Australian news, and some related international items

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. …..

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
It then says in bold letters at the bottom “Further information, including an ‘opt-in’ process for surveys, is available at
But alas – it only goes to 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

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

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?  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”.

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

Australia’s uranium lobby imports a very unreliable “radiation expert” to spruik at Adelaide conference

The Uranium Conference is on in Adelaide on July 4th and 5th. The conference will be addressed by

Hon Dan van Holst Pellekaan MP, South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining. The keynote speaker will be Professor Geraldine Thomas, from Imperial College . She will also speak later on Radiation: Science, Protection and Communication.

A quaint choice, for importing a “radiation expert”, as Prof Thomas is well known as the nuclear lobby’s favourite radiation propagandist, and also well known as not a reliable source for radiation knowledge.


June 3, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Support for nuclear power is support for coal: John Quiggin refutes the arguments of Australia’s pro nuclear shills

May 27, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison claims that the Liberal Coalition saved the Great Barrier Reef!!

M’s claim Coalition saved reef from nonexistent ‘endangered list’ condemned as ‘ridiculous’, Guardian, Lisa Cox, Mon 13 May 2019

Scott Morrison says government took reef ‘off the endangered list’ – despite no such list existing.  Scott Morrison has credited his government with having “saved” the Great Barrier Reef, a claim rejected as “ridiculous” by scientists, environmental groups and the Queensland government.

At the Liberal party’s campaign launch in Melbourne on Sunday, Morrison thanked the former environment ministers Greg Hunt and Josh Frydenberg for their work on reef issues.

“We have saved the Great Barrier Reef – well done to Greg Hunt particularly on his work when he was environment minister – taking it off the endangered list,” he said.

“We’ve invested record funds in researching and protecting its future thanks to Josh’s time as environment minister.”

Morrison’s statement contained more than one inaccuracy, including the suggestion the reef was on an “endangered list” at all.

“There is such a thing as the ‘in danger list’ for world heritage properties,” the coral reef scientist Prof Terry Hughes said. “The barrier reef was never on that list.

“If Morrison is claiming Hunt got Australia off the ‘in danger’ list, the obvious response is: it never was on it.”

In 2017, Unesco opted not to list the reef as in danger after reviewing the government’s Reef 2050 plan. But it will reassess that decision in 2020 and whichever party wins the federal election must submit an update on progress of the plan at the end of this year.

Hughes said recent surveys of the Great Barrier Reef showed the impact climate change and rising ocean temperatures were having on coral cover.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science – the government’s own agency responsible for monitoring reef health – reported in 2017-18 that trends in coral cover in the north, central and south reef showed steep decline that “has not been observed in the historical record”.

Hughes’s most recent paper found that the production of baby coral on the reef had fallen by 89% after the climate change-induced mass bleaching of 2016 and 2017.

Under the Liberal-National coalition government, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase, which Hughes said was “an abject failure” for the Great Barrier Reef………

May 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Busting ANSTO’s deceptive pro nuclear propaganda to the Kimba and Hawker communities

Kazzi Jai Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges  23 Apr 19, How many times do you have to explain this to people? In response to some of ANSTO’s propaganda directed at the rural communities targeted for nuclear waste dumping……

So you have a specific inventory of what’s in the drums do you? You must be very special then – because that is not what has yet been released to the public! You seem to assume it’s in your words “aprons and gloves” from handling radioactive objects. There is much more to it. Did they mention that it must be shielded to be handled safely? The steel drums themselves act as the shield for the Low Level Nuclear waste and must be monitored to ensure they remain intact. The proposed dump is for the PERMANENT DISPOSAL of the Low Level Nuclear Waste as an above ground dump, but covered with yet to be determined substance so that it qualifies as an “near-surface” disposal site…and must be monitored for several hundred years for safety.
No-one in their right mind would guarantee that there will not be some form of leakage during all of those hundreds of years! Steel drums…concrete….do not last forever….especially when it comes to radioactivity as well as other external factors.
And then there’s the above ground “Temporary” storage of the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste which will be coming with it. We have been told that the proposed dump is not worth doing without the Intermediate Waste being “temporarily” stored there, from Lucas Heights – which is in fact double handling and NOT World’s Best Practise in any way shape or form! What is in the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste shielded casks – Did they say? Did they say how long the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste remains dangerous? Did they say how long the casks were guaranteed by the manufacturers?

Did they mention any hazards or risks? Any at all? 

IF it is so safe as they say – why was Sally’s Flat NSW not hounded to take this waste instead? Sally’s Flat is MUCH closer to Lucas Heights at 260kms – Lucas Heights is where over 90% of Australia’s nuclear waste is generated on site – and Sally’s Flat was deemed suitable as one of the six sites chosen by the Federal Government! Even Oman Ama in Qld is closer! Why transport it over 1500+kms into a prime export grain area or into the iconic world renowned Flinder’s Ranges in South Australia?

The answer is that once it is over the state border it becomes South Australia’s responsibility and liability and South Australia’s problem!
And to top it off – as the NATIONAL Nuclear Dump – not just ANSTO’s – the title of it should ring alarm bells – then all of the other states can effectively become “nuclear-free” at South Australia’s expense!

This is NOTHING to do with FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN or “green goo”. It is nothing to do with comparing it with other objects which frankly is pretty stupid because it is just a way of selling it and blurring lines of understanding! It is MUCH to do with SHAFTING nuclear waste from Lucas Heights, where it is currently safely stored and monitored, and is securely held. Lucas Heights in fact are the first to say “not in my backyard”!

Keep it all at Lucas Heights until the Intermediate Nuclear Waste can be PROPERLY dealt with! Then the Low Level Nuclear Waste can go in with that! In fact that was the intention of Lucas Heights and its enormous space all along – is that they would retain any waste they generated on site UNTIL they had found a suitable way of dealing with it once and for all and not for the next generations to have to come to deal with this man-made problem which they continue to generate! They had given themselves 80 – 100 years to find a solution. This current proposal is NOT a solution. It is simply burying the waste and abandoning it – a caveman’s solution to a 20th century problem!

South Australia is NOT the Nation’s Nuclear Dumping Ground!

NO means NO!

April 23, 2019 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment