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Danger intensifies around Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine

 The Russian army is transforming Europe’s largest nuclear power plant into a military base overlooking an active front, intensifying a monthslong safety crisis for the vast facility and its thousands of staff. At the
Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine, more than 500 Russian soldiers who seized the facility in March recently have deployed heavy artillery batteries, and laid anti-personnel mines along the shores of the reservoir whose water cools its six reactors, according to workers, residents, Ukrainian officials, and diplomats.

The Ukrainian army holds the towns dotted on the opposite shore, some 3 miles away, but sees no easy way to attack the plant, given the inherent danger of artillery battles around active nuclear reactors.


Wall St Journal 5th July 2022


July 11, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment


NATO’s 2022 “Strategic Concept,” Its First New Plan Since 2010, Declares Russia A “Threat” And China “Systemic Challenge.”

It demonizes the Eurasian powers as “authoritarian actors” and “strategic competitors,” essentially declaring a second cold war to maintain Western hegemony.

The US-led NATO military alliance has published a historic new plan outlining its goals. The document, officially titled the 2022 “Strategic Concept,” is the first such blueprint NATO has released since 2010.

The 2022 Strategic Concept is essentially a call for a new cold war on both Russia and China.

In the document, NATO condemned Russia and China as “authoritarian actors” and “strategic competitors” that pose “systemic challenges.”

NATO referred to the Russian Federation specifically as “the most significant and direct threat.” It also claimed China “challenge[s] our interests, security and values” and “strives to subvert the rules-based international order.”

The plan made it clear that the US-led military cartel is very concerned about the growing Eurasian alliance between Beijing and Moscow.

“The deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests,” NATO wrote.

The document euphemistically refers to this new cold war climate as an “environment of strategic competition.”

NATO’s Madrid Summit: New Cold War On Russia And China, Continued Expansion, More Military Spending

The 2022 Strategic Concept was adopted unanimously by the leaders of NATO member states in a summit in Madrid, Spain in late June……………………….

The Madrid summit showed how the US-led military cartel is expanding, and not just in Europe, but also in the Pacific region.

Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand – all of which are very far from the North Atlantic region – attended the NATO summit for the first time…………

After the Madrid summit, NATO boasted that it had agreed to “the biggest overhaul of Allied collective defence and deterrence since the Cold War.”

The US-led cartel announced more common funding, and said member states agreed to increase their national military spending to 2% or more of GDP……………….

Like the NATO conference, the G7 summit was clearly aimed at coordinating tactics in a new cold war to weaken Russia and China. At that meeting, the G7 pledged $600 billion in spending on public-private partnerships to challenge Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative.

NATO Portrays Second Cold War On Russia And China As Supposed Battle Between ‘Democracy’ And ‘Authoritarianism’

While dubbing Russia its top “threat” and China a “systemic challenge” and “strategic competitor,” NATO’s 2022 Strategic Concept portrays the second cold war that it is waging as a supposed battle between “democracy” and “authoritarianism.”………………………….

In addition to focusing on Russia and China, the Strategic Concept portrayed Iran, Syria, and North Korea as threats.

The document asserted that NATO exists to “safeguard our freedom and democracy” and is based on “shared democratic values,” in order to protect a “rules-based international order.”

Left completely unmentioned was that numerous authoritarian regimes are currently members of NATO, including Turkey, Hungary, and Poland.

Portugal’s former fascist dictatorship was likewise a founding member of NATO in 1949.

NATO’s insistence that it is supposedly dedicated to protecting democracy, and not US hegemony, is especially ironic considering that the Madrid summit prominently featured Turkey’s autocratic leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Western officials’ constant refrain at the Madrid summit that NATO exists to defend democracy was similarly undermined by the fact that Sweden and Finland refused to hold popular referenda on membership, meaning their people had no voice in the process and no opportunity to vote on whether or not they think joining the US-led military cartel is a good idea.

NATO’s democratic window dressing was even more transparently contradicted by the opening of the summit on June 28, which featured a “special address” by Spain’s King Felipe VI.

“The long-standing global struggle between tyranny and democracy is as relevant as ever,” Spain’s unelected hereditary monarch declared, without a hint of irony………………………

In the plan, the US-led military cartel also emphasized its commitment to continue expanding.

“NATO’s enlargement has been a historic success,” it insisted, underlining, “We reaffirm our Open Door policy.”……………

The 2022 Strategic Concept described NATO as a “defensive alliance,” despite its offensive wars on Libya in 2011, Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021, and Yugoslavia in the 1990s.……

The US-led military cartel hinted it is ready for World War III if deemed necessary, underscoring that it is prepared for “high-intensity, multi-domain warfighting against nuclear-armed peer-competitors.”

The Strategic Concept emphasized its firm commitment to nuclear weapons, describing them as unnegotiable: “As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.”

……………………………… The US-led military cartel claimed “NATO does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to the Russian Federation,” although the alliance has surrounded Moscow with hostile military bases and repeatedly expanded right up to its borders.

July 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Scotland not impressed with UK Tory government’s enthusiasm for nuclear power

THE Scottish Government has rejected UK Energy Minister Greg Hands plea to “rethink” its stance on new nuclear power stations in Scotland. The Tory minister said it’s a “great pity” Scotland has opposed the construction of any fission power plants amid the cost of living crisis and that he would be willing to sit down with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Energy Secretary Michael Matheson to hear their concerns.

It has been a longstanding Scottish Government and SNP policy to oppose nuclear, with the focus instead on the just transition to renewables.

Hands made the comments during a round table with Scottish journalists in London, where he also said there was no reason to re-assess licences for fossil fuel projects in the North Sea – despite persistent warnings from the United Nations on any more oil and gas fields being brought into production.

Scottish Net Zero Secretary Matheson has previously said safety concerns are the main reason the government has rejected any new nuclear sites, adding that “it is probably the most expensive form of electricity you can choose to produce”.

Following the closure of Hunterston B in North Ayrshire in January, due to cracks found in graphite bricks which make up the reactor core, the only functioning nuclear power station in Scotland is the Torness plant near Dunbar, East Lothian.

The UK Government has said it will not “impose” any new nuclear power on Scotland despite
plans to approve up to eight new fission reactors –by 2030, boosting overall capacity up to 24GW by 2050. But Hands has insisted the Scottish government should reconsider its stance.

When The National pointed out that nuclear power is expensive, takes a long time to be brought online and produces harmful toxic waste, Hands said: “This country has an amazing
safety record when it comes to nuclear. …………………..

. Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens MSP for North East Scotland, criticised his comments and said that renewables are “cheaper, cleaner and safer” than nuclear, and are easier to scale up.
She said: “Time and again the Tories have shown that they cannot be trusted with our environment. Nuclear power is neither safe nor reliable, and it leaves a toxic legacy that could last for centuries. “As Hinkley Point shows us, it is also very expensive. Any expansion would take years, and need to be paid for on top of skyrocketing bills.

 The National 11th July 2022

July 11, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

New Energy Security Bill waters down regulation for fusion, warns Nuclear Free Local Authorities

As the Nuclear Free Local Authorities have feared, following a pre-Christmas BEIS consultation, the Johnson Government has recently revealed its plans to relax the regulatory regime applicable to future fusion reactors by choosing not to classify them as ‘nuclear installations’.

Fission nuclear reactors are subject to nuclear site licencing requirements overseen by the Office of Nuclear Regulation under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (NIA 1965), but government ministers have now decided that fusion plants should instead be regulated by the Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency like other industrial facilities. The new Energy Security Bill just introduced to Parliament by the Business Secretary will exclude fusion reactors from the provisions of the NIA 1965.

Ministers claim that fusion does not present the same ‘higher hazards’ found in fission plants, but the NFLA fears that their decision is about making the UK attractive to investors in their haste to make the UK a ‘fusion industry superpower’ rather than prioritising public safety.

In its response to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) consultation, the NFLA had called for ‘no watering down’ of the regime, challenging the notion that fusion was largely without risk.

For research commissioned by the NFLA revealed that fusion would result in the production of large quantities of radioactive waste, with the risk that radioactive tritium could enter the water supply. Fusion also requires immense temperatures, hotter than the sun, to spark and sustain a fusion reaction and this energy must be safely contained using challenging and unproven engineering solutions. Operation would also result in the whole structure being subjected to prolonged exposure to neutron radiation, a situation which if not carefully monitored could result in the very integrity of the reactor vessel being placed in jeopardy.

The Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee, Councillor David Blackburn, said: “The NFLA’s view is that the government’s decision is misguided. It seems blasé to treat a fusion plant for regulatory purposes in the same way as a factory making chemical products.  Fusion presents some of the same hazards and challenges as fission, but some are new; surely then fusion is nuclear and so a plant utilizing this technology must be a ‘nuclear installation’.

“In the view of the NFLA, there is no logical reason on safety grounds not to apply the same regulatory regime to fusion reactors as fission reactors. By signalling through the Energy Security Act their determination to exclude fusion from the rigours of the licencing regime, it seems clear that the present government is more focused on reducing the regulatory and cost burden on investors and commercial operators entering the market, putting expediency and profits before public safety.” 

In response to other concerns raised by the NFLA, the government has given vague undertakings to introduce new safeguards on radioactive tritium, but makes no mention of plutonium 239, and it is unclear what bespoke security measures would be in place as at existing plants. The government has also agreed to introduce a new third-party insurance liability scheme for plant operators, but this will be less onerous that fission and makes no specific reference to nuclear transport operators.

On waste management and decommissioning, the government’s position is even more unclear with ministers calling it ‘premature’ to outline clear proposals at this time, something the NFLA is especially perturbed about.

Councillor Blackburn added: “It is a shame that ministers have missed a trick by refusing to state clearly that future operators will have to share a greater burden of the cost of decommissioning and waste management, rather than passing the bill to the Nuclear Liabilities Fund and ultimately the British taxpayer.”

July 11, 2022 Posted by | safety, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Relax folks: NYC tells us how to be OK when our city is nuclear-bombed

NYC Prepares People for ‘Big One’ With Nuclear Attack PSA Video. By Isabella Steger, July 12, 2022

The city of New York released a public service announcement video outlining the three steps that residents should take in case of a nuclear attack. 

The video, released Monday on NYC Emergency Management’s YouTube channel, says New Yorkers should do the following in the case of “the big one”: ………………………….. (subscribers only)

July 11, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia ‘Punctures’ US-UK Nuclear Submarine Proposal Under AUKUS; Says Hi-Tech Arms Better Than Nuke Subs

Eurasia Times. By Parth Satam, July 11, 2022

Australia’s new Defense Minister Richard Marles’ recent comment about “hi-tech arms” being “more important” than “nuclear submarines” while being in the US to meet his counterpart, Secretary of Defense Llyod Austin, presents a grim future for the Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) pact.

This comes amidst Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government’s outreach to China, deployment and technical shortcomings with the USS Virginia-class nuclear submarines, and; oversight of the International Atomic Energy (IAEA) regarding the use of nuclear propulsion material some of the dampeners staring at Canberra.

Sky News Australia reported that this was Marles’ first since assuming office, making the statement a significant signal.

The AUKUS deal was announced on September 15 last year under then Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a secret agreement with Washington and London that envisages Australia acquiring at least eight nuclear submarines.

………… the deal’s biggest drawback is the monetary, operational, and technical challenges more than the political repercussions.

Nuclear Submarines Overrated?

The first submarine, which is probably a version of the US Virginia class attack, will not be operationally available until the early 2040s and the last vessel by 2060.

The extended timeline that will leave the Royal Australian Navy without serious undersea capability calls for a stopgap interim arrangement. It could be an improved version of the Swedish-origin Collins-class ship to bridge the looming capability gap.

The Virginia class has been afflicted with maintenance problems and, over the last 33 years, has only performed 15 six-monthly deployments. Conventionally powered submarines are now commonly equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP), which makes them quieter than nuclear submarines.

The latter must keep their reactor cooling pumps going and use noisy giant meshing gears between the steam turbines and propellers.

Nuclear submarines can also be detected by their constant release of hot water by leaving wakes on the surface when running at high speeds. A section of naval strategists within the US has been making a case for a return to diesel-electric or AIP-powered boats, given the technological improvements that have enhanced their speed, submerged endurance, and diving depths.

Diesel-electrics and AIP SSKs like the Swedish Gotland class or the Indian Navy’s Russian origin Kilo-class have also ‘sank’ US carriers often in exercises. Worse, the nuclear propulsion of the Virginia-class is not suitable in the littoral, shallow waters of the South and East China Seas…..

Naval bases in the first island chain around China like Guam, Subic Bay, Singapore, and Okinawa already provide proximity making attributes like range and endurance irrelevant, making conventional submarines more suited for the task.

The cost of the project also dwarfs Australia’s financial wherewithal. Australia’s defense budget this financial year stood at $48.6 billion.

But the upgraded USS Virginia-class boat that the AUKUS pact promises would be $3.5 billion per unit alone. This doesn’t include the highly sophisticated infrastructure required to maintain the fleet, which will entail additional expenses and having to rely on UK and US support until the facilities are functioning.

While former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had announced that the submarines would be built within the country, the construction of advanced nuclear-powered submarines involves steep learning curves, experience, and transfer of technology costs.

Morrison had announced that the hulls would be fabricated in Australia and then sent to the US to install nuclear propulsion and other components. Only time will tell what will be the order book at  overburdened US shipyards like the General Dynamics Electric Boat then.

Nuclear Proliferation Safeguards

Lastly, possible run-ins with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, will likely trigger different diplomatic hurdles. The IAEA prohibits the transfer of fissile material for nuclear purposes, preventing the use of nuclear fuel from Australia’s civil nuclear power plants from diverting it for the nuclear submarines.

Australia may be exempted under Paragraph 14 of the standard pact with the IAEA that allows the transfer of nuclear material for “non-prescribed military activity” like nuclear weapons or explosive nuclear material. But that raises a question of a different standard for Iran, whose IAEA-approved civil nuclear program is heavily monitored and safeguarded.

When the new Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong has to assure IAEA chief Rafael Grossi about Canberra’s “total commitment” to nuclear non-proliferation, it portends tough nuclear diplomacy. Australia is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (SPNFZT)

July 11, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Macron’s nationalisation of EDF could have major implications for the UK

EDF has a more fundamental problem than state ownership can fix: the expense and long build times of nuclear power, compared to other technologies. “[Nationalisation] may change the capacity of the state to directly back the plans, but it doesn’t change the fact that it won’t be profitable,” argues Yves Marignac, at the négaWatt Association think-tank. “Nuclear is profoundly uneconomic. The market has said no,” adds Dr Paul Dorfman, associate fellow at the University of Sussex.

What Macron takeover means for Britain and France’s ‘nuclear renaissance’.
EDF nationalisation could have major implications for the UK’s nuclear fleet. France’s prime minister Elisabeth Borne faced boos and heckling as she set our her government’s plans to the National Assembly last week, striving for coalition after President Emmanuel Macron lost his outright majority in June.

High on her list was an announcement for France to take full ownership of its debt-laden energy giant EDF, as the weakened president tries to tackle the deepening energy and cost of living crisis
rippling across Europe amid the war in Ukraine.

Across the Channel, political turmoil was also affecting EDF. An announcement on planning approval for its Sizewell C nuclear project in Suffolk was pushed back until July 20 amid the chaos surrounding Boris Johnson’s resignation.

The company has a massive role in the UK’s energy sector, as owner of the UK’s nuclear fleet and only developer currently forging ahead with the country’s nuclear renaissance. Yet ballooning debts, outages and delays have raised doubts about its abilities on both sides of the Channel.

Will nationalisation in France be enough to fix its problems? The company’s problems stretch back beyond the turmoil in energy markets this year. Its debts of €43bn have swelled over several years amid high capital costs and spells of low electricity prices. Each year, EDF has to sell a chunk of its output at a fixed price to rivals, under state efforts to encourage competition.

Meanwhile, development of its flagship next-generation EPR reactors has been troubled. Though the first EPR power plant started running in China in 2018, one of its units has had to be shut for repairs due to cracked fuel rods. EDF says the problems have been “investigated and understood” and a solution found, with no risk posed to people or the environment. A second plant opened in Olkiluoto, Finland, in March – more than 10 years late and €8bn over budget. A third EPR in Flamanville, France, is running more than a decade behind schedule.

Meanwhile, Hinkley Point C, the new EPR power plant that EDF is building in Somerset, is now not expected to start generating until June 2027, with the pandemicdisrupting work. Sceptics of nuclear power argue EDF has a more fundamental problem than state ownership can fix: the expense and long build times of nuclear power, compared to other technologies. “[Nationalisation] may change the capacity of the state to directly back the plans, but it doesn’t change the fact that it won’t be profitable,” argues Yves Marignac, at the négaWatt Association think-tank. “Nuclear is profoundly uneconomic. The market has said no,” adds Dr Paul Dorfman, associate fellow at the University of Sussex.

 Telegraph 10th July 2022

July 11, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

France and the big nuclear energy mistake

The French government wants to expand nuclear production in France and it also wants EDF to spend big money on the rehabilitation of numerous nuclear power generating stations. It has put pressure on EDF to embrace those policies and we suspect that it could force the issue as the majority shareholder.

France plans to renationalize EDF, its giant utility. That doesn’t sound like a big deal because the government already owns 84% of EDF’s outstanding shares.

But here is how we read the story.

The French government wants to expand nuclear production in France and it also wants EDF to spend big money on the rehabilitation of numerous nuclear power generating stations. It has put pressure on EDF to embrace those policies and we suspect that it could force the issue as the majority shareholder.

But a board of directors, with a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders and other providers of capital, would have a hard time approving a strategy that looked too risky or economically uncompetitive. EDF is, after all, not a division of the ministry of defense, but rather a somewhat privatized company with the government as its biggest and controlling shareholder. At least that is the appearance it would want to give to its shareholders. If France requires more nuclear power for geopolitical or strategic reasons,
despite its seeming cost disadvantage in the marketplace, we have no quarrel with that decision.

Our issue is with the current policy—to require some non-governmental shareholders to bear national security burdens and take financial risks that really belong uniquely to the government. The French have approached the matter with admirable clarity.

 Oil Price 8th July 2022

July 11, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

The dilemma of disposal of radioactive trash

I don’t disagree with the opinion here, but why does no-one ever suggest STOPPING MAKING RADIOACTIVE TRASH ?

Roy Payne: FINLAND and Sweden are building their GDFs under the Baltic
sea. In the UK, the deepest potash mine in Europe stretches out for 20km
under the North Sea, and is as bone dry as any desert when you are 1km
beneath the surface. The European Parliament has conducted its own
independent analysis, ‘The World Nuclear Waste Report 2020’, which
concluded geological disposal is the ‘least worst option’ for the long-term
management of radioactive waste.

This is also the position of the German
Green Party, one of whose MEPs led the report. Those concerned about
burying radioactive waste deep underground argue the waste should be kept
on the surface – presumably on the assumption that over the next 100,000
years the planet’s surface will remain as constant, benign and unchanging
as deep rock formations, AND that humans will never ever make a mistake.
There are only two options available to us with regards radioactive waste
— keep it overground on the surface or bury it deep underground.

Because IF something goes wrong, it will either go wrong deep underground, or it
will go wrong overground on the surface. You don’t need to have a PhD to
work out which is the lesser of two evils — radioactivity leaking
underground harmlessly far away from the surface and people (which has
happened once), or radioactivity on the surface leaking instantly into the
air we breathe, the soil we grow our food in, and the water we drink.

But those are our only two choices — hence why the European Parliament,
German Green Party, and the international scientific community conclude
that geological disposal is the ‘least worst option’. I have no axe to
grind for NWS, and I certainly do not advocate for more nuclear. Nor do I
advocate for a GDF in Cumbria. But I do believe that if we are to build a
greener future, we have an ethical and environmental responsibility to
start the process of cleaning up the mess we’ve inherited.

 Carlisle News & Star 10th July 2022

July 11, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, wastes | 1 Comment

Slow, expensive and no good for 1.5° target: Australia’s CSIRO crushes nuclear fantasy.

CSIRO says nuclear is too slow, too expensive, and its best prospects for a significant share of global generation are in weak climate targets. The post Slow, expensive and no good for 1.5° target: CSIRO crushes Coalition nuclear fantasy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Slow, expensive and no good for 1.5° target: CSIRO crushes Coalition nuclear fantasy — RenewEconomy

Australia’s leading scientific research organisation, the CSIRO, has delivered a damming blow against the renewed push by the federal Coalition for nuclear power, saying it is expensive, and too slow to make  a significant contribution to any serious climate targets.

The latest version of the CSIRO’s important GenCost report still ranks nuclear as the most expensive of existing technologies, and at least double or up to five times the cost of “firmed” wind and solar, including storage and transmission costs.

It has long been accepted that existing large scale nuclear is way too expensive and too inflexible to play any role in Australia’s future grid, but the pro-nuclear lobby has been pushing the idea of Small Modular Reactors, and has been putting intense pressure on the CSIRO to embrace it.

This argument has been taken up with vigour by the federal Coalition, which has responded to its electoral defeat by appointing a pro-nuclear advocate as energy spokesman, and intensifying its campaign against wind and solar that its members have described as “dole bludgers.”

The latest CSIRO GenCost report – which says that wind, solar and storage is clearly the cheapest option in Australia – points out that the intense pressure it received to lower its cost estimates for nuclear comes almost exclusively from ambitious vendors, and their proxies, who have nothing to show for their claims.

There are no SMRs in operation, and none are expected until 2029 at the earliest. CSIRO economist Paul Graham, the lead author of the report, says until the first SMRs are deployed it is not possible to find good evidence about the claims of the industry.

It is interesting to note that in the latest GenCost report, CSIRO notes that only one formal submission was received on nuclear, which argued that the cost estimates of nuclear SMR should be lower.

“Vendors seeking to encourage the uptake of a new technology have proposed theoretical cost estimates, but these cannot be verified until proven through a deployed project,” it says.

But perhaps the most damming part of the CSIRO report are what it says about the role of various technologies in differing climate scenarios.

It shows that the weaker the climate target, the greater the share of nuclear power. If countries are serious about achieving 1.5°C target, or even below 2°C, then nuclear is simply too slow to play a significant role, and its share of global generation falls significantly.

Graham puts it this way. If nuclear is to prosper, it will need huge licks of government support, and a significant carbon price. But if the world is aiming for the Paris climate targets and is willing to spend money to get there, then other technologies – mostly wind, solar and storage – will fill that gap.

“(Nuclear) needs some climate policy ambition,” Graham told RenewEconomy. “But if there’s too much climate policy ambition the other technologies run away with the cost reductions and nuclear can’t catch up.

“If it looks like we have to reduce emissions much faster, then it’s just too slow to contribute to that.”

This graph [on original] illustrates the point. Nuclear (in purple) has a share of around 10-12 per cent of global generation in the “current policies” scenario out to 2030. But this share diminishes out to 2050 in all three scenarios, and particularly those that seek to minimise average global warming.

The current policies scenario represents average global warming of around 2.6°C, while the Global NZE (net zero emissions) by 2050 aims for 1.5°C and the Global NZE post 2050 assumes around 1.7°C.

July 11, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Forget nuclear and simplify electrification:” The message from Australia’senergy experts.

“ in Australia, because we’re blessed with the world’s best wind and solar resources, I just don’t see that nuclear will ever compete,”

in Australia, wind and solar can still outcompete new-build coal, gas and nuclear.

our future will be powered by renewables supported by energy storage,”

We need options for consumers to reduce demand and be rewarded for doing so. We need incentives to shift demand to periods of lower demand, smart meters and internet controls.”

‘Forget nuclear and simplify electrification’ is the message form Australian energy experts for next steps in decarbonisation push.

“Forget nuclear and simplify electrification:” The message from energy experts — RenewEconomy 11 July 22,

Australia has an opportunity to seize the competitive advantage in a future, decarbonised global energy system, but experts warn that governments must do more to simplify the process for households and businesses to go electric.

A research brief prepared by Australian energy experts and published by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering (ATSE) has called for an acceleration of the deployment of renewable energy, arguing the technologies needed to decarbonise Australia’s energy system are already available.

Australia has the technologies to avoid a future crisis, but we must act now to lay the foundation of a truly modern energy system,” the former head of engineering and system design at the Australian Energy Market Operator, Alex Wonhas, said at the launch of the report.

While the research report suggests that Australia will need a diversity of new energy technologies to play a role in a future decarbonised energy system, experts say there should be a greater focus on the electrification of energy use to reduce Australia’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Professor Renate Egan, the CEO of UNSW Energy Institute, says there are minimal technical barriers to the electrification of energy use. However, Australian consumers need greater policy support and more information to confidently choose electric replacements.

“I don’t think we have barriers so much as we lack information and incentives,” Egan said.

If we can have a coordinated effort around it, it should be possible to have all new homes electrified rather than having gas delivered. It would be better not to be making investments in gas infrastructure now in homes.

“There are a million pieces of small infrastructure that need to be replaced over the next ten years, and we should start right now … every decision you make from now needs to be to electrify.”

Electrification of energy use, which involves the replacement of appliances like gas stoves, hot water systems and petrol-fuelled cars replaced with electric alternatives – has been touted as a means of cutting both emissions and energy costs because they can be powered with renewable electricity.

Former Chair of Natural Hazards Research Australia, Katherine Woodthorpe, echoed the view that the natural need to replace appliances provides an opportunity to phase energy consumption away from fossil fuels through electrification.

“Every time you buy a new appliance, buy the electric version. Ditto cars and other parts of your infrastructure at home and at work,”

“Every time you make that decision, you buy electric… it’s about making those decisions on a daily basis.”

Head of the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at the Australian National University, professor Lachlan Blackhall, told the briefing policymakers should support households and businesses to make the switch to electric appliances by working to simplify the process.

“It’s important to acknowledge that householders and communities are being asked to do a very significant amount of heavy lifting to support the energy transition,” Blackhall said.

“But it can be quite complicated for them.”

“The reason we’re seeing solar being deployed at such scale is it’s now a relatively simple proposition. You walk into your friendly local solar installer, and you can buy a solar system, and we understand how to install it at scale.

“So we really need that same experience when it comes to new technologies in people’s homes,” Blackhall added.

Former managing director of Ausgrid, George Maltabarow, told the briefing that the electrification of Australia’s energy use would require system planners to manage the changing dynamics in the electricity system – but that the technology needed to do so already exists.

“The transition away from fossil fuels will require electrifying everything. The good news is we have all the technologies available. We now need the frameworks to manage the investment,” Maltabarow said.

“We need options for consumers to reduce demand and be rewarded for doing so. We need incentives to shift demand to periods of lower demand, smart meters and internet controls.”

“Now, does that mean consumers have to stand by monitors to figure out ‘what am I going to do to reduce and manage my demand?’ – The answer is no because set-and-forget software is available now. It can be tailored to the circumstances of individual households, and consumers can relax about having that available.”

Maltabarow added that while nuclear could play a role in decarbonising energy systems in a global context, it was unlikely that current technologies would be able to compete on cost.

“Certainly overseas, [nuclear] is going to be much more of a part of the solution. My own view is that in Australia, because we’re blessed with the world’s best wind and solar resources, I just don’t see that nuclear will ever compete,” Maltabarow said.

“I’m not saying that nuclear is not an appropriate decarbonisation technology. I simply can’t see it being competitive in the Australian context.”

The CSIRO released the latest iteration of its GenCost assessment, comparing the effective cost of new electricity projects in Australia, which again confirmed that firmed wind and solar can still outcompete new-build coal, gas and nuclear.

“If you look at that report, it consistently highlights that in the Australian context, nuclear will be significantly more expensive than the kind of roadmap laid out in the ISP, which largely is that our future will be powered by renewables supported by energy storage,” Blackhall added.

July 11, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, Before They Eliminate Us

InDepth news, By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) — When UN Secretary-General António Guterres congratulated States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on the successful conclusion of their first meeting in Vienna, his warning was dead on target.

“Let’s eliminate these weapons before they eliminate us,” he said pointing out that nuclear weapons are a deadly reminder of countries’ inability to solve problems through dialogue and collaboration.

“These weapons offer false promises of security and deterrence—while guaranteeing only destruction, death, and endless brinksmanship,” he declared, in a video message to the conference, which concluded on June 23 in the Austrian capital.

Guterres welcomed the adoption of the Political Declaration and Action Plan, which will help set the course for the Treaty’s implementation—and are “important steps toward our shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons”.

Alice Slater, who serves on the boards of World Beyond War and the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, told IDN : “On the heels of a precedent-shattering First Meeting (1MSP) of the States Parties to the new Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, the dark clouds of war and strife continue to plague the world.”

“We are enduring continued violence in Ukraine, new nuclear threats issued by Russia including a possibility of sharing nuclear weapons with Belarus, in the context of tens of billions of dollars in armaments being poured into Ukraine by the US, and a brutal and careless rush to expand the boundaries of NATO to include Finland and Sweden despite promises given to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand east of Germany, when the wall came down and the Warsaw Pact was dissolved.”

She said the news in the Western Media has been unrelentingly critical of Putin and has barely mentioned the new treaty to ban the bomb, despite the stunning Declaration issued in Vienna.

The States Parties, she pointed out, proposed thoughtful plans to move forward on establishing various bodies to deal with the many promises of the treaty including steps for monitoring and verifying the total elimination of nuclear weapons under a limited time frame, with full cognizance of the relationship between the TPNW and the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“They provide for the development of unprecedented victims assistance for the dreadful suffering and radiation poisoning visited upon so many poor and indigenous communities during the long, horrible and devastating era of nuclear testing, weapons development, waste pollution and more”, said Slater who is also the UN Representative for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Dr M.V. Ramana, Professor and Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security, Graduate Program Director, MPPGA, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, told IDN the meeting of the States parties to the TPNW offers one of the few positive ways forward from the dangerous nuclear situation that the world is confronting.

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine and its nuclear threats have served as reminders of the fact that as long as nuclear weapons exist, they can be used, albeit under rare circumstances.”

As famed truth teller/whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg has pointed out over the decades, nuclear weapons can be used in two senses: one of exploding them over an enemy target (as happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and the other sense of threatening to explode them if the adversary did something that was not acceptable to the possessor of the nuclear arsenal, Dr Ramana said…………………………………..

According to ICAN, the Vienna meeting also took a number of decisions on practical aspects of moving forward with implementation of the Treaty which was adopted on June 23, 2022.

These included:…………………………..more

July 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

European Heatwave Risks Curbing French Nuclear Power Production

  • Output from Golfech plant may be reduced from Thursday
  • That comes as Europe needs France’s electricity more than ever

By Lars Paulsson July 12, 2022

The hot weather hitting Europe this week is set to reduce power output from France’s fleet of nuclear reactors, risking even higher electricity prices as the continent endures its worst energy crunch in decades. 

Warm temperatures in the Garonne River mean that production restrictions are likely at the Golfech nuclear plant in the south of the country from Thursday, Electricite de France SA said in a filing with grid operator RTE. Temperatures in France and the Iberia region will be well above average over the next five days and even hotter next week, according to forecaster Maxar. ….. (subscribers only)

July 11, 2022 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

China Reaffirms Support for ASEAN’s Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA. JULY 11, 2022

Jakarta. China recently pledged to take its ties with ASEAN to greater heights, among others, by backing the Southeast Asian bloc’s nuclear-weapon-free treaty.

China reaffirmed its readiness to ink the protocol to the treaty when its senior diplomat Wang Yi visited the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta on Monday. 

“We will continue to support ASEAN’s efforts in building a nuclear-weapon-free zone and reaffirm that China is ready to sign the protocol to the Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone at any time,” Wang Yi said at the ASEAN Secretariat.

According to Wang Yi, over the past years, China has made several historic milestones in its ties with ASEAN, among others, in regard to the country’s support to help keep the Southeast Asian region free of nuclear arms. 

“[China was] the first to publicly express its willingness to sign the protocol to the Southeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

In 1995, the ten ASEAN member states, including Indonesia, agreed to a nuclear weapons moratorium treaty known as the Bangkok Treaty. 

The protocol for this treaty is open for signature by the five nuclear-weapon states recognized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, namely China, France, the UK, the US, and Russia.

The protocol obliges its signatories not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons within the zone or against any state party to the treaty. To date, none of the nuclear-weapon states has penned the protocol. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to sign the protocol as early as possible. Xi Jinping made this commitment at last year’s China-ASEAN Special Summit, which marked the 30th anniversary of dialogue relations between the two sides.

July 11, 2022 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Europe divided over “greenwashing” gas and nuclear energy, but parliament ready to support the bill

For the European Parliament natural gas and nuclear power plants have been designated as climate-friendly investments. The European Commission released the proposal, formally called the EU taxonomy, in December as a list of economic activities that investors can label and market as green in the EU.

A motion to block the proposal received 278 votes in favor and 328 against, while 33 lawmakers abstained.

Unless 20 of the EU’s 27 member states oppose the proposal, it will be passed into law. The proposal was initially met with resistance among some EU member states, with one camp led by France strongly backing the green label for natural gas and nuclear energy, while Germany which has been phasing out its nuclear power plants — had opposed the plan.

Some environmental groups and EU lawmakers have also criticized the plan for “greenwashing” fossil fuel and nuclear energy.

Austria and Luxembourg have even pledged to sue the EU if the plan becomes law. Still, the proposal had the backing of the majority of the center-right European People’s Party, the European Parliament’s biggest lawmakers’ group.

Lawmakers of the centrist Renew Europe group were largely in favor of the proposal, while the Greens and Social Democrats mostly opposed it.

A total of 353 lawmakers — a majority of the Parliament’s 705 lawmakers — are needed to reject a plan for it to fail. The ongoing conflict over Russian gas supply to Europe has fueled opposition to the plan to label gas as environmentally friendly.

“It’s dirty politics and it’s an outrageous outcome to label gas and nuclear as green and keep more money flowing to Vladimir Putin’s war chest,” Greenpeace EU sustainable finance campaigner Ariadna Rodrigo said. “We will fight this in the courts,” she added.

Paul Tang, a Dutch EU lawmaker with the center-left Social Democrats, had criticized the plan as influenced by “the lobby from Gazprom and Rosneft,” both Russian state-owned energy companies.

Tang also slammed the move as “institutionalizing greenwashing.”

“It is now important to prevent this vote from setting a precedent for other countries to temper climate ambitions,” he wrote in a statement.

Bogdan Rzonca, a Polish member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS), said less wealthy EU countries need private investments in gas and nuclear power to be able to move away from coal.

Gilles Boyer, a French MEP with the Renew group, said that meeting energy demand with renewable energy in the long-term “would be ideal, but it’s not possible right now.”

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, whose country has just taken over the rotating EU presidency, said Wednesday’s vote was “excellent news” for Europe.

July 11, 2022 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment