Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Climate change – unseasonably hot weather made bushfires near Lucas Heights nuclear reactor become “apocalyptic” blazes

Apocalyptic blaze surrounding nuclear reactor sets off emergency

AUSTRALIA is struggling to contain a growing bushfire that is racing towards a nuclear reactor, amid fears that the blaze could expand beyond their control. By OLI SMITH Apr 16, 2018 

More than 500 Australia firefighters are struggling to tackle a massive bushfire, with several residents urged to seek shelters as evacuation is now “too late”.

Scenes of the blaze, which started yesterday, have been described as “apocalyptic” after the fire ripped through nearly 2,500 hectares of land close to the suburbs of Sydney.

Firefighters failed to stop the out-of-control blaze from burning through a major military base – and a nuclear reactor is the next at-risk location.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) said it was concerned that flying embers could spark even more blazes……

The unseasonably hot Autumn in south-eastern Australia has been blamed for worsening the bushfire after record temperatures for April.

Shane Fitzsimmons, of the RFS, warned that strong 60km per hour winds are expected to push towards residential homes.

He said that the country’s largest army barracks at Holsworthy, where stockpiles of fuel, ammunition and explosive materials are kept, had been hit by the fire.

Advertisements

April 18, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, safety | Leave a comment

Bushfires near Lucas Heights nuclear reactor are still hazardous

 

Firefighters Warn NSW Is “Not Out Of The Woods” On Third Day Of Bushfires, Pedestrian. 16 Apr 18   More than 250 firefighters continue to battle bushfires in NSW’s southwest, which has spread more than 2,400 hectares since Saturday afternoon.

The blaze, which is believed to have originated in the vicinity of Casula, was fanned further by strong winds on Sunday.

More than 500 firefighters from the Rural Fire ServiceFire & Rescue NSW and the Australian Defence Force attempted to contain the blaze over the weekend with help from volunteers and 11 water-bombing helicopters.

The fire tore trough Holsworthy military range, and while approaching suburban areas, has been staved off. Several residents report fighting off embers with hoses and water buckets.

The fire was downgraded from “emergency level” to “watch and act” on 5.30pm Sunday, then again downgraded to “advice” around 2am Monday.

While lower wind conditions are expected to help with containing the fire, RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers warned that the high temperatures remain an issue.

Still quite a difficult day ahead (on Monday),” Rogers told the Nine Network“I think we’ve got a long way to go before we’re out of the woods.”

There’s also a risk that winds could also pick up to 35km/h later today.

The RFS is currently advising residents in Pleasure PointSandy PointAlfords PointBarden Ridge  [ie; Lucas Heights] Voyager PointIllawongMenai & Bangor to “remain vigilant throughout the day and keep themselves up to date by checking the NSW RFS website……..https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/firefighters-warning-nsw-bushfires/

April 18, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, safety | Leave a comment

Government and media silence on the bushfire danger to Lucas Heights nuclear reactor

Lucas Heights nuclear reactor: The untold threat of the Sydney bushfires.   https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/sydney-bushfires-raged-towards-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor,11401 

Emergency warning issued as out-of-control bushfire rages across Sydney

As fires raged in Sydney, there has not been a peep out of the mainstream media about the fire hazard to Lucas Heights nuclear complex. Noel Wauchope reports. 

THE LATEST news on the bushfires raging in Sydney’s south-west is that the firefighters are “cautiously optimistic” and that emergency warning advice has been downgraded to “watch and act”.

However, the fire continues to burn in an easterly direction towards Barden Ridge and weather conditions are still dodgy, as Sydney’s record-breaking heatwave looks like coming to an end.

It’s been an anxious time — the fire has burned over 2,400 hectares. On Sunday (15 April), more than 500 firefighters in almost 100 fire trucks, along with 15 aircraft, battled the blaze throughout the day. Residents were told that it was too late to leave their homes. Heat from the bushfires was impacting the high voltage lines. There is very little rain forecast over the next few days.

So, it has all been a worry. But you wouldn’t know, would you, that the fire is so close to the Lucas Heights nuclear complex? The latest maps shown on The Guardian and NSW Rural Fire Service websites don’t really show how close this fire is getting to Lucas Heights. I have previously written about the safety hazards of Lucas Heights, with its reactor, cooling pond and accumulation of nuclear wastes — the amount of which is not publicly available.

The fires have reached about four kilometres from Lucas Heights. Embers carried by wind can form spot fires well ahead of the firefront — even up to 20 kilometres away. In the dense and rugged bushland, with predicted west to north-west winds up to 30 kilometres per hour – not forgetting that bushfires create their own weather systems – is not that hazardous to the nuclear complex?

But we don’t hear a word about this. What makes the silence easier, is that the residential area previously part of Lucas Heights was renamed Barden Ridge in 1996 to increase the real estate value of the area, as it would no longer be instantly associated with the High Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR) — and now the Opal nuclear reactor.

Of course, now, because of the name change, there’s no public awareness that Australia’s nuclear reactor is anywhere near the fires. You can bet that the government wants to keep us all in blissful ignorance.

What we do know, is that fires are certainly a hazard to nuclear sites and there is the possibility of radiation release across a wide area, if fire invades a nuclear complex, with the fuel rods in cooling pools at great risk. When fires do happen near a nuclear site, there may be a security panic going on but that is not communicated to the public.

Whenever there have been wildfires threatening nuclear sites – in Russia, Europe or the U.S. – the pattern is to downplay, to not mention, the nuclear danger. The publicity pattern is always to ignore the radiation hazard.

For example during the recent Californian wildfires:

“It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.”

As though any amount of monitoring is going to help or that any data would be publicly shared. Not a peep about the radiation numbers during the fires in and around Los Alamos, even though they were “monitoring” it.

And in the case of this fire in Russia, the emergency minister threatened to “deal with” those who spread radiation “rumours”:

For the current Sydney bushfires, it seems as though there will have been a lucky escape for the communities, despite the fact that two giant aircraft, the DC10 Nancybird and the C130 Hercules “Thor” — normally used for aerial water bombing — were not available to help fight the Sydney fire, having been sent back to the U.S., because by March, the fire risk is supposed to be over.

It will have been a much luckier escape that they realised if the nuclear complex remains unscathed — this time!  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/sydney-bushfires-raged-towards-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor,11401

April 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, safety | Leave a comment

ANSTO closes the Lucas Heights nuclear complex to all but the most essential staff

Lucas Heights nuclear organisation closed on Monday https://www.theleader.com.au/story/5343505/ansto-closed-to-all-non-essential-staff/
While there was no risk to ANSTO as a result of fires near the precinct, the organisation decided to close the campus to all non-essential staff tomorrow to help minimise traffic impacts in the area.
 The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights will be closed on Monday to all non-essential staff.

ANSTO released a statement late today saying there was no risk to ANSTO as a result of fires near the precinct  but the organisation decided to help minimise traffic impacts in the area.

“ANSTO infrastructure including the OPAL reactor is protected by numerous fire safety systems, policies, plans and arrangements to ensure there is never any risk to operations or safety,” the statement said.

“The OPAL reactor is at power and operating normally.

 “Some 1,200 people work at the Lucas Heights campus. Based on current advice, and to minimise local road and traffic impacts, we have advised ANSTO staff who are not performing essential services to work from home.

“All contractors, tenants and construction workers on our building projects are advised not to attend our campus tomorrow; and the childcare centre has been closed.

“As a precautionary measure, the ANSTO Operations Centre was activated yesterday, and continues to monitor the situation.

“ANSTO would like to take the opportunity to thank the emergency services and support staff who are continuing to assist on this matter.”

April 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety | Leave a comment

Could Lucas Heights nuclear complex be threatened by current bushfires?

Unusually for a suburb, Lucas Heights does not contain a residential area. The residential area previously part of Lucas Heights was renamed Barden Ridge in 1996 to increase the real estate value of the area, as it would no longer be instantly associated with the HIFAR nuclear reactor.  [and now the Opal nuclear reactor]

Residents warned not to leave, Sydney fire worsens  SMH, By Jacob Saulwick, 

Fire authorities have issued an emergency warning for some suburbs in south-west Sydney, telling residents to seek shelter.

At about midday on Sunday, residents in Voyager Point, Pleasure Point and Sandy Point were advised not to leave their properties and to protect themselves from the heat of an out-of-control fire.

Residents in Alfords Point, Menai and West Barden Ridge were advised to shelter in place as the bush fire approached.

“It is too late to leave,” the Rural Fire Service said in a statement.

“Firefighters are in these areas and are in place to undertake property protection as required,” the RFS said……

Electricity company Ausgrid, meanwhile, said there might be short interruptions to power supply.

Heat from the bushfires was affecting Transgrid’s high-voltage power lines, Ausgrid said, causing voltage dips. Rail services across Sydney were disrupted on Sunday morning……

Electricity company Ausgrid, meanwhile, said there might be short interruptions to power supply.

Heat from the bushfires was affecting Transgrid’s high-voltage power lines, Ausgrid said, causing voltage dips. Rail services across Sydney were disrupted on Sunday morning……..https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/residents-warned-not-to-leave-sydney-fire-worsens-20180415-p4z9os.html

April 15, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, safety | Leave a comment

Costly and top secret transport of nuclear waste from Lucas Heights to port, then to France

Tight security for shipment of nuclear waste from Lucas Heights to France, THE AUSTRALIAN, SIAN POWELL, 12 APR 18 

A top-secret security operation to send spent radioactive fuel rods from Australia’s nuclear reactor to France for reprocessing is planned for the coming months.

Potentially involving hundreds of state and federal police, the details of the transport operation will remain confidential until after the shipment arrives at La Hague, in northwest France.

Unused uranium and plutonium will then be removed from the fuel rods, and the residual waste eventually returned to Australia for storage. About 500kg of unused low-enriched uranium and 4.5kg of unused plutonium will be recovered from the rods…

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights in Sydney’s south has confirmed the shipment will be trucked to a port for transport to La Hague midway through this year.

The route, the port, the time and the ship, as well as the numbers of ­security personnel, will remain confidential until after the mission is completed.

The last shipment of spent rods was sent to the US in 2009, and both Port Kembla and Port Botany have been used as shipment ports in the past.

When reprocessed nuclear waste was returned to Australia in 2015 for storage at Lucas Heights, more than 500 police were ­deployed to guard the shipment, and it is expected at least that number will guard the radioactive cargo destined for France.

The radioactive spent fuel rods will be packed into an undisclosed number of ­immensely tough lead and stainless steel transport casks for the journey to France.

“These casks are purpose-­engineered to safely transport this type of material without risk to people or the environment,” said the manager of the multipurpose OPAL Reactor at Lucas Heights, Dave Vittorio. “Even a jet plane strike could not penetrate them.”

The total cost of the project is $45 million, including the contract with France, equipment, staff costs, and incidentals.

…… Australia, like other nations, pays to use the La Hague facility’s infrastructure and expertise. The shipment will be the 10th export of spent nuclear fuel ­assemblies used in the OPAL ­reactor’s first 10 years of operation. ….https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/tight-security-for-shipment-of-nuclear-waste-from-lucas-heights-to-france/news-story/5549c370206c15aa1bc1a4b2367d6552

April 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Lucas Heights’ dangerous nuclear wastes

Nuclear waste from Australia’s only reactor ready to be dumped http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-12/nuclear-waste-from-australias-only-reactor-needs-to-be-removed/9643428 By Michelle Brown  

April 12, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety, wastes | Leave a comment

Past accidents at Lucas Heights don’t augur well for nuclear dump plan

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA  Today the 18th of March is another red letter day in the nuclear arena with the 31st anniversary of a accident at Lucas Heights, but first lets jump forward 29 years to the Hawker nuclear community meeting on the 6th of May 2016, where a man named Bruce Wilson from the DIIS whom chaired such meeting, a man who could be a totally inept clairvoyant, a nuclear decision psychopath, a misinformed government payed nuclear spruiker, or just a sad ignorant man.

This is a man whom said “We will NOT have accidents” while the opposing dichotomy believes in the old dictum “Pray for the best, prepare for the worst” and the such dichotomy keeps giving a resounding NO to a deadly radioactive dump, which keeps falling on deaf ears of the liars who said they would walk away from a community that doesn’t want to accept it.

Now lets return to the anniversary of the 1987 accident where a fire at Lucas Heights nuclear research laboratory resulted in the contamination of two workers and the discharge of radioactive gas into the atmosphere over populated areas.

Yes, Bruce this was a accident, however there was an event two years prior to such accident that may be called a purpose when alleged vandals dodged security patrols and smashed a underground pipe, releasing radioactive effluent into river ways. (What was this pipe made of, maybe brittle 2mm plastic?).

Are we to believe Bruce that there wont be anymore accidents, maybe because accidents will be suppressed, or called a planed event, or re-classed as “Technically produced anomalies” just like the erroneous, magniloquent re-classing of high grade waste to intermediate waste in an attempt to try and push through a egregious program while attempting to insult the intelligence of the majority of informed South Australians who don’t want a risky radioactive dump here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

March 19, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Paul Waldon – a warning on safety tests of dry casks storing nuclear wastes

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 16 Mar 18  A successful safety test is one that shows the limitations or structural integrity of a product, just like car crash tests. Dry-casks have only had one successful safety test, where a cask was compromised with a less than 10 meter drop. However this had approximately 6 tonne of water which is a shortfall of the weight of nuclear fuel, plutonium being 1.8x heavier than lead, which shows heavy manipulated data can NOT always fuel the nuclear industries factoids.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety | Leave a comment

Human error caused 71% of Australia’s radiation incidents in 2016: not a good omen for transporting radioactive trash

 Anti-Nuclear Coalition South Australia   Australian Radiation Incident Register 2016, ARPANSA

71% of incidents was caused by human error, primarily in hospital based medical procedures. Radioactive waste had no statistically meaningful contribution within the Register.

Transporting radioactive waste across the country is bound to increase the probability of human error in previously unaffected environments nationwide; whilst placing a radioactive suppository in South Australia will not reduce human errors in hospitals.

https://www.arpansa.gov.au/s…/g/files/net3086/f/arir2016.pdf

February 3, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

“Significant radiation dose” received by Lucas Heights worker in nuclear accident

Radioactive liquid spills on worker at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/radioactive-liquid-spills-on-worker-at-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor-in-sydney/news-story/a14c71d0d093ddad94d39f5ea614359f, Peter Jean, Political Reporter, The Advertiser, December 14, 2017 A WORKER received a “significant radiation dose” when a vial of radioactive liquid spilt onto their hands in the most serious recorded safety incident to ever occur at Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.

The Advertiser can reveal the accident occurred on August 22 when a vial of the nuclear medicine product Molybdenum-99 was dropped when its cap was being removed during a quality-control test. The incident was rated “severe” by regulators and has led to changes in safety procedures.

Molybdenum-99 is produced by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights, below, for use in cancer and heart disease scans.

ANSTO Health general manager Mark Moore said the analyst has a slightly elevated risk of developing skin cancer after the liquid spilt on their hands.

“The analyst was working in a shielded fume cupboard that, in normal operation, limits a dose received, but the dropping of the vial resulted in the radiation dose,’’ Mr Moore said.

“Our employee remains at work and is currently performing alternative quality assessment work in the nuclear medicine field.”

Mr Moore said the staff member had burn-like symptoms, including blistering and reddening of the skin.

“While ANSTO is still waiting to be advised on the final estimate dose by an independent clinical specialist, we know it was above the annual statutory dose limit of 500 millisieverts, and expect to be issued with a formal breach from the regulator,” Mr Moore said.

“At this stage, the dose is estimated to be more than 20 Sieverts, which is 40 times above the extremity dose limit.”

The incident was reported to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

An ARPANSA investigation criticised some safety practices in Lucas Heights’ radiopharmaceutical production facilities.

December 15, 2017 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales, reference | Leave a comment

Safety concerns about Port Pirie’s former uranium plant site raised by Liberal candidate

Liberal candidate raises safety concerns about Pirie’s former uranium plant site, Port Pirie Recorder, 25 Aug 17,  Frome Liberal candidate Kendall Jackson is calling on the state government to restore the fence at the former Port Pirie Uranium and Rare Earth Treatment Plant and Tailings site.

She said the State Development Department was responsible for managing the area and was yet to release the Radiation and Environment Management Plan for the site.

This was expected to be released in the first half of this year.

“The government must publicly release its plans for the former uranium plant site,” Mrs Jackson said.

“Residents deserve to know what the government has planned for the site and why the report is taking so long to be publicly released…..http://www.portpirierecorder.com.au/story/4877490/fears-over-former-uranium-plant-site/

August 26, 2017 Posted by | safety, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Militarisation of Australia’s police?

If Turnbull’s plan becomes law – and the prospects of the Opposition stopping anything to do with ‘fighting terrorism’ are remote – we can expect a terrorist attack to trigger an emergency response from the Special Operations Command, whose officers will have to be trained to shoot to kill other Australians.  

As Australia becomes increasingly militarised, it is possible that the Tactical Assault Group could be called out for an anti-war demonstration, anti-mining protest, or industrial strike, and may be told that the people it confronts are enemies of the state and therefore terrorists. It makes me think of those signs you see on American suburban lawns: ‘Beware, Armed Response.’

ALISON BROINOWSKI. Beware, armed response. http://johnmenadue.com/alison-broinowski-beware-armed-response/ 19 July 2017  

 

Now that we have concrete bollards in Martin Place and Swanston Street and on Capital Hill, as well as fences to stop citizens strolling or rolling over the Parliament House grass, you’d think that in exchange for the aesthetic damage inflicted on us we must be safe. After all, Australia has had only five fatal terrorist attacks since the mysterious Hilton Hotel bombing in 1978. The risks we face from lightning strikes, sharks and crocodiles, or indeed bee-stings and falling furniture, are incomparably greater.

But terrorism is serious political business and once the threat of an attack is officially listed as ‘probable’, no government is brave enough to reduce it. Politicians have to be seen to be responding robustly to the danger. Continue reading

July 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, safety | Leave a comment

Desert Fireball Network (DFN), captures video of fireball across South Australia

Video emerges of fireball streaking across South Australia sky http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/07/05/10/47/video-emerges-of-fireball-streaking-across-south-australia-sky   Jul 5, 2017 New video has emerged of the moment a fireball streaked across the sky in South Australia last week.

The fireball, which was captured on CCTV by a business in Port Lincoln, was seen by hundreds of residents around midnight last Friday.

The Desert Fireball Network (DFN), which said in a statement it was tracking the fireball, said it was one of the brightest it had witnessed.

 “It originated from within the solar system, having an orbit around the sun and that it went out almost as far as Mars,” DFN’s spokewoman Eleanor Sansom said.

The DFN said its Mount Ives observatory, which is located south of Lake Gairdner, captured an image of the fireball four minutes before midnight.

Hundreds of people took to social media after witnessing the bright light.

“What I can only guess was a meteor passed over Henley Beach,” one wrote on Reddit. “Saw it from the city, fast moving bright light, green trail, bright flash.”

Earlier this year, stargazers in Queensland were treated to the spectacular sight of a meteor blazing across the night sky from Bundaberg to the Gold Coast.

Experts said that meteor could have been travelling as fast as 10km per second.

 

July 7, 2017 Posted by | - incidents, South Australia | Leave a comment

The nuclear lobby’s spurious argument about the dangers of solar power

abbott-derekDerek Abbott No High Level International Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia  Thought for the day: Nuke lobbyists love to state that more people die falling off roofs whist tinkering with their solar panels that people have died from nuclear power stations.

If we take the USA, for example, there are about 1 million (in 2016) domestic rooftops with panels. And yes, unqualified people do silly things on roofs when they shouldn’t be there.

By contrast there are about 60 commercial nuke power plants in the USA run under a strict set of guidelines. The waste from those plants is kept indefinitely above ground in dry casks that corrode and have a lifetime of ~50yrs. So when it comes time to start handling those dry casks and repackaging that fuel, on ever increasingly tight budgets, there is going to be a major safety problem.

The alpha particles emitted from the spent fuel in the casks create helium bubbles inside the fuel pellets. The fuel pellets crack. So repackaging the fuel is not simple, given one is dealing with fragments, dust, and particulate matter. This will lead to enormous escalating costs that have not been budgeted by governments. Repackaging runs into many tens of billions of dollars.

The dangers of falling off roofs are immediate, whereas the dangers of spent fuel management have been deferred into the future with dry cask storage that has not yet been taken to the next step. So the qualification of the danger of nuclear has not yet seen full practice.

Question to nuke advocates: given the choice would you ride a horse or a stroke a venomous spider? The statistics are zero deaths per year due to spiders, but 70-80 horse per year by horses. The facts are the raw statistics are not the whole story. Would you prefer to live in a world proliferated with horses, or would you prefer a proliferation of venomous spiders?

January 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety | Leave a comment