Australian news, and some related international items

Pentagon divulges number of US-funded biolabs in Ukraine.

US insists 46 “peaceful” facilities were all about public health and safety.,    The US government has supported 46 biological research facilities in Ukraine over the past 20 years, but as part of a peaceful public health project rather than to develop weapons, the Pentagon said on Thursday. The US military accused Russia and China of “spreading disinformation and sowing mistrust” about its efforts to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

This is the first time the US Department of Defense disclosed the exact number of such facilities its government has supported in Ukraine, in a document titled ‘Fact Sheet on WMD Threat Reduction Efforts.’

According to the Pentagon, the US has “worked collaboratively to improve Ukraine’s biological safety, security, and disease surveillance for both human and animal health,” by providing support to “46 peaceful Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and disease diagnostic sites over the last two decades.” These programs have focused on “improving public health and agricultural safety measures at the nexus of nonproliferation.”

The work of these biolabs was “often” conducted in partnership with bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and was “consistent with international best practices and norms in publishing research results, partnering with international colleagues and multilateral organizations, and widely distributing their research and public health findings,” the Pentagon insisted.

Last month, the Russian military said only three laboratories in Ukraine had the required safety levels to conduct the kind of research they were engaged in. Head of the Radioactive, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov cited Ukrainian government reports to point to a series of problems at one of those facilities in Odessa, by way of example.

In a series of briefings starting in March, the Russian military has presented evidence of the Pentagon’s involvement in funding laboratories in Ukraine. In early May, Kirillov accused Kiev of launching a biological attack against the breakaway region of Lugansk and of conducting “inhumane experiments” on Ukrainian patients. Other evidence suggested attempts to weaponize drones to disperse pathogens, and attempts to destroy compromising materials after Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February. 

According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, the US has poured more than $224 million into biological research in Ukraine between 2005 and early 2022. Western pharmaceutical giants, nonprofits and even the US Democratic Party were involved in the scheme, Moscow has said.

To hear the Pentagon explain it, the US had “full approval” of the Russian government to engage “thousands of former Russian biological weapons scientists to conduct peaceful biological research projects for public health purposes.” Earlier in the document, the US military points out it was trying to create “sustainable civilian employment” for scientists with “weapons-related knowledge” in order to “remove incentives to seek or accept of terrorist or other state actor employment and financing.”

US involvement with biological laboratories in Ukraine “remain peaceful efforts to improve nuclear and radiological safety and security, disease surveillance, chemical safety and security, and readiness to respond to epidemics and pandemics such as COVID-19,” the Pentagon said.

Meanwhile, it accused Russia – with the help of China – of seeking “to undermine that work by spreading disinformation and sowing mistrust in the people and institutions all over the world that contribute to WMD threat reduction.” 

China has responded to Russian briefings by calling for the US to provide a “fair, objective and professional” explanation of its activities.

The Pentagon insists that Ukraine “has no nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons programs” and that the small amount of highly enriched uranium (HEU) that remains at research institutes in Kiev and Kharkov “is well below the amount needed to produce a nuclear device.”

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK set to fork out ‘hundred of millions’ to fix Rolls Royce small nuclear reactor flaw.

 Energy crisis: UK set to fork out ‘hundred of millions’ to fix Rolls Royce reactor flaw. THE Government could be forced to spend hundreds of millions of pounds in an effort to tackle a key flaw of Rolls Royce
reactors, has been told.

As part of the Government’s energy security strategy, the UK has favoured small modular reactors as a way to boost its homegrown energy generation. In April, the Government announced that it is investing £210million to help develop small modular reactors (SMRs), which are said to be much cheaper and easier to deploy than traditional nuclear power stations.

However, a new study has found that SMRs will actually generate far more radioactive waste than conventional nuclear power plants, and governments to spend large amounts to find a safe way to dispose of it. Study lead author Lindsay Krall, a former MacArthur Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) said: “Our results show that most small modular reactor designs will actually increase the volume of nuclear waste in need of management and disposal, by factors of 2 to 30 for the reactors in our case study.

Dr Paul Dorfman, an associate Fellow at SPRU University of Sussex, who was not involved in the study said that the smaller the reactor is, the more neutron leakage would take place. He said: “To cut to the chase, SMRs should without question be producing higher volumes [of waste] than normal reactors. “It may well produce more high-level waste than conventional reactors, but will most definitely produce more low and
intermediate waste than conventional reactors. “

And that’s important, those intermediate and low are huge waste streams. “In terms of the Rolls
Royce, it’s a slightly bigger design, there is no way you can call it an SMR. “It would have fewer problems than the ones in the paper, but nevertheless, it would still produce more waste than a conventional
reactor, whichever way you put it.”

 Express 12th June 2022

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson’s energy policy ignores energy demand reduction, focuses on costly nuclear power.

 Can the UK really build eight nuclear reactors in eight years? In a factory near Edinburgh, Andrew Bissell is overseeing his next batch of space heaters. His start-up, Sunamp, produces thermal batteries that can
warm homes from the power generated by a heat pump. The batteries use a salt solution similar to the flavouring used in salt and vinegar crisps.
“It’s actually a food ingredient, though I wouldn’t encourage people to eat batteries,” Bissell said. Sunamp wants to wean British homes off burning gas, which has rocketed in price, sent bills soaring and plunged
millions into misery. Many such solutions will be needed if the UK is to escape its energy crisis — and Boris Johnson’s future arguably depends on it. Unfortunately, the options at hand are neither quick, easy, or cheap. 

Earlier this year, the prime minister set out an energy security strategy that put nuclear at its heart, including plans to build up to eight new reactors to replace a fleet that is coming to the end of its life. That ambition has put critics in a lather.

Last week, the Tory MP Jesse Norman, in a public call for the prime minister to quit, was scathing: “As a former energy minister I can tell you there is zero chance that this or any government will be able to build a nuclear power station a year at any point in the next decade.” Others go further:

Paul Dorfman, a science policy researcher at Sussex University, said Johnson’s nuclear dreams were “laughable … clinging on to nuclear as a quick fix is not only ludicrous, it’s dangerous, as it is too costly and will take too long”.

In the coming weeks, the UK may finally approve a new plant at Sizewell in Suffolk that will use a European pressurised water reactor (EPR) design developed by the French energy giant EDF. But EPRs have run into difficulties wherever they have been built.

One at Taishan in China has been out of action since last July. ASN, the French nuclear regulator, has asked EDF for a report on anomalies found in both Tasihan EPRs. The EPR design is also being used at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, where EDF admitted last month that the project would slip behind schedule yet again and cost an extra £3 billion, taking the total bill to up to £26 billion.

The energy strategy is also betting on small modular reactors (SMRs), in particular a design by Rolls-Royce that would be about a third the size of an EPR. Paul Stein, chairman of the Rolls-Royce SMR partnership, insisted this was “the fastest route to get nuclear power on the grid by the end of the decade”. The Rolls-Royce SMR Consortium is in talks with ministers about securing an order for the first four SMRs by the end of the year, which could be worth up to £8 billion. This would help kick-start
manufacturing of the reactors, which are expected to cost about £2 billion each.

Fans of nuclear have long argued it can provide the “baseload” power to keep the lights on when the wind drops. In the race to cut emissions “we’re going to need a vast amount more electricity than we’ve got at the moment”, said Guy Newey, chief executive of the Energy Systems Catapult, which supports start-ups.

The debate hinges on just how much “big” nuclear is really needed: the strategy calls for a whopping
24GW by 2050, up from 7GW now. ……

Johnson’s strategy, with its focus on power generation, gave scant consideration to “demand-side” measures: helping businesses and households cut back their energy usage. “It’s less sexy than a new nuclear power station, but it’s about making sure that boilers work efficiently and how well insulated people’s homes are,” Newey said. That view finds favour with Bissell in Edinburgh, who dreams of
opening three factories to churn out thermal batteries that could one day replace Britain’s gas boilers.

 Times 12th June 2022

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mother Nature: Economic growth is sending her bankrupt

Mother Nature: Economic growth is sending her bankrupt

Keith Presnell

For life as we know it to persist, we must acknowledge there are natural limits to growth. Economic growth equals increased demand, which is simply not sustainable in a finite world.

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Human-made heatwaves are getting hotter

Human-made heatwaves are getting hotter

Guardian editorial

The world’s poorest people ought to be helped to cope with a climate emergency they did little to cause.

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AEMO warns of widespread load shedding in Queensland and NSW supply crunch — RenewEconomy

Market operator warns of massive load shedding – or power outages – in Queensland in new supply crunch in Australia’s most coal dependent state. The post AEMO warns of widespread load shedding in Queensland and NSW supply crunch appeared first on RenewEconomy.

AEMO warns of widespread load shedding in Queensland and NSW supply crunch — RenewEconomy

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The second cutting of the contaminated pipe was interrupted because the device was stuck again — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

The cutting equipment is being lowered to remove the pipes (from TEPCO’s live camera) at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant at 0:19 p.m. on June 10, 2022. June 11, 2022On June 10, TEPCO resumed removal work of pipes contaminated with highly radioactive materials between Units 1 and 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power […]

The second cutting of the contaminated pipe was interrupted because the device was stuck again — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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Areas reopening after Fukushima nuclear disaster need sustained gov’t support — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

June 10, 2022 Evacuation orders that have been in place since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster are set to be lifted in part of the Fukushima Prefecture village of Katsurao, one of the so-called difficult-to-return zones, on June 12. Difficult-to-return zones, which people are forbidden from entering in principle due to high […]

Areas reopening after Fukushima nuclear disaster need sustained gov’t support — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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No to Fukushima discharge — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

No to Fukushima discharge — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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June 13 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “What The Fed District Reserve Banks Should Do About Climate” • The Federal Reserve has a lot to do, from controlling inflation to staving off recession. But one issue should move up in priority. That issue is safeguarding the economy from the growing risks posed to the financial system from the growing risks […]

June 13 Energy News — geoharvey

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