Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

ARPANSA admits that no safety assessment exists, for nuclear submarines in Adelaide

Following a search from ARPANSA’s senior scientist, the agency determined that such a planning or safety document “does not exist”.

No safety assessment for nuclear subs in Adelaide  https://indaily.com.au/news/2021/10/22/no-safety-assessment-for-nuclear-subs-in-adelaide/

The federal government has not undertaken a safety assessment or planning study for the prospect of docking nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide, according to documents obtained by independent senator Rex Patrick.  Thomas Kelsall@Thomas_Kelsall


  The Port Adelaide and Outer Harbour docks are set to be the building spot for at least eight nuclear-powered submarines under the terms of the new “AUKUS” trilateral security pact, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in September.

But the controversial deal, which saw Australia scrap its $90 billion contract with France to build 12 diesel-powered boats, drew criticism from anti-nuclear activists and local residents concerned about the prospect of nuclear reactors in their suburbs.

No nuclear-powered warship has ever visited Port Adelaide or Outer Harbour.

Patrick, a former submariner and critic of the new subs deal, on September 21 filed a Freedom of Information request to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for “any documents that go to the planning or prospects of a nuclear vessel visiting Port Adelaide or Outer Harbour”.

ARPANSA is responsible for providing safety assessment to the Visiting Ships Panel (Nuclear) – an interdepartmental committee overseeing arrangements for visiting nuclear ships and associated safety requirement.

Following a search from ARPANSA’s senior scientist, the agency determined that such a planning or safety document “does not exist”.

“The ARPANSA Senior Scientist, who holds the responsibility for searching ARPANSA records of documents that go to the planning or prospects of a nuclear vessel, … has instructed me that ARPANSA, at this point in time, does not have a document specifically relating to the terms of your request,” ARPANSA FOI Officer John Templeton wrote to Patrick on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the agency confirmed to InDaily it has not been asked by the Defence Department to undertake a safety assessment or planning study of the site.

Patrick said the revelation shows that the Morrison’s Government’s nuclear submarines program is “a huge exercise in filling in the blanks”.

“One might have thought that some work would have been undertaken to consider Adelaide’s suitability for at least nuclear powered warship visits before the Prime Minister’s big announcement last month,” Patrick said.

“That is a task that ARPANSA undertakes on a regular basis in relation to other locations including HMAS Stirling, Fremantle, Darwin and Brisbane.

“While the safety assessments required for nuclear submarine construction and long-term berthing facilities would be a very complex undertaking, a port visit safety assessment of Port Adelaide and Outer Harbour would have been minimum due diligence before the Prime Minister promised his nuclear subs would be built in Adelaide.”

Patrick said the lack of safety assessment means Adelaide’s docks “could not currently host even a single-day visit by any nuclear powered submarine”.

“As is so often the case, Scott Morrison’s Government hasn’t done the basic preliminaries. It’s big on announcements, but fails conspicuously on due diligence and competent project management,” he said.

ARPANSA CEO Carl-Magnus Larsson told a parliamentary last week that the agency was briefed on the plan to shift from diesel to nuclear submarines around the beginning of July.

A spokesperson for ARPANSA said the agency “has not been asked to undertake a safety assessment and/or planning study on docking nuclear submarines in Port Adelaide or Outer Harbour”.

“ARPANSA will only undertake a radiological port assessment if Defence (Navy) determines that a nuclear-powered vessel can visit a specified port,” the spokesperson said.

“Neither Adelaide nor Outer Harbor have been subject to a visit of a nuclear-powered vessel.”

InDaily contacted the Department of Defence for comment.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | safety, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greenland soon to reinstate its ban on uranium mining

Within weeks, Greenland’s parliament, the Inatsisartut, is expected to
pass a bill reinstating a ban on uranium mining that was lifted in 2013
following pressure from mining companies. “The Greenlandic minister with
responsibility for minerals has publicly stated that a ban on uranium
mining will put an end to all future uranium mining, full stop,” Mariane
Paviasen, a Greenland MP and leading activist in the anti-uranium mining
movement, Urani? Naamik (Uranium? No), told Green Left.

 Green Left 20th Oct 2021

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/greenland-set-restore-uranium-mining-ban

October 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

There are no real climate leaders yet – who will step up at Cop26? – Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg Like other rich nations, the UK is more talk than action on the climate crisis. Something needs to change in Glasgow.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, called the recent IPCC report on the climate crisis a “code red” for humanity.
“We are at the verge of the abyss,” he said. You might think those words would sound some kind of alarm in our society. But, like so many times before, this didn’t happen. The denial of the climate and ecological crisis runs so deep that hardly anyone takes real notice any more.

Since no one treats the crisis like a crisis, the existential warnings keep on drowning in a steady tide of greenwash and everyday media news flow. And yet there is still hope, but hope all starts with honesty. Because science doesn’t lie. The facts are crystal clear, but we just refuse to accept them. We refuse to acknowledge that we now have to choose between saving the living planet or saving our unsustainable way of life. Because we want both. We demand both.

 Guardian 21st Oct 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/21/climate-leaders-cop26-uk-climate-crisis-glasgow

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry’s new spin is the same old outdated propaganda

The nuclear industry’s updated songsheet remains outdated  https://johnmenadue.com/the-nuclear-industrys-updated-songsheet-remains-outdated/By Mark DiesendorfOct 21, 2021  The campaign for nuclear power stations in Australia defies the unstoppable rise of renewables and should be rejected by governments and the electorate — it’s a technology whose time has passed.

With the Glasgow climate summit approaching and the government’s announcement that Australia would buy nuclear-powered submarines instead of diesel, the nuclear industry is campaigning more vocally for nuclear power stations in Australia. Their revised songsheets include both resuscitated old lines that have been rejected many times and several relatively new songs of a pernicious nature.

Revival of old songs 

It is claimed that electricity grids need baseload power stations, such as coal or nuclear, that can run 24/7 at full rated power, except when they break down or undergo maintenance and refuelling. But nowadays energy experts who are not committed to the nuclear industry recognise that the variability of wind and solar must be balanced with storage, new transmission links, demand response, and/or flexible power stations that can start up in seconds to minutes and can vary their output rapidly. These include hydroelectricity with a dam, pumped hydro (with two dams at different elevations), batteries, concentrated solar thermal with storage, and open-cycle gas turbines that can burn biofuels and green hydrogen and ammonia.

Even modern nuclear reactors cannot compete in flexibility of operation with these technologies and measures. Furthermore, operating in a more flexible mode carries economic penalties for nuclear, which is already exorbitantly expensive…………………….

Another item on the revised nuclear songsheet is the claim that the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi was entirely the fault of the tsunami, that it was all just “a natural event”. Yet the choice of technology cannot be exonerated, because it resulted in mass evacuation, compensation payments (huge in total but inadequate for individuals), destruction of the local agriculture and fishing industries, temporary loss of national tourism, temporary collapse of the electricity grid, massive removal of radioactive soil and plants, a multi-decades-long continuing process to decommission the reactors, and the need to import vast quantities of fossil fuels. (The latter would have been greatly reduced if the government’s prior commitment to nuclear hadn’t resulted in its neglect of renewable energy.) Total costs have been estimated at over US$500 billion, while the nuclear power station was insured for only US$1.5 billion.

The scale of the disaster resulted from the choice of nuclear technology. Yet at Kamisu, on the coast to the south of Fukushima, a wind farm located in the surf survived the tsunami and continued to generate electricity until the grid went down.

Another new pro-nuclear song identifies a spike in the wholesale electricity price and blames it on renewables and the absence of nuclear. Yet wholesale prices in electricity markets fluctuate up and down according to supply and demand. With increasing penetration of wind and solar PV into the grid, these fluctuations are superposed on a declining trend in wholesale electricity price. This decline results from the fact that the costs of operating a wind or solar farm are almost zero, and so these technologies have the top priority to operate (see Merit Order Effect). In the UK, electricity prices are higher than necessary because the government has overruled market principles and given priority in operation to nuclear power, despite the fact that it has much higher operating costs than wind and solar PV.

Another tactic used by nuclear supporters in recent years is to claim that 100 per cent renewable electricity scenarios would occupy vast areas of land, compete with food production and reduce biodiversity. Yet the reality is that most wind and solar farms are erected on agricultural or marginal land. Although wind farms can span large areas, the land area actually occupied by the turbine, access roads and substation typically amounts to 1 to 2 per cent of the land spanned. Wind farms are compatible with almost all forms of agriculture. Although the presence of solar farms excludes some agriculture, they can be erected sufficiently high above ground for sheep to shelter beneath them. Both wind and solar farms contribute valuable rent to farmers. Rooftop solar occupies no land. 

A rather desperate tactic used by a few pro-nuclear debaters is to claim falsely that a recent report by a leading solar research organisation has admitted that solar energy has failed. Without seeing the actual report, it is difficult to refute the claim in the heat of debate and so the lie may score a debating point. However, when it is checked and exposed after the debate, it can backfire on the perpetrator and their case.

Introducing nuclear power to Australia — including convincing the electorate, local governments and local populations, and building the infrastructure — would take at least 15 years, while taking financial resources away from renewables. But new nuclear power stations could not contribute in time to assist the rapid electricity transition needed for climate mitigation. And once 100 per cent renewable electricity is established with the bulk of energy generation by cheap solar and wind, nuclear power could not compete economically. It’s a technology whose time has passed.

Too slow for climate mitigation 

If a national government commits to net zero emissions by 2050 (which may be too late for keeping global heating below 1.5 degrees), then it must achieve zero emissions from all energy (electricity, transport and heat) by about 2040. This is because energy is the least difficult sector to transition to zero emissions. Agriculture and non-energy industrial processes will need more time to reduce emissions and, if possible, to remove carbon dioxide to offset emissions they cannot reduce. Achieving zero energy emissions by 2040 entails achieving zero emissions from electricity by 2035 or preferably 2030, because electrifying transport and heat will take longer than transitioning electricity to renewables. Wind and solar farms can be planned and built in just three years. https://johnmenadue.com/the-nuclear-industrys-updated-songsheet-remains-outdated/

October 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear power has no place in a green energy future-because of – time delay, success of renewables, huge costs, dangers, weapons connection, and wastes

from Yahoo News, 21 Oct 21, ”…….Practical concerns also temper enthusiasm for a nuclear future. The next generation of reactors, heralded as a game changer by supporters, still haven’t been proven in the real world. Even if those technologies are as revolutionary as advertised, skeptics say it could take decades before they make a real difference in the global energy grid — too long if the worst outcomes of climate change are to be avoided.

Renewable energy technologies can be enough on their own

“The drawbacks to nuclear are compounded by the burgeoning success of renewables — both solar and wind are getting cheaper and more efficient, year after year. There is also a growing realisation that a combination of renewables, smart storage, energy efficiency and more flexible grids can now be delivered at scale and at speed — anywhere in the world.” — Jonathon Porritt, Guardian

The world doesn’t have time to wait for next-gen nuclear

“When it comes to averting the imminent effects of climate change, even the cutting edge of nuclear technology will prove to be too little, too late. Put simply, given the economic trends in existing plants and those under construction, nuclear power cannot positively impact climate change in the next ten years or more.” — Allison Macfarlane, Foreign Affairs

A major ramp-up in nuclear technologies isn’t economically feasible

“While nuclear power may have once been cheaper than wind or solar, the economics have since changed dramatically. Nuclear power plants are very expensive to build and the economics of nuclear power are getting steadily worse. By contrast, renewables continue to come down in price.” — Ian Lowe, Conversation

There’s no way to guarantee that nuclear plants will be safe

“People around the world have witnessed the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents. It is more than enough to believe that a safe nuclear power plant is nothing but a myth.” — Jang Daul, Korea Times

More nuclear power could lead to more nuclear weapons

“Some nations — India and Pakistan, and in all probability Israel — became nuclear powers after originally seeking nuclear technology for research or to develop nuclear power. … This is important: The technology used to turn on lights or charge mobile phones shouldn’t need to involve national or international defence apparatus.” — Editorial, Nature

Nuclear waste is still a major problem

“Nuclear waste lasts for hundreds of thousands of years before they are half-decayed. Our United States government — perhaps the longest continuous government in the world — is only 232 years old. Who will be around to manage uranium wastes?” — David Ross, Courier-Journal

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coal and silicon: The speech that Morrison can use to wow his Glasgow audience — RenewEconomy

The speech that Scott Morrison could give in Glasgow, holding a lump of coal in one hand, and a lump of silicon in the other. The post Coal and silicon: The speech that Morrison can use to wow his Glasgow audience appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Coal and silicon: The speech that Morrison can use to wow his Glasgow audience — RenewEconomy

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On net zero, Morrison has forgotten that you don’t negotiate with terrorists — RenewEconomy

Rather than showing leadership, Morrison has allowed the Nationals to dictate the terms of a net zero target. An error that could cost Australia billions. The post On net zero, Morrison has forgotten that you don’t negotiate with terrorists appeared first on RenewEconomy.

On net zero, Morrison has forgotten that you don’t negotiate with terrorists — RenewEconomy

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CBA backs mass rollout of small solar farms with hydrogen battery storage — RenewEconomy

Plans to pilot a UNSW-developed “hydrogen storage” solution across tens of sub-5MW solar farms have been underwritten by the Commonwealth Bank. The post CBA backs mass rollout of small solar farms with hydrogen battery storage appeared first on RenewEconomy.

CBA backs mass rollout of small solar farms with hydrogen battery storage — RenewEconomy

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big win for battery storage in another landmark energy market reform — RenewEconomy

Battery storage to get boost from another landmark reform after AEMC dumps failed “do no harm” rule on system strength. The post Big win for battery storage in another landmark energy market reform appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Big win for battery storage in another landmark energy market reform — RenewEconomy

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gina Rinehart needs to re-think her sums on solar and battery storage — RenewEconomy

Australia’s richest person has produced some strange numbers to demonise solar and batteries, as Murdoch media presses nuclear button on renewables. The post Gina Rinehart needs to re-think her sums on solar and battery storage appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Gina Rinehart needs to re-think her sums on solar and battery storage — RenewEconomy

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Charging hub: Sydney electric bus depot to lay blueprint for EVs and grid — RenewEconomy

Transgrid and Zenobē Energy join forces to deliver Australia’s most sustainably advanced, electrified depot in NSW – a critical first step 100% electric buses by 2030. The post Charging hub: Sydney electric bus depot to lay blueprint for EVs and grid appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Charging hub: Sydney electric bus depot to lay blueprint for EVs and grid — RenewEconomy

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dead ducks in the middle of the grid: Coal output pushed to record lows by solar — RenewEconomy

Coal generators have been fearing the duck curve for some time. They may never have imagined it would grow this steep, this quickly. The post Dead ducks in the middle of the grid: Coal output pushed to record lows by solar appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Dead ducks in the middle of the grid: Coal output pushed to record lows by solar — RenewEconomy

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rooftop solar sends Victorian power prices to zero every day for two months — RenewEconomy

AEMO’s latest quarterly energy report highlights more negative pricing events, and an average daytime price in Victoria of zero over two months. The post Rooftop solar sends Victorian power prices to zero every day for two months appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Rooftop solar sends Victorian power prices to zero every day for two months — RenewEconomy

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

October 22 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “This Might Just Look Like Grass, But It Has The Power To Absorb A Load Of Our Carbon Emissions” • Forests, peatlands, deserts, and tundra can all absorb and hold stocks of CO₂. Of all the carbon held in land-based ecosystems, around 34% can be found in grasslands, data from the […]

October 22 Energy News — geoharvey

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste shipment to come from UK to Lucas Heights

Australia to receive UK nuclear waste shipment amid bitter dispute over national storage facilityTwo-tonne load to be stored at Sydney’s Lucas Heights until national facility built in several years https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/21/australia-to-receive-uk-nuclear-waste-shipment-amid-bitter-dispute-over-national-storage-facilityTory ShepherdThu 21 Oct 2021 Two tonnes of nuclear waste will be shipped from the United Kingdom to Australia next year as debate continues over a national storage facility.

The shipment of four 500kg canisters inside a forged steel container called a TN-81 is part of a waste swap deal with the UK.

The intermediate-level waste is to be stored temporarily at Sydney’s Lucas Heights facility then sent to the national radioactive waste management facility the federal government plans to build near Kimba in South Australia

However that project is the subject of a bitter dispute, and is years away. It will take several years for all the regulatory approvals to pass, and the government has declined to nominate when it will start construction.

In 1996 Australia sent spent fuel rods from its Hifar reactor – the predecessor to the existing Opal multi-purpose reactor – to the UK to be recycled into fuel for nuclear power plants. The “radiologically equivalent” waste will be sent to Australia under the 2022 waste repatriation project.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (Arpansa) reported this week that it is working with the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation “for the inspection of radioactive waste containers, set to return to Australia from the Sellafield Reprocessing Plant”.

The waste relates to the processing of spent fuel sent to the UK in earlier years from Australia’s former research reactor,” Arpansa said.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) says it successfully repatriated radioactive waste from France to Australia in 2015 and that the TN-81s had been used successfully in 180 nuclear shipments around the world.

The federal government says Lucas Heights does not have the room or the approvals to store the nation’s nuclear waste, which is spread across more than 100 sites, so it will commission a purpose-built dump. It settled on a site at Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia.

That plan has been deeply divisive.

A ballot run by the Australian Electoral Commission found more than 60% of people in the Kimba council area supported the facility, which would store mostly medical waste that is currently in separate sites all over the country.

But the traditional owners, the Barngarla people, say many were excluded from that ballot because they lived outside the council area. In a separate ballot, Barngarla voters unanimously rejected the proposal.

Chair of The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, Jason Bilney, later welcomed amendments to the legislation that leave open the possibility of a judicial review.

Federal resources minister, Keith Pitt, has announced his intention to declare that Napandee will host the site. Before that declaration is made, however, there has been a consultation process for anyone who has a legal right or interest in the proposal.

Submissions to that consultation will close on Friday.

Pitt will consider any comments, and if he goes ahead and declares Napandee as the site, the federal government plans to acquire the land and begin preparations to build the facility – barring legal challenges.

Conservation Council of SA chief executive officer, Craig Wilkins, said the UK shipment highlighted the overall issues with creating a national facility. The facility will mostly store low-level waste but will temporarily store intermediate-level waste such as that coming from the UK.

Wilkins says Lucas Heights should store all waste until a permanent facility can be built.

“If this is genuinely our waste and we have a responsibility to look after it, then we need to do that properly,” he said.

“We need a genuine, long-term national approach to dealing with our waste, rather than this ad hoc temporary fix of shifting some of the waste across to SA to temporarily park it in above-ground sheds while they work out what to do with the waste long term. It makes sense to get the long-term solution first.”

International best practice is to bury the waste in a deep disposal site in the safest place in the country, he said. “That work hasn’t been done yet, and until it’s done the waste should stay … at Lucas Heights.”

The government says waste from more than 100 sites needs to be consolidated in a purpose-built facility and that neither Lucas Heights nor the CSIRO storage site at Woomera were intended for permanent storage.

The industry department argues Lucas Heights “is not large enough” because any free space is needed for an expansion of research activities, and that it is only licensed for temporary storage.

Debate over nuclear storage continues, as does debate over Australia’s planned acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines, and debate over whether Australia needs nuclear power.

October 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment