Archive for the ‘spinbuster’ Category

A slick pro nuclear submission frm Ben Heard to the Australian Senate

March 21, 2018

Yes, Ben Heard is on the job, with this slick submission, in which he:

enthuses over the Kimba region nuclear waste dump plan, while touting his own supposed environmental credentials as executive director of Bright New World, his membership of as a member of the Independent Assessment Panel – but all the same he stresses that he’s “an everyday Australian”. (not a mention that he works as a consultant for nuclear firm Terrestrial Energy, and trips around the globe promoting nuclear power.)

contends that nuclear waste is nothing special, really no different in safety needs from other kinds of industrial wastes.
dismisses the idea that a nuclear waste dump in this agricultural reason would have any negative effects on the agricultural economics or reputation of the region.

puts a long and unwieldy case for confining broad community support to just the immediate local community.

reminds firmly that no stakeholder group has power of veto and goes on to waffle worthy statements about Aboriginal heritage etc.

says that The District Council of Kimba is an appropriate definition of community in relation to these site nominations, and that citizens in wider areas do not need to be informed.

State and National citizens do not need to take part in these decisions, which are best left to Parliament.

minimises the importance of radioactive trash dumping- not much more important than household garbage collection.
Glosses over the more toxic radioactive waste that will be included. Ignores the fact that with the planned “temporary” dump there is no prospect of a permanent dump being in place. Ignores the effect on the communities through which the radioactive trash will be transported

Extracts from Heard’s submission

Submission to Senate Standing Committee on Economics – appropriateness and thoroughness of the site selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility at Kimba and  Hawker in South Australia

. ……My overall view is that the current site selection process represents among some of the best practice in the world for such a challenge, and it should be supported and continued.

I am now the executive director of Bright New World, an environmental NGO that seeks greater harmony between human development and the conservation, protection and restoration of our natural world. In relation to Australia’s nuclear medical and research sector, Bright New World is strongly supportive of its continued operation and preferably expansion. … nuclear technologies and techniques are demonstrably valuable for improving human well-being

I am pleased to offer the committee my perspectives in response to the Terms of Reference. Ben Heard (Ph.D., MCESM) Executive Director – Bright New World

Speaking as a member of the Independent Assessment Panel and an everyday Australian, the proposed multiple on the land value seems unremarkable. The acquisition would be consequential and beneficial for all Australians, as it will enable Australia to move much closer to international best practice in the management of radioactive wastes from the domestic research and medical sectors. We must expect compensation at above market value, given that consideration of nuclear-related matters in Australia invariably attracts scrutiny and alarm beyond scientifically robust assessment of hazards. The precaution applied to low and intermediate radioactive wastes is exceptional (not only in Australia) compared to many other waste streams and industrial activity. Relevant examples include our sanguine attitude toward transport, use, and management of wastes from agricultural chemicals[5-7], including ammonium nitrate fertiliser[8] and hydrocarbon fuel[9, 10]. So long as we take an exceptional approach with radioactive waste, there can be no valid criticism of above-market values for land acquisition

……There is no compelling evidence globally that such a facility would have negative reputational or economic impacts to the region (though this concept is much-touted). It is therefore reasonable to weight the sentiment of stakeholders with either (i) greater proximity to the site itself, or (ii) responsibilities for regional oversight and representation such as:

  • The nominating landowner
  • The immediate neighbouring landowners
  • Stakeholders in the closest settlement to the facility
  • Stakeholders in closer proximity to the main transport corridors
  • Local government authorities
  • Representative economic or industry groups in the local region……

If stakeholders of close proximity to the site and those with responsibilities of oversight (i) have beenadequately consulted and consider themselves to be well-informed, and (ii) offer either their consentor active support, then the Department might also make a robust case for ‘broad community support’.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has indicated from the outset that it is seekingbroad community support, while asserting no individual or single stakeholder group has power of veto……….

In this region, Banggarla people are traditional owners, and National Resources Eyre Peninsula has anestablished Aboriginal Advisory Committee[18]. These ought provide appropriate points of contact and consultation with those who can speak on behalf of traditional owners.

The District Council of Kimba is an appropriate definition of community in relation to these site nominations. ……. Direct consideration of Eyre Peninsula or state-wide community views in this decision is contradictory to the premise on which this process was based from the outset, being (i) freely volunteered sites from a process open to all Australians, by those with the legal right to offer the site, to be followed by (ii) a process of community consultation and engagement.

The District Council of Kimba has been offered resources ………Nor can we expect citizens in those larger catchments to take an equivalent level of interest in becoming informed. Whole-of-state (or whole-of-nation?) decisions are the job of our elected representatives in parliament. This voluntary, consent-based, local community process was established to move away from that top-down model.

any other related matters. The Australian community at large benefits from Australia’s nuclear research and medical sectors every day. Our nation-wide preparedness to consume these benefits can be reasonably inferred to represent a broad level of consent, indeed an actual expectation, that the associated waste will be managed according to international best practice. Nearly every Australian household puts a garbage bin at the kerbside once a week, in the expectation of a well-managed service to meet our need…….

A worthy aspiration is the active support and enthusiasm of a community that will embrace and enhance this project. We cannot achieve these outcomes by stripping local  communities of their agency. more


How much is the taxpayer paying for ANSTO’s spin and lies?

March 7, 2018

Australia does not produce any high level waste.” [???] said Bruce McCleary, the General Manager of the National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce

[He also did not mention that these wastes for Kimba will be temporary, i.e. STRANDED WASTES]

ANational Radioactive Waste Management Facility:
Kimba locals welcomed to Australia’s nuclear facility Eleven members of the Kimba community were on site at Lucas Heights yesterday, to see first-hand Australia’s nuclear technology and radioactive waste management expertise.

The delegation to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) included people with a variety of views on Kimba hosting the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

It included four neighbours of the two volunteered sites in Kimba, and three members of the Kimba Consultative Committee (KCC), as well as other interested community members.

Patricia Beinke saw the OPAL multi-purpose reactor, where ANSTO stores low and intermediate level radioactive waste, and how waste is prepared for transportation.

“It was a much bigger campus and complex than I had ever envisaged. I read all the information that comes my way, but wasn’t expecting this scale,” Mrs Beinke, who is a member of the KCC, said.

“I just found the trip so good. The scientists and engineers spoke on a level that everyone could understand.

“I saw the reactor, and we had a great discussion about how the waste is prepared for transportation, including the processes it would go through before being sent to a national facility.”

Austen Eatts has property that neighbours one of the volunteered sites, and is opposed to the facility, but was pleased to have seen ANSTO’s campus.

“I have always had a reasonable idea of what happens at ANSTO regarding medicine and industry, and what they are doing there is very good actually,” Mr Eatts said.

“The waste has to be put somewhere. I am still of two minds about whether it should be located in Kimba, but I found the trip very informative.”

Mr Eatts stressed that he is against the idea of a facility anywhere in Australia that could store high level, imported waste from overseas – a proposition not being put forward by the Federal Government.

Bruce McCleary is the General Manager of the National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce, and said it was great to host people with a variety of views on trips such as this.

“Tours of ANSTO’s medicine manufacturing and radioactive waste facilities are a great information tool for communities considering if they want to host a radioactive waste industry,” Mr McCleary said.

“They are also a way of us establishing what questions the community still has, and for them to see and hear from experts who work with this material every day, first-hand.

“I can confirm for Mr Eatts – and anyone else who shares his concern – that the national facility will not hold international or high level waste, because it is for Australian waste only, and Australia does not produce any high level waste. [????]

“Our national facility needs 100-hectares for an above ground low-level waste disposal and temporary storage of intermediate-level waste, whereas an international high-level facility would need to be far larger and would require a deep underground facility in order to be safe and economically viable.”

For more project information:         

Electric Energy Society of Australia (EESA) promoting pro nuclear spin?

February 3, 2018

from Jim Green 3 Feb 2018     To: Electric Energy Society of Australia (EESA)
Re the Feb 21 EESA webinar with nuclear lobbyist Ben Heard talking about nuclear power:

1. Will EESA be organising a separate webinar to provide a perspective from someone who isn’t a nuclear lobbyist? If not, is that lack of balance consistent with the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics and Guidelines on Professional Conduct?

2. Will you amend the bio-note on the ESAA webpage to note that Mr Heard’s so-called environment group accepts secret corporate donations? If not, why not? The bio-note on the EESA webpage claims that his group ‘represents the community’ … if such dubious claims are allowed to stand then it surely needs to be acknowledged that his group accepts corporate donations including secret corporate donations. Is such disclosure not required by the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics and Guidelines on Professional Conduct?

3. During the webinar, will it be made clear that Mr Heard’s group accepts corporate donations including secret corporate donations? Is such disclosure not required by the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics and Guidelines on Professional Conduct?

4. During the webinar, will you make it clear that Mr Heard’s asinine contribution to the SA Royal Commission was rejected by the Commission? Specifically, the final report of the Royal Commission said: “[A]dvanced fast reactors and other innovative reactor designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future. The development of such a first-of-a-kind project in South Australia would have high commercial and technical risk. Although prototype and demonstration reactors are operating, there is no licensed, commercially proven design. Development to that point would require substantial capital investment.”

5. Will you ensure that webinar participants are provided with some basic factual information that Mr Heard certainly won’t be volunteering, e.g.
— A$40 billion capital cost for two new reactors in the UK (A$20 billion each)
— A$16 billion capital cost for new reactors in France and Finland
— bankruptcy filing of Westinghouse due to catastrophic cost overruns building conventional reactors in the US (including A$13+ billion wasted on reactors in South Carolina that were cancelled last year).
— Westinghouse, Toshiba and a number of other utilities exiting the reactor construction business
— Ziggy Switkowski, head of the Howard government’s Nuclear Energy review, now says he believes “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”. He also said that nuclear is no longer lower cost than renewables and that the levelised cost of electricity of the two is rapidly diverging.

6. Will you ensure that webinar participants are informed that Mr Heard has continued lobbying for the importation of 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste to SA despite being well aware of the overwhelming opposition of Aboriginal Traditional Owners?

7. What steps will you take to ensure that participants are provided with some credible information about high-temperature gas-cooled reactors given that these seem to be Mr Heard’s latest fixation? Some information is copied below.

8. If Mr Heard claims that high-temperature gas-cooled reactors are ‘meltdown-proof’, or other such inanities, will you ensure that his falsehoods are corrected? (more…)

Australia’s old nuclear shill Ziggy Switkowsi is back – trashing Big Nukes, promoting SMRs

January 12, 2018

Australia has ‘missed the boat’ on nuclear power, SMH, Cole Latimer, 11 Jan 18, The Minerals Council of Australia has called for the country’s prohibition on nuclear power to be lifted. But both critics and supporters see little future for large-scale nuclear power in Australia’s energy mix.

The man who once famously called for 50 nuclear reactors across Australia, nuclear physicist and NBN chairman Ziggy Switkowski, says “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”.

A lack of public support and any actual proposals for a nuclear plant had resulted in government inertia, he said on Thursday.

“Government won’t move until a real business case is presented and none has been, to my knowledge, and there aren’t votes in trying to lead the debate,” he said, adding that renewables were now a more economically viable choice. “With requirements for baseload capacity reducing, adding nuclear capacity one gigawatt at a time is hard to justify, especially as costs are now very high (in the range of $5 billion to $10 billion), development timelines are 15+ years, and solar with battery storage are winning the race.”

Warwick Grigor, the former chairman of Uranium King, mining analyst, and a director of uranium miner Peninsula Energy, agrees.

“I think nuclear energy is great, but we’ve missed the boat in Australia, no one is going down that path in the foreseeable future,” Mr Grigor told Fairfax Media.“When Fukushima [the 2011 nuclear accident in Japan] occurred, that was the closing of the door to our nuclear power possibilities.”

Mr Grigor sees battery technology, a market he has since entered, as a better alternative.

Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney said talk of nuclear power was “a dangerous distraction” from the steps that needed to address the energy and climate challenges facing Australia.

Nuclear energy has been officially banned in Australia since 1998, with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s OPAL reactor at Lucas Heights, NSW, the only nuclear reactor in the country.

But the Minerals Council’s executive director for uranium, Daniel Zavattiero, said the nation had excluded a low-emissions energy source of which Australia has an abundant supply from the current debate.

“Maybe nuclear power might be something that is not needed, but an outright prohibition on it is not needed,” he said.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg supported the Mineral Council’s stance. “There needs to be bipartisan support for nuclear power and that does not exist right now,” Mr Frydenberg said. “You would also need state-based support and that is not clear at this stage either.”…..

Mr Switkowski said smaller, modular nuclear reactors could play a part in the future energy mix, and could support regional centres.

An ANSTO spokesman told Fairfax Media these smaller plants could technically work in Australia.“If Australia did want to expand into nuclear energy technologies, there would be a number of options to consider in the future, including small modular reactors and Generation IV reactors, which could be feasible if the policy, economic settings and technology were right and public support was in place,” he said.

However, the country currently did not have enough skilled personnel to safely operate a nuclear energy industry, he said.

“The question of whether nuclear energy is technically or economically feasible is a different question to whether Australia should or should not have a nuclear energy program, the latter of which is a matter for policy makers and the people of Australia,” the spokesman said……..

Pushing the fantasy of Small Modular NUCLEAR Reactors (SMRs) to rural Australia

December 11, 2017

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?

Australia’s nuclear propagandist Ben Heard, and others, fail at Bonn, so fall back on the “banana” argument

November 18, 2017

Above: Ben Heard at Bonn, 16 November

Ben Heard and the pro nuclear lobby group “Generation Atomic” were not very successful at the Bonn climate talks. A member of the group ‘marraskuu’ explains:

“we ran around Bonn, trying to secure a permission for a side event that our group would like to organize on Monday, when the UNEP [ United Nations Environment Programme ] Sustainable innovations forum, from which the nuclear industry was kicked out from, starts. They eventually ended up denying us the permission.
The evening was spent in one of the weirdest way I have ever spent an evening: By sticking up stickers on Bananas”

So – the nuclear lobby at the climate talks was reduced to pushing one of their most dishonest and silliest propaganda spins – the “banana argument”.  Because our bodies contain a small amount of (mildly) radioactive Potassium 40 –  and because there’s potassium 40 in bananas – then we are told not to worry about the nuclear fission produced highly radioactive ions like Cesium , Strontium, Iodine,

BUT – IN REALITY :  When you eat a banana, your body’s level of Potassium-40 doesn’t increase. You just get rid of some excess Potassium-40. The net dose of a banana is zero.


China- Bill Gates nuclear propaganda faithfully regurgitated by Australian media

November 8, 2017
This isn’t the first time that Cole Latimer has regurgitated nuclear propaganda –  this time from China, (though Latimer also regurgitates some good stuff, and even writes some of his own)
Of course – they didn’t say that the reasons for Bill Gates’ doing this in China:
1. Because China does not have the strict safety regulations that USA has – so Gates can’t do this in USA
2. Because China’s nukes are tax-payer funded – so no worries about getting funding – (in USA there’s quite an outcry about the govt funding nukes)
3. The article made a virtue out of the reactor using ‘waste fuel’ from conventional reactors –  ignoring all the transport safety problems etc.
4 The article brushed over the fact that even this new reactor leaves long-lasting radioactive trash –   smaller in volume, yes, but so toxic that it need equal space to safely store
The article glosses over the fuel “waste uranium”  “depleted uranium” as if that’s fine.
There’s an area that I find ambiguous:
This joint venture aims to design and construct multiple nuclear power plants generating around 1150 megawatts over the next two decades which utilise this fourth generation nuclear technology. ….”    “the reactor would only need eight tonnes of this material to power 2.5 million homes for a year.”
Do they mean that ONE reactor would provide all this power?  They might. But as I understand it, the Travelling Wave Reactor is a small model, that would need to be set up as  a bunch of multiples –  (further making it difficult to market, as a country would have to order them en masse.  I say a country, because apart from Gates and a few mates, private enterprise is unwilling to take this huge financial risk)

Bill Gates and China partner on world-first nuclear technology , Cole Latimer SMH, The Age, and global media outlets, 8 November 17 

Bill Gates’ nuclear firm TerraPower and the China National Nuclear Corporation have signed an agreement to develop a world-first nuclear reactor, using other nuclear reactors’ waste

TerraPower chairman Bill Gates and Chinese premier Li Keqiang signed a joint venture agreement to create the Global Innovation Nuclear Energy Technology company, which will build a Travelling Wave Reactor and commercialise the technology……

Shellenberger in Australia: one sad interview, one happy one with radio shock jock

November 7, 2017

The pro nuclear Twittersphere was alive with angry comments about the ABC’s interview with nuclear propagandist Michael Shellenberger.

I missed that interview, but apparently the ABC interviewer asked some hard questions.

Shellenberger commented: “fighting to survive a brutal interview by a tough young reporter in Oz On ABC (the Aussie BBC)”

Australia’s own nuclear propagandist, Ben Heard,  commented:  “Shabby interview. Host evidently unfamiliar with topic”

However, those pro nuclear spinners were happy with shock jock Alan Jones on 2GB Alan Jones Breakfast Show.  Jones said:

“Michael has turned on wind and solar with a passion: he’s now advocating for an all-atomic energy future, simply because the latter provides reliable power, whereas the former are a childish nonsense…..

the Finkel review totally ignored nuclear power as an option and pushed harder for more and more renewable energy. So Victoria’s looking at 25% renewables by 2025, South Australia 50%, the ACT 100%, Queensland 50%……

one of the world’s leading new-generation environmental thinkers has said the renewable energy experiment with wind and solar has failed. Michael Shellenberger is a former renewables advocate and adviser to Barack Obama when he was President. [ed. not true. Shellenberger sent an unsolicited  submission to President Obama]  He is now global champion for nuclear energy, which he said was the only option to replace coal and gas on a global scale. ……”

Shellenberger  said:

every major study for the last 40 years finds that nuclear power is the safest way to make reliable electricity. You don’t have the risks that come with coal and fossil fuels, both in terms of mine collapses and air pollution, and the accidents themselves that everyone worries so much about hardly have any impact on people’s lives…

Wind and solar – They’re the worst. Really, all renewables are. The reason is easy to understand, in the sense that the fuels are very dilute, they’re very diffuse, and so you have to cover a huge amount of land with wind and solar……. solar produces huge quantities of toxic waste…… They produce two to three hundred times more toxic waste than nuclear plants, which are the only way of producing electricity that contain all of their potentially harmful waste. Of course it’s been contained so well that nobody has ever been harmed by the radiation from nuclear power waste, ever……

The other problem is that you just end up getting too much wind energy when you don’t need it, like the middle of the night. Solar and wind, it’s like they’re almost set up to destroy cheap, clean, reliable energy.

What happened was that there was a smaller group of anti-human so-called environmentalists that opposed nuclear precisely because it allowed for so much cheap and abundant power, and they thought, “Well, if we’re going to stop the human cancer, we have to cut off its energy supplies.” …..

You’ve got some really crazy anti-nuclear people down there…..

Alan Jones: “I’ll tell you something, when you arrive in this country, Michael we’ll have you on again. We can’t hear enough of you. It’s time we had a good healthy dose of common sense”

Fooling the public- Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s definition of “Intermediate” Level Wastess

October 20, 2017

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia  21 Oct 17 Lest we forget. The ore we dig up from Roxby has a radioactivity of about 80 Becquerels per gram. The vitrified waste we received back from France has a radioactivity over one Billion Becquerels per gram (one GigaBq/gr). France considers this High Level Waste – but our political system has allowed this to be defined as “Intermediate” – incompetence? corrupt? I will let you decide. (image from…/2006_summar…/files/docs/all.pdf)

Persuasive pro nuclear spinner Brian Cox headed for Australia

October 4, 2017

Brian Cox is  a very personable and knowledgeable TV star and particle physics expert. He is also a promoter of the nuclear industry. He is a big fan of plutonium -powered space travel.

Currently, Cox is in Cumbria, UK, addressing schoolchildren groups, and revving up enthusiasm for science and technology. All good, yes. He enthuses about the opportunity for top jobs in high tech in Cumbria.  Good? Yes, but – where are these future jobs? Well – in the nuclear industry, which is desperately trying to get a new nuclear power station built.

Whitehaven News 29th Sept 2017, Television star Professor Brian Cox says Cumbria has a world-leading industry which warrants talent – but there’s a shortage of scientists and engineers. But he hopes to change that by helping to bring the prestigious Infinity Festival to the area and inspiring hundreds of teenagers to follow their dreams. Professor Cox was the star speaker at today’s festival which was held at West Lakes Academy in Egremont. More than 200 schoolchildren, aged 13 and 14, attended the event from schools across the whole of the county.

Professor Brian Cox welcomes Cumbria’s nuclear history and future scientist, Professor Brian Cox, has told guests at the opening of a new exhibition in Whitehaven that nuclear power should be an important source of energy in the UK.

Famous scientist argues for ‘stable’ forms of energy, The famous scientist Professor Brian Cox has told guests at the opening of a new exhibition in Whitehaven that nuclear power should be an important source of energy in the UK.

He argues that education is important for accepting nuclear energy: