Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Science in Australia: nuclear gets the funding, not climate, environment, health – theme for April 18

It’s more like a religious cult than a science.  Nuclear technology in Australia is shrouded in silence. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) rules the show, with The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) as its faithful servant.  ARPANSA is there to protect the nuclear industry, not us.

Recently, Dr Adi Paterson, of ANSTO, signed Australia up to join in developing Generation IV nuclear reactors – and then the government rubber-stamped that decision – a month later! No Parliamentary debate, no public information – nothing!

Now the Australian government is having another go at imposing  a nuclear waste dump on a remote South Australian area, disregarding Aboriginal heritage lands close by.

We are told that “Experts know that the waste dump will be safe, no environmental problems, no water problems” blah blah.

Of course, in nuclear discussions, the experts are always the “hard” scientists – nuclear physicists, technologists etc. And they get the money. High time that ANSTO’s funding and spending were exposed. 

Because now – we downgrade the soppy soft scientists – environmentalists, ecologists, geneticists, biologists, anthropologists ….

We’re in the era of STEM – Science Technology Engineering Maths .  Don’t get me wrong – these studies are valuable, important. But they’re not everything.  Time that the balance was redressed, and those more complex, nuanced environmental and biological studies were promoted, and their experts given  a say on matters nuclear.

Of course, Ben Heard and his ilk will pretend vigourously that they are “environmental experts”, but that’s a sham, used to win converts to the nuclear religion.

 

Advertisements

March 28, 2018 Posted by | Christina themes, spinbuster | Leave a comment

ANSTO and nuclear lobby gearing up for tax-payer funded nuclear propaganda

The global nuclear lobby has smartened itself up a bit – especially in Australia. When it comes to “new nukes’ Generation IV -( those elusive super-expensive new gimmicks for which there is no market at all) the goal of propaganda is to give the industry a makeover – a young, female-friendly, image.

ANSTO – ever ready to spend our tax dollars on pro nuclear spin, is backing this new publicity tack in  a big way.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

“In Denial” – the so-called environmentalists who promote nuclear power.

Pro-nuclear environmentalists’ in denial about power/weapons connections, Energy Post  by Jim Green 

Claims by self-styled ‘pro-nuclear environmentalists’ that “nuclear energy prevents the spread of nuclear weapons” and “peace is furthered when a nation embraces nuclear power” do not withstand scrutiny, writes Jim Green, editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter. Green looks at the conclusions of some studies which, he says, downplay the troubling connections between nuclear power and weapons. Courtesy Nuclear Monitor.

As discussed previously in Energy Post, nuclear industry bodies (such as the US Nuclear Energy Institute) and supporters (such as former US energy secretary Ernest Moniz) are openly acknowledging the connections between nuclear power and weapons ‒ connections they have denied for decades. Those connections are evident in most of the weapons states, in numerous countries that have pursued but not built weapons, and in potential future weapons states such as Saudi Arabia.

Ideally, acknowledgement of power/weapons connections would lead to redoubled efforts to build a firewall between civilian and military nuclear programs ‒ strengthened safeguards, curbs on enrichment and reprocessing, and so on.

But that’s not how this debate in playing out. Industry insiders and supporters drawing attention to the connections are quite comfortable about them ‒ they just want increased subsidies and support for their ailing civilian nuclear industries and argue that ‘national security’ and ‘national defense’ will be undermined if that support is not forthcoming.

Some continue to deny the power/weapons connections even though the connections are plain for all to see and are now being acknowledged by a growing number of nuclear insiders and supporters. The most prominent of these are self-styled ‘pro-nuclear environmentalists’.

One such person is Ben Heard from the Australian pro-nuclear lobby group ‘Bright New World‘. Heard claims that nuclear power promotes peace and uses the two Koreas to illustrate his argument: “The South is a user and exporter of nuclear power, signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, and possesses zero nuclear warheads. The North has zero nuclear power reactors, is not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, and is developing and testing nuclear weapons.”

Likewise, Michael Shellenberger, founder of the U.S. pro-nuclear lobby group ‘Environmental Progress’, claims that: “One of [Friends of the Earth]-Greenpeace’s biggest lies about nuclear energy is that it leads to weapons. Korea demonstrates that the opposite is true: North Korea has a nuclear bomb and no nuclear energy, while South Korea has nuclear energy and no bomb.”

Heard and Shellenberger ignore the fact that North Korea uses what is calls an ‘experimental power reactor’ (based on the UK Magnox power reactor design) to produce plutonium for weapons. They ignore the fact that North Korea acquired enrichment technology from Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan network, who stole the blueprints from URENCO, the consortium that provides enrichment services for the nuclear power industry. They ignore the fact that North Korea’s reprocessing plant is based on the design of the Eurochemic plant in Belgium, which provided reprocessing services for the nuclear power industry.

Heard and Shellenberger also ignore South Korea’s history of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons, a history entwined with the country’s development of nuclear power. For example, the nuclear power program provided (and still provides) a rationale for South Korea’s pursuit of reprocessing technology.

Nicholas Miller’s article in International Security

Echoing Shellenberger’s claim that “nuclear energy prevents the spread of nuclear weapons”, Heard writes: “Peace is furthered when a nation embraces nuclear power, because it makes that nation empirically less likely to embark on a nuclear weapons program. That is the finding of a 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed journal International Security.” However, the claim isn’t true, and it isn’t supported by the International Security journal article, written by Nicholas Miller from Dartmouth College.

“The annual probability of starting a weapons program is more than twice as high in countries with nuclear energy programs, if one defines an energy program as having an operating power reactor or one under construction” ………..

All the logistic regression models in the world don’t alter the fact that nuclear power/weapons connections are multifaceted, repeatedly demonstrated, disturbing and dangerous:

  • Nuclear power programs were involved in the successful pursuit of weapons in four countries (France, India, Pakistan, South Africa) according to Miller (and India and North Korea could be added to that list) and have provided many other countries with a latent weapons capability.
  • Power programs have provided ongoing support for weapons programs to a greater or lesser degree in seven of the nine current weapons states (the exceptions being Israel and North Korea).
  • The direct use of power reactors to produce plutonium for weapons in all or all-but-one of the declared weapons states (and possibly other countries, e.g. India and Pakistan).
  • The use of power reactors to produce tritium for weapons in the US (and possibly other countries, e.g. India).
  • Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising enrichment and reprocessing programs that have fed proliferation.
  • Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising research (reactor) programs which can lead (and have led) to weapons proliferation.
  • And last but not least, the training of experts for nuclear power programs whose expertise can be (and has been) used in weapons programs…….. https://energypost.eu/pro-nuclear-environmentalists-in-denial-about-power-weapons-connections/

March 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, General News, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The hypocrisy of Ben Heard on nuclear weapons proliferation

Jim Green shared a link. Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South , 4 Feb 18 Australia   Ben Heard – the paid nuclear lobbyist whose so-called environment group ‘Bright New World’ accepts secret corporate donations – claims that “Peace is furthered when a nation embraces nuclear power, because it makes that nation empirically less likely to embark on a nuclear weapons program. That is the finding of a 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed journal International Security.”

That’s false twice over. Firstly, it isn’t true. Secondly, Heard’s assertion isn’t supported by the International Security journal article, written by Nicholas Miller from Dartmouth College.

Miller’s article downplays the power/weapons connections but much of the information in his article undermines his own argument. In Miller’s own words, “more countries pursued nuclear weapons in the presence of a nuclear energy program than without one”, “the annual probability of starting a weapons program is more than twice as high in countries with nuclear energy programs, if one defines an energy program as having an operating power reactor or one under construction”, and countries that pursued nuclear weapons while they had a nuclear energy program were “marginally more likely” to acquire nuclear weapons (almost twice as likely if North Korea is considered to have had a nuclear energy program while it pursued weapons).

Nuclear power/weapons connections are multifaceted, repeatedly demonstrated, disturbing and dangerous:

• Nuclear power programs were involved in the successful pursuit of weapons in four countries (France, India, Pakistan, South Africa) according to Miller (and India and North Korea could be added to that list) and have provided many other countries with a latent weapons capability.

• Power programs have provided ongoing support for weapons programs to a greater or lesser degree in seven of the nine current weapons states (the exceptions being Israel and North Korea).
• The direct use of power reactors to produce plutonium for weapons in all or all-but-one of the declared weapons states (and possibly other countries, e.g. India and Pakistan).
• The use of power reactors to produce tritium for weapons in the US (and possibly other countries, e.g. India).
• Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising enrichment and reprocessing programs that have fed proliferation.
• Power programs (or real or feigned interest in nuclear power) legitimising research (reactor) programs which can lead (and have led) to weapons proliferation.
• And last but not least, the training of experts for nuclear power programs whose expertise can be (and has been) used in weapons programs.

 So why does Heard claim that “when a nation embraces nuclear power, because it makes that nation empirically less likely to embark on a nuclear weapons program”? He ignores most of Miller’s article (and Miller himself ignores much that is known about power/weapons connections) and focuses on these findings:


1. The annual probability of starting a weapons program is more than twice as high in countries with an operating power reactor or one under construction (a statistically-significant finding).
2. The annual probability of starting a weapons program is somewhat lower in countries with operating power reactors compared to countries without them (a statistically non-significant finding).

So why does Heard privilege the second of those findings when only the first is statistically significant? Why does Heard privilege the finding that excludes countries with power reactors under construction (but not in operation) when the inclusion of such countries provides a fuller, more accurate assessment of the power/weapons connections? Perhaps Heard’s selectivity is connected to his work as a paid nuclear lobbyist whose so-called environment group accepts secret corporate donations. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

Connections between civil and military nuclear programs Detailed 2015 paper: The myth of the peaceful atom – debunking the misinformation peddled by the nuclear industry and its supporters Nuclear power and weapons – explaining the connections 2017 – nuclear industry body and lobbyists acknowl…

March 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ben Heard, critic of Japan’s “unnecessary” nuclear clean-up, now off to advise Japan

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 3 Mar 18 Oh dear… Ben Heard is off to the “Japan Atomic Industrial Forum” conference in April (according to twitter). It’s a wonder he is even welcome in Japan – the Japanese government is working hard and spending $billions trying to clean up some of the radioactive contamination.

Yet this guy has consistently claimed their actions were not only unnecessary but harmful. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

March 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

How did Bright New World suck people in to be part of 2018 political pro nuclear propaganda ?

Steve Dale No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, February 10

The poor people that got sucked into signing “An open letter to South Australia’s elected members and political parties 2 March 2017” – did they know their names would still be used as propaganda a year later? Their faces are still being displayed on a page of Bright Nuke World’s web site.

(https://www.brightnewworld.org/…/an-open-letter-to-south-au…) Any journalists reading this? How about going around and asking each of the people listed how they got sucked into signing it and whether they are happy for their names to be used forever more. Like most nuclear garbage, the letter has a long half life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/

February 11, 2018 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s new weapons export industry – secret men’s business

Secret men’s business of the arms industry needs exposure The Age, Stephanie Dowrick, 5 Feb 18,   “…….. I woke to the news that the federal government had decided to unveil a new “defence export strategy” to propel Australia into the big league of global weapons exporters.

Then, in the wake of that news – which has left many speechless, even despairing – comes a newer announcement of a $3.8bn boost to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. This is a taxpayer-funded “national interest” loan facility that previously supported the exporting of wine and other relatively harmless products but is now set, with a massive boost to its funds, to finance loans to some of the world’s largest arms manufacturers. What’s more, those loans do not need to pass any test of “social risk evaluation” – a nod to caring for others – but can be approved at the discretion of Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

Oddly enough, on the Blue Mountains drive my friend and I had discussed the weapons industries and the influence they have on the global economy. Their power to affect, even to drive governments’ policies, is immense. It is also profoundly undemocratic. Governments keep a tight grip on media revelations. The weapons world is “secret men’s business” from which the public is definitely shut out. My best sleuthing efforts came nowhere near discovering what this industry is really worth or who profits most.

 What we can know is that these industries – and the governments that applaud them – depend on actual and perceived enemies, a fairly hysterical narrative of “terror” and a disturbing acceptance of the inevitability of armed conflict and war. We can also know that the No.1 exporter of major arms is the USA, followed by Russia. It was easy, too, to discover that between 2001 and 2014, reported global military expenditure rose from US$1.14 trillion to US$1.711 trillion. In a world ruled by greed and highly vulnerable to corruption, what chance does peace have?

“This strategy is about job creation,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull assures us. His colleague Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Defence Industry in a cabinet lacking a minister for science, is already presiding over a submarine project set to cost us $50 billion. Pyne is promising “tens of thousands” of jobs could be involved in this weapons’ push. But the issue here is surely far less about job creation than it is about which industries the government, on our behalf, wishes to support. These opinions, these ideological choices determine where we are heading as a nation. This is where a government has huge power. It’s also where it most accurately reveals itself. ……

If “job creation” truly is our government’s motive, then let them choose honestly. The weapons industries lack accountability, transparency, moral and social value. They thrive in the presence or expectation of deadly conflict. Their cost to the world’s physical and social environments is incalculable.

There are many sectors in Australia and globally that produce jobs and social benefits. With generous investment, they could produce more. In land and agricultural regeneration alone, as well as high-tech research and manufacturing, in renewable energy, the arts, community development, health and education, defence-sized investment would undoubtedly pay employment dividends – while simultaneously boosting our social and moral wellbeing. These are choices that have profound consequences. They could make the world safer. Or not.  Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick is a writer and social commentator www.stephaniedowrick.com   www.facebook.com/StephanieDowrick http://www.theage.com.au/comment/secret-mens-business-of-the-arms-industry-needs-exposure-20180202-h0spx3.html

February 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Response to Electric Energy Society of Australia (EESA), on its pro nuclear seminar

from Jim Green 3 Feb 2018     To: Electric Energy Society of Australia (EESA)
Re the Feb 21 EESA webinar with nuclear lobbyist Ben Heard talking about nuclear power:

1. Will EESA be organising a separate webinar to provide a perspective from someone who isn’t a nuclear lobbyist? If not, is that lack of balance consistent with the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics and Guidelines on Professional Conduct?

2. Will you amend the bio-note on the ESAA webpage to note that Mr Heard’s so-called environment group accepts secret corporate donations? If not, why not? The bio-note on the EESA webpage claims that his group ‘represents the community’ … if such dubious claims are allowed to stand then it surely needs to be acknowledged that his group accepts corporate donations including secret corporate donations. Is such disclosure not required by the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics and Guidelines on Professional Conduct?

3. During the webinar, will it be made clear that Mr Heard’s group accepts corporate donations including secret corporate donations? Is such disclosure not required by the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics and Guidelines on Professional Conduct?

4. During the webinar, will you make it clear that Mr Heard’s asinine contribution to the SA Royal Commission was rejected by the Commission? Specifically, the final report of the Royal Commission said: “[A]dvanced fast reactors and other innovative reactor designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future. The development of such a first-of-a-kind project in South Australia would have high commercial and technical risk. Although prototype and demonstration reactors are operating, there is no licensed, commercially proven design. Development to that point would require substantial capital investment.”

5. Will you ensure that webinar participants are provided with some basic factual information that Mr Heard certainly won’t be volunteering, e.g.
— A$40 billion capital cost for two new reactors in the UK (A$20 billion each)
— A$16 billion capital cost for new reactors in France and Finland
— bankruptcy filing of Westinghouse due to catastrophic cost overruns building conventional reactors in the US (including A$13+ billion wasted on reactors in South Carolina that were cancelled last year).
— Westinghouse, Toshiba and a number of other utilities exiting the reactor construction business
— Ziggy Switkowski, head of the Howard government’s Nuclear Energy review, now says he believes “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”. He also said that nuclear is no longer lower cost than renewables and that the levelised cost of electricity of the two is rapidly diverging.

6. Will you ensure that webinar participants are informed that Mr Heard has continued lobbying for the importation of 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste to SA despite being well aware of the overwhelming opposition of Aboriginal Traditional Owners?
https://www.anfa.org.au/traditional-owners-statements/

7. What steps will you take to ensure that participants are provided with some credible information about high-temperature gas-cooled reactors given that these seem to be Mr Heard’s latest fixation? Some information is copied below.

8. If Mr Heard claims that high-temperature gas-cooled reactors are ‘meltdown-proof’, or other such inanities, will you ensure that his falsehoods are corrected? Continue reading

February 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Dishonest scare-mongering linking nuclear medicine and radioactive waste dumps

NUCLEAR MEDICINE AND THE PROPOSED   NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE REPOSITORY , Jim Green 27 January 18, “As health organisations, we are appalled that access to nuclear medical procedures is being used to justify the proposed nuclear waste dump. Most waste from these procedures break down quickly and can be safely disposed of either on site or locally.”   − Dr Bill Williams, Medical Association for the Prevention of War

“Linking the need for a centralized radioactive waste storage facility with the production of isotopes for nuclear medicine is misleading. The production of radioactive isotopes for nuclear medicine comprises a small percentage of the output of research reactors. The majority of the waste that is produced in these facilities occurs regardless of the nuclear medicine isotope production.” 
− Nuclear Radiologist Dr Peter Karamoskos.

Proponents of a national radioactive waste facility (a repository for lower-level wastes and a co-located store for higher-level wastes) claim or imply that nuclear medicine would be jeopardised if the facility does not proceed. There is no basis to such claims – they amount to dishonest scare-mongering.

Proponents claim that most or all of the waste that the federal government wants to dispose of or store at a national repository/store arises from medicine, specifically the production and use of medical radioisotopes. However, measured by radioactivity, the true figure is just 10-20%. Measured by volume, the figure may be within that range or it may be higher than 20% − but it takes some creative accounting to justify the claim that most or even all of the waste is medical in origin.

In any case, the fact that some waste is of medical origin doesn’t mean that a national repository/store is the best way to manage the waste.

If the plan for a national repository/store does not proceed, medical waste will continue to be stored at the Lucas Heights reactor site operated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and, in much smaller volumes, at hospitals. Some waste is used in hospitals and then sent back to ANSTO (e.g. molybdenum ‘cows’ that have been ‘milked’ of the daughter radionuclide, technetium-99m − by far the most commonly used medical radioisotope). That is no problem since ANSTO and hospitals continue to produce radioactive waste and thus they have an ongoing need for on-site waste stores and waste management expertise regardless of the options for periodic off-site disposal.

Nuclear medicine is not being adversely affected by the absence of a national radioactive waste repository/store. Nuclear medicine will not benefit from the creation of a national radioactive waste repository/store.

The incessant references to nuclear medicine to ‘sell’ the proposed radioactive waste repository/store amount to emotive propaganda and scare-mongering. Ironically, that is what critics of the proposed national radioactive waste repository/store are routinely accused of!

Dishonest scare-mongering linking nuclear medicine and radioactive waste dumps is also evident in other countries. Protests by cancer patients helped end plans to build a radioactive waste dump in Ward Valley, California.  http://ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2002/2002-06-04-06.html

What should be done?
Two parallel processes should be initiated regarding radioactive waste management in Australia: a radioactive waste audit, and a National Commission or comparable public inquiry mechanism.

The federal government should immediately initiate an audit of existing waste stockpiles and storage. This could be led by the federal nuclear regulator ARPANSA in consultation with relevant state agencies with responsibility for radioactive waste. This audit would include developing a prioritised program to improve continuing waste storage and handling facilities, and identifying non-recurrent or legacy waste sites and exploring options to retire and de-commission these.

A National Commission would restore procedural and scientific rigour, and stakeholder and community confidence in radioactive waste management. It would identify and evaluate the full suite of radioactive waste management options. That would include the option of maintaining existing arrangements, keeping in mind that 95% of the waste is securely stored at two Commonwealth facilities: ANSTO’s Lucas Heights facility, and a large volume of very low level waste stored on Defence Department land at Woomera, SA.

The above issues are addressed in detail in a 2014 paper posted at: www.nuclear.foe.org.au/waste

January 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Latest pro nuclear push in Australia shows the split in the nuclear industry

When they resuscitate Ziggy Switkowski to promote nuclear, and when Anti-Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg comes out of his quiet environmental closet to promote nuclear  – you know that the nuclear lobby is having a serious attempt to persuade Australians.

Trouble is – the global nuclear lobby mightn’t be so happy about this.

They do pretend to be a professional, unified, competent force in the world. But not really. Small Nukes better shut up as Big Nukes will not tolerate them being successful, might  allow them in only as a foot in the door for Big Nukes

With giant companies like Toshiba, AREVA, EDF, China National Nuclear Corporation, Rosatom determinedly pushing their “conventional”nuclear reactors -there’s no likelihood that they are going to let new “little” nukes take over.  They tolerate the media acrobatics of the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor  companies – just as long as those companies claim (pretend) to be helping them.

In reality, there’s an absolute dispute between the two.

Australian politicians seem to be easily sucked in by the propaganda antics of the Small Nukes lobby –

January 12, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Former Big Nuclear propagandist Ziggy Switkowski is back – now spruiking for Small Nukes

Australia has ‘missed the boat’ on nuclear power, SMH, Cole Latimer, 11 Jan 18, The Minerals Council of Australia has called for the country’s prohibition on nuclear power to be lifted. But both critics and supporters see little future for large-scale nuclear power in Australia’s energy mix.

The man who once famously called for 50 nuclear reactors across Australia, nuclear physicist and NBN chairman Ziggy Switkowski, says “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”.

A lack of public support and any actual proposals for a nuclear plant had resulted in government inertia, he said on Thursday.

“Government won’t move until a real business case is presented and none has been, to my knowledge, and there aren’t votes in trying to lead the debate,” he said, adding that renewables were now a more economically viable choice. “With requirements for baseload capacity reducing, adding nuclear capacity one gigawatt at a time is hard to justify, especially as costs are now very high (in the range of $5 billion to $10 billion), development timelines are 15+ years, and solar with battery storage are winning the race.”

Warwick Grigor, the former chairman of Uranium King, mining analyst, and a director of uranium miner Peninsula Energy, agrees.

“I think nuclear energy is great, but we’ve missed the boat in Australia, no one is going down that path in the foreseeable future,” Mr Grigor told Fairfax Media.“When Fukushima [the 2011 nuclear accident in Japan] occurred, that was the closing of the door to our nuclear power possibilities.”

Mr Grigor sees battery technology, a market he has since entered, as a better alternative.

Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney said talk of nuclear power was “a dangerous distraction” from the steps that needed to address the energy and climate challenges facing Australia.

Nuclear energy has been officially banned in Australia since 1998, with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s OPAL reactor at Lucas Heights, NSW, the only nuclear reactor in the country.

But the Minerals Council’s executive director for uranium, Daniel Zavattiero, said the nation had excluded a low-emissions energy source of which Australia has an abundant supply from the current debate.

“Maybe nuclear power might be something that is not needed, but an outright prohibition on it is not needed,” he said.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg supported the Mineral Council’s stance. “There needs to be bipartisan support for nuclear power and that does not exist right now,” Mr Frydenberg said. “You would also need state-based support and that is not clear at this stage either.”…..

Mr Switkowski said smaller, modular nuclear reactors could play a part in the future energy mix, and could support regional centres.

An ANSTO spokesman told Fairfax Media these smaller plants could technically work in Australia.“If Australia did want to expand into nuclear energy technologies, there would be a number of options to consider in the future, including small modular reactors and Generation IV reactors, which could be feasible if the policy, economic settings and technology were right and public support was in place,” he said.

However, the country currently did not have enough skilled personnel to safely operate a nuclear energy industry, he said.

“The question of whether nuclear energy is technically or economically feasible is a different question to whether Australia should or should not have a nuclear energy program, the latter of which is a matter for policy makers and the people of Australia,” the spokesman said…….. http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/australia-has-missed-the-boat-on-nuclear-power-20180111-p4yyeg.html

January 12, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Unrealistic call for rural Australians to host Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

Volunteers wanted – to house small modular nuclear reactors in Australia,Online Opinion,  Noel Wauchope , 11 Dec 17, 

We knew that the Australian government was looking for volunteers in outback South Australia, to take the radioactive trash from Lucas Heights and some other sites, (and not having an easy time of it). But oh dear– we had no idea that the search for hosting new (untested) nuclear reactors was on too!

Well, The Australian newspaper has just revealed this extraordinary news, in its article “Want a nuclear reactor in your backyard? Step this way” (28/11/17). Yes, it turns out that a Sydney-based company, SMR Nuclear Technology, plans to secure volunteers and a definite site within three years. If all goes well, Australia’s Small Modular Reactors will be in operation by 2030.

Only, there are obstacles. Even this enthusiastic article does acknowledge one or two of them. One is the need to get public acceptance of these so far non-existent new nuclear reactors. SMR director Robert Pritchard is quoted as saying that interest in these reactors is widespread. He gives no evidence for this.

The other is that the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant in Australia is prohibited by both commonwealth and state laws.

But there are issues, and other obstacles that are not addressed on this article. A vital question is: does SMR Nuclear Technology intend to actually build the small reactors in Australia, or more likely, merely assemble them from imported modular parts – a sort of nuclear Lego style operation?

If it is to be the latter, there will surely be a delay of probably decades. Development of SMRs is stalled, in USA due to strict safety regulations, and in UK, due to uncertainties, especially the need for public subsidy. That leaves China, where the nuclear industry is government funded, and even there, development of SMRs is still in its infancy.

As to the former, it is highly improbable that an Australian company would have the necessary expertise, resources, and funding, to design and manufacture nuclear reactors of any size. The overseas companies now planning small reactors are basing their whole enterprise on the export market. Indeed, the whole plan for “modular” nuclear reactors is about mass production and mass marketing of SMRs -to be assembled in overseas countries. That is accepted as the only way for the SMR industry to be commercially successful. Australia looks like a desirable customer for the Chinese industry, the only one that looks as if it might go ahead, at present,

If, somehow, the SMR Technologies’ plan is to go ahead, the other obstacles remain.

The critical one is of course economics. …….

Other issues of costs and safety concern the transport of radioactive fuels to the reactors, and of radioactive waste management. The nuclear industry is very fond of proclaiming that wastes from small thorium reactors would need safe disposal and guarding for “only 300 years”. Just the bare 300!

The Australian Senate is currently debating a Bill introduced by Cory Bernardi, to remove Australia’s laws prohibiting nuclear power development. The case put by SMR Technologies, as presented in The Australian newspaper is completely inadequate. The public deserves a better examination of this plan for Small Modular Reactors SMRS. And why do they leave out the operative word “Nuclear” -because it is so on the nose with the public? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19460&page=2

December 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Salesman for Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) says Ipswich, Queensland, should have them operating by 2030

Ipswich ‘ticks the boxes’ for nuclear revolution, https://www.qt.com.au/news/ipswich-ticks-the-boxes-for-nuclear-revolution/3281160/  by Hayden Johnson, 4 Dec 17  THE Ipswich region is well-suited to become the home of one of Australia’s first nuclear reactors according to an energy executive who wants the community to lobby for its construction.

As the nation’s energy future remains at the forefront of federal political discourse, SMR Nuclear Technology has reignited the nuclear debate. Robert Pritchard serves as chairman of the board at SMR Nuclear Technology and is executive director of the Energy Policy Institute. He is calling for communities across Australia to consider whether nuclear power could be generated in their area.

“Ipswich ticks the box. “Places like Ipswich, Mt Isa, Broken Hill, Olympic Dam in South Australia, somewhere up in the Pilbara – there are lots of places where this makes all sorts of sense in 10 years’ time.”

Mr Pritchard said the station would not be built tomorrow, but called for the community to envisage the future. “The first one that would ever operate would not operate until 2030 – you’ve got 13 years,” he said.

“We’ve got the timeline mapped out as to what would happen in those 13 years but the work has to start now. Where you start is not with the technology – that’s a given – you’ve got to start with the community support.”

Mr Pritchard said there was a growing interest in nuclear generation across the community, which would be vital to its future……..

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann dismissed the call.

“I don’t think it’s in the best interests of Ipswich to have a nuclear power plant on the banks of the Bremer River,” he said.

“It’s got to be renewables – solar, wind and geo-thermal energy.”

He said the nation was moving away from a high-emissions-intensity economy towards a green future.

“I’ve come to the conclusion a long time ago, as far as I’m concerned, not for our future here,” he said.

The strong opposition from the Member for Blair does not discourage Mr Pritchard, who, although encouraged politicians to keep an open mind, said it was up to the people to decide. “I think this is going to capture the public’s imagination, mainly because it’s not being pushed by politicians,” he said.”If the community doesn’t want it, we’re not going to have it, that’s the end of the story,” he said.The energy policy executive said it was a matter of; “fly the kite and see what happens”.

 

Mr Neumann was “convinced” the majority of residents in Ipswich would be opposed to nuclear generation technology.

Mr Pritchard said it would take the community time to learn about nuclear power generation.

He pledged to set up a series of meetings around the country where people were expressing serious interest.”What we want to do over the next little while is start these dialogues with community people,” he said.”You’re not going to push anything down people’s throats – people just won’t cop that.”The vast majority of people will be interested.” revolution, https://www.qt.com.au/news/ipswich-ticks-the-boxes-for-nuclear-revolution/3281160/ 

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, spinbuster | 1 Comment

The ignorance of Australia’s nuclear pushers – Cory Bernardi and co.

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 3 Dec 17, 

December the 4th, another red letter date in the nuclear arena.

On this day 37 years ago, at Cap La Hague, where a report of several litres of highly contaminated liquid containing one gram of Plutonium per litre leaked, this happened in part of their vitrification plant where Uranium, and Plutonium are separated from fission products. One gram of Plutonium per litre may not sound like much to the ignorant, but remember the contamination on a leg of a fly at the Hanford nuclear  installation initiated a shutdown and evacuation of 20 acres.

Australia has recently held France up as a poster child for the risky and dangerous nuclear industry, with DIIS, and ANSTO’s falsely claiming with their factoids that the French nuclear industry is one to be applauded.

There are many ignorant people in the political arena, like Cory Bernadi espousing to the production of nuclear waste with no understanding that electricity is only a costly “byproduct” of reactor generation that future generations and the environment will have to pay for, so we can indulge for a meagre time in their history.

 Some people embracing Thorium reactors do so without the understanding that such reactors share the same risky technology of a reprocessing plant on site to separate fuel and fission products to maintain a neutron moderator. This also opens another can of worms with the location of a site to abandon the radioactive waste, and the promotion of a reprocessing plant may dilute the Basel Convention which Australia signed in 1992 to keep all dangerous and toxic material as close as possible to the place of production. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

December 4, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

News Corpse writers and politicians mindlessly parrot spin about Small Modular (Nuclear) Reactors (SMRs.

Steve Dale  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia

 How big is a SMR (Small Modular Reactor)? If you read the comments in the recent Australian article entitled “Want a nuclear reactor in your backyard? Step this way” – many people really think these things can fit in your back yard.

The news article is based on SMR Nuclear Technology Pty Ltd submission to the Australian Energy Security Board (Nov 2017) ( http://www.smrnuclear.com.au/…/SMRNT-ESB-Submission-Nov-201… ). The submission mentions the NuScale SMR module – which is actually 3 metres in diameter and 20 metres high! – and you need 12 or more of them together to create a plant, each weighing 700 tons.

I wonder how many politicians that parrot the words “Small Modular Reactor” actually know how big they are? The following document (“Small Isn’t Always Beautiful – Safety, Security and Cost Concerns about Small Modular Reactors”) is still very relevant http://www.ucsusa.org/…/nuc…/small-isnt-always-beautiful.pdf

November 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment