Australian news, and some related international items

This week in nuclear news

So much news, so overwhelming – the pandemic, climate extremes in China. South Asia, USA, Europe, UK.   In the middle of all the gloom, quite an inspiring article from science writer Julian Cribb,   with a method to save the world. He argues, passionately and persuasively for putting the ”weaker” sex in charge. In The Age of Women, Cribb says that If humanity is to survive the vast and growing threats it faces, women must assume the leadership of government, business, religion and social institutions around the world.

Some bits of good news –   Overwhelmed by environmental disaster? Here’s a scorecard to inspire optimism.     The bright spots in the State of the Environment report.  

State of the Environment report shows our growing cities are under pressure – but we’re seeing positive signs too


Documents show Australian Labor government supports Assange’s extradition to the USINSIDE LABOR’S ASSANGE GAME PLAN.

Militarism and submarines:   The tragic obsession with the Chinese threat.        AUKUS – contrived to foster the unrealistic and unattainable aims of American foreign policy.        Defence Minister Richard Marles is confident about AUKUS, nuclear submarines, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Not everyone is so sure.          Ask Fuzzy: Will Australia’s nuclear-propelled attack submarines require weapons grade fuel?

Military chiefs to hold talks on basing UK nuclear submarines in Perth. Australia’s price tag for nuclear submarines could soar by $billionsNonsense to say ‘Australia needs nuclear submarines to defend itself.

British soldiers used as radiation guinea pigs in nuclear bomb tests in Australia.

Climate: Climate protesters criminalised as climate crisis escalates.

Environment:  A scientist reacts to State of Environment reportBe scared, very scared, as the environment goes from disaster to utter catastrophe.        State of the Environment: Blinky Bill is in intensive care.    Thousands of dead and dying frogs found across Australia.        What the bald eagle and a tiny bat can tell us about Australia’s broken system for protecting nature.

Poor and deteriorating’: Australia’s environment is sick and getting sicker.        Plibersek says Morrison government hid ‘shocking document’ outlining the state of Australia’s environment.    ‘We do need to change our laws’: Environment Minister.    It’s about time we acted like we’re in a crisis”: Greens to push Labor ‘further and faster’.


The Age of Women.

War wins the ‘big bucks’ while climate gets the ‘change’

Calling Putin ‘Hitler’ to Smear Diplomacy as ‘Appeasement’.

NATO: The Most Dangerous Military Alliance on the Planet.     Phil Wilayto column: The provocations behind the ‘unprovoked’ war.      The Biggest Lie The Hawks Ever Sold. In Ukraine, a proxy war on the planet.       US Military Analyst: West Can’t Afford Ukraine Spending, Will Run Out of Ammo to Send to Kiev.          Global action urged to block AUKUS plan on transfer of nuclear materials.

Nuclear Power Plants Are Struggling to Stay Cool.

Baseload nuclear power not needed in an all-renewable future – Claverton Energy Research Group.

Death toll rises above 1,500 as temperatures soar across Europe.

As Europe burns, the world’s climate plan, such as it is, unravels.


July 25, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Ask Fuzzy: Will Australia’s nuclear-propelled attack submarines require weapons grade fuel? By Richard Broinowski, July 24 2022 

Both Britain’s Astute and US Virginia boats use highly enriched weapons-grade uranium fuel in their reactor cells.

The fuel cells last as long as the submarines – about 30 years. The submarines don’t need refuelling during that time. These cells also allow the submarines to remain underwater indefinitely, only restricted by the endurance of their crews, which in turn depends on the amount of food they can carry.

The international nuclear non-proliferation regime could be compromised if other nuclear threshold countries, encouraged by Australia’s nuclear moves, acquire their own nuclear-propelled submarines. In fact, Brazil is already doing so. The bomb-grade uranium fuel could be clandestinely extracted from submarine cores to make nuclear weapons.

Some such countries could be encouraged to arm their nuclear-powered subs with nuclear weapons.

Australians living along our coastline (the majority) would be very uncomfortable if they had to host nuclear submarine bases in their electorates.

Given that Australia has no permanent storage for even low-level uranium waste, the government would find it extremely difficult to find even temporary locations for storing highly toxic and extremely long-lasting spent nuclear reactor cores.

While it is claimed that Virginia or Astute class attack submarines are far superior in speed and quietness to conventionally powered boats, this is untrue.

Most European navies, as well as those of Japan and South Korea, have quieter and nearly as fast conventionally powered submarines. They employ auxiliary air independent propulsion systems that extend their underwater endurance to 21 days or more.

Without the pumps needed to keep reactors cool on nuclear subs, they are much quieter; they are also much cheaper. Australia could purchase or build five or more such boats for the price of one Virginia or Astute boat.

We should not expect early delivery of our subs if the Americans or British are to build them, or even only their nuclear reactors.

We should have purchased Japanese Sohryu class submarines when we had the chance.

Australia would not retain sovereignty over American or British-acquired submarines. It does not have the technology to build its own nuclear propulsion units, and will be heavily reliant on either the British or (more likely) American technology.

This will bind the Navy even more closely to US strategic planning in the Pacific, especially in its plans to confront China.

Both countries are flat out building their own fast attack submarines. It is very doubtful either country would be prepared to make space on their assembly lines to accommodate early delivery of submarines for Australia.

  • Richard Broinowski AO is the author of Fact or Fission: the truth about Australia’s nuclear ambitions.

Listen to the Fuzzy Logic Science Show at 11am Sundays on 2XX 98.3FM.

Send your questions to Twitter@FuzzyLogicSci

July 25, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nonsense to say ‘Australia needs nuclear submarines to defend itself’: Australian scholar

Global Times 24 July 22,

After the Albanese government took office in Australia, there have been discussions about a possible reset of China-Australia ties. Global Times (GT) reporter Yan Yuzhu talked to Professor David Goodman (Goodman), director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, about his opinions on the reason why there has been hostility in Australia toward China and possible changes in the new government regarding the China policies……………………………..


I think this government is definitely more inclined to deal with sensible diplomacy with China than standing up in public and telling China why it is wrong. That’s a good thing, because talk is always preferable to war. 

Penny Wong is a great foreign minister, as she is listening to people and doing things. She has put a whole new working party in place to see how we can more positively deal with our foreign policy. …………………..

A lot of nonsense is talked such as “Australia needs to have nuclear submarines to defend itself.” It doesn’t work, and there are many opinion influencers who agree with me that this is really not healthy. 

Of course, we don’t want to be attacked by anyone, but when you think about what it would take China to physically attack Australia, including logistic and military challenges, it will be clear that China will not do so. 

But a lot of the defense officials in the past government in Australia are thinking about what we would do as Australians if China “invaded” Taiwan. How crazy. Even people who are anti-China in the UK and the US have said that kind of argument is rubbish, because it is.

What I’d like to see in the bilateral relationship is that the trade ties could ease. The previous government made some statements and criticism about Chinese trade practices which led to bad trade relations between the two countries. I’d like to see them eased. And in my opinion, China has some severe economic problems ahead. It would be in China’s interests to solve them. ………………………………

About Australia’s hostility toward China, one of the reasons is that politicians outside China prefer a threat to exist so that they can use it to mobilize support for themselves. As a result, both China and Russia become the new fashionable threats. 

Besides, it is because of the US and European defense industries who fund one of Australia’s leading think tank that leads the charge against China.

Arms makers of course want there to be a China threat because they can sell more. It’s a logic of capitalism I’m afraid.

As to Australia’s stance toward the US, there is a debate going on in Australia as I mentioned before. I don’t know who the majority supports, but there is a sizable body of opinion that doesn’t think that America is the answer to all our problems. There’s also a lot of discussion in Australia about foreign interference and involvement in the local property market.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Be scared, very scared, as the environment goes from disaster to utter catastrophe

Be scared, very scared, as the environment goes from disaster to utter catastrophe

When Tanya Plibersek released a shocking State of the Environment report this month, she warned Australia could lose the places, landscapes, animals and plants that make it feel like home.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Four lessons for Labor in making its climate targets law — RenewEconomy

The Albanese government should take lessons from existing climate laws to ensure it follows best practice. We can’t afford to get this wrong. The post Four lessons for Labor in making its climate targets law appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Four lessons for Labor in making its climate targets law — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar farms pocket eye-watering returns as fossil fuels drive power prices higher — RenewEconomy

Two solar farms reveal they pocketed average revenue of nearly $200/MWh in the June quarter, thanks to the surge in wholesale prices propelled by fossil fuels. The post Solar farms pocket eye-watering returns as fossil fuels drive power prices higher appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Solar farms pocket eye-watering returns as fossil fuels drive power prices higher — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grid Connections: Who’s going where in Australia’s energy transition — RenewEconomy

People movements at RenewEconomy, Pollination, Ethinvest, Green Gravity, Sea Electric, Hydro Tas, CleanCo, Tilt, GSES, ElectraNet, Squadron Energy. The post Grid Connections: Who’s going where in Australia’s energy transition appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Grid Connections: Who’s going where in Australia’s energy transition — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When They Announce WW3 Let’s Just Say ‘Nah’: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Caitlin Johnstone, 25 July 22 All of human civilization is being organized around a “great power competition” between the US-centralized empire and the China/Russia/Iran bloc, and that “competition” stands to benefit ordinary humans in no way, shape or form. It will hurt all of us and help none of us.

There’s no valid reason why powerful nations can’t simply work together toward their mutual benefit. But it would mean the US empire giving up its plans of total global domination, so it’s not even being considered.

This conflict is slated to last throughout the 21st century, and it already has a massive body count. The war in Ukraine is a direct result of this “great power competition”, and the economic warfare between the empire and Russia will starve many more. This is a terrible thing. 

Our world is being steered toward a dark and dangerous path full of impoverishment, starvation and proxy warfare, and fraught with the possibility of nuclear exchanges. They’re playing games with our lives, and because we’ve bought into the propaganda, we’re letting them………………………………………..

The more things heat up with the Russia/China/Iran bloc the more we’re going to find ourselves hammered with culture war wedge issue bullshit by the social engineers of the oligarchic empire so we don’t start asking inconvenient questions and making inconvenient demands. Inconvenient questions like “Why are we being impoverished so that you can wage a proxy war in Ukraine that we stand nothing to gain from?” and inconvenient demands like “Stop endangering all our lives with nuclear brinkmanship or we’ll fucking eat you.”…………………………

The world will never know peace as long as there are systems in place which financially incentivize war. Hoping for peace without opposing those systems is like jumping off a cliff and hoping gravity doesn’t do what it always inevitably does.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MidAmerican shouldn’t waste money studying small nuclear reactors

Small modular reactors and nuclear power represent a dangerous distraction from the changes needed to deal with global warming. Dr. Maureen McCue and Dr. M.V. Ramana, Yet again, MidAmerican Energy has expressed an interest in studying nuclear reactors for Iowa. Earlier, between 2010 and 2013, MidAmerican studied the feasibility of nuclear power for Iowa and concluded that it didn’t make sense. This time around, MidAmerican does not even have to embark on the study. We know already that the newest offerings from the nuclear industry, Small Modular Reactors, or SMRs, carry the same economic and environmental risks as their larger predecessors and make no sense for Iowa, or anywhere else for that matter.

In 2013, the Wall Street firm Lazard estimated that the cost of generating electricity at a new nuclear plant in the United States will be between $86 and $122 per megawatt-hour. Last November, Lazard estimated that the corresponding cost will be between $131 and $204 per megawatt-hour. During the same eight years, renewables have plummeted in cost, and the 2021 estimates of electricity from newly constructed utility-scale solar and wind plants range between $26 and $50 per megawatt-hour. Nuclear power is simply not economically competitive. 

SMRs will be even less competitive. Building and operating SMRs will cost more than large reactors for each unit (megawatt) of generation capacity. A reactor that generates five times as much power will not require five times as much concrete or five times as many workers. This makes electricity from small reactors more expensive; many small reactors built in the United States were financially uncompetitive and shut down early

The estimated cost of constructing a plant with 600 megawatts of electricity from NuScale SMRs, arguably the design closest to deployment in the United States, increased from about $3 billion in 2014 to $6.1 billion in 2020. The cost was so high that at least ten members of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems canceled their contracts. NuScale then changed its proposed plant configuration to fewer reactors that produce only 462 megawatts at a cost of $5.32 billion. For each kilowatt of electrical generation capacity, that estimate is around 80% more than the per-kilowatt cost of the Vogtle project in Georgia — before its cost exploded from $14 billion to over $30 billion. Based on the historical experience with nuclear reactor construction, SMRs are very likely to cost much more than initially expected. 

And they will be delayed. In 2008, officials announced that “a NuScale plant could be producing electricity by 2015-16.” Currently, the Utah project is projected to start operating in 2029-30. All this before the inevitable setbacks that will occur once construction starts.

Time is critical to dealing with global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, emissions have to be reduced drastically by 2030 to stop irreversible damage from climate change. 

Small reactors also are associated with all of the usual problems with nuclear power: severe accidents, the production of radioactive waste, and the potential for nuclear weapons proliferation. Indeed, some of these problems could be worse. For each unit of electricity generated, SMRs will actually produce more nuclear waste than large reactors. Whether generated by a large or small plant, nuclear waste remains radioactive and dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. There is no demonstrated solution to permanently isolate this lethal waste, for both technical and social reasons

Most new nuclear reactor designs will rely on water sources for cooling. Nuclear plants have some of the highest water withdrawal requirements; in the United States, the median value for water withdrawal was calculated as 44,350 gallons per megawatt-hour of electricity generated, roughly four times the corresponding figure for a combined cycle natural gas plant. Renewables require little or no water because there is no heat production. Iowa’s lakes and rivers are already challenged by the warming climate, existing power plants, and polluting industries.

In medicine, a basic principle used to guide our decisions is “first, do no harm.” That principle will be violated if Iowa embarks on building SMRs. Small modular reactors and nuclear power represent a dangerous distraction from the changes needed to deal with global warming. Investing in these technologies will divert money away from more sustainable and rapidly constructed solutions, including wind and solar energy, microgrids, batteries and other forms of energy storage, and energy-efficient devices.  

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

War wins the ‘big bucks’ while climate gets the ‘change’

War wins the ‘big bucks’ while climate gets the ‘change’

Murad Qureshi

Wealthy countries claiming to lead on climate change are spending big on military budgets while denying support to developing countries facing devastation from climate-induced events.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 24 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “If You Think A 40°C Heatwave Was Bad, Things Will Only Get Worse Until We Hit Net Zero Carbon Emissions” • This week’s record-breaking heatwave shocked many meteorologists and climate scientists. Although they thought that the UK would eventually see temperatures exceed 40°C, they did not expect it to happen so soon. [The […]

July 24 Energy News — geoharvey

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment