nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Designing for recycling of rare earths is essential – theme for April 2015

The world is still in the grip of the philosophy of endless growth, endless consumption of material “goods” and energy. Along with that goes the “throwaway mentality.

The result – not just the disappearance of precious resources – water, land , biodiversity  – but also the dirty pollution of the ecosphere with wastes. One of the worst is radioactive wastes. (Don’t be caught by the nuclear lobby lie about the’nuclear fuel cycle’ – which is really a chain leading to toxic wastes needing burial)

However, environmentalists must wake up to the fact that nearly all of our advanced technology requires “rare earths” – cerium,  15 lanthanoid elements and one or both of the elements yttrium and scandium. Thorium is often classed with them. Mining these elements results in highly toxic radioactive tailings.

If we’re serious about not creating radioactive wastes disasters, such as the notorious ones in Malaysia and China then the answer must be – DESIGN – designing wind turbines, cell phones, lap-tops etc – in a such a way that the rare metals can be easily retrieved and used again.

The situation clearly calls for international policy initiatives to minimize the seemingly bizarre situation of spending large amounts of technology, time, energy and money to acquire scarce metals from the mines and then throwing them away after a single use.”

recycle-rare-earths-A

April 25, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes, RARE EARTHS | Leave a comment

World’s nuclear industry in crisis – theme for May 2015

Take heart – all who seek clean energy –  the nuclear industry is in a right mess!

Apart from the chaotic state of nuclear economics, and of security, weapons proliferation, public opposition, desperate marketing, frantic agonising over waste disposal , as well as  the drive for public amnesia about Chernobyl and Fukushima –   apart from all that – the nuclear lobby are all wrangling among themselves.

(The Spin graphic within picture is adapted from http://spinoriginal.blogspot.)com.au/ )

There’s an unseemly public frenzy from all the different reactor corporations to market their respective products. This includes marketing the existing old reactors – to continue running them for many decades, despite their deterioration,- because  this is much more profitable than getting new ones.  And – also – postpones for future generations the massive costs of dealing with the reactors’ radioactive corpses.

Then there’s the drive to sell little reactors, and Thorium reactors –   an absolute nightmare of security concerns in these. And of course, the uranium industry won’t like this.

It’s quite likely that in trying to outdo each other, the nuclear industry will kill off itself faster than any anti nuclear campaigns. AREVA is already offering reactors for sale below their cost price.

April 23, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

10 reasons why the global nuclear industry is in crisis – theme for May 2015

terminal-nuclear-industryThe global nuclear industry is sick, indeed, it is in palliative care.  And here are 10 good reasons why: 

1. Gloom overlies the nuclear lobby, fear of this question: the next nuclear catastrophe.  Not IF it will happen, but WHEN and WHERE?

2.  Aging, dangerous nuclear reactors that are too costly to make safe. .

3. “New nuclear” is  a joke. The nuclear lobby will boast of so many “planned”, “proposed” reactors. But new ones actually being built? – just two and a half duds.

4 Discord and dissension in the nuclear camp.  Nuclear countries cannot afford new reactors, so desperately compete to sell  them to other countries.

Meanwhile nuclear companies battle it out to market their particular new gee-whiz nuclear reactor version.

5. Climate change affects nuclear reactors.

6. Nuclear weapons now out-dated. 21st Century conflict is all about smaller, targeted missile-envy
weapons, like the USA’s assassination drones.  Pride and status are now the only motives for having nuclear weapons.

7. Decline in electricity use

8 Renewable energy, both centralised and small scale, is fast being developed, and widely popular (unlike nuclear).

9. Danger – whatever kind of nuclear facility – there is always the danger of accident or terrorism –  they are  a target for terrorists.

10 Public opinion. Worldwide – people just don’t like nuclear power.  

 

April 23, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Rare Earths, Recycling and the Nuclear CHAIN – theme for April 15

FIRST – there is NO “Nuclear Fuel Cycle” – only a toxic Nuclear Fuel Chain nuclear-fuel-chain3

The nuclear lobby is telling one of its finest whoppers – that there really is a “nuclear fuel cycle” – that toxic radioactive wastes can be turned into lucrative nuclear fuel – for a never ending glorious “cycle”

Not true. It is truly a Nuclear Fuel Chain – that the lobby hopes to put around Australians’ necks. The new geewhiz (not yet existing) Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs) and Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs), including the  Power Reactor Innovative Small Module (PRISM) – all produce highly toxic wastes that have to be buried. Reprocessing is NOT a “cycle”

SECOND  – Rare Earths involve highly radioactive wastes – and require a big switch in DESIGN – so that they can be recycled.

Environmentalists must wake up to this. There must be a paradigm shift from the thinking, ) – from “dig it up – use it – throw it away” – to DESIGN.

The modern technologies that we value – from wind turbines to mobile phones must be redesigned, so that their rare earths can be easily retrieved and re-used.

Otherwise the planet will be further plagued by radioactive wastes from rare earths.

recycle-rare-earths-2

April 11, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes, RARE EARTHS | 2 Comments

Progress towards a nuclear free, clean energy powered world – theme for March 2015

sun-powerWe need an energy system that can fight climate change, based on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Nuclear power already delivers less energy globally than renewable energy, and the share will continue to decrease in the coming years.

Despite what the nuclear industry tells us, building enough nuclear power stations to make a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would cost trillions of dollars, create tens of thousands of tons of lethal high-level radioactive waste, contribute to further proliferation of nuclear weapons materials, and result in a Chernobyl-scale accident once every decade. Perhaps most significantly, it will squander the resources necessary to implement meaningful climate change solutions.  (Briefing: Climate change – Nuclear not the answer.)……

there is nothing “peaceful” about all things nuclear. More than half a century after Eisenhower’s speech the planet is left with the legacy of nuclear waste. This legacy is beginning to be recognised for what it truly is.

Things are moving slowly in the right direction. In November 2000 the world recognised nuclear power as a dirty, dangerous and unnecessary technology by refusing to give it greenhouse gas credits during the UN Climate Change talks in The Hague. Nuclear power was dealt a further blow when a UN Sustainable Development Conference refused to label nuclear a sustainable technology in April 2001….http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/nuclear/

March 21, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes | 1 Comment

Success of the anti nuclear, clean energy movement – theme for March 2015

The worldwide nuclear mafia now faces the rising economic success of 21st Century renewable energy technologies, alongside the plummeting economic failure of nuclear energy.

The corporate power system that dominates the world economy, and world politics still promotes nuclear power and nuclear weapons – but they know they are up against the unaffordable financial costs. Money is what matters to them.

But money is not the whole story. The nuclear lobby consists of relatively few individuals – middle aged (mainly white) men,  in business suits, in love with their own careers and monetary gain.

They don’t know who they’re up against – people in their millions who oppose the nuclear industry-   people who “don’t matter” –  women, young people, poor people, indigenous people

protestors-success

These millions include the poorly educated, and the highly educated, people of all colours, languages and religions -but all having respect for their precious land and water, and for the future of the world’s children.   They matter, and they will prevail.

March 3, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes | 4 Comments

The global movement for clean, non nuclear energy – theme for March 2015

There is a global zeitgeist, or widespread feeling  of enthusiasm for clean energy, and of rejection of the  dirty, dangerous, nuclear industry, with its intrinsic connection to nuclear weapons. This can’t be measured, but it does exist.  In country after country, while governments are beholden to the nuclear lobby, the people are not fooled.

People are appreciating the value of renewable energy systems, centralised ones, coming through the grid, and decentralised, local,  ones, with solar or wind energy coming straight to the user.. Households, businesses, farms benefit also in selling energy back to the grid, through their small local solar or wind technologies. Such small decentralised technologies are being taken up in developing countries, where there is no grid, bringing energy with the FREE fuel of sun and wind.

Even more importantly, energy efficiency and energy conservation are being taken up, as people find that this saves money, too. The culture of endless consumption is now questioned.

renewables-not-nukes

World-wide, the public becomes more distrustful of the nuclear industry. Private investment shuns it. People are waking up to the lies of the nuclear lobby: the lie that nuclear power is “clean”, that it’s “safe”, that it’s “renewable”, that it has “no connection” with nuclear weapons.

People are increasingly waking up to nuclear cover-ups, nuclear corruption, and nuclear bribery of politicians. Governments that are beholden to the nuclear lobby are increasingly distrusted.  The current wave of opposition to the big corporations includes opposition to the power of nuclear corporations over governments.

The Fukushima nuclear catastrophe continues to influence people away from nuclear power. This , and the global economic problems make the nuclear industry look more and more like a colossal waste of tax-payers’ money. And, underlying this, the continued work of anti- nuclear groups, over decades has pushed on this groundswell of public feeling.

February 28, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes | 2 Comments

Top Anti-Nuclear Authorities to Convene in New York City – theme for February 2015

by on December 15, 2014  by Sherwood Ross, Veterans Today, December 12, 2014

The growing threat of planet-wide nuclear extinction will bring some of the world’s leading scholars and activists to New York City for a two-day symposium Feb. 28-March 1, 2015.

This conference will be held at the New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Ave., N.Y., NY, sponsored by The Helen Caldicott Foundation For a Nuclear Free Future. The press is invited.

Caldicott,-Helen-4Dr. Caldicott is an Australian physician, author, and anti-nuclear advocate who has founded several associations dedicated to opposing the use of nuclear power, depleted uranium munitions, and nuclear weapons. She has been awarded 21 honorary doctoral degrees and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling.

This symposium will be unique, linking the existential threat of Artificial Super Intelligence(ASI) with the current existential threat of nuclear war. It will examine a future in which intelligent machines could launch a nuclear war with no human input……..

Among the Conference discussion topics are:

  • How many times have we come close to nuclear war with Russia? What are the precipitating human and technological factors?
  • What are the medical and environmental consequences of a limited or major nuclear war?
  • How can we cure the present political pathology leading the world to the brink of nuclear war?

The Aftermath Of World Wide Nuclear War

February 7, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes | 1 Comment

The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction – theme for February 2015

The thought is so unpleasant, so confronting, that most of the time, we all avoid that thought.

That avoidance is a mistake. Now there’s an opportunity to learn the facts – not only on what a nuclear catastrophe, a nuclear war would be like,  but also about what positive steps the people of world can take to prevent those global horrors, and remove those threats.

Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction – February 28-March 1, 2015 at The New York Academy of Medicine

A unique, two-day symposium at which an international panel of leading experts in disarmament, political science, existential risk, artificial intelligence, anthropology, medicine, nuclear weapons and other nuclear issues will be held at The New York Academy of Medicine on Feb 28- March 1, 2015. The public is welcome.
A project of The Helen Caldicott Foundation  Venue: The New York Academy of Medicine. 1216 Fifth Ave @ 103rd St. NY, NY 10029

The symposium will  be live streamed around the world and the Proceedings will be published in a book by the New Press

apocalypse

January 30, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes | 1 Comment

Nuclear power cannot curb Climate Change – theme for January 2015

In recent themes I wrote about nuclear power being in fact a big contributor to global warming,  and about how climate change will in fact finish off the nuclear industry.

But – let’s pretend that nuclear reactors really could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

TIME: To do that, 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed within a few yeas to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology Study on “The Future of Nuclear Power”   projected that a global growth scenario for as many as 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation. Average 115 built per year would reduce our CO2 use by only 16%.

When we talk about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – that 1500 reactors needed translates to millions, (and these SMRs are already shown to be more costly than large ones,)

COSTS: historically and now, the costs of the nuclear industry are staggering. Cost estimates have increased in the past decade from $1,000 to $7,000 per kW installed. And that’s before additional costs – e.g new safety measures, decommissioning are added. U.S. Vogtle project  originally budgeted at $660 million, by 2013 cost $9 billion.   Rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly “credit positive”.

Meanwhile – if the nuclear “climate cure” were to be pursued, the enormous costs and efforts involved would take away from the clean, fast, and ever cheaper solutions of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

climate-change-time

 

 

December 28, 2014 Posted by | Christina's themes, climate change | 1 Comment

Busting the nuclear lobby “low carbon” lie on climate change – theme for January 2015

Look out for those weasel words “Low Carbon” .  They are now used to replace the words “renewable energy” – a sneaky little ploy to get nuclear power included in climate action projects.

2015 is a critical year for the world. The Paris conference on Climate Change – might, just might – come up with a planet-saving plan to really cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The nuclear lobby sees this climate crisis as their last opportunity to push a lie that will convince the world that nuclear power should go ahead.  All their previous lies have been exposed.

The world cannot be cheated yet again by the nuclear industry, and its subservient governments.

climate-change-lie

December 28, 2014 Posted by | Christina's themes | 1 Comment

Remembering World War 1 – the movement for peace – theme for December 2014

This year and for the next three years, the world will remember World War 1. There will be significant commemorations in many countries, honouring those who died. There will also be the opportunity for militarism to flourish, and people can readily become confused between respect for those young lives, ended so tragically, and the militaristic ideals of ‘glory’ associated with war.  Those who invest in weapons will be rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the profits from the next war.

But many, many, people will respect and make use of this commemorative period to advance the world movements for peace, and against war. These movements have a long and honourable history, going back well before world war one.

Very often, it has been organisations of women, who have most strongly resisted and opposed war. “Some of the many groups that protested against the war, as well as the traditional peace churches, were the Woman’s Peace Party (which was organized in 1915 and led by noted reformer Jane Addams), the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace (ICWPP) (also organized in 1915),[19] the American Union Against Militarism, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the American Friends Service Committee.[20] Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, was another fierce advocate of pacifism, the only person to vote no to America’s entrance into both WorldWars.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_movement

Woen's-Peace-Party-1915

Today, the peace movement is active, across the world, with organisations too many to name here. We know that we are up against those who profit from war – the companies that make weapons, especially nuclear weapons.  We are up against the nuclear power industry, with its pretense that it has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. We are up against the militarists in every country – who will be glorifying World War 1.  We are up against the strange so-called ‘religious’ ideas, of those who would kill unbelievers.

Today’s world threats, especially the chaotic conditions resulting from climate change, are being met by a world reasonable movement for co-operative action to deal with global problems, and by the growing understanding of the need for conflict resolution methods, and diplomacy, to deal with our differences

December 1, 2014 Posted by | Christina's themes | 4 Comments

Towards a nuclear weapons-free world – theme for December 2014

nuclear weapons convention is a proposed international treaty that would prohibit the development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as provide for their elimination. It would be similar in form to existing conventions outlawing other categories of weapons, such as biological weaponschemical weaponsand anti-personnel mines.

picture at left adapted from http://globalcollab.org/publications/essays/napsnet/forum/strategy-for-a-northeast-asia-nuclear-weapon-free-zone-as-a-step-to-common-security

The model convention would require countries with nuclear weapons to destroy them in stages, including taking them off high alert status, removing them from deployment, removing thewarheads from their delivery vehicles, disabling the warheads by removing the explosive “pits“, and placing the fissile material under UN control. As well as outlawing nuclear weapons, the convention would prohibit the production of fissile materials suitable for making them, namely highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium.[citation needed]

It would establish an agency to ensure that countries comply with the terms of the treaty. This body would receive progress reports from nuclear-armed states, conduct inspections of weapons facilities, acquire intelligence through satellite photography and remote sensors, and monitor the production and transfer of materials suitable for making nuclear weapons.[citation needed]

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons campaigns for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. High profile supporters include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, Nobel laureate Jody Williams, mayor of Hiroshima Tadatoshi Akiba, former World Court judge Christopher Weeramantry, former Australian prime ministerMalcolm Fraser, and  former UN under-secretary-general for disarmament Jayantha Dhanapala,   from Wikipedia 

November 12, 2014 Posted by | Christina's themes | 1 Comment

The nuclear industry, and the G20’s goal of endless growth – theme for Nov 2014

The G20 Summit has come and gone watched by up to 3,000 domestic and international media representatives.  Amnog the 4,000 delegates were US President Barack Obama, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minster David Cameron

The purpose of this summit ?  to  foster economic growth.  Yes – a bigger world population, greater production of ‘goods’, greater consumption of ‘goods’ and energy.  Supposedly all this is good for business. Climate change wasn’t meant to be on the agenda – Australian P.M. Tony Abbott saw to that.

And yet, and yet.  TV viewers saw the rapturous reception given by university students to President Obama, as he urged them to promote action on climate change. Obama moved freely and relaxedly amongst the students.

It is ironic that Australia should be hosting this international growthfest, under the leadership of Prime Minster Tony Abbott who has absolutely no idea of environment, nor of sustainable economics.

The nuclear connection is an underlying one. The nuclear industry, as shown by its advertisement film “Pandora’s Promise” . depends on the world accepting the need for endless growth and consumption, with ever increasing energy use – supplied by nuclear power. And – make no mistake, governments  have been bought by the polluting industries.

G20-danse-macabre

There is a new philosophy emerging – but not from these so-called leaders, – the philosophy of the Conserver Society, as against the Consumer Society . This is well expressed by  Frank Rotering in his concept of “Contractionism” 

any-fool-would-know

 

 

we cannot go on as a species plagueing the planet, trashing it, and thinking that somehow humans can start it all over again on another planet. There must be  a radical change in economic thinking, and as  Frank Rotering suggests, this could well be led by business – by real leaders, who see that it makes financial sense to be truly conservative –

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Christina's themes | 5 Comments

The nuclear industry and the concept of ENOUGH – theme for November 2014

consumer-world-nukeTo the nuclear industry the concept of ENOUGH is anathema. If you saw their slick advertising film “Pandora’s Promise” you would note that their major theme is endless GROWTH that will perpetually require ENDLESS ENERGY.

The nuclear industry’s shills, and there are many of them, love to portray the anti-nuclear movement as wanting to send people back to living in a “dark ages” style.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Genuine environmentalists (as against nuclear lobby shills like Patrick Moore) want all people to have a life of more light, of reasonable comfort and leisure time, of enough of the good things of this world, rather than of too much.

World leaders met in Brisbane, Australia for a fairly pointles summit, devoted to “economic growth”. While the host country ruled by a scientifically illiterate Prime Minister Tony Abbott, insisted “no talk of climate change”,  those words were indeed heard, around the traps.  While the formal agenda of the G20 was pretty meaningless, as will be its formulaic communique, – perhaps the personal talks in the sidelines might reflect the reality that the global economy just cannot sustain this mindless growth

It’s time that governments, bankers, industry leaders woke up to the reality that the world economy is threatened by growth, threatened by the accelerating destruction of this planet’s  air, water, land, and biodiversity. The destroyer is the growing human population and its growing consumption of ever more unnecessary products and unnecessary energy use.

It’s time that people stepped away from endless individualistic  consumption, and towards a reasonable life of more cooperation, of working less hours. It’s time to move from our suicidal consumer culture, to a conserver culture.

ENOUGH-the-concept

 

October 26, 2014 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

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