Archive for the ‘New South Wales’ Category

Fact-checking the false nuclear claims of NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro

March 13, 2020

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s nuclear falsehoods https://nuclear.foe.org.au/barilaro/Correcting the nuclear falsehoods of NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro. Mr. Barilaro has been repeatedly provided with factual information so there is no excuse for his ignorance., March 2020, Jim Green, FoE Australia national nuclear campaigner, jim.green@foe.org.au

Mr. Barilaro: Nuclear power is “probably the cheapest cost to the average Australian household”.

Facts:

* Nationals Senator Matt Canavan acknowledges that nuclear power is “very expensive”.

* Industry insiders and lobbyists freely acknowledge that nuclear power is suffering from an economic crisis that could prove to be terminal.

* Nuclear power is in decline worldwide and a growing number of countries are phasing out nuclear power including Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Taiwan and South Korea.

* Laws banning nuclear power has saved Australia from the huge costs associated with failed and failing reactor projects in Europe and North America, such as the twin-reactor project in South Carolina that was abandoned in 2017 after the expenditure of at least A$13.4 billion, bankrupting Westinghouse. That expensive fiasco could so easily have been replicated in NSW if not for the prudent legal ban.

* There are many other examples of shocking nuclear costs and cost overruns, including:

‒ The cost of the two reactors under construction in the US state of Georgia has doubled and now stands at A$20.4‒22.6 billion per reactor.

‒ The cost of the only reactor under construction in France has nearly quadrupled and now stands at A$20.0 billion. It is 10 years behind schedule.

‒ The cost of the only reactor under construction in Finland has nearly quadrupled and now stands at A$17.7 billion. It is 10 years behind schedule.

‒ The cost of the four reactors under construction in the United Arab Emirates has increased from A$7.5 billion per reactor to A$10‒12 billion per reactor.

‒ The cost of the only two reactors under construction in the UK has increased to A$25.9 billion per reactor. A decade ago, the estimated cost was just A$4 billion. The UK National Audit Office estimates that taxpayer subsidies for the project will amount to A$58 billion.

Mr. Barilaro: “As I write this piece, a further 50 nuclear reactors are being built globally (450 reactors currently operate in 31 counties) including in Finland, France, the UK, China and Canada.”

Facts:

* The number of power reactors under construction has fallen steadily from 68 in 2013 to 49 as of Feb. 2020.

* As noted above, reactors under construction in Finland, France and the UK have been subject to catastrophic cost overruns.

* There has only been one reactor construction start in China in the past three years. The number of reactors under construction in China has fallen from 20 in 2017 to 10 now. Renewables generate twice as much electricity in China as nuclear power.

* No reactors are being built in Canada.

Mr. Barilaro on small modular reactors (SMRs): “Given their size and efficiency, their waste is minimal (new advancements in technology continues to address the waste issue)”.

Facts:

* SMRs would produce more nuclear waste per unit of energy produced compared to large reactors.

* A 2016 European Commission document states: “Due to the loss of economies of scale, the decommissioning and waste management unit costs of SMR will probably be higher than those of a large reactor (some analyses state that between two and three times higher).”

* Mr. Barilaro’s “new advancements” (‘Generation IV’ concepts) have failed spectacularly and have clearly worsened nuclear waste management problems (see p.42-43 of our joint submission to the NSW inquiry).

Mr. Barilaro: “The compact nature of SMRs means they need close to only 5 per cent of the nuclear fuel required for large conventional reactors.”

Fact: As the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission report noted: “SMRs have lower thermal efficiency than large reactors, which generally translates to higher fuel consumption and spent fuel volumes over the life of a reactor.”

Mr. Barilaro: SMRs are “becoming very affordable”.

Facts:

* Every independent economic assessment finds that electricity from SMRs will be more expensive than that from large reactors.

* SMRs will inevitably suffer from diseconomies of scale: a 250 MW SMR will generate 25% as much power as a 1,000 MW reactor  but it will require more than 25% of the material inputs and staffing, and a number of other costs including waste management and decommissioning will be proportionally higher.

* A December 2019 report by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator concluded that wind and solar power, including two to six hours of storage, is two to three times cheaper than power from small reactors per unit of energy produced. Nuclear lobbyists dispute the construction costs that underpin this estimate but, in fact, they are a neat fit with real-world construction costs (as opposed to self-serving industry speculation). Indeed the CSIRO/AEMO estimate is lower than the average cost of small-reactor projects in China, Russia and Argentina.

* SMRs in China, Russia and Argentina are, respectively, 2, 4 and 23 times over-budget. None could be described as “very affordable”.

Mr. Barilaro: SMRs “are now on the horizon”.

Facts:

* A handful of SMRs are under construction (half of them to power fossil fuel mining operations in the Arctic, the South China Sea and elsewhere).

* Private sector investment has been pitiful and the main game is to find governments reckless enough to bet billions of taxpayer dollars on high-risk projects. SMRs under construction are all being built by government agencies.

* The prevailing scepticism is evident in a 2017 Lloyd’s Register report based on the insights of almost 600 professionals and experts from utilities, distributors, operators and equipment manufacturers. They predict that SMRs have a “low likelihood of eventual take-up, and will have a minimal impact when they do arrive”.

* Likewise, a 2014 report produced by Nuclear Energy Insider, drawing on interviews with more than 50 “leading specialists and decision makers”, noted a “pervasive sense of pessimism” regarding SMRs.

Mr. Barilaro: SMRs are “not as water hungry as traditional nuclear power plants, because they use air or sand to cool the core.”

Facts:

* SMRs will likely use as much water per unit of energy produced compared to large reactors ‒ possibly more due to lower thermal efficiencies. Nuclear power, large or small, is incredibly thirsty: a typical large reactor consumes 35‒65 million litres of water per day. Gas cooling creates its own set of problems and inefficiencies, leading to higher costs ‒ that is why a very large majority of reactors are water-cooled.

* Sand to cool a reactor core? Perhaps he means sodium ‒ which has caused a number of fires in fast neutron reactors. Sand has only been used as a desperate measure in the event of major accidents, e.g. Chernobyl. (more…)

Australia’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor has safety problems

July 22, 2018

Nuclear radiation spills spur Lucas Heights review, THE AUSTRALIAN, SIAN POWELL, Higher Education & Science Writer, Sydney SEAN PARNELL-Health Editor, Brisbane @seanparnell

Australia’s nuclear safety agency has ordered a review of Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear medicine facility after two radiation spills, and a separate investigation is under way into a mechanical failure that has caused delays in diagnostic tests across the country.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has had four safety breaches in 10 months and in recent weeks has had to call on US…….

Distribution of the replacement nuclear medicine supplies was also disrupted this month after airline delays from the US prevented the medicine reaching clinics and hospitals for some days……….

The supply problems caused by the mechanical failure have come as a review was ordered by the independent regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and its chief executive Carl-Magnus Larsson, who issued the organisation with a direction under the Aus­tralian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act.

The agency said the independent review it had directed would focus on quality control of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the radio­active agent used in diagnostic imaging.

After the first safety breach when a staff member’s hands were contaminated on August 22 last year, ARPANSA found ANSTO to be noncompliant with its licence conditions, according to a statement from the safety agency.

“Three further events including the latest event on 7 June, 2018, indicate ongoing safety issues at ANSTO Health,” ARPANSA said………

An internal review is being conducted into the conveyor failure on June 22 while the separate independent safety review into the ageing ANSTO facility is ­undertaken.

ANSTO will appoint an independent reviewer. “This appointment is the next step on a path of continuous improvement.

“Using recommendations from the review, we’ll identify what more can be done to make that facility safer,” a spokesman for ANSTO said.

…….The conveyor has been fixed but compliance checks and a thorough audit will keep the production of nuclear medicine at a standstill for some time.

Repairs were originally delayed because ANSTO staff members were forced to wait until radiation levels in the conveyor room fell to a safe level……..https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/nuclear-radiation-spills-spur-lucas-heights-review/news-story/7c5f0c09e7847d8c0265e86c28d1e796

Nuclear lobby proposal for reactors on New South Wales coast “makes no sense” – MP Mike Kelly

April 5, 2018

South Coast nuclear option ‘makes no sense’: Mike Kelly http://www.begadistrictnews.com.au/story/5325720/nuclear-not-a-real-option-says-mp-kelly/ Alasdair McDonald

Arrest of top Lucas Heights nuclear security official, over ‘official secrets’ and illegal gun possession

December 26, 2016

secret-agent-AustLucas Heights security boss Anthony Haddad charged over ‘official secrets’, gun SMH, 24 Dec 16, Eamon Duff. A security consultant who held a “top secret” government clearance inside Australia’s only nuclear facility has been arrested and charged with the
illegal possession of “official secrets” and an unauthorised weapon.

Until February last year, Anthony Rami Haddad was manager of security and operations at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, safeguarding the site against theft, diversion and sabotage.

However, following  a stint in the Middle easrt where he worked on another nuclear security project, he returned hom eto Sydney, and last month became entangled in an unrelated investigation being run by the Australian Federal Police’s fraud and anti-corruption team.

A fortnight ago, Haddad appeared before Sydney’s Downi8ng Centre Local court, where he pleaded guilty to unauthorised receipt of official secrets under the Commonwealth crimes Act.

He has yet to enter a plea for a second charge, ppossessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm. His barrister, Nikolaos Siafakas, will apply to have the outstanding matter dealt with under section 32 of teh Mental Health Act……..

According to ANSTO documents, Haddad’s many responsibilities at Lucas Heights included the “mamagement of security operations” at the onsite Little Forest radioactive waste dump and its “seamless integration” into the facility’s “wider” protective security systems.

Haddad will reappear in court on February 7  http://www.smh.com.au/national/lucas-heights-security-boss-anthony-haddad-charged-over-official-secrets-gun-20161223-gthdwv.html

Arrest of Lucas Heights nuclear security consultant

December 24, 2016

secret-agent-AustWhy is this article , from The Age print version, not published on the Internet version?

The Age, 24 Dec 16, Eamon Duff. A security consultant who held a “top secret” government clerance inside Australia’s only nuclear facility has been arrested and charged with the
illegal possession of “official secrets” and an unauthorised weapon.

Until February last year, Anthony Rami Haddad was manager of security and operations at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, safeguarding the site against theft, diversion and sabotage.

However, following  a stint in the Middle easrt where he worked on another nuclear security project, he returned hom eto Sydney, and last month became entangled in an unrelated investigation being run by the Australian Federal Police’s fraud and anti-corruption team.

A fortnight ago, Haddad appeared before Sydney’s Downi8ng Centre Local court, where he pleaded guilty to unauthorised receipt of official secrets under the Commonwealth crimes Act.

He has yet to enter a plea for a second charge, ppossessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm. His barrister, Nikolaos Siafakas, will apply to have the outstanding matter dealt with under section 32 of teh Mental Health Act……..

According to ANSTO documents, Haddad’s many responsibilities at Lucas Heights included the “mamagement of security operations” at the onsite Little Forest radioactive waste dump and its “seamless integration” into the facility’s “wider” protective security systems.

Haddad will reappear in court on Februaty 7. No link available. I couldn’t find this on the Internet

International Ato,ic Energy Agency targeting schoolkids, including in Australia

May 19, 2016

spin-L-Heights

IAEA Invites Students to Learn Nuclear Science Through Play. IAEA,  By Laura Gil, IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication, 12 May 16,  Teachers have reached almost 10 000 students in four Asian countries through a guidebook designed to bring nuclear science and technology closer to young adults. The compendium, which is being tested by the IAEA and education experts from several countries, collects unique teaching strategies and materials to introduce science and technology in education systems.

“We want to challenge students’ curiosity and show them the important role nuclear science and technology play in everyday life,” said Maria Violeta Tupas, Education Programme Supervisor at the Department of Education in the Philippines, who has used the compendium. “And we want to do this during the students’ formative years, so that they realize what it is that motivates them before they choose their career path.”

By generating interest in science among young generations, the compendium aims at contributing to the sustainability of the nuclear industry and related technologies in the future. With populations growing, applications of nuclear technology rapidly expanding, and active nuclear scientists ageing, a new generation of professionals will soon need to step up……

In preparation for the curriculum, experts collected ideas from, for example, Japan, where teachers often organize field trips for students; India, where education centres convoke essay contests all across the country to create an interest in the student community; Israel, where the government has built a nuclear science park and museum; and Australia, where school children are invited to an exhibition centre in the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation already from an early age. https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-invites-students-to-learn-nuclear-science-through-play

Lucas Heights Nuclear reactor mainly for “medical uses” That’s a lie!

January 18, 2016
nuclear-medicine
it would be highly misleading to attribute this predominantly to medical isotope production given the broad range of uses of the HIFAR and MOATA reactors over the last 60 years.
Radioactive waste in Australia, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) 18 Jan 16   “……..How much medical
waste will be deposited in the repository?
Less than 1% is medical waste (leftover radium and some disused sources). Most states and territories each only have a few cubic metres of low level medical waste.
 There are broadly two areas in which radioactive material is used for medical purposes:
Nuclear scans for investigating disease. These produce the vast bulk of medical nuclear waste. This is short-lived and decays on the medical facilities’ premises until its activity is negligible. It then is disposed of safely and appropriately in the usual manner of most waste (sewers, incineration, landfill tips etc.) according to set standards.
Cancer treatment radiotherapy. Most radiotherapy uses X-rays or electromagnetic radiation which do not produce any waste at all. A very small proportion of cancer treatment actually relies on radioactive materials, which almost all decay rapidly. Longer lived sources must be returned to their (overseas) sources when used up and so do not need local disposal. The provision of nuclear medicine services does not depend on a permanent waste repository.
What about the radioactive waste derived from the production of medical isotopes at Lucas Heights?
 • Firstly, most countries import their medical isotopes and clearly do not store the waste involved in its production. Medical isotope supply is a globalised industry with five reactors supplying over 95% of the world’s supply. Australia’s domestic production of medical isotopes is a policy choice not a medical necessity.
 • Secondly, Canada (the world’s biggest supplier) is switching to non-reactor isotope production, which does not create radioactive waste. This will significantly reduce Canada’s accumulation of waste. In contrast, ANSTO is proposing to dramatically increase reactor isotope production to sell to 30% of the world market. As a result Australia will accumulate much more waste from international isotope sales. Developing cyclotrons instead (like Canada) would eliminate radioactive waste from isotope production. • Thirdly, as outlined above, the majority of waste requiring long term disposal is not medically related at all. ANSTO emphasizes “only 40% of low level radioactive waste” arises from its activities. But ANSTO does not just make medical isotopes; it also produces isotopes for industrial research activities , manufacture of semiconductors and analysis of minerals and samples2 . The contribution to waste production of medical radiopharmaceuticals has been overstated.
Although 61% of Intermediate level waste is ANSTO related, this is only 5.8% of the total waste for the repository. Furthermore, this does not include the returning reprocessed spent fuel, since ANSTO does not classify spent fuel waste. And again it would be highly misleading to attribute this predominantly to medical isotope production given the broad range of uses of the HIFAR and MOATA reactors over the last 60 years……… https://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/Radioactive%20waste%20in%20Australia%20colour%20FINAL.pdf https://www.mapw.org.au/download/radioactive-waste-australia-fact-sheet-2016

MP John Cobb ‘very relaxed’ to host nuclear wastes: his farming constituents ARE NOT!

November 21, 2015

greed-1

On Friday, Member for Calare John Cobb said he was very relaxed about the
proposal to consider Sallys Flat for the dump.

He said he felt the waste was so non-threatening that a person could put it in a bag and sleep on it without feeling any ill-effects.

Merino farmers at Sallys Flat fear nuclear dump next door, Western Advocate, 17 Nov 15  PRIME wool producers around Sallys Flat fear the potential establishment of a nuclear waste dump on a neighbouring property could put their livelihoods at risk.

Geoff and Robyn Rayner produce some of the best superfine fleece in the world at their Pomanara Merino Stud, close to a neighbouring property which has been shortlisted for a permanent radioactive waste dump.

The Rayners’ home is the closest residence to the site ……The Sallys Flat site has been offered to the Federal Government for use by the landowner.

The Rayners have just signed up to become a sustainable operation and said they had to meet stringent criteria. Now, with the prospect of nuclear waste on their doorstep, all that has been put at risk.  “The stigma sticks,” Mr Rayner said. Three generations of the family have made their living from the land. Now they wonder if they will have a future.

“What will we do? You can’t just pack 2000 sheep up and move. Where do we go?” Mrs Rayner said.

 On Friday, Member for Calare John Cobb said he was very relaxed about the proposal to consider Sallys Flat for the dump.

He said he felt the waste was so non-threatening that a person could put it in a bag and sleep on it without feeling any ill-effects.

“We’re disgusted by Mr Cobb’s response,” Mr Rayner said………

“We feel like second-class citizens. Farmers are being treated like they don’t matter,” Mr Rayner said.

The Rayners are angry that the first they heard of the proposal was on Friday when it was announced in the media.

Mr Rayner said those directly affected should have been consulted before Sallys Flat was announced as a shortlisted location.

“There is no excuse for all this secrecy,” he said…….

Mr and Mrs Rayner said they are concerned that once the facility is built, waste that is even more dangerous will follow.

“You don’t know what they are going to do once they have one foot in the door,” Mr Rayner said.

Murray and Nella Price also have a large sheep property in the area and say they are very upset about this proposal.

They share a fence line with the ‘volunteered’ property.

“We were very riled up when we heard about it that morning,” Mrs Price said.

“We are extremely upset and angry.” Mr Price has made a sign and has stuck it on their front fence.

They are afraid that if anything goes wrong with the storage of the nuclear waste it would run directly into the Turon River at the bottom of the property, which then flows into the Macquarie River and is moved by pipeline to Orange.

“I think Orange should be concerned as well,” Mrs Price said.

She added that being a dumping ground for nuclear waste would also have an impact on tourism in the region…… The government said the community that is chosen will get $10 million. I can’t see them spending $10 million on Hill End, so who is going to get it? The only person I can see it benefiting is the landholder,” she said.

“John Cobb’s lost my vote.” http://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/3495986/merino-farmers-fear-nuclear-dump-next-door/?cs=115

Lucas Heights nuclear wastes – best answer is temporary storage near reactor site

November 9, 2015

nuclear-waste1

Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation, 9 Nov 15 Last week Natalie Wasley (BNI) and myself spent a few days talking to a range of stakeholders in Sydney and Sutherland Shire and this note seeks to provide some context for the ENGO response to this development.

The BBC Shanghai left the French port of Cherbourg in mid-October carrying twenty five tonnes of Australian origin intermediate level waste returning here after reprocessing in France.

There has been controversy about the shipment, including safety and capacity concerns raised by Greenpeace about the vessel and a statement from the Indonesia’s Maritime Security Board that it can not pass through Indonesian waters. There is sure to be more domestic and international media attention when it arrives in Port Kembla (Wollongong), expected to be in early December.

After arrival in Kembla it is planned that the waste – which is in solid form inside a special transport container – will be moved by road to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s Lucas Heights reactor facility in southern Sydney.

Some local residents are/will be calling for this material to not be stored in Sydney – this is an understandable response, but it is not one supported by the wider national nuclear free movement and key civil society partners.

We advocate that extended interim storage at Lucas Heights is the current least worst option as:

  • ANSTO is already both the continuing producer of and home to the vast majority of Australia’s higher level radioactive waste
  • ANSTO has certain tenure, a secure perimeter and is monitored 24/7 by Australian federal police
  • Storing the waste at ANSTO means the waste will be actively managed as operations at the site are licensed for a further three decades – it also keeps waste management on the radar of the facility/people with the highest concentration of nuclear expertise and radiation response capacity in Australia
  • Since the government realised in 2012 that the planned national waste dump at Muckaty would not be in place prior to the return of this waste, ANSTO has constructed and commissioned a new purpose built on site storage shed dedicated to housing this waste
  • Extended interim storage at ANSTO helps reduce the political pressure to rush to find a ‘remote’ out of sight, out of mind dump site and increases the chances of advancing responsible management
  • Storage at ANSTO has been publicly identified as a credible and feasible option by ANSTO, the nuclear industry lobby group, the Australian Nuclear Association and the federal nuclear regulator, the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)

Importantly, this approach also provides the ability to have a circuit breaker in this long running issue in the form of an evidence based and open review of the best longer term management options.

Nothing about the nuclear industry, especially nuclear waste, is clean or uncomplicated and some in the wider community might be critical of this position.

However we believe that extended interim storage is the least worst approach and that coupled with a sustained ENGO call for a wider public review, is the path that is most likely to usefully advance the debate about future management options.

There is also an unusually high level of common acceptance that storage at Lucas Heights is the best option in the current circumstances – as well as ENGO’s this view is shared by the Sutherland Shire Council, local Greens and environmentalists, ANSTO and the Maritime Union.

Given this, pending a safety inspection upon the ship’s arrival, we do not forsee protest action aimed at disrupting the transfer of this waste from the Port to ANSTO – we want to see that happen with as low risk as possible. There are plans for a peaceful presence to witness the arrival and transfer and convey that while we (reluctantly) accept the need for this transport to occur we will not accept these shipments becoming routine and will actively resist moves to impose a national waste dump on remote communities or develop international waste dumps/storage in Australia.

Clearly this is an important message to convey in the context of the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission and recent comments by PM Turnbull and other senior Coalition figures.

There is also both a real opportunity and need for a clear social and wider media profile at this time on the need for an open review of the best ways to manage this material and to end/reduce its production.

Radioactive trash ship leaves France to voyage to Australia

October 17, 2015

 

radioactive trashShip carrying nuclear waste heads to Australia, West Australian  CHERBOURG, AFP October 16, 2015 A ship carrying 25 tonnes of reprocessed nuclear waste is steaming to Australia despite protests from activists about an “environmental disaster waiting to happen”.

The BBC Shanghai left the northern French port of Cherbourg after approval from local officials, who carried out an inspection on Wednesday, and is due to arrive by the end of the year in NSW. It is laden with radioactive waste from spent nuclear fuel that Australia sent to France for reprocessing in four shipments in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation says.

The reprocessing involves removing uranium, plutonium and other materials, with the remaining substances stabilised in glass and stored in a container…….

Greenpeace, French environmental campaign group Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) and a leading Greens MP have called for the shipment, sent by Areva, to be halted. “Areva, almost bankrupt, are using a dustbin ship to carry waste, without any serious inspection!” Denis Baupin a senior MP with the French green party, tweeted.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific said the ship, owned by German firm BBC Chartering, was an “environmental disaster waiting to happen”, claiming the Shanghai was “blacklisted by the United States because of its safety record”……

But Areva’s external relations director, Bernard Monnot, said the ship was “not banned from ports in the United States but banned from transporting material for the American government”.

Nathalie Geismar from Robin des Bois said other ports had found it had a “staggering number of flaws”……

ANSTO said the material would be kept at the Lucas Heights facility in southern Sydney until a nuclear waste dump site, which has yet to be chosen, is found and constructed……https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/29834316/ship-carrying-nuclear-waste-heads-to-australia/