Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s nuclear fool cycle – regurgitating pro-nuclear submissions made to the SA Royal Commission

Dennis Matthews, 28 Apr 17 Recently, some organisations with impressive sounding names held a symposium at the Australian National University.

The symposium of engineers and scientists was on the nuclear fuel cycle comprised of “mining and fuel processing, nuclear power and waste storage”. The fact that this is a linear process rather than a cycle doesn’t seem to have bothered the participants. The nuclear spin cycle however is real.

The symposium appears to have regurgitated pro-nuclear submissions made to the SA Royal Commission on the nuclear industry and ended up generally agreeing, “that a social licence to operate will not be achieved quickly”. This is an understatement. It has been six decades since Australia got involved in the nuclear industry and sent uranium mined in South Australia and the Northern Territory to the UK for processing and for making nuclear weapons, which were then “tested” in South Australia.

The symposium ended up recommending, “that expertise in the humanities and social sciences be engaged to study the evolution and determining factors for public opinion on nuclear issues in Australia.” Hopefully, these experts will teach the scientists and engineers how to be objective and how to tell the difference between a cycle and spin.

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April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear lobby never gives up

Despite the resounding defeat of the shonky South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission last year, a few zealous lobbyists continue to put across the incorrect story  that expansion of the nuclear industry in that State is  a viable option.

They organised a symposium.

Cambridge Dictionary describes a symposium as : an occasion at which people who have great knowledge of a particular subject meet in order to discuss a matter of interest

That’s interesting, as the communique from this symposium did not name the experts who were present.  I am suspecting that their “great knowledge” was on how to spin pro nuclear propaganda.

The meeting was co-ordinated by the pro nuclear physicist Professor Ken Baldwin. He apparently still believes in the goal of the NFCRC. He had this to say on the NFCRC goals

A further step could be to immediately establish a nuclear regulatory framework, in parallel with community consultation. This would reduce the lead time for nuclear to perhaps ten years if there is public acceptance

The symposium sounded so important, held at the ANU, hosted by The Australian National University (ANU) Energy Change Institute in collaboration with Engineers Australia, the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

It all sounds so awfully academic and gee-whiz important. Apart from Mr Baldwin, no other experts were named. Anyway, surprise surprise. They concluded that  Nuclear options need to be in the energy mix.  I’d just like to know –  how many scientists actually were present? Who put up the arguments for nuclear? What were those arguments?

April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | 3 Comments

Turnbull’s dishonest spin about his Snowy Hydro energy plan

Turnbull fibbed about Snowy Hydro 2.0 https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/turnbull-fibbed-about-snowy-hydro-20,10235  Mark Hipgrave 26 April 2017Far from being the solution to Australia’s energy crisis, bureaucrats have confirmed the upgrade to Snowy Hydro may never even go ahead, reports Mark Hipgrave.

RECENT TURNBULL GOVERNMENT announcements about renaming the 457 Visa system, toughening the citizenship test, and the one from Fiona Nash about decentralising Govt Departments, made me think about last month’s big announcement – the Snowy Hydro Scheme Expansion.

You will recall that, on March 16, the PM announced plans for a $2 billion expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme that could add up to 50% to its capacity.

In his media statement, Turnbull outlined the basics of the project — a plan to ‘supercharge the Snowy Hydro precinct’, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), charged to

‘… examine several sites, which could support large scale pumped hydroelectric energy storage in the precinct.  These sites would involve new tunnels and power stations, connecting existing storages.’

In a speech in front of the penstocks feeding the Tumut 3 Power Station, he sounded positively Churchillian puffing out his chest, malsplaining to us all that the new Snowy Hydro scheme was the

‘… result of the vision and the courage of the generation that won the Second World War … they defended our freedoms …. and they came home and built this …. these are big dreams in these mountains, real courage…’

(He ignored the reality that around two thirds of the workforce employed in the construction of the scheme were immigrant workers, originating from over 30 countries. Not the winners of WWII, they were mostly the losers — displaced persons from Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia and other parts of Eastern Europe. They came with little English and no knowledge at all of Australian values. The work was largely managed by U.S. engineering contractors and, while an engineering triumph, it was achieved with what we would now regard as a shocking safety record). Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Reactorvated: new nuke push ramps up

The global giants of nuclear power are in disarray. As Westinghouse Electric, Toshiba, AREVA struggle in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a new breed of sophisticated nuclear campaigners, led by US billionaire Bill Gates, are spruiking “Small Modular Reactors”. Veteran anti-nuclear campaigner Noel Wauchope investigates the pro-nuclear push, the smart social media offensives and the latest government lobbying.   http://www.michaelwest.com.au/ , 15 Apr 17 

We don’t hear much about this, yet. It’s an international nuclear industry plan to develop new nuclear reactors, reactors which are still only in the design phase.

The Treaties Committee of the Australian Parliament is holding an inquiry into the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems. Australia already signed up for this in June 2016, without any public discussion. Now the plan is to extend Australia’s involvement and the Committee has called for submissions by April 28, 2017.

Most people would think the idea of expanding the nuclear industry in Australia was dead and gone, following last year’s debacle of the South Australian government’s attempts to get a nuclear waste import business set up in Australia. The latest plan however is different……..

In the current climate of financial crisis for AREVA, Westinghouse, Toshiba and so on, “new nuclear” companies such as Terrestrial Energy, Transatomic and NuScale now pitch their products as a radically different alternative to conventional nuclear reactors.

This new nuclear propaganda is certainly out there, but it is not yet prevalent in Australia. The nuclear lobby’s first step is to get government commitments in principle, getting Australia in step with USA and the other nations in the campaign. While the government is certainly well aware of the rejuvenated pro-nuclear campaign, the soft-sell to the Australian public is barely underway. It will come……..

The most important target however is the public, and particularly youth via social media……..

It is quite a small number of individuals who produce both the wordy, technical presentations for government, industry and mainstream media and the bright and snappy messages for the young and for non-technical environmentalists…….

In Australia, this nuclear PR is typified by the work of Ben Heard, who sends sophisticated submissions to government, tweets constantly, and who champions the environment via the nuclear front group Bright New World…….

Now targeting youth via new media the spin has taken on humanitarian and nature-loving elements. Although a collective of billionaires and big corporations are behind it, it promotes an alternative to big corporations. It is about saving the planet. It is about endless cheap and pollution-free energy for all, recycling nuclear wastes, combating climate change, promoting the beneficial uses of ionising radiation, freeing people from irrational fears and from anti-science.

The SMR lobby has been successful already in gaining the attention of government and media for technologies which do not yet even commercially exist. In today’s world of “alternative facts” this success is not surprising. It remains to be seen if “new nuclear” can win the public approval that it needs.  http://www.michaelwest.com.au/reactivated-new-nuclear-push-ramps-up/

April 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) backing shonky climate denial book

Australian Climate Denial Think Tank Picks Cat Author and Moonman Ken Ring as Climate Expert, Desmog blog, By Graham Readfearn, April 9, 2017 Do you love cats and want to know what makes them tick?  Do you think climate change is a hoax being pushed as part of a eugenics plot?  Do you like rubber band magic?

If your answers to these questions are “yes,” “hell yeah,” and “sometimes,” then have I got the book for you? Hell yeah, I do.

Australian “think tank,” the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), has launched a fundraising drive for its 2017 edition of the book Climate Change: The Facts.

The IPA is Australia’s biggest pusher of climate science denial and has assembled a conga-line of deniers and contrarians to write chapters for the upcoming publication. Continue reading

April 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Chris Murray responds to statements about UNSCEAR, made by nuclear propagandist Ben Heard

Ben Heard regards UNSCEAR as the “peak body” investigating radiation effects. “Impeccably
credentialed”, he says, “the foremost experts”. Heard claims that “The generally accepted evidence is that 100mSv per year is the minimum long term dose at which ANY increased cancer risk is perhaps detectable” and , re Fukushima, “The possibility of any latent fatality is exceedingly low.”

I wonder what he makes of UNSCEAR’s 2013 report?

” E7. The lifetime baseline risk of solid cancer in the general population of Japan is about 35% on average (males about 41%; females about 29%) [W12]. Following a hypothetical exposure of a group from the same population corresponding to an acute uniform whole-body dose of 1 Sv (equivalent to an absorbed dose of 1 Gy of low-LET radiation to all organs and tissues of the body), the Committee previously estimated the additional lifetime risk of solid cancer due to that exposure to be approximately 13% on average (annex A, table 70 in the Committee’s 2006 Report [U9]). Following doses of 0.1 Sv and 0.01 Sv, the additional lifetime risk due to the exposure was estimated to be smaller by factors of about 10 and 100, respectively.

“31. Adults living in the city of Fukushima were estimated to have received, on average, an effective dose of about 4 mSv in the first year following the accident; estimated doses for 1-year-old infants were about twice as high. Those living in other districts within the Fukushima Prefecture and in neighbouring prefectures were estimated to have received comparable or lower doses; even lower doses were estimated to have been received elsewhere in Japan. Lifetime effective doses (resulting from the accident) that, on average, could be received by those continuing to live in the Fukushima Prefecture have been estimated to be just over 10 mSv; this estimate assumes that no remediation measures will be taken to reduce doses in the future and, therefore, may be an overestimate. The most important source contributing to these estimated doses was external radiation from deposited radioactive material.”.
http://www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2013/13-85418_Report_2013_Annex_A.pdf

The population of Fukushima Prefecture is about 2 million. Anyone can do the figures. Even the 100% pro-nuclear UNSCEAR’s own estimates point to an eventual additional cancer total over the next 80 years of about 2,600.

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

Weird pro nuclear spin about solar energy being more dangerous than nuclear

Should We Be Concerned About Low Levels of Radiation?’ a talk by Dr.Ian Fairlie

Derek Abbott Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia March 18  Thought for the day: When nuclear apologists gleefully announce that more solar panel workers die falling off roofs than nuclear workers from radiation, their excitement is not only creepy but the sentiment is flawed on three counts.

1) The long term effects of radiation accidents haven’t been fully quantified as we have not yet had long term post-Chernobyl empirical experience.

2) The chance of death on the road is over a 1000 times higher than in flight. Yet we all know that air travel is potentially much more dangerous than road transport. And because it is so much more dangerous, the governance around flight is much more strict. We are seeing relatively few immediate deaths from nuclear precisely because it is so strictly controlled. People falling off roofs is tragic: but it does not absolve nuclear. Instead it does tell us we need to increase roof worker safety standards.

3) Solar penetrates urban areas in a distributed fashion, whereas nuclear is placed away from urban centres. So the comparison is not fair to begin with. If we hypothetically replaced domestic solar panels with small nuclear reactors at each house, this decentralized penetration of nuclear would be open to many more mishaps. This would be the correct comparison https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

March 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | 1 Comment

In South Africa, Australia’s top nuclear industry propagandist is rubbishing renewable energy

Heard told Fin24 that the suggestion that renewables could be the bulk source of energy supply is “preposterous”

The nuclear energy sector should be treated as a normal competitive industry, like any other, he said.

“If you do that you can get excellent time and cost outcomes.”

Heard said that problems come in when the nuclear sector becomes over-regulated

Room for renewables and nuclear in energy mix – researcher, Johannesburg – Renewable energy falls short of being a base load power source in South Africa, suggests a researcher.

Ben Heard, director of Bright New World organisation and PhD Candidate at the University of Adelaide, has conducted research to dispute the claims by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) that renewables have the capacity for a 70% share of South Africa’s energy sector.

The research, conducted by CSIR analysts Jarrad Wright, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, Joanne Calitz and Crescent Mushwana, showed that renewables would be the least cost option for South Africa. Continue reading

March 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Media spin about “new nuclear” and importing nuclear waste

a-cat-CANWhile it’s true that Australia’s mainstream media pretty much ignores nuclear issues at present, the   exception is the Adelaide Advertiser, which seems to have a hotline to the nuclear lobby.   I should mention also  the Whyalla News.

It’s a different story with social media. Australia’s nuclear lobby is active on Facebook and Twitter, and fortunately, Australia’s nuclear critics are, too.

Currently, that very talented pro nuke publicist Ben Heard is leading the pack.

  1. Heard has  put in  a  submission to the  Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Energy Review, in which he advocates new nuclear reactors , especially small ones:
“Nuclear technology continues to innovate, including toward smaller, simpler reactors that will be wellsuited to the Australian grid…..
Terrestrial Energy has announced its plans to licence its reactor design in the United States, for the Integral Molten Salt Reactor”
He doesn’t mention his association with Terrestrial Energy:  http://terrestrialenergy.com/terrestrial-heardben-1energy-announces-appointment-of-internationally-recognized-authority-on-sustainability-to-international-advisory-board/
2. Heard calls  himself “Bright New World”.  I’m pretty sure that is an accurate description of how many
members are in that organisation:
“Bright New World is going to South Africa next week to give lectures on environmentalism, development, climate change and the crucial role of nuclear energy.”
3. On his website, Heard calls for donations. He is applying to have Bright New  World become a registered charity, so that donations will be tax deductible:
“We are a registered not-for-profit organisation, governed by an independent board, and pursuing tax-deductible gift-recipient status.”

 

March 4, 2017 Posted by | Christina reviews, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s dwindling nuclear lobby pushes on, blind to the economic realities

Nuclear Power Is In Crisis As Cost Overruns Cripple Industry Giants, New Matilda.,  By  on February 26, 2017 “……….Shellenberger recently noted that: “Radical breaks from past designs sometimes work in industries that require little up-front capital, like Internet companies. It’s now clear that they are deadly when it comes to nuclear.”

nuke-spruikersSmThose comments refer to APR1000 and EPR reactors, which are just modified versions of long-established, conventional reactor technology. The likelihood of genuinely radical Generation IV concepts coming to the rescue is minuscule in circumstances where the inability to build a handful of conventional reactors on-time and on-budget has brought industry giants ‒ with decades of experience and tens of thousands of employees ‒ to their knees.

Yet Australia’s dwindling but determined group of nuclear lobbyists continue to press the case for Australia to take the lead developing Generation IV reactor types. So Australia ‒ a country with virtually no relevant expertise and even less experience ‒ should take the lead developing Generation IV reactors despite the fact that four global giants face crippling debts due to cost overruns building a handful of conventional reactors?

That proposition is beyond stupid and it was completely rejected by the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission last year.

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. Moreover, electricity generated from such reactors has not been demonstrated to be cost competitive with current light water reactor designs.”

On conventional nuclear power, the Royal Commission concluded that “on the present estimate of costs and under current market arrangements, nuclear power would not be commercially viable to supply baseload electricity to the South Australian subregion of the NEM from 2030 (being the earliest date for its possible introduction)”.

The dwindling nuclear lobby will continue with their beyond-stupid promotion of Generation IV reactors, and they’ll continue peddling misinformation about renewables, but there’s no longer any reason why the rest of us should pay any attention. https://newmatilda.com/2017/02/26/nuclear-power-is-in-crisis-as-cost-overruns-cripple-industry-giants/

February 27, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) propagandising to Aborigines

a-cat-CANThey talk of ‘showing the group how we safely manage waste here at ANSTO’.  If it’s all that safe why not keep it there at Lucas Heights?  Why transport it 1000s of miles to outback South Australia?

They are lying about “intermediate waste” . the waste returned from Franc e is classified as “high level” by the French waste management authority ANDRA

 

devil-bargainANSTO WELCOMES TRADITIONAL OWNERS TO LUCAS HEIGHTS The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) last week welcomed members of the Adnyamathanha community in South Australia.

Barndioota, which is in their area, is a potential site for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

Les Bursill, an elder of the Dharawal community, gave the welcome to country and shared insights about some of the rich traditional heritage surrounding ANSTO.

The Sutherland Shire Mayor, Carmelo Pesce, was on hand to welcome guests, and discuss some of the benefits of having a nuclear facility in his areas, in terms of jobs, growth and community participation.

The group were at ANSTO at the invitation of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, which is extending invitations for such tours to all community members near potential sites of the facility.

“It was our pleasure to the welcome visitors, to show the group how we safely manage waste here at ANSTO, and to answer any questions they had,” said ANSTO’s Chief Nuclear Officer, Hef Griffiths.

“The group toured our campus, saw how the low level radioactive waste is packaged and stored, and stood beside the intermediate level waste container that returned to Australia from France in December 2015.

Throughout the year, ANSTO staff and experts will continue to make visits to Barndioota as part of technical studies, and ANSTO will continue to receive guests looking to get facts on radioactive waste management.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Response to Ben Heard’s misinformation on the proposed nuclear waste importing plan

text-relevantThe only way to avoid gambling hundreds of millions or billions of SA taxpayers’ dollars would be in the wildly improbable scenario that potential client countries would take that gamble.

Taipower clearly states that it would not consider sending waste to another country unless and until that country has developed a repository. Yet the economic case developed by Jacobs and MCM collapses if revenue (and waste) is not received before construction of a repository.

Finally, Mr Heard’s promotion of fast breeder reactors is beyond stupid….. Most of the countries that invested in fast breeder reactors have given up, deciding not to throw good money after bad. Last year, Japan decided to give up on the Monju fast breeder reactor, a fiasco that will cost Japanese taxpayers A$17.3 billion in construction, operation and decommissioning costs despite the fact that the reactor rarely operated.

The Royal Commission completely rejected proposals advanced by Heard and others for ‘advanced fast reactors’, noting in its final report that such reactors are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future; that the development of such a first-of-a-kind project would have high commercial and technical risk

Friends of the Earth Australia has today written to all Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council, and SA political representatives in the Federal Parliament, responding to the latest round of misinformation from those proposing to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump.

——————————————————————————–

To: Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council

From: Jim Green
National nuclear campaigner
Friends of the Earth, Australia     Feb. 3, 2017

EXPOSING THE LATEST MISINFORMATION FROM THE NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP LOBBY

Dear Members of the SA House of Assembly and Legislative Council,

heardbenThe Advertiser has today run an article including false claims from nuclear lobbyist / uranium industry consultant / PhD student Ben Heard that Jay Weatherill’s plan to turn SA into the world’s high-level nuclear waste dump could be pursued without the need to gamble hundreds of millions or billions of dollars with no guarantee of any return on the investment.

Mr Heard is quoted saying that the “notion of high upfront cost to South Australia is a persistent and deliberate lie first peddled by deceitful environmental groups and now, sadly, taken up by the Liberal Party.”

In fact, the necessity of gambling hundreds of millions or billions of dollars ‒ without the slightest guarantee of any return on the investment ‒ is clearly spelt out by Jacobs, the economics consulting firm commissioned by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

Jacobs Project Manager / Consultant Tim Johnson told the SA Joint Select Committee that “total expenditure prior to the decision to proceed” is likely to be from around A$300 million to in excess of A$600 million, depending on the timing of the decision to proceed. (Letter to Joint Standing Committee, 5 July 2016.)

Dr Johnson told the Joint Select Committee that the project entails very significant economic risks: “It isn’t a risk-free process to go into this. There is a very significant risk.” Yet the nuclear waste dump lobby persist with the fabrication that the project can be pursued without economic risks. Continue reading

February 4, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, spinbuster, wastes | 2 Comments

Ben Heard, of nuclear front group “Bright New World” in unfair attack on S Aust Liberals

heardben

In his latest pro nuclear spiel, on his front group “Bright New World” Ben Heard attacks South Australia’s Liberal Party. He attacks them for ignoring the evidence of (so-called) “Independent” experts.

Those experts are in fact, highly biased pro nuclear lobbyists. Dr Tim Johnson of Jacob Consulting, a leading advocate for underground nuclear storage in S.A. Jim Voss the ex-MD of Pangea Resources – a failed joint venture attempt to bring High Level nuclear waste to Australia in the late 1990s. Voss has global links in the nuclear industry at the highest level. Through UCL he lectured South Australians on the glories of nuclear.

February 3, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Dishonest spin from ANSTO and government, about Spain’s nuclear waste program

liar-nuclear1Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 25 Jan 17  The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and ANSTO have been using Spain’s nuclear waste program as a poster child of approbation.  Well it’s not.

Portugal has made complaints to authorities in Brussels, regarding Spain’s plans to construct a nuclear waste site near Tigris, close to their border which could cross into Portugal. Reports the Portuguese people had no say, and have NOT even been consulted, they are calling for the existing treaty to be upheld. Basel Convention states the contamination should be kept within the boundaries and close to the place of production to palliate any issues.

I have heard both dichotomies say “we should be responsible for the waste that we produce”, but we should not unnerve our neighbours or fellow man. Nuclear waste shows no boundaries!

January 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Ben Heard and Barry Brook spruik for nuclear reprocessing at Port Augusta

These two nuclear spruikers have been at it for decades – promoting the nuclear industry under the cover of pretending to be environmentalists.

logo-bright-new-worldNow they’re at least ‘coming out’ about being nuclear lobbyists.   It is surprising that  the Australian National University is publishing  (in the Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies journal)  their claims about recycling nuclear waste as a multi $billion windfall for South Australia. They even claim that nuclear waste reprocessing for South Australia would have ‘significant environmental benefits’!

Ben Heard enthuses that South Australia can ‘commercialise leading technology’ Ben Heard worked on this with former Liberal Senator Sean Edwards.

They’re trying to make a mark on the international scene with their new project “Bright New [Nuclear] World”.   But this is their new project’s first foray into the Australian scene.

 

January 20, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment