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Canada’s indigenous communities must not be guinea pigs for useless Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

From the Hill — Small Modular Reactors, The Rossland Telegraph , by Dick Cannings MP on Monday Nov 30 2020,   Earlier this year, Seamus O’Regan, the Minister of Natural Resources said in a speech that “We are placing nuclear energy front and centre… This is nuclear’s moment.” And in discussions around building a new economy after COVID, the government is doubling down on those sentiments.  The latest debates are slightly different from those of the last fifty years as they involve a new technology:  Small Modular Reactors, or SMRs.   Spoiler alert–I don’t necessarily share the Minister’s unbridled enthusiasm for nuclear energy as the answer to all our prayers……..can nuclear power help us in our efforts to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the next few years?  SMRs represent an experimental technology that, according to industry experts, will not be producing power anywhere in Canada for about a decade.  Once the technology matures and SMRs can be produced in quantity, they could theoretically be cheaper than present, very expensive nuclear plants.  But those claims are very difficult to assess.

SMRs are often touted as a solution to get remote indigenous communities off diesel power.  While I am very much in favour of helping these communities find alternate power sources, SMRs do not fit the bill.  These communities want power generation solutions that they can build and manage themselves.  They want alternative power sources now, not in ten years.  And they do not want to be the guinea pigs for brand-new nuclear technology that will likely provide few jobs for local residents and cost significantly more than mature technologies such as solar, wind, and bioenergy.  A Special Chiefs Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations passed a unanimous resolution in December 2018 demanding “that the Government of Canada cease funding and support of the Small Modular Nuclear Reactors program.”

……… [smrs] shouldn’t be relied on by present day governments as the panacea to a clean energy future.  Even the Canada Energy Regulator (formerly the National Energy Board) predicts that SMRs will collectively contribute only the equivalent of half of a conventional hydro dam by 2050.

To reach meaningful targets by 2030 and 2040, we need to double down on technologies we know will get us there…… And energy efficiency efforts alone could get us almost half-way to our targets.  These are the routes to success.https://rosslandtelegraph.com/news/column-hill-small-modular-reactors#.X8Ven2gzbIU

December 1, 2020 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Grid flexibility a better choice than nuclear – could save UK $millions

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

When even a right wing news medium like Forbes start questioning the ”wisdom” of nuclear development , that industry must be getting worried.

Ditch Nuclear And Save $860 Million With Grid Flexibility, U.K. Told, Forbes,   David Vetter Senior Contributor, 30 Nov 2, 

The U.K. could save money, reduce the risk of blackouts and more quickly achieve its carbon-cutting goals by abandoning plans to build more nuclear power facilities and instead invest in a flexible electricity grid, new analysis has found.

According to the report from Finnish energy tech firm Wärtsilä, the U.K. would stand to save $860 million per year if, instead of new nuclear power, the government backed grid flexibility measures, such as battery storage and thermal generation. That equates to a saving of about $33 dollars per British household per year. Crucially, the analysis revealed that even if energy generation was to remain the same as it is today, Britain could increase renewables’ share of that generation to 62% simply by adding more flexibility (renewables currently account for around 47% of electricity used, according to the government).

The Wärtsilä report is timely because, in a ten-point plan released earlier this month, prime minister Boris Johnson promised an additional $684 million for the nuclear sector, and the building of new large and small nuclear power stations. Notably, grid flexibility was not mentioned in the plan.

The report also raises questions about the necessity of the 3.2 gigawatt Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, under development in Somerset, southwest England, which has been dogged by controversy and delays since its inception. In addition to coming with all the usual challenges associated with nuclear fission—not least the storage of radioactive waste—the project is at least $3.6 billion over budget and has been the target of numerous lawsuits and both local and international complaints.

Speaking to Forbes.com, Ville Rimali, growth and development director at Wärtsilä Energy, explained why his firm determined that grid flexibility is a preferable alternative to nuclear, as Britain looks for a pathway to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Flexibility unlocks more renewable energy by balancing the intermittency of wind and solar power to ensure the power supply always matches demand,” Rimali said. “For example, when more power is generated than needed, you can store the surplus in batteries to be used later. The alternative is paying renewables to switch off, which is expensive and inefficient.”

“It’s a bit like running a bath where the volume of water and the size of the plug keep changing,” he explained. “The smaller the bathtub, the more likely the water is to overflow or run out. Flexibility is like having a bigger bathtub—you can pour more water in, without the risk of running out or overflowing.” ………

 investing in nuclear power could, according to Wärtsilä, entrench an inflexible grid while making renewables such as solar and wind less cost-effective.

“New nuclear sites will rely heavily on government subsidies, negatively impact market prices and ultimately weaken the business case for renewables and flexibility,” Rimali said………   https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidrvetter/2020/11/30/ditch-nuclear-and-save-860-million-with-grid-flexibility-uk-told/?sh=2733622b1975

December 1, 2020 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Some Australians are scathing on government plan to buy American hypersonic missiles

From the Age – Comments , 1 Dec 2020, 
2020 ReaderThe US using us as testing ground for their weapons…. Just like the French use the Atolls in the South Pacific for their nuclear bomb testing years ago in the 1970’s and left them with devastated islands to this day. The US prefers that any military action will not take place on their land, but that is what their allies are for !
Would be better to spend those billions for our own social welfare programs.
ile955495
Gee this is going to improve our relations with China, isn’t it?
Flashman
Does anyone really think we would last more than five minutes in any conflict with China? The answer is intelligent diplomacy. Go nuclear and it is more likely you’ll have more nuclear weapons pointed back at you.
Tampico
Before spending billions on this technology, government and defence officials should read the article in the London Review of Books by Andrew Cockburn, 5 March 2020 (https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n05/andrew-cockburn/like-a-ball-of-fire) which shows conclusively that such weapons do not and cannot work.
Larry L
Here we go again. Same old cycle of history repeating itself. It’s what happens when politicians puff their chests and like the warm inner glow it gives them.https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/australia-to-begin-testing-hypersonic-missiles-within-months-20201130-p56j5a.html#comments

December 1, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds announces hypersonic missiles for Australia

Australia to begin testing hypersonic missiles within months, The Age, By Anthony Galloway, December 1, 2020 Australia will begin testing hypersonic missiles that can travel at least five times the speed of sound within months under a new agreement with the United States to develop prototypes of the next-generation weapons…….

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds will announce the multi-billion-dollar plan on Tuesday, saying the Australian government is committed to “keeping Australians safe, while protecting the nation’s interests in a rapidly changing global environment”. …
The government hopes to begin testing prototypes of the air-launched, long-range missiles within months, with the Australian Defence Force wanting them as part of its arsenal in the next five to 10 years.
The new deal with the United States – known as the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) – is the culmination of 15 years of research between the two nations on hypersonic scramjets, rocket motors, sensors and advanced manufacturing materials.

The Australian government will now begin talking with Australian industry about rolling out a range of technologies to bring the hypersonic missiles from the testing phase to the production line for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Defence will not reveal the estimated cost of developing the new hypersonic missiles but it is expected to run into billions of dollars. A total of $9.3 billion was earmarked in this year’s Force Structure Plan for high-speed long-range missile defences.

The ADF also wants to develop hypersonic missiles that can be launched from the sea and land……

Under the plan, the hypersonic missiles would be carried by the RAAF’s existing arsenal of aircraft including the Growlers, Super Hornets, Joint Strike Fighters and Poseidon surveillance planes. The missiles could also be attached to unmanned aircraft such as the new Loyal Wingman drones.

Senator Reynolds discussed the agreement with her US counterpart Mark Esper at the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations in Washington in July this year, but the deal was signed last week.

The Australian Defence Minister said the experiments with the US would include demonstrations to show how the weapon performs in operational conditions, which would then inform future purchases.

“Developing this game-changing capability with the United States from an early stage is providing opportunities for Australian industry,” she said…..

Michael Kratsios, the Acting Under Secretary for Research and Engineering for the US’s Department of Defence, said the agreement was “essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the US and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational war-fighting capability”. ….. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/australia-to-begin-testing-hypersonic-missiles-within-months-20201130-p56j5a.html

December 1, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Hypersonic Missiles- ‘we program weapons that don’t work to meet threats that don’t exist.’

Like a Ball of Fire, London Review of Books, Andrew Cockburn on hypersonic weaponry, Vol. 42 No. 5 · 5 March 2020 “……….   Putin’s bellicose claim – two weeks before the presidential election in which he was running for a fourth term – and the more recent official announcement that Avangard had now entered service, drew alarmed and unquestioning attention in the West. ‘Russia Deploys Hypersonic Weapon, Potentially Renewing Arms Race’ the New York Times blared. ‘The new Russian weapon system flies at superfast speeds and can evade traditional missile defence systems. The United States is trying to catch up.’

Across the military-industrial complex, the money trees were shaken, showering dollars on eager recipients. A complaisant Congress poured money into programmes to develop all-new missile defences against the new threat, as well as programmes to build offensive hypersonic weapons to close the ‘technology gap’. The sums allocated for defensive initiatives alone exceeded $10 billion in the 2020 Pentagon budget, including $108 million in seed money for a ‘Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor’ – an as-yet undesigned array of low-orbit satellites that would detect and track Russia’s weapons.
Last September, Marillyn Hewson, the CEO of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms manufacturer, hefted a golden shovel to break ground in Courtland, Alabama, on new facilities to develop, test and produce a variety of hypersonic weapons. By then Lockheed already had more than $3.5 billion of hypersonic contracts in hand. Excitement was running high. ‘You can’t walk more than ten feet in the Pentagon without hearing the word “hypersonics”,’ one official remarked to an industry sponsored conference. Michael Griffin, undersecretary of defence for research and engineering, a hypersonics enthusiast, has spoken of the need for ‘maybe thousands’ of hypersonic weapons. ‘This takes us back to the Cold War,’ he announced cheerfully, ‘where at one point we had thirty thousand nuclear warheads and missiles to launch them’.
Welcome to the world of strategic analysis, where we program weapons that don’t work to meet threats that don’t exist.’ This was what Ivan Selin, a senior Pentagon official, used to tell subordinates in the Defence Department in the 1960s. Such irreverence regarding high-tech modern weaponry is rare: the norm is uncritical acceptance of reality as the arms industry and its uniformed customers choose to define it.
This credulity persists partly because of the secrecy rules deployed to cloak the realities of shoddy performance and unfulfilled promises. More important, complex weapons programmes, however problematic, benefit from a widespread and unquestioning faith – not least among journalists – in the power of technology to challenge the laws of physics.
…….. the funds continue to flow smoothly, accompanied by breathless headlines such as the Washington Post’s declaration that ‘the Pentagon’s newest weapons look like something out of Star Wars.’ …….
in 2014 the Russian programme was nearly cancelled when the designers reported that they couldn’t make the system manoeuvre – the essential selling point for any hypersonic weapon.
Hypersonic endeavours in the US have an even longer history, having originated in the imaginations of German scientists during the Second World War. Walter Dornberger, a favourite of Hitler who oversaw the V2 rocket programme and its extensive slave labour workforce, emigrated to the US after the war and soon found employment in the arms industry. In the 1950s he presented the US air force with a proposal for a ‘boost-glide’ weapon, first conceived by his former colleagues in Germany. …….
the dream never died, lingering on in obscure budgetary allocations over ensuing decades, none of them yielding anything of practical use. Despite the bombast on both sides of what we have to call the New Cold War, current efforts will almost certainly be no more successful than their predecessors – except in improving arms corporations’ balance sheets – for reasons that bear some scrutiny………..
 True to form, the UK Ministry of Defence is still investing heavily in this problematic technology…………
[This article outlines the technical problems in implementing hypersonic missiles]
….  At least $200 billion has been showered on missile defence since Reagan unveiled the Star Wars programme in 1983, and yet as Tom Christie – the Pentagon’s director of Operational Test and Evaluation under George W. Bush – puts it, ‘here we are, almost forty years on, and what have we got to show for it?’ Very little, it seems. As he told me recently, ‘We’ve tested against very rudimentary threats, and even then [the defence systems] haven’t worked with any degree of confidence.’ An apparently insoluble problem is that no defensive system is able to distinguish reliably between incoming warheads and decoys, such as balloon reflectors that mimic missiles on radar and can be deployed by the hundred at little cost. ‘There’s a very simple technical reason there’s essentially no chance – and, I mean, really essentially, no chance – that these missile defences will work,’ Ted Postol of MIT, a long-term critic of Star Wars, told me……….
 the US is lavishing large amounts of money on anti-hypersonic programmes. Given the gross deficiencies of both hypersonics and current missile defence systems, this indicates that the US and Russia have both taken Selin’s axiom a step further: they mean to deploy a weapon that doesn’t work against a threat that doesn’t exist that was in turn developed to counter an equally non-existent threat.
The notion that the Cold War was a nuclear ‘arms race’ with each side developing systems to counter the other’s increasingly deadly initiatives is generally taken as a given. Today, hypersonic weapons are depicted as products of a similar competitive impulse. But when you look more closely at the history of the Cold War and its post-Soviet resurgence, you see that a very different process is at work, in which the arms lobby on each side has self-interestedly sought capital and bureaucratic advantage while enlisting its counterpart on the other side as a justification for its own ambition.   In other words, they enjoy a mutually profitable partnership. …..

The ease with which the chimerical menace of hypersonic weapons has been launched into the budgetary stratosphere by the arms lobby suggests that their luck will hold for a long time yet. https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n05/andrew-cockburn/like-a-ball-of-fire

December 1, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Online event. U.S. launch of the WORLD NUCLEAR WASTE REPORT

US launch of the WORLD NUCLEAR WASTE REPORT by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung   https://www.facebook.com/events/329554248492108/

Online EventDec 4 at 5 AM UTC+11 – Dec 4 at 6:30 AM UTC+11  (Sydney is 16 hours ahead of New York City)

Public · Hosted by Beyond Nuclear
Hosted by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC. Please register at the link above, then join us for a virtual transatlantic discussion on nuclear waste on Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 at 1:00 pm (EST) with the following speakers:
• Allison Macfarlane, US nuclear policy expert, Professor and Director, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. Former chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
• Arne Jungjohann, energy policy expert, lead editor of the report, political scientist and a member of the Green Academy of the Heinrich Böll Foundation
Moderation: Linda Pentz Gunter, international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writer and editor at Beyond Nuclear International
Check out the WORLD NUCLEAR WASTE REPORT for free here: https://worldnuclearwastereport.org/

December 1, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority doesn’t know how much the waste clean up wiill cost or when it will finish


David Lowry’s Blog 27th Nov 2020, The nuclear industry has perpetrated a lot of untruths in six decades of dissembling. But the brazen atomic assertion repeated endlessly in the1950s that atomic energy would produce power “too cheap to meter” ( originally said by the then chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission, Lewis Stauss, on 16 September 1954, speech to the US National Association of Science Writers when he opined: “It is not too much to expect that our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter..”)
Parliament’s public spending watchdog body, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed on 27 November the huge costs escalations for dealing with the British nuclear waste stockpile, stating: “The cost of the long-term liability to decommission the UK’s civil nuclear sites now stands at £132 billion, though by its nature this estimate is inherently uncertain. Even the cost to take the Magnox sites to the care and maintenance stage of the decommissioning process is highly uncertain, with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) currently estimating that it will cost anything from £6.9 billion to £8.7 billion.”
The PAC goes on to explain that the timetable for completing this work is “similarly uncertain,” with a current estimate of anything from 12 to 15 years, adding “past experience tells us that these estimates could increase further.” The MPs believe that the efforts to produce a reliable estimate are “made more difficult by the historical legacy of decommissioning being an afterthought when the nuclear industry was established, and poor records of what hazardous materials are on the sites.
In this context, the NDA faces a considerable challenge to produce a reliable cost estimate. However, lack of knowledge about the sites was a significant factor in the failure of the Magnox procurement and original contract, which seriously damaged the NDA’s reputation and has now cost the taxpayer in excess of £140 million, and it continues to be a major barrier to making
progress.”

http://drdavidlowry.blogspot.com/2020/11/nuclear-dissembling-from-too-cheap-to.html

December 1, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

With independence, Scotland will remove allnuclear weapons from the Clyde

The National 29th Nov 2020, EVERY single nuclear weapon will be removed from the Clyde once Scotland
becomes independent, according to Ian Blackford. The SNP Westminster leader
was unequivocal as he opened the second day of his party’s conference via
video link from Skye.

https://www.thenational.scot/news/18907017.ian-blackford-desperate-tory-bid-prevent-independence-doomed/

December 1, 2020 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran considers barring international nuclear inspectors, following assassination of scientist

Telegraph 29th Nov 2020, Iran was weighing its response Sunday to the killing of its top nuclear
scientist, which it blames on arch-foe Israel, as his body was taken to
Shiite shrines ahead of being buried. Two days after Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
died following a firefight between his guards and unidentified gunmen
outside Tehran, parliament called in a statement for international
inspectors to be barred from nuclear facilities.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/11/29/iran-considers-barring-access-nuclear-sites-inresponse-assassination/

December 1, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment