Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Parliamentary Committee Want Money Wasted On More Nuclear Reports

 Parliamentary Committee Supports Nuclear – But Only If Everyone Is Into It , Solar Quotes, December 19, 2019 by Ronald Brakels   “….They Want Money Wasted On More Reports

The report suggests we get people to write another report on how much nuclear power will cost here:

But I have a different suggestion.  A much cheaper one.  We just wait for another country to build and operate a nuclear power plant at a low enough cost that would be competitive in Australia.  Then we can look into it.

Better yet, to make sure they aren’t exaggerating how cheap their nuclear power is, we say:

“Hey, budget nuclear energy guys, how would you like to build a nuclear power station in Australia?  We give you nothing, but you get the market price for whatever electricity you sell.”

If they say, “nyet” or “bu shi” or “piss off” then we can suspect it’s not as cheap as they’re making it out to be.

If they say, “yes” then we can talk about how they’ll be required to insure it for a reasonable amount based on the costs of nuclear accidents that have occurred in the past.  While nuclear power is very safe, there must have been at least one or two minor little upsets.

Everyone Has To Love Nuclear Energy

The report says that social acceptance of nuclear power is necessary for it to go ahead.  So it’s not going to go ahead because that’s not going to happen.  Nuclear energy has turned out to be an economic disaster overseas, we have much cheaper alternatives, and now that I think about it there have been one or two major nuclear accidents overseas that have left a bad impression.

There was a problem with a nuclear power station in Fukushima, Japan.  The Japanese Government estimated the cost at around $270 billion dollars.  As our government is currently willing to spend around $4.5 million to save an Australian life through public health and safety measures, if we lost that amount of money it would represent around 60,000 Australian lives that potentially could have been saved with it.

Since nuclear power — at the costs we see overseas — is only going to increase electricity bills, and we have far cheaper ways to reduce emissions that are quicker to deploy, and because Australians aren’t in love with a very very small chance of a nuclear accident that has a very high cost, there will never be acceptance for nuclear power in this country.  Not in its current form.  But be sure to let me know when a DeLorean compatible Mr Fusion becomes available.

I’m guessing the entire section on social acceptance is only in the report so when nuclear power doesn’t get built, its supporters can say, “It’s the fault of normal Australians for not believing in the nuclear economic viability fairy hard enough”, rather than admit they themselves were wrong.

The Moratorium Means Nothing

Currently there is a moratorium on nuclear power in Australia.  This means you’re not allowed to build it without special permission from the government.  Well, guess what?  In this country you are never going to be allowed to build a nuclear reactor without permission from the government.  That’s just the way it is.  I know it’s a terrible infringement of our right to build nuclear reactors in our backyards and squash courts.  But on the other hand, it does support our right not to live next door to someone who’s building a nuclear reactor in their backyard, so I could go either way on this one.

The report suggests scrapping the moratorium or partially lifting it.  I’m not sure what partially lifting it means.  Maybe you have to ask for permission but you don’t have to say pretty please or maybe it just means they won’t be too worried if you have an eye patch, a cool scar, and introduce yourself as “The Jackal”.

Because the moratorium doesn’t really mean anything, there may not be any harm in lifting it and shutting up a few idiots who think the only reason nuclear power isn’t currently under construction in this country is because the government hasn’t muttered the magic words, “The moratorium is lifted!”  So they may as well say moratorium leviosa and be done with it.

It’s not as if nuclear power is going to be built in this country one way or the other.  Supporters will soon discover no one’s lining up to build reactors even with our current high wholesale electricity prices.  The only way they will get built is with very substantial subsidies and the government is too busy trying to keep coal power afloat while Australia burns to waste its energy subsidising nuclear.   https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/nuclear-energy-australia/

 

December 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear nonsense from Geoff Russell – “we’re all toast without nuclear power”

Once again, New Matilda gave nuclear lobbyist Geoff Russell a forum for an attack on a critic of the nuclear industry.  (Steggall’s Chicken On Nuclear Family, While Party Politics Buggers Inquiry, 16 Dec 19.) On this occasion, New Matilda was trashing a very mild nuclear critic, Zali Steggall.

So we’re “all toast” without nuclear power? This is nonsense. Even Geoff Russell knows that to get up and running the thousands of nuclear power plants that would be needed to stall global heating – would take decades. That means that, with the speed of global heating, nuclear power would be too late to make any difference. (And that’s if nuclear power really were effective against climate change – which it isn’t, when you consider the whole carbon emitting nuclear fuel cycle from uranium mining to deep disposal of wastes) Meanwhile, energy efficiency, wind and solar power, are quickly set up, quickly effective, and provide energy fuel that is genuinely zero carbon.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Dr Jim Green busts ANSTO’s spin about nuclear wastes

Dr Jim Green at Senate Nuclear Inquiry , 11 Nov 19

WES FANG: I am unaware if you heard the evidence earlier today, but we heard from Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation about the advances that have developed not only in the development of power but also in the way that waste is handled. ANSTO is not a lobbyist; it is a scientific organisation.

Dr GREEN: ANSTO is a lobbyist and its claims about nuclear waste are demonstrably false. I mean that quite literally. If you take the example of the integral fast reactor, the idea is that you can use high-level nuclear waste, consume it in a reactor and then turn it into low-carbon power. That is an incredibly enticing proposition but the reality in Idaho—where they operated one of those demonstration reactors and are now trying to deal with the waste—is that they have turned one difficult, challenging form of nuclear waste, namely spent fuel, into multiple forms of challenging, difficult nuclear waste. They have not improved the situation; they have made a bad situation worse.

That is the reality of the theoretical arguments that you have heard from ANSTO this morning. I would also strong recommend that you read the articles that we have pointed to in our submission from Dr Allison Macfarlane, who is a former chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Committee. Once again, she has looked at demonstration advanced reactor projects. They are not improving waste management issues; they are making those issues more difficult to deal with—demonstrably in the real world, as opposed to the theoretical nonsense you have heard from ANSTO.

December 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Minerals Council renews push for nuclear energy, but rather coy about its costs

“The construction of nuclear power plants has proven to be an economic disaster for the corporations involved and a massive waste of public monies, given the plants are all entirely reliant on government financial subsidies,” IEEFA said.

Nuclear inquiry sparks industry campaign to lift moratorium,  https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/nuclear-inquiry-sparks-industry-campaign-to-lift-moratorium-20191201-p53fsz.htl By Mike Foley, December 1, 2019 — The Minerals Council is ramping up its long-run campaign to remove Australia’s ban on nuclear power, claiming new market research shows majority community support for the technology.

Federal Parliament banned nuclear power in 1998, and the moratorium has remained in place with bipartisan support ever since.

The Morrison government has asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Energy to investigate the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia.

According to the Minerals Council of Australia, one prerequisite for nuclear power, community support, could be achieved if the public are properly informed about the technology.

The Minerals Council commissioned JWS Research to sample Australians’ support for nuclear power. The survey of 1500 people found 40 per cent support nuclear power and 33 per cent oppose it.

The support for nuclear energy rose to 47 per cent when respondents were presented a range of positive and negative facts about the technology.

“The more people learn about it, the greater the support for nuclear energy,” said Minerals Council chief executive Tania Constable.

She said the survey showed politicians that Australians wanted nuclear to be considered in their future energy mix.

“This should give them the courage to act. Any government serious about addressing climate change must be looking at nuclear, the zero-emissions foundation of electricity systems across the globe.”

Focus groups identified the top four positive and negative factors that influenced people’s opinions on nuclear power. These factors were then put to the survey respondents.

The factors for nuclear energy were delivery of emissions-free power around the clock, Australia’s vast landmass could safely house reactors in remote locations, increased uranium mining, and nuclear power plants could bring jobs growth, and Australia already permits uranium exports – which could be utilised at home.

The factors against nuclear energy were the potential for human error to cause accidents at a reactor or waste facility, previous catastrophic failures such as Three Mile Island and Fukushima, concerns of health impacts for people living near reactors or waste facilities, and the risk that uranium exports could be used for weapons.

Energy analyst Lazard’s estimates the current cost of energy production for nuclear is more expensive than renewables.

The levelised cost of solar power around the world for solar power is about $60 per megawatt hour, $42/Mwh for wind, $145/Mwh for coal, and $220/Mwh for nuclear.

Nuclear power production costs could come with new technology. Small to medium sized reactors are proposed as potential cost savers, but there are no commercial examples in operation.

Government contributions would likely be required to underwrite private investment in a nuclear power plant in Australia. The cost of building Britain’s first nuclear plant in a generation, Hinkley Point, has blown out to more than $42 billion. It is contracted to supply the government with power at $176/Mwh.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis submission to the inquiry believes nuclear is one of the most expensive power sources.

“The construction of nuclear power plants has proven to be an economic disaster for the corporations involved and a massive waste of public monies, given the plants are all entirely reliant on government financial subsidies,” IEEFA said.

The Minerals Council submission said nuclear’s zero emissions power generation had to be incorporated into Australia’s future energy mix.

December 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, marketing for nuclear, spinbuster | Leave a comment

From Ziggy Switkowski – a new load of nuclear codswallop

 

Unfortunately, I no longer have access to the full text of this. Somewhere in this article, Switkowski says that small nuclear power is more economic than large.  Interesting that he doesn’t compare it to the cost of other energy forms – solar and wind.

He’s promoting the idea that Australia’s no-nuclear laws should be changed, – perhaps to a compromise – meaning that large nuclear reactors would still be prohibited, but small ones permitted. Good luck with that and all the perambulations involved! Only recently, Switkowski warned on risk of catastrophic failure, if Australia adopts nuclear energy. He sorta covers his back well!

Switkowski preaches for nuclear energy invoking Bill Gates, Elon Musk, AFR,  Aaron Patrick, Senior Correspondent

Prominent businessman Ziggy Switkowksi urged Australians to take inspiration from two of the leading entrepreneurs of the twenty-first century, Bill Gates and Elon Musk, and support the development of a nuclear power industry.

Dr Switkowksi, a nuclear physicist, NBN board member and former Telstra chief executive, said nuclear power could become a major contributor to the electricity grid by 2040 if legalisation of the power source began now…..

With three separate inquiries into nuclear power under way, Dr Switkowksi has emerged as a leading advocate for the next generation of nuclear power plants known as small modular reactors, which supporters hope can avoid the huge costs and perceived safety risks of large-scale nuclear plants.

Dr Switkowksi, who has also briefed two separate federal parliamentary committees, told the NSW inquiry that half of NSW’s power supply could eventually be provided by nuclear power, which would compliment renewable sources after the state’s coal stations shut down. ……

Nuclear power is illegal under NSW and federal law. The NSW parliament is considering a proposed law by One Nation MP Mark Latham that would permit a nuclear industry to be developed in the state.

Many environmentalists strongly oppose the plan, including the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and the Australian Conservation Foundation, which also gave evidence to the committee on Monday.

Nuclear advocates, including Dr Switkowksi, have acknowledged that the big impediments to a nuclear industry are the cost of building reactors and the challenge of getting a wary public to support them.

Exploring for uranium is allowed in NSW, but mining is not. One first step towards developing a nuclear industry in the state could be to allow the uranium-mining industry to expand from South Australia across the border to NSW.

Officials from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment told the inquiry that mining uranium wasn’t very different to any other mineral and that two mineral sands mines near Broken Hill bury uranium that is an inadvertent byproduct of their operations……

Inquiry chairman Taylor Martin, a Liberal MP, suggested that the federal and state laws be changed to prohibit existing forms of nuclear power technology but allow small modular reactors.

The compromise idea is designed to allow Labor MPs to support the development of a nuclear industry without appearing to give in to the demands of the mining industry, which has launched a below-the-radar campaign to legalise nuclear power.

Inquiry chairman Taylor Martin, a Liberal MP, suggested that the federal and state laws be changed to prohibit existing forms of nuclear power technology but allow small modular reactors.

The compromise idea is designed to allow Labor MPs to support the development of a nuclear industry without appearing to give in to the demands of the mining industry, which has launched a below-the-radar campaign to legalise nuclear power. …..https://www.afr.com/companies/energy/switkowski-preaches-for-nuclear-energy-invoking-bill-gates-elon-musk-20191111-p539j1

November 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

“Have Your Say” on nuclear waste dump – just a window-dressing exercise by the Australian govt

Kazzi Jai  No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 30 Oct 19,   In today’s Transcontinental paper on page 4 there is a half page ad for “Have your Say on the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility”. It says…

“HAVE YOUR SAY on the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility,
In November and December 2019, the Australian Government will survey businesses and neighbours of the proposed sites to determine if they support hosting the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in their community. These surveys are in addition to the Flinders Ranges Council Community Ballot (Mon 11 November to Thurs 12 December 2019).
Also, anyone can make a submission by 12 December 2019 to radioactivewaste@industry.gov.au
It then says in bold letters at the bottom “Further information, including an ‘opt-in’ process for surveys, is available at www.radioactivewaste.gov.au/have-your-say
But alas – it only goes to https://www.industry.gov.au/strategies-for-the-future/managing-radioactive-waste page……..

So….is there something sneaky going on here??

Tim Bickmore There is an old truism in politics…. “When holding office, never conduct an inquiry unless you already know the answer”. Regarding the ‘National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012’; the ‘known answer’ is two fold: [1] The Minister alone ratifies any location; & [2] there is NO legal requirement for The Minister to accept ANY ‘community sentiment’.
The whole ‘neighbours & local business’ thing is merely window dressing ie an attempt to paint the department & Minister as considerately engaging with so-called ‘affected stakeholders’ ~ in fact a con since such falsely implies that constituency actually have some ‘extra’ power or ‘right’ to determine an outcome, which they don’t.

The presumptive flip side to that is therefore The Minister has already determined everyone else will NOT be detrimentally affected & so not worth greater effort. LMFAO   https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/

October 31, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Once again, Aaron Patrick subtly slants this story in the pro nuclear direction.

Mr Forshaw, who chaired an inquiry into the replacement of the Lucas Heights reactor, on Monday said that he didn’t regret Parliament’s decision, and isn’t convinced that nuclear can compete with other energy sources on cost.

October 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Exposing misleading evidence to the federal nuclear inquiry

Big claims and corporate spin about small nuclear reactor costs, Jim Green, 19 September 2019, RenewEconomy https://reneweconomy.com.au/big-claims-and-corporate-spin-about-small-nuclear-reactor-costs-65726/

The ‘inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia’ being run by Federal Parliament’s Environment and Energy Committee has finished receiving submissions and is gradually making them publicly available.

The inquiry is particularly interested in ‘small modular reactors’ (SMRs) and thus one point of interest is how enthusiasts spin the economic debate given that previous history with small reactors has shown them to be expensive; the cost of the handful of SMRs under construction is exorbitant; and both the private sector and governments around the world have been unwilling to invest the billions of dollars required to get high-risk SMR demonstration reactors built.

To provide a reality-check before we get to the corporate spin, a submission to the inquiry by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis notes that SMRs have been as successful as cold fusion – i.e., not at all. The submission states:

“The construction of nuclear power plants globally has proven to be an ongoing financial disaster for private industry and governments alike, with extraordinary cost and construction time blow-outs, while being a massive waste of public monies due to the ongoing reliance on government financial subsidies. … Governments have repeatedly failed to comprehend that nuclear construction timelines and cost estimates put forward by many corporates (with vested interests) have proven disastrously flawed and wrong.”

The Institute is equally scathing about SMRs:

“For all the hype in certain quarters, commercial deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) have to-date been as successful as hypothesized cold fusion – that is, not at all. Even assuming massive ongoing taxpayer subsidies, SMR proponents do not expect to make a commercial deployment at scale any time soon, if at all, and more likely in a decade from now if historic delays to proposed timetables are acknowledged.”

Thus the Institute adds its voice to the chorus of informed scepticism about SMRs, such as the 2017 Lloyd’s Register survey of 600 industry professionals and experts who predicted that SMRs have a “low likelihood of eventual take-up, and will have a minimal impact when they do arrive“.

Corporate spin #1: Minerals Council of Australia

The Minerals Council of Australia claims in its submission to the federal inquiry that SMRs could generate electricity for as little as $60 per megawatt-hour (MWh). That claim is based on a report by the Economic and Finance Working Group (EFWG) of the Canadian government-industry ‘SMR Roadmap’ initiative.

The Canadian EFWG gives lots of possible SMR costs and the Minerals Council’s use of its lowest figure is nothing if not selective. The figure cited by the Minerals Council assumes near-term deployment from a standing start (with no-one offering to risk billions of dollars to build demonstration reactors), plus extraordinary learning rates in an industry notorious for its negative learning rates.

Dr. Ziggy Switkowski noted in his evidence to the federal inquiry that “nuclear power has got more expensive, rather than less expensive”. Yet the EFWG paper takes a made-up, ridiculously-high learning rate and subjects SMR cost estimates to eight ‘cumulative doublings’ based on the learning rate. That’s creative accounting and one can only wonder why the Minerals Council would present it as a credible estimate.

Here are the first-of-a-kind SMR cost estimates from the EFWG paper, all of them far higher than the figure cited by the Minerals Council:

  • 300-megawatt (MW) on-grid SMR:    C$162.67 (A$179) / MWh
  • 125-MW off-grid heavy industry:       C$178.01 (A$196) / MWh
  • 20-MW off-grid remote mining:         C$344.62 (A$380) / MWh
  • 3-MW off-grid remote community:    C$894.05 (A$986) / MWh

The government and industry members on the Canadian EFWG are in no doubt that SMRs won’t be built without public subsidies:

“The federal and provincial governments should, in partnership with industry, investigate ways to best risk-share through policy mechanisms to reduce the cost of capital. This is especially true for the first units deployed, which would likely have a substantially higher cost of capital than a commercially mature SMR.”

The EFWG paper used a range of estimates from the literature and vendors. It notes problems with its inputs, such as the fact that many of the vendor estimates have not been independently vetted, and “the wide variation in costs provided by expert analysts”. Thus, the EFWG qualifies its findings by noting that “actual costs could be higher or lower depending on a number of eventualities”.

Corporate spin #2: NuScale Power

US company NuScale Power has put in a submission to the federal nuclear inquiry, estimating a first-of-a-kind cost for its SMR design of US$4.35 billion / gigawatt (GW) and an nth-of-a-kind cost of US$3.6 billion / GW.

NuScale doesn’t provide a $/MWh estimate in its submission, but the company has previously said it is targeting a cost of US$65/MWh for its first SMR plant. That is 2.4 lower than the US$155/MWh (A$225/MWh) estimate based on the NuScale design in a report by WSP / Parsons Brinckerhoff prepared for the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

NuScale’s cost estimates should be regarded as promotional and will continue to drop – unless and until the company actually builds an SMR. The estimated cost of power from NuScale’s non-existent SMRs fell from US$98-$108/MWh in 2015 to US$65/MWh by mid-2018. The company announced with some fanfare in 2018 that it had worked out how to make its SMRs almost 20% cheaper – by making them almost 20% bigger!

Lazard estimates costs of US$112-189/MWh for electricity from large nuclear plants. NuScale’s claim that its electricity will be 2-3 times cheaper than that from large nuclear plants is implausible. And even if NuScale achieved costs of US$65/MWh, that would still be higher than Lazard’s figures for wind power (US$29-56) and utility-scale solar (US$36-46).

Likewise, NuScale’s construction construction cost estimate of US$4.35 billion / GW is implausible. The latest cost estimate for the two AP1000 reactors under construction in the US state of Georgia (the only reactors under construction in the US) is US$12.3-13.6 billion / GW. NuScale’s target is just one-third of that cost – despite the unavoidable diseconomies of scale and despite the fact that every independent assessment concludes that SMRs will be more expensive to build (per GW) than large reactors.

Further, the modular factory-line production techniques now being championed by NuScale were trialled with the AP1000 reactor project in South Carolina – a project that was abandoned in 2017 after the expenditure of at least US$9 billion.

Corporate spin #3: Australian company SMR Nuclear Technology

In support of its claim that “it is likely that SMRs will be Australia’s lowest-cost generation source”, Australian company SMR Nuclear Technology Pty Ltd cites in its submission to the federal nuclear inquiry a 2017 report by the US Energy Innovation Reform Project (EIRP).

According to SMR Nuclear Technology, the EIRP study “found that the average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from advanced reactors was US$60/MWh.”

However the cost figures used in the EIRP report are nothing more than the optimistic estimates of companies hoping to get ‘advanced’ reactor designs off the ground. Therefore the EIRP authors heavily qualified the report’s findings:

“There is inherent and significant uncertainty in projecting NOAK [nth-of-a-kind] costs from a group of companies that have not yet built a single commercial-scale demonstration reactor, let alone a first commercial plant. Without a commercial-scale plant as a reference, it is difficult to reliably estimate the costs of building out the manufacturing capacity needed to achieve the NOAK costs being reported; many questions still remain unanswered – what scale of investments will be needed to launch the supply chain; what type of capacity building will be needed for the supply chain, and so forth.”

SMR Nuclear Technology’s conclusions – that “it is likely that SMRs will be Australia’s lowest-cost generation source” and that low costs are “likely to make them a game-changer in Australia” – have no more credibility than the company estimates used in the EIRP paper.

SMR Nuclear Technology’s submission does not note that the EIRP inputs were merely company estimates and that the EIRP authors heavily qualified the report’s findings.

The US$60/MWh figure cited by SMR Nuclear Technology is far lower than all independent estimates for SMRs:

  • The 2015/16 South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission estimated costs of A$180-184/MWh for large light-water reactors, compared to A$225 for an SMR based on the NuScale design (and a slightly lower figure for the ‘mPower’ SMR design that was abandoned in 2017 by Bechtel and Babcock & Wilcox).
  • A December 2018 report by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator found that electricity from SMRs would be more than twice as expensive as that from wind or solar power with storage costs included (two hours of battery storage or six hours of pumped hydro storage).
  • report by the consultancy firm Atkins for the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy found that electricity from the first SMR in the UK would be 30% more expensive than that from large reactors, because of diseconomies of scale and the costs of deploying first-of-a-kind technology. Its optimistic SMR cost estimate is US$107-155 (A$157-226) / MWh.
  • A 2015 report by the International Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency predicted that electricity from SMRs will be 50−100% more expensive than that from large reactors, although it holds out some hope that large-volume factory production could reduce costs.
  • An article by four pro-nuclear researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy, published in 2018 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, concluded than an SMR industry would only be viable in the US if it received “several hundred billion dollars of direct and indirect subsidies” over the next several decades.

SMR Nuclear Technology’s assertion that “nuclear costs are coming down due to simpler and standardised design; factory-based manufacturing; modularisation; shorter construction time and enhanced financing techniques” is at odds with all available evidence and it is at odds with Dr. Ziggy Switkowski’s observation in a public hearing of the federal inquiry that nuclear “costs per kilowatt hour appear to grow with each new generation of technology”.

SMR Nuclear Technology claims that failing to repeal federal legislative bans against nuclear power would come at “great cost to the economy”. However the introduction of nuclear power to Australia would most likely have resulted in the extraordinary cost overruns and delays that have crippled every reactor construction project in the US and western Europe over the past decade – blowouts amounting to A$10 billion or more per reactor.

Nor would the outcome have been positive if Australia had instead pursued non-existent SMR ‘vaporware‘.

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

September 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, reference, secrets and lies, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

(Reposting this important one) Nuclear lobby launches its “grassroots” push for nuclear power in Australia

Before the nuclear lobby has even got the Australian Parliament to overturn Australia’s legislation prohibiting nuclear power, they are launching their “win hearts and minds”action.

With this catchy title  “Stand Up For Nuclear”- they are holding a rally on Sunday October 20, 2019 at 3 PM – 6 PM at an undisclosed location in Collins St Melbourne.

Their lying propaganda claims that:

“”Only nuclear can lift all humans out of poverty while protecting the natural environment.

anti-nuclear activists are funded by natural gas and renewable energy interests.” – (that’s news to me – 12 years of running this site I have received zero funding)

 

September 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Dr Jim Green explodes the Australian Financial Review ‘s propaganda promoting Small Modular Nuclear Reactorsll

August 29, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

False statements on nuclear power by  Federal Liberal National Party MP Keith Pitt

August 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s strategy for ‘new nuclear’ – based on non-existent plant!

Are SMRs vaporware?  https://johnquiggin.com/2019/08/08/are-smrs-vaporware/  AUGUST 8, 2019It seems as if nuclear fans in Australia have given up on conventional Generation III/III+ reactors such as the Westinghouse AP1000 and Areva EPR: unsurprising in view of the massive cost overruns and delays experienced in attempts to construct them.

They’ve also gone quiet on the prospect of more advanced “Generation IV” reactors. Again that’s unsurprising. Most of the leading research projects in this field have been abandoned or deferred past 2030, even for prototypes.
The great hope now is for Small Modular Reactors, which will, it is hoped, be assembled on site from parts built in factories. The idea is that the savings in construction will offset the loss of the scale economies inherent in having a larger reactor (arising ultimately from the fact that the volume of a sphere grows faster than its surface area).
Lots of SMR ideas have been proposed, but the only one with any serious prospect of entering commercial use is that proposed by NuScale, with funding from the US Department of Energy. NuScale has recently claimed that it should have its first reactor (consisting of 12 modules) in operation by 2027.
A couple of observations on this. First, when the project was funded back in 2014 the proposed start date was 2023. So, in the course of five years, the target time to completion has been reduced from nine years to eight. That suggests the 2027 target is pretty optimistic.
Second, NuScale isn’t actually going to build the factory that is the key selling point of the SMR idea. The press release says that the parts will be made by BWX, formerly Babcock and Wilcox (who abandoned their own SMR proposal around the time NuScale got funded).

So, is BWX going to build a factory, or is this going to be a bespoke job using existing plants (presumably much more expensive). I went to their website to find out. But far from getting a clear answer, I could find no mention at all of a deal with NuScale, or of any recent activity around SMRs.

So, there you have it. Australia’s proposed nuclear strategy rests on a non-existent plant to be manufactured by a company that apparently knows nothing about it.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors don’t operate anywhere yet – but USA companies are keen to sell them to Australia

Nuclear reactors called SMRs are being touted as possible energy source for Australia, ABC News By political reporter Jackson Gothe-Snape 7 Aug 19, Energy Minister Angus Taylor has ordered a parliamentary inquiry into nuclear energy.

Key points:

  • Small modular reactors (SMRs) will be investigated in a parliamentary inquiry
  • These are designed to be built in factories then shipped to a location for operation
  • Some expect SMRs will become popular in coming decades, but none are currently operational

“This will be the first inquiry into the use of nuclear power in Australia in more than a decade and is designed to consider the economic, environmental and safety implications of nuclear power,” he wrote this week.

The inquiry follows campaigns from Coalition senators James McGrath and Keith Pitt, New South Wales Nationals leader John Barilaro, and the Minerals Council to re-examine the nuclear option.

The Government continues to grapple with the pressures of energy prices, reducing carbon emissions and ensuring reliability.

Investigating nuclear is controversial however, given both major parties agree to a ban on nuclear energy in Australia and the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred in Japan less than a decade ago.

The biggest change in the nuclear sector since the last federal government review is the emergence of “small modular reactors” (SMRs). This technology was specifically referenced in Mr Taylor’s request for an inquiry.

Benefits of SMRs…..

South Australia’s 2016 royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle sets out their key benefit: cost.

Developers of SMRs “are aiming to lower the typical construction costs associated with nuclear plants through serial fabrication at an off-site facility, with components brought together at the operational site for final assembly”.

Much like Ikea’s economies of scale, the more reactors are built, the cheaper each new one becomes. And multiple reactors can be deployed together on the same site if more energy is needed.

Mobility, safety and … uncertainty

There are other theoretical benefits too.

Because they are built at a factory and then shipped to a location, SMRs could be appropriate for a remote, energy-intensive factory or off-grid settlement needing power.

A similar idea is currently being pursued by Russia, which will soon tow a new floating nuclear power station to its remote far east.

But SMRs won’t look like a Soviet cruise ship. If they ever get built, they will be transportable on road by trucks.

Traditional nuclear power stations are located near rivers, lakes or the coast because they need large volumes of water.

SMRs promise to use less water, which would open up more remote sites.

And they are also designed to be “passively” safe — that is, they promise not to require an operator or backup water or energy to avoid meltdown.

The mooted benefits of SMRs sound promising, but none have been deployed so far.

In fact, they have been discussed for years with only slow progress. NuScale, a prominent SMR company owned by global engineering giant Fluor, is more than a decade old.

Construction on an SMR in China is reportedly set to commence in 2019, while approvals for the first test SMR are currently being worked through in the US and Canada. These may take several more years.

Cost criticism

South Australia’s royal commission found small modular reactors could be an option in future, but flagged there was a risk of cost blowouts associated with unproven technologies.

Despite the theoretical benefits of SMRs, Malcolm Turnbull — a proponent of pumped hydro project Snowy Hydro 2.0 when he was prime minister — argued this week that nuclear options were more expensive than what else is available right now.

“The cheapest form of new generation is renewables plus storage,” he posted on Twitter. …..

Individuals associated with the push for small modular reactors in Australia are closely associated with coal generation.

The NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro attended a 2018 SMR conference in the US with Tony Irwin, a director of SMR Nuclear Technology.

The company’s website states it was “established to advise on and facilitate the siting, development and operation of safe nuclear power generation technologies”.

Another director of that company is Trevor St Baker from Delta Electricity, the company that operates Vales Point on the NSW Central Coast.

A submission from SMR Nuclear Technology to a current uranium inquiry in New South Wales sets out how nuclear may replace coal.

“It should be acknowledged at the outset that there may be an important continuing role for gas-fired and coal-fired power generation,” it states……..

‘Untapped potential’ of uranium

Kevin Scarce, the man who led South Australia’s royal commission, said there was an opportunity to mine more uranium and convert it into a fuel source, “but at the moment that part of global supply is oversupplied”.

“Realistically, in the next 10 to 15 years there doesn’t appear to be much of a market unless nuclear starts to become more seen in the rest of the world.”…

The Minerals Council has long argued for Australia’s ban on nuclear energy to end.

It also wants uranium mining removed from the definition of a “nuclear action” in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

“These activities are not nuclear actions. They are mining activities,” a Minerals Council policy document states.

“Uranium projects should not automatically trigger a duplicative federal environmental approval process, and the costs and delays that come with that, for no environmental benefit.”

A joint media release this week from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Ben Morton announced a Productivity Commission review into resources sector regulation.

It also flagged that “improving the efficiency of environmental approvals would reduce the regulatory burden on business”.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-07/small-modular-reactors-nuclear-explained/11386856

August 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Paul Richards refutes Heiko Timmers’ push for Australia to import nuclear wastes

In an article in The Conversation, Associate Professor of Physics, UNSW, puts the case for Australia storing, presumably importing, the world’s nuclear waste.

Paul Richards While nuclear power in Australia has a somewhat shaky business case, a much stronger argument can be made for the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle: storing nuclear waste’ Heiko Timmers Associate Professor of Physics, UNSW

A case can be made, that’s true.

However, the nuclear industry never talks about the whole nuclear fuel cycle. Furthermore, no one in the nuclear estate has proved they can look after unspent nuclear fuel, and contaminated material for the time needed without an indefinite supply of sovereign wealth.

What you are proposing is that Australia enters the sales channels of waste storage, for the profit of a very limited few in the nuclear estate. An unrealistic proposal, as no other nation has been able to solve this back door nuclear waste issue that even the IAEA admits, there is no economically viable solution for.

Unlike all the other sales channels in this nuclear estate, waste storage in terms of cost is indefinite, and on that basis, the cost is then based on our sovereign wealth. In other words, an indefinite cost to our Australian taxpayer’s.

The key takeaway is;
there is no way that nuclear waste storage as a business is economically viable, as the nuclear war hawks propose, it will be a cost to Australia indefinitely.

However, introducing nuclear waste storage as a sales channel for the nuclear estate changes our Federal Legislation of nuclear non-proliferation and that is the ‘Trojan Horse’ being wheeled out yet again. In yet another amoral attempt at introducing;

• nuclear energy,
• waste, and
• weapons,

despite developed nuclear nations phasing out nuclear fuel as obsolete, because the energy system is unviable economically and environmentally.

August 6, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Busting the spin of Australia’s pro nuclear propagandists

A Powerful Depiction’: Chernobyl Workers Reflect On HBO Series

 

ABC’s Media Watch takes aim at nuclear misinformation and bias

The ABC’s Media Watch program last night took aim at Australia’s pro-nuclear propagandists and the extreme bias of Australia’s nuclear ‘debate’.

Media Watch discussed HBO’s hit miniseries ‘Chernobyl’, which tops IMDB’s list of the greatest TV shows of all time, and took aim at Andrew Bolt and others for trivialising the death toll (discussed here) and for ignoring the broader impacts of the disaster such as the permanent relocation of 350,000 people and the thousands of children who suffered thyroid cancer due to exposure to radioactive fallout.

Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “Nuclear lobbyists argued that Chernobyl was a result of the dysfunctional Soviet system and that a similar disaster couldn’t happen in Western countries. That argument collapsed with the March 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. Nuclear disasters can happen anywhere and a nuclear disaster anywhere is a nuclear disaster everywhere due to the spread of radioactive fallout. Chernobyl’s radioactive fallout contaminated the whole of Europe and Fukushima fallout reached northern Australia.”

“In addition to their other devastating impacts, nuclear disasters greatly increase the overall cost of nuclear power. The cost of the Chernobyl disaster is estimated at over one trillion dollars [US$700 billion] and the Fukushima disaster could prove to be just as expensive.”

Citing a recent expert analysis, Media Watch noted that nuclear power “doesn’t even get to first base on cost” and took nuclear lobbyists to task for failing to acknowledge the extraordinarily high cost of nuclear power (all reactors under construction in western Europe and north America are estimated to cost $14‒24 billion each while the South Carolina reactor project was abandoned in 2017 after the expenditure of at least A$12.9 billion).

Dr Green said: “Dr Ziggy Switkowski used to be Australia’s most prominent supporter of nuclear power and he led the Howard government’s nuclear review in 2006. But nuclear costs have increased four-fold since then and Dr Switkowski has acknowledged that the window for large-scale nuclear power in Australia has closed as renewables are clearly cheaper.

“John Howard was no anti-nuclear ideologue yet he had the good sense to ban nuclear power. Prime Minister Scott Morrison needs to state unambiguously that the legislation banning nuclear power in Australia will remain in place,” Dr Green concluded.

Contact: Dr Jim Green 0417 318 368  More information:  Last night’s Media Watch segment on nuclear power (video and transcript)   A recent detailed article by Dr Green, cited by Media Watch.

June 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | Leave a comment