Australian news, and some related international items

Prof Peta Ashworth, stooge of the nuclear lobby, is again propagandisingfor them

Tim Bickmore , No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 3 Mar 20
An upcoming pro-nuke propaganda circus headlines Prof PETA ASHWORTH.

Supposedly independent (LOL), Ms Ashworth was contracted by DIIS to massage the NRWMF community consultation process ~ & recommended a 2 site competition strategy to “…. ‘motivate competing communities to become invested in winning …”

Yet here she now be, boldly spruiking nuclear power in the company of other tricky nuke cyclists……

PS…. JACOBS would be one of the front runners in the chase to get the Govt contract for construction &/or to operate any national radioactive suppository.

March 5, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

No advantage in ‘new’ back-to-the-future nuclear reactors for Australia. Is the real motive military?

It is a spurious argument to say any reactor type will reduce Australia’s power industry high level nuclear waste when we produce zero at the moment.
only a devotee of nuclear power would see any advantage in introducing any type of nuclear reactor to Australia. Unless the real motive for such a reactor is a military motive. If so, the O’Brien Committee and the government need to come clean on that.
The waste from the very first molten salt fuelled and cooled reactor, as we saw in the previous post, continues to cost US taxpayers money 60 years later.
The sub text of the picture admits that nuclear industry cannot keep going in the way that it has done since the days between 1945 and now. The industry would disappear if it did not “modernise”.  
Seeing as there actually no new concepts, why not look again, in desperation, at the rejected designs of the past?

Part 2 of A Study of the “Report of the inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia” Australian Parliamentary Committee 2020.       The Industry Push to Force Nuclear Power in Australia    

The Parliamentary Committee recommends, in part, the following: Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government undertake a body of work to progress the understanding of nuclear energy technology by:

  1. Commissioning the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), or other equivalent expert reviewer, to undertake a technological assessment on nuclear energy reactors to:
    1. produce a list of reactors that are defined under the categories of Generation I, II, III, III+ and IV;
    2. advise on the technological status of Generation III+ and Generation IV reactors including small modular reactors;
    3. advise on the feasibility and suitability of Generation III+ and Generation IV reactors including small modular reactors in the Australian context; and
    4.  formulate a framework to be used by Government to monitor the status of new and emerging nuclear technologies.The first item of the recommendation – for ANTSO to compile of reactors according to each one’s status within the table of Generation – 1 to 4 might be a good idea, for many of the Generation IV reactor designs were first envisaged and trialled in the 1950s and 1960s before being discarded. Whereas, at the present time, and since the time the US Department of Energy sought ways of halting the decline of nuclear power’s percentage contribution to global energy supply in the 1990s. For that is the time that the idea of resurrecting old designs and calling them new and “Generation IV” and re marketing them first arose

The waste from the very first molten salt fuelled and cooled reactor, as we saw in the previous post, continues to cost US taxpayers money 60 years later.

In 2014 the Brookings Institute published an essay by Josh Freed entitled “Back to the Future, Advanced Nuclear Energy and the Battle Against Climate Change”. This essay is available to read at The cover illustration is very interesting.

The titled cover includes the disclosure that the nuclear industry sees a future for previously discarded, old reactor designs. It shows a nuclear reactor sitting below sea level, protected by a combined Dyke / Causeway for levitating vehicles. Huge waves threaten the Dyke, vehicles, reactor and giant Science Woman, who is watching on with skilled impartiality. In the distance, buildings taken straight from the cartoon “The Jetsons” appear. The illustration is also, actually, a reinterpretation of the events which occurred in March 2011 at Fukushima. The sub text of the picture admits that nuclear industry cannot keep going in the way that it has done since the days between 1945 and now. The industry would disappear if it did not “modernise”.

The fission industry is dying as more and more competition arises in the form of alternative technologies in the energy generation technology market. Even Fusion research continues to make inroads toward the goal of successful and economic power generation, but it still a few years off. The 1930s fission patents of Szilard are long in the tooth and actually, in terms of economic energy production has always been a failure. Kick started by governments, the standard designs are trusted by fewer and fewer people, especially throughout Asia. Westinghouse Nuclear, GE Nuclear, Toshiba Nuclear are all bankrupt. British Nuclear Fuels Ltd is broke, Sellafield is broke and a growing cleanup cost liability.

So increasingly, the industry needs a unique selling point, something new and radical, something that solves the old nuclear problems. It needs a product which never fails or spills radioactive materials into the biosphere, it needs a product that will not fail because the grid goes down for a few days, it cannot melt down, catch fire like Windscale, Monju and Fermi 1 did.

Seeing as there actually no new concepts, why not look again, in desperation, at the rejected designs of the past? The essay by Josh Freed (his real name) mentions a company called Transatomic. In contrast to the contents of the Freed article, which claims the old new reactor envisioned by Transatomic run on nuclear waste, Transatomic make no such claim. They state that their proposed reactor would run on liquid uranium fuel. As per the original 50s/60s design. They claim that the Molten salt reactor would create less weight of high level waste.

Because the waste would be continuously removed from the reactor. he corporate website for Transatomic is here: And this, from their web site, is precisely what they promise: Molten salt reactors like Transatomic Power’s are fueled by uranium dissolved in a liquid salt. The fuel is not surrounded by cladding, making it possible to continuously remove the fission products that would otherwise stop the nuclear reaction. The liquid fuel is also much more resistant to structural damage from radiation than solid materials – simply, liquids have very little structure to be damaged. With proper filtration, liquid fuel can remain in a molten salt reactor for decades, allowing us to extract much more of its energy.” end quote. They claim their reactor design produces half the nuclear waste of a comparable conventional light water reactor.

This still does not solve the high level nuclear waste stockpile. It adds to it. Given the competition nuclear power has in the modern world, given that the need for ‘baseload’ energy is now shown to be nonsense, what would 1 or 2 small modular molten salt reactors add to Australia? Would they merely replace coal fire powered generation? SA has not had coal fired electricity for some years now. A combination of solar, wind and storage in SA means SA is a net electricity exporter to the Eastern States. We have back up of gas fired generation which very rarely needed.

Sadly for Transatomic, Green Tech Media state the following at announced the following in 2018:

“Transatomic to Shutter It’s Nuclear Reactor Plans, Open-Source It’s Tecnology.

The startup backed by Peter Thiel won’t be able to build its advanced reactor designs—but it’s making its IP available for others to carry on the work.” Source: Jeff St. John, 25 Sept given above.

This gift to the world by Transatomic occurred at the time in Australia when various people began a bombastic and highly enthused campaign to convince Australians that Molten Salt Reactors, fuelled with either Uranium or Lithium or nuclear waste, were Jesus Mark 2. “We’ll Save Yer, just like we did in the Cold War. Solar and batteries are for whimps. We Can’t have solar and wind power in Australia, its a threat to Queensland Coal. Let’s nuclear instead and all make a quick a buck with IP”.

Funny that. Talk about drumming up business prospects and investment funds, and in 2020, floating a float on the back of sympathetic and one eyed Parliamentary Inquiry!

Double or Nothing?

The promise made by Transatomics is that molten fuel/molten salt reactors made with modern techniques will reduce by roughly half the amount of high level nuclear waste generated per unit of power generated. However, at the current time the amount of high level nuclear waste (ie, fission products -the transmutation products described in Szilard’s 1930s patents) and the release of the gaseous forms of these substances into the atmosphere, generated by Australian electricity generation is ZERO.

So the introduction of Molten Salt Reactor into Australia for electricity production will RAISE the production of high level nuclear waste from this activity by 100%. It won’t half, it won’t double, it will increase by x grams per watt. It is a spurious argument to say any reactor type will reduce Australia’s power industry high level nuclear waste when we produce zero at the moment. And if Australia continues on its non nuclear path, that zero rate of power related high level waste will remain zero forever. So where is the advantage for Australia in introducing power reactors in the civilian sphere?

I am led to believe that it will take between 10 – 20 years for any Australian nuclear power reactor to come on line from the time it is approved. By that stage the competition from other forms of low carbon power production will be much, much more severe than it is now. And today, in my opinion, only a devotee of nuclear power would see any advantage in introducing any type of nuclear reactor to Australia. Unless the real motive for such a reactor is a military motive. If so, the O’Brien Committee and the government needs to come clean on that. Not that they will. Such an admission is likely to be impossible for several reasons. Besides, no nuclear industry is free to fully disclose the corporate production and disposition of “special nuclear materials”.

So, I suppose in the end the Committee recommend ANTSO compile a list of reactor types and nominate the current industry PR terms for each type. For the Generational types (1 through IV) have actually very little to do with the chronological order and date range over which each type first manifest as a prototype. The small World War 2 German reactors, of which there were many, are little known, and the US ALSOS project has not disclosed that much about them. Germany had at least 4 reactor programs, 7 ways of enriching uranium. Japan had an Army fission project, a Navy fission project, an Air Force Fission project. All were formally abandoned, ironically , in July 1945. Germany was able to enrich uranium.

This is ancient history, but the world remains fairly ignorant I think, as to which reactor type is the safest, most economic, most reliable and so on. So far, all I have heard from the nuclear industry is PR manufactured originally by the US Department of Energy which relabelled the various reactor designs originated in the US according to a “Generation Number” which is completely detached from the chronological sequence in which they occurred.

In World War 2 Germany was working on heavy water reactors. Does that mean Hitler’s heavy water reactors were Generation III+ ? Of course not. They were Gen 1. As was the Canadian heavy water reactor of World War 2 which supplemented the US plutonium production at Hansford. If the Candu reactor is Gen III+ I’m Father Christmas. What the US DOE is doing with its naming is using marketing techniques to sell old concepts as new ideas.

Car companies do the same when naming cars. Makers of garbage trucks send salesmen around to Council depots extolling the virtues of the Gen IV 2 ton rubbish truck, complete with compactor, a tilt tray and 8 track stereo sound. And Depot managers get given toy model rubbish trucks they sit on their book cases to show how technically astute they are in the field of garbage.

Same deal here. It’s a no brainer. Yet, start collecting lists from ANSTO Mr. O’Brien. Great idea sir. It’ll keep you off the streets for awhile.

March 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Busting the lies of the Australian Government about “new” nuclear reactors

The core propositions of non-traditional reactor proponents – improved economics, proliferation resistance, safety margins, and waste management – should be reevaluated.

Before construction of non-traditional reactors begins, the economic implications of the back end of these nontraditional fuel cycles must be analyzed in detail; disposal costs may be unpalatable………. reprocessing remains a security liability of dubious economic benefit

Non-traditional” is used to encompass both small modular light water reactors (Generation III+) and Generation IV reactors (including fast reactors, thermal-spectrum molten salt reactors, and high temperature gas reactors)

March 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

No, Mr Baldock, our children do not deserve this dirty, long-lasting, nuclear trash dump

Paul Waldon  Fight To Stop A Nuclear Waste Dump In South Australia, 21 Feb 20, People leaving, property values dropping, large tracts of land hitting the market, children’s heritage being sold and/or eroded, a once strong community now divided, people happier to shop outside their community, these are the trademarks of a dying town with poor opportunities.

An aggressive social cancer fueled by a desperate and ignorant nuclear embracing dichotomy trying to grasp the doctrines of the indentured servitude bound nuclear coterie with a vested interest spouting factoids will surely fail to attract new business and people to the region.

Meanwhile Andrew Baldock, nuclear profiteer, social axe man has continued to state “We are doing this for the children!”

Well Baldock my children, my children’s children’s children don’t deserve this.

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Correcting the propaganda: Australia’s nuclear medicine DOES NOT NEED a national radioactive waste dump

February 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

#ScottyFromMarketing ‘s hypocritical ploy to do nothing effective against climate change

February 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

“Ecomodernists” – Ben Heard, Oscar Archer, Barry Brook, Geoff Russell, – Australia’s pro-nuclear fake environmentalists

even in Heard’s scenario, only a tiny fraction of the imported spent fuel would be converted to fuel for imaginary Generation IV reactors (in one of his configurations, 60,000 tonnes would be imported but only 4,000 tonnes converted to fuel). Most of it would be stored indefinitely, or dumped on the land of unwilling Aboriginal communities.
Russell’s description of Aboriginal spiritual beliefs as “mumbo-jumbo” is beyond offensive.
Silence from the ecomodernists about the National Radioactive Waste Management Act (NRWMA), which dispossesses and disempowers Traditional Owners in every way imaginable:
Now, Traditional Owners have to fight industry, government, and the ecomodernists as well.


January 24, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australian Parliamentary Committee Want Money Wasted On More Nuclear Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone Has To Love Nuclear Energy

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

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

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

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

The Moratorium Means Nothing

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Dr Jim Green busts ANSTO’s spin about nuclear wastes

Dr Jim Green at Senate Nuclear Inquiry , 11 Nov 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nuclear inquiry sparks industry campaign to lift moratorium, By Mike Foley, December 1, 2019 — The Minerals Council is ramping up its long-run campaign to remove Australia’s ban on nuclear power, claiming new market research shows majority community support for the technology.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Ziggy Switkowski – a new load of nuclear codswallop


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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