Should We Be Concerned About Low Levels of Radiation?’ a talk by Dr.Ian Fairlie
Derek Abbott Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia March 18 Thought for the day: When nuclear apologists gleefully announce that more solar panel workers die falling off roofs than nuclear workers from radiation, their excitement is not only creepy but the sentiment is flawed on three counts.
1) The long term effects of radiation accidents haven’t been fully quantified as we have not yet had long term post-Chernobyl empirical experience.
2) The chance of death on the road is over a 1000 times higher than in flight. Yet we all know that air travel is potentially much more dangerous than road transport. And because it is so much more dangerous, the governance around flight is much more strict. We are seeing relatively few immediate deaths from nuclear precisely because it is so strictly controlled. People falling off roofs is tragic: but it does not absolve nuclear. Instead it does tell us we need to increase roof worker safety standards.
3) Solar penetrates urban areas in a distributed fashion, whereas nuclear is placed away from urban centres. So the comparison is not fair to begin with. If we hypothetically replaced domestic solar panels with small nuclear reactors at each house, this decentralized penetration of nuclear would be open to many more mishaps. This would be the correct comparison https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/
The nuclear energy sector should be treated as a normal competitive industry, like any other, he said.
“If you do that you can get excellent time and cost outcomes.”
Heard said that problems come in when the nuclear sector becomes over-regulated
Room for renewables and nuclear in energy mix – researcher, 12/03/2017 Johannesburg – Renewable energy falls short of being a base load power source in South Africa, suggests a researcher.
Ben Heard, director of Bright New World organisation and PhD Candidate at the University of Adelaide, has conducted research to dispute the claims by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) that renewables have the capacity for a 70% share of South Africa’s energy sector.
The research, conducted by CSIR analysts Jarrad Wright, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, Joanne Calitz and Crescent Mushwana, showed that renewables would be the least cost option for South Africa. Continue reading
While it’s true that Australia’s mainstream media pretty much ignores nuclear issues at present, the exception is the Adelaide Advertiser, which seems to have a hotline to the nuclear lobby. I should mention also the Whyalla News.
It’s a different story with social media. Australia’s nuclear lobby is active on Facebook and Twitter, and fortunately, Australia’s nuclear critics are, too.
Currently, that very talented pro nuke publicist Ben Heard is leading the pack.
- Heard has put in a submission to the Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Energy Review, in which he advocates new nuclear reactors , especially small ones:
members are in that organisation:
Nuclear Power Is In Crisis As Cost Overruns Cripple Industry Giants, New Matilda., By Jim Green on February 26, 2017 “……….Shellenberger recently noted that: “Radical breaks from past designs sometimes work in industries that require little up-front capital, like Internet companies. It’s now clear that they are deadly when it comes to nuclear.”
Those comments refer to APR1000 and EPR reactors, which are just modified versions of long-established, conventional reactor technology. The likelihood of genuinely radical Generation IV concepts coming to the rescue is minuscule in circumstances where the inability to build a handful of conventional reactors on-time and on-budget has brought industry giants ‒ with decades of experience and tens of thousands of employees ‒ to their knees.
Yet Australia’s dwindling but determined group of nuclear lobbyists continue to press the case for Australia to take the lead developing Generation IV reactor types. So Australia ‒ a country with virtually no relevant expertise and even less experience ‒ should take the lead developing Generation IV reactors despite the fact that four global giants face crippling debts due to cost overruns building a handful of conventional reactors?
That proposition is beyond stupid and it was completely rejected by the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission last year.
The Royal Commission said: “[A]dvanced fast reactors and other innovative reactor designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future. The development of such a first-of-a-kind project in South Australia would have high commercial and technical risk. Although prototype and demonstration reactors are operating, there is no licensed, commercially proven design. Development to that point would require substantial capital investment. Moreover, electricity generated from such reactors has not been demonstrated to be cost competitive with current light water reactor designs.”
On conventional nuclear power, the Royal Commission concluded that “on the present estimate of costs and under current market arrangements, nuclear power would not be commercially viable to supply baseload electricity to the South Australian subregion of the NEM from 2030 (being the earliest date for its possible introduction)”.
The dwindling nuclear lobby will continue with their beyond-stupid promotion of Generation IV reactors, and they’ll continue peddling misinformation about renewables, but there’s no longer any reason why the rest of us should pay any attention. https://newmatilda.com/2017/02/26/nuclear-power-is-in-crisis-as-cost-overruns-cripple-industry-giants/
They are lying about “intermediate waste” . the waste returned from Franc e is classified as “high level” by the French waste management authority ANDRA
Barndioota, which is in their area, is a potential site for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.
Les Bursill, an elder of the Dharawal community, gave the welcome to country and shared insights about some of the rich traditional heritage surrounding ANSTO.
The Sutherland Shire Mayor, Carmelo Pesce, was on hand to welcome guests, and discuss some of the benefits of having a nuclear facility in his areas, in terms of jobs, growth and community participation.
The group were at ANSTO at the invitation of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, which is extending invitations for such tours to all community members near potential sites of the facility.
“It was our pleasure to the welcome visitors, to show the group how we safely manage waste here at ANSTO, and to answer any questions they had,” said ANSTO’s Chief Nuclear Officer, Hef Griffiths.
“The group toured our campus, saw how the low level radioactive waste is packaged and stored, and stood beside the intermediate level waste container that returned to Australia from France in December 2015.
Throughout the year, ANSTO staff and experts will continue to make visits to Barndioota as part of technical studies, and ANSTO will continue to receive guests looking to get facts on radioactive waste management.
Taipower clearly states that it would not consider sending waste to another country unless and until that country has developed a repository. Yet the economic case developed by Jacobs and MCM collapses if revenue (and waste) is not received before construction of a repository.
Finally, Mr Heard’s promotion of fast breeder reactors is beyond stupid….. Most of the countries that invested in fast breeder reactors have given up, deciding not to throw good money after bad. Last year, Japan decided to give up on the Monju fast breeder reactor, a fiasco that will cost Japanese taxpayers A$17.3 billion in construction, operation and decommissioning costs despite the fact that the reactor rarely operated.
The Royal Commission completely rejected proposals advanced by Heard and others for ‘advanced fast reactors’, noting in its final report that such reactors are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future; that the development of such a first-of-a-kind project would have high commercial and technical risk
Friends of the Earth Australia has today written to all Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council, and SA political representatives in the Federal Parliament, responding to the latest round of misinformation from those proposing to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump.
To: Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council
From: Jim Green
National nuclear campaigner
Friends of the Earth, Australia Feb. 3, 2017
EXPOSING THE LATEST MISINFORMATION FROM THE NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP LOBBY
Dear Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council,
The Advertiser has today run an article including false claims from nuclear lobbyist / uranium industry consultant / PhD student Ben Heard that Jay Weatherill’s plan to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump could be pursued without the need to gamble hundreds of millions or billions of dollars with no guarantee of any return on the investment.
Mr Heard is quoted saying that the “notion of high upfront cost to South Australia is a persistent and deliberate lie first peddled by deceitful environmental groups and now, sadly, taken up by the Liberal Party.”
In fact, the necessity of gambling hundreds of millions or billions of dollars ‒ without the slightest guarantee of any return on the investment ‒ is clearly spelt out by Jacobs, the economics consulting firm commissioned by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.
Jacobs Project Manager / Consultant Tim Johnson told the SA Joint Select Committee that “total expenditure prior to the decision to proceed” is likely to be from around A$300 million to in excess of A$600 million, depending on the timing of the decision to proceed. (Letter to Joint Standing Committee, 5 July 2016.)
Dr Johnson told the Joint Select Committee that the project entails very significant economic risks: “It isn’t a risk-free process to go into this. There is a very significant risk.” Yet the nuclear waste dump lobby persist with the fabrication that the project can be pursued without economic risks. Continue reading
In his latest pro nuclear spiel, on his front group “Bright New World” Ben Heard attacks South Australia’s Liberal Party. He attacks them for ignoring the evidence of (so-called) “Independent” experts.
Those experts are in fact, highly biased pro nuclear lobbyists. Dr Tim Johnson of Jacob Consulting, a leading advocate for underground nuclear storage in S.A. Jim Voss the ex-MD of Pangea Resources – a failed joint venture attempt to bring High Level nuclear waste to Australia in the late 1990s. Voss has global links in the nuclear industry at the highest level. Through UCL he lectured South Australians on the glories of nuclear.
Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 25 Jan 17 The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and ANSTO have been using Spain’s nuclear waste program as a poster child of approbation. Well it’s not.
Portugal has made complaints to authorities in Brussels, regarding Spain’s plans to construct a nuclear waste site near Tigris, close to their border which could cross into Portugal. Reports the Portuguese people had no say, and have NOT even been consulted, they are calling for the existing treaty to be upheld. Basel Convention states the contamination should be kept within the boundaries and close to the place of production to palliate any issues.
I have heard both dichotomies say “we should be responsible for the waste that we produce”, but we should not unnerve our neighbours or fellow man. Nuclear waste shows no boundaries!
These two nuclear spruikers have been at it for decades – promoting the nuclear industry under the cover of pretending to be environmentalists.
Now they’re at least ‘coming out’ about being nuclear lobbyists. It is surprising that the Australian National University is publishing (in the Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies journal) their claims about recycling nuclear waste as a multi $billion windfall for South Australia. They even claim that nuclear waste reprocessing for South Australia would have ‘significant environmental benefits’!
Ben Heard enthuses that South Australia can ‘commercialise leading technology’ Ben Heard worked on this with former Liberal Senator Sean Edwards.
They’re trying to make a mark on the international scene with their new project “Bright New [Nuclear] World”. But this is their new project’s first foray into the Australian scene.
WHAT I SENT
I totally agree with Chris Kenny (Sunday Mail, 11/12/16) when he writes “Climate change has dumbed down the public debate. Otherwise intelligent people are reduced to incoherent slogans” and some people “are too busy with emotional outbursts and virtue signalling to consider the basics.”
Using derogatory adjectives to describe policies and outcomes does little to further intelligent debate. Some facts would be helpful, especially if they are correct.
Three events in 2016 contributed to what Kenny emotively describes as an “energy basket case”. None of these events can be attributed to ensuring that 40 percent of SA’s electricity is “clean and green” yet Kenny leaves us in no doubt that he thinks being clean and green is part of the nasty “tunnel vision” that is “leading SA into a dark place”.
Rather than “clean and green” being the culprit, the three events were directly related to the privatisation of the electricity industry in SA and Victoria and to the formation of a national electricity market.
WHAT THEY PRINTED
SEVERAL events this year contributed to what Chris Kenny emotionally describes in his column as an “energy basket case”. None of these can be attributed, as he says, to ensuring that 40 percent of SA’s electricity is “clean and green”.
Rather than “clean and green” being the culprit, the events were directly related to the privatisation of the electricity industry in SA and Victoria and to the formation of a national electricity market.
My attempt to reply to Kenny’s extensive accusation that climate change activists are only being emotional was totally lost in the Sunday Mail’s edited version of my letter.
Comments on Preliminary Report SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SEPARATION EVENT, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)
The “separation event” was the disconnection of the Heywood interconnector into South Australia.
The following uses the same headings as the AEMO preliminary report.
A short-circuit in a Victorian 500 kV (kilovolt), alternating current (AC) transmission line connected to the Heywood Victorian-SA interconnector resulted in the SA electricity network being disconnected from the Heywood interconnector.
At the time of the “incident” the Victorian electricity network was highly vulnerable to disruption. One of the two circuits served by the Heywood interconnector had been taken out of operation for maintenance. To make matters worse, one of the circuits supplying the Alcoa aluminium smelter at Portland was also out of service. Like all aluminium smelters, the Portland smelter had a very heavy electricity demand (about 480 MW).
The vulnerability of the Victorian electricity network meant that the SA network was also vulnerable to an abrupt loss of 230 MW. Nevertheless, no measures had been put in place to immediately replace power supply from Victoria in the event of disconnection from the Haywood interconnector. As with the SA state-wide blackout two months earlier, there was more than sufficient generating capacity available in SA but it was not on standby.
A short circuit in the remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector resulted in SA and the Portland smelter being disconnected and the shutdown of two wind farms in Victoria.
The “incident” in Victoria, together with inadequate contingency plans resulted in the loss of 230 MW to SA, BHP’s Olympic Dam project losing 100 of its 170 MW for 3 hours, Portland smelter being disconnected for 4½ hours and disconnection of two wind farms (Portland generating 3MW, and Macarthur generating 4MW) in Victoria.
2. Pre-event Conditions
“Immediately prior to the incident there were two planned outages.”
Use of terms such as “incident” and “event” is reminiscent of the nuclear industry’s avoidance of terms such as “failure” , “accident”, and “meltdown”.
“Planned outage” refers to deliberate disconnection of parts of the system for maintenance or repairs. Such deliberate disconnections should be permitted only if they do not expose the system to serious disruption and only if there is sufficient backup in case of a fault developing in the remaining parts of the system. For SA no backup was put on standby in the case of SA being disconnected to the Heywood interconnector.
One of the “outages” referred to was that one half of the Heywood supply to SA (a 500 kV busbar) was out of service. This left SA and Victoria vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood supply. The other “outage” was the Heywood to Portland 500 kV transmission line servicing the Alcoa aluminium smelter.
Both outages were given permission by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
These two decisions left the aluminium smelter vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood transmission line in Victoria. There was no backup plan for maintaining supply to the smelter in this contingency.
At the time, SA was importing about 240 MW from Heywood in Victoria.
“A single phase to earth fault occurred on the Morabool-Tarrone 500 kV transmission line causing the line to trip out of service.” In other words, there was a short circuit in the only remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector.
“It is believed that the line tripped as a normal response to this type of fault”. The short circuit caused the transmission line to Heywood to be disconnected (trip).
The short circuit was caused by the breaking of an electrical cable. The reason for the cable breaking was not known to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
The “trip” of the transmission line left the Portland smelter still connected to SA, the power flow reversed so that instead of 240 MW into SA from Victoria there was 480 MW from SA to Victoria to supply the Portland smelter. A control scheme then disconnected the smelter from SA.
5 Operation of SA when Islanded
Islanded means that SA was on its own as far as power supply was concerned, in particular, it means that it was not receiving power from Victoria. In fact, SA was still receiving about 220 MW through the high voltage, direct current (DC), Victoria-SA, Murraylink interconnector.
- Taiwan will not pay SA to accept high-level nuclear waste if that requires investing in waste storage and disposal infrastructure.
- Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia unless and until a repository is built and operating.
- Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia in the face of widespread public opposition.
Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “Taiwan’s power utility Taipower states clearly and repeatedly that Taiwan will not pay for nuclear waste storage and disposal infrastructure in SA. Yet foreign investment in that infrastructure is central to the state Labor Government’s plans. Preliminary and exploratory studies could cost up to $2.4 billion and Premier Jay Weatherill must now come clean on whether he intends to gamble billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on this project.”
Taipower’s statements are directly at odds with statements made by Martin Hamilton-Smith. Opposition treasury spokesman Rob Lucas is quoted in this morning’s Advertiser saying that Hamilton-Smith “stands condemned for misleading everyone” about Taiwan’s views.
Dr Green continued: “Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia unless and until a repository is built and operating. Yet the Final Report of the Royal Commission clearly states that unless nuclear waste is imported prior to the establishment of a repository, the project would not be profitable.” [See p.300 of the Royal Commission’s Final Report.]
“Taiwan will not send nuclear waste to Australia in the face of widespread public opposition. A clear majority of South Australians oppose the nuclear waste dump plan. A statewide consultation process found 53% opposition compared to just 31% support. A recent poll commissioned by the Sunday Mail found just 35% support. Two-thirds of the Citizen Jurors rejected the dump plan ‘under any circumstances’. The Premier himself has acknowledged the ‘overwhelming opposition of Aboriginal people’.
“It is unlikely that any country would send nuclear waste to SA in the face of widespread public opposition and overwhelming opposition from Aboriginal people. It is unlikely that any country would pay for waste storage and disposal infrastructure in SA. It is unlikely that any country would send waste to SA in the absence of a built, operating repository. The Labor Government’s plan fails on all three counts.
“South Australians opposed to the dump will be spoilt for choice at the March 2018 election with the Liberal Party, the Nick Xenophon Team and the SA Greens all opposed to the Labor Government’s plan to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump. The Premier should have the good sense to swallow his pride and to dump the dump before he puts the Labor Party in an unwinnable position leading up to the state election,” Dr Green concluded.
Steve Dale to Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 22 Nov 16 Nathan Paine has been engaged by AREVA as a consultant. In his recent article for the Advertiser he mentioned: “..it may not have been publicly stated but global companies like AREVA, Posiva and others from North America were already starting to look at investing in South Australia.”
Two things from this statement: First, I wonder whether the “others” included Jacobs, and second, whether Posiva are looking for a cheap dump-and-run option for its own waste in South Australia – their “mock-up” of a nuclear dump might be proving too expensive to turn into a reality. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/
Nuclear lobbyist Nathan Paine rubbishes the economic experts who informed South Austraslia’s Nuclear Royal Commission
Nathan Paine: Yet again South Australia throws the opportunity to have a sensible debate about a big, contentious issue under the bus Nathan Paine, The AdvertiserNovember 21, 2016 AS a business person and proud South Australian, it appears to me that we have once again seen the opportunity to have a sensible debate about big, contentious issues get thrown under the bus in favour of the appeasement of a vocal minority. I am of course talking about the nuclear waste debate cum debacle……
there are people with economics degrees opposed to the proposal and holding themselves out as experts to the Jury.
I personally prefer to consider the facts.
The simple facts are that there are countries which have nuclear waste in short and medium term repositories for which there are large sums of money already held in trust for the long term management of the waste…..
As a consultant engaged by AREVA, one of the world’s biggest nuclear energy companies, I have been fortunate to visit Finland, France and England to tour their facilities and meet the experts on the systems and industry.
Having met and talked with the experts, there was a common consensus that there is a significant opportunity for South Australia.
It has been said by the Jury and others that if this such a good idea, why is industry not supporting it — it may not have been publicly stated but global companies like AREVA, Posiva and others from North America were already starting to look at investing in South Australia.
Yes, the business case is full of assumptions and the next step would have been to prove up those assumptions and secure MOUs with potential customers…..
We must not allow the debate to wither and die on the political vine rather let’s take breath, check the numbers and if they stack up continue the discussion.
Ben Heard has achieved Australian and global fame, in his pro nuclear lobbying, and especially in running the website Decarbonise SA. Purporting to be a climate action site, Decarbonise SA has in reality been dedicated to the nuclear industry.
Anyway, Heard is moving on now – to a new front – a supposedly environmental Bright New World, as Heard describes it:
a new environmental NGO born and based here in South Australia with a global outlook and ambition
We are a registered not-for-profit organisation, governed by an independent board, and pursuing tax-deductible gift-recipient status.
It’s all about environment, biodiversity, natural resources – and just one tiny mention of nuclear :
tired of the junk-science approach to nuclear that typifies the environmentalist mainstream.
But he does thank well known nuclear lobbyists Atomic Insights, and The Actinide Age for their help.
And he does mention thee goal of his new organisation:
Our immediate job is to bring forward a strong “Yes” message for proceeding to next steps in investigating a used fuel service in South Australia.