Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear Power Is Too Risky Even in Peacetime. Ukraine Is the Tip of the Iceberg.

the IAEA, is in the business of promoting nuclear energy even as it decries the grave risks around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Linda Pentz GunterTruthout, September 13, 2022

The alarms raised by the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the dire situation around Ukraine’s war-torn Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant offer the most extreme — and most compelling — case for discontinuing the use of nuclear power.

The consequences of an attack on the six-reactor Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station could result in a core meltdown, a fuel pool fire or radioactive waste cask breach that would send a radioactive plume across potentially thousands of miles, depending on the scale of the disaster and the direction of the wind.

Fires are the biggest risk, especially for the unprotected fuel pools that are not housed within the more robust containment area of the reactor building. Given the proximity of the six Zaporizhzhia units to each other, a fire at one of the Zaporizhzhia reactors or fuel pools could spread to any or all of the other five.

The radioactive fallout released by such fires and explosions would persist in the environment for decades or longer. The 1986 Chornobyl disaster in Ukraine, which involved only one, relatively new reactor with a small radioactive load, rendered 1,000 square miles of land — the Exclusion Zone — too radioactive for human habitation even today. Ukraine is home to a total of 15 reactors, most dating back to the 1980s, plus the closed but still dangerous Chornobyl site. As such, they all house huge radioactive inventories of fuel, in the reactors and irradiated in the pools and waste casks.

However, it is not enough simply to admonish warring countries, as the United Nations has done, not to shell nuclear power plants — likely unenforceable given the violently entrenched conflict over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nuclear power is also a liability beyond the war zone.

Numerous studies by the nonprofit advocacy group Beyond Nuclear, where I work, have demonstrated that keeping current reactors running, and especially building new ones, is too slow and too expensive a way to address the climate crisis. Added to that, nuclear power has never solved its radioactive waste problem, and mining the uranium needed to fuel reactors comes with significant environmental justice violations.

Furthermore, nuclear power cannot be relied upon to operate safely, or even at all, under the now rapidly worsening climate conditions. Many plants are coastal and vulnerable to sea-level rise. Flooding is also a risk at inland reactors, all of which sit on a body of water, needed to cool the reactor.

Drought and heat waves reduce those cooling water supplies, or render the water too warm to use, forcing reactors to power or even shut down, as we have already seen in France. Wildfires could result in catastrophic conflagrations at nuclear plants. Nuclear plants also need to shut down in violent weather conditions. All of these deficiencies of reliability are directly related to the high risks of using nuclear power.

Nuclear power is also not an efficient way to reduce carbon emissions. In fact, As Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering, Amory Lovins, continues to point out, nuclear power actually makes climate change worse.

Renewable energy can achieve greater carbon emissions reductions faster and at less cost than nuclear power. Combining renewables with energy efficiency is even more effective. Lovins has shown that, in the U.S., it now costs more to run the country’s aging reactor fleet than to provide the same services through new renewables, or by using electricity more efficiently.

Nuclear power and renewables also have a tendency to cancel each other out. Countries that have prioritized nuclear power have squeezed out renewables. As a result, nuclear-dependent countries such as France have scant renewable energy supplies for essential backup when nuclear power shuts down due to war, weather extremes, or other factors. As a result, France imports renewable electricity from Germany, a net power exporter and where nuclear power is about to be 100 percent phased out.

Nuclear power is also expensive. “New plants cost 3–8x or 5–13x more per kWh than unsubsidized new solar or wind power, so new nuclear power produces 3–13x fewer kWh per dollar and therefore displaces 3–13x less carbon per dollar than new renewables,” Lovins wrote in Bloomberg last December.

In fact, current analysis shows that nuclear power is the most expensive form of energy, and renewables are the least expensive, when factoring the costs of construction and installation. The investment bank Lazard analyzed the levelized costs of energy (a measure of the average net cost of electricity generation over the lifetime of a generator), concluding that wind and solar energy are about five times cheaper than nuclear power.

The costs of wind and solar have declined by 90 percent between 2009 and 2021, while nuclear costs have increased by 23 percent over the same time period, according to the 2022 Annual Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

As Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering Mark Jacobson showed this year with his 100 percent renewable road map, the U.S. could meet all its clean energy needs with renewables and zero nuclear power.

Jacobson’s paper also lays to rest the red herring argument over land use. Nuclear proponents assert that nuclear plants take up less space than wind or solar farms. But Jacobson’s plan “requires only ~0.29% and 0.55% of U.S. land area for footprint and spacing, respectively, for new energy technologies.”

In this context, one should also not forget that a 1,000 square mile radioactively dangerous exclusion zone is not exactly a productive use of land.

Jacobson also addresses concerns around jobs, pointing out that a 100 percent renewable economy delivers “~4.7 million more long-term, full-time jobs than lost across the U.S.”

Even under COVID-19 recovery conditions in 2021, renewable energy delivered growth in the U.S. job market. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “solar energy jobs increased by 5.4%, adding 17,212 new jobs. Wind energy jobs increased by 2.9%, adding 3,347 new jobs. Energy efficiency jobs increased by 2.7%, adding 57,741 new jobs.” Meanwhile, “nuclear electricity, coal, and petroleum jobs decreased in 2021.”

The promised and much-touted “new” reactors remain an illusory mirage. As physicist Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists writes in Advanced Isn’t Always Better, they come with numerous and unaddressed safety problems that fail to justify the kind of financial support they currently receive, largely through tax payer-funded subsidies.

Many of the so-called next generation of reactor designs are considered “small,” but they can range from truly small 10 megawatts to not really small at all 450-550 megawatts.

One of these “small modular reactors” is the Natrium, a project of billionaire Bill Gates. Gates has already received an $80 million subsidy for a scheme that nuclear nonproliferation experts such as Gregory S. Jones view as a high proliferation risk. Jones sees the project as a likely failure with an unrealistic timeline that would only deliver the reactor, if at all, several decades from now, far too late to address the climate crisis.

Furthermore, small modular reactors rely on an assembly line of mass production in order to be even vaguely economical. This is an unattractive business proposition since it is more economic to build one large reactor than hundreds if not thousands of small ones and explains why the small modular reactor design, which has been around for decades, has been consistently rejected by investors.

Given all the evidence, what explains the pervasively stubborn insistence on the continued use of nuclear energy, and government-funded nuclear expansion plans, when it is clearly the least-suitable answer to the climate crisis on every front?

Perhaps a clue is to be found in a 2017 report by the Energy Futures Initiative — The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler — which states that: “a strong domestic supply chain is needed to provide for nuclear Navy requirements. This supply chain has an inherent and very strong overlap with the commercial nuclear energy sector and has a strong presence in states with commercial nuclear power plants.”

Perhaps a clue is to be found in a 2017 report by the Energy Futures Initiative — The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler — which states that: “a strong domestic supply chain is needed to provide for nuclear Navy requirements. This supply chain has an inherent and very strong overlap with the commercial nuclear energy sector and has a strong presence in states with commercial nuclear power plants.”

A 2019 Atlantic Council report — The Value of the US Nuclear Power Complex to US National Security — reiterates this, stating: “Civil nuclear underpins military nuclear” and that “the lack of a civilian nuclear sector would present an immediate and significant economic shock (and impact on the labor force) — which, in turn, would have immediate and longer-term budgetary implications for the US government.”

This is a connection that many who oppose nuclear weapons, but not nuclear power, fail to recognize. And it’s a pathway further enabled by the IAEA, which is in the business of promoting nuclear energy even as it decries the grave risks around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

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

World BEYOND War Volunteers to Reproduce “Offensive” Peace Mural David Swanson, World BEYOND War, September 14, 2022

A talented artist in Melbourne, Australia, has been in the news for painting a mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging — and then for taking it down because people were offended. The artist, Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton, has been quoted as saying he was raising funds for our organization, World BEYOND War. We want to not only thank him for that but offer to put the mural up elsewhere.

Here is a small sampling of the reporting on this story:

SBS News: “‘Utterly offensive’: Australia’s Ukrainian community furious over mural of Russian soldier embrace”
The Guardian: “Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia calls for removal of ‘offensive’ mural of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers”
Sydney Morning Herald: “Artist to paint over ‘utterly offensive’ Melbourne mural after Ukrainian community anger”
The Independent: “Australian artist takes down mural of hugging Ukraine and Russia soldiers after huge backlash”
Sky News: “Melbourne mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging painted over after backlash”
Newsweek: “Artist Defends ‘Offensive’ Mural of Ukrainian and Russian Troops Hugging”
The Telegraph: “Other wars: Editorial on Peter Seaton’s anti-war mural & its repercussion”

Here is the artwork on Seaton’s website. The website says: “Peace before Pieces: Mural painted on Kingsway close to the Melbourne CBD. Focusing on a peaceful resolution between the Ukraine and Russia. Sooner or later the continued escalation of conflicts created by Politicians will be the death of our beloved planet.” We couldn’t agree more.

World BEYOND War has funds donated to us specifically for putting up billboards. We would like to offer, should Seaton find it acceptable and helpful, to put this image up on billboards in Brussels, Moscow, and Washington. We would like to help with reaching out to muralists to put it up elsewhere. And we would like to put it on yard signs that individuals can display around the world.

Our interest is not in offending anyone. We believe that even in the depths of misery, despair, anger, and revenge people are sometimes capable of imagining a better way. We’re aware that soldiers try to kill their enemies, not hug them. We’re aware that each side believes that all the evil is commited by the other side. We’re aware that each side typically believes total triumph is eternally imminent. But we believe that wars must end with the making of peace and that the sooner this is done the better. We believe that reconciliation is something to aspire to, and that it is tragic to find ourselves in a world in which even picturing it is deemed — not just unliklely, but — somehow offensive.

World BEYOND War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. World BEYOND War was founded on January 1st, 2014, when co-founders David Hartsough and David Swanson set out to create a global movement to abolish the institution of war itself, not just the “war of the day.” If war is ever to be abolished, then it must be taken off the table as a viable option. Just as there is no such thing as “good” or necessary slavery, there is no such thing as a “good” or necessary war. Both institutions are abhorrent and never acceptable, no matter the circumstances. So, if we can’t use war to resolve international conflicts, what can we do? Finding a way to transition to a global security system that is supported by international law, diplomacy, collaboration, and human rights, and defending those things with nonviolent action rather than the threat of violence, is the heart of WBW. Our work includes education that dispels myths, like “War is natural” or “We have always had war,” and shows people not only that war should be abolished, but also that it actually can be. Our work includes all variety of nonviolent activism that moves the world in the direction of ending all war.

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

Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Ukrainian lawmakers to drop media bill Paris, September 13, 2022 – In response to media reports that Ukraine’s parliament passed in its first reading on August 30 a media bill that threatens to restrict press freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement calling for the bill to be dropped:

“Ukraine’s media bill seriously imperils press freedom in the country by tightening government control over information at a time when citizens need it the most,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Ukrainian legislators should abandon the bill, or at least pause its progress in parliament until the European Union can weigh in with recommendations.” 

Ukraine, a candidate to join the EU, is required to reform its media laws–many of which were implemented in the 1990s–in order to begin negotiations for membership. Matti Maasikas, the head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, said in an interview published on August 23 that the bill was currently under evaluation by the EU and the Council of Europe, which could issue recommendations by the end of September. 

The bill has the support of members of the ruling party, which has a majority in the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s parliament. To become law, it would need to pass two more readings in parliament and then be approved by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

As of September 13, the website of the Verkhovna Rada did not indicate the date of the second reading. “They have 21 days [after the first reading] to make amendments. But then it can take a month or up to the end of the year to be approved,” Sergiy Tomilenko, the head of the Ukrainian National Union of Journalists (NUJU), a local trade group, told CPJ via messaging app. 

If passed, the legislation would expand the powers of the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting, the state broadcasting regulator, allowing it to regulate online and print outlets, invalidate the registration and license of any media outlet, block online media without a court order, and request that social media platforms and web browsers remove content forbidden under the law, according to multiple media reports

According to an analysis posted on Telegram by NUJU, only 10% of the bill directly addressed commitments that Ukraine has undertaken as a candidate to join the EU. “The rest reflects the authorities’ desire to have more influence on the media: to issue injunctions, fines, and shut them down,” Tomilenko said in a statement NUJU posted to Telegram.  

The new bill was amended only a few weeks before the vote, without a preliminary discussion with journalists and members of the media, Tomilenko said in the same statement. 

CPJ emailed the Verkhovna Rada for comment, but did not receive any reply.

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


Bruce Gagnon interview – 13 September 22, Youtube has removed Regis Tremblay’s videos – I suppose, for political reasons. This time he is interviewing Bruce Gagnon – long-time doughty warrior for preventing war in space. I wish I had time to transcribe it

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

Fast transition to renewables will save the world up to $12tn (£10.2tn) by 2050

Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy could save the world as
much as $12tn (£10.2tn) by 2050, an Oxford University study says. The
report said it was wrong and pessimistic to claim that moving quickly
towards cleaner energy sources was expensive. Gas prices have soared on
mounting concerns over energy supplies. But the researchers say that going
green now makes economic sense because of the falling cost of renewables.

“Even if you’re a climate denier, you should be on board with what we’re
advocating,” Prof Doyne Farmer from the Institute for New Economic Thinking
at the Oxford Martin School told BBC News. “Our central conclusion is that
we should go full speed ahead with the green energy transition because it’s
going to save us money,” he said.

BBC 13th Sept 2022

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

Continued drop in France’s nuclear power energy production

Nuclear power generation at EDF’s (EDF.PA) French reactors in August fell
by 37.6% year on year to 18.1 terawatt hours (TWh), mainly due to the
impact of the discovery of stress corrosion, the utility said on Tuesday.
EDF said on its website that total nuclear generation in France since the
start of the year was 191 TWh, down 20.2% compared with January-August

Reuters 13th Sept 2022

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

Russia’s uranium exports can continue – exempt from sanctions imposed on other commodities

The German government said Monday that it can’t stop a shipment of Russian uranium destined for French nuclear plants from being processed at a site in Germany because atomic fuel isn’t covered by European Union sanctions on Russia.

Environmentalists have called on Germany and the Netherlands to block a shipment of uranium aboard the Russian ship Mikhail Dudin — currently docked in the French port of Dunkirk — from being transported to a processing plant in Lingen, close to the German-Dutch border.

“We have no legal grounds to prevent the transport of uranium from Russia, because the sanctions imposed by the EU due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine exempt the import of nuclear fuel … to the EU from import bans,” said a spokesman for Germany’s Environment Ministry, Andreas Kuebler. Safety requirements for the shipment had been examined and foundto meet requirements, meaning German authorities had to approve it, he added.

Washington Post 12th Sept 2022

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

Plunging costs of renewable energy – as nuclear power costs increase

The tumbling cost of renewable energy means transitioning away from fossil
fuels over the next 30 years will save the world “at least $12 trillion”,
according to researchers at the University of Oxford.

The decarbonisation
of the energy system will not only see a major reduction in the cost of
producing and distributing energy, but will also allow for greater levels
of energy to be produced and therefore help expand energy access around the

The faster the transition to renewables occurs, the greater the
potential for savings, the team found, and urged governments to recognise
the enormous boost to the global economy, that abandoning fossil fuels will
bring about.

“There is a pervasive misconception that switching to clean,
green energy will be painful, costly and mean sacrifices for us all – but
that’s just wrong,” said Professor Doyne Farmer, who leads the team that
conducted the study at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the
Oxford Martin School. The research team analysed thousands of transition
cost scenarios produced by major energy models and examined data on: 45
years of solar energy costs, 37 years of wind energy costs and 25 years for
battery storage.

They said the research reveals that the real cost of solar
energy dropped twice as fast as the most ambitious projections in these
models, revealing that, over the past 20 years, previous models “badly
overestimated the future costs” of renewable energy technology compared to
the reality of cheap renewables we are already seeing today.

The research also suggests nuclear power will play a diminishing role in the future
global energy mix due to the rising costs of building reactors. “The costs
of nuclear have consistently increased over the last five decades, making
it highly unlikely to be cost competitive with plunging renewable and
storage costs,” the researchers said. Meanwhile, the study showed the costs
for storage technologies, such as batteries and hydrogen electrolysis, are
also likely to fall dramatically.

Independent 13th Sept 2022

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

Permit problems for Sizewell C nuclear project? Cooling system could kill millions of fish.

Permit problems for Sizewell C predicted after report confirms cooling
mechanisms can kill millions of fish. The Sizewell C nuclear reactor may
face obstacles in receiving an environmental permit after a report revealed
that the cooling mechanism at a similar development could kill millions of

ENDS 12th Sept 2022

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