core than a larger reactor, meaning they cannot maintain the self-sustaining reaction for as long. Even a small difference in neutron leakage results in a substantial impact on the composition of the waste, says Krall………………………https://www.newscientist.com/article/2322252-mini-nuclear-power-stations-may-produce-more-waste-than-large-ones/

May 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear submarines and nuclear proliferation obligations – how many angels can dance on a periscope?

Ensuring the right safeguards are in place for Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines The Strategist, 30 May 2022, Anastasia Kapetas ”……………………………….. can the submarines be safeguarded? And do they actually need to be under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)?

As AUKUS was being negotiated, the Biden administration reportedly had serious concerns about the non-proliferation impacts of the deal, given that this would be the first time that a nuclear-weapon state has undertaken to transfer highly enriched uranium (HEU) to a non-nuclear-weapon state.

But experts on the NPT assured the US administration that everyone would meet their obligations under the treaty if Australia were barred from accessing the reactors inside its submarines.

So, the naval reactors would have to be sealed by the US or UK inside the submarine hulls before they came to Australia, remain sealed throughout the 30-year life of the submarine and be removed by the US or UK at the end of that life. That means if the submarines are to be built here, a section of the hull and reactor would need to be built in the US or UK and then moved to Australia. Or, if that is not feasible, then a reactor could possibly be imported into Australia, but with no Australian personnel having access to it at any time, something which would presumably need to be verified by the IAEA in some way that would also not give inspectors access to the reactor.

This means that, in theory, Australia’s naval reactors would not have to be safeguarded because the HEU contained in them would never be accessed by any country that is not a nuclear-weapon state.

Under the NPT, the five accredited nuclear-weapon states, China, Russia, the US, the UK and France, do not have to put their nuclear-weapons-related material under IAEA safeguards, although they all have voluntary safeguards agreements with the IAEA covering their civil nuclear programs.

The NPT doesn’t cover naval reactors. But because the deal involves the transfer of HEU to a non-nuclear-weapon state, Australia is not off the safeguards hook. Not safeguarding this would create a precedent for HEU transfer through naval reactors. So Australia needs not an exemption, as has sometimes been reported, but a new type of safeguard.

John Carlson, former director general of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO), who currently advises non-proliferation bodies internationally, and has written extensively on the issue, says standard safeguards can’t apply here.

He gives two reasons. The first is that nuclear-weapon states like the US and UK don’t want to reveal secret information on fuel and rector design to IAEA inspectors.

The other issue is that under a standard IAEA safeguard, inspections must take place regularly. For the irradiated HEU in Australia’s submarines, that would require inspections every three months. But given the nature of submarine deployments, Australia wouldn’t be able to ensure that they would be in port to be inspected at the proper time.

But, says Carlson, ‘Australia has an obligation to demonstrate to the international community that we haven’t simply diverted the fuel, and used it to produce nuclear weapons. This is why we need to develop a verification arrangement with the supplier and the IAEA.’

While it wouldn’t be a standard safeguard, it must be ‘sufficient to demonstrate to the international community, in a credible way, that the fuel is still in the submarines at any point in time’.

But what might some kind of alternative verification mechanism look like?

Given that the naval rectors will be built into the hulls of Australia’s submarines, they could not be  accessed without cutting into the hull…………….

there’s one other scenario that an Australia-specific safeguard would have to cover. And that is in the event of an accident where Australia would need to gain access to the reactor.‘We could claim that that the reactor needed urgent attention, and this would actually be a way to get our hands on the fuel.’This would be a major undertaking. It would require Australia to be equipped with all the equipment necessary to handle the fuel safely, as well as help from the US or UK………………….

The final piece of the safeguard puzzle is the politics. The member states of the IAEA would need to be comfortable with creating a special safeguard for Australia……………..  Carlson thinks IAEA approval is likely, but it will need careful, steady diplomacy. https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/ensuring-the-right-safeguards-are-in-place-for-australias-nuclear-powered-submarines/

May 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan Court Bars Hokkaido Nuclear Reactors From Operating 

Japan Court Bars Hokkaido Nuclear Reactors From Operating  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-31/japan-court-bars-hokkaido-nuclear-reactors-from-operating-nhk

  • Sapporo court rules in favor of anti-nuclear citizens group
  • Tomari reactors have been offline for more than a decade

By Shoko Oda, 31 May 22,

A Japanese court ruled in favor of an anti-nuclear citizens group in Hokkaido, saying that a nuclear power plant cannot operate. 

The Sapporo District Court said in a ruling on Tuesday that Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari nuclear plant isn’t safe to operate due to the earthquake and tsunami risk. A separate request to permanently decommission the plant was rejected by the court, according to court documents. The Tomari facility, which houses three reactors, has been fully offline since 2012.

By

Shoko Oda

A Japanese court ruled in favor of an anti-nuclear citizens group in Hokkaido, saying that a nuclear power plant cannot operate. 

The Sapporo District Court said in a ruling on Tuesday that Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari nuclear plant isn’t safe to operate due to the earthquake and tsunami risk. A separate request to permanently decommission the plant was rejected by the court, according to court documents. The Tomari facility, which houses three reactors, has been fully offline since 2012.

The ruling comes amid calls by some Japanese politicians to quickly restart its fleet of shuttered nuclear reactors, as the nation faces a power supply crunch this summer and the upcoming winter. The country closed its nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and only a handful have restarted under new safety rules. 

While Hokkaido Electric applied to restart the Tomari reactors nearly a decade ago, the arduous review process has dragged on and it isn’t clear when the regulator will approve the facility to resume operations. 

The court ruled that the Tomari nuclear reactors don’t have a safeguard facility against tsunamis, and that the utility hasn’t shown adequate safety measures for its spent atomic fuel. 

The ruling means that Hokkaido Electric won’t be able to immediately restart the facility. The company said that it will file an appeal on today’s decision. 

May 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Members of European Parliament and experts condemn plan to label nuclear as ”green”

MEPs, experts criticise green label for gas and nuclear  https://euobserver.com/green-economy/155087

By WESTER VAN GAAL BRUSSELS, 30. MAY, 

European lawmakers are gearing up for a July vote which could scupper EU Commission plans to classify gas and nuclear energy projects as sustainable investments until 2030.

On Monday (30 May), MEPs from the environmental (ENVI) and economy (ECON) committees held a public hearing with experts, with some calling on the lawmakers to block the inclusion of gas and nuclear as a green investment.

“This act will heavily damage the credibility of the taxonomy, and I recommend MEPs to reject it,” Sebastian Godinot, an economist at the World Wildlife Fund and a member of the commission’s scientific advisory body, said. “The current EU taxonomy will do worse than current [private sector] green bond standards.”

He also said the labelling of gas as a green energy source would “increase energy insecurity” and boost gas use when the EU is trying to quit Russian gas.

Representatives from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Dutch Pension Fund (DPF) also attended the meeting.

In January, the commission controversially included nuclear and gas in the so-called EU Taxonomy for green investment, against the explicit advice of its own science experts.

Hartwig Liesch, chief investment officer at DPF, said on Monday that including gas and nuclear in the green taxonomy is “not helpful” as it makes sustainable investment more complex.

Likewise, EIB director Werner Hoyer said at the bank’s annual media conference in Brussels in January this year that the complexity of proposed rules left investors feeling “drowsy.”

Undemocratic

The inclusion of gas and nuclear has been widely seen as a compromise pushed through by an alliance of French pro-nuclear forces and mainly eastern European countries wanting to incentivise EU investments in gas infrastructure.

“This proposal is not science-based but political,” Godinot said.

Another point of contention among MEPs and many experts was the commission’s use of the delegated act, a non-legislative procedure that excluded parliament.

“The parliament has been sidelined. The process is at best sloppy, if not undemocratic,” ECON chair Paul Tang (S&D) said on Monday.

In a comment to Reuters, green MEP Bas Eickhout said the inclusion of gas and nuclear “violated the spirit and letter of the [taxonomy”].

Simple majority

A simple majority vote in parliament — at least 353 MEPs — can still block the current proposal, which is set for early July.

So far the Socialists & Democrats, the Left and the Greens, which together hold 256 seats, have committed to blocking the proposal.

In May, a group of 16 MEPs from groups representing a majority of the European Parliament drafted a motion to block the inclusion of gas and nuclear, but the overall level of support is still unclear.

If the proposal gets blocked, it would end the commission’s efforts to include gas in the taxonomy.

“It simply won’t exist anymore and therefore won’t apply,” said Daniel Ferrie, a spokesperson for the commission, told EUobserver.

May 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Environment report ‘hidden’ by Coalition should be released immediately: Greens

Environment report ‘hidden’ by Coalition should be released immediately: Greens

The new Labor government is facing pressure to immediately release a major environment report which the Coalition was accused of hiding from voters before the federal election.

May 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weapons designed to mass murder civilians, terrorize the world, and enable impunity for war crimes can no longer be relied on to “prevent war.”

Ban Nuclear Weapons Now

Project Syndicate,May 30, 2022, ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTERSUSI SNYDER

Weapons designed to mass murder civilians, terrorize the world, and enable impunity for war crimes can no longer be relied on to “prevent war.” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and his willingness to brandish the threat of nuclear weapons will spur a renewed drive to rid the world of them.

WASHINGTON, DC – The events of the past three months in Ukraine – like Russia’s annexation of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine in 2014, the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the long proxy war in Syria – have given the lie to the claim that nuclear weapons prevent war. Nuclear deterrence might stop nuclear-armed countries from directly engaging in war with each other, just as it might stop proxy wars from escalating and spreading to the North Atlantic or the Pacific. But it is equally possible that nuclear eterrence has caused war and enabled national leaders to act with impunity.

Nuclear weapons have certainly not stopped Russia from waging aggressive war against Ukraine. On the contrary, President Vladimir Putin is using nuclear threats as a shield behind which to commit flagrant, grave, and systematic war crimes – and possibly crimes against humanity.

States that possess nuclear weapons have frequently gone to war with states that lack them. The erroneous belief that Iraq had developed nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons led the United States and its allies to invade the country against the will of the United Nations Security Council, triggering a humanitarian catastrophe and two decades of insecurity in the region and beyond. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), by suggesting that the status quo of nuclear haves and have-nots should be maintained at all costs, has provided some cover for these actions, as well as for attacks on suspected nuclear facilities in Iraq, Iran, and Syria…………………………………………………………

Nuclear weapons, like all weapons of mass destruction, can never be used within the bounds of the laws of war. Fortunately, the same determined efforts that almost completely ended the deployment of landmines and cluster munitions resulted in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entering into effect in January 2021.

The TPNW – the only treaty that makes the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons illegal – was brought about by all those countries whose security was shattered through decades of proxy wars between nuclear-armed powers. Adopted by 122 countries, it constitutes a recognition that the laws of war apply equally to all states, no matter what is in their national arsenal.

Weapons designed to mass murder civilians, terrorize the world, and enable impunity for war crimes can no longer be relied on to “prevent war.” Another legacy of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and his willingness to brandish the threat of nuclear weapons will be a renewed drive to rid the world of them. https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/ban-nuclear-weapons-now-by-anne-marie-slaughter-and-susi-snyder-2022-05

May 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May 30 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “Faster, Cleaner, Greener: What Lies Ahead For The World’s Railways” • Faster, cleaner, greener and packed with advanced technology, rail is the only transport mode currently well placed to provide the backbone of our future mobility needs. Ridership may be down due to the pandemic, but rail transportation may be headed to a […]

May 30 Energy News — geoharvey

May 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment