Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Jenny Ware -A Liberal MP happily in the grip of the nuclear lobby

Some of the more inane comments promoting nuclear power for Australia have lately been voiced by Liberal MP Jenny Ware . She’s enthusiastically advocating nuclear to solve Australia’s electricity crunch prices. (a. Nuclear would not be operative for decades. b. Nuclear is the most costly source)

And she wants the Lucas Heights research reactor to provide electricity. Does she not know that there’s a bit of a difference between a research reactor and a commercial nuclear power plant? (There are a few other problems, too, but nuclear lobby mouthpieces don’t usually stretch to considering them.

from The Daily Telegraph – Nuclear the best medicine for power prices, says new MP Newly elected member for Hughes Jenny Ware has declared Australia has to start talking about adding nuclear into the mix, otherwise we won’t be able to keep the lights on.

James Morrow in The Chronicle writes Hughes MP Jenny Ware wants Lucas Heights nuclear reactor to help power Australia

August 1, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

TODAY Busting the poorly informed pro-nuclear hype of Spectator Australia

Today I encountered, for the first time the magazine “Spectator Australia”. I was drawn to it by the tantalising title of its article (25/7/22) “Politicians destroy nuclear when the world needs it most.”, by Alan Moran. The main message of the article seems to be that the stringent safety regulations are an unnecessary handicap to the nuclear industry, and cause unnecessary costs.

I was tempted to check on what sort of a magazine ”Spectator Australia” is. Crikey reported that :

The Spectator presents a stridently — often rabidly — ideological conservative perspective on Australian politics and society. ”

Much earlier, The Guardian reported on its British parent:

The magazine cleaves to a purple-faced, right-wing, pro-fox-hunting, climate-change-denying, insidiously Islamophobic worldview” 

Ah well – that helps to explain this article. Here are just a few of my reflections on the article:

Nuclear power is reliable and safe” – as long as you don’t count Mayak, Santa Susanna, Church Rock, Chornobyl, submarine accidents, Windscale. Three Mile Island, Tokaimura, Fukushima …

“Deaths related to the industry are small” – yeah, when you don’t count the deaths caused by persistent exposure to radiation – especially amongst nuclear workers. Later-developing cancers are not as newsworthy as sudden accidental deaths.
”Demonisation”, presumably by fanatic anti-nuclear people , has caused the downfall of the nuclear industry? Well, well – I had no idea that we were so effective. I thought that it was caused by the unaffordable costs. the intractible waste problem, the nuclear weapons proliferation problem.

“risk aversiveness to whatever safety problems there may be” – that phrase speaks volumes – this mansplaining macho author isn’t even interested in knowing about risks!

Costs? Well the Fin Review and CSIRO don’t agree with this author https://www.afr.com/companies/energy/nuclear-energy-too-expensive-to-replace-fossil-fuels-20220711-p5b0pd 

He quotes France – does he not know that France is in one hell of a pickle – nationalising the industry, shutting down reactors because of the heat, and the corrosion?

UK – he quotes Rishi Sunak – as Chancellor Sunak advised Boris against the big nuclear spend ! This article is a load of ignorant poppycock!

July 26, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, media, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Michael West busts the spin of Murdoch media’s nuclear marketing.

It’s the nuclear debate. On the one hand, we have all the scientists, and experts on finance and energy.. And on the other hand we have Rupert Murdoch’s experts – Chris Kenny,  Caleb Bond and  the whole Sky News team. These people are experts in nuclear energy.

And so we have one side saying ”No Australia should not build nuclear power plants because they are too costly and there’s the issue of how to dispose of the nuclear wastes

But on the other hand – we have new evidence, unveiled by Sky News – by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, that nuclear energy is actually the cheapest new  form of energy

Australian nuclear engineer Tony Irwin [of Small Nuclear Technologies company] has crunched the numbers and it’s turned out – that in the long term nuclear energy is the cheapest form of energy. Daily Telegraph’s Piers Ackerman reported on all these numbers, – on the capacity factor, the estimated plant life, line transmission costs and all the other factors that are considered in the cost of building nuclear power stations is cheaper than wind and solar and vastly more efficient than pumped hydro 

  All prevailing wisdom – the science indeed would say that nuclear is the most expensive.

Why are we having thi debate?    If we were to build a NPP right now, it wouldn’t be up and running for 10 years they cost $20 billion to build.

Here we have Caleb Bond from Adelaide Advertiser – no need for a university education. Chris Bowen described nuclear energy as a complete joke. ” Doesn’t he have egg on his face right now” –  Caleb’s take.

Most experts think nuclear energy is a joke, too expensive  Who are the people quoted here?

The Australian and The Murdoch publications ……………..rabbiting on about how we have to go nuclear for baseload energy 

Where do they get their experts from?

We are getting to Murdoch’s experts,  Caleb Bond cited in evidence  a story in the Daily Telegraph  another Murdoch –  ”New research reveals that nuclear energy is actually the cheapest form of energy”        the expert here is pre-eminent global expert Piers Ackerman, one of Muroch’s greatest lackeys. – saying the nuclear energy is the cheapest.

The CSIRO value nuclear energy at 128-330 MW per hour .  9()% wind and solar they valued at 55-80 MW less than half. Coal is cheaper – they all are cheaper. Backing up the CSIRO is the world economic  forum  -is the IEA  the International Energy Agency. They base their decisions on the science

Nuclear is not only dangerous because of the wastes, but it is also perilously expensive to build, and it won’t be done before the climate is irretrievably damaged.in 2030

This is a complete distraction and it’s utter nonsense . And the Murdoch people actually understand this – they understand that it is never going to happen.

This is quintessential Murdoch stuff.  It’s a distraction.They know that nuclear energy is not viable,  It does not make commercial sense. The debate was over at least 2 years ago.  Solar is the cheapest, then wind, and hydro and so on.

Despite people like Matt Canavan. Barnaby Joyce, playing up to their coal donors, their vested interests – the problem is in the grid now, that coal is not viable.

2 years ago the IAE declared in its world energy outlookj solar as the  cheapest.energy in history

Murdoch’s nuclear push is a distraction. They know it will never happen. They need to have  a hat at the table.  They come up with a contrarian view –   to create division and debate. Murdoch creating enemies –  our experts like Piers  have told us that this is so-  the enemy is renewable energy everyone else are all woke latte-sipping lefties -anybody that doesn’t like coal.  They’ve lost that debate, They know that they have no basis to push coal and  gas will be next.

So what they’re doing now is promoting SMRs.  Lets’ build smrs.  This has been tried elsewhere hasn’t been seen to work efficiently –  If the Chinese the Russians, the Americans and Brits can’t get it going – why are we even talking about them?  When we have free solar and wind Because Murdoch wants to be a player in this debate. it’s all about media creating goodies and baddies, Liberal good, Labor bad, Green terrible. 

Thanks to Giles Parkinson at REneweconomy.  we quote his research into this.

The track record of smrs around the world has been pitiful. Just a handful of projects most or all suffering massive cost overruns and multi years delay. Russia’s floating nuclear plant  was 9 years behind schedule, more than 6 times over budget and the electricity it produces is estimated to cost  an exorbitant US $200 per Megawatt hour.- according to the OECD;s nuclear energy  agency –   a source that Murdoch minions would be fleeing from. Why would you when you have Chris Kenny Piers Ackerman and the lobbyists from ANSTO?   

The only other operational smr anywhere else in the world, China’s high temperature gas cooled smr, was 2 to 3 times more expensive than initial estimates. It was 8 years behind schedule and plans for additional reactors at the site have been dropped . Argentina’s smr is 7 years behind schedule , billion dollar cost overruns, current cost 23 times beyond preliminary estimates. . The cost exceeds A$1billion for a plant with the capacity of 2 large wind turbines.

By the time we did it in Australia and spent $5 billion on our smr that would have gone out to $20 to $30 billion for a small nuclear reactor when the climate has been destroyed by 2035. Not a very sensible policy outcome. 

China recently began construction of an smr based on conventional light-water reactor technology.  According to China National Nuclear Corporation, construction costs per kilowatt (kW) will be twice the cost of large reactors and the levelised cost of electricity will be 50% higher than for large reactors.

So not only do they take a long time to build, are hugely expensive, they’re not efficient either, So there you have it. It doesn’t work, like carbon capture and storage.

Yet it is being feverishly espoused in the Murdoch press. They’re coming out with nuclear energy stories daily. Their copy is pay-walled. it is losing influence. The ABC has just said it doesn’t want to showcase Murdoch newspapers in its breakfast television. 

These guys are in a bind and they have to be controversial, combattive even, to maintain their tiny Sky News audience, which they package up as recent research found, and send it all around the world as evidence that their climate-denying analysis has legs. It is a classic misinformation – propaganda machine.  which is subsidised by us, the tax-payer.  They are looking for a cause celebre. looking for relevance Their bullying tactics are on the way, They will come up with any proposition possible to create a difference, to create a media narrative and this nuclear narrative despite it being majestically ill-conceived has no legs  but that will not stop then from carping on about it.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Spinbusting the propaganda of SMR Nuclear Technology’s Tony Irwin as he spruiks for Small Nuclear Reactors for Australia

First to nuclear power, which, we should remember, has been effectively banned in Australia since the late 1990s.

On page three of the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, columnist Piers Akerman wrote an “exclusive” news
story showing “nuclear energy is cheaper” than coal, gas, solar or wind. Such a claim would overturn pretty much all serious analysis of electricity costs around the globe. So where did it come from? The
International Energy Agency maybe, or perhaps the CSIRO?

No. Akerman quoted “new data” from Tony Irwin, who is a nuclear industry veteran and a technical director at a consultancy company with “specialist industry knowledge on the procurement and development of nuclear technologies” with a focus on small modular reactors (SMR).

But one problem with using Irwin’s numbers is they are based on an estimate of the cost of one
particular SMR design which has not yet been built and won’t produce power until at least 2029.

Guardian 30th June 2022

 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/30/net-zero-nuance-commentary-on-decarbonising-the-grid-misses-the-mark-on-batteries-and-nuclear

July 2, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Weapons corporations infiltrate our schools and charities, promoting war-mongering to our youth

REPUTATION LAUNDERING,

 https://declassifiedaus.org/2022/03/31/reputation-laundering/ DeclassifiedAUS2 The weapons companies spruiking the ‘benefits and opportunities’ of the wars in Ukraine and Yemen and tensions in the South China Sea are infiltrating our schools., MICHELLE FAHY, 31 MARCH 2022

A Lockheed Martin missile blows up a school bus in Yemen, while in Australia the company gains kudos by sponsoring the National Youth Science Forum.

BAE Systems supports the education of kids in Australia, while being complicit in the killing of thousands of children in Yemen.

Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons-maker, is raking in billions from ongoing wars like the four-week Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the eight-year long Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Lockheed Martin laser-guided bomb blew up a bus full of Yemeni school children in 2018, killing 40 children and injuring dozens more.

Meanwhile, in Australia, Lockheed Martin was busy cultivating kudos with kids as major sponsor of the National Youth Science Forum, a registered charity originally set up by Rotary.

Then there’s US missile-making giant Raytheon which now has a significant new manufacturing facility in Australia. It has continued to supply the Saudi-led coalition with weapons for the Yemen war, despite extensive evidence pointing to war crimes arising from its missiles being used to target and kill civilians. 

In January 2022, a Raytheon missile killed at least 80 people and injured over 200 in a so-called precision strike in Sa’adah in Yemen.

Within days of this horrific incident, Raytheon’s CEO was telling investors that rising tensions represented “opportunities for international sales” and he fully expected to “see some benefit” from “the tensions in Eastern Europe [and] the South China Sea”.

There’s no mention in Australia’s media of the big profits Raytheon is making from the Yemen war, which has now entered its eighth year, killed or injured at least 19,000 civilians, and possibly many more, and also caused the deaths of tens of thousands of children through starvation, due to disruption of food supplies and militarily-enforced trade blockade.

Instead, we’ve seen pictures of Aussie school kids having fun with the Australian snowboarding Paralympian who Raytheon Australia hired to front the launch of its Maths Alive! educational exhibition.

And we also heard about Raytheon’s sponsorship of Soldier On and the Invictus Games, despite the irony of a weapons company using its support of injured military personnel as a public relations exercise.

There’s a name for this cynical behaviour by corporations: ‘reputation laundering’.

Weapons companies are now ‘Innovators’

The world’s weapons producers have also taken to promoting themselves as ‘innovators’ in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths, called STEM. 

This enables them to target children and young people as future employees (see, for exampleBAE Systems AustraliaBoeing Defence Australia, and Saab Australia), often with the willing partnership of respected institutions. Many Australian universities now have MOUsjoint venturesstrategic partnerships, or other forms of collaboration with the weapons industry.

This enthusiastic support of STEM serves a double purpose: reputation laundering, and a socially acceptable way to promote the weapons industry as a future employer directly to children and their parents.

Promoting STEM education is essential to creating a well-trained workforce for key industries of the future, particularly those that can tackle the existential risks associated with climate change. The concern with the weapons industry’s activities in this domain is the way it is using STEM to target children as young as primary school age for weapons-making careers, often with the support of government. 

The spin and glamour being associated with Australia’s increased militarism is a concern on several levels, particularly as the marketing omits pertinent information: weapons and warfare aren’t mentioned.

Nor is there information about how children might use their STEM skills to enhance the ‘lethality’ of their employer’s products.

Nor about a future in which the need for human involvement in the ‘kill chain’ is eliminated by creating autonomous robots to make life and death decisions instead. (This is not science fiction, these research and development programs are already happening.)

Working for companies involved with nuclear weapons isn’t discussed, either.

Instead, a world of euphemism has been created: ‘advanced technology systems, products and services’, ‘high end technology company’, ‘leading systems integrator’, ‘security and aerospace company’, ‘defence technology and innovation company’. 

It is also likely to be weapons company marketing material if the phrase ‘solving complex problems’ appears, especially if accompanied by claims of ‘making the world safer.

None of these euphemisms conjures up realistic images of the bloody and brutal destruction the world is witnessing in the world’s latest war in Ukraine.

The ways global weapons giants have cultivated relationships with organisations of good purpose in Australia is highlighted in the following examples.

Lockheed Martin and the National Youth Science Forum

The National Youth Science Forum was created by Rotary, which remains involved. The Forum, now a not-for-profit organisation overseen by a board, has numerous programs, the flagship program being for Year 12 students interested in a career in science.

“The ban treaty embodies the collective moral revulsion of the international community,” according to the Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the Australian National University, Professor Ramesh Thakur.

Lockheed Martin and the Gallipoli Sponsorship Fund

In 2020, Lockheed Martin Australia became the first corporate sponsor of the Gallipoli Scholarship Fund and provides $120,000 to fund 12 Lockheed Martin Australia bursaries for the educational benefit of descendants of Australian military veterans.

Lockheed Martin is providing these Australian educational bursaries through to the end of 2023, with an opportunity to extend.

Referring to Lockheed Martin as a “defence technology and innovation company”, the Gallipoli Sponsorship Fund’s website also does not disclose Lockheed’s status as the world’s dominant weapons-maker nor its position as a major nuclear weapons producer.

BAE Systems and The Smith Family

This example illustrates that public pressure can and does make a difference.

The UK’s largest weapons-maker, BAE Systems, has been working inside Saudi Arabia supporting the Saudi-led coalition’s role in Yemen since the start of the war.

A BAE maintenance employee was quoted in 2019 saying, “If we weren’t there, in 7 to 14 days there wouldn’t be a jet in the sky.” BAE Systems has sold nearly £18 billion worth of weaponry to the Saudis since the war in Yemen started in 2014.

Yet in Australia, BAE Systems started a $100,000 partnership with The Smith Family in August 2020, sponsoring a STEM education program for under-privileged children.

BAE’s role helping the Saudis prolong one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in Yemen was pointed out numerous times to The Smith Family, a children’s charity, after news broke of its BAE sponsorship.

The Smith Family initially resisted but after increasing pressure and activism from peace organisations and many complaints from the public, The Smith Family soon dropped its controversial ‘partnership’ with BAE Systems Australia, mere months after it had started.

Morally indefensible positions

Benign-sounding sponsorships of Australian school children such as these might appear less self-serving if weapons companies behaved consistently and stopped supplying weapons to those nations known to be serial abusers of human rights. 

Saying they are merely doing the bidding of their governments in supplying the Saudis, and other abusive and repressive regimes, as these companies have, is not a morally defensible position.

It is particularly not defensible in the face of evidence of ongoing war crimes being committed using their weaponry.

MICHELLE FAHY is an independent writer and researcher, specialising in the examination of connections between the weapons industry and government, and has written in various independent publications. She is on twitter @FahyMichelle, and on Substack at UndueInfluence.substack.com  An earlier version of this article was published in Michael West Media in November 2020.

April 1, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, reference, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Jim Green busts the spin of the (two-member) party ”Greens for nuclear energy Australia”


Jim Green, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch 23 Mar 22, ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’ claim that the ‘real’ name of their group is ‘Greens for Nuclear Energy Australia’ but they can’t change their facebook group name ‘Australian Greens for Nuclear Energy’! Evidently the group has tried to change its name, an implicit acknowledgement that they have been falsely misrepresenting themselves as a sub-group of the Australian Greens political party. Furthermore, they are shifting their propaganda over to new sites called ‘Australians for Nuclear Energy’ … another implicit acknowledgement that they have been falsely misrepresenting themselves as a sub-group of the Australian Greens political party.

What to make of the new name ‘Greens for Nuclear Energy Australia’? As far as we know there are only two members in the group, so it should be called ‘Two Greens for Nuclear Energy Australia’. Or to use their own terminology, ‘A Relatively Small Number of Greens for Nuclear Energy Australia.’ #greenwashinghttps://nuclear.foe.org.au/fake-greens-group/

And FoE has for many years exposed the misinformation of ‘pro-nuclear environmentalist’ Ben Heard, who consults for the Minerals Council, the most aggressively anti-environment organisation in Australia, which is really saying something. https://nuclear.foe.org.au/ben-heard-secret-corporate…/ As John Quiggin notes: “In practice, support for nuclear power in Australia is support for coal. Tony Abbott understands this. It’s a pity that Ben Heard and others don’t.”

March 24, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Meet Australian Public Affairs, the lobbying firm that pushed the Kimba nuclear waste dump for the Federal Government.

The representation by Australian Public Affairs of companies working within or directly linked to the energy, mining and uranium mining industries—many of which obviously have an interest in a nuclear waste dump—does not appear to have been disclosed to the public at any stage of their lobbying work for the federal government on the campaign for a national nuclear waste management facility.

Meet the lobbying firm that pushed the Kimba nuclear waste dump for the Federal Government while claiming “commitment to Indigenous Australians”. Matilda Duncan, 24 Feb 22,

Australian Public Affairs company officers: Tracey Cain, Phillip McCall, Kathryn Higgs, Nick Trainor, Paula Gelo, Matthew Doman, Dominique Wolfe,

Having pocketed six years worth of consulting fees campaigning on behalf of the federal government for their proposed nuclear waste dump in SA, Australian Public Affairs claims “success” as the Barngarla people of the Eyre Peninsula continue to fight the dump through the courts.

It’s a grim project brief few public relations firms would want: convince Australia it’s acceptable to establish not just a national nuclear waste dump, but an international dump site that would potentially accept nuclear waste from the United Kingdom and France.

The requirements of the job: advocate for a radioactive waste facility being built in the middle of one of Australia’s largest wheat and agricultural belts. Urge locals to support a nuclear waste dump near Kimba, despite the site neighbouring both a conservation park and a national park. Avoid publicly questioning why the company the federal government hired to assess the shortlisted dump sites has a U.S. parent company that manufactures nuclear weapons.

Think up methods of pushing the dump in a state that has already been subjected to the stress of a government nuclear waste dump site selection process an inexplicable 4 times in 23 years—and rejected it, to the point the Olsen Government passed legislation to prevent radioactive waste being brought into the state: the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000, which was subsequently strengthened by the Rann Government.

Sell the nuclear dump to the public in a state in which traditional owners have already been subjected to decade upon decade of trauma thanks to the nuclear industry and materials for nuclear weapons being sourced from their lands. Avoid mention of the damaging mining conducted at Radium Hill, the uranium mining that continues to this day at Olympic Dam, the grotesque takeover of land to establish a weapons testing range double the size of England, or the hideous government decision to allow Britain to test 7 atomic bombs at Maralinga and Emu Field without adequately warning the Indigenous people living there—bombs that, in a full circle of destruction, were made using uranium sourced from Radium Hill.

In the face of this depraved and dark history of governmental abuse, the job: tell the locals it will be worth it because the nuclear waste dump will bring “45 jobs”.

Tracey Cain and Alastair Furnival willingly took on the work.

For the past seven years, their lobbying firm Australian Public Affairs has been working behind the scenes for the Federal Government, providing media and campaign strategy advice to help the government promote the nuclear waste dump—presented as the “National Radioactive Waste Management Facility”—and steer them through what continues to be a long, flawed and troubled dump site selection process.

A married couple, Cain and Furnival share a property worth $5 million in Cremorne and equal ownership of Australian Public Affairs Pty Ltd. Furnival is also a staffer at another consulting firm, Elevate Consulting.

Their company made national headlines in 2014, during Furnival’s time as a federal government staffer. That year, Cain and Furnival’s company was lobbying for the junk food sector, representing Cadbury, the Australian Beverages Council and Mondelez Australia (formerly Kraft), while Furnival was working as chief of staff for the federal assistant health minister, Fiona Nash.

According to media reports, Senator Nash and Furnival intervened to pull down a food health star rating website less than 24 hours after it was launched, despite it having been in development for two years and approved by state and territory food ministers.

Furnival owned half of Australian Public Affairs while intervening in public policy decisions as Nash’s chief of staff. Furnival resigned in the wake of the scandal.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STAFFERS VS. LOBBYISTS WRITING SPIN

The Morrison Government appear to have given Australian Public Affairs plenty of latitude to complete their work promoting the nuclear waste dump, extending permission to act directly as Government spokespeople.

Numerous times over the past 2 years, media enquiries about the national nuclear waste management facility sent to the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) and it’s superseding [new] department have been responded to directly by an Australian Public Affairs staffer rather than federal government staff.

Media enquiries from this journalist were responded to directly by Australian Public Affairs Director Nick Trainor, who in an introductory email two years ago claimed to “work with” the federal government.

Trainor provided a response on behalf of DIIS and the “National Radiactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce” in that email, without disclosing that he was in fact working for a lobbying firm representing the federal government on the nuclear waste dump project…………………………………

A DISAPPEARING ETHICS POLICY

Sometime after 2015, Cain and Furnival removed an ethics policy for Australian Public Affairs from their company website.

The policy claimed Australian Public Affairs was ‘committed to an ethical and quality approach to servicing our clients’. The company would ‘refuse causes, ideas or programs which pose harm to the community’, the policy claimed, ‘never promote deception or unsupportable claims’ and ‘at all times act as a leader in the pursuit of ethical practice.’……………………………………

Australian Public Affairs’ Deputy CEO, Phillip McCall, previously worked for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) with oversight of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor . APA’s client list has also included mining, gas and energy giants such as Santos—Australia’s second largest independent oil company and owner of the Moomba oil and gas fields in South Australia’s north-east.

APA staff were registered as lobbyists with the South Australian Government on Santos’ behalf from 2017 to late 2018. Uranium mining exploration projects in Santos’ Moomba gas fields were announced the following year, in 2019

APA also represented Santos on their Narrabri coal seam gas project.

Earlier this year—as their work for the Morrison Government on the nuclear waste dump continued—Australian Public Affairs began representing MaxMine (Resolution Systems), a mining technology company with offices in South Australia and South Africa. The company claims its “mission is to become the world’s biggest miner without owning a mine.”

MaxMine has been linked to Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group, after—according to MaxMine’s own promotional material—conducting work on their technology with Fortescue in 2010.

WASTE DUMP POLITICAL CONNECTIONS

Andrew Forrest has invested in uranium mining for years. In 2014, he bought EMA, the company that owned uranium deposits at Mulga Rock in Western Australia. Just two months ago, a new uranium mining operation commenced there. Forrest’s private company, Squadron Resources, has an interest in the uranium mining company working at Mulga Rock, Vimy Resources.

The former Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, was appointed to a CEO Position with Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation after he left public office.

Weatherill was behind the “unusual step” of setting up a Royal Commission in 2015 to consider South Australia’s potential role in the nuclear industry—despite the aforementioned decades of proposals for nuclear waste dumps being rejected by the community and legislation being enacted to ban nuclear waste being brought into the state. Weatherill spen much of his time as Premier pushing a proposal for a high-level nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia.

Weatherill has further personal connections to the current nuclear waste dump proposal. During his tenure as SA Premier, his wife Melissa Bailey was appointed to a position at AECOM Australia Pty Ltd—the company commissioned by the federal government to write site assessment reports for each of the shortlisted nuclear waste dump sites, covering topics like environmental impacts, climate change and wildlife impacts…………………………..

Questioned about the employment of Jay Weatherill’s wife at AECOM Australia Pty Ltd and why the federal government hired the company to assess the nuclear waste dump sites despite its association with nuclear weapons development, Australian Public Affairs responded on behalf of the federal government to both queries with the same phrase: “AECOM Australia Pty Ltd was selected to provide the required services through an open tender process and evaluation conducted in accordance with an approved procurement plan.”


The representation by Australian Public Affairs of companies working within or directly linked to the energy, mining and uranium mining industries—many of which obviously have an interest in a nuclear waste dump—does not appear to have been disclosed to the public at any stage of their lobbying work for the federal government on the campaign for a national nuclear waste management facility.

THE KIMBA COUNCIL

Remarkably, Cain has already claimed her company’s work on the government’s nuclear waste management facility project to be a “success”—even as the Traditional Owners, the Barngarla people, are again challenging the project through the courts.

For years the Barngarla people have repeatedly stated they have not been consulted about the storage of radioactive waste on their land. Representatives of the Barngarla people were excluded from a community vote to gauge local support for the nuclear waste facility—after the District Council of Kimba decided to exclude native title holders from the vote.

Despite major mainstream news outlets including the ABC, Guardian, Channel Ten’s The Project and NY Times visiting Kimba and publishing coverage of Jeff Baldock—the man who volunteered to sell his land at Napandee to the government for the nuclear waste management site—no attention was given by these outlets to his relative and business partner Graeme Baldock, a member of the Kimba Council that determined the Barngarla people would be excluded from the community vote on the nuclear waste dump………..

Graeme and Jeff Baldock had previously purchased thousands of hectares of land in the region near Kimba—in the region where the dump site is set to be established—according to information published in 2015 by the Baldock family farming company, Karinya Agriculture.

A member of the District Council of Kimba since 2010, Graeme Baldock was communicating directly with the federal government agency responsible for the nuclear waste management facility site selection process, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), between 2017 and 2019.

In response to a freedom of information application made in early 2020 seeking access to Graeme Baldock’s emails with DIIS over two years, DIIS stated that the “documents contain personal information of certain individuals” and due to privacy provisions in freedom of information legislation, “8 third parties” would need to be consulted before the government might consider releasing the documents.

The Department of Industry then sought to impose administration charges of $500 to process the request for Graeme Baldock’s emails.

“COMMITTED TO CLOSING THE GAP”

As the Barngarla traditional owners pursue some semblance of justice through the courts, Tracey Cain continues to advertise her company’s services in the “Indigenous Affairs sector” today, writing: “Australian Public Affairs has extensive communications expertise with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, on behalf of traditional landowners and Indigenous organisations, and for governments, corporates and NFPs wishing to engage with these communities.”

It’s not just the Barngarla people APA’s work on the nuclear waste dump process has affected—the traditional owners of other sites shortlisted for the dump, like South Australia’s Adnyamathanha people, have already publicly described the stress it caused. “The emotional stress we’re feeling is off the charts,” Regina McKenzie, an Adnyamathanha traditional owner, told the ABC in 2016. “We’re still the custodians here; we’ve always looked at it that way.”

Australian Public Affairs’ company spiel continues: “Within this work, APA is particularly committed to social and economic initiatives which support the Closing the Gap agenda, to provide Indigenous Australians with the same level of opportunity as the rest of the nation: including in health, mental health, education and social policy.”

In another section of APA’s website, the company characterises an “increase in environmental concern – not least amongst farmers and indigenous communities” as leading to “a rise in red tape and cost of compliance”.

In addition to APA working on projects that have contributed to the disenfranchisement of Indigenous communities, Furnival—Cain’s husband and co-owner of Australian Public Affairs—worked for the Abbott Government, an administration that cut $535 million from Indigenous programs.

Cain was contacted for comment about her husband’s role with the Abbott Government and asked if APA staff were directly involved with negotiations with the Barngarla people and other local communities involved in the nuclear waste dump site processes.

Cain was asked if Australian Public Affairs staff made it clear to these communities that they were a lobbying firm, not federal government staffers, when responding to their enquiries and concerns about the nuclear waste dump. She did not directly address these questions.

HISTORY REPEATING

Australian Public Affairs is not the only public relations firm to have chosen to assist the Government to continue perpetuating the toxic legacy of uranium in South Australia. Michels Warren have taken on the task too—an Adelaide PR firm that first represented the Howard Government during their attempt to establish a dump in South Australia from the late nineties until at least 2004. Freedom of information applications revealed the company’s dirty campaign to “soften up the community” and sell something its own staff knew had no benefit to South Australians: “The National Repository could never be sold as “good news” to South Australians. There are few, if any, tangible benefits such as jobs, investment or improved infrastructure. Its merits to South Australians, at the most, are intangible and the range and complexity of issues make them difficult to communicate.”

Despite having their ugly tactics exposed, Michels Warren chose not to leave their involvement with the nuclear industry and nuclear waste in the past. They went on to represent the Weatherill Government’s aforementioned unusual Royal Commission into nuclear power in 2016—a decision that might be explained, in part, by their previous campaigning on behalf of the corporate owners of the Beverley and Honeymoon uranium mines in South Australia.

 IRATI WANTI

Almost two decades ago, the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a council of senior Indigenous women based near Coober Pedy in South Australia, were into their eighth year of fighting the Howard Government proposal to dump nuclear waste from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor on their traditional lands.

In April 2003, the council’s founders, Eileen Kampakuta Brown and Eileen Wani Wingfield, received the Goldman Prize for environmental activism—an award akin to the Nobel Prize—and $US125,000 to continue their campaign against the nuclear waste dump. The women were fighting the Howard Government into their seventies, with a campaign slogan of “Irati wanti” which roughly translated as “The poison – leave it”.

The founder of the prize, Richard Goldman, said the women had been chosen for a campaign that “exemplifies how much can be accomplished when ordinary people take extraordinary action to protect the health of our planet”.

Mrs Brown said at the time that she was talking on behalf of her ancestors so that her children and grandchildren might also be able to live on the land, telling the Sydney Morning Herald in 2003 through her granddaughter: “There’s a lot of life out there.” https://matildaduncan.net/stories/22/feb/23/australian-public-affairs-tracey-cain-nuclear-waste-dump

February 24, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The murky world of financing Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)


IKEA it ain’t: don’t go looking for friendly nuclear option, no matter the spin

MICHAEL WEST MEDIA, By Noel Wauchope|December 30, 2021  Despite the Murdoch media hype over small nuclear reactors as a solution for Australia’s “clean energy” future, this is costly technology which barely exists in a commercial sense. Noel Wauchope explores the murky world of funding for Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs).

Small nuclear reactors are being proposed as the solution for Australia’s ‘clean energy’ future.  Australians should be aware of the financial  gymnastics going on in the USA, with NuScale, and in the UK, with Rolls-Royce. That’s just to single out the two most advanced of the many dubious SMR projects still at the starting gate.

The Murdoch media is enthusiastic about SMRs. Missing from the hype are a lot of unanswered questions. For a start — the ”M” stands for ”modular” — meaning that these reactors will be built in pieces, sort of, and transferred to a site, where they will be assembled, like a piece of IKEA furniture. But in fact there are at least 50 designs being promoted, and not all are modular. 

The critical question comes down to – the money

The enthusiasm of the SMR lobby for the economic viability of SMRs is not matched by the facts.

 For one thing to consider – there’s the price of the electricity to be eventually delivered by these small nuclear reactors. The Minerals Council of Australia estimates that by 2030 and beyond, SMRs could offer power to grids from $64-$77MWh, depending on size and type.

An analysis by WSP / Parsons Brinckerhoff, prepared for the 2015-16 South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission,  estimated  a cost of A$225 / MWh for a reactor based on the NuScale design, about three times higher than the MCA’s target range. CSIRO  estimatesSMR power costs at A$258-338 / MWh in 2020 and A$129-336 / MWh in 2030.

Then there are the costs of actually getting SMRs in the first place.

In Russia, China, France, and Argentina, the construction is done entirely or largely at taxpayers’ expense, and there is little or no transparency about the costs. But generally in the Western world, electricity production is supposed to be a commercially viable operation.  In the context of promoting low -carbon technologies, SMRs are promoted as being cheaper than large ones.  It is generally acceptable for the government to kick-start the process, with some funding, but with the understanding that the industry will become successful, profitable. 

NuScale financing contortions………………….

Now NuScale is to go public by merging with what’s known as a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC……..

US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler wants to tighten regulations on SPACs:

Glitzy corporate presentation decks, hyped press releases and celebrity endorsements can balloon a SPAC’s equity well beyond a reasonable value long before proper disclosures are filed,  Gensler said.

SPACs have had a chequered history — they enable the sponsors to avoid financial loss, even if the business fails, as many did, in the 1990s.  Sixty-five per cent of deals completed in 2021 at a valuation above $1bn are trading below $10 — the price at which they were floated. All of the companies are trading below their stock market highs with some of them down by as much as 70%. Senator Elizabeth Warren and three other Democrats are investigating the imbalance between the financial results for the sponsors and banks versus the early investors.

Rolls-Royce still looking for money

The process of getting funding for the UK’s SMRs is equally tortuous. ……………….   

Rolls-Royce will be seeking more investment for the project to help fund the building of actual SMRs.

The government is currently passing legislation that will allow investors to back projects like SMRs using a regulated asset base (RAB) model, which allows them to recoup upfront costs from the consumers, over the construction period, long before those consumers actually get any electricity from the project. 

Mythical beasts

So — what it all boils down to is an agreement to spend about £400 million over the next three years — to perhaps produce a design for a reactor, which might get approved by the regulators, and might find investors who might be willing to pay what will be at least £2 billion to build each one.

Where does all this leave Australia? Confused, probably like everyone else?  It’s not at all clear who is going to end up paying the most for small nuclear reactors, or indeed, if that fleet of SMRs will ever become a reality. It will probably be the taxpayers.  I haven’t mentioned all those ancillary costs — of winning community approval, of security, waste disposal. In all the hype about solving the climate crisis, it’s not likely that Australia will have the necessary thousands of small nuclear reactors operating in time to have any effect on the climate. 

In the meantime, it’s worth being wary about the financial aspects, given the obscure manipulations going on in the US and UK, and remembering that not yet does one of these mythical beasts, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors actually exist.

Renewables remain the cheapest “new-build” source of energy generation. They exist. They work.  https://www.michaelwest.com.au/ikea-it-aint-small-modular-nuclear-reactors/ 

December 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Defence scrambles to train nuclear scientists for ‘exciting roles’ on AUKUS programme.

Defence scrambles to train nuclear scientists for ‘exciting roles’ on AUKUS program
ABC,  by defence correspondent Andrew Greene  19 Dec 21, Students and public servants are being enticed with generous scholarships to study nuclear science and engineering so they can begin “exciting roles” on the massive AUKUS submarine program.

Key points:

  • Defence expects to offer more than 300 scholarships 
  • The program will train graduates to work in the nuclear-powered submarine program 
  • The scholarships are worth approximately $20,000 per student yearly 

Defence is scrambling to find hundreds of properly qualified staff for the mammoth task of acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine fleet with the help of the UK and US.

The ABC can reveal Defence is establishing a nuclear scholarship program from next year, offering scholarships worth approximately $20,000 per student per year.
 Over the next five years Defence expects to offer over 300 scholarships and has launched a separate initiative to sponsor existing staff to undertake nuclear-related Masters courses.

………………….An existing Defence STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Cadetship Program is also being expanded to target nuclear-related studies, with cadets entering trainee positions in the department……………..  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-19/defence-staff-studying-nuclear-science-aukus-program/100710264

December 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Education, politics | Leave a comment

Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey has misled South Australia, in greatly minimising the amount of Intermediate Level nuclear waste intended for Napandee farm site.

So on the basis of the above figures the amount of ILW contained in the big canister that Rowan mentioned is actually only 0.1 per cent by volume of the ILW intended for Napandee. (In other words the documented volume of ILW intended for Napandee is about 1000 times more than what he stated).

Andrew Williams, Fight to stop sa nuclear waste dump in South Australia, 1 Dec 21, Rowan Ramsey stated that the TN-81 canister in the Interim Waste Store at Lucas Heights is the only Intermediate Level Waste intended for Napandee. This is not correct.

The large canister that he mentioned contains reprocessed used nuclear fuel from the old decommissioned HIFAR reactor, which ARPANSA notes as having radioactivity at the higher end of the ILW range.

That means it must remain safe from people and the environment for 10,000 years according to International guidelines followed by the Australian regulator. Another load of reprocessed used nuclear fuel from the old HIFAR reactor is due back next year and is intended to end up at Napandee, in the same type of TN-81 container.

Of the waste intended for Napandee, this highly hazardous reprocessed nuclear fuel is the most radioactive. However there is a lot more intermediate level waste (ILW) than what is in these two big containers intended for Napandee. All of the reprocessed highly hazardous used nuclear fuel produced by the existing OPAL reactor over its operating life is intended for Napandee in years to come.

However during the production of radioactive isotopes (some of which are used in nuclear medicine) ILW is produced. The Australian Radioactive Waste Management Framework (2018) reports total ILW at 1770 cubic metres, with 95% by volume as federal gov. wastes. It is intended to produce a further 1,960 cubic metres over the next 40 years (all intended for Napandee), most of which will be produced at Lucas Heights. (This is documented and can be checked).

All of this ILW is intended to go to Napandee for up to 100 years of above ground storage. A TN-81 container can hold up to 28 canisters, each containing 150 litres of vitrified reprocessed fuel waste. 28×150 litres = 4,200 litres = 4.2 cubic metres. So on the basis of the above figures the amount of ILW contained in the big canister that Rowan mentioned is actually only 0.1 per cent by volume of the ILW intended for Napandee. (In other words the documented volume of ILW intended for Napandee is about 1000 times more than what he stated).

December 2, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, reference, secrets and lies, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Correcting Alan Finkel’s nuclear fallacies.

30 Oct 21 Friends of the Earth has written to Dr. Alan Finkel, Special Adviser to the Australian Government on Low Emissions Technology, correcting a number of his recent statements regarding nuclear power. The letter is online.

Dr. Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said:

“Dr. Finkel is honest and intelligent ‒ which is more than can be said for some of the ideologues and idiots promoting nuclear power ‒ but his recent statements regarding nuclear power contain a number of inaccuracies.

“Dr. Finkel’s claim that the Fukushima disaster resulted in a “handful” of radiation deaths is inaccurate. The World Health Organization projects increases in all solid cancers, breast cancer, leukaemia and thyroid cancer. In addition, around 2,000 indirect deaths have been recorded. The economic costs amount to hundreds of billions of dollars and there is an incalculable human toll for the 160,000 evacuees from the disaster.

“Dr. Finkel’s claim that safety is the number one imperative underpinning the design of modern reactors is an industry claim that cannot be substantiated. Nuclear power is, in the words of Bob Carr, “cripplingly expensive” and far more expensive than renewables. The nuclear industry is trying to compete economically ‒ mostly by gouging taxpayers and electricity ratepayers ‒ and that is the number one imperative driving everything the industry does.

“Dr. Finkel’s comments about the ‘beauty’ of small modular reactors ignore the fact that the only SMR operating anywhere in the world, a Russian plant, was nine-years behind schedule, six times over-budget, produces power at an exorbitant A$270 per megawatt-hour, and is used to power fossil fuel mining operations in the Arctic. It is ugly in every respect.

“Dr. Finkel’s claim that high-level nuclear waste is being disposed of in a deep underground repository in Finland is false. The 2006 Switkowski report anticipated completion of this repository in 2010. Now, completion is anticipated in the mid-2020s. No waste has been disposed of.

“The only operating deep underground repository for nuclear waste is in the United States and was closed for three years after a chemical explosion in an underground waste barrel in 2014 ‒ the culmination of staggering mismanagement and regulatory failures.

“Here in Australia, the federal government is trying to establish a national nuclear waste dump on farming land near Kimba in SA despite the unanimous opposition of Barngarla Traditional Owners and NH&MRC guidelines which state that farming land should not be used for nuclear waste repositories.”

“The viability of renewables coupled with multiple storage technologies and demand management is a work in progress but there are promising signs. For example, South Australia has reached a 60% renewable share and the Liberal state government is enthusiastically pursuing a 100% net renewables target by 2030. Moreover, the SA Liberal government states that nuclear is not viable now and will not be viable for the foreseeable future.

“Calls for a discussion about nuclear power overlook the fact that there have been four inquiries over the past five years. The Prime Minister said just a few days ago that the federal government has no intention of repealing legislation banning nuclear power, and no state government is interested.

“Surely this is the time to have a breather from the seemingly endless nuclear debate, rather than starting yet another discussion?”

October 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Too expensive, too slow: Even the baseload argument doesn’t work for nuclear. 

Too expensive, too slow: Even the baseload argument doesn’t work for nuclear. ReNeweconomy, Mark Diesendorf 29 October 2021  With the Glasgow climate summit approaching and the government’s announcement that Australia would buy nuclear-powered submarines instead of diesel, the nuclear industry and News Corp have predictably renewed their campaign for nuclear power stations in Australia.

This is of concern, because every dollar invested in nuclear power makes the climate crisis worse by diverting investment from renewable energy technologies. Having recently participated in a nuclear debate, I report here on the pro-nuclear arguments and expose their weaknesses.

The old baseload myth

Nuclear proponents still claim that electricity grids need baseload power stations, such as coal or nuclear, that can run 24/7 at full rated power, except when they break down or undergo maintenance and refuelling.

But, as readers of RenewEconomy know, the variability of wind and solar can be balanced with storage, new transmission links, demand response, and/or flexible power stations that can start up in seconds to minutes and can vary their output rapidly.

The latter include hydroelectricity with a single dam, pumped hydro (with two dams), other forms of gravitational energy storage, batteries, concentrated solar thermal with storage, and open-cycle gas turbines that can burn biofuels and green hydrogen and ammonia.

Despite the claims of proponents, modern nuclear reactors cannot compete in flexibility with the above technologies and measures. Furthermore, operating in a slightly flexible mode carries economic penalties for nuclear, whose electricity already costs 3–5 times that of wind and solar PV––see Lazard and CSIRO.

Dark doldrums (Dunkelflaute in German) are extended periods of low wind and solar. In the debate, a pro-nuclear speaker modified the baseload myth by claiming falsely that a recent report on dark doldrums by the leading German solar energy research organisation, the Fraunhofer Institute, admits that solar energy has failed.

However, the only report on dark doldrums by that institute identifies the issues and then sets out the solutions to maintaining generation reliability, namely the flexible technologies and methods listed above………………………………

The scale of the disaster resulted from the choice of nuclear technology. Yet at Kamisu, on the coast to the south of Fukushima, a wind farm located in the surf survived the tsunami and continued to generate electricity until the grid went down.  

Proliferation

It’s well documented (see here and here) that India, Pakistan, South Africa and North Korea used “peaceful” nuclear energy to develop nuclear weapons and to cloak that development.

Furthermore, the UK supplemented its military-produced weapons-grade plutonium with plutonium reprocessed from its first generation of nuclear power stations. In France, the military and civil nuclear industries are entwined.

In addition, the following countries used “peaceful” nuclear energy to commence the development of nuclear weapons, but fortunately discontinued their programs: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan, and probably Algeria and Libya. For Australia’s attempt in the 1960s, see the books by Richard Broinowski and Wayne Reynolds.

Nuclear submarines built by the USA and UK use highly enriched uranium that could be used directly in nuclear weapons. The AUKUS alliance could lead to increased pressure from members of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the Lowy Institute and others for Australia to develop nuclear weapons.

Even if the Australian government rejects that scenario, the perception exists and AUKUS could lead to a regional nuclear arms race.

Nuclear wastes

The standard pro-nuclear line is that the sum total of all the world’s nuclear wastes occupies a very small volume and therefore, by implication, is not a major problem. But nowhere in the world is there an operating, long-term, underground repository for high-level wastes.

Furthermore, the pro-nuclear line ignores the vast volumes of low-level wastes at uranium mines that are uncovered allowing radioactive dust to blow in the wind. The waste mountain at the Olympic Dam uranium-copper mine is already over 150 million tonnes.

Although the number of cancers caused annually will be very small, the total summed over thousands of years will be large.

High-level nuclear power wastes are stored temporarily in pools of water at nuclear power stations. The USA spent US$13.5 billion preparing an underground repository at an unsuitable site, Yucca Mountain, and then had to abandon it.

Finland has just commenced building its repository, Sweden is still thinking about building a final repository, and that’s about it.

Retired nuclear power stations have highly radioactive sections and are a major nuclear waste problem. The cost of decommissioning them and managing their wastes is comparable with their construction cost, but the nuclear industry only pays a fraction. …………………

Energy density

Another tactic used by nuclear supporters in recent years is based on “energy density”, the claim that 100 per cent renewable electricity scenarios would occupy vast areas of land, compete with food production and reduce biodiversity.

Yet the reality is that most wind and solar farms are erected on agricultural or marginal land. Although wind farms can span large areas, the land area actually occupied by the turbines, access roads and substation typically amounts to 1 to 2 per cent of the land spanned.

Wind farms are compatible with agriculture. Although the presence of solar farms excludes some forms of agriculture, they can be erected sufficiently high above ground for sheep to shelter beneath them. Both wind and solar farms contribute valuable rent to farmers. And, of course, rooftop solar occupies no land.

Too slow for climate mitigation 

If national governments commit to net zero emissions by 2050 (which is likely to be too late for keeping global heating below 1.5 degrees), then they must achieve zero emissions from all energy (electricity, transport and heat) by about 2040. This is because energy is the least difficult sector to transition to zero emissions.

Agriculture and non-energy industrial processes will need more time to reduce emissions and, if possible, to capture carbon dioxide in order to offset emissions they cannot reduce.

Achieving zero energy emissions by 2040 entails achieving zero emissions from electricity by 2035, because electrifying transport and heat will take longer than transitioning electricity to renewables. Wind and solar farms can be planned and built in just three years.

Introducing nuclear power to Australia — including convincing the electorate, local governments and local populations, and building the infrastructure — would take at least 15 years, while taking financial resources away from renewables.


So new nuclear power stations could not contribute in time to assist the rapid electricity transition needed for climate mitigation. And once 100 per cent renewable electricity is established with the bulk of energy generation by cheap solar and wind, nuclear power could not compete economically. It’s a technology whose time has passed.Dr Mark Diesendorf is honorary associate professor, Environment & Governance Group, School of Humanities & Languages at the Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture at UNSW. https://reneweconomy.com.au/too-expensive-too-slow-even-the-baseload-argument-doesnt-work-for-nuclear/

October 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Kevin Scarce again shows his nuclear ignorance and misinformation

Dr. Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, ‒ 25 October 2021

“Kevin Scarce led the 2015/16 South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. His claims in News Corp papers today (and a Sky News interview) are dripping with ignorance.

“Scarce calls for a Royal Commission into nuclear energy, but we’ve already had one. Scarce should know ‒ he was the Royal Commissioner. The 2016 report found that nuclear power generation “would not be commercially viable in SA under current market rules”.

“The Royal Commission called on the SA government to lobby for the repeal of federal laws banning nuclear power. That recommendation was rejected by the Weatherill Labor Government. More recently, the SA Liberal Government’s 2019 submission to a federal nuclear inquiry said that “nuclear power remains unviable now and into the foreseeable future.”

“What makes Scarce think he is qualified to comment on whether or not Australia can reach a net zero emission target by 2050 without nuclear power? Scarce has net zero expertise and net zero qualifications to comment on the matter. Scarce appears to be ignorant about a wealth of relevant research on Australia’s renewable energy potential such as the Business Council of Australia’s recent report which argues for a rapid, renewables-led decarbonisation.

“Scarce also appears to be ignorant about progress in South Australia, with the SA Liberal Government not only ruling out nuclear power as being unviable now and into the foreseeable future, but also enthusiastically pursuing a goal of net 100% renewables by 2030.

“Scarce doesn’t even know what his own Royal Commission said. He claims that small modular reactors are lower cost than large-scale nuclear generation. In fact, the Royal Commission found that power produced by small modular reactors based on the NuScale design would cost a hopelessly uneconomic A$225 per megawatt-hour. To put that into context, the Minerals Council of Australia says that small modular reactors won’t find a market unless they can produce power at a cost of A$60-$80 per megawatt hour.

“Renewables coupled with storage are cheaper than nuclear as CSIRO found in a 2020 report:

* Nuclear (small modular): A$258-338 per megawatt hour.

* Wind or solar PV with 2‒6 hours storage (battery or pumped hydro): A$84‒151 per megawatt hour.

“Likewise, Peter Farley, a fellow of the Australian Institution of Engineers, concludes that Australia can get equivalent renewable power plus backup power (e.g. pumped hydro or battery storage) for one-third of the cost of nuclear power, in one-third of the time.

“Scarce’s handling of the Royal Commission was deeply biased and disgraceful. For example its main recommendation was that SA should establish a nuclear waste import and dumping business but Scarce’s report said almost nothing about the chemical explosion which shut down the only deep underground nuclear waste repository in the world, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plan in the USA.

“The farcical engineering of a positive economic case to proceed with the nuclear waste import plan was ridiculed by ABC journalist Stephen Long. After the Royal Commission, the SA Parliament released a report by the Nuclear Economics Consulting Group which noted that the Royal Commission’s economic analysis failed to consider important issues which “have significant serious potential to adversely impact the project and its commercial outcomes”.

“Friends of the Earth would welcome the opportunity to publicly debate Scarce to expose his nuclear ignorance and misinformation,” Dr. Green concluded.

October 25, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry’s new spin is the same old outdated propaganda

The nuclear industry’s updated songsheet remains outdated  https://johnmenadue.com/the-nuclear-industrys-updated-songsheet-remains-outdated/By Mark DiesendorfOct 21, 2021  The campaign for nuclear power stations in Australia defies the unstoppable rise of renewables and should be rejected by governments and the electorate — it’s a technology whose time has passed.

With the Glasgow climate summit approaching and the government’s announcement that Australia would buy nuclear-powered submarines instead of diesel, the nuclear industry is campaigning more vocally for nuclear power stations in Australia. Their revised songsheets include both resuscitated old lines that have been rejected many times and several relatively new songs of a pernicious nature.

Revival of old songs 

It is claimed that electricity grids need baseload power stations, such as coal or nuclear, that can run 24/7 at full rated power, except when they break down or undergo maintenance and refuelling. But nowadays energy experts who are not committed to the nuclear industry recognise that the variability of wind and solar must be balanced with storage, new transmission links, demand response, and/or flexible power stations that can start up in seconds to minutes and can vary their output rapidly. These include hydroelectricity with a dam, pumped hydro (with two dams at different elevations), batteries, concentrated solar thermal with storage, and open-cycle gas turbines that can burn biofuels and green hydrogen and ammonia.

Even modern nuclear reactors cannot compete in flexibility of operation with these technologies and measures. Furthermore, operating in a more flexible mode carries economic penalties for nuclear, which is already exorbitantly expensive…………………….

Another item on the revised nuclear songsheet is the claim that the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi was entirely the fault of the tsunami, that it was all just “a natural event”. Yet the choice of technology cannot be exonerated, because it resulted in mass evacuation, compensation payments (huge in total but inadequate for individuals), destruction of the local agriculture and fishing industries, temporary loss of national tourism, temporary collapse of the electricity grid, massive removal of radioactive soil and plants, a multi-decades-long continuing process to decommission the reactors, and the need to import vast quantities of fossil fuels. (The latter would have been greatly reduced if the government’s prior commitment to nuclear hadn’t resulted in its neglect of renewable energy.) Total costs have been estimated at over US$500 billion, while the nuclear power station was insured for only US$1.5 billion.

The scale of the disaster resulted from the choice of nuclear technology. Yet at Kamisu, on the coast to the south of Fukushima, a wind farm located in the surf survived the tsunami and continued to generate electricity until the grid went down.

Another new pro-nuclear song identifies a spike in the wholesale electricity price and blames it on renewables and the absence of nuclear. Yet wholesale prices in electricity markets fluctuate up and down according to supply and demand. With increasing penetration of wind and solar PV into the grid, these fluctuations are superposed on a declining trend in wholesale electricity price. This decline results from the fact that the costs of operating a wind or solar farm are almost zero, and so these technologies have the top priority to operate (see Merit Order Effect). In the UK, electricity prices are higher than necessary because the government has overruled market principles and given priority in operation to nuclear power, despite the fact that it has much higher operating costs than wind and solar PV.

Another tactic used by nuclear supporters in recent years is to claim that 100 per cent renewable electricity scenarios would occupy vast areas of land, compete with food production and reduce biodiversity. Yet the reality is that most wind and solar farms are erected on agricultural or marginal land. Although wind farms can span large areas, the land area actually occupied by the turbine, access roads and substation typically amounts to 1 to 2 per cent of the land spanned. Wind farms are compatible with almost all forms of agriculture. Although the presence of solar farms excludes some agriculture, they can be erected sufficiently high above ground for sheep to shelter beneath them. Both wind and solar farms contribute valuable rent to farmers. Rooftop solar occupies no land. 

A rather desperate tactic used by a few pro-nuclear debaters is to claim falsely that a recent report by a leading solar research organisation has admitted that solar energy has failed. Without seeing the actual report, it is difficult to refute the claim in the heat of debate and so the lie may score a debating point. However, when it is checked and exposed after the debate, it can backfire on the perpetrator and their case.

Introducing nuclear power to Australia — including convincing the electorate, local governments and local populations, and building the infrastructure — would take at least 15 years, while taking financial resources away from renewables. But new nuclear power stations could not contribute in time to assist the rapid electricity transition needed for climate mitigation. And once 100 per cent renewable electricity is established with the bulk of energy generation by cheap solar and wind, nuclear power could not compete economically. It’s a technology whose time has passed.

Too slow for climate mitigation 

If a national government commits to net zero emissions by 2050 (which may be too late for keeping global heating below 1.5 degrees), then it must achieve zero emissions from all energy (electricity, transport and heat) by about 2040. This is because energy is the least difficult sector to transition to zero emissions. Agriculture and non-energy industrial processes will need more time to reduce emissions and, if possible, to remove carbon dioxide to offset emissions they cannot reduce. Achieving zero energy emissions by 2040 entails achieving zero emissions from electricity by 2035 or preferably 2030, because electrifying transport and heat will take longer than transitioning electricity to renewables. Wind and solar farms can be planned and built in just three years. https://johnmenadue.com/the-nuclear-industrys-updated-songsheet-remains-outdated/

October 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s pro nuclear lobby revs up its propaganda, via News Corpse, but it’s short on facts

Some examples.


PM must go nuclear before Glasgow trip
   Herrald Sun Terry McCrann,

The PM must make an aggressive bi-partisan commitment to nuclear power in Australia before he goes to Glasgow promising an ‘utterly stupid’ net zero emissions target. 20 Oct 21,

Net-zero hour as Nats urged to take the nuclear option   Courier Mail 

A maverick Nationals senator has warned his colleagues they must be open to nuclear power if net-zero is to become a reality.

Really green environmentalists’ are saying we should go nuclear to save the planet  https://www.skynews.com.au/opinion/paul-murray/really-green-environmentalists-are-saying-we-should-go-nuclear-to-save-the-planet/video/2422d6e58bdaca6a2da0ec49798d597f Sky News host Chris Kenny says a lot of “really green environmentalists” are saying Australia should go nuclear to save the planet.

Mr Kenny said while “every man and his dog” has an opinion on net zero by 2050 it cannot be reached on current technology without the use of nuclear power.

“The only countries that can go close to net zero do so with a lot of nuclear power,” he said.

……….” I can’t understand why we aren’t going for nuclear power , if you really want zero emissions technology, and at least we know that nuclear works. “ Anrew Bolt on Sky News 21 Oct 21

Australia is ‘held back’ by Labor Party on nuclear  https://www.skynews.com.au/opinion/andrew-bolt/australia-is-held-back-by-labor-party-on-nuclear/video/3aa7febaa7897df6b0a2e93f66b1bf53

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says Australia is being “held back by Anthony Albanese” on establishing nuclear power in the country.

“If the Labor Party, in a bipartisan way, came forward as proper statesmen and women, and said they support nuclear power, then we would have a nuclear industry here,” Mr Joyce told Sky News host Andrew Bolt.

“And that would be a great outcome for our nation.

“But we know the political tactics of the Labor left led by Anthony Albanese, will just use it as a mechanism to cut and dice us on fear tactics.”

October 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | Leave a comment