Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Another lithium mine opened in Western Australia

WA’s newest lithium mine plans to double down, WA Today By Hamish Hastie, 5 September 2018  Western Australia’s newest lithium mine was officially opened this morning, marking the seventh operating mine in the state.

Altura Mining’s 100 per cent-owned Pilgangoora lithium mine is located 90 kilometres south-east of Port Hedland and will support 130 ongoing jobs.  The mine will produce about 220,000 tonnes per annum of lithium spodumene concentrate but the company is already considering plans to double production to tap into growing global battery demand for electric vehicles and storage.

The Pilgangoora lithium deposit currently has an ore reserve estimate of 41.1 million tonnes…..

Beyond just exporting lithium the state government’s lithium and energy materials industry taskforce is investigating the state’s ability to produce and process lithium and other energy materials.

The taskforce will present a lithium and energy materials strategy to cabinet over the next few months……https://www.watoday.com.au/business/companies/wa-s-newest-lithium-mine-plans-to-double-down-20180905-p501v3.html?crpt=index

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September 7, 2018 Posted by | rare earths, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australia should follow Canada- producing medical isotopes in cyclotron, not nuclear reactor

Steve Dale     Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 5 Aug 18 Is this what they call a strawman argument? Who wants to import isotopes? I don’t want Australia to import isotopes, I want Australia to make them here using Cyclotrons and other forms of accelerators. If you read the author’s twitter feed you will see he is strongly advocating for nuclear power reactors, which makes you wonder if he is looking at isotope production objectively.

Here are some things to think about –
– dissolving Uranium plates to extract the Moly is a process that produces a lot of waste with many steps in the process that have potential for failure or human error
– using Low enriched Uranium plates produces much more waste than High enriched Uranium plates (obviously neither is desirable)
– apparently there is a move away from Technetium99 because it is considered low resolution imaging, some predicting that it will not be used in 10 years because of the superior imaging of PET/cyclotron isotopes
– the isotopes generated in a cyclotron have a very short half life, so they can be kept for a few days and thrown in the general trash

So to summarise. Moly99/Technetium99 is on the way out, yet tax payers have funded a factory to build a factory that can only make Moly99/Te99 – unlike a cyclotron that can make all sorts of isotopes. And instead of building a facility to cater for our own supply, they have built a taxpayer funded factory to speculate on the world wide isotope market.

Canada is showing another way using cyclotrons-
“”The newer radionuclides that are used, the so-called PET imaging agents, give a much more high-resolution picture,” said Wilson. “We’re slowly moving toward more PET isotopes.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/permalink/2053022201396093/?comment_id=2053155368049443

August 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, technology | Leave a comment

Australian company Silex pulls out of U.S. laser uranium enrichment projects

Silex pulls out of U.S. laser enrichment projects, JUNE 13, 2018

 Silex Systems Limited, an Australian company that own the Silex laser enrichment technology, announced that it will not be participating in the restructuring of the Global Laser Enrichment (GLE), a venture that was set up by General Electric and Hitachi to use the technology to build uranium enrichment facilities in the United States. Canadian company Cameco joined the project in 2008.

In 2012 GLE obtained a license to build an enrichment facility in Wilmington, NC. That project, however, was put on hold as the demand for enrichment services dropped after Fukushima. In 2014, GLE expressed interest in building a facility in Paducah, at the site of the gaseous diffusion plant closed down in 2013. The new plant was supposed to enrich tails of the old enrichment operation to produce “natural-grade” uranium. In November 2016 GLE secured an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to acquire the tails. In April 2016, however, GE-Hitachi announced its intent to leave GLE. Silex Systems considered acquiring the GE-Hitachi stake in the company (which is 76%), but now ti decided against it.

In addition, Silex said it intends to give notice to GLE of the termination of the SILEX technology license “unless circumstances change dramatically in the short term”. This most likely means that all plans to build a Silex-based commercial uranium enrichment facility in the United States are now terminated.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, technology, uranium | Leave a comment

Queensland’s nuclear medicine from cyclotron produced at the hospital, leaving no nuclear waste problem

Cancer care in Queensland relies on nuclear medicine made in this concrete bunker http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-03/nuclear-medicine-concrete-bunker-central-to-states-cancer-care/9920624  ABC Radio Brisbane By Hailey Renault

Staff at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital’s nuclear medicine department get to work in the morning around the same time as a baker starts serving up hot bread.

But instead of kneading dough and priming ovens, the labcoat-clad workers manufacture medicines that diagnose and treat cancer.

It’s a delicate operation with rigorous quality control and testing protocols that start deep in the bowels of the hospital behind several layers of thick concrete.

A vault with walls more than a metre thick houses a particle accelerator called a cyclotron.

“It creates a proton beam which bombards oxygen-18 water and turns it into fluorine-18. That’s what we attach to those pharmaceuticals,” Dr Marissa Bartlett, manager of the Radiopharmaceutical Centre of Excellence, said.

The cyclotron is switched on at 4:00am every day to make a new batch of radiopharmaceuticals for lifesaving treatments and therapies.

“We make products that are taken up by cancer cells, so when a patient goes under the [PET] scanner the doctors can see pictures and images of where the cancer cells are,” Dr Bartlett told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Katherine Feeney.

“One of the therapies some patients who have cancer can have is a radionuclide therapy, which goes to the cancer cells and uses radiation to kill those cells.”

There’s no hazmat suits in sight — they’re not needed in a lab largely devoid of dangerous chemicals — but Dr Bartlett said lab workers were protected from radiation by a series of lead, lead-glass and concrete shields.

“When the cyclotron is on it generates very large amounts of radiation so it would be extremely dangerous to be anywhere near it when it’s on,” she said.

“In order to have it on campus we have it inside a concrete room. The walls of that room are thicker than I am tall.”

Medicines go direct to patients

Even though Dr Bartlett described the nuclear medicine department as an “obscure little branch” of hospital operations, many Queenslanders would come into contact with the radiopharmaceuticals it produced.

The Cancer Council of Queensland estimates nearly 27,000 people receive a cancer diagnosis each year.

“One of the things that makes this an amazing place to work is that you literally walk past the patients to get to the lab,” Dr Bartlett said.

“They might get news they really don’t want or maybe they’re coming back to see how their cancer is progressing or responding to treatment.

“We’re very aware of the patients who are lining up every day to get the products we make.”

And what happens to any radioactive materials that aren’t used?

“Everything we make has a very short half-life, so we basically store it until it decays away,” Dr Bartlett said.

“Then it’s completely cold and you wouldn’t know that it had been radioactive.”

July 6, 2018 Posted by | health, Queensland, technology | Leave a comment

Geophysicists say that North Korean nuclear blast ‘moved mountain’. Australia’s seismic station plays role in monitoring

While Dr Wang and his team used data from seismic monitoring systems in China and the surrounding area, Australia has one of the best in the world, Professor Tkalcic said: the Warramunga monitoring station in the Northern Territory, near Tennant Creek.

It’s almost smack bang in the centre of the continent, in an incredibly quiet part of the world, seismically speaking; far from tectonic plate edges, cities and the shoreline, where waves crashing on the coast create seismic noise.

There is also an infrasound detection system at Warramunga station, which detects waves that travel through the atmosphere produced by bomb blasts.

The data is transmitted by satellite to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation in Vienna, where it is monitored round the clock.

North Korean nuclear test had energy of 10 Nagasaki bombs and moved mountain, geophysicists say  http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-05-11/north-korea-nuclear-test-satellites-seismic-monitoring/9746676  By science reporter Belinda Smith, 11 May 18, 

An underground North Korean nuclear test in September last year exploded with 10 times the energy of the atomic bomb that exploded over Nagasaki in 1945.

It also caused the overlying mountain peak to sink by half a metre and shift about 3.5 metres south.

Key points:

  • North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb under Mt Mantap on September 3, 2017
  • Using satellite measurements and seismic data, geophysicists calculated the strength of the test and its location — the first time satellite radar has been used this way
  • The blast was big enough to cause an earthquake and deform the mountain above

These are conclusions drawn by geophysicists, who used satellite radar and instruments that pick up waves travelling through the earth, to calculate the explosion’s depth and strength.

In the journal Science today, they also report signs that a subterranean tunnel system at the test site collapsed 8.5 minutes after the bomb detonated.

In the past, satellite technology — called synthetic radar aperture imagery — has mapped how the ground stretches and warps after earthquakes.

But this is the first time it has been used to examine a nuclear bomb test site, according to Teng Wang, study co-author and a geophysicist at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

Since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996, nine nuclear tests have taken place.

Six of these were by North Korea, five of which were at its Mt Mantap facility in the country’s north.

The bombs were detonated in chambers tunnelled into the mountain itself — a granite peak that extends upwards just over 2,200 metres.

But this means the details of the tests, such as the energy produced by the bombs, have been largely unknown outside North Korea — until now.

Eye in the sky, ear to the ground

Dr Wang and his colleagues suspected they could deduce the strength and precise location of the bomb test on September 3 last year, which triggered a magnitude-6.3 earthquake.

Clandestine nuclear activities are tracked by a global monitoring system of sensors that pick up the faint shivers and shudders generated by distant underground blasts and earthquakes.

But while these instruments are capable of picking up the wave signature of a bomb blast thousands of kilometres away, more information is needed to pinpoint exactly where an explosion has taken place.

So in the weeks after the September North Korean bomb test, Dr Wang and his colleagues received images of the Mt Mantap terrain before and after the test, snapped by the German TerraSAR-X satellite.

To map the bumps and dips on the Earth’s entire surface, TerraSAR-X pings radar towards the ground and measures how long it before the signal is bounced back up again.

“As long as the ground is deformed, we can measure it from space using synthetic radar aperture,” Dr Wang said.

Combined with a bit of nifty mathematical modelling — the first time anyone’s modelled an underground nuclear test with radar data — he and his colleagues got a fix on the exact location of the detonation site.

This is a highlight of the work, said Hrvoje Tkalcic, a geophysicist at the Australian National University, who was not involved in the study.

“What’s always difficult is pinpointing an exact location [of a bomb test],” Professor Tkalcic said.

Dr Wang and his team calculated that the top of the mountain subsided about half a metre after the September test, and parts of it shuffled south.

To manage this deformation, the bomb released the energy equivalent to between 109,000 and 276,000 tonnes of TNT in a chamber 450 metres below Mt Mantap’s peak.

The “Fat Man” bomb that exploded over Nagasaki yielded an energy level equivalent to 20,000 tonnes.

Among the data, they found the seismic shivers of a second, smaller event — an aftershock that appeared 700 metres south of, and 8.5 minutes after, the explosion.

The waves produced by the aftershock weren’t consistent with an explosion; rather, it looked like the ground had imploded.

This, the geophysicists suggest, “likely indicates the collapse of the tunnel system of the test site”.

While Dr Wang and his team used data from seismic monitoring systems in China and the surrounding area, Australia has one of the best in the world, Professor Tkalcic said: the Warramunga monitoring station in the Northern Territory, near Tennant Creek.

It’s almost smack bang in the centre of the continent, in an incredibly quiet part of the world, seismically speaking; far from tectonic plate edges, cities and the shoreline, where waves crashing on the coast create seismic noise.

It uses an array of buried instruments to pick up waves that travel through the ground, acting as a giant antenna to amplify weak signals.

“They’re used in the same way as astronomers use arrays of antennas to look at deep space. It’s just that our antennas are pointed to the centre of the earth,” Professor Tkalcic said.

There is also an infrasound detection system at Warramunga station, which detects waves that travel through the atmosphere produced by bomb blasts.

The data is transmitted by satellite to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation in Vienna, where it is monitored round the clock.

So how do geophysicists know if seismic waves are caused by bomb blasts and not, say, an earthquake or landslide?

In a subterranean explosion, the ground is pushed outwards and compressed, sending a particular type of wave through the ground, Professor Tkalcic said.

An earthquake’s seismic signature is different. If two plates collide, rub against each other or slip, they send out another type of wave.

“We can tell if the first motion was predominantly a compression or if it was a shear type of motion,” Professor Tkalcic said.

May 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s first lithium battery recycling plant established in Gisborne, Victoria

Australia’s first lithium battery recycling plant launched https://reneweconomy.com.au/australias-first-lithium-battery-recycling-plant-launched-19366/, By Sophie Vorrath on 27 April 2018 

April 27, 2018 Posted by | business, rare earths, Victoria | Leave a comment

Rare earths mining in Central Australia approved

EPA approves $900m rare earths mine in Central Australia despite radioactive risk, ABC News, By Ben Millington,  5 Jan 18,A proposed $900 million rare earths mine in Central Australia has been recommended for approval by the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (EPA), after an assessment process lasting more than two years.,

Arafura Resources’ Nolans Project at Aileron, 135 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, would mine rare earth materials such as neodymium and praseodymium, used to manufacture strong magnets for wind turbines and electric vehicles.

The EPA identified several long-term environmental risks and impacts with the project, but found they could be managed.

“There will have to be a high level of operational management control for this project over a couple of generations, and there’ll have to be a high level of regulatory scrutiny, there’s no two ways about that,” EPA chairman Paul Vogel said.

The primary risks include the permanent storage of naturally occurring radioactive material onsite and the use of significant groundwater resources over the 35 to 55-year lifespan of the project……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-05/epa-approves-rare-earth-mine-in-central-australia/9306610

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Northern Territory, rare earths | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The critical one is of course economics. …….

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

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

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

NO to Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader, John Barilaro: New South Wales does NOT need nuclear power

Opposition fires up over nuclear power station chatter, http://www.macleayargus.com.au/story/4954450/labor-lights-up-north-coast-nuclear-intrigue/NSW Labor is challenging the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to detail any plans for nuclear power on the North Coast.

This follows musing by Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader, John Barilaro, that nuclear reactors could be operating in NSW within 10 years. Mr Barilaro said on social media: “We could have them (small nuclear reactors) operating here in a decade – which is not long for the energy industry…”

Opposition Energy spokesman Adam Searle said it was the second time this year Mr Barilaro had raised the possibility of nuclear energy for the State.

In May, Mr Barilaro said he was “prepared to talk about nuclear as an option”. One pro-nuclear power group, Nuclear for Climate Australia, has identified 12 regions of NSW as possible sites for nuclear reactors – including on the North Coast.

“A pro-nuclear power group is on the record suggesting reactors should be on the North Coast – does Mr Barilaro agree?” Mr Searle said.

“He should be clear with the public on where he thinks the nuclear reactors should be.

“Our farmers’ clean and green reputation is known throughout the world but a nuclear industry in these areas would end all that.”

September 29, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, technology | Leave a comment

Some recycling of lithium already going on in Australia

LITHIUM ION BATTERIES  ore http://www.batteryrecycling.org.au/recycling/lithium-ion-batteries The number of lithium-ion reaching end of life is expected to increase exponentially over the next 20 years. A report from Randell Environmental Consulting and Blue Environment can be downloaded here.

A report from Anna Boyden on the environmental impacts of lithium ion batteries provides useful background material and can be downloaded here.

Lithium-ion batteries (UN No. 3480) are classified as Dangerous Goods under the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code).

The ADG Code requires all dangerous goods, including lithium ion batteries, to be carried in a secure, safe and environmentally controlled manner. The carrier has the right to refuse carriage if dangerous goods are not packed in accordance with the regulations. There is a special provision (377) and packaging instruction (P909) for ‘lithium ion and lithium metal cells and batteries and equipment containing such cells and batteries transported for disposal or recycling, either packed together with or packed without non-lithium batteries…’

The following ABRI members provide a collection and recycling service for used lithium-ion batteries. Contact the company or check their web site for details. Continue reading

September 27, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths, storage | Leave a comment

Australia VERY QUIETLY signs up to help develop new nuclear reactors

Noel Wauchope, 20 Sept 17, Now, many weeks after Australia signing up to the Framework Agreement For Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, the public is informed of this. I found it at the bottom of page 23  of the print version of The Age today.  Why haven’t we heard about this before?

How is it that Dr Adi Paterson of ANSTO signed up to this, in advance of Parliamentary approval, and that the whole thing can be done without any proper public consultation? Australian tax-payers are now to be supporting the development of these new dreams of nuclear power –  advanced nuclear reactors that exist now only as blueprints, and will be expensive, require government funding, and will not be commercially operational for many decades, if ever.
Surely it is time for a thorough inquiry into ANSTO’s funding and finances. The New Generation nuclear reactors are controversial, to say the least. They are in fact, part of the global nuclear lobby’s push to save itself –  its future being threatened by its dire economics, and by its connection to the nuclear weapons industry.
The Australian media is regularly used to promote ANSTO’s nuclear reactor as having as its purpose “medical research”  and “medical isotopes saving lives” – despite the fact that non nuclear production of these isotopes can be, and is, being done.  The reality is that ANSTO is part of the global nuclear industry lobby, and its reactor produces long-lasting radioactive wastes and it should be shut down.
I couldn’t find it on The Age online.  The print version, 19 Sept 17 – small article at the bottom of page 23:

Australia joins nuclear research club,  by Cole Latimer
Australia has officially joined an international group focused on developing future nuclear energy systems, The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has been welcomed into the Generation IV International Forum Framework, which aims to develop next generation nuclear power systems, and which ANSTO calls “a potential game-changer in global energy creation”.
Although Australia joined the GIF charter last year, the event marked the  country’s official accession to the nuclear framework agreement, which is focused on six different nuclear reactor designs that provide poeer and “stringent standards in relation to safety and non proliferation”.
However, ANSTO stated that this was not about  advancing the cause of nuclear energy in Australia’s current energy mix: instead it was about utilisingAustralian skills in research and development.
“Australia has no nuclear power program, but we do have significant local expertise in next generation research, which is what this partnership is about”  ANSTO chief executive officer Adi Paterson said.
ANSTO will leverage our world class capabilities, particularly in relation to the development of advanced materials and with applications in extreme industrial environments, and of nuclear safety cases.
“This agreement will enable Australia to contribute to an international group focused on peaceful use of nuclear technology, and the international energy systems of the future”
An ANSTO spokesman said Australia was a world leader in terms of nculear safety, “due to the high levels of oversight and paperwork required” to operate.
GIF is a co-operative of 14 nations led by France, a country where nuclear power accounts for  nearly 75% of energy generation. This reliance on nuclear energy has helped the nation slash its carbon emissions.

September 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, technology | Leave a comment

Norther Territory may be close to getting a lithium mine

NT lithium mine moves closer
THE push to build and develop the Northern Territory’s first lithium mine is gaining momentum
http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/nt-lithium-mine-moves-closer/news-story/fe9071bc2a42cbc28bbdb9fe5a741369

September 20, 2017 Posted by | rare earths | Leave a comment

Australian media mindlessly regurgitates nuclear lobby spin about medical wastes

Misconceptions about radioactive medical isotopes,  http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19251 , By Noel Wauchope -29 August 2017

Australians get their information about medical isotopes straight from The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation(ANSTO) via handouts faithfully retailed via the mainstream media. Some recent examples of media coverage:

The message is straightforward and goes like this:

The purpose of the Opal nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights is to make medical radioisotopes to treat cancer. Australia needs a national radioactive waste dump in rural South Australia, thousands of miles away from Lucas Heights, to dispose of the low-level medical radioactive wastes produced. And this will be a bonanza for the lucky rural community of Kimba.

Is this story true?

No. It is misleading on a number of counts.

First of all, a nuclear reactor is not essential for making medical isotopes. The IAEA lists 39 countries that use cyclotrons to produce them. That includes Australia, which has them not only at Lucas Heights itself, but also at hospitals in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia.

From the invention of the cyclotron (1931) , and discovery of artificial radioactivity (1934), non nuclear particle accelerators were used to produce them. Globally, particle accelerators produced the vast majority of radioisotopes with medical applications until the 1950s. Radioisotopes of medical interest began to be produced as a byproduct of nuclear weapons reactors during World War II. After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the USA Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)’s main mission was promoting the military use of nuclear material, but “giving atomic energy a peaceful, civilian image” was also part of it. In1948 the AEC took over, and isotopes for biomedical research, cancer diagnostics and therapy were made in nuclear reactors and even became free of charge.

Australia was a bit slow to jump on the medical isotopes bandwagon. The Lucas Heights nuclear reactor began its life in 1958 as the start of a plan for nuclear weapons for Australia.Then it was promoted as research for nuclear power, and later as for making medical radiopharmaceuticals. Lucas Heights and ANSTO itself are very much part of the nuclear lobby’s plan to promote the entire nuclear industry in Australia.

Australia does not need a national radioactive waste dump for medical wastes. Nearly all medical radioactive wastes are very short-lived – a matter of days, or even hours. There is no need to transport them across the continent. Australia does have a problem with higher level wastes: Spent reactor fuel sent to France, USA and UK for processing must be returned. This is the type of waste that needs deep and very secure disposal. That is sure to be the underlying purpose of the South Australian waste dump plan.

The planned national radioactive waste dump will not benefit the local community. Yes, there will be bribes – so far, not much – a $2 million Community Benefit Package to fund local projects, but I’m sure that the Feds will come with better than that. Jobs, no doubt. However, the underlying problem remains. The community is being asked to accept a temporary nuclear waste dump, which is to be set up long before any permanent dump is set up, if it ever is. Kimba, the proposed dump site, is likely to suffer the fate of so many sad sites in America –stuck with “stranded wastes” of radioactive trash. Think what that would do to Kimba’s environment and reputation as an agricultural area.The nuclear lobby has argued persuasively that the Lucas Heights area has held nuclear wastes for decades. However, the Lucas Heights residents did not grasp the implications when the nuclear reactor was set up. They do now – that’s why they want the wastes sent far away.

The global nuclear lobby is fighting a losing battle. The industry has always struggled to win over public opinion. In Australia, the industry’s “foot in the door” is the Opal reactor at Lucas Heights. Following the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s failed attempt last year, to introduce radioactive waste importing, the next sortie is to use Lucas Heights to get a national nuclear waste dump happening. To justify this, the argument put forward is the medical argument.

In the slick salesmanship from ANSTO and the nuclear lobby in general, they don’t mind a few lies and half truths,. For example, they’ll say ” The most important isotope technetium-99m can be made only with nuclear reactors” – conveniently forgetting that Canadian researchers achieved this with a cyclotron in 2015.

They’ll say that cyclotrons are too expensive to set up, conveniently forgetting that the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor was set up at  tax-payer expense, and that tax-payer will have to fund its waste management virtually for eternity.

They’ll ignore the facts that cyclotrons produce negligible wastes.  As most medical radioisotopes have very short half lives – it makes sense to produce them in a decentralised way – in cyclotrons close to the hospitals where they will be used.  The transport of isotopes from cyclotrons is much less of a problem, than from the centralised nuclear reactor.

The nuclear reactor produces radioactive wastes suitable for use as nuclear weapons fuel –  and present a safety problem, with the reactor itself also a target for terrorism.  Cyclotrons do not have these risks, and this need for huge, and expensive security measures.

Canada, having abandoned nuclear reactor production of medical isotopes, is now leading the way in their production and export without use of a nuclear reactor.  ANSTO’s boast of a future thriving export industry in isotopes is sounding hollow.

We should bear in mind that medical radioisotopes are used 80% for diagnosis, and only 20% for actual treatment of cancer. They are an additional means of diagnosis, but not the only means.

We should also be mindful that radioactive isotopes in medicine carry a small increased risk of cancer for the patient, staff, and sometimes the patient’s family.

Therefore our enthusiasm for nuclear medicine should be tempered with an understanding of its limitations and risks, both at the individual patient level, and in the broader context of nuclear fission and its health and environmental dangers.

August 30, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Non nuclear production of medical radioisotopes st South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

 85% of ANSTO Lucas Heights isotope production is for Technetium 99. This can also be made in a cyclotron by using electricity – which makes NO Intermediate Level Waste & NO long lived LLW – thereby negating a national radioactive dump facility
Having the CRIC located on the same site as SAHMRI’s cyclotron will enable new shorter half-life compounds to be used in research. There are now several compounds being developed using the cyclotron for conditions such as dementia, cancer and cardiovascular disease which need to be tracked by advanced imaging machines.

State’s most advanced clinical imaging centre, worth $13m, opens at SAHMRI  http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/states-most-advanced-clinical-imaging-centre-worth-13m-opens-at-sahmri/news-story/a20eb257edad98bb0597dd787aa6837b?nk=ba26857f63080120cbd5fc74c94d3959-1503458683, Brad Crouch, Medical Reporter, The Advertiser February 15, 2017   THE growing South Australian Health and Biomedical Precinct takes another step forward today with the opening of the most advanced clinical imaging centre in the state.

The $13 million Clinical and Research Imaging Centre at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute has been established in partnership with Dr Jones and Partners Medical Imaging.

Space on the ground level of the SAHMRI building on North Terrace has become a Dr Jones & Partners clinic, with dedicated time allocated to SAHMRI researchers for clinical research without compromising the scheduling of patient treatments.

State-of-the-art imaging equipment in the centre includes CT, MRI and PET/CT platforms.

Officials say the arrangement is moving SAHMRI in a new direction of commercialisation with industry partners to create a facility to benefit researchers with the aim of improving the treatment and diagnosis of patients. Continue reading

August 23, 2017 Posted by | health, South Australia, technology | Leave a comment

Lithium Australia – company seeks to recycle rare earths

Car industry revolution fuels Western Australia’s lithium boom, ABC News, By Kathryn Diss, 29 July 17

“……..’We can’t afford to keep throwing these things away’

Demand is also growing for other specialty minerals which go into building a battery, including graphite, cobalt, vanadium and nickel.

While the focus for most miners has been getting their lithium to market as quickly as possible, other players like Lithium Australia is targeting lower grade lithium and recycling of old batteries.

“Our focus has been developing processing technology to a large extent focusing on the materials people don’t want to process at the moment,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said.

“If you look at the industry, there’s more lithium that gets discharged to waste around the world than ever gets into the process supply chain.

“One of the things Australia really needs to look at is the recycling of waste battery materials.

“We can’t afford to keep throwing these things away: At the moment there’s about 8,000 tonnes a year of battery materials going to landfill and there’s only about 800 tonnes recycled.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-29/car-industy-lithium-revolution-driving-next-mining-boom-in-wa/8748322

July 31, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths | Leave a comment