Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

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

Australia’s nuclear submarines are looking more and more like a mirage.

NUCLEAR SUBMARINES LOOK MORE AND MORE LIKE A MIRAGE, AU Manufacturing, Analysis by Peter Roberts, 18 October 21,

Admiral Mead first implied (by wanting to take a question on notice) that he had no idea of schedule, then that the boats were to be in the water by the end of next decade.

Mead then implied he had no idea of whether advice on cost was given to the government, then that advice had been ‘provided by the department to government over many months’, and then that ‘our projected cost forward is that it will be significant and it will be more than Attack’.

The upshot is that Australia entered into a process that will lead to the expenditure of more than $90 billion with only the vaguest idea of how much they would cost or when they could be delivered.

The more time passes since the Prime Minister’s sudden cancelling of our order for French submarines in favour of US or British nuclear ones, the more obvious it is that Australia will never actually acquire them.

Not only that, the more time passes the more obvious it is that even if we did buy nuclear boats, they are unlikely to be built in Adelaide. Or if Adelaide, somehow, had some involvement there would be bugger all genuine Australian industrial content in the things.

This became clearer on Friday in the Senate economic references committee when South Australian Senator Rex Patrick – himself a former submariner – closely questioned the Royal Australian Navy Commander Admiral Jonathan Mead about the N-submarine decision.

As Patrick put it later: ‘Our Collins class subs will still be needed in 2050.

“By that time the last Collins boat, HMAS Rankin, will be unmaintainable and a steel coffin in combat.”

The lack of clarity from the Navy is mirrored by other evidence given – our nuclear science agency and regulator gave very few details on what their role will be in monitoring and regulating any new nuclear propelled submarines, according to Senator Kim Carr.

But it is the likely lack of science and industry involvement in this massive expenditure which is really worrying.

Defence media has been full of speculative stories about whether any submarines would be built in Adelaide, whether Australia might lease submarines from the US, and whether these might be second-hand submarines.

Who would crew and maintain these vessels, who would provide for basic safety given that N-reactors are supposedly going to be fitted to submarines in Adelaide, and whether they would be under Australia’s sovereign control remains a mystery since we will know nothing about the nuclear propulsion systems on board.

Australia acquiring N-submarines under these circumstances is about as useful as giving Borneo head-hunters a F-35 fighter jet………………. https://www.aumanufacturing.com.au/nuclear-submarines-look-more-and-more-like-a-mirage

October 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear argument has ‘more holes than Swiss cheese’ Ian Lowe

Nuclear argument has ‘more holes than Swiss cheese’ CLARE PEDDIE, The Advertiser p.21 Sat 16 October
Scientist and author Professor Ian Lowe 

The costs of solar and wind are still coming down, while it requires optimism bordering on delusion to see any realistic prospect of nuclear electricity becoming competitive,” 

AUSTRALIA makes more money selling cheese than uranium, according to the author of a new book on the nuclear industry who says those pushing to expand it need a reality check.

 Professor Ian Lowe, an adjunct professor at Flinders University, says he wants to inject cold hard facts into the hot nuclear power debate. Professor Lowe said nuclear power was too costly for Australia, because it was four times more expensive than renewable energy and came with the problem of long term radioactive waste storage. “The costs of solar and wind are still coming down, while it requires optimism bordering on delusion to see any realistic prospect of nuclear electricity becoming competitive,” 

Professor Lowe said. Launching his new book Long Half-life, The Nuclear Industry in Australia, he also referred to the chapter on the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, for which Professor Lowe was a member of the expert advisory committee and gave evidence to the citizens’ jury. “While the process followed by the royal commission was clearly best practice and its report was an exceptionally thorough document, its most contentious recommendation (on SA becoming a repository for the world’s nuclear waste) failed to achieve the level of social consent needed,” he said. 

To put Australia’s nuclear industry in perspective, he said uranium accounted for 1 per cent of mineral exports, ranking with such metals as tin and tantalum. Export figures for 2019-20 were 7195 tonnes valued at $688m for uranium compared to almost 158,000 tonnes of cheese, worth about $995m. “(Nuclear) safeguards arrangements have more holes than Swiss cheese and Scientist and author Professor Ian Lowe radioactive waste is more unsavoury than an old gorgonzola, (so) I’d rather we supported cheese,” he said

October 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, uranium | Leave a comment

Collapse of the nuclear industry’s ”golden hope”

Nuclear industry isn’t offering the ‘golden hope’ it promised  https://www.skynews.com.au/opinion/paul-murray/nuclear-industry-isnt-offering-the-golden-hope-it-promised/video/2d7dd9a7b928b85657fe94df1483c459, October 12, 2021  

Former NSW premier Bob Carr says cost blowouts and huge delays around the world are showing the nuclear industry is not offering the “golden hope” it promised. “In the whole of the United States there is only one nuclear power plant under construction and it is being subjected to the most extreme delays and cost blowouts,” he told Sky News host Paul Murray. “And meanwhile there are six currently being taken out of commission.

“In France there hasn’t been a new power plant added to their grid since 1999 and they’re taking at least three, perhaps six out of it. “The only new plant to be built in western Europe has been in Finland it was supposed to be operating in 2009 and there’ve been huge cost blowouts there.

“That’s why I say the industry is not offering us the silver bullet, the golden hope that we were led to believe and which persuaded me 15 years ago.” Mr Carr argued renewables backed up by batteries are Australia’s “safest bet” for pulling off a transition to net zero emissions.

October 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

New push for nuclear energy in Australia, but does it really stand the test?


Explainer: should Australia build nuclear power plants to combat the climate crisis?

Though renewable energy could meet 100% of demand by 2025, the nuclear option still looms over discussions on how to rapidly lower emissions. Is it worth it? 
Royce Kurmelovs. Guardian, 13 Oct 21,

Weeks out from the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, political figures and commentators have again suggested Australia should consider nuclear energy as part of its future power grid.

Though renewable energy could meet 100% of demand by 2025 at certain times of day at current rates of progress – a trend that could be turbocharged with active support from the federal government – the prospect of an Australian nuclear power station still looms large in the public conversation.

………. On Monday BHP’s vice-president of sustainability and climate, Dr Fiona Wild, called for Australia to consider nuclear due to the urgency of the threat of climate collapse.

…….. On Tuesday the Australian newspaper’s contributing economics editor, Judith Sloan, defended the “plight of nuclear power” by calling for a rational debate on the merits of adopting the technology.

………… As of 2019, the cost of a nuclear power plant had risen to US$1bn for 100MW of generation capacity. Construction of a commercial-scale plant would take at least 15 years. If Australia had started work on a nuclear reactor before the pandemic, it would not be in operation until about 2035. The small or “modular” reactors that are held up as the future of the industry won’t be affordable until 2050.

Could they help to reduce emissions?

Nuclear power is not carbon neutral. While the act of generating power itself is fairly efficient and low-emitting, the process of mining the uranium, trucking it somewhere to be refined and pouring the concrete to build the plant creates significant emissions. As uranium is a finite resource, nuclear power is also not “renewable”.

Renewables, of course, share similar problems because so many other systems still rely on fossil fuels – wind turbine towers require steel, PV solar cells need resins, everything relies on diesel to transport it – but the total CO2 emissions are minute and the rapid rate of installation means there is a better shot at decarbonising these processes more quickly than with nuclear. With dirt cheap PV solar and rapid improvements being made in hydrogen and battery technology, it will only get easier.

What about stabilising the grid?

Critics of renewable energy sources say they do not have the capacity to respond to periods of high electricity demand with “dispatchable power” on calm, cloudy days, because they depend on the wind and sun. Nuclear, it is argued, can substitute effectively for the industrial-scale fossil fuel plants now in use that can idle up or down according to demand.

The problems with renewables are real, but they are becoming less of a roadblock. Plans are already in train to make Australia’s power grid more decentralised with a combination of PV solar, offshore wind and onshore wind working to pick up any slack in the system when one goes offline. With the addition of battery technology to store and deliver electricity on demand, the business case for nuclear starts to look pretty thin.

The challenge of renewables

Thanks to the uptake of PV solar on rooftops it is costing coal and gas power plants more to keep running during periods of low demand and high supply. Operators are faced with a choice: push through or power down. In Australia, operators of ageing coal plants have so far chosen to push through, but as periods of oversupply become more frequent, the costs will make it more attractive to turn off the generator. Firing them back up again is another expensive process – one not shared by renewables, which can be turned on or off quickly.

Australia is a long way from hitting peak renewable energy, and there is time to resolve the challenges associated with it long before any nuclear plant would have a chance to make it off a whiteboard. Should current trends hold, breaking ground on a new nuclear plant today would mean committing to a white elephant that would be too expensive even to turn on.

Any other problems?

All of this is without even talking about plans to handle the decommissioning of old nuclear reactors at the end of their lifecycle or the storage of spent nuclear fuel – another very expensive, time-consuming process. Australia already struggles with decommissioning and rehabilitating old mine sites, but nuclear power presents new challenges.

…… The federal government is currently working on a separate plan to build a storage facility for low-level and intermediate waste at Kimba in South Australia, but the process has proved divisive. Under the current proposal, this facility would not be equipped to handle spent nuclear fuel, and to scale it up would mean starting all over again. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/13/explainer-should-australia-build-nuclear-power-plants-to-combat-the-climate-crisis

October 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The facts contradict the pro nuclear spin of the Minerals Council of Australia’s report, written by Ben Heard.

“a smaller reactor, at least the water-cooled reactors that are most likely to be built earliest, will produce more, not less, nuclear waste per unit of electricity they generate because of lower efficiencies.”

Due to the loss of economies of scale, the decommissioning and waste management unit costs of SMR will probably be higher than those of a large reactor (some analyses state that between two and three times higher).”

Small nuclear reactors, huge costs   Dr. Jim Green 11 October 2021  Even by the standards of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), the new report published by the country’s most influential coal lobby on the subject of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) is jiggery-pokery of the highest order.

Why would a mining industry body promote SMRs? After mining for some years — or at most decades — no company would want to take on the responsibility of decommissioning a nuclear reactor and managing high-level nuclear waste for millennia. No companies are cited in the report expressing interest in SMRs to power their mining operations.

Perhaps the MCA – which infamously provided the lump of coal for Scott Morrison to wave around in parliament – thinks that promoting nuclear power will slow the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, and believes that it is in the interests of some of its member companies to slow the transition.

If so, the timing of the report isn’t great, coming in the same week as the Business Council of Australia’s report which argues for a rapid, renewables-led decarbonisation, and Fortescue’s announcement that it plans to build the world’s largest green energy hydrogen manufacturing facility in Queensland.

Perhaps the MCA is doing the bidding of the (mostly foreign-owned) uranium mining companies operating in Australia? The MCA’s CEO Tania Constable said: “Australia should take advantage of growing international interest in nuclear energy and look to expand its already significant uranium sector.”

Perhaps … but there’s no evidence that the two companies mining uranium in Australia — BHP (Olympic Dam) and Heathgate Resources (Beverley Four Mile) — are lobbying for nuclear power. And Australia’s “already significant” uranium industry could hardly be more insignificant — it accounts for about 0.2 percent of Australia’s export revenue and about 0.01 percent of all jobs in Australia.

Bob Carr’s atomic bombshell

The MCA report also came in the same week as Bob Carr’s striking about-face on nuclear power. Having previously supported nuclear power, Carr wrote in The Australian: “In 2010 one enthusiast predicted within 10 years fourth-generation reactors and small modular reactors would be commonplace, including in Australia. None exists, here or abroad.”

The MCA report says SMRs are an “ideal fit” for Australia, citing their enhanced safety, lower cost than large-scale nuclear reactors or equivalent energy production methods, and lower waste production than current reactors.

It’s all nonsense. The safety claims don’t stack up. Nor do the claims about waste. Academic M.V. Ramana notes that “a smaller reactor, at least the water-cooled reactors that are most likely to be built earliest, will produce more, not less, nuclear waste per unit of electricity they generate because of lower efficiencies.”

And a 2016 European Commission document states: “Due to the loss of economies of scale, the decommissioning and waste management unit costs of SMR will probably be higher than those of a large reactor (some analyses state that between two and three times higher).”

SMRs have a similar capacity to many existing coal and gas-fired power plants in Australia, the MCA report states, so would make an ideal replacement. Back to Bob Carr:

“Where is the shire council putting up its hand to host a nuclear power plant? Harder to find than a sponsor for a high-temperature toxic waste incinerator.

“Nobody in the Hunter Valley has urged nuclear for the Liddell site, even on the footprint of this coal-fired power plant scheduled to close. And not even invoking the prospect of a small modular reactor that 10 years back was the vanguard of the nuclear renaissance. About to be planted across the Indonesian archipelago and the rest of Asia, we were promised.  Today they exist only on the Rolls-Royce drawing boards they have adorned since the 1970s.”

Economics

The MCA said in June 2020 that SMRs won’t find a market unless they can produce power at a cost of A$60-$80 per megawatt hour (MWh). That’s a big problem for enthusiasts because there’s no chance whatsoever that SMRs will produce power in that cost range.

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 estimates SMR power costs at A$258-338 / MWh in 2020 and A$129-336 / MWh in 2030.

Russia’s floating nuclear plant is said to be the only operational SMR in the world, although it doesn’t fit the ‘modular’ definition of serial factory production.

A 2016 OECD Nuclear Energy Agency report said that electricity produced by the Russian floating plant is expected to cost about US$200 (A$273) / MWh, about four times higher than the target range cited by the MCA and more expensive than power from large reactors (US$129-198 / MWh).

Completion of Russia’s floating plant was nine years behind schedule and construction costs increased six-fold.

Yet, despite a mountain of evidence that SMRs won’t come close to producing power in the A$60-80 / MWh range, the new MCA report asserts that “robust estimates” using “conservative assumptions” suggest that SMRs will produce power at a cost of A$64-77 MWh by 2030.

One wonders who the MCA think they’re kidding.

The MCA report was written by Ben Heard, who recently closed his ‘Bright New World’ nuclear lobby website, just before taking up a full time role with consultancy Frazer-Nash. Heard promotes Canadian SMR-wannabe Terrestrial Energy in the MCA report but does not disclose his role on the company’s advisory board.

Heard also contributed two chapters on nuclear power to a 2020 book titled ‘An Australian nuclear industry: Starting with submarines’.

Dr Jim Green is lead author of a 2019 Nuclear Monitor report on SMRs and national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia.

October 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Will all submarines, even nuclear ones, be obsolete and ‘visible’ by 2040?


Will all submarines, even nuclear ones, be obsolete and ‘visible’ by 2040?

Technologies could render the ocean transparent by the time Australia’s new submarines are ready, some experts say, Guardian, Tory Shepherd, 5 Oct 21,
 Australia’s proposed nuclear-powered submarines could be obsolete by the time they hit the water in the 2040s due to new technologies making underwater vessels “visible”, some experts argue.

One of the controversies over the federal government’s decision to ditch the $90bn deal to build conventional submarines in favour of nuclear boats is the timeline for getting them battle-ready.

The navy will have to stretch out the lifespan of the existing Collins-class fleet and possibly hire submarines to fill the gap before the new ones are on the horizon.

But even before the deal to buy 12 submarines from France’s Naval Group was made, military analysts warned that submarines of all types would be rendered obsolete by new technology including submersible drones and new weapons systems.

There are also warnings that different technologies will render the ocean “transparent”, so even the stealthiest submarines could be spotted by an enemy force.

The Australian National University’s National Security College report Transparent Oceans? found that transparency is “likely or “very likely” by the 2050s, a decade after Australia’s new fleet of nuclear-powered subs is due to enter service.

A multidisciplinary team looked at new sensor technology, underwater communications and the possibility of tripwires at choke points. They also examined new ways to detect chemical, biological, acoustic and infra-red signatures, finding that even with improvements in stealth submarines will become visible.

The report found “future technologies will make the oceans broadly transparent and counter-detection technologies will not have the same salience in the decades ahead as they have had previously”.

China has already developed submarine-spotting lasers.

CSIRO is working with a Chinese marine science institute that has separately developed satellite technology that can find submarines at depths of up to 500 metres.

That collaboration is due to end next year. The Australian has reported that Asio warned it could help the Chinese navy to hunt down Australian submarines but CSIRO said making that connection was “alarmist and irresponsible reporting”.

The defence analyst Albert Palazzo, writing for the Lowy Institute, said China’s technology will be advanced enough that “any Australian submarine that attempts to do something in these waters, such as launch a tomahawk missile, will reveal its position and shortly thereafter be destroyed”.

Others say submarines are just a base platform for a range of new and evolving technologies…………….

According to the taskforce set up under Aukus, the new submarines will have “superior characteristics of stealth, speed, manoeuvrability, survivability, and almost limitless endurance”, with better weapons, the ability to deploy drones and “a lower risk of detection”.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/05/will-all-submarines-even-nuclear-ones-be-obsolete-and-visible-by-2040

October 5, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

When talking about nuclear waste and radioactivity, blurring the figures is a good pro nuclear strategy!


Kazzi Jai
  Fight to stop  nuclear waste dump in  South Australia , 3 Oct 21, · Something which really ticks me off is when percentages are quoted WITHOUT giving the actual figures involved AS WELL!

Case in point – Hef Griffiths is quoted in the latest minutes (August 2021 Kimba City Council) as saying….

Mr Griffiths said that there is a lot of information about ILW remaining radioactive for 10,000 years, however the material that remains from synroc and reprocessing that’s returned from France indicates that after 300 years 99% of the radioactivity will have decayed away. After 600 years, 99.9% will have decayed away.”

Okay – let us assume that the highest upper level of ILW classification is 10^4 TeraBequerels/m3….which is the same as 10^16 Becquerels/m3.

Now it is IAEA and ARPANSA who choose to use Becquerels, so we will stick with those units. Becquerels are the International Unit (SI Unit) for radioactivity activity. It is defined as the number of times each second a nucleus in radioactive material decays and releases radiation. The higher the number of Becquerels, the more radioactive the material is. However, it is a very small unit.
37 billion Becquerels = 1 Curie. It can be written as 3.7 x 10^10 Becquerels or disintergrations per second…… Be mindful that 1 Curie of any radioactivity – alpha, beta or gamma – will fry you.

Okay….so let’s use some easy figures to get my point across.
Let us use hypothetically for example 100 TeraBecquerels as the nuclear waste in question for ease of mathematics. This would technically fall within the category of ILW in Australia, under Australia’s criteria.
It is sitting there, in its shielded cask.

What Hef Griffiths is saying is that in 300 years (approximately 12 generations of future people from us today – or looking back BEFORE European Colonization of Australia – to put it in perspective) that 99% of that waste would have decayed away. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, since AGAIN this information IS NOT REFERENCED, but that means that 1% activity REMAINS! So….that 100 TeraBecquerels of nuclear waste now measures 1 TeraBecquerel!! That is by no means SAFE to handle without shielding EVEN AT THAT STAGE….AND IS NO WHERE NEAR BACKGROUND LEVELS!!

Hopefully that puts this type of PRESENTATION IN CONTEXT!!
Percentages are OFTEN used to HIDE REAL TIME FIGURES!

This is NOT unique to the Nuclear Industry – it is a ploy often used in Politics to HOODWINK people to thinking that the figures ARE NOT IMPORTANT AT ALL – when in fact THEY ARE!!

ALWAYS ASK FOR EXACT FIGURES, WHEN PERCENTAGES ARE QUOTED!!

This was the SAME CASE when it came to the “Community Support” assessment – PERCENTAGES AGAIN ONLY QUOTED!

When they do this – THEY ARE TRYING TO GET AWAY WITH SOMETHING!!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556

October 4, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Expansion of nuclear engineering at University of New South Wales

Australia’s only nuclear engineering program expands, Manufacturers Monthly, September 27, 2021  The Sir William Tyree Foundation has donated $1 million to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to support expanding nuclear engineering program and foster the skills in Australia for using future technology. 

The program prepares students for careers in high-tech industries including nuclear science, nuclear medicine, mining and resources, energy, manufacturing, aerospace, space exploration and defence……….

This gift builds on the foundations laid down to develop a high-tech nuclear industry in Australia, which will be essential if we choose to adopt nuclear energy …….. Sir William Tyree’s daughter and chair of the foundation board, Robyn Fennell said. 

“To make this a reality, nuclear engineering programs like UNSW’s are critical in ensuring Australia has the home-grown skills to support that choice. My father believed strongly in the benefits of nuclear energy as a safe, clean Ed. [there’s that word again – it’s a lie] power source for Australia and our gift continues to support that vision.” ……..

September 27, 2021 Posted by | Education, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Need to investigate ANSTO’s tax-payer funded, loss-making, unnecessary nuclear medicine production

Australian government watcher, 28 Aug 21, The production of isotopes for medical purposes by nuclear reactors is a declining industry due to its inherently dangerous and risky nature and its extremely high manufacturing costs

These isotopes are being replaced by cyclotron produced isotopes which are practically and completely free of any risk to the patients and can be produced by relatively easier and safer means at a greatly reduced costs

The only reason that isotopes produced by nuclear reactors are used for medical purposes is that their manufacture is highly and unrealistically subsidised by government grants as is the case with ANSTO in Australia

The rapid growth in the international use of cyclotron isotopes for medical therapies is making the production of isotopes by nuclear reactors obsolete

As a result the continued production of isotopes for medical purposes by ANSTO at Lucas Heights could be stopped
immediately with huge savings in government expenditure and no effect on the provision of medical therapies

There were also arguments within ANSTO against the proposed corporatising of the medical isotopes production since this would expose all of its problems including its obsolete and outdated status and the extremely high production costs

In addition there are concerns both externally and within ANSTO internally about the cost and marketing difficulties with the Synroc technology which is far from the initially promoted commercial success and has been overtaken in many countries by their own developed alternatives to reduce the volume of nuclear waste and treat it to make it suitable for long-term storage and eventual disposal

In view of this it is essential for a full and proper independent inquiry and investigation into ANSTO to determine the true situation and make practical and hopefully cost saving recommendations as to its future operations

August 28, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, health, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

How War Profiteers Manufacture Consent

How War Profiteers Manufacture Consent, Consortium News, August 13, 2021  Governments and war profiteers fund think tank reports that mass media then pass off as news, writes Caitlin Johnstone.By Caitlin Johnstone

“Think tank” is a good and accurate label, not because a great deal of thought happens in them, but because they’re dedicated to controlling what people think, and because they are artificial enclosures for slimy creatures. Their job, generally speaking, is to concoct and market reasons why it would be good and smart to do something evil and stupid.

And it works. Because of the efforts of warmonger-funded think tanks like the Lowy Institute, Center for a New American Security, and the profoundly odious Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), more and more Australian brains are being turned into soup by ridiculous propaganda narratives about China posing a meaningful threat to them.

CaitlinJohnstone.com One of the weirdest things about the mass media propaganda that manipulates the way people think, act and vote to maintain the status quo is that mainstream news outlets routinely cite the employees of think tanks that are sponsored by war profiteers and government powers as expert sources for their reports. And they just get away with it.

To pick one of nearly infinite possible examples, here in Australia the Murdoch press are currently citing a report generated through the funding of governments and weapons manufacturers to whip up public hysteria about the ridiculous fantasy that China might attack us.

The most egregious of these is a write-up from Sky News with the headline, “Lowy Institute report: China possesses ability to ‘strike Australia’ with long-range missiles, bombers.“

On social media Sky News is sharing this story with the even more incendiary caption “China now has the military arsenal to pose the greatest threat to the Australian mainland since World War II, experts warn.”

The “experts” in question are the Lowy Institute, named after its billionaire founder, which is funded by multiple branches of the Australian government including ASIO and the Department of Defence, by major financial institutions and by weapons manufacturers like Boeing.

The author of the Lowy Institute report  is Thomas Shugart, himself an employee of the notorious Center for a New American Security, a Biden administration-aligned warmongering think tank that receives funding from top war profiteers Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, as well as the U.S. State Department and numerous other governments.

So, in summary, government agencies and war profiteers paid for a report which manufactures consent for their agendas among policymakers and the public, and mass media institutions passed this off as “news.”

And this is exactly what these think tanks exist to do: cook up narratives which benefit their immensely powerful and unfathomably psychopathic sponsors, and insert those narratives at key points of influence.

“Think tank” is a good and accurate label, not because a great deal of thought happens in them, but because they’re dedicated to controlling what people think, and because they are artificial enclosures for slimy creatures. Their job, generally speaking, is to concoct and market reasons why it would be good and smart to do something evil and stupid.

And it works. Because of the efforts of warmonger-funded think tanks like the Lowy Institute, Center for a New American Security, and the profoundly odious Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), more and more Australian brains are being turned into soup by ridiculous propaganda narratives about China posing a meaningful threat to them.

As The Conversation highlighted last month, a poll conducted by that same Lowy Institute claims that “only 16% of surveyed Australians [express] trust in China compared with 52% just three years ago,” that a “similar number of Australians think China will launch an armed attack on Australia (42%) as on Taiwan (49%),” and that “more Australians (13%) than Taiwanese (4%) think a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is likely sometime soon.”

Zombie Outbreak

You can understand why the Lowy Institute would want to show off numbers like that to potential sponsors, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are entirely accurate; I’ve started conversations with complete strangers here in Victoria recently and seen them start babbling about how awful China is within a few minutes, completely out of the blue. It’s like watching a zombie outbreak in real time.

And this is of course entirely by design. Because of its useful geostrategic location in relation to China, Australia has been turned into a functional U.S. military/intelligence asset so crucial that multiple coups have been instituted here to ensure we remain aligned with the Pentagon against Beijing. You can’t have the locals meddling with the gears of your war machine with pesky little nuisances like the democratic process, so you’ve got to keep them aggressively propagandized.

This is why our consciousness is continually pummeled with think tank-manufactured narratives about China. An attention-grabbing headline about the big scary Chinese boogeyman will almost always be authored by a sleazy think tank denizen or be based on the work of one.

A few weeks ago 60 Minutes Australia ran an unbelievably hysterical segment branding New Zealand “New Xi-Land” because its government didn’t perfectly align with Washington on one particular aspect of its Cold War agenda, and it featured an interview with an Australian Strategic Policy Institute spinmeister as well as the actual ASPI office.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute is cited by mass media outlets around the world and is funded by, you guessed it, governments and war profiteers. According to APAC News’ Marcus Reubenstein, ASPI is funded by all the usual weapons manufacturers, by the U.S. State Department and other governments.

“ASPI has received funding from the governments of Britain, Japan and Taiwan as well as NATO,” Reubenstein writes. “Among its corporate supporters are global weapons makers ThalesBAE SystemsRaytheonSAABNorthrop GrummanMDBA Missile Systems and Naval Group. Yet their contribution of over $330,000 last year is dwarfed by that of a handful of government departments and agencies.”

Media citation of warmonger-funded think tanks is common throughout the Western world. Government-sponsored imperialist spin factories like Bellingcat are routinely cited by the mainstream media, and those citations are leant credibility by the fawning puff pieces which those media institutions regularly churn out about the propaganda firm.

The fact that disguising statements by propagandists who are sponsored by governments and war profiteers is journalistic malpractice should be obvious to everyone in the world, and if media and education systems were doing their jobs instead of indoctrinating society into accepting the status quo, it would be. But propaganda only works if you don’t realize you’re being propagandized, and keeping people from realizing this is itself a part of the propaganda…

Make a fortune killing people and selling their bodies and you’d be remembered as the century’s worst monster. Make the same fortune selling the weapons used to kill the same number of people in wars you propagandized into existence and you’re a respected job creator.

Absolutely appalling.  https://consortiumnews.com/2021/08/13/how-war-profiteers-manufacture-consent/

August 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Let the Australian nuclear spin begin – in earnest

‘until we can have the nuclear [power] discussion then carbon farming will play an important role.’‘ Michael McCormack of the Nationals Party , The Age , 18/7/21

You can bet your boots that Michael Mc Cormack knows about as much about nuclear power as a kindergarten kid does.

He is supposed to be an enemy of Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, but on nuclear opinion, and nuclear knowledge, they’re in lockstep.

I was meaning to leave until Ausgust, this very NOW story of the renewed nuclear spin in Australia. I just couldn’t let this one pass – as Mc Cormack just slipped this in to a story that purports to be all about supporting agriculture and carbon farming.

July 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s weapons lobby drumming up fear of nuclear attack by China, against all logic

Those in Australia beating the “drums of war” point to Taiwan as the flashpoint for the next major global conflict. To what end does a first strike on Australia achieve China’s goals in relation to Taiwan?

War with China: zero logic yet the weapons lobby has 42% of Australians believing it   Michael West Media, by Marcus Reubenstein | Jul 16, 2021  Incredibly, a survey finds 42% of Australians believe China will attack Australia, this despite exports to China surging 36% over in the last six months, and despite there being no logical rationale for war with China, or an attack by China. Marcus Reubenstein analyses the ludicrous position of Australia’s China hawks and the mainstream media pushing their agendas. 

“Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war.”

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act 3, Scene 1

China is a rapidly growing economic power, seeking to exert considerable influence in its region and beyond. And like every great power it is a bully which tries to entice, cajole or intimidate other nations into adopting its view of the world.

How is this such a difficult concept for Australians to embrace?

Since Federation we’ve tied our fortunes to two great powers, the declining British Empire then the rising, and rising even more, US global hegemony……….

Who is threatening whom?

new report from the Australia Institute begins with the following words:

“In April this year, Australians were warned by no less an expert than the former Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne, that they may need to engage in a ‘kinetic’ war with China in the next five to ten years.”

Perhaps, in the realm of China policy, ‘no lesser expert’ better describes his authority on the subject.

The same Pyne, famously discussed his role as a defence industry consultant with EY whilst he was a sitting member of the Federal Cabinet, a matter which prompted a Senate investigation.

He still works for EY, sits on the board of defence contractor XTEC, is Chair of the Advisory Board of another defence contractor NIOA, and in June last year Arawa Capital announced him as Chair of its Advisory Board and Investment Committee for a fund investing in weapons systems.

In heralding that appointment Arawa specifically referred to the, still unsubstantiated, Scott Morrison announcement of a malicious cyber attack by an unnamed “state-based” actor. Arawa trumpeted Pyne has “unrivalled knowledge of the cyber, intelligence and national security landscape.”    

With Pyne on board, Arawa said it “anticipates closing out the initial $50mil capital raising swiftly.” It transpired there was a swift “closing out”, ASIC records show six months later Arawa Capital Pty Ltd was deregistered as a company.  

According to research from Michael West Media’s “Revolving Doors” series, Pyne’s numerous board memberships and consultancies put him in direct, or indirect, contact with more than a dozen weapons makers and contractors.

Clearly, talking up a war with China is of no financial benefit to these companies.

Why would China attack Australia?

Should Australia go to war with China in defence of Taiwan? is the title of the Australia Institute report and 42% of its six hundred respondents think China is poised to attack Australia.

How and why?

Those in Australia beating the “drums of war” point to Taiwan as the flashpoint for the next major global conflict. To what end does a first strike on Australia achieve China’s goals in relation to Taiwan?


If Australia has something China wants, it is many times cheaper and easier to buy it than to send your army half way around the world to steal it.              

China’s current leadership is presiding over a great deal more diplomatic disasters than triumphs but, if nothing else, the Chinese are pragmatic.

Australia’s rabid China hawks will no doubt dismiss such assessments, saying China doesn’t need to deploy military assets it would simply launch a nuclear strike on a target—which they ignore is home to 1.2 million ethnically Chinese people.

My counter argument?

The policy wonks in Washington, who made you their lapdogs, didn’t throw you a bone because they thought you were smart, they threw you the bone because they knew you were dumb enough to catch it!

This survey’s inconvenient truth

The same number of respondents were polled in Taiwan and only a few more (49 percent) expressed fears of an attack from the mainland. Bear in mind the Taiwanese are of the same Han ethnicity as the majority of Chinese, who moved over from the mainland in the 1680s; the PRC has never given up its claim to what was once part of China; and the island sits just 161 kilometres off the coast of China.

That four in ten Australians should think Beijing—a mere 9,000 kilometres from Canberra—is gearing up for invasion is staggering.

Report author Allan Behm noted, “Given Australia and Taiwan’s historical and geographical differences, it is astounding that Australians could be more fearful than Taiwan in anticipating an attack from China.”

This anticipation is undoubtedly fuelled by Australia’s China hawks, all with close ties to US-funded research groups and patronage from US weapons makers.

However, they should not be too smug in thinking their “drums of war” are resonating.

73 percent of Australians regard the United States as an aggressive nation, while only six in ten Australians believe the US would come to our aid in the event of war with China.

Given Australia has followed the United States into 100 percent of its wars, that Australians would only rate America a 60 percent chance of leaping to our defence is a sobering statistic.

Totally at odds with Prime Minister Morrison and Foreign Minister Maris Payne’s unquestioned support of the US antagonism towards China, 75 percent of Australians think it is in our interests that China and the US “work together towards world peace”. Of concern to the spin merchants inside the government an even higher number of coalition supporters, 79 percent, think peace with China is a good idea.

Despite the US, and Morrison’s, rhetoric of Taiwan being a like-minded democracy of shared values, 76 percent of Taiwanese rate America as an aggressor. Should the US come to Taiwan’s aid in a war with China, only 18 percent of Taiwanese people think they would win.

How reliable are drummers?

By any sensible strategic logic, the dogs of war should remain in their box. Let the drums of war continue to drum up business for the China threat industry and their death-merchant patrons.  …..

 https://www.michaelwest.com.au/war-with-china-zero-logic-yet-the-weapons-lobby-has-42-of-australians-believing-it/  

July 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment