The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Vale Sister Megan Rice – an anti-nuclear hero

Catholic sister who spent 2 years in prison for nuclear weapons protest dies at 91, Catholic News Service   13 Oct 21,

ROSEMONT, Pa. (CNS) — Sister Megan Rice, whose yearslong crusade against nuclear weapons included serving two years behind bars for a felony, died Oct. 10 at the Rosemont residence of her religious order, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. She was 91.

Colleen Carroll, director of communications for the order, said the cause of death was congestive heart failure.

“It is incredible to consider how the bravery of this small, smiling, unassuming woman in standing up to the entirety of the U.S. military-industrial complex could bring so much awareness to the devastation our nation’s idolatry of nuclear weapons inflicts on people here in the U.S. and around the world,” Johnny Zokovitch, executive director of Pax Christi USA, said in a statement.

“All of Pax Christi USA grieves at her passing, but we give thanks for her witness, for her life and for the challenge that she issued by standing up nonviolently for a better world for all of us,” he said.

Sister Rice’s bold campaign against nuclear weapons launched her into the spotlight and caused her to become the issue’s ad hoc spokeswoman.

In July 2012, at age 82, she and two other members of Transform Now Plowshares breached security to stage a protest at the self-styled “Fort Knox of uranium,” the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The facility creates and houses materials for making nuclear weapons.

The three activists cut through fences and reached the warehouse that stores bomb-making uranium. There, they splashed blood on the wall, hung banners and spray-painted messages condemning nuclear weapons.

The action sparked national shock and outrage, led to a congressional investigation of the security at Y-12 and sent Sister Rice and her companions, Michael Walli, then 63, and Greg Boertje-Obed, then 57, to prison.

On Feb. 18, 2014, in U.S. District Court, Sister Rice, of Washington, was sentenced to 35 months in prison on each of two counts — one count of depredation of property and one count of sabotage.

Sister Rice toured the country to protest the United States’ nuclear arsenal as the star of the film. She also spoke to a congressional hearing and at the United Nations in New York City on the issue of nuclear disarmament.

And she continued her activism through vigils, marches, prayers and visits to classrooms.

“It’s illegal to deal in weapons of mass destruction — immoral and illegal,” Sister Rice declared during an April 8, 2018, event at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where the documentary was being screened.

“We’re not being taken to the international court of justice and indicted the way Iran or some other place would,” she said.

……….In the 1980s, Sister Rice got involved in the anti-war movement, participating in protests against a variety of American military actions, military sites and nuclear weapons installations.

She was arrested more than three dozen times in acts of civil disobedience, including her anti-nuclear weapons activism.

October 14, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, PERSONAL STORIES, USA | Leave a comment

Patients lack knowledge on radiation in medical imaging

Patients lack knowledge on radiation in medical imaging, By Amerigo Allegretto, staff writer, October 13, 2021 –– More than half of patients did not know that chest CT delivers more radiation compared with chest radiography, one of several findings in a survey of nearly 2,900 patients published October 13 in JAMA Network Open.

An Italian research team led by Luca Bastiani, PhD, from the Italian National Research Council in Pisa found that overall, patients have a “substantial lack” of knowledge about medical radiation. This includes such topics as the relationship between radiation and age, natural sources of ionizing radiation, and dosage of different imaging methods among others.

“Intervention to achieve better patient awareness of radiation risks related to medical exposures may be beneficial,” Bastiani and colleagues wrote.

Radiation exposure due to medical imaging has been a point of concern over the years as the use of such imaging has increased to screen and diagnose diseases such as cancer.

While ultrasound and MRI do not give off radiation, they are not the standards of care in some cases. For example, mammography is the standard imaging method used for breast cancer screening. The researchers also said multidetector CT alone makes up about 50% of the total radiation burden for medical purposes, even though it accounts for only 17% of all medical examinations.

Bastiani et al wanted to develop and validate a questionnaire assessing patient knowledge of radiation from medical imaging, as well as to identify differences related to patient sex, age, educational level, information received, and radiological procedures performed.

Data was gathered from multiple Italian medical centers for 2,866 patients, 1,531 of whom were women (53.4%) and 1,335 of whom were men (46.6%). The average age of patients was 44.9 years. Most of the survey respondents (98.5%) said they had undergone imaging before.

Of the total, 1,529 (53.3%) were aware of the existence of natural sources of ionizing radiation.

MRI was mistakenly categorized as a radiation-based imaging method by 1,231 (43%) of patients, while mammography was categorized as such by 1,101 (38.4%) patients.

t 55.1%, more than half of patients did not know that chest CT delivers a larger dose of radiation than chest radiography (p = 0.03), and 1,499 (52.3%) knew that radiation can be emitted after nuclear medicine examinations (p = 0.004).

A total of 667 patients (23.3%) believed that radiation risks were unrelated to age; 1,273 (44.4%) deemed their knowledge about radiation risks inadequate, and 2,305 (80.4%) preferred to be informed about radiation risks by medical staff.

Having a higher education level and receiving information from healthcare professionals were linked to better knowledge of radiation issues.

However, the individuals who were surveyed want more information about radiation. Most patients (68.6%) would like to be informed by a radiologist, followed by their general practitioner (56.3%), a radiographer (52.5%), and a medical physicist (12.6%). A total of 2,525 (88.1%) patients, meanwhile, wanted to be informed about the amount of radiation received after examination.

However, only 1,224 respondents (42.7%) had been informed about radiation risks during imaging.

The researchers said this study, along with previous literature, reveals an unmet need for awareness campaigns about medical radiation addressed to the general population. They also suggested improving communication between medical staff and patients.

In an invited commentary piece, Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman and Carly Stewart from the University of California called for a “systemic and seismic shift” in educating physicians and patients in having candid conversations with patients on benefits and tradeoffs of using medical radiation.

“In doing so, we improve the safety of medical imaging while reducing the physical, social, and economic toll of overuse and disease,” they wrote.

October 14, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

Crypto currency and nuclear power – a worrying partnership

Why Crypto Mining Needs Nuclear Power, Yahoo Finance Florent Heidet, Milos Atz (both writers employed at USA’s Dept of Enegy Argonne National Laboratory) Thu, October 14, 2021
”………Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies secured by cryptography. Unlike physical money, like dollars, cryptocurrencies are not minted by national institutions. Instead, they are created through complex algorithms that take place over computer networks. While not all crypto currencies have a specific function, the most valuable ones, such as BTC and ETH, exist primarily to carry financial transactions embedded in the blockchain – the cryptographic transaction record.

……….. The incredible rise in cryptocurrency value, associated with the ease to contribute to the cryptocurrency mining process with common computer hardware, has resulted in an ever-larger number of miners joining cryptocurrency networks. Increasing the number of miners benefits the system by further decentralizing, and therefore securing, the cryptocurrency.

……… Total power consumption used by mining across the major cryptocurrencies is tens of gigawatts electrical, or GWe, based on current network size and average mining equipment power. That is about the same as the power demand of Sweden or Montana. New generations of computing hardware are more efficient and progressively reduce power consumption per hashrate, but the high profitability of mining attracts more participants, yielding a net increase of the overall power used by the network. In fact, as long as the combined costs of electricity and hardware remain lower than the value of the generated cryptocurrency, the networks and their power consumption will continue growing and will soon surpass that of most countries.

Although cryptocurrency mining requires huge amounts of energy, the process itself is not directly polluting. The natural resource requirement is limited to what is needed to manufacture computer hardware and to generate electricity for the mining operations. Cryptocurrency mining is a 24/7 process using constant power with minimal downtime. Additionally, larger mining operations can require in excess of 100 megawatts of power for facilities with the footprint of a medium-size factory. Mining operations need a highly reliable and dense power supply.

………. To guarantee a share of carbon-free electricity, cryptocurrency mining operations may seek agreements with local grid operators or electricity generators. Some larger cryptocurrency mining operations may choose to own and operate their own electricity generation facilities.

………….The power demands of the cryptocurrency mining industry create a unique opportunity for synergizing with nuclear power. Nuclear reactors harness energy from fissioning elements such as uranium
………… Engaging with the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry is advantageous for the nuclear industry,…….. the cryptocurrency industry specifically demands the unique benefits of nuclear power, making partnerships an ideal opportunity……..  Cryptocurrency network growth will only further propel energy cost increases. 
…………. Partnerships between the crypto-mining and the nuclear industries have already started to blossom. Recent reporting has showcased agreements forged between cryptocurrency mining operations and both nuclear utilities and nuclear reactor vendors. Given the synergies between cryptocurrency energy demands and nuclear power, we hope that these industries continue to engage with each other to explore mutually beneficial opportunities for growth and collaboration.

October 14, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics, safety | Leave a comment

‘Profiteers of Armageddon’: Report Reveals Who Benefits From US ‘Nuclear Modernization’ Plan

While “a handful of prime contractors” are the initial recipients and main beneficiaries of public money spent on bombers, missiles, and submarines, “the funds trickle down to subcontractors” that often include other prominent companies. The report names firms such as Bechtel, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.

Hartung directs attention to the millions of dollars in political activities by key contractors, writing that “while not all of this spending is devoted to lobbying on nuclear weapons programs, these expenditures are indicative of the political clout they can bring to bear on Congress as needed to sustain and expand the budgets for their nuclear weapons-related programs.”

They also spent $57.9 million on lobbying last year, employing 380 lobbyists, over two-thirds of whom “passed through the ‘revolving door’ from top positions in Congress, the Pentagon, and the Department of Energy to work for nuclear weapons contractors as executives or board members.”

And it should be noted that the revolving door swings both ways,” the report adds, noting that “three of the past five secretaries of defense worked as lobbyists or board members of major nuclear weapons contractors before taking up their positions in the Pentagon: James Mattis (General Dynamics); Mark Esper (Raytheon); and Lloyd Austin (Raytheon).”

Profiteers of Armageddon’: Report Reveals Who Benefits From US ‘Nuclear Modernization’ Plan, While taking aim at special interest lobbying and corporate profits that impede “sensible” policy, the author argues the “only way to be truly safe from nuclear weapons is to eliminate them altogether.”

JESSICA CORBETT  A short list of contractors that pour large sums of money into campaign contributions, lobbying, and industry-friendly think tanks benefits from the U.S. government’s ongoing, decadeslong “nuclear modernization” plan worth up to $2 trillion, according to a report out Tuesday.

The issue brief—entitled Profiteers of Armageddon: Producers of the next generation of nuclear weapons—was authored by William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Program at the Center for International Policy, who also outlined his report in Inkstick.

Hartung details how the U.S. departments of Defense (DOD) and Energy (DOE) are ramping up a plan to build the next generation of nuclear-armed bombers, missiles, and submarines as well as warheads, and the beneficiaries are major contractors along with operators of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear weapons complex.

The brief notes the U.S. nuclear weapons budget has climbed in recent years to over $43 billion in the Biden administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022, and warns that “this figure will grow dramatically,” pointing to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate that parts of the Pentagon’s plan “will cost tens of billions each over the next decade, including $145 billion for ballistic missile submarines, $82 billion for the new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), and $53 billion for the new nuclear-armed bomber.”

“And the costs will not end there,” the report continues, noting that “the estimated lifetime cost of building and operating the new ICBM is $264 billion.”

While “a handful of prime contractors” are the initial recipients and main beneficiaries of public money spent on bombers, missiles, and submarines, “the funds trickle down to subcontractors” that often include other prominent companies. The report names firms such as Bechtel, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.

Hartung directs attention to the millions of dollars in political activities by key contractors, writing that “while not all of this spending is devoted to lobbying on nuclear weapons programs, these expenditures are indicative of the political clout they can bring to bear on Congress as needed to sustain and expand the budgets for their nuclear weapons-related programs.”

From 2012 to 2020, campaign contributions from contractors mentioned in the brief topped $119 million, more than a quarter of which was in the 2020 cycle alone. They also spent $57.9 million on lobbying last year, employing 380 lobbyists, over two-thirds of whom “passed through the ‘revolving door’ from top positions in Congress, the Pentagon, and the Department of Energy to work for nuclear weapons contractors as executives or board members.”

And it should be noted that the revolving door swings both ways,” the report adds, noting that “three of the past five secretaries of defense worked as lobbyists or board members of major nuclear weapons contractors before taking up their positions in the Pentagon: James Mattis (General Dynamics); Mark Esper (Raytheon); and Lloyd Austin (Raytheon).”

The brief also pushes back against “routinely exaggerated” claims about job creation that both companies and lawmakers use to promote nuclear weapons programs, and points out that contractors pump millions into supporting think tanks that opine on relevant policy.

Continued lobbying for the modernization plan “ignores the fact that building a new generation of nuclear weapons at this time will make the world a more dangerous place and increase the risk of nuclear war while fueling the new arms race,” Hartung argues. “It’s long past time that we stopped allowing special interest lobbying and corporate profits stand in the way of a more sensible nuclear policy.”

While asserting that “the only way to be truly safe from nuclear weapons is to eliminate them altogether,” in line with a global treaty that states with such weapons continue to oppose, Hartung also highlights that “the organization Global Zero has outlined an alternative nuclear posture that would eliminate ICBMs, reduce the numbers of bombers and ballistic missile submarines, and implement a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons as part of a ‘deterrence-only’ strategy that would reduce the danger of a nuclear conflict.”

Global Zero CEO Derek Johnson welcomed Hartung’s brief in a tweet Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Calif.) led the reintroduction of legislation (S.1219/H.R. 2603) to establish that “it is the policy of the United States to not use nuclear weapons first,” but the bill has not advanced in Congress, despite pressure from progressive lawmakers and campaigners.

Peace Action of Wisconsin’s Pamela Richard said in August that while activists encourage the passage of Warren and Smith’s bill as well as a related one (S. 1148/H.R. 669) from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), “our long-term goal is total nuclear disarmament.” 

October 14, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Reference | Leave a comment

Greenpeace France denounces shipments of uranium from Orano to Russia

Greenpeace denounces shipments of uranium from Orano to Russia. An Orano spokesperson confirms that the group signed a contract with Rosatom at the end of 2020 for the sale of just over 1,000 tonnes of reprocessed uranium for the manufacture of “nuclear fuel for Russian power plants.

 Ouest France 12th Oct 2021

 At each stage of its production, nuclear electricity generates tons of waste and material that is difficult to reuse and as a result accumulates throughout France. These ever-increasing quantities of useless radioactive substances are a problem for the French nuclear industry and tarnish its message regarding the alleged environmental virtues of nuclear power.

To rid themselves of some of this cumbersome waste, French companies EDF and Orano have chosen to resume the sale of spent uranium to Russia – a business interrupted over 10 years ago. While nvestigating in the port of Le Havre, Greenpeace France discovered that several dozen tons of uranium
obtained by reprocessing spent fuel were loaded on board the ship Kapitan Lomonosov bound for St. Petersburg on 20 January and 12 February 2021.

 Greenpeace France 13th Oct 2021

October 14, 2021 Posted by | France, wastes | Leave a comment

France building a pro-nuclear European alliance in lead-up to Cop26

France is building a pro-nuclear European alliance to overcome German resistance to new rules that would open the way for more [so-called] carbon-free atomic power. Nine other European countries have signed up to a nuclear power initiative at a time of spiralling energy prices, partly caused by EU
climate change policies that increase the cost of electricity generation using fossil fuels.

The countries are pushing for nuclear power, which produces no carbon emissions [if you just don’t count the full nuclear fuel chain] , and they want it to be classified as a greentechnology in EU industrial “taxonomy” ratings, which would clearprivate investment in atomic power to be linked to climate policy

 Times 12th Oct 2021

October 14, 2021 Posted by | climate change, France, politics international | Leave a comment

AUKUS nuclear submarines deal must be abandoned

AUKUS nuclear submarines deal must be abandoned, Pearls and Irritations, By Brian TooheyOct 13, 2021

Australia doesn’t need nuclear powered submarines, especially given the Australia’s long-standing support for the world’s nuclear non-proliferation goals.

The White House failed to think beyond its Anglo-Saxon allies in London and Canberra when agreeing to sell Australia eight nuclear submarines.

The US’s north Asian allies Korea and Japan are much closer to China and more at risk, however slight. The Japan Times responded with a cool headed article spelling out the folly of the decision. It said the US, “has put at risk long-standing but fragile global pacts to prevent the proliferation of dangerous nuclear technologies”.

It also reported that US Navy ships “use about 100 nuclear bombs worth of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) each year”.

Although the US or the UK is supposed to build Australia eight nuclear-powered attack submarines under as new agreement called AUKUS, there is no realistic way this can occur without trashing Australia’s long-standing support for the world’s nuclear non-proliferation goals.

One of the key problems is the US Navy insists it is essential to use uranium enriched to 93 per cent to obtain the main fissile isotope of U-235, the same level as in nuclear weapons. It also insists it couldn’t switch to low levels of enrichment without greatly increasing the costs and size of the submarines as well as the construction time.

This means the US Navy will reject Malcolm Turnbull’s suggestion to get the French to supply non-weapons grade fuel. The British can’t help as they get their HEU fuel from the US. The enrichment to 93 per cent compares to around 40 per cent for Russian and Indian submarines. The French only enrich to 7.5 per cent, China to about 5 per cent and civilian power reactors to around 3.5 per cent. Anything less that 20 per cent is defined as low level enrichment.

The White House’s attitude has changed since the 1980s when the US blocked Canada’s attempts to buy nuclear submarines from the UK or France.

Nevertheless, some members of the US Congress and senior officials want the navy to shift to low enrichment to eliminate proliferation problems.

A nuclear problem

In a letter to The New York Times, former US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security Rose Gottemoeller said the proposal to share HEU-fuelled submarines with Australia “has blown apart 60 years of US policy” designed to minimise the use of HEU uranium.

“Such uranium makes nuclear bombs, and we never wanted it in the hands of non-nuclear-weapon states, no matter how squeaky clean,” she said.

Of the seven nuclear weapons states, five have nuclear submarines. Australia will be the first non-nuclear weapons state to get nuclear submarines. The understandable concern is that other allies will want similar treatment, expanding the risk that weapons grade uranium will be stolen or diverted.

In some interpretations, a loophole exempts naval nuclear reactors from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s anti-proliferation requirements.

But there are numerous other agreements that Australia might have to comply with if it stores HEU in its submarines.

The AUKUS defence deal is almost wholly symbolic

In addition, the AUKUS agreement includes Australian access to other technologies, including Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles for the navy’s Hobart-class destroyers. Because the Tomahawk can be armed with nuclear or conventional explosives, this could make it difficult to comply with the Missile Technology and Control Regime which Australia has strongly backed.

Another hurdle stems from the Howard government’s passage of a parliamentary act in 1999 outlawing just about all nuclear activities, apart from mining and exporting uranium. If circumstances prevent the US from maintaining all the nuclear aspects of Australia’s future submarines, this might spark calls for the rapid construction of nuclear facilities here. But the necessary amendments to the 1999 act could be blocked in the Senate.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison can’t credibly commit Australia to never engaging in nuclear proliferation. In the 1960s, Liberal prime minister John Gorton took preliminary steps to develop Australia’s own nuclear weapons, explaining to the US secretary of state Dean Rusk that he did not trust the US to defend Australia if it had to use nuclear weapons. A prime minister sharing Gorton’s assessment could emerge at any time.

Perhaps the White House will overrule the navy after a protracted battle to ensure the new submarines use low enrichment uranium posing no proliferation problem.

Nuclear submarines are not essential

However, the deal would still make no sense for Australia.

Government sources are widely quoted as saying the cost of the new submarines will be well over $100 billion, yet the first one won’t be operational until after 2040 and the last until after 2060. By then, the submarines would be obsolete death traps, susceptible to detection and destruction by several existing and new technologies.

The time scale reinforces the entire air of unreality about acquiring these submarines, only a couple of which may be operationally available at any one time.

Some commentators suggest Australia must buy the submarines to help the US counter a Chinese threat to Taiwan.

But no one knows what will happen to China or the US in a radically uncertain future. By 2060, China may be the dominant country in Asia, it may have returned to its earlier policy of living in Confucian harmony with its neighbours………………..

October 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

All nuclear reactors are very expensive, but small nuclear reactors are even more expensive

Australian Submarines May Go Nuclear But Our Power Stations Never Will,   SOLARQUOTES, October 11, 2021 by Ronald Brakels

  • ”…………………….Small Modular Reactors Are More Expensive An SMR is a Small Modular Reactor.  There have been claims these will provide cheap energy in the future, but this seems unlikely given their designers have stated that…
    • Before cost overruns are considered, SMRs will produce electricity at a higher cost than current nuclear reactor designs.Being more expensive than conventional nuclear power is a major obstacle for any plan to supply energy at a lower cost. 
  • The advantage of SMRs is they are supposed to be less likely to suffer from disastrous cost overruns.  This means they are a more expensive version of a type of generation that is already too expensive for Australia before cost overruns. While any cost overruns that do occur may not be as bad as conventional nuclear, that’s not what I call a good deal.  

  • There is nothing new about small nuclear reactors.  India has over a dozen reactors of 220 megawatts or less in operation.  But all Indian reactors now under construction are larger because they want to reduce costs.  Technically their small reactors aren’t modular because major components weren’t constructed at one site and then moved to where they were used.  This leads to another major problem with SMRs…
    • They don’t exist. Before Australia can deploy an SMR, a suitable prototype reactor will have to be successfully built and operated. Then a commercial version will need to be developed and multiple units constructed overseas without serious cost overruns and used long enough to show they can be operated safely and cheaply. Given nuclear’s prolonged development cycle, this could easily take over 20 years.  The very best estimate for the cost of electricity from an SMR I have seen is around 6.2 cents per kilowatt-hour and it relies on everything going perfectly — a rare thing for nuclear power.  It also leaves out several costs that have to be paid in the real world.  :……….

October 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

President Macron backs nuclear energy, but France’s Greens want speedier end to nuclear power

The president 9 Macron) used the speech to state his support for nuclear energy, which accounts for about 70% of French electricity and has become a point of fierce debate in the run-up to next year’s election.

Green politicians want France to move fast to end its dependence on nuclear, highlighting the large amounts of radioactive waste it produces as well as safety issues.

Politicians on the right and far-right want more reactors. Macron said France would invest €1bn by 2030 in “disruptive innovation” to produce atomic power, which he said would focus on designing small nuclear reactors with improved waste management. He added that France should be able to produce 2m electric and hybrid cars by 2030 and build a low-CO2 aeroplane during the same timeframe.

 Guardian 12th Oct 2021

October 14, 2021 Posted by | France, politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

France is betting on small nuclear reactors, but obstacles remain.

Nuclear, France still believes in it. Analysis The executive will
encourage the creation of small reactors. The decision to launch the
construction of 6 EPRs could come more quickly than expected, but the
obstacles still remain numerous.

 La Criox 12th Oct 2021

*France – SMRs &EPRs**

 Nuclear: France is betting on SMR mini-reactors. As part of the France
2030 plan, the President of the Republic should announce this Tuesday a new
envelope for the development of Small modular reactors (SMR). Mini-reactors
with a power of 170 MW, ten times less than a conventional reactor.

 Les Echos 12th Oct 2021

October 14, 2021 Posted by | France, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is too expensive for Australia.

Australian Submarines May Go Nuclear But Our Power Stations Never Will,   SOLARQUOTES, October 11, 2021 by Ronald Brakels

Australia recently decided to buy nuclear-powered submarines as part of the AUKUS pact with the UK and United States. 

Assuming it goes ahead, the first sub may be ready around 2040.  But while our submarines may have nuclear reactors, our power stations never will.

There is a simple reason Australia will never have nuclear power despite deciding to get reactors that wander around under the ocean.  The reason is…

  • Nuclear power is too expensive for Australia.
  • Every other concern — whether it’s safety, waste disposal, decommissioning, insurance, or location — is irrelevant because nuclear energy can’t clear the first and vital hurdle of making economic sense. Some suggest building nuclear power in addition to renewables because the threat from global roasting is so great we should fight emissions using every means at our disposal.  But this would be counterproductive because:
  • Nuclear power consumes resources that would result in greater emission cuts if used for solar and wind generation plus energy storage.
  • In other words, $1 spent on solar power will cut greenhouse gas emissions far more than $1 spent on nuclear energy.Finally, some people say we need nuclear power to provide a steady source of low emission baseload generation, but this suggestion is completely nuts.  Even if we built nuclear power stations, they would soon be driven out of the market in the same way coal power is because:
    • Nuclear power has exactly the wrong characteristics to be useful in a grid with a high penetration of solar and wind.Australia currently doesn’t have a nuclear power industry, and building submarines with American made sealed reactors that are never refuelled will do next to nothing to make nuclear power more cost-effective.  In this article, I’ll explain why nuclear power makes no economic sense in Australia, and at the end, I’ll also whinge a bit about nuclear submarines.  ………..
  • Nuclear Power Is Ridiculously Expensive The cost of energy from new nuclear isn’t just expensive; it’s ridiculously expensive.  Here are examples of reactors under construction in developed countries, using Australian dollars at today’s exchange rate:

  • Finland’s Olkiluoto #3 reactor:
      So far, this 1.6 Gigawatt reactor has cost about $14 billion, which is around $8,750 per kilowatt of power output.  Construction started in 2005 and was scheduled to be completed in 2009.  Due to delays, it’s now scheduled to commence normal operation in February 2022 for a total construction time of 17 years. 
  • France’s Flammanville #3 reactor:  The cost of this 1.6 gigawatt reactor is approximately $31 billion.  That’s $19,400 per kilowatt.  Normal operation is scheduled for 2023 — 16 years after construction began. 
  • UK’s Hinkley Point C:  These two reactors will provide 3.2 gigawatts of power and cost around $42 billion.  That’s $13,100 per kilowatt.  Construction began in 2018, and they’re currently scheduled to come online in 2026.
  • US Vogtle 3 & 4:  These two reactors in Georgia (the US state, not where Stalin was born) will total 3.2 gigawatts and, by the time they are complete, may cost over $38 billion.  That’s around $12,000 per kilowatt.  Construction started in 2013, and they’re expected to come online next year.  These are the only commercial reactors being built in the United States. 
  • As you can see, new nuclear isn’t cheap.  Note these aren’t the most expensive reactors under construction in Western Europe and North America, they’re the only ones under construction.     If you think these reactors are expensive to build but provide cheap electricity, that’s not the case.  The Hinkley Point C reactors under construction will receive a minimum of 21 cents per kilowatt-hour they supply for 35 years after they come online.  If the wholesale electricity price goes above 21 cents, they’ll receive that instead.  The 21 cents is indexed to inflation, so it will remain ridiculously expensive for the full 35 years. In the US, households in Georgia will have paid around $1,200 each towards the new Vogtle reactors by the time they come online. After that, their electricity bills will increase by around 10% to pay for the new nuclear electricity.  For another nuclear power station to be constructed in the US would require a payment per kilowatt-hour similar to or higher than Hinkley Point C. ………………..

………….. Poor Choice For Emission Reductions. Some people ask…“Why not build both nuclear and renewable capacity to reduce CO2 emissions as rapidly as possible?”

The answer is…“Because every dollar invested in nuclear will cut emissions by much less than a dollar spent on renewables.”

If the goal is to cut emissions rapidly, it’s counterproductive to invest in nuclear.  Australia doesn’t have existing nuclear capacity or a half-built reactor, so whether it makes sense to keep old reactors operating or complete construction doesn’t come into it.Nuclear capacity isn’t quick to build.  Some notable examples:

  • Olkiluoto 3
     — 17 years
  • Flammanville 3 — 16 years
  • Watts Bar 2 — 43 years
  • Because Australia has no nuclear power industry, it would take more than five years to build a nuclear power station even if we could start construction today1. But Australia can increase its solar energy generation almost immediately.  Extra wind power will take months to arrange, as wind turbine purchases are more complex than just ordering extra solar panels and inverters.  Firming the grid with energy storage is also fast.  The world’s largest battery, the Hornsdale Power Reserve or “Tesla Big Battery”, was built in 100 days.Whether cost or time are considered, nuclear energy is a poor choice for reducing emissions.
  • Nuclear Energy Not Needed For Baseload GenerationOne of the craziest reasons given for building nuclear power in Australia is we need low emission baseload generators.  This idea is nuttier than a lumpy chocolate bar because:
    • No baseload generators are required.
    • Like coal, nuclear power has the wrong characteristics to support a grid with high solar and wind generation.It’s impossible to argue that we need baseload generators that run continuously (except for maintenance).  This is because South Australia has none.  The state doesn’t continuously import electricity either. 
  • Despite having no baseload generators, SA still manages to meet demand as well as other states. South Australia had coal baseload generators in the past, but as wind and solar power capacity expanded, there were increasing periods of low or zero wholesale electricity prices2 resulting from solar and wind having zero fuel costs.  Because their fuel is free, they have little or no incentive not to provide electricity even if they receive next to nothing for it. 
  • Because coal power is expensive to start and stop and saves very little money by shutting down because its fuel cost is low — but not zero — it often had no choice other than to keep operating during periods when it was losing money on every kilowatt-hour generated. In 2016 South Australia shut down its last remaining coal power station because it was no longer profitable.  This same process is happening throughout Australia as solar, wind, and energy storage capacity increases.  In a (hopefully) short period of time, renewables will drive coal power out of the market. 
  • If it doesn’t make economic sense to keep existing coal power stations around to supply baseload power, it definitely makes no sense to replace them with more expensive nuclear reactors with the same problem – that shutting down saves little money because their fuel cost is low.  Building a nuclear power station and then only using it half its potential capacity almost doubles the cost of energy it produces. 

………………. Other Nuclear Energy IssuesThere are many issues associated with nuclear power that are often discussed but are irrelevant.  I’ll quickly mention and dismiss half a dozen or so:……….

October 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs | Leave a comment

Pentagon Denies Chinese Accusation of Cover-Up in Nuclear Attack Submarine Crash

Pentagon Denies Chinese Accusation of Cover-Up in Nuclear Attack Submarine Crash USNI News, By: Heather Mongilio, October 12, 2021,  Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday denied a Chinese accusation that the U.S. is seeking to cover up a submarine collision in the South China Sea…..

Seawolf-class nuclear attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) hit an unknown object while underwater on Oct. 2, injuring 11 sailors, USNI News previously reported.

The Navy has not yet said what Connecticut struck, and Kirby referred reporters to the Navy when asked. USNI News previously reported that it was not another vessel.

It took the Navy five days to release information on the crash, which prompted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian to question the details about the collision, according to a transcript of the foreign ministry’s Monday press conference.

“Such irresponsible attitude and stonewalling and cover-up practice only make the international community more suspicious of the US intention and details of the accident,” Zhao said, according to the transcript.

Zhao called on the United States to clarify the location of the accident, if there was any nuclear leakage and if the crash will affect fishery, according to the statement.

“The US side should take a responsible attitude, give a detailed account of what happened as soon as possible and make a satisfactory explanation to the international community and regional countries,” he said.

…… The submarine arrived at Naval Base Guam on Friday and is undergoing an assessment and preliminary repairs while the Navy investigates the crash, USNI News reported this week.

U.S. 7th Fleet is leading a command investigation into the crash, while Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet heads up a safety investigation, COMSUBPAC spokeswoman Cmdr. Cindy Fields previously told USNI News….

October 14, 2021 Posted by | China, incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Smoke from nuclear war would devastate ozone layer, alter climate

SMOKE FROM NUCLEAR WAR WOULD DEVASTATE OZONE LAYER, ALTER CLIMATE   Atmospheric impacts of global nuclear war would be more severe than previously thought

OCT 13, 2021 – BY DAVID HOSANSKY    The massive columns of smoke generated by a nuclear war would alter the world’s climate for years and devastate the ozone layer, endangering both human health and food supplies, new research shows.

The international study paints an even grimmer picture of a global nuclear war’s aftermath than previous analyses. The research team used newly developed computer climate modeling techniques to learn more about the effects of a hypothetical nuclear exchange, including complex chemistry interactions in the stratosphere that influence the amounts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reach the planet’s surface.

Since the ozone layer protects Earth’s surface from harmful UV radiation, such impacts would be devastating to humans and the environment. High levels of UV radiation have been linked to certain types of skin cancer, cataracts, and immunological disorders. The ozone layer also protects terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, as well as agriculture.

“Although we suspected that ozone would be destroyed after nuclear war and that would result in enhanced ultraviolet light at the Earth’s surface, if there was too much smoke, it would block out the ultraviolet light,” said study co-author Alan Robock, a professor of climate science at Rutgers University. “Now, for the first time, we have calculated how this would work and quantified how it would depend on the amount of smoke.”

Continue reading

October 14, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Diné groups seek justice — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Originally posted on Beyond Nuclear International: Appeal ruled “admissible” by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights By Valerie Rangel History of the Diné Territory? ? Both the Crown Point and Church Rock communities lie within the area of northwestern New Mexico traditionally used and occupied by the Diné.? According to Navajo cosmology, the Diné emerged from…

Diné groups seek justice — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

October 14, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Batteries Also Make Nuclear Uneconomic

Australian Submarines May Go Nuclear But Our Power Stations Never Will,   SOLARQUOTES, October 11, 2021 by Ronald Brakels 

  • ”………………………………………..Batteries Also Make Nuclear Uneconomic. As solar and wind generation increases, the worse the economics of nuclear energy become.  This is because its low cost pushes down wholesale electricity prices.  There can be periods of high electricity prices when renewable output isn’t sufficient to meet demand, but this isn’t enough to make nuclear pay.  Nuclear wouldn’t pay if there were no such thing as battery storage, but battery storage makes its economics worse. 
  • Next year a 580 megawatt-hour battery will be built in Victoria for $270 to $300 million.  That’s around $500 per kilowatt-hour.  If each kilowatt-hour of storage capacity provides a total of 4,000 kilowatt-hours of stored energy over its lifetime — a not unreasonable amount — then the cost of storage will be around 13 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  •  That’s not cheap, but still a lot cheaper than nuclear energy, especially since we will often charge it with renewable electricity that costs 1 cent or less per kilowatt-hour.  It also has the advantage it will supply electricity when prices are high, rather than more or less continuously, as is usually the case for nuclear power.    
  • There’s no reason to expect the cost of utility-scale battery storage to stop falling anytime soon, so by the time a nuclear power station could be completed in Australia, its economics will be far worse from falling energy storage costs alone. ………

October 14, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment