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Countering the nuclear lobby’s deceptive spin about ionising radiation

The video below is several years old. Children in Ukraine and Belarus are still suffering with cancers and other serious health effects of the nuclear disaster. The ABC ‘s ”Foreign Correspondent” recently covered their plight, which is still terrible, but the video of that seems to be unavailable.

Extract from The nuclear industry’s updated songsheet remains outdatedPearls and Irritations, By Mark Diesendorf, 22 Oct 21

”…………. Another misleading pro-nuclear statement revived following the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011 is that no excess cancer incidence has been observed around Fukushima, implying that no cancers will be induced. The logical error is to assume that the absence of evidence implies no impact.

For a start, it is still too early for most types of cancer, which have latent periods of 20–60 years, to appear around Fukushima. The only cancers likely to appear within a decade after exposure are thyroid cancer and leukemia. A large increase in thyroid cancers has been observed in the region, but their cause is debated by some on the grounds that the increase could be the result of better screening. Leukemia is an uncommon disease and so even a large percentage increase would be impossible to verify statistically with high confidence. (See UNSCEAR 2020b)

Fortunately for the citizens of Tokyo, the wind was mostly blowing offshore during the meltdowns of three Fukushima reactors, sending about 80 per cent of the emitted radioactive material out over the Pacific. Soon after the disaster an exclusion zone was established around the power station and more than 100,000 people evacuated. For these reasons, Fukushima tells us very little about radiation-induced cancers. 

Most of the evidence that low-level radiation is carcinogenic comes from detailed studies of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, medical professionals who worked with radiation, uranium miners, children living near nuclear power stations, and children who were exposed in utero in the bad old days when pregnant women were routinely x-rayed. This is the basis of the linear-no-threshold model, the scientific understanding that the number of cancers induced by ionising radiation is proportional to the dose received and that there’s no threshold. Therefore, even natural background radiation, to which we are all exposed, and medical x-rays contribute very small fractions of cancer prevalence…………https://johnmenadue.com/the-nuclear-industrys-updated-songsheet-remains-outdated/

October 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

France may have hidden agenda in promoting small nuclear reactors


Countries that are clinging on to nuclear power are often nuclear weapon states — such as the UK, the US and France,” he explained, and pointed to a speech by Macron in December 2020.

“Without civil nuclear power, no military nuclear power; and without military nuclear power, no civil nuclear power,” the president had said

Do France’s plans for small nuclear reactors have hidden agenda?  DW, 22 Oct 21,

Although France plans to invest in small modular nuclear reactors, experts doubt that this is ecologically and economically sensible. Yet it may be more about geopolitical strategy than energy.”…… 
A French law says the country will have to reduce its share of nuclear energy from currently roughly 70% — the highest in the world — to 50% in 2035, a goal President Emmanuel Macron has in the past called unrealistic. 

But in pursuing small modular reactors (SMRs), some experts believe France may have a hidden agenda.

€1 billion planned investment

Recently, the president announced plans to invest in so-called small modular reactors (SMRs) “to lead the sector with groundbreaking innovations.” The new reactors are ostensibly to help France reduce its CO2 emissions.

The announcement came when Macron unveiled his France 2030 investment strategy of €30 billion ($35 billion) at the Elysee Palace.

“We have a decisive competitive advantage — our historical model, the existing nuclear power plants,” the president said during the ceremony.

The strategy allocates €8 billion to the development of hydrogen power and only €1 billion to SMRs, yet Macron declared the plans to develop the small plants “goal No. 1.”

The country’s SMRs will have a capacity of 50 megawatts to 500 MW each – considerably less than France’s current reactors with their capacity of up to 1,450 MW. SMRs are to be built in clusters to increase sites’ total capacity.

But nuclear champion France is not the frontrunner in the SMR race — the US is……

France’s first demonstration plant is only scheduled to be completed in 2030.

And yet, Nicolas Mazzucchi, of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, thinks the country could take the lead in the sector………

A discussion based on ‘hot air’

But Mycle Schneider thinks nuclear energy is inefficient in the fight against the climate emergency — “too expensive, too slow,” he says. He’s the editor of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), which assesses trends in the global nuclear power industry.

“Last year, more than 250 GW of renewable energy capacity has been added to the grid and only 0.4 GW of net nuclear capacity — nuclear power has become irrelevant,” he asserted.

Schneider says nuclear power plants only appear to be more reliable than renewables: “France’s nuclear reactors, on average, had to be switched off during one-third of the time in 2020, mostly due to maintenance, also as they now have been running for a long time, on average more than 35 years.”

“The discussion around SMRs is orchestrated hot air and has become hugely hyped,” he explained to DW.

He added that renewables had to be seen as a bouquet of different energies. Through demand response management, one type of energy could offset the temporary unavailability of the other. Environmentalists also often point out that construction of nuclear power plants has a significant carbon footprint.

“It takes ages to build new nuclear power plants,” Schneider added. French utility EDF and Siemens started to develop EPRs, a third-generation pressurised water reactor design, after the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in 1986, he explained. “And 35 years on, there’s still no EPR in Europe up and running.”

EDF is building a 1.6 GW EPR in Flamanville in northern France. But constructing the plant will exceed €11 billion, instead of the initially planned €3.3 billion, and the EPR is only scheduled to be completed next year — 10 years later than initially intended.

Nevertheless, President Macron could soon announce plans to build six additional EPRs in France.

Nuclear very capital-intensive

Such delays have Kenneth Gillingham, a professor of environmental and energy economics at Yale University in the US, wondering if investing in nuclear makes economic sense.

“The safety requirement for new nuclear plants are that strict, that constructing them becomes very costly and capital-intensive,” he told DW.

“I don’t really see why you would spend money on SMRs, especially as you don’t know if they will work in the end,” he said.

Philip Johnstone, a research fellow at the University of Sussex School of Business in southern England, thinks that SMRs turn the logic of economies of scale on its head.

Ulterior motives behind investment in SMRs

“We were told all along that building bigger nuclear plants would help us save money through the scale effect, and now it’s supposed to suddenly work the other way around?” Johnstone told DW.

He believes that France has other reasons for continuing to invest in nuclear energy.

“Countries that are clinging on to nuclear power are often nuclear weapon states — such as the UK, the US and France,” he explained, and pointed to a speech by Macron in December 2020.

“Without civil nuclear power, no military nuclear power; and without military nuclear power, no civil nuclear power,” the president had said, praising a sector that employs 220,000 people in France.

“The investment in SMRs seems first and foremost a strategic decision, even though it means wasting a lot of time and money,” Johnstone said.

Time and money that could instead be more effectively invested in climate protection.

According to the United Nations, global CO2 emissions will need to be reduced by more than 7% percent each year until 2030 — based on the year 2019 — to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). https://www.dw.com/en/do-frances-plans-for-small-nuclear-reactors-have-hidden-agenda/a-59585614

October 23, 2021 Posted by | France, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Simulated space radiation causes ill effects on central nervous system of male mice

Male mice exposed to simulated deep space radiation experienced impaired spatial learning, Phys Org by Bob Yirka , 22 Oct 21, A team of researchers working at multiple facilities in the San Francisco area has found that male mice exposed to radiation similar to that encountered by humans on long space missions experienced problems with spatial learning several months later……..
If humans are to colonize the moon or travel to Mars, scientists are going to have to find a way to protect them from galactic cosmic radiation (GCR). Some research has shown that it can have a negative impact on the central nervous system……… https://phys.org/news/2021-10-male-mice-exposed-simulated-deep.html

by Bob Yirka , Phys.org

October 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | Leave a comment

Stop Sizewell C anti nuclear campaigners taking their fight to London, and the UK government

Campaigners fighting to stop a new nuclear power station being built on
the Suffolk coast have taken their battle to Number 10 Downing Street.
Ahead of the Chancellor’s spending review and Budget, the Stop Sizewell C
group visited key locations in the capital with its message and campaign
video on a digital Advan.

 East Anglian Daily Times 20th Oct 2021

https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/stop-sizewell-c-campaign-visits-downing-street-8428226

October 23, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Guess what – Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear project has new problems, new costs, is delayed again

Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear project hit with new delays, challenges, AJC,  22 Oct 21,

It’s the fourth such announcement the company has made just in the last six months about the troubled construction project, described as the largest in state history.

The delay of another three months is primarily tied to “the need for additional time to address continued construction challenges and to allow for the comprehensive testing necessary to ensure quality and safety standards are fully met,” Georgia Power said in a press release Thursday.

Now, the state’s largest electric utility said the first of the reactors won’t be in full operation until the third quarter of next year. That’s three months later than it had announced in late July. And the company now says the second new reactor also will be delayed another three months, to the second quarter of 2023…..

The latest announcement comes as elected members of the Georgia Public Service Commission are considering how much of the first wave of the Vogtle project’s construction costs should be added to the bills of Georgia Power customers. A territorial monopoly, Georgia Power needs sign off from the state regulators before increasing charges.

The PSC is expected to vote on the matter early next month.

For years, Georgia Power’s customers have been paying Vogtle financing costs and a portion of the company’s profits on the massive nuclear power project. Cumulatively, those payments alone will have topped $850 for the typical residential customer by the time the first of the new reactors is slated to begin producing electricity.

A proposed agreement struck earlier this month by the company and the PSC’s public interest advocacy staff would add $2.1 billion of Vogtle construction expenses into the company’s rate base once the first reactor is completed………

Additional Vogtle construction costs could be added to customers’ bills once the second of the new units is completed.

Georgia Power customers aren’t the only ratepayers likely to face higher charges because of Vogtle. Most electric cooperatives and city utilities in Georgia are financially tied to the project.

The first new reactor was originally slated to be in operation in the spring of 2016, followed by a second one a year later…..https://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-news/georgia-powers-vogtle-nuclear-project-hit-with-new-delays-challenges/DVQZTUH2VVDMXPJTFA3BZWSAFY/

October 23, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

USA: $50 billion can be better spent than on nuclear power 

$50 billion can be better spent than on nuclear power    https://www.reformer.com/opinion/letters/letter-50-billion-can-be-better-spent-than-on-nuclear-power/article_15bd7dca-2dc4-11ec-9780-0f30d4e86861.html 22 Oct 21,

Every dollar spent on atomic energy, nuclear power, call it what you will, is a dollar not being spent to solve man made climate change. In the Build Back Better budget reconciliation bill there is $50 billion for new nuclear power. There is no new nuclear power. Literally there is no new nuclear power in the U.S. The U.S. no longer has the N-rated facilities to build nuclear rated parts for reactors.

No nukes can materialize within the timeframe needed to solve climate change. GAIN’s new Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) program is a pipe dream that may or may not work. What a waste of money. Pull the $50 billion out of the budget reconciliation bill.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China and 8 Asia-Pacific island countries raise joint objection against Fukushima wastewater disposal

22 oct. 2021

China and eight Asia Pacific island countries have raised a collective objection… against the disposal of wastewater from the Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant. China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry says the nine countries adopted a joint declaration,… following a meeting led by Beijing. The declaration urges for the country which governs the issue, to make a decision regarding the disposal carefully… and to cooperate with the international community. The declaration did not directly mention Japan,… but is largely seen a move to protest against Tokyo’s plan to release the contaminated water. Among the eight island countries are Kiribati, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Members of US congressional oversight committee press the Biden administration on the Marshall Islands’ legacy of nuclear waste contamination

It’s a thorny point for the Marshallese, who are worried about the lingering effects of the nuclear waste left in their nation, decades of persistent health concerns, and a fear that United States officials have not been forthright or transparent about the risks the nuclear waste poses to their health and environmental well-being.

According to a U.S. government presentation delivered in 2019, Runit Dome is vulnerable to leakage caused by storm surge and sea level rise, and its groundwater, which is leaking into the lagoon and ocean, is severely contaminated with radioactive isotopes. Testing of sea creatures in the surrounding lagoon, including giant clams, shows high levels of radioactivity.

Rep. Katie Porter presses Biden team on Marshall Islands nuclear waste, gets few answers,  https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2021-10-22/marshall-islands-nuclear-waste-congressional-hearing-compact, SUSANNE RUST  OCT. 22, 2021

For months, U.S. refusal to accept responsibility for a leaking dome of radioactive waste in the Marshall Islands has complicated negotiations with the Marshallese government on an international compact viewed as crucial for blunting Chinese influence in the central Pacific.

On Thursday, members of a congressional oversight committee scolded representatives of the Biden administration for not making more progress on negotiations and taking the Marshallese position more seriously. During the hearing, administration officials offered conflicting statements on U.S. obligations to the Marshall Islands, making it unclear where the White House stands on America’s history in the region. In addition, the U.S. State Department declined to participate.

“The point of the hearing today was to examine why the United States is not willing to discuss the nuclear legacy with the Marshallese,” said Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), who along with a bipartisan panel of lawmakers stressed the critical role the Republic of the Marshall Islands plays in U.S. national security and safety.

Porter, who heads the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said negotiations will be difficult “unless we act on the moral and national security imperative that we have to address the nuclear legacy.”

The hearing was timed for the 35th anniversary of the signing of the agreement between the two nations, which is set to expire in 2023. It also comes as China develops friendly relations with nations of the central and South Pacific, part of a broader strategy to stem U.S. influence off its shores and worldwide.

The Marshall Islands’ Kwajalein Atoll is home to the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site — where the U.S. tests its long- and mid-range missile defense system. Its location halfway across the Pacific allows the U.S. military to monitor hostile foreign forces, and it is also an important hub for the American space program.

Realizing its leverage, the Marshallese government is increasingly pressing U.S. officials to take ownership for cleaning up Runit Dome. The leaking nuclear repository holds 3.1 million cubic feet of radioactive waste, a byproduct of U.S. weapons testing during the Cold War, and a focus of a Times investigation in 2019.

For decades, the U.S. government has deflected. Instead, it insists the Marshall Islands is solely responsible for the waste site, even though Congress has required the Department of Energy, with funding from the Department of the Interior, to monitor it indefinitely.

Continue reading

October 23, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry ecstatic about costly UK’s nuclear policy, but in reality it is a low priority for the government


UK Net Zero Strategy puts nuclear as a low priority, Nuclear Engineering 

22 October 2021  ”………………………………. Detail on plans for nuclear

The 368-page report itself does not include much about plans for nuclear. “The net zero economy will be underpinned by cheap clean electricity, made in Britain,” it says. “A clean, reliable power system is the foundation of a productive net zero economy as we electrify other sectors – so we will fully decarbonise our power system by 2035, subject to security of supply. Our power system will consist of abundant, cheap British renewables, cutting edge new nuclear power stations, and be underpinned by flexibility including storage, gas with CCS, hydrogen and ensure reliable power is always there at the flick of a switch….

By 2035 the UK will be powered entirely by clean electricity, subject to security of supply, the report notes. One of the key policies listed there is to: “Secure a final investment decision on a large-scale nuclear plant by the end of this Parliament, and launch a new £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund, retaining options for future nuclear technologies, including Small Modular Reactors, with a number of potential sites including Wylfa in North Wales.”

The report says that, “in the past year, we have already taken important action on climate change, delivering on the commitments in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan”. With respect to nuclear, it recalls that the government  committed to delivering new and advanced nuclear power, including:

  • Pursuing large-scale nuclear projects, subject to value for money;
  • Legislating for a new financing model for nuclear projects;
  • A £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund to enable up to GBP215 million for Small Modular Reactors; and
  • £170 million for a R&D programme on Advanced Modular Reactors.

…………….. The only detailed mention of nuclear is in the Power section (10 pages) of Chapter 3 on “Reducing Emissions across the Economy”. It constitutes just  one of 14 listed key commitments, to “Secure a final investment decision on a large-scale nuclear plant by the end of this Parliament whilst taking measures to inform investment decisions during the next Parliament on further nuclear projects as we work towards our net zero target.”

There are 43 numbered paragraphs in the section. Nuclear is mentioned in paragraph 2 (subsection “Progress to date”) as follows: 

“On delivering new and advanced nuclear power, we have committed to reaching a final investment decision on a large-scale nuclear plant this parliament, subject to value for money and approvals. We are in negotiations with the developer on Sizewell C project in Suffolk. We have since taken further steps.”

Nuclear is the subject of three small paragraphs in the sub-section “Policies and proposals”:

38. We also need to increase our nuclear capacity, which is why we said in the Energy White Paper that we will aim to bring at least one large-scale nuclear project to the point of final investment decision by the end of this Parliament, subject to clear value for money and all relevant approvals. In December 2020 we announced the start of formal negotiations on Sizewell C and those negotiations are ongoing. To facilitate a decision this Parliament, we plan to establish the Regulated Asset Base model to fund new nuclear projects at a low cost of capital, saving consumers money.

39. The government will also take measures to inform investment decisions during the next Parliament on further nuclear projects as we work towards our net zero target. This will include consideration of large-scale and advanced nuclear technologies, including Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and potentially Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs). As part of this, we are announcing a new £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund to provide targeted support in relation to barriers to entry. Further details of how this fund will operate will be published in 2022 alongside details of a roadmap for deployment that takes into account value for money.

40. We are also providing funding for a SMR design through our £385m Advanced Nuclear Fund and are progressing plans for an Advanced Modular Reactor demonstrator in the early 2030s. Whether large- or small-scale projects, there remain a number of possible sites available for these options, including Wylfa in North Wales.

Industry reaction

The strategy was, nevertheless, enthusiastically received by the nuclear industry. Nuclear Industry Association Chief Executive Tom Greatrex said: “It is very welcome to see the government commit new money to the development of nuclear projects and set out its intention to bring Sizewell C to a Final Investment Decision. We need to invest quickly to clean up the grid by 2035 and ensure our energy security, so we look forward to seeing details of this new fund, money for SMR deployment and legislation for Regulated Asset Base financing coming forward soon.”

A US consortium led by Westinghouse and Bechtel immediately released a statement that was widely reported by the Welsh media. It noted: “We welcome the publication of the Government’s net zero strategy today and are pleased to see that nuclear power features prominently throughout the proposal as an intrinsic part of achieving the UK’s net-zero goals……………https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newsuk-net-zero-strategy-puts-nuclear-as-a-low-priority-9176564

October 23, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

There are no real climate leaders yet – who will step up at Cop26? – Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg Like other rich nations, the UK is more talk than action on the climate crisis. Something needs to change in Glasgow.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, called the recent IPCC report on the climate crisis a “code red” for humanity.
“We are at the verge of the abyss,” he said. You might think those words would sound some kind of alarm in our society. But, like so many times before, this didn’t happen. The denial of the climate and ecological crisis runs so deep that hardly anyone takes real notice any more.

Since no one treats the crisis like a crisis, the existential warnings keep on drowning in a steady tide of greenwash and everyday media news flow. And yet there is still hope, but hope all starts with honesty. Because science doesn’t lie. The facts are crystal clear, but we just refuse to accept them. We refuse to acknowledge that we now have to choose between saving the living planet or saving our unsustainable way of life. Because we want both. We demand both.

 Guardian 21st Oct 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/21/climate-leaders-cop26-uk-climate-crisis-glasgow

October 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

China backs ‘no first use’ nuclear policy, calls on nations to cut warhead stockpile

China backs ‘no first use’ nuclear policy, calls on nations to cut warhead stockpile

Recent statement by former Chinese ambassador for disarmament suggests Beijing should rethink ‘no first use’ policy to counter US military presence in region
Position paper marks 50th anniversary of Beijing being awarded UN seat representing China over Taipei, SCMP, Liu Zhen in Beijing, 22 Oct, 2021 
 China has underlined its “no first use” nuclear policy in a position paper amid discussion over its commitments in a developing nuclear arms race.

In the “Position Paper on China and United Nations Cooperation” issued by the foreign ministry on Friday, China declared it had a history of initiating the no first use (NFU) principle, and said nuclear-weapon states should abandon pre-emptive deterrence policies.

“Bear in mind that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’,” the paper said.It called on all nuclear powers to reduce the role of nuclear weapons as part of their national security policy, stop developing and deploying global anti-ballistic missile systems and cease deployment of land-based intermediate-range ballistic missiles overseas. It called on them to promote global strategic balance and stability………….
Besides making a statement on NFU, Friday’s position paper continued to stress that “countries with the largest nuclear arsenals have special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament”, with Beijing also under international pressure to do more in nuclear arms control and disarmament efforts……..https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3153387/china-backs-no-first-use-nuclear-policy-calls-nations-cut

October 23, 2021 Posted by | China, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry’s new spin is the same old outdated propaganda

The nuclear industry’s updated songsheet remains outdated  https://johnmenadue.com/the-nuclear-industrys-updated-songsheet-remains-outdated/By Mark DiesendorfOct 21, 2021  The campaign for nuclear power stations in Australia defies the unstoppable rise of renewables and should be rejected by governments and the electorate — it’s a technology whose time has passed.

With the Glasgow climate summit approaching and the government’s announcement that Australia would buy nuclear-powered submarines instead of diesel, the nuclear industry is campaigning more vocally for nuclear power stations in Australia. Their revised songsheets include both resuscitated old lines that have been rejected many times and several relatively new songs of a pernicious nature.

Revival of old songs 

It is claimed that electricity grids need baseload power stations, such as coal or nuclear, that can run 24/7 at full rated power, except when they break down or undergo maintenance and refuelling. But nowadays energy experts who are not committed to the nuclear industry recognise that the variability of wind and solar must be balanced with storage, new transmission links, demand response, and/or flexible power stations that can start up in seconds to minutes and can vary their output rapidly. These include hydroelectricity with a dam, pumped hydro (with two dams at different elevations), batteries, concentrated solar thermal with storage, and open-cycle gas turbines that can burn biofuels and green hydrogen and ammonia.

Even modern nuclear reactors cannot compete in flexibility of operation with these technologies and measures. Furthermore, operating in a more flexible mode carries economic penalties for nuclear, which is already exorbitantly expensive…………………….

Another item on the revised nuclear songsheet is the claim that the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi was entirely the fault of the tsunami, that it was all just “a natural event”. Yet the choice of technology cannot be exonerated, because it resulted in mass evacuation, compensation payments (huge in total but inadequate for individuals), destruction of the local agriculture and fishing industries, temporary loss of national tourism, temporary collapse of the electricity grid, massive removal of radioactive soil and plants, a multi-decades-long continuing process to decommission the reactors, and the need to import vast quantities of fossil fuels. (The latter would have been greatly reduced if the government’s prior commitment to nuclear hadn’t resulted in its neglect of renewable energy.) Total costs have been estimated at over US$500 billion, while the nuclear power station was insured for only US$1.5 billion.

The scale of the disaster resulted from the choice of nuclear technology. Yet at Kamisu, on the coast to the south of Fukushima, a wind farm located in the surf survived the tsunami and continued to generate electricity until the grid went down.

Another new pro-nuclear song identifies a spike in the wholesale electricity price and blames it on renewables and the absence of nuclear. Yet wholesale prices in electricity markets fluctuate up and down according to supply and demand. With increasing penetration of wind and solar PV into the grid, these fluctuations are superposed on a declining trend in wholesale electricity price. This decline results from the fact that the costs of operating a wind or solar farm are almost zero, and so these technologies have the top priority to operate (see Merit Order Effect). In the UK, electricity prices are higher than necessary because the government has overruled market principles and given priority in operation to nuclear power, despite the fact that it has much higher operating costs than wind and solar PV.

Another tactic used by nuclear supporters in recent years is to claim that 100 per cent renewable electricity scenarios would occupy vast areas of land, compete with food production and reduce biodiversity. Yet the reality is that most wind and solar farms are erected on agricultural or marginal land. Although wind farms can span large areas, the land area actually occupied by the turbine, access roads and substation typically amounts to 1 to 2 per cent of the land spanned. Wind farms are compatible with almost all forms of agriculture. Although the presence of solar farms excludes some agriculture, they can be erected sufficiently high above ground for sheep to shelter beneath them. Both wind and solar farms contribute valuable rent to farmers. Rooftop solar occupies no land. 

A rather desperate tactic used by a few pro-nuclear debaters is to claim falsely that a recent report by a leading solar research organisation has admitted that solar energy has failed. Without seeing the actual report, it is difficult to refute the claim in the heat of debate and so the lie may score a debating point. However, when it is checked and exposed after the debate, it can backfire on the perpetrator and their case.

Introducing nuclear power to Australia — including convincing the electorate, local governments and local populations, and building the infrastructure — would take at least 15 years, while taking financial resources away from renewables. But new nuclear power stations could not contribute in time to assist the rapid electricity transition needed for climate mitigation. And once 100 per cent renewable electricity is established with the bulk of energy generation by cheap solar and wind, nuclear power could not compete economically. It’s a technology whose time has passed.

Too slow for climate mitigation 

If a national government commits to net zero emissions by 2050 (which may be too late for keeping global heating below 1.5 degrees), then it must achieve zero emissions from all energy (electricity, transport and heat) by about 2040. This is because energy is the least difficult sector to transition to zero emissions. Agriculture and non-energy industrial processes will need more time to reduce emissions and, if possible, to remove carbon dioxide to offset emissions they cannot reduce. Achieving zero energy emissions by 2040 entails achieving zero emissions from electricity by 2035 or preferably 2030, because electrifying transport and heat will take longer than transitioning electricity to renewables. Wind and solar farms can be planned and built in just three years. https://johnmenadue.com/the-nuclear-industrys-updated-songsheet-remains-outdated/

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

l’association négaWatt reports on planned closure of nuclear reactors, and carbon neutrality to be achieved by reducing energy consumption and by renewables.

Caution, efficiency and renewables: the negaWatt scenario for achieving carbon neutrality. The association presents the broad outlines of the 5th edition of its prospective work, which provides for the closure of the last nuclear reactor in 2045. No construction of a new nuclear reactor, energy consumption halved, electricity production 100% from renewable energies …


The fifth edition of the scenario of the negaWatt association will undoubtedly contribute to fueling the debate, more and more lively in the context of the presidential campaign, on the contours of the energy transition. Although the association, led by independent experts, will not publish its detailed report until October 26, it unveiled its broad outlines
on Wednesday October 20.

 Le Monde 20th Oct 2021

https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2021/10/20/sobriete-efficacite-et-renouvelables-le-scenario-de-negawatt-pour-atteindre-la-neutralite-carbone_6099152_3234.html

October 23, 2021 Posted by | climate change, ENERGY, France | Leave a comment

Nuclear disarmament: how Africa can play a role in securing a nuclear weapons free world

Nuclear disarmament: how Africa can play a role in securing a nuclear weapons free world, The Conversation October 22, 2021 Joelien Pretorius, Associate Professor in Political Studies, University of the Western Cape.

Why should African states and people be concerned about nuclear disarmament? After all, there are no nuclear weapons on the continent. South Africa, the only African nation to have had nuclear weapons, gave them up in 1989, and Libya stopped its nuclear weapons programme in 2003.

Today, all African states bar South Sudan are members of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. And enough support for the Pelindaba Treaty, an agreement among African states that prohibits the acquisition, stockpiling, testing and other activities that promote nuclear weapons or assist in their production, has turned the continent into a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.

Nuclear weapons may seem to be an issue far removed from Africa’s immediate security concerns, which is rather centred on small arms, intra-state conflict and human security issues. Nevertheless, nuclear disarmament should still be high on the priority list of African states’ foreign policy pursuits.

Nuclear weapons matter to every country in the world because they pose a threat on three grounds. Firstly, nations that have them are disregarding arms control agreements. Secondly, they are pursuing technologies that have increased the risk of nuclear war in an era of increasing geopolitical tension – particularly between China, the US and Russia. Thirdly, nuclear war poses an existential threat to everyone.

African countries have a role to play in promoting a total ban on nuclear weapons. They can throw their diplomatic weight behind the calls to eliminate them and use the power of their numbers to strengthen the pressure on nuclear-armed states to disarm.

The danger nuclear weapons pose………………….

African states and civil society played an important role in the Ban Treaty process, but need to keep the momentum by asserting Africa’s role on this issue. They can do so by prioritising nuclear disarmament in their foreign policy, creating awareness among Africans that nuclear disarmament is a worthy cause.

They should also encourage more states to join the treaty, especially African states – only nine are members. With every state that joins, the value of the Ban Treaty grows. African states and people can also participate in transnational networks to stigmatise nuclear weapons, with a view to extending the Ban Treaty’s legal reach to include nuclear armed states.  https://theconversation.com/nuclear-disarmament-how-africa-can-play-a-role-in-securing-a-nuclear-weapons-free-world-170149

October 23, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The FBI is still looking for a trove of nuclear submarine secrets in an espionage case

The FBI is still looking for a trove of nuclear sub secrets in an espionage case, NPR, October 20, 2021 ETRYAN LUCAS,

The FBI has not recovered the vast majority of secret documents related to nuclear submarines that a U.S. naval engineer is accused of trying to sell to a foreign power, an FBI agent testified Wednesday.

Special Agent Peter Olinits said the FBI also hasn’t been able to find the $100,000 in cryptocurrency that it gave the defendants — Jonathan Toebbe, who worked on nuclear propulsion for the Navy, and his wife Diana — as part of the sting operation that led to the Maryland couple’s arrest.

The Toebbes, who were arrested earlier this month, have been indicted on espionage charges — one count of conspiracy to communicate restricted material and two counts of communicating restricted data.

Prosecutors say Jonathan Toebbe tried to sell thousands of pages of documents containing secrets about the U.S. Virginia-class nuclear submarine to an unnamed foreign country………….. https://www.npr.org/2021/10/20/1047763060/the-fbi-is-still-looking-for-a-trove-of-nuclear-sub-secrets-in-an-espionage-case

October 23, 2021 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment