Australian news, and some related international items

ANSTO expans its nuclear activities – Australian tax-payers bear the costs of its nuclear wastes

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 12 Aug 18   “ANSTO is expanding nuclear activities, which will mean massive increases in wastes.” – why are countries sending us 45 tonnes of Silicon ingots each year to be irradiated and then sent back overseas?

I have the horrible suspicion that this is another activity the taxpayer subsidises so that ANSTO can justify their reactor. There are other ways of N-doping Silicon. Is Australia again distorting the market using taxpayer funds? Whatever the price ANSTO charges, it is too low to cover the costs of imposing nuclear waste on a community, and a state that is still suffering from the Maralinga abuse.


August 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Conflict of interest in Holtec’s plan for transporting and “temporary” storage of nuclear wastes

opposition in New Mexico to siting the facility there, and opposition along any potential transportation routes, would doom the idea

“It’s extremely troubling because they are going to be handling a decommissioning fund of almost a billion dollars,” Tauro said. “This really points to the need absolutely for the independent oversight board. To lend this whole deal transparency and independence, and having people on that board who have absolutely nothing to gain.”

Once a privately held company is in charge of decommissioning, she said, transparency will be lost.

Will Oyster Creek’s nuclear waste be cash cow for buyer Holtec?   MICHELLE BRUNETTI POST Staff Writer, 10 Aug 18

    • A high-level nuclear waste storage facility doesn’t exist yet, since the federal government stopped its attempts in 2011 to develop the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada in the face of local and regional opposition.

So, for the foreseeable future, nuclear plants’ spent fuel must be stored on site of both operating and closed plants.

But Holtec International, which is trying to buy the Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township for decommissioning, has an application before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to open a short-term facility in New Mexico. It proposes to store high-level nuclear waste there, such as spent fuel rods from nuclear plants.  A Holtec spokesperson did not respond to requests for information.

Holtec would likely try to transport Oyster Creek’s waste to the New Mexico facility. That and the fact that Holtec manufactures casks for storage of nuclear waste bring up conflicts of interest, said Clean Water Action Board Chairwoman Janet Tauro, of Brick Township. She has been fighting to get the Oyster Creek plant closed for years.

Tauro said whoever does the decommissioning should have to choose the best and safest cask and storage options, not the ones that will make the most money for them.

“How do you do that if it’s all your stuff, if Holtec is managing the decommissioning and buying their own casks and choosing to store at a Holtec-owned site in New Mexico?” asked Tauro.

Tauro is especially concerned about Holtec casks, since some of them malfunctioned at the decommissioned San Onofre nuclear plant in San Diego County, California, she said

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the problem was discovered Feb. 20 “during a mandatory pre-loading inspection of multipurpose canisters, the stainless-steel casks that hold the spent fuel.”

He said it involved a broken shim standoff bolt inside the cask. The loose bolt — about 4 inches long and 7/16th of an inch in diameter — was found in the bottom of one of the casks.

It was shipped back to Holtec, Sheehan said. Holtec inspected other canisters at its facility in Camden and found another with a broken standoff bolt.

On March 6, Southern California Edison, which owns San Onofre, halted its dry cask loading activities. The site subsequently resumed that work, using casks with a different approved shim design, Sheehan said.

Other plants that have casks with the same design are Vermont Yankee, Dresden, Grand Gulf, Hatch, Columbia, Watts Bar and Callaway.

The New Mexico storage facility is unlikely to become a reality, said New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel, since it would require moving high-level radioactive waste across the country. Continue reading

August 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

IN USA State cannot override federal law on “temporary” nuclear waste, but can influence transport

Transportation Eyed for State Role   Nuclear watchdogs concur that the federal government doesn’t need New Mexico’s approval to award a license. But the state could do more to stop the project’s progress if leaders want to.

The cities of Albuquerque and Las Cruces, as well as Bernalillo County, have voted to formally oppose Holtec’s project. 

A proposed nuclear storage project in Utah, for example, received a license but never accepted waste after opponents there raised questions about transportation, as well as other concerns.

Holtec Nuclear Waste Project’s Opponents Seek Role for New Mexico Bloomberg, By Brenna Goth, August 8, 2018

New Mexico’s attorney general thinks the state can do little to stop Holtec International’s application to temporarily store high-level waste from commercial nuclear reactors, but that doesn’t deter critics of the project.

A state lawmaker and an environmentalist, who oppose the project to store the toxic trash in New Mexico before it is buried forever at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain or another site, said they believe the state—and not just the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission—can exert some influence over the Holtec project’s future.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) recently assessed the state’s role in regulating Holtec’s plan to store the radioactive materials in rural southeast New Mexico near the the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). An Energy Department facility that stores a different type of nuclear waste generated from weapons production, WIPP was subject to some state reviews before opening in 1999.

Holtec has an application before the NRC for a temporary place to keep nuclear waste from commercial power plants throughout the U.S. while the federal government develops permanent storage deep underground. There’s no timeline for permanent storage, as work on Yucca Mountain has long been stalled and has been met with

Intense opposition from Nevada lawmakers.

The plan to consolidate used fuel in New Mexico has drawn support for its potential economic impact and criticism for a range of health of safety concerns. Candidates running in November to replace Gov. Susana Martinez (R) have had conflicting views on the project.

But of all the factors that the NRC considers when awarding a license for temporary storage, “state approval is not among them,” said the attorney general’s July 19 letter, released to Bloomberg Environment under New Mexico’s public-records law.

Federal Law Governs Project

Continue reading

August 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The high police costs of guarding nuclear waste transports

Herald 11th Aug 2018 Police Scotland is expecting a £4 million windfall from external
organisations for protecting nuclear waste shipments and policing sporting
events. The force has made almost £1 million this year so far for
providing logistical support for nuclear waste transfers and policing
football matches. The ongoing logistical support — known as Operation
Ailey — is understood to involve traffic management and public order
protection for nuclear waste travelling from the decommissioned Dounreay
nuclear plant for reprocessing at Sellafield in Cumbria.

August 12, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

What is Premier Steven Marshall’s position on nuclear waste dumping for South Australia? – Deafening Silence


Zac Eagle Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA  10 Aug 18   In 2004 the then Premier M Rann said “a nuclear waste dump would have tarnished SA’s image on the world scene and would have caused particular damage to the tourism, wine and food industries.

We’re trying to sell ourselves around the world as a clean, green place, he said.
So I did not want South Australia tagged as the nuclear dump state by every comic on TV”
And what about Marshall’s position? His silence is deafening.

August 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear Industry Not Prepared for the Impacts of Climate Change Upon It.


How nuclear is preparing for climate change, BY JOHN VIDAL – AUGUST 10, 2018

Plans to weather erosion and storm surges for new nuclear power plants may not be up to date, some experts say.The outer defensive wall of what is expected to be the world’s most expensive nuclear power station is taking shape on the shoreline of the choppy gray waters of the Bristol Channel in western England.

By the time the US$25 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear station is finished, possibly in 2028, the concrete seawall will be 12.5 meters (41 feet) high, 900 meters (3,000 feet) long and durable enough, the UK regulator and French engineers say, to withstand the strongest storm surge, the greatest tsunami and the highest sea-level rise.

But will it? Independent nuclear consultant Pete Roche, a former adviser to the UK government and Greenpeace, points out that the tidal range along this stretch of coast is one of the highest in the world, and that erosion is heavy. Indeed, observers reported serious flooding on the site in 1981 when an earlier nuclear power station had to be shut down for a week. following a spring tide and a storm surge. However well built, says Roche, the new seawall does not adequately take into account sea-level rise due to climate change.

“The wall is strong, but the plans were drawn up in 2012, before the increasing volume of melting of the Greenland ice cap was properly understood and when most experts thought there was no net melting in the Antarctic,” he says. “Now estimates of sea level rise in the next 50 years have gone up from less than 30 centimeters to more than a meter, well within the operating lifespan of Hinkley Point C — let alone in 100 years time when the reactors are finally decommissioned or the even longer period when spent nuclear fuel is likely to be stored on site.”

In fact, research by Ensia suggests that at least 100 U.S., European and Asian nuclear power stations built just a few meters above sea level could be threatened by serious flooding caused by accelerating sea-level rise and more frequent storm surges.

Some efforts are underway to prepare for increased flooding risk in the future. But a number of scientific papers published in 2018 suggest that climate change will impact coastal nuclear plants earlier and harder than the industry, governments or regulatory bodies have expected, and that the safety standards set by national nuclear regulators and the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are out of date and take insufficient account of the effects of climate change on nuclear power.

The Problem With Flooding

Flooding can be catastrophic to a nuclear power plant because it can knock out its electrical systems, disabling its cooling mechanisms and leading to overheating and possible meltdown and a dangerous release of radioactivity. Flooding at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan as a result of the March 2011 tsunami caused severe damage to several of the plant’s reactors and only narrowly avoided a catastrophic release of radioactivity that could have forced the evacuation of 50 million people.

According to maps prepared by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), around one in four of the world’s 460 working commercial nuclear reactors are situated on coastlines. Many were built only 10–20 meters (30–70 feet) above sea level at a time when climate change was barely considered a threat.

(At left flooded Fort Calhoun nuclear plant, USA)   In the U.S., where nine nuclear plants are within 2 miles (3 kilometers) of the ocean and four reactors have been identified by Stanford academics as vulnerable to storm surges and sea-level rise, flooding is common, says David Lochbaum, a former nuclear engineer and director of the nuclear safety project at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Lochbaum says over 20 flooding incidents have been recorded at U.S. nuclear plants since the early 1980s. “The most likely [cause of flooding] is the increasing frequency of extreme events,” he says.

“There was no consideration of climate change when most U.S. plants were built,” says Natalie Kopytko, a University of Leeds researcher who has studied nuclear power plant adaptations to climate change. “They used conservative models of historical reference. Also, they were largely built at a calm period, when there were not many major storms.”

“While an accident has never yet happened due solely to sea-level rise and storms, the flooding experienced at Fukushima resembles what could occur in the future from sea-level rise,” says Kopytko.

Considering Climate Change

IAEA’s current global safety standards were published in 2011. These state that operators should only “take into account” the 18- to 59-centimeter (7- to 23-inch) sea-level rise projected by 2100 in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s fourth assessment report, published in 2007.

But those safety standards don’t factor in the most recent assessment of the IPCC, published in 2013–14. This scientific consensus report has seas rising 26 centimeters (10 inches) to 1 meter (39 inches) by 2100, depending on how far temperature continue to rise and the speed at which the polar ice caps melt.

A 1-meter (39-inch) increase, combined with high tides and a storm surge, significantly increases the risk of coasts and nuclear stations being swamped, says Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

“Nuclear stations are on the front line of climate change impacts both figuratively and quite literally,” Mann says. “We are likely profoundly underestimating climate change risk and damages in coastal areas.”

A recent study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center expects the mean average rise to be a minimum of 65 centimeters (26 inches) by 2100.

“This 65-centimeter [rise] is almost certainly a conservative estimate,” says NASA lead author Steve Nerem, a professor of aerospace engineering sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. “Our [study] assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that’s not likely.”

A Matter of Timing  Continue reading

August 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

As hibakusha numbers dwindled – a plea to carry on the campaign to get rid of nuclear weapons

Keep up the fight to eliminate nuclear weapons, Japan Times, 10 Aug 18  “……… The number of surviving hibakusha as of the end of March was 154,859, a decline of 9,762 from a year earlier. In recent years, nearly 10,000 hibakusha have been passing away annually. Their average age has surpassed 82. This nation’s firsthand experience of the atomic bombings will fade with time. That is all the more reason for us to keep pushing for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

In his address during this year’s anniversary ceremony marking the Hiroshima atomic bombing, Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki summed up the danger of believing in the balance of power ensured by nuclear deterrence by asking how would you explain it to your children.

“You see, we don’t get along well with our next-door neighbor. So we have set a bomb that can blow up their house with all the family inside, just in case. We can press the button to set off this bomb any time. Our neighbor, on the other hand, has also set a bomb to blow up our house. Of course, neither family wants both families to end up dead, so I feel assured that they will never press the button. We will never do so, either. In short, we will never go into battle against each other. And the bombs will probably not malfunction. And we won’t press the button by mistake, either, I hope. So you don’t have to worry,” the governor said, adding, “How many of you could seriously offer such an explanation to your children?”

How can we continue with a policy that we cannot explain to our next generation?


August 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Cheaper, more reliable medical isotopes from a cyclotron – non nuclear, environmentally safe

QUANTM Irradiation System™ Earns CE Mark Approval

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — ARTMS Products today announced it received CE marking approval for its first-in-class, advanced technology QUANTM Irradiation System™ for producing high-value radioisotopes, such as Tc-99m and Ga-68, on medical cyclotrons. Cyclotron facilities are constantly facing higher isotope costs and poor supply availability. Now, with CE marking, ARTMS’ QUANTM Irradiation System™ will help ease these issues.

“CE marking is an important milestone for ARTMS,” remarked Dr. Kaley Wilson, CEO of ARTMS Products. “There is a huge opportunity in providing a cost effective and secured supply of radioisotopes to hospitals and research institutions. ARTMS provides a more economical, environmentally safe and secured supply of important radioisotopes than reactor-based sources. Now, with CE marking approval, ARTMS can be readily integrated in a standardized fashion into existing and emerging facilities which ultimately leads to improved patient access and care across Europe.”

Giving Cyclotron Facilities More Control Over the Supply of Medical Isotopes

Unlike traditional reactor and generator production methods, which are growing increasingly more expensive and cannot consistently supply user requirements, the ARTMS QUANTM Irradiation System™ combines both local production control and a cost-effective, easy-to-use solid target system for production of radioisotopes on medical cyclotrons. Medical radioisotopes are used in the field of nuclear medicine on a daily basis for both medical diagnostic imaging and therapy, particularly in the fields of oncology, cardiology and neurology.

The ARTMS QUANTM Irradiation System™ is currently available for most OEM cyclotron systems and has been installed and is operating in a number of countries.

About ARTMS Products

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, ARTMS Products Inc. is a leader in the development of novel technologies and products which enable the production of the world’s most-used diagnostic imaging isotope, technetium-99m (Tc-99m), using local, hospital-based medical cyclotrons. ARTMS holds the exclusive global commercialization rights to award-winning and proprietary Canadian inventions which address these challenges, and which offer the prospect of revolutionizing the nuclear medicine industry.

For more information on the QUANTM Irradiation System™ and ARTMS Products, please follow us on Twitter @Quantm99 and LinkedIn and visit


August 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Cyclotrons can be upgraded to produce Technetium99 right now.

Steve Dale shared a link.Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 10 Aug 18 

This article suggests that cyclotrons can be upgraded to produce Technetium99 right now.

“Unlike traditional reactor and generator production methods, which are growing increasingly more expensive and cannot consistently supply user requirements, the ARTMS QUANTM Irradiation System™ combines both local production control and a cost-effective, easy-to-use solid target system for production of radioisotopes on medical cyclotrons.” …..
“The ARTMS QUANTM Irradiation System™ is currently available for most OEM cyclotron systems and has been installed and is operating in a number of countries.”

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — ARTMS Products today announced it received CE marking approval for its first-in-class, advanced technology QUANTM Irradiation System™ for producing high-value radioiso…

August 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change has increased USA’s wildfires

Factcheck: How global warming has increased US wildfires  , Carbon Brief , 9 Aug 18 

In the midst of record or near-record heatwaves across the northern hemisphere this summer, deadly wildfires have swept through many regions, such as the western USEurope and Siberia. This has focused a great deal of public attention on the role that climate change plays in wildfires.

Recently, some commentators have tried to dismiss recent increases in the areas burnt by fires in the US, claiming that fires were much worse in the early part of the century. To do this, they are ignoring clear guidance by scientists that the data should not be used to make comparisons with earlier periods.

The US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), which maintains the database in question, tells Carbon Brief that people should not “put any stock” in numbers prior to 1960 and that comparing the modern fire area to earlier estimates is “not accurate or appropriate”.

Here, Carbon Brief takes a look at the links between climate change and wildfires, both in the US and across the globe. As with any environmental issue, there are many different contributing factors, but it is clear that in the western US climate change has made – and will continue to make – fires larger and more destructive.

As one scientist tells Carbon Brief: “There is no question whatsoever that climate plays a role in the increase in fires.”

More area burned………

US wildfires and climate change

The recent period of large wildfires in forested areas of the western US has coincided with near-record warm temperatures………


August 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

UN chief and Nagasaki mayor warn on need for nuclear disarmament

U.N. chief offers a warning on anniversary of last nuclear attack, CBC News, 9 August 18 TOKYO –– Nagasaki marked the anniversary of the world’s second atomic bombing Thursday with the United Nations chief and the city’s mayor urging global leaders to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the first United Nations chief to visit Nagasaki, said fears of nuclear war are still present 73 years after the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings and that the attacks should never be repeated.

He raised concerns about slowing efforts to denuclearize, saying existing nuclear states are modernizing their arsenals.

“Disarmament processes have slowed and even come to a halt,” Guterres told the audience at the Nagasaki peace park. “Here in Nagasaki, I call on all countries to commit to nuclear disarmament and to start making visible progress as a matter of urgency.” Guterres added that nuclear weapons states should take the lead. “Let us all commit to making Nagasaki the last place on Earth to suffer nuclear devastation,” he said.

More than 5,000 citizens, including Nagasaki atom bomb survivors, and representatives of about 70 countries remembered the victims as they observed a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m., the moment the plutonium bomb Fatman hit the city……..

Guterres said the peace and nuclear disarmament movement started by survivors of the atomic bombings has spread around the world but frustration over the slow progress led to last year’s adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Japan, despite being the only country in the world to have suffered nuclear attacks, has not signed the treaty because of its sensitive position as an American ally protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella…….


August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The huge water cost of nuclear power plants


The hidden water footprint of fossil fuel and nuclear power  plants You probably have no idea just how much water is needed to produce electricity Quartz, By Akshat Rathi, August 9, 2018  “…. The trouble is that thermal electricity generation—a category that includes coal, natural gas, and nuclear power—doesn’t just require fuel, but also water. And a lot of it. Continue reading

August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

WalkatjurraWalkabout epic anti-uranium protest walk

Walkers Raisley (accessed) 8th Aug 2018 Walkatjurra Walkabout is an epic one-month protest walk in the remote desert of the WA Goldfields, covering over 250 kilometers against uranium mining.
The walkers will visit the proposed Wiluna and Yeelirrie uranium projects
before walking into the Leonora community in solidarity and support of
Traditional Owners who have stopped uranium mining on their country for
over 40 years.

August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Opinion divided on proposed nuclear dump for South Australia   10 August 2018   (view full episode)

The process has divided the town of Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula, which has two potential sites, and Hawker in the northern Flinders Ranges.

This afternoon, residents of those towns will gather round their screens to watch an online discussion canvassing both sides of the debate.

Barb Walker No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia Interesting to note in Fran’s closing comment, “communities get to make the final decision”. …and they wonder why people get confused when RN can’t even get it right. A few weeks ago we were told by government officials, the vote will be a gauge of community sentiment and the minister will have the final say.

How much is community sentiment 51%…65%….75%??? At a community meeting the minister and other government officials refused to tell us what percentage for the YES or NO vote will be broad community support.
If there is no line in the sand how do we know what their version of broad community support is?
Get ready to have the goal posts moved again people!  

August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear reactors can produce material for nuclear weapons

The half-lives of the protactinium isotopes work in the favor of potential proliferators. Because protactinium 232 decays faster than protactinium 233, the isotopic purity of protactinium 233 increases as time passes. If it is separated from its uranium decay products a second time, this protactinium will decay to equally pure uranium 233 over the next few months. With careful attention to the relevant radiochemistry, separation of protactinium from the uranium in spent thorium fuel has the potential to generate uranium 233 with very low concentrations of uranium 232—a product suitable for making nuclear weapons. 

Thorium power has a protactinium problem By Eva C. Uribe, August 6, 2018  In 1980, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) observed that protactinium, a chemical element generated in thorium reactors, could be separated and allowed to decay to isotopically pure uranium 233—suitable material for making nuclear weapons. The IAEA report, titled “Advanced Fuel Cycle and Reactor Concepts,” concluded that the proliferation resistance of thorium fuel cycles “would be equivalent to” the uranium/plutonium fuel cycles of conventional civilian nuclear reactors, assuming both included spent fuel reprocessing to isolate fissile material.

Decades later, the story changed. “Th[orium]-based fuels and fuel cycles have intrinsic proliferation resistance,” according to the IAEA in 2005. Mainstream media have repeated this view ever since, often without caveat. Several scholars have recognized the inherent proliferation risk of protactinium separations in the thorium fuel cycle, but the perception that thorium reactors cannot be used to make weapons persists. While technology has advanced, the fundamental radiochemistry that governs nuclear fuel reprocessing remains unchanged. Thus, this shift in perspective is puzzling and reflects a failure to recognize the importance of protactinium radiochemistry in thorium fuel cycles.  Continue reading

August 10, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment