South Australia’s Nuclear Royal Commission is not neutral with propagandist Barry Brook on board

Brook,-Barry-glowsSo that’s the game plan − making absurd claims about Generation IV reactors, pretending that they are near-term prospects, and being less than “abundantly clear” about the truth. Time for these people to be held to account and for Brook to be removed from the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s ‘expert panel’.

Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce was forewarned about Brook’s track record of peddling
misinformation
but still chose to include Brook in his ‘expert panel’.

On the troubled worldwide history with fast reactors, see thereport by the International Panel on Fissile Materials.

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINBarry Brook being less than “abundantly clear” about Generation IV reactors  Jim Green, June 2015,www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/oz/barry-brook-bravenewclimate An 18 June 2015 guest post on Barry Brook’s website claims that Generation IV fast neutron reactors will be mass produced and “dominating the market by about 2030.”

Compare that Big Fat Lie with the following:

  1. The Generation IV International Forum states: “Depending on their respective degree of technical maturity, the FIRST Generation IV systems are expected to be deployed commercially around 2030-2040.” (emphasis added)
  2. The International Atomic Energy Agency states: “Experts expect that the FIRST Generation IV fast reactor DEMONSTRATION PLANTS AND PROTOTYPES will be in operation by 2030 to 2040.” (emphases added)
  3. A 2015 report by the French government’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) states: “There is still much R&D to be done to develop the Generation IV nuclear reactors, as well as for the fuel cycle and the associated waste management which depends on the system chosen.”

IRSN is also sceptical about safety claims: “At the present stage of development, IRSN does not notice evidence that leads to conclude that the systems under review are likely to offer a significantly improved level of safety compared with Generation III reactors, except perhaps for the VHTR …” Moreover the VHTR (very high temperature reactor) system could bring about significant safety improvements “but only by significantly limiting unit power”.

  1. The World Nuclear Association noted in 2009 that “progress is seen as slow, and several potential [Generation IV] designs have been undergoing evaluation on paper for many years.”

In 2009 Brook wrote a puff-piece about Generation IV fast reactors for the Murdoch press. On the same day he said on his website that “although it’s not made abundantly clear in the article”, he expects conventional reactors to play the major role for the next two to three decades but chose to emphasise Generation IV reactors “to try to hook the fresh fish”.

So that’s the game plan − making absurd claims about Generation IV reactors, pretending that they are near-term prospects, and being less than “abundantly clear” about the truth. Time for these people to be held to account and for Brook to be removed from the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s ‘expert panel’.
Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce was forewarned about Brook’s track record of peddling misinformation but still chose to include Brook in his ‘expert panel’.
The guest post on Brook’s website was written by barking-mad conspiracy theorist Geoff Russell (who holds me personally responsible for all the death and suffering from the Fukushima disaster).

Russell cites the World Nuclear Association (WNA) in support of his claim that “The Chinese expect these [fast reactors] to be dominating the market by about 2030 and they’ll be mass produced.”
Does the WNA reference support the claim? No. According to the WNA, China has one very small experimental fast reactor and plans for a larger ‘Demonstration Fast Reactor’ by 2023 and plans its FIRST fast reactor “for commercial operation from 2030″.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/country-profiles/countries-a-f/china–nuclear-power/

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/China–Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/#FNR

So China doesn’t expect fast reactors to be dominating the market by 2030. China may have ONE commercial fast reactor by 2030 … but almost certainly won’t. One of the reasons China’s fast reactor program is going nowhere fast is that China is collaborating with Russia (see the above WNA links) and Russia’s fast reactor program is going nowhere fast.

Rosatom subsidiary Rosenergoatom recently “indefinitely” postponed construction of the BN-1200 sodium-cooled fast neutron reactor, citing the need to improve fuel for the reactor and amid speculation about the cost-effectiveness of the project. The decision to indefinitely postpone the project might be reviewed in 2020. The reactor had been scheduled to start commercial operation in 2025, depending on experience operating a pilot BN-800 fast-neutron reactor which achieved first criticality in June 2014 but has not yet started commercial operation.

As recently as July 2014, Rosenergoatom’s director general said that Russia planned to begin construction of three BN-1200 reactors before 2030. OKBM − the Rosatom subsidiary that designed the BN-1200 reactor − previously anticipated that the first BN-1200 reactor would be commissioned in 2020, followed by eight more by 2030.
Rosenergoatom spokesperson Andrey Timonov the BN-800 reactor “must answer questions about the economic viability of potential fast reactors because at the moment ‘fast’ technology essentially loses this indicator [when compared with] commercial VVER units.”

Another fast-neutron reactor project − the BREST-OD-300 − is stretching Rosatom’s funds. Bellona’s Alexander Nikitin said that Rosatom’s “Breakthrough” program to develop the BREST-OD-300 reactor was only breaking Rosatom’s piggy-bank.

 

On the troubled worldwide history with fast reactors, see the report by the International Panel on Fissile Materials.

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