Roundup of this week’s nuclear and climate news

July 29, 2015

a-cat-CANAUSTRALIA

South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission. Still time to send in submissions.  Closing date for Issues Papers 2 & 3 , and for a submission covering all four issues is August 3rd.

When I got  a policeman to witness my last 2 submissions, he said (completely unexpectedly and unsolicited by me) “You won’t win., you know. They’ll do it. They’ve got all the money”

Yes, it’s a shonky Royal Commission, with Kevin Scarce’s shares in Rio Tinto, and the Commission’s heavies connected to nuclear agencies.

But – as Redgum said, 20 years ago “If you don’t fight, you lose”

Pro Nuclear Royal Commission Pushes on With Determination, calls for tenders.

Federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese opposes Australian further involvement in nuclear fuel chain.

Northern Territory development : Aboriginal owners asked to agree to extinguish native title.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Tony Abbott’s sly way of stopping action on climate change. Labor leader Bill Shorten foresees aclimate change election.  Climate change harming wine industry (nuclear power would, too) They are using giant $55,000 electric fans. (Apparently these are not ugly, like wind turbines?)

Bjorn Lomborg’s Climate Consensus Centre for Flinders University?   Flinders University students to fight this plan.

Australian Labor Party delegates vote for 50 per cent renewable energy plan. VICTORIAN Liberal MP Sarah Henderson breaks ranks, supports investment in renewables. Poll finds 60% believe carbon tax had little or no effect on electricity bills.

TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP  Tobacco corporation Philip Morris sues Australia over cigarette plain packaging. Labor Senator Wong fights TPP’s Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses

 

INTERNATIONAL

I muse on Toshiba’s ECO and his shame. He apologised for faking the accounts on nuclear (supposed) profits. However, he gained no personal income from this. It was done out of loyalty to the company.  Wouldn’t happen in Australia, – they’d all do it for themselves here!

JAPAN:  Fukushima:

Crucial emergency test begins at Sendai nuclear plant ahead of upcoming restart on August 10, 2015.

No idea what to do with the radioactive trash, but Japan still plans to make more of it.

CEO of Toshiba took loyalty to the company too far – resigns over doctored accounts.  How Toshiba cooked the nuclear books.

IRAN: Nuclear experts explain how the Iran nuclear deal cuts off pathways to nuclear weapons.

SWITZERLAND: Thorough analysis of Switzerland’s plan for exit from nuclear power.

CANADA: Canada Environment Minister to decide on Lake Huron nuclear waste plan before court case happens?  Stephen Harper, Canada’s PM blocking action on climate change.

CLIMATE CHANGE:   New UN document seeks to simplify Paris climate negotiations. Climate change danger hangs overChina’s coastal cities (and their nukes!).

INDIA: As Areva Goes Belly Up, Modi’s French Nuclear Plans May Start Unravelling.

USA:  Nuclear Regulatory Commission seriously considering quack science of “radiation hormesis”!   Potassium Iodide pills to be distributed to residents in area of nuclear facility.

FRANCE: quadruples carbon price, will move towards renewable energy.

Issues paper 3 – Electricity Generation. Points for South Australia Nuclear Royal Commission

July 28, 2015

Submissions on this Issue are due by August 3rd. Check  tips on submitting.

3.2 Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) that can be installed and connected to the NEM? 

There are commercial technologies available, such as the General Electric Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor, that would be available in the next two decades.  However, this is the same type of reactor as the ones at Fukushima Daiichi, and has been known to have safety flaws. (1)  Then there is the Generation 3+ EPR reactor, currently being built at Olkiluoto, Finland, and at Flamanville, France. However, this might not be available within two decades. The history of its devleopment is one of delays and over-running costs.(2)  Recently, cracks in its pressure vessel have caused problems, that shed doubt on its safety. (3)

There are no “emerging” technologies that are at all likely to be available within the next two decades. The Generation IV reactors include : the Gas-cooled Fast Reactor (GFR), the Leadcooled Fast Reactor (LFR), the Molten Salt Reactor (MSR), the Supercritical Water-cooled Reactor (SCWR), the Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) and the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR). (4)

The French Radiological Protection Agency (IRSN) has carried out a review of these systems from the point of view of safety and radiation protection. On the basis of its examination, IRSN considers the SFR system to be the only one of the six to have reached a degree of maturity compatible with the construction of a Generation IV reactor prototype during the first half of the 21st century.

Even then this will depend on further studies.   DECC estimate in their 2013 Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap that the first commercial Generation IV reactors should be operating by 2040. (4)

3.3. Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) that can be installed and connected in an off-grid setting? 

The suggested Small Modular Reactors , including the PRISM reactor have serious disadvantages, especially economiic ones . SMRs are likely to have higher costs per unit of output than conventional reactors. (5) Even if SMRs could eventually be more cost-effective than larger reactors due to mass production, this advantage would only come into play if large numbers of SMRs were ordered. But utilities are unlikely to order an SMR until they are seen to produce competitively priced electricity. This Catch-22 suggests the technology will require significant government financial help to get off the ground.

Even industry executives and regulators believe the SMR technology will have costs that are substantially higher than the failed “nuclear renaissance” technology on a per unit of output. The higher costs result from

  • lost economies of scale in containment structures, dedicated systems for control,

management and emergency response, and the cost of licensing and security,

  • operating costs between one-fifth and one-quarter higher, and
  • decommissioning costs between two and three times as high.(6)

As to these “off-grid” technologies being available within the next two decades, I have been unable to find any credible reference that states that this is the case. I conclude that, even if design and testing of these small reactors were to be completed, it would be many decades before they would be commercially available. For reasons of regulatory processes, but more importantly, of uncertainty over economic viability, commercial availability is decades away, if ever to be achieved. (7)

3.4. What factors affect the assessment of viability for installing any facility to generate electricity in the NEM? 

The major factor in assessing the viability of installing nuclear power for electricity generation in South Australia is the increasing practical and economic success of the alternative – truly modern power – renewable energy. (8)  Combine that progress with the revolutionary developments in battery storage, and nuclear reactors of any size look like unnecessary and uneconomic dinosaurs in the electricity providing sector.(9)

3.7. What place is there in the generation market, if any, for electricity generated from nuclear fuels to play in the medium or long term? 

Referring to my answers to previous questions, I would have to say – No place.

3.8   What issues should be considered in a comparative analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the generation of electricity from nuclear fuels as opposed to other sources? What are the most important issues?

The most important issues are health, safety and environmental protection. Nuclear power of whatever design loses out on all those counts.(10)

However, that hardly matters in a world where economics is king. Fortunately as nuclear power is widely recognised now to be getting more and more expensive, while renewable energy and energy efficient technologies are getting cheaper, it is indeed economics that provide the killer disadvantage for nuclear power (9)

3.11. How might a comparison of the emission of greenhouse gases from generating electricity in South Australia from nuclear fuels as opposed to other sources be quantified, assessed or modelled? 

For one thing,  Greenhouse gases are emitted at all stages of the nuclear fuel chain. (10)  However, in practical terms, nuclear power as a solution to climate change, is irrelevant – action on climate change is needed now , not in 20 -30 years.(11)  Furthermore, climate change itself makes nuclear power an impractical and increasingly dangerous solution. – water shortage, water over-heating, (12) sea level rise (13) Storm surges (14)

3.12  and 31.3 . What are the wastes (other than greenhouse gases) produced in generating electricity from nuclear and other fuels and technologies?

What risks for health and safety? 

Nuclear reactors produce dangerously toxic radioactive isotopes, come previous unknown on the planet, – plutonium – decaying to three types of radiation – alpha, beta, and gamma, caesium 137, iodine 131 , strontium 90  (15)  No other technologies produce these toxic, carcinogenic wastes.

 

(1) http://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-general-electric-knew-its-nuclear-reactor-design-was-unsafe-so-why-isnt-ge-getting-any-heat-for-fukushima/5361300

(2)   http://yle.fi/uutiset/french_auditors_slam_areva_for_olkiluoto_nuclear_project_in_finland/7358244?origin=rss

(3) http://yle.fi/uutiset/nuclear_watchdog_seeks_re-check_of_olkiluoto_3_reactor/7937448

(4) Generation IV International Forum https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_40465/generation-iv-systems 2. IRSN 27th April 2015http://www.irsn.fr/EN/newsroom/News/Pages/20150427_Generation-IVnuclear-energy-systems-safety-potential-overview.aspx.

Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap: Future Pathways, Dec 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/168043/bis-13-632-nuclearenergy-research-and-development-roadmap-future-pathway.pdf.

Nuclear Engineering International 2013 http://www.neimagazine.com/opinion/opinionwhy-theenvironmental-movement-is-important-for-nuclear-power-4559455

(5) http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/docs/news/NFLA_Small_Nuclear_Reactor_report.pdf

(6)  http://216.30.191.148/Cooper%20SMRs%20are%20Part%20of%20the%20Problem,%20Not%20the%20Solution%20FINAL2.pdf

(7) https://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/newreactors/cooper-smrsaretheproblemnotthesolution.pdf

(8)  http://qz.com/456931/half-the-world-already-gets-more-power-from-renewables-than-from-nuclear/(9)https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22730312-100-the-battery-revolution-that-will-let-us-all-be-power-brokers/

(9) http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/solar-and-wind-substantially-cheaper-than-nuclear-even-in-uk-10393

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/french-government-study-95-renewable-mix-cheaper-than-nuclear-and-gas-37241

(10)    http://www.psr.org/resources/nuclear-power-factsheet.html?referrer=https://www.google.com.au/

(11)  http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/05/why-nuclear-power-is-not-low-carbon/

(12)  http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/nukesclimatefact614.pdf

(12) http://www.theenergycollective.com/globalwarmingisreal/107461/how-climate-change-may-affect-nuclear-power-plants

(13) http://www.climatecentral.org/news/sea-level-rise-brings-added-risks-to-coastal-nuclear-plants

(14) http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/01/21/push-nuclear-power-climate-change-concerns-overlooked

(15) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutonium#Toxicity

http://www.geigercounter.org/radioactivity/isotopes.htm

USA nuclear companies will love the questions in #NuclearCommissionSAust’s Issues Paper 3

July 27, 2015

a-cat-CANI am currently struggling with my Submission to the Commission on the questions in Issues Paper 3  – “Electricity Generation From Nuclear Fuels”. it’s a doozy. They’ve excelled themselves this time – with questions designed to elicit lovely answers from nuclear companies Transatomic, Bill Gates’ Terra Power , SNC Lavalin, NuScale, – anyone but you and me.

Given that the nuclear lobby’s plan is for Australia to be the guinea pigs for new untested (not yet existent) gee whiz reactors, Those companies are gonna love questions like this:

3.2 Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) that can be installed and connected to the NEM?

3.3. Are there commercial reactor technologies (or emerging technologies which may be commercially available in the next two decades) that can be installed and connected in an off-grid setting?

3.6. What are the specific models and case studies that demonstrate the best practice for the establishment and operation of new facilities for the generation of electricity from nuclear fuels?

SMRs Australia

#NuclearCommissionSAust jumpingt the gun, calling for tenders already!!

July 27, 2015

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN

Computational General Equilibrium Modelling Assessments for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission

Issued by Attorney Generals Department

Request for Tender

AGD 027826
Computational General Equilibrium Modelling Assessments for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission
24 July 2015 10 August 2015 Link to Tender
AGD 027828
Quantitative Analyses and Initial Business Case for establishing a Nuclear Power Plant and Systems in South Australia

https://www.tenders.sa.gov.au/tenders/tender/display/tender-details.do?id=27826&action=display-tender-details

Bushfires induced by climate change bring more doubt to #NuclearCommissionSAust

July 27, 2015

If the radiation leak lasts more than a few hours, there is no viable safe plan. If the radiation plume passes, the ground will probably still be contaminated

Wildfires also threaten Nuclear Waste and Nuclear Waste Shipments

bushfire & rad gif


Wildfires and Nuclear Don’t Mix: Lessons from San Onofre and Chernobyl to Australia https://wordpress.com/read/post/feed/4410547/762849951 
 [good
photos]
 miningawareness  27 July 15 As the deadline looms (3 Aug.) for comments regarding the risks of the nuclear fuel chain for South Australia – whether uranium mining, which is already occurring, or any proposed additions (uranium enrichment, nuclear energy, nuclear waste), foremost in everyone’s minds should be the
risk of Bushfires (Wildfires), as well as endangerment to the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) aquifer, upon which so much of Australia is dependent for water, and which is being depleted, and most assuredly contaminated, by uranium and other mining:https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/nuclearcommissionsaust-have-your-say-for-the-future-of-south-australia-submissions-close-soon-july-theme/ (Australia’s uranium mining “generates less than 0.2 per cent of national export revenue and accounts for less than 0.02 per cent of jobs in Australia.http://www.conservationsa.org.au/images/Nuclear_Royal_Commission_issues.pdfMeanwhile it is laying waste to the land and provided nuclear fuel for Fukushima)

The Australian climate is generally hot, dry and prone to drought. At any time of the year, some parts of Australia are prone to bushfires with the widely varied fire seasons reflected in the continent’s different weather patterns. For most of southern Australia, the danger period is summer and autumn.” http://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/hazards/bushfire/basics/where

2015 Wildfires Near Chernobyl  http://www.mns.gov.ua/news/40286.html

In April of this year, and again from the end of June into mid July, hundreds of firefighters in the Ukraine bravely battled fires in the area of the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Smoldering peat fires were the hardest to put out.

http://www.mns.gov.ua/news/40286.html
While this represents a serious danger to Europe, it received shockingly little media coverage. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s not so hard to do Submission to #NuclearCommissionSAust: guidance here

July 25, 2015

Guidance on the Submission Process -see here 

Points for issues papers:

Inaccurate information in Issues Paper 1 Exploration, Extraction and Milling

Points for Submission Issues Paper 2 Further Processing and Manufacture

Points for Submission Issues Paper 3 Electricity Generation

Points for Submission to Issues Paper 4 Management, Storage and Disposal of Waste

Dr Caldicott’s Submission on all 4 Issues Papers 

Dennis Matthew’s critiques of Issues Papers

  1. First Nuclear Royal Commission Issues paper 1  indicates an expensive farce
  2. Dennis Matthews exposes South Australia Royal Commission “Issues Paper 2″ spin
  3. Crystal ball-gazing in South Australia’s Nuclear Commission ISSUES PAPER No. 3
  4. South Australia Nuclear Royal Commission Issues Paper 4 – misleading and serious omissions

Do not be fooled by the pro nuclear hype from Kevin Scarce

July 25, 2015

Scarce,--Kevin-glowHere’s an example. Check these two news stories:

  • Canada’s $6b nuclear industry a role model for Aust says royal commissioner “…..According to the royal commissioner investigating a possible nuclear industry for South Australia, Kevin Scarce, an Australian nuclear industry can be “future-proofed” against the potentially massive changes coming to the energy sector…….He says Canada is the best role model for Australia
  • Canada now dominates World Bank corruption list, thanks to Nuclear Company SNC-Lavalin.  (They are keen to sell their CANDU nuclear technology to Australia)

#NuclearCommissionSAust’s very selective visit to nuclear sites in Canada

July 25, 2015

The Royal Commission went to Port Hope:Bok-Blind-Faith

I bet they didn’t investigate “Blind Faith” – book reveals the toxic nuclear legacy in Port Hope

They toured the CAMECO Fuel Fabrication and Conversion facilities, got advice from Cameco about uranium mining.

Bet they didn’t discuss Cameco embroiled in tax scandal and indigenous opposition, nor its gloomy economic performance

NO further Australian involvement in the nuclear industry says Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese

July 25, 2015

Albanese, AnthonyPremier Jay Weatherill at loggerheads with senior Labor members over nuclear industry, GST, Perth Now July 24, 2015 PETER JEAN CHRIS RUSSELL The Advertiser “…….Federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese yesterday declared his opposition to any further Australian involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle and to the importation of nuclear waste, while Labor leader Bill Shorten reiterated his hostility to raising the GST.

Mr Albanese – who unsuccessfully stood for the Labor leadership after the last federal election – yesterday said it was too dangerous for Australia to become more involved in the nuclear fuel cycle.

“My position on the nuclear fuel cycle is clear,’’ Mr Albanese told an anti-nuclear weapons event held on the sidelines of the ALP conference.“Until the issues of nuclear waste and nuclear proliferation are satisfactorily solved, I oppose any further Australian involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.“Nuclear waste created today, remains an issue for generations to come.’’

Mr Albanese’s opposition to nuclear energy is heavily influenced by his close friendship with former Labor MP Tom Uren, who died earlier this year. As a prisoner of the Japanese in 1945, Mr Uren saw the mushroom cloud from the atomic bombing of Nagasaki……..

Labor’s platform commits the party in government to prohibiting “the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia.’’

 Any addition to the nuclear industry in Australia would require both state and federal legislative change.

An anti-nuclear section of the Federal Labor policy platform will be left in place at Labor’s national conference in Melbourne this weekend……..

Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, the head of South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, said yesterday if he was to recommend an expansion of the industry, national support would be crucial.“There would be no opportunity ­- in my view – without bipartisan support both at the federal and state level to make the investment that would be necessary,” he said………http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/national/premier-jay-weatherill-at-loggerheads-with-senior-labor-members-over-nuclear-industry-gst/story-fnii5yv8-1227456054891

Dr Caldicott’s Submission on all 4 Issues Papers of the #NuclearCommissionSAust

July 25, 2015

Caldicott-2013Submission to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, by  on July 24, 2015  I begin my submission to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission by posting an article which I wrote for the Australian Medical Student Journal, which outlines in some detail the medical implications of the whole nuclear fuel chain.

The impact of the nuclear crisis on global health

Due to my personal concerns regarding the ignorance of the world’s media and politicians about radiation biology after the dreadful accident at Fukushima in Japan, I organized a 2 day symposium at the NY Academy of Medicine on March 11 and 12, 2013 … [ to read the full text of this article, click on this link: http://www.helencaldicott.com/the-impact-of-the-nuclear-crisis-on-global-health/. The link will open in a new tab or window. Close it to return to this page ]

Now to answer some of the questions posed by the Royal Commission

 QUESTION 1.3.

Thorium Fuel: No Panacea for Nuclear Power

By Arjun Makhijani and Michele Boyd

A Fact Sheet Produced by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and Physicians for Social Responsibility

Thorium “fuel” has been proposed as an alternative to uranium fuel in nuclear reactors. There are not “thorium reactors,” but rather proposals to use thorium as a “fuel” in different types of reactors, including existing light‐water reactors and various fast breeder reactor designs.

Thorium, which refers to thorium‐232, is a radioactive metal that is about three times more abundant than uranium in the natural environment. Large known deposits are in Australia, India, and Norway. Some of the largest reserves are found in Idaho in the U.S. The primary U.S. company advocating for thorium fuel is Thorium Power (www.thoriumpower.com).

Contrary to the claims made or implied by thorium proponents, however, thorium doesn’t solve the proliferation, waste, safety, or cost problems of nuclear power, and it still faces major technical hurdles for commercialization.

Not a Proliferation Solution……..

Not a Waste Solution……

Ongoing Technical Problems…….

Not an Economic Solution……..

QUESTION 2.4

The global nuclear industry is in a state of decline partly as a result of the disastrous accident at Fukushima but also as a result of the rapid expansion of ever cheaper solar and wind power together with conservation………..

QUESTION 2.5

Emerging technologies that may affect the decision for South Australia to invest in the nuclear fuel chain……….

QUESTION 3.9

Lessons from Fukushima and other nuclear accidents

Nuclear power plants, whatever their design, can never be made safe – they are at risk because of human fallibility (causes of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island), computer error, hacking, loss of external electricity supply, results of global warming with sea level rise or tsumamis with flooding of the control room, hurricanes, heating of water supplies such as occurred in France some years ago when the river water was too hot to cool the reactors. 1000 megawatt reactors require up to one million gallons per minute to keep them cool.

Below [on original] is a presentation by a very experienced nuclear engineer named Arnie Gunderson re the risks of another nuclear accident………

QUESTION 3.11

Nuclear power plants do not stand alone. They are supported by a massive industrial infrastructure which is dependent upon the extensive use of fossil fuels and other potent greenhouse gases. I refer you to this excellent paper which puts nuclear power and global warming into perspective

Nuclear power, energy security and CO emission – Storm …

QUESTION 3.12

Nuclear wastes are multifactorial and are composed of many different radioactive isotopes, some which last seconds and others which remain radioactive for millions of years.

QUESTION 3.13

I have described the risks involved by establishing nuclear facilities for the generation of electricity from nuclear fuels above. Nothing can be done to ensure that the risks described above can be prevented, as there are no safe levels of radiation, each dose of radiation is cumulative, and the nuclear fuel chain will continue to contaminate the environment and human bodies with increased levels of radiation for the rest of time. And this generation will be long gone.

QUESTION 3.14

There are no safeguards as addressed above that can, nor will ever address the dangers arising from the generation of nuclear energy

QUESTION 3.15 and 3.16

Numerous models and designs for Generation 1V reactors have been mooted recently for South Australia.

Here is an article I wrote summarizing the latest information on these proposed reactors

Small Modular Reactors…….

Light-water reactors

Liquid-metal fast reactors (PRISM).

QUESTIONS 4.2 to 4.10 These questions are best addressed by the following film, and I suggest that everyone on the Royal Commission watch this extraordinary documentary to ascertain the gravity of burying radioactive waste in South Australia be it Australian waste or indeed the world’s nuclear waste. This waste would obviously be buried on Aboriginal land, near or over the Great Artesian basin, the life-blood of central Australia……..
  1. http://www.intoeternitythemovie.com/
  2. Into Eternity The Movie

QUESTION 4.10

Transportation accidents occur every day whether on roads, freeways or railways.

QUESTION 4.12

The introduction of the world’s nuclear waste into the relatively pristine state of South Australia will sully its international reputation which relies upon its outstanding wine production plus its magnificent food and agriculture, renowned throughout Australia and indeed the world

I can reassure you that this outstanding and well deserved reputation would almost certainly be severely impaired if South Australia decides to embark upon a major industrial undertaking of the nuclear fuel chain together with nuclear reactors, enrichment facilities, reprocessing plants and radioactive waste storage.

In fact from my experience communicating with knowledgeable people all over the world, the reputation of Australian food in general would also suffer.


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