Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Earthquakes happen in the Kimba area – not a good place for a nuclear waste dump.

Michael Skeet Kilowsky Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SAEyre Peninsula, SA, ML 4.5 1998 February 26, 14:13 UT
(Friday, February 27, 12:43 am CDST)
This earthquake occurred north of Cleve and south of Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, about 250km northwest of Adelaide. It was felt over northern Eyre Peninsula, and on Yorke Peninsula at a distance of about 110km from the epicentre. The maximum reported intensity was Modified Mercalli Intensity 4. Located by Sutton Earthquake Centre, PIRSA Adelaide.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/?ref=bookmarks

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July 6, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, safety, South Australia | Leave a comment

Delay in production of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) at Lucas Heights

Fault at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor halts production of medical isotope, Guardian, 28 June 18 
Spokesman says no safety risk but there are fears patients could face delays in cancer diagnosis   “….. 
production of the most commonly used isotope in nuclear medicine was halted at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney’s south.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) usually produces about 10,000 doses a week of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is used to diagnose a variety of heart, lung and musculoskeletal conditions, as well as cancers.

An Ansto spokesman said production was temporarily suspended on Friday “after a mechanical fault was identified with a piece of equipment”. There was no safety risk due to the stoppage, he said………https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jun/28/fault-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor-halts-production-of-medical-isotope

 

June 29, 2018 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) agreement with IAEA on enhanced protection for uranium workers

IAEA and Australia’s Regulatory Body Strengthen Cooperation to Enhance Radiation Protection of Uranium Mining and Processing Workers  https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-and-australias-regulatory-body-strengthen-cooperation-to-enhance-radiation-protection-of-uranium-mining-and-processing-workers  

The IAEA and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) have agreed on a cooperation agreement outlining plans for joint work to strengthen radiation protection of workers in the uranium mining and processing industries.

This cooperation will address potential harm that could be caused by the higher concentrations of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) that can be the result of the processing and handling of raw materials.

The Practical Arrangements, signed on 24 May in Melbourne, Australia, builds on an earlier agreement under which work was conducted to create a publication on occupational radiation protection approaches in uranium mining and processing stages and techniques, as a part of the IAEA Safety Report Series. The report was developed during meetings in Australia, Canada and South Africa involving regulatory body and industry representatives.

The cooperation under the new three-year agreement is expected to provide practical tools for regulators, mine operators and workers through a training package that supports the use of the report’s recommendations.

Also as part of the agreed cooperation, ARPANSA will help the IAEA strengthen its global survey on Information System on Occupational Radiation Protection in Uranium Mining (UMEX), which aims to improve protection and safety through sharing of good practices and other information.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | safety, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium | Leave a comment

‘Safety breaches and lack of management support’ at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights nuclear facility

Second radioactive spill in 10 months at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights facility, SMH, By Peter Hannam 

A staff member at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation facility at Lucas Heights has been involved in a spill of radioactive material, the second such incident in 10 months.

A quality control analyst working in medical production was involved in the spillage of about one millilitre of the radioactive isotope molybdenum-99 early on Thursday morning, an ANSTO spokesman said.

“The staff member was wearing full protective clothing. An occupational health physicist checked the analyst and confirmed no skin contamination,” the spokesman said.

The employee was then cleared to go home and returned to work on Friday.

A source told Fairfax Media, however, that employees at the site “are concerned with the most recent number of safety breaches and lack of management support”.

Medical production at the facility has ceased, pending a thorough investigation into the spill, the spokesman said. “ANSTO is working to minimise impacts on nuclear medicine production.”

ANSTO was keen to stress that Thursday’s incident was “very different” from one last August, when a staffer reportedly spilled a quantity of the MO-99 isotope, causing a “significant radiation dose”.

“Tests show the analyst involved in yesterday’s incident did not receive skin contamination. ANSTO continues to provide support for the employee involved in last year’s incident.”

The site has had other radiation events, such as one reportedly involving four staff in 2012….https://www.smh.com.

 

June 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety | Leave a comment

ANSTO’s secret transport of spent nuclear fuel assemblies through Sydney’s streets

The Australian 1st June 2018 ,If you look out the window and glimpse a convoy winding through Sydney’s streets guarded by swarms of federal agents and state police, don’t be alarmed.

Any day now a decade’s worth of spent nuclear fuel assemblies weighing 24 tonnes will be moved out of Sydney’s Lucas Heights facility in a highly sensitive transport mission months in the making.

The radioactive cargo is set to be shipped to La Hague, in France, but details about the port, routes and specific timing of the operation remain classified with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) only disclosing it will happen mid-year.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/guarded-nuclear-shipment-to-depart-sydney/news-story/a878a37d7528fa62b7b9e70d7284475a?nk=3adfd2e6af8da25abc149e98fc9467b0-1527847195

June 3, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, safety, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Sydney’s Opal nuclear reactor’s High Level Wastes off to France, later to return to planned Federal Nuclear waste Dump

Guarded nuclear shipment to secretly depart Sydney   SBS News, 1 June 18 Any day now a decade’s worth of heavily guarded nuclear cargo will be secretly transported through Sydney’s streets and sent to France for reprocessing.  ….. Any day now a decade’s worth of spent nuclear fuel assemblies weighing 24 tonnes will be moved out of Sydney’s Lucas Heights facility in a highly sensitive transport mission months in the making.

The radioactive cargo is set to be shipped to La Hague, in France, but details about the port, routes and specific timing of the operation remain classified with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) only disclosing it will happen mid-year.

An ANSTO spokesman has assured the public of the operation’s safety, saying the radioactive materials will be enclosed in specially-designed transport casks reinforced with lead and made to withstand almost anything, including a jet fighter crash.

“There is no credible chance of any accident or incident that could result in the cask being compromised,” an ANSTO spokesman said.

It will be the 10th transport mission of spent nuclear fuel assemblies, with the last shipment sent to the United States in 2009.

The spent fuel has come from Australia’s multi-purpose OPAL reactor…..The reprocessing project will cost $45 million, including the contract with France, equipment, staff and other costs.

Once the uranium and plutonium are extracted, they will be recycled into overseas civil power and research programs, with the remaining materials vitrified into a safer form for waste storage and sent back to Australia…..

The spent fuel assemblies, which would have been considered high-level waste, become transformed into an intermediate level waste, Hef Griffiths, ANSTO’s Chief Nuclear Officer told AAP.

But the question of where it will be stored remains.

The waste from this year’s transport mission will be returned from France in many years’ time and sent to the yet-to-be-built National Radioactive Waste Management Facility where it will be kept in storage for several decades.

Eventually, the waste will need to be moved again to a permanent disposal facility. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/guarded-nuclear-shipment-to-secretly-depart-sydney

June 1, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear scientists have lower awareness of risks, compared to “life”scientists

Research has found disturbing differences in the attitudes of scientists in different areas, to health and environmental risks of the nuclear industry.

It is even more disturbing that policy-makers and politicians prefer to support  and value the opinions and work of the very scientists who are least informed and least interested in those risks.

Politics and Scientific Expertise: Scientists, Risk Perception, and Nuclear Waste Policy, Richard P. Barke Hank C. Jenkins‐Smith.   – To study the homogeneity and influences on scientists’perspectives of environmental risks, we have examined similarities and differences in risk perceptions, particularly regarding nuclear wastes, and policy preferences among 1011 scientists and engineers. We found significant differences (p0.05)in the patterns of beliefs among scientists from different fields of research. In contrast to physicists, chemists, and engineers, life scientists tend to: (a)perceive the greatest risks from nuclear energy and nuclear waste management; (b)perceive higher levels of overall environmental risk; (c)strongly oppose imposing risks on unconsenting individuals; and (d)prefer stronger requirements for environmental management.

On some issues related to priorities among public problems and calls for government action, there are significant variations among life scientists or physical scientists. We also found that–independently of field of research–perceptions of risk and its correlates are significantly associated with the type of institution in which the scientist is employed. Scientists in universities or state and local governments tend to see the risks of nuclear energy and wastes as greater than scientists who work as business consultants, for federal organizations, or for private research laboratories. Significant differences also are found in priority given to environmental risks, the perceived proximity of environmental disaster, willingness to impose risks on an unconsenting population, and the necessity of accepting risks and sacrifices. more https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1993.tb00743.x

April 25, 2018 Posted by | art and culture, Christina themes, safety | Leave a comment

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.

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