Australian news, and some related international items

Labor criticises Coalition energy spokesman Ted )’Brien for filming nuclear power videos at Hiroshima

Guardian, Josh Butler, Tue 7 Feb 2023

A Labor government MP has accused Coalition energy spokesperson Ted O’Brien of “bizarre and disrespectful” behaviour after filming videos discussing Australia’s potential for nuclear energy at the site of the Hiroshima atomic blast and the Fukushima power plant in Japan.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, accused O’Brien of a “frolic” on advocating for nuclear power, but the Liberal MP said he had sought to be respectful on his privately funded trip to study the technology………….

O’Brien, the member for the Queensland seat of Fairfax, recently posted two videos from a trip to Japan on YouTube titled “Time to Talk Nuclear: What can Australia learn from Japan?” and “Time to Talk Nuclear: What can we learn from Hiroshima?”

Guardian Australia previously revealed O’Brien’s “Time To Talk Nuclear” campaign, which he described as a “grassroots” community engagement program, was using a website registered by a business that helps an American small modular reactor company.

he Coalition opposition has consistently advocated for the government to investigate nuclear energy, despite not building such options during its previous nine years in federal office.

O’Brien wrote alongside the videos that he visited Japan as part of “an in-depth analysis into the possibility of including advanced nuclear technology in Australia’s future energy mix”.

“No people have a more complicated relationship with nuclear technology than the Japanese,” he wrote in a caption, saying he had visited Tokyo, Hiroshima, Fukushima and Rokkasho to meet business owners, government officials, nuclear experts and locals.

“We all know the tragedy of war and we all know how Japan certainly suffered at the end of World War II. In some ways, it’s had the ability to turn what has been a tragedy for the nation into a message of hope,” O’Brien said in one video.

“Despite actually having two atomic bombs land on it, it’s firing on all cylinders on nuclear energy.”

O’Brien said Australia should “have the humility to learn from those nations that know about [nuclear] technology far greater than us”. That video says he also visited Fukushima, the region where an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 led to a nuclear disaster at a power plant.

In another video filmed last week, O’Brien went to Hiroshima’s Peace Park, overlooking the famous dome which was devastated when American forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city in August 1945. Up to 140,000 people were estimated to have died from the blast and related radiation effects.

“If we are going to talk about the potential for advanced nuclear energy to be used in Australia, we’ve got to understand the full range of implications of the technology,” O’Brien wrote.

The shadow minister interviewed a man he said was a tour guide from the Hiroshima Museum, named Yukio Yokohama, about how Japanese people viewed nuclear energy. Yokohama answered that nuclear was used for cheap energy to support industry.

O’Brien has been absent from parliament this week as he is in Canada on a study tour.

Labor senator Catryna Bilyk, chair of the Australia-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group, criticised O’Brien for filming the videos at Hiroshima.

“It’s up to the shadow minister to explain why he chose to travel to Japan, stand at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and spruik nuclear energy,” she told Guardian Australia.

“Using the site of the deaths of tens of thousands of people to cynically push a domestic ideological obsession is bizarre and frankly disrespectful behaviour.”

O’Brien’s spokesperson said the MP’s trip to Japan “was privately funded, not taxpayer funded” and rebuffed those criticisms from Labor…………………………………………

Albanese, in parliament’s question time on Tuesday, noted O’Brien’s absence.

“He’s been researching his solution on a YouTube video that he put up,” Albanese said, to laughter from government benches.

“The shadow minister is off on this frolic of nuclear energy, even though we know it’s the most expensive form possible for Australia.” …………

February 7, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Kiwis firmly remain anti-nuclear as AUKUS submarines draw near

Andrew Tillett, Political correspondent, Financial Review, 7 Feb 23

Canberra | New Zealand’s new prime minister, Chris Hipkins, has indicated no watering down of his country’s anti-nuclear stance just weeks out from Australia unveiling its AUKUS submarine plan and says China remains an “incredibly important partner” following talks with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

But Mr Hipkins promised he would speak out when disagreeing with China as needed in response to questions over whether he would follow the approach of his predecessor Jacinda Ardern, who often took a softer line on Beijing’s behaviour in the region.

Mr Albanese hosted Mr Hipkins, making his first overseas trip since succeeding Ms Ardern last month, at Parliament House on Tuesday, with the two leaders discussing the impact of the deteriorating global economy on their respective countries, climate change, security and Pacific co-operation.

“Many other countries don’t have the same closeness as New Zealand and Australia, and that’s something that we will never take for granted in New Zealand. We’re able to tackle issues together in ways that other countries can’t,” Mr Hipkins said.

Despite the declaration of closeness, Mr Hipkins maintained Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines with American and British help would not change New Zealand’s nuclear-free status.

“Our foreign policy position hasn’t changed just because there’s a change of prime minister, the government’s foreign policy is the same as it was under prime minister Ardern,” Mr Hipkins said.

“Australia, the US and the UK are incredibly important security partners for New Zealand, but our nuclear-free policy hasn’t changed either.”

The AUKUS members are poised to unveil within weeks the so-called optimal pathway to acquire nuclear submarines…………………………..

February 7, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Graph of the Day: Solar covers all of South Australia demand for six hours straight — RenewEconomy

South Australia demand met by rooftop and utility scale solar for six hours straight. The post Graph of the Day: Solar covers all of South Australia demand for six hours straight appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Graph of the Day: Solar covers all of South Australia demand for six hours straight — RenewEconomy

February 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Neo-Nazi previously implicated in plot to attack nuclear plants now arrested for planning grid sabotage around Baltimore — Beyond Nuclear

Brandon Russell

Beyond Nuclear 7 Feb 23

As reported by the Washington Post, in an article entitled “Duo accused of neo-Nazi plot to target Maryland power stations: Atomwaffen founder Brandon Russell and Sarah Clendaniel allegedly sought to attack substations around Baltimore,” white supremacists are again implicated in playing with radioactive fire.

The article reports:

Neo-Nazi previously implicated in plot to attack nuclear plants now arrested for planning grid sabotage around Baltimore — Beyond Nuclear

Russell, a former Florida National Guard member, is the founder of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, which attempted to use violent attacks to spark a race war in the United States. Experts say the group, while small, is dangerous because of its influence on the broader far-right movement to eschew politics and spill blood…

A former Atomwaffen member named Devon Arthurs, who lived with Russell in Tampa, killed two of their roommates in 2017 and subsequently told authorities they had been planning attacks on U.S. nuclear plants and power lines.

See an October 25, 2020 post about Atomwaffen Division’s prior plot to attack nuclear power plants. (Atomwaffen means nuclear weapons in German.)

The Washington Post article reports:

According to prosecutors, their plan was to attack with gunfire five substations that serve the Baltimore area. In conversations about the plot, according to court documents, Clendaniel “described how there was a ‘ring’ around Baltimore and if they hit a number of them all in the same day, they ‘would completely destroy this whole city.”…

Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the FBI field office in Baltimore said Clendaniel and Russell conspired to inflict “maximum harm” to the power grid.

“The accused were not just talking, but taking steps to fulfill their threats and further their extremist goals,” Sobocinski said…

According to prosecutors, they used open-source information on the national infrastructure grid to pick five electrical substations around Baltimore that would, if attacked on the same day, create a “cascading failure” in the system.

Their actions threatened the electricity and heat of our homes, hospitals and businesses,” Sobocinski said.

But a grid failure in Maryland would also carry nuclear power risks. For example, Exelon’s twin reactors at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Lusby, Maryland on the shore of Chesapeake Bay (pictured above) depend on the electric grid for its primary electricity supply to run safety and cooling systems needed to prevent core meltdowns, as well as to prevent overheating of highly radioactive waste indoor wet storage pools. There are backup emergency diesel generators (EDGs) on site, in case the grid is inoperable. But EDGs are themselves notoriously unreliable, and will eventually run out of fuel unless resupplied.

February 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Setting the Record Straight; Stuff You Should Know About Ukraine


On February 16, 2022, a full week before Putin sent combat troops into Ukraine, the Ukrainian Army began the heavy bombardment of the area (in east Ukraine) occupied by mainly ethnic Russians. Officials from the Observer Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were located in the vicinity at the time and kept a record of the shelling as it took place. What the OSCE discovered was that the bombardment dramatically intensified as the week went on until it reached a peak on February 19, when a total of 2,026 artillery strikes were recorded. Keep in mind, the Ukrainian Army was, in fact, shelling civilian areas along the Line of Contact that were occupied by other Ukrainians.

We want to emphasize that the officials from the OSCE were operating in their professional capacity gathering first-hand evidence of shelling in the area. What their data shows is that Ukrainian Forces were bombing and killing their own people. This has all been documented and has not been challenged.

So, the question we must all ask ourselves is this: Is the bombardment and slaughter of one’s own people an ‘act of war’?

We think it is. And if we are right, then we must logically assume that the war began before the Russian invasion (which was launched a full week later) We must also assume that Russia’s alleged “unprovoked aggression” was not unprovoked at all but was the appropriate humanitarian response to the deliberate killing of civilians. In order to argue that the Russian invasion was ‘not provoked’, we would have to say that firing over 4,000 artillery shells into towns and neighborhoods where women and children live, is not a provocation? Who will defend that point of view?

No one, because it’s absurd. The killing of civilians in the Donbas was a clear provocation, a provocation that was aimed at goading Russia into a war. And –as we said earlier– the OSCE had monitors on the ground who provided full documentation of the shelling as it took place, which is as close to ironclad, eyewitness testimony as you’re going to get.

This, of course, is a major break with the “official narrative” which identifies Russia as the perpetrator of hostilities. But, as we’ve shown, that simply isn’t the case. The official narrative is wrong. Even so, it might not surprise you to know that most of the mainstream media completely omitted any coverage of the OSCE’s fact-finding activities in east Ukraine. The one exception to was Reuters that published a deliberately opaque account published on February 18 titled “Russia voices alarm over sharp increase of Donbass shelling”. Here’s an excerpt:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced alarm on Friday over a sharp increase in shelling in eastern Ukraine and accused the OSCE special monitoring mission of glossing over what he said were Ukrainian violations of the peace process….

Washington and its allies have raised fears that the upsurge in violence in the Donbass could form part of a Russian pretext to invade Ukraine. Tensions are already high over a Russian military buildup to the north, east and south of Ukraine.

“We are very concerned by the reports of recent days – yesterday and the day before there was a sharp increase in shelling using weapons that are prohibited under the Minsk agreements,” Lavrov said, referring to peace accords aimed at ending the conflict. “So far we are seeing the special monitoring mission is doing its best to smooth over all questions that point to the blame of Ukraine’s armed forces,” he told a news conference.

Ukraine’s military on Friday denied violating the Minsk peace process and accused Moscow of waging an information war to say that Kyiv was shelling civilians, allegations it said were lies and designed to provoke it.” (Russia voices alarm over sharp increase of Donbass shelling, Reuters)

Notice the clever way that Reuters frames its coverage so that the claims of the Ukrainian military are given as much credibility as the claims of the Russian Foreign Minister. What Reuters fails to point out is that the OSCE’s report verifies Lavrov’s version of events while disproving the claims of the Ukrainians. It is the job of a journalist to make the distinction between fact and fiction but, once again, we see how agenda-driven news is not meant to inform but to mislead.

Quote: Larry C. Johnson, A Son of a New Revolution

The point we are trying to make is simple: The war in Ukraine was not launched by a tyrannical Russian leader (Putin) bent on rebuilding the Soviet Empire. That narrative is a fraud that was cobbled together by neocon spin-meisters trying to build public support for a war with Russia. The facts I am presenting here can be identified on a map where the actual explosions took place and were then recorded by officials whose job was to fulfill that very task. Can you see the difference between the two? In one case, the storyline rests on speculation, conjecture and psychobabble; while in the other, the storyline is linked to actual events that took place on the ground and were catalogued by trained professionals in the field. In which version of events do you have more confidence?

Bottom line: Russia did not start the war in Ukraine. That is a fake narrative. The responsibility lies with the Ukrainian Army and their leaders in Kiev.

And here’s something else that is typically excluded in the media’s selective coverage. Before Putin sent his tanks across the border into Ukraine, he invoked United Nations Article 51 which provides a legal justification for military intervention. Of course, the United States has done this numerous times to provide a fig leaf of legitimacy to its numerous military interventions. But, in this case, you can see where the so-called Responsibility To Protect (R2P) could actually be justified, after all, by most estimates, the Ukrainian army has killed over 14,000 ethnic Russians since the US-backed coup 8 years ago. If ever there was a situation in which a defensive military operation could be justified, this was it. But that still doesn’t fully explain why Putin invoked UN Article 51. For that, we turn to former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who explained it like this:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing Article 51 as his authority, ordered what he called a “special military operation”….
under Article 51, there can be no doubt as to the legitimacy of Russia’s contention that the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass had been subjected to a brutal eight-year-long bombardment that had killed thousands of people.… Moreover, Russia claims to have documentary proof that the Ukrainian Army was preparing for a massive military incursion into the Donbass which was pre-empted by the Russian-led “special military operation.” [OSCE figures show an increase of government shelling of the area in the days before Russia moved in.]

..The bottom line is that Russia has set forth a cognizable claim under the doctrine of anticipatory collective self-defense, devised originally by the U.S. and NATO, as it applies to Article 51 which is predicated on fact, not fiction.

While it might be in vogue for people, organizations, and governments in the West to embrace the knee-jerk conclusion that Russia’s military intervention constitutes a wanton violation of the United Nations Charter and, as such, constitutes an illegal war of aggression, the uncomfortable truth is that, of all the claims made regarding the legality of pre-emption under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, Russia’s justification for invading Ukraine is on solid legal ground.” (“Russia, Ukraine & the Law of War: Crime of Aggression”, Consortium News)

Here’s a bit more background from an article by foreign policy analyst Danial Kovalik:

“One must begin this discussion by accepting the fact that there was already a war happening in Ukraine for the eight years preceding the Russian military incursion in February 2022. And, this war by the government in Kiev… claimed the lives of around 14,000 people, many of them children, and displaced around 1.5 million more … The government in Kiev, and especially its neo-Nazi battalions, carried out attacks against these peoples … precisely because of their ethnicity. ..

While the UN Charter prohibits unilateral acts of war, it also provides, in Article 51, that “nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense… ” And this right of self-defense has been interpreted to permit countries to respond, not only to actual armed attacks, but also to the threat of imminent attack.

In light of the above, it is my assessment.. that Russia had a right to act in its own self-defense by intervening in Ukraine, which had become a proxy of the US and NATO for an assault – not only on Russian ethnics within Ukraine – but also upon Russia itself.” (“Why Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is legal under international law”, RT)

So, has anyone in the western media reported on the fact that Putin invoked UN Article 51 before he launched the Special Military Operation?

No, they haven’t, because to do so, would be an admission that Putin’s military operation complies with international law. Instead, the media continues to spread the fiction that ‘Hitler-Putin is trying to rebuild the Soviet empire’, a claim for which there is not a scintilla of evidence. Keep in mind, Putin’s operation does not involve the toppling of a foreign government to install a Moscow-backed stooge, or the arming and training a foreign military that will be used as proxies to fight a geopolitical rival, or the stuffing a country with state-of-the-art weaponry to achieve his own narrow strategic objectives, or perpetrating terrorist acts of industrial sabotage (Nord-Stream 2) to prevent the economic integration of Asia and Europe. No, Putin hasn’t engaged in any of these things. But Washington certainly has, because Washington isn’t constrained by international law. In Washington’s eyes, international law is merely an inconvenience that is dismissively shrugged off whenever unilateral action is required. But Putin is not nearly as cavalier about such matters, in fact, he has a long history of playing by the rules because he believes the rules help to strengthen everyone’s security. And, he’s right; they do.

And that’s why he invoked Article 51 before he sent the troops to help the people in the Donbas. He felt he had a moral obligation to lend them his assistance but wanted his actions to comply with international law. We think he achieved both.

Here’s something else you will never see in the western media. You’ll never see the actual text of Putin’s security demands that were made a full 2 months before the war broke out. And, the reason you won’t see them, is because his demands were legitimate, reasonable and necessary. All Putin wanted was basic assurances that NATO was not planning to put its bases, armies and missile sites on Russia’s border. In other words, he was doing the same thing that all responsible leaders do to defend the safety and security of their own people.

Here are a few critical excerpts from the text of Putin’s proposal to the US and NATO: [on original]………………………….

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what Putin was worried about. He was worried about NATO expansion and, in particular, the emergence of a hostile military alliance backed by Washington-groomed Nazis occupying territory on his western flank. Was that unreasonable of him? Should he have embraced these US-backed Russophobes and allowed them to place their missiles on his border? Would that have been the prudent thing to do?

So, what can we deduce from Putin’s list of demands?

First, we can deduce that he is not trying to reconstruct the Soviet empire as the MSM relentlessly insists. The list focuses exclusively on security-related demands, nothing else.

Second, it proves that the war could have easily been avoided had Zelensky simply maintained the status quo and formally announced that Ukraine would remain neutral. In fact, Zelensky actually agreed to neutrality in negotiations with Moscow in March, but Washington prevented the Ukrainian president from going through with the deal which means that the Biden administration is largely responsible for the ongoing conflict. (RT published an article today stating clearly that an agreement had been reached between Russia and Ukraine in March but the deal was intentionally scuttled by the US and UK. Washington wanted a war.)

Third, it shows that Putin is a reasonable leader whose demands should have been eagerly accepted. Was it unreasonable of Putin to ask that “The Parties shall refrain from deploying their armed forces and… military alliances.. in the areas where such deployment could be perceived by the other Party as a threat to its national security”? Was it unreasonable for him the ask that “The Parties shall eliminate all existing infrastructure for deployment of nuclear weapons outside their national territories”?

Where exactly are the “unreasonable demands” that Putin supposedly made?

There aren’t any. Putin made no demands that the US wouldn’t have made if ‘the shoe was on the other foot.’

Forth, it proves that the war is not a struggle for Ukrainian liberation or democracy. That’s hogwash. It is a war that is aimed at “weakening” Russia and eventually removing Putin from power. Those are the overriding goals. What that means is that Ukrainian soldiers are not dying for their country, they are dying for an elitist dream to expand NATO, crush Russia, encircle China, and extend US hegemony for another century. Ukraine is merely the battlefield on which the Great Power struggle is being fought.

There are number points we are trying to make in this article:

  1. Who started the war?
    Answer– Ukraine started the war
  2. Was the Russian invasion a violation of international law?
    Answer– No, the Russian invasion should be approved under United Nations Article 51
  3. Could the war have been avoided if Ukraine declared neutrality and met Putin’s reasonable demands?
    Answer– Yes, the war could have been avoided
  4. The last point deals with the Minsk Treaty and how the dishonesty of western leaders is going to effect the final settlement in Ukraine. I am convinced that neither Washington nor the NATO allies have any idea of how severely international relations have been decimated by the Minsk betrayal. In a world where legally binding agreements can be breezily discarded in the name of political expediency, the only way to settle disputes is through brute force. Did anyone in Germany, France or Washington think about this before they acted? (But, first, some background on Minsk.)

The aim of the Minsk agreement was to end the fighting between the Ukrainian army and ethnic Russians in the Donbas region of Ukraine. It was the responsibility of the four participants in the treaty– Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine– to ensure that both sides followed the terms of the deal. But in December, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with a German magazine, that there was never any intention of implementing the deal, instead, the plan was to use the time to make Ukraine stronger in order to prepare for a war with Russia. So, clearly, from the very beginning, the United States intended to provoke a war with Russia.

On September 5, 2014, Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia all signed Minsk, but the treaty failed and the fighting resumed. On February 12, 2015, Minsk 2 was signed, but that failed, as well. Please, watch this short segment on You Tube by Amit Sengupta who gives a brief rundown of Minsk and its implications: (I transcribed the piece myself and any mistakes are mine.) …………………. [Transcription on original]

There’s no way to overstate the importance of the Minsk betrayal or the impact it’s going to have on the final settlement in Ukraine. When trust is lost, nations can only ensure their security through brute force. What that means is that Russia must expand its perimeter as far as is necessary to ensure that it will remain beyond the enemy’s range of fire. (Putin, Lavrov and Medvedev have already indicated that they plan to do just that.) Second, the new perimeter must be permanently fortified with combat troops and lethal weaponry that are kept on hairtrigger alert. When treaties become vehicles for political opportunism, then nations must accept a permanent state of war. This is the world that Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko and the US created by opting to use ‘the cornerstone of international relations’ (Treaties) to advance their own narrow warmongering objectives.

We just wonder if anyone in Washington realizes whet the fu** they’ve done?

February 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japan Plans to Dump Fukushima Wastewater Into a Pacific With a Toxic Nuclear History

In December, the U.S.-based National Association of Marine Laboratories also announced its opposition to TEPCO’s plans, publishing a position paper that says “there is a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety” while “there is an abundance of data demonstrating serious concerns about releasing radioactively contaminated water.”


Pacific Island nations have for decades been grappling with the environmental and health consequences of Cold War-era nuclear testing in the region by the likes of the U.S. and France. Now, they worry about another kind of nuclear danger from neighbors much closer to home.

As concerns over energy security and the desire to transition away from fossil fuels pushes several Asian nations to reconsider once-scrapped nuclear power programs, there is increasing anxiety over how the waste from those facilities—depending on the methods of disposal—might impact the lives of Pacific Islanders.

Notably, in the region, Philippines President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said in his first address to Congress in mid-2022 that he was open to adding nuclear energy to the country’s energy mix, the Indonesian government said in December it plans to build a nuclear power plant by 2039, and weeks later Japan announced that it plans to ramp up the use of nuclear energy.

Nuclear plants have long been touted as a reliable source of carbon-free energy, though many plants across the world had been shuttered in past decades over worries about the safety of nuclear waste disposal. In this new era of nuclear revival, similar uncertainties abound.

In Japan, one plant that isn’t even operational has become the frontline for the fight between activists seeking safety assurances for waste disposal and operators who are running out of space in on-site tanks to store the wastewater accumulating from keeping damaged reactors cool. Currently, Japan plans to release wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean later this year.

“It’s just horrendous to think what it might mean,” says Henry Puna, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), a regional intergovernmental organization that has more than a dozen member countries, including, for example, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu. “The people of the Pacific are people of the ocean. The ocean is very much central to our lives, to our culture, to our livelihoods. Anything that prejudices the health of the ocean is a matter of serious concern.”

When a magnitude 9.1 earthquake and tsunami hit off the coast of Japan in 2011, it caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Since then, water is being used to cool the damaged reactors and prevent further catastrophe. Now, more than 1.3 million metric tons of radionuclide-contaminated water has been collected on site, and it continues to accumulate, as rain and groundwater seep in. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, says that the storage tanks take up too much space and hinder decommissioning the plant.  Japan initially said that it would begin releasing the water into the ocean in the spring of 2023. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told the media in January that the release target date is now around spring or summer, which appears to be a postponement, according to the Associated Press, due to construction delays on a pipeline and the apparent need to gain greater public support.

The plan has faced widespread opposition. Japanese fishermen, international environmentalists, and other governments in the region, including ChinaSouth Korea, and Taiwan, have all expressed concern. Some of the strongest pushback has come from Pacific Island countries, including from lawmakersformer leaders, regional fisheries management groups, and other organizations. Among those voices is the PIF, which is advocating for more time to deal with questions and concerns. Earlier this year, the PIF appointed a panel of independent global nuclear experts to help inform its members in their consultations with Japan and TEPCO. The experts have stressed that more data are needed to determine the safety of the water for disposal.

“We think that there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that the release is safe, environmentally, healthwise, and also for our economy in the Pacific,” says Puna, who is also the former Prime Minister of the Cook Islands. Until more information is shared and evaluated, he asks that Japan “please defer the discharge of the water.”

…………………………….  there appears to be a major disconnect between TEPCO and others, including the PIF panel of experts—who say that they’re concerned with the adequacy, accuracy, and reliability of the data backing up the decision to release the water.

Robert H. Richmond, a research professor and the director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who is one of the panel experts, tells TIME that “the critical, foundational data upon which a sound decision could be made was either absent or, when we started getting more data,” he says, “extremely concerning.” He also casts doubt on if the IAEA is in the best position to assess the risks. “They’re an agency that has a mandate to promote the use of nuclear energy,” says Richmond, “and our mandate is to look after the people, the ocean, and the people who depend on the ocean. And our unanimous conclusion … is that this is a  bad idea that is not defended properly at this point, and that there are alternatives that Japan should really be looking at.”

“One of the biggest surprises to me was the fact that the data was so sparse,” says Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, scientist-in-residence and adjunct professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, who is also on the PIF panel of experts. “There were prolonged gaps in data collection, which suggests that the matter may not have been given the level of attention and importance it deserved.” He adds that only a fraction of the tanks had been sampled, and only a handful of some 60 isotopes were typically measured in the samples—fewer than he would expect for this kind of assessment. (TEPCO says that the analysis done on a sample of tanks so far is just to assess the water’s condition in storage but that, after the purification process, further measurements will be taken on all the treated water before discharge to ensure that only that which meets sufficient standards of safety is released into the ocean).

Some still fear the safety of the treated water, and the far-reaching implications if it’s dumped into the ocean. Puna points out, for example, that the waters of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean produce much of the world’s tuna. If the tuna were to be impacted, it would cause major problems for Pacific nations, for which fisheries are a significant source of income, as well as for consumers globally.

In December, the U.S.-based National Association of Marine Laboratories also announced its opposition to TEPCO’s plans, publishing a position paper that says “there is a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety” while “there is an abundance of data demonstrating serious concerns about releasing radioactively contaminated water.”

……………………………………. A scarring past and a new path forward

Other nuclear plants across the globe have released treated wastewater containing tritium. Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA’s director general, said in 2021 that Japan’s plan is “in line with practice globally, even though the large amount of water at the Fukushima plant makes it a unique and complex case.”

But Pacific Island nations have particular reason to be anxious. There is a noxious legacy of nuclear testing in the region, and other countries have historically treated the Pacific as a dumping ground for their waste. The U.S. conducted 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1957—and disposed of atomic waste in Runit Dome, where it’s still stored. That testing led not only to forced relocations, but also to increased rates of cancers. Today there is concern that the dome is leaking and that rising sea levels might impact its structural integrity. France also conducted 193 nuclear tests from 1966 to 1996 at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls in French Polynesia.

…………………….. Rather than let dumping wastewater into the ocean become the norm, at this juncture for nuclear energy, some say it’s an opportunity to explore different ways of doing things. The panel of PIF experts has proposed several alternative solutions, including treating the water and storing it in more secure tanks to allow the tritium time to decay, or using the treated water to make concrete for use in projects that won’t have high contact with humans.

“This is not the first nuclear disaster and by no means is it going to be the last,” says Richmond. “This is an opportunity for Japan,” he says, “to do the right thing and to invest time, effort, and money into determining and coming up with new ways of handling radioactive waste and setting a new trajectory.”

February 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewables In China Trend Upward While Nuclear Trends Flat

The blue line at the bottom is nuclear, and not particularly sharp eyes will note that it’s trending to flat. The red line at the top is wind, water, and solar cumulative additions to annual TWh of electricity flowing into China’s grid, and not particularly sharp eyes will note it’s curving upwards.

The natural experiment of renewables vs nuclear continues in China, and it continues to unfold in renewables’ favor. 

Clean Technica, ByMichael Barnard, 7 Feb 23,

I’ve been publishing assessments of the poor performance of nuclear compared to wind and solar in China for years (2014201920212022). My premise nine years ago was a first principles assertion with limited empirical results that wind and solar would radically outstrip nuclear in China. Why? Modularity reducing long-tailed risks, as Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, global expert and go to person for megaprojects, puts it in his new book How Big Things Get Done, where he includes my assessment of the natural experiment.

Subsequent assessments found that was true. Every year, the combination of wind and solar, and usually both individually, outstripped new nuclear generation, both in raw nameplate capacity and in additional TWh of annual generation. But as Professor Mark Z. Jacobson likes to remind us, it’s not WS, it’s WWS, that is wind, water, and solar. And so, today I spent a bit of time looking at hydroelectric generation capacity additions around the world since 2000, which turned out to be almost entirely in China. Of the 132.5 GW of new big hydroelectric projects connected to the grid in the world since 2000, 113 GW were in China. Unsurprising to anyone paying the slightest attention, but still, big numbers.

But what does that mean when added to wind and solar and compared to nuclear, leveraging the 2010 to 2022 data set I already had?…………………………………….

there is an interesting question about all forms of electrical generation, which is what capacity factors they are operating at. China’s wind and solar were historically curtailed by transmission connection challenges, which have been being resolved every year. Last year’s bumper crop of offshore wind, of course, were connected with HVDC to the grid without challenges.

What about hydro? It has different challenges for capacity factors, typically having a spring spate with often far too much water to use for generation, and a fall lull where generation is low. In the case of China, the best data I have at present is from the International Hydropower Association (IHA) which lists 1,355 TWh of electrical generation from 370,160 MW of capacity in 2020. That’s a 42% capacity factor, which I used for the generation.

I was somewhat surprised by this, and would be interested in better data, should anyone have some at hand. What it does mean is that while nuclear added a total of about 243 TWh of net new electrical generation from 2010 through 2022, hydro only added about 229 TWh of new generation. It was an interesting result which I’ll spend a little time assessing in a bit. Of course, wind energy added about 711 TWh of new generation annually over that period and solar added about 474 TWh. Both outstripped nuclear and hydro.

For purposes of wind, solar, and nuclear, I’d been simply presenting the new TWh of generation added each year. But in adding water to the data set, it seemed reasonable to make it cumulative.

In the graph above , the blue line at the bottom is nuclear, and not particularly sharp eyes will note that it’s trending to flat. The red line at the top is wind, water, and solar cumulative additions to annual TWh of electricity flowing into China’s grid, and not particularly sharp eyes will note it’s curving upwards.

Poking at the disparity between additions of actual TWh by renewable generation source a bit more, there are a few things to note.

The first, of course, is that wind and solar siting is much simpler than major hydroelectric siting. They just need flattish areas with good wind and sun, and wind likes ridge lines where flat bits can be made. Big hydro needs a big river with a reasonably significant drop along its length and at least one place where it’s carved a big valley. Meandering rivers like the Mississippi need not apply, although they are much better for inland shipping. The combination means that it’s typically easier to get materials and workers for wind and solar farms to the sites, easier to move construction vehicles around them and the like.

And hydroelectric reservoirs have another reality: you can’t live or work where they are. Unlike solar farms which can simply be built around existing buildings or roads, or wind farms where turbines can be built in the non-productive corners of farm fields, hydroelectric reservoirs displace everybody and everything where they exist. …………………………………

Still, China has managed to construct and attach 16 of them [hydro-electric dams] to the grid since 2000. I was aware of the Three Gorges Dam, of course, but was unaware that it was a small portion of the hydroelectric China had constructed. And while each project’s cost and schedule results vs plans are unavailable, China did succeed in building them.

The natural experiment of renewables vs nuclear continues in China, and it continues to unfold in renewables’ favor.

February 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Zibelman, Finkel join expert panel to advise Victoria on controversial public utility — RenewEconomy

Team of high profile energy experts selected to guide reboot of Victoria’s State Electricity Commission as a publicly owned renewable energy utility. The post Zibelman, Finkel join expert panel to advise Victoria on controversial public utility appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Zibelman, Finkel join expert panel to advise Victoria on controversial public utility — RenewEconomy

February 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A tenth of all electricity is lost in the grid. Superconducting cables can help — RenewEconomy

If Australia proceeds with plans to modernise its grid without considering superconductors, it will be a huge missed opportunity. The post A tenth of all electricity is lost in the grid. Superconducting cables can help appeared first on RenewEconomy.

A tenth of all electricity is lost in the grid. Superconducting cables can help — RenewEconomy

February 7, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment