Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian government could create 76,000 jobs within three years if it invests more in renewables

Climate Council unveils plan to create 76,000 jobs in three years, The New Daily, KellyReporterThe federal government could create 76,000 jobs within three years if it invests more in renewables, a new report has found.

After a second wave of infections dashed hopes of a rapid economic recovery, the Climate Council has urged the government to invest in sustainable projects that rebuild employment.

In conjunction with economic consultants AlphaBeta, the Climate Council has released a 12-point plan to create 76,000 jobs while slashing emissions – recommending everything from restoring ecosystems to retrofitting public buildings.

“The opportunities identified in our modelling work are shovel ready,” AlphaBeta director Andrew Charlton said.
One-third of the jobs would require less than 12 months of retraining, meaning that workers who lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis could be rapidly employed.

“The job creation could start immediately and continue over three years. Federal, state and territory governments all have the opportunity to put these measures in train.”

Dr Charlton added: “Australia has seen steep job losses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the right policy measures, thousands of jobs could be created in large-scale renewable energy, ecosystem restoration and the collection and processing of organic waste.”

By targeting 12 policy areas, state and federal governments could create employment for communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 economic crisis.

The 12 areas include large-scale projects such as installing wind and solar and investing in pilot-scale green hydrogen, as well as more localised initiatives such as accelerating construction of public transport and increasing the amount of tree canopy cover in urban areas. ………

Ms McKenzie said the plan would create jobs, cut energy bills and reduce Australia’s emissions.

And she said taxpayers wouldn’t have to foot the entire bill, as private investors have a big appetite for investment in renewables.

“We know renewable energy is the cheapest source of power. It can attract the most private investment,”……..  https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2020/07/21/climate-council-job-creation-policies/

July 21, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

Despite Australia’s pro nuclear trolls, finance facts mean that nuclear power has no future

NUCLEAR PRICES ITSELF OUT OF THE FUTURE https://www.aumanufacturing.com.au/nuclear-prices-itself-out-of-the-future by Peter Roberts 16 July 2020,

I was at lunch the other day and out came the familiar theme – Australia should go nuclear to de-carbonise the economy.

Well, a just-released report from the NSW Parliament’s State Development Committee should put an end to such talk – it is just too expensive and problematic.

The report, detailed in Channel 9 media, found the cost of the two reactors being built in the US is now thought to be between $20.4 billion and $22.6 billion for each reactor.

In the UK the cost of two reactors being build has jumped seven-fold to $25.9 billion each.

And those being built in France and Finland are now costed at upwards of $17.7 billion each.

Cost over-runs and delays mean that big nuclear power plants are only going to be built where there are massive government subsidies.

And this is even before factoring in the cost of the odd Fukushima or Chernobyl.

This morning on social media the pro-nuclear trolls were out in force – people are living happily now at Chernobyl one said.

Well I vsisited Chernobyl 18 months ago and there is nothing normal about it.

Maintaining the remains of the reactors at Chernobyl consumes 10 per cent of Ukraine’s admittedly modest GDP, and the long term effects of radiation continue to be felt.

This is why nuclear proponents now talk about snazzy new small reactors which are going to be the next big thing.

The same story is unfolding in small reactor construction as large – cost over-runs, very few small reactors actually under construction, and the need for massive, yes there’s that word again, government subsidies.

We already know what the answer to our carbon crisis is – renewables. Wind and solar plus storage is already cheaper and getting cheaper every day.

The future is not nuclear.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Audiovisual, business | Leave a comment

Australia could create hundreds of thousands of jobs by accelerating shift to zero emissions – report

could create hundreds of thousands of jobs by accelerating shift to zero emissions – report

Decarbonising the economy by investing in renewable energy, clean buildings, clean transport and manufacturing could help fight the recession, Guardian, Adam Morton Environment editor @adamlmorton, Mon 29 Jun 2020 Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be created in Australia by hurrying the shift to zero greenhouse gas emissions, a study backed by business and investment leaders has found.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates 835,000 jobs have been lost since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown began in March. A report by Beyond Zero Emissions, an energy and climate change thinktank, says practical projects to decarbonise the economy could create 1.78m “job years” over the next five years – on average, 355,000 people in work each year – while modernising Australian industry.

Called the “million jobs plan”, it says further stimulus measures needed to fight the Covid-19 recession are “a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for a globally competitive Australian economy fit for 21st century challenges”.

The report focuses on proposals it says are already being planned and could create jobs by accelerating private and public investment in renewable energyclean buildings, clean transport, manufacturing and land use that will happen in the years ahead anyway. Benefits would include improved air quality and new employment in regional areas.

Eytan Lenko, Beyond Zero Emissions’ interim chief executive, said the group had brought together investment, business and industry leaders to scope the best clean solutions that would drive productivity and growth.

“No one thought 2020 would turn out the way it has. We now have a unique opportunity to seize this moment, to retool, reskill, and rebuild our battered economy to set us up for future generations,” he said.

The plan would require hundreds of billions of dollars in investment. It says clean energy investors have indicated their willingness to spend on this scale, pointing to the more than $100bn of existing renewable energy projects proposed but yet to be built.

The report says Australia risks missing out on some of these opportunities, and others in electric transport, zero-carbon manufacturing and green steel, unless governments deliver policy certainty and help create an environment that encourages large clean investment deals. Reserve Bank research found the number of large-scale renewable energy projects reaching commencement fell about 50% last year after a record-setting 2018.

Beyond Zero Emissions says governments also have a role to play in direct investment in, for example, urgent transmission line projects to new renewable energy zones, the construction of energy-efficient social housing, and the introduction and expansion of electric buses and trains……….  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jun/29/australia-could-create-hundreds-of-thousands-of-jobs-by-accelerating-shift-to-zero-emissions-report

June 29, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

With Liberal Coalition business as usual on energy, thousands of renewable energy jobs will vanish

Up to 11,000 renewable energy jobs at risk if the government ignores calls for new policies, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/up-to-11-000-renewable-energy-jobs-at-risk-if-the-government-ignores-calls-for-new-policies   Renewable energy groups are calling for greater public investment as companies risk losing thousands of jobs if the government ignores calls for a policy refresh. BY OMAR DEHEN, 26 June 20  Up to 11,000 jobs in Australia’s renewable energy sector could be lost over the next two years if no additional policies are introduced by the Morrison government, a new report has found.

Modelling from the University of Technology Sydney looked at several scenarios that predicted a reduction of jobs in the industry.

The modelling also examined scenarios that increased employment and reduced electricity costs across Australia.

According to its worst-case scenario – what would happen if there was no change in government policy – the number of people employed in renewable energy would fall from roughly 26,000 people to 15,000 by 2022.

June 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy, politics | Leave a comment

There is really no market in India for Australia’s uranium

No market for Australian uranium in India, 23 June 2020, M V Ramana and Cassandra Jefferyhttps://www.eastasiaforum.org/2020/06/23/no-market-for-australian-uranium-in-india/

In 2011, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) voted to overturn a ban on uranium sales to India. The Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between Australia and India was then signed in 2014. The Australian Parliament subsequently passed a bill permitting its uranium mining companies to supply nuclear material to India. These efforts were supposedly intended to allow Australia to profit from Indian uranium purchases.

At the 2011 ALP national conference, then prime minister Julia Gillard argued that India was planning to generate 40 per cent of its electricity with nuclear energy by 2050. ‘Having access to this market is good for Australian jobs’, said Gillard during the conference. The Australian Uranium Association projected that ‘Australia could expect to sell some 2500 tonnes of uranium annually to India by 2030, generating export sales of AU$300 million’ (US$205 million). But nearly a decade later, what is the reality?

Aside from a small shipment of uranium sent to India for testing in 2017, no uranium appears to have been exported to India from Australia. In 2018, India’s Ministry of Atomic Energy stated that the country had signed contracts with firms from Kazakhstan, Canada, Russia and France to procure uranium. And in March 2020, India signed a contract with Uzbekistan. There has been no mention of Australia.

A large order for Australian uranium appears unlikely in the future as well. With a net generating capacity of only 6.2 gigawatts (GW), India does not have a large requirement for uranium in the first place. Further, Australian uranium can only be used for reactors under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, which attempt to ensure that no materials are used for nuclear weapons. Such reactors amount to less than 2 GW of India’s capacity.

India’s nuclear fleet will not expand dramatically either. India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has a long history of setting ambitious nuclear power generation targets and failing to meet them. In 1984, the DAE promised a nuclear capacity of 10 GW by 2000. The actual figure in 2000 was 2.7 GW. By then the DAE had set a new target, 20 GW by 2020. Again, today’s current capacity (6.2 GW) is nowhere close to this target.

Seven more reactors, with a total capacity of 4.8 GW, are under construction. But five of these reactors have been significantly delayed. Four of them were supposed to be commissioned in 2015 and 2016. But these reactors are now expected to start operating in October 2020, September 2021, March 2022 and March 2023 respectively.

The fifth is India’s flagship project, the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR). Construction started in 2004 and the reactor was supposed to start functioning in 2010 but is now ‘expected to commence production of electricity in October 2022’.

Costs have increased, too. The PFBR’s estimate has jumped from Rs 34.9 billion (US$457 million) to Rs 68.4 billion (US$896 million). And the PHWRs will cost around 40–45 per cent more than initially projected.

In contrast, India’s renewable energy sector is a different story. Wind and solar power have only recently been introduced to India’s energy mix, but both technologies are expanding rapidly while becoming significantly cheaper. Between 2016 and 2019, installed solar capacity increased from 9.6 GW to 35 GW, while wind capacity increased from 28.7 GW to 37.5 GW. In 2019, both wind (63.3 terawatt-hours (TWh)) and solar (46.3 TWh) power contributed more to overall electricity generation in India than nuclear power (45.2 TWh).

India’s renewable energy sector is expected to continue growing, while nuclear energy will likely remain stagnant. Recently, the Department of Economic Affairs assembled a task force to ‘identify technically feasible and financially viable infrastructure projects that can be initiated in fiscals 2020–25’. The task force foresaw renewable capacity increasing from 22 per cent of the total installed electrical capacity in 2019 to 39 per cent by 2025. Conversely, nuclear capacity stays around 2 per cent of installed capacity.

Even the Indian government expects the divergence between the growing renewable energy sector and the stagnant nuclear sector to increase as the rapidly falling cost of solar power makes nuclear power redundant.

Australian policymakers who advocated for exporting uranium to India were betting on the wrong energy source. Perhaps there were ulterior motives, including recognising India as a major power. But good policy cannot be made on the basis of false claims.

Australian uranium companies continue to insist that India is expanding its nuclear power capacity. Energy Resources of Australia Ltd’s 2017 annual report claims that ‘India has 22 reactors in operation and plans to generate as much as 25 per cent of electricity from nuclear power by 2050’. Paladin and Yellow Cake made similar claims in 2019.

Nuclear power has never constituted more than a few per cent of India’s electricity supply. Given current trends, it will never amount to much more. Nuclear reactors are expensive and time-consuming to construct, factors that explain why the share of electricity supplied by nuclear power plants globally has declined continuously, from 17.5 per cent in 1996 to 10.15 per cent in 2018. This global trend must be considered by Australian policymakers as they deal with lobbyists for uranium mining and the push there to build nuclear plants.

M V Ramana is Professor, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security, and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, the University of British Colombia. Cassandra Jeffery is a recent Master‘s of Public Policy and Global Affairs graduate of the University of British Columbia.

June 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international, uranium | Leave a comment

Up to 40 Energy jobs to be cut from CSIRO

CSIRO to pull plug on energy jobs,   https://www.miragenews.com/csiro-to-pull-plug-on-energy-jobs/    CSIRO management have announced this week that up to 40 jobs will be cut from its energy team, including key scientists, engineers, and researchers.The union representing the public sector including CSIRO workers, the CPSU, are calling on the government to halt cuts to the CSIRO.

These are the latest in a series of staff cuts to hit the CSIRO, bringing the total number of job losses to 619 this financial year alone, due to the impact of the governments’ Average Staffing Level Cap and continued budget cuts.

Projects that could affected as a result of these Energy job cuts are upstream oil and gas, the Low Emissions Technologies program, and post combustion CO2 capture research.

Four energy sites will be affected including Kensington (Western Australia), Clayton (Victoria), Newcastle and North Ryde (New South Wales).

Quotes Attributable to CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly:

“There is no doubt that these cuts will have an enduring impact on the national capability to develop and implement energy and climate policy. At a time when the government should be focussed on the future of our energy needs, they are more concerned with cutting jobs.”

The CSIRO is on track to lose more than 500 jobs by 1 July and that does not include these latest cuts in Energy. We need to be investing in the CSIRO not cutting hundreds upon hundreds of jobs.”

“It’s time for the government to scrap the ASL Cap and invest in Australia’s scientific resources. If the past 6 months have shown us anything, its that the CSIRO is more important than ever.”

Quotes Attributable to CPSU CSIRO Section Secretary Sam Popovski:

“Job losses of any sort in CSIRO are bad news. CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall needs to do a lot more to protect CSIRO jobs and start to make a case for increased public funding.”

“The recent King Review indicates that Australia’s energy policy remains far from settled and diminishing CSIRO’s specialist capabilities in this area harms government decision-making and future innovation.”

“There are growing concerns that the October federal budget may feature spending cuts and Dr Marshall and the Board must ensure that the case for CSIRO public funding is heard loud and clear over coming months,” Mr Popovski said.

June 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy, politics | Leave a comment

The absolutely UNAFFORDABLE NUCLEAR industry – theme for June 2020

How many $trillions is the American government putting into the nuclear industry, especially nuclear weapons?  With the USA essentially bankrupt, and the pandemic ushering it into an even more dire financial state –  it’s a joke!   Or, it would be a joke, if not for the hardship, suffering, poverty, brought upon its people, by this foolish financial extravaganza on behalf of a corrupt, dangerous and useless industry.

Russia, China, UK France, and soon Middle Eastern nations mindlessly follow this suicidal nuclear path.

The banking industry and other financial institutions join in the frenzy to feed this rapacious evil of the nuclear industry.

Sadly so many jobs and community “benefits” are attached to it.  It is going to take an enormous effort of brains, integrity, some sacrifice – to unravel the nuclear financial mess,.

But the world had better start unravelling it.  Even without the worst outcome –  nuclear war, this foul nuclear industry is going to devastate the finances of nations. and prevent action  to stall global heating.

In this Covid-19 pandemic era, it is absolutely time to phase nuclear out, and help populations to transition to a cleaner world, where public money is spent on the things that people really need.

June 6, 2020 Posted by | business, Christina themes | Leave a comment

A reality check on the cost of nuclear power for Australia

June 4, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, reference | Leave a comment

The Morrison govt’s emergency measures are a massive subsidy to Australia’s largest corporations.

March 24, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics | Leave a comment

Small Nuclear Reactors, like large ones, are out of the question for Australia, due to staggering costs

Insiders and lobbyists freely acknowledge that the nuclear power industry is in crisis and that worldwide decline is certain. But its Australian supporters are unfazed. Their only sideways nod to reality is to argue that even if large, conventional reactors are too expensive, the emerging “small modular reactors” would be a good fit for Australia. 

Again, a reality check is in order. A handful of small reactors is under construction but they have been subject to huge cost overruns and delays. William Von Hoene, senior vice-president of Exelon ‒ the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the US ‒ says that no more large reactors will be built in the US and that the cost of small reactors is “prohibitive”.

Rolls-Royce sharply reduced its small-reactor investment to “a handful of salaries” in 2018 and is threatening to abandon its R&D altogether unless the British government agrees to an outrageous set of demands and subsidies.

March 10, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

The dangers of so called intermediate level nuclear waste, include the devaluation of the region’s agriculture

Bev Spriggs Fight To Stop A Nuclear Waste Dump In South Australia, 10 Mar 20,  The dangers of so called intermediate level nuke waste,  – it is considered high level waste in the countries that want us to take it. Mr Baldock will be astonished to learn of the devaluation of his crops and the rest of his land and that of his neighbours once that poison comes to town. As for the 45 job creations….that may happen during construction, then they will disappear and there will only be 8 to 10 jobs to caretake the facility. The 31 mill promised for the community will happen once only, when it is gone there will be no more. https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/

March 10, 2020 Posted by | business, employment, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Small nuclear reactors, (just like large) can survive only with massive government subsidies

March 10, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

So-called ‘Ethical’ super funds invest in coal, oil, gas

‘Ethical’ super funds invest in coal, oil, gas, SMH, Charlotte Grieve, March 3, 2020 Sustainable investment options offered by two major industry superannuation groups and wealth giant AMP have millions invested in the fossil fuel industry, despite pledging to apply strict screening based on environmental, social and governance standards.

AustralianSuper’s “socially aware investment option” claims it does not invest in Australian or international companies that directly own fossil fuels while disclosures of its portfolio holdings show it has at least $39 million invested in more than 20 global coal, oil and gas projects. These include Marathon Petroleum Corp, Indian thermal coal plant Adhunik Power and Natural Resources and oil, gas and chemicals company, WorleyParsons.

Latest figures show the fund has more than $2.4 billion invested on behalf of 38,000 members, less than 2 per cent of the $172 billion superannuation giant’s total membership pool.

After conducting a survey of members’ interests, the top investment concern for those wanting an ethical alternative was exposure to coal and other fossil fuels. The socially aware option pledges to screen out companies that own reserves of fossil fuels or uranium, regardless of the size of its ownership.

This screen is not applied to private equity, which makes up 4 per cent of total investments and the fund’s fact-sheet explains it can still invest in companies that provide services to, buy, process or sell products from or invest in the excluded companies.

The fund has a stake in 24 companies that either produce fossil fuels or rely on their production. These include: thermal coal producer Westmoreland Mining that in December announced a six-year coal supply agreement in middle America; $9.6 million in Halliburton, one of the world’s largest providers of drilling and production services for oil, gas and coal companies; and $9.6 million in Marathon Petroleum, the largest refining company in America that produces more than 3 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Other oil and gas companies AustralianSuper’s sustainable fund bankrolls include Fieldwood Energy, a company that claims to be one of the largest producers of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, Perth-based Northern Oil and Gas and Ajax Resources, recently acquired by Texas oil and gas company, Diamondback.

AustralianSuper declined to answer questions about its screening process or if it had plans to create a fund that applies a hard screen to the fossil fuel industry.

Similarly, the 2019 portfolio holdings for $54 billion Hostplus’s sustainable investment option launched in March 2017 includes at least eight oil and gas companies, including Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum.

Hostplus was contacted for comment.

Giant retail super fund provider AMP’s $117 billion portfolio also includes an “ethical leaders balanced fund” that promises to “boycott the bad” by “actively avoiding” investing in fossil fuels, tobacco and nuclear power.

However, AMP invests in at least nine oil and gas companies, including Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum and Santos……. https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/ethical-super-funds-invest-in-coal-oil-gas-20200228-p545ja.html

March 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Legislation banning nuclear power in Australia should be retained

Jim Green, Online Opinion, 27 Feb 2020https://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=20758&page=0  

Nuclear power in Australia is prohibited under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. A review of the EPBC Act is underway and there is a strong push from the nuclear industry to remove the bans. However, federal and state laws banning nuclear power have served Australia well and should be retained.

Too cheap to meter or too expensive to matter? Laws banning nuclear power has saved Australia from the huge costs associated with failed and failing reactor projects in Europe and North America, such as the Westinghouse project in South Carolina that was abandoned after the expenditure of at least A$13.4 billion. The Westinghouse / South Carolina fiasco could so easily have been replicated in any of Australia’s states or territories if not for the legal bans.

There are many other examples of shocking nuclear costs and cost overruns, including:

* The cost of the two reactors under construction in the US state of Georgia has doubled and now stands at A$20.4‒22.6 billion per reactor.

* The cost of the only reactor under construction in France has nearly quadrupled and now stands at A$20.0 billion. It is 10 years behind schedule.

* The cost of the only reactor under construction in Finland has nearly quadrupled and now stands at A$17.7 billion. It is 10 years behind schedule.

* The cost of the four reactors under construction in the United Arab Emirates has increased from A$7.5 billion per reactor to A$10‒12 billion per reactor.

* In the UK, the estimated cost of the only two reactors under construction is A$25.9 billion per reactor. A decade ago, the estimated cost was almost seven times lower. The UK National Audit Office estimates that taxpayer subsidies for the project will amount to A$58 billion, despite earlier government promises that no taxpayer subsidies would be made available.

Nuclear power has clearly priced itself out of the market and will certainly decline over the coming decades. Indeed the nuclear industry is in crisis ‒ as industry insiders and lobbyists freely acknowledge. Westinghouse ‒ the most experienced reactor builder in the world ‒ filed for bankruptcy in 2017 as a result of catastrophic cost overruns on reactor projects. A growing number of countries are phasing out nuclear power, including Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Taiwan and South Korea.

Rising power bills: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because nuclear power could not possibly pass any reasonable economic test. Nuclear power clearly fails the two economic tests set by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Firstly, nuclear power could not possibly be introduced or maintained without huge taxpayer subsidies. Secondly, nuclear power would undoubtedly result in higher electricity prices.

Nuclear waste streams: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because no solution exists to for the safe, long-term management of streams of low-, intermediate- and high-level nuclear wastes. No country has an operating repository for high-level nuclear waste. The United States has a deep underground repository for long-lived intermediate-level waste ‒ the only operating deep underground repository worldwide ‒ but it was closed from 2014‒17 following a chemical explosion in an underground waste barrel. Safety standards and regulatory oversight fell away sharply within the first decade of operation of the U.S. repository ‒ a sobering reminder of the challenge of safely managing dangerous nuclear wastes for tens of thousands of years.

Too dangerous: The Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters results in the evacuation of over half a million people and economic costs in the hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition to the danger of nuclear reactor meltdowns and fires and chemical explosions, there are other dangers. Doubling nuclear output by the middle of the century would require the construction of 800−900 reactors. These reactors not only become military targets but they would produce over one million tonnes of high-level nuclear waste containing enough plutonium to build over one million nuclear weapons.

Pre-deployed terrorist targets: Nuclear power plants have been described as pre-deployed terrorist targets and pose a major security threat. This in turn would likely see an increase in policing and security operations and costs and a commensurate impact on civil liberties and public access to information. Other nations in our region may view Australian nuclear aspirations with suspicion and concern given that many aspects of the technology and knowledge-base are the same as those required for nuclear weapons.

Former US Vice President Al Gore summarised the proliferation problem: “For eight years in the White House, every weapons-proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a civilian reactor program. And if we ever got to the point where we wanted to use nuclear reactors to back out a lot of coal … then we’d have to put them in so many places we’d run that proliferation risk right off the reasonability scale.”

Too slow: Expanding nuclear power is impractical as a short-term response to climate change. An analysis by Australian economist Prof. John Quiggin concludes that it would be “virtually impossible” to get a nuclear power reactor operating in Australia before 2040. More time would elapse before nuclear power has generated as much as energy as was expended in the construction of the reactor: a University of Sydney report concluded that the energy payback time for nuclear reactors is 6.5‒7 years. Taking into account planning and approvals, construction, and the energy payback time, it would be a quarter of a century or more before nuclear power could even begin to reduce greenhouse emissions in Australia (and then only assuming that nuclear power displaced fossil fuels).

Too thirsty: Nuclear power is extraordinarily thirsty. A single nuclear power reactor consumes 35‒65 million litres of water per day for cooling.

Water consumption of different energy sources (litres / kWh):

* Nuclear 2.5

* Coal 1.9

* Combined Cycle Gas 0.95

* Solar PV 0.11

* Wind 0.004

Climate change and nuclear hazards: Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to threats which are being exacerbated by climate change. These include dwindling and warming water sources, sea-level rise, storm damage, drought, and jelly-fish swarms. Nuclear engineer David Lochbaum states. “I’ve heard many nuclear proponents say that nuclear power is part of the solution to global warming. It needs to be reversed: You need to solve global warming for nuclear plants to survive.”

In January 2019, the Climate Council, comprising Australia’s leading climate scientists and other policy experts, issued a policy statement concluding that nuclear power plants “are not appropriate for Australia – and probably never will be”.

By contrast, the REN21 Renewables 2015: Global Status Report states that renewable energy systems “have unique qualities that make them suitable both for reinforcing the resilience of the wider energy infrastructure and for ensuring the provision of energy services under changing climatic conditions.”

First Nations: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because the pursuit of a nuclear power industry would almost certainly worsen patterns of disempowerment and dispossession that Australia’s First Nations have experienced ‒ and continue to experience ‒ as a result of nuclear and uranium projects.

To give one example (among many), the National Radioactive Waste Management Act dispossesses and disempowers Traditional Owners in many respects: the nomination of a site for a radioactive waste dump is valid even if Aboriginal owners were not consulted and did not give consent; the Act has sections which nullify State or Territory laws that protect archaeological or heritage values, including those which relate to Indigenous traditions; the Act curtails the application of Commonwealth laws including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Native Title Act 1993 in the important site-selection stage; and the Native Title Act 1993 is expressly overridden in relation to land acquisition for a radioactive waste dump.

No social license: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because there is no social license to introduce nuclear power to Australia. Opinion polls find that Australians are overwhelmingly opposed to a nuclear power reactor being built in their local vicinity (10‒28% support, 55‒73% opposition); and opinion polls find that support for renewable energy sources far exceeds support for nuclear power (for example a 2015 IPSOS poll found 72‒87% support for solar and wind power but just 26% support for nuclear power). As the Clean Energy Council noted in its submission to the 2019 federal nuclear inquiry, it would require “a minor miracle” to win community support for nuclear power in Australia.

The pursuit of nuclear power would also require bipartisan political consensus at state and federal levels for several decades. Good luck with that. Currently, there is a bipartisan consensus at the federal level to retain the legal ban. The noisy, ultra-conservative rump of the Coalition is lobbying for nuclear power but their push has been rejected by, amongst others, the federal Liberal Party leadership, the Queensland Liberal-National Party, the SA Liberal government, the Tasmanian Liberal government, the NSW Liberal Premier and environment minister, and even ultra-conservatives such as Nationals Senator Matt Canavan.

The future is renewable, not radioactive: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because the introduction of nuclear power would delay and undermine the development of effective, economic energy and climate policies based on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. A December 2019 report by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator finds that construction costs for nuclear reactors are 2‒8 times higher than costs for wind or solar. Levelised costs for nuclear are 2‒3 times greater per unit of energy produced compared to wind or solar including either 2 hours of battery storage or 6 hours of pumped hydro energy storage.

Australia can do better than fuel higher carbon emissions and unnecessary radioactive risk. We need to embrace the fastest growing global energy sector and become a driver of clean energy thinking and technology and a world leader in renewable energy technology. We can grow the jobs of the future here today. This will provide a just transition for energy sector workers, their families and communities and the certainty to ensure vibrant regional economies and secure sustainable and skilled jobs into the future. Renewable energy is affordable, low risk, clean and popular. Nuclear is not. Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive.

More Information

* Don’t Nuke the Climate Australia, www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org.au

* Climate Council, 2019, ‘Nuclear Power Stations are Not Appropriate for Australia – and Probably Never Will Be’, https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/nuclear-power-stations-are-not-appropriate-for-australia-and-probably-never-will-be/

* WISE Nuclear Monitor, 25 June 2016, ‘Nuclear power: No solution to climate change’, https://www.wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/806/nuclear-power-no-solution-climate-change

Dr. Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, politics, safety, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change extreme weather making parts of Australia uninsurable

Risks aren’t worth it’: QBE says parts of planet becoming uninsurable due to climate concerns,  SMH, Charlotte Grieve February 17, 2020  Global insurance giant QBE has warned climate change poses a material threat to its business and the entire economy as its chief executive Pat Regan said premiums were at risk of becoming too high in areas exposed to repeated, extreme weather……

Mr Regan said there had always been parts of the world that were difficult to insure. But as floods and fires become have dominated headlines this summer, this risk was increasing across “swathes of Australia” and could potentially price out customers from home and business property insurance.

He said climate change was a “big topic” in the sector, requiring the insurance giant to “up its game on a number of fronts”. QBE boosted its reinsurance program for catastrophic events to $2 billion in a process that would be reassessed each year, he said. …..

“The evidence is there for all to see that the amount of weather events globally, not just in Australia, is consistently rising and most of the worst years on record have happened in the last 10 years.”

“The most prone ones [areas] are the ones we see in the news frequently,” Mr Regan said, referencing the Queensland floods and east coast fires…… https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/qbe-warns-of-climate-risk-as-300m-hit-to-revenue-alongside-unusual-weather-20200217-p541e3.html

February 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment