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Yesterday the nuclear nations pushed the fantasy of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

William Sanford. 25 January 2020
Faux News “The Five” tried to push the Safe SMR Narrative just yesterday. Complete nonsense on the Climate Crisis shows how doubling down on stupid (and old) technology is a last resort effort to preserve their doomed industry.

Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany all announced increased rates of decommissioning. Add Spain, Italy, as USA continues to hide, censor, and deflect the TRUTH. The IAEA playbook directly from Vienna …and the worst part is many “climate activists” actually buy into the false narrative that nuclear energy is “carbon free.”

The ‘Nuclear Cycle’ uses huge amounts of gas/diesel. From pulling uranium out of the ground to enrichment, use, removal, dry cask ops, and delivery to a repository, LOTS of petroleum. And NO, nuke plants DO NOT RUN on their own power. 1.7 !illion cancers annually worldwide AS A direct result of nuclear power plants directly from the IAEA/NRC.

January 25, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Debunking James Hansen’s claims in favour of nuclear power

John Wayne squares off against Jim Hansen, Medium,  Albert Bates, 11 Jan 2020    “……. I greatly admire James Hansen …….  What annoys me, however, about Hansen, then and now, is his insistence, in utter disregard of best science, that nuclear energy can somehow save humanity from climate change because it is clean, safe, too cheap to meter and besides all that, is carbon-free. I watched with pity more than scorn when he took his time to repeat this nonsense at the recent UN climate conference in Madrid. He mounted fallacy upon fallacy in a pyramid of lies that had been heard since the 1940s coming from the Atomic Energy Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency and others in thrall to the atomic devil.
Of course all of those assertions by Hansen are utter nonsense. It just goes to show that being a good climate scientist doesn’t automatically give you a doctorate in health physics. I was blessed to have met many of the world’s preeminent health physicists in the 1970s and 1980s while representing atomic victims in battles for fair compensation and writing my fifth book, Climate in Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect and What We Can Do. ………
So, when James Hansen ignorantly opines that there were no radiation fatalities from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, or Fukushima and that the new generation of thorium metal reactors is inherently safe, I try to not gag ……..
 Comparing effluent to effluent, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reported that emissions from presently licensed facilities produced under normal operating conditions will cause 1.7 million cancers and birth defects in the world population, barring accidents. That several-hundred page report was summarized in the Federal Register in 1979 (46 Fed. Reg. 39580). However, it excluded consideration of health effects from tritium, Tc-99, C-13 and 14 and other radionuclide emissions that were too inaccurate to estimate, they said.
By too inaccurate they meant that tritium is easily incorporated into water, and so passes through living cells very easily, and carbon is the building block of organic chemistry, inseparable from life, so if one were to try to measure their impact inside the human body, the mortality and morbidity rates would need to be raised orders of magnitude higher than 1.7 million. This could make nuclear power unacceptable so, for reasons having to do with their institutional DNA, the NRC was not going to do that……….
It is not difficult to debunk Thorium-141’s popular mythology using simple physics, as Drs. Arjun Makhijani and Helen Caldicott have, because thorium is not a naturally fissionable element and so must first be mixed with enriched Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239 before it can be fissioned under controlled conditions to make steam for a power plant. To do that mixing, never mind the reacting, is a dangerous, deadly, polluting and extremely expensive process generating loads of long-lasting and unrecoverable poisons. After reaction, the thorium blend leaves dangerous wastes like U-232, a potent high-energy gamma emitter that can penetrate one meter of concrete and will have to be kept safely out of our air, food, and water forever.
……… Officially, TMI caused no immediate deaths. But unofficial investigations and lawsuits claimed there were above-average rates of cancer and birth defects in the surrounding area. Anecdotal evidence among the local human population has been devastating.    Hansen would say that anecdotal evidence is not science, but when public health agencies are prohibited from doing the scientific studies that does not equate with no effects. We know from anecdotal evidence that large numbers of Pennsylvanians suffered skin sores and lesions that erupted while they were out of doors as the fallout rained down on them. Many quickly developed large, visible tumors, breathing problems, and a metallic taste in their mouths that matched that experienced by victims of Hiroshima, or who were exposed to nuclear tests in the South Pacific, Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Nevada.
Approximately 2 million people in the immediate area were exposed to doses that were sub-lethal for early exposure, but the latent genetic effects have been calculated, by Gofman among others, to cause life-shortening in the global population for perhaps one million people. Moreover, there is reason to suspect the doses those estimates are based upon were much lower than what may have actually occurred and gone unreported. Entire bee hives expired immediately after the accident, along with a disappearance of birds, many of whom were found scattered dead on the ground. A rash of malformed pets were born and stillborn, including kittens that could not walk and a dog with no eyes. Reproductive rates among the region’s cows and horses plummeted. The state and federal governments did nothing to track the health histories of the region’s residents. Instead, they significantly understated the scale of the release and the magnitude of the exposures, as later peer reviewed studies showed.
A National Institute of Health study in 1998 found “Results support the hypothesis that radiation doses are related to increased cancer incidence around TMI.”
Harvey Wasserman, writing for Common Dreams, said: “Meanwhile, the death toll from America’s worst industrial catastrophe continues to rise. More than ever, it is shrouded in official lies and desecrated by a reactor-pushing “renaissance” hell-bent on repeating the nightmare on an even larger scale.”
 ……….one thing for certain that can never be said of nuclear energy is that it is carbon neutral. Once you take into account the entire nuclear fuel cycle from exploration and mining, shipment of ores from Africa and China, milling, enrichment to fuel grade (enough gas and coal energy goes into that to power Australia), power generation, fuel removal and waste disposal, the fossil fuel footprint is so enormous as to be well beyond any suggestion of carbon neutrality.
[Here follows a long discussion on Marie curie, and then on John Wayne]
……… Declassified health physics reports from the Manhattan Project indicate that the senior scientists believed at least as early as 1945 that:

“. . . the genetic effect has no threshold and exposure is not only cumulative in the individual, but in succeeding generations. On this basis, there would be no tolerance dose, but rather an acceptable injury-limit.”[Parker, H.M., Instrument ation and Radiation Protection (March, 1947), Health Physics, 38:957,970, June 1980]


“Even sub-tolerance radiations produce certain biological changes (cosmic rays are supposed to have some biological effects), so tolerance radiation is not what one strives to get but the maximum permissible dose.”[Morgan, K.Z., The Responsibilities of Health Physics, The Scientific Monthly, 93 (August 1946); reprinted in Health Physics 38:949–952, June 1980.]

The question of what percentage of the population can be acceptably damaged came first to the attention of the AEC at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Biology and Medicine on January 16–19,1957. At this meeting the AEC advisors determined that a 20 percent increase in the rate of bone cancers and birth defects nationwide would be an “acceptable” effect of U.S. nuclear weapons testing activities. These scientists also acknowledged at this time that the long-term genetic effects were totally unknown.

The historical record indicates that prominent radiologists, health physicists, and geneticists of the time recognized even at the outset of America’s atomic power program that any large population exposure to even very minute amounts of ionizing radiation could create lingering public health problems and genetic damage, and these scientists went to some lengths, including sacrificing their own illustrious careers, to express their views publicly. [ long list of references given here]

[ discusses Fukushima]

….. atmospheric physicists should not opine on health physics. There is no dose of radiation below which there is not a negative biological effect. Indeed, there is a “superlinear” ratio of dose to effect at low doses, because doses that do not kill a cell cause genetic damage that is a larger health threat than dead cells, so humans and animals exposed to low doses are at greater health risk than those exposed to higher doses.

While there are hundreds of different radioactive isotopes within a nuclear reactor, the isotope Cesium-137 is easily measured and has become a standard by which to calculate impacts. During the two-day accident, 18 quadrillion becquerels of cesium were released into the Pacific (18 with 15 zeros). A typical abdominal or pelvic CT scan (the most often performed) is 14–18 thousandths of a becquerel, so during the accident the cesium dose to the environment was the same as about 1 quintillion (1 with 18 zeros) CT scans (repeated every second, continuously, for the next 300 to 600 years). Depending on the type of scan and the age and sex of the patient, a single CT scan will produce 1 cancer for 150 to 3300 exposures, or a median risk of 10 cancers per becquerel (or seivert).  [table here on original]

By that calculation, the cesium released during the Fukushima accident was capable of causing roughly 10 quadrillion cancers, but with one important difference.
When you receive radiation treatment like a CT-scan it is sudden and one-off. One second. The technician presses the button and it is on and then off. There is no danger from the machine when it is off. When radioactive elements like cesium-137 (and remember that is just one of hundreds of elements in a nuclear reactor) are released to the environment, there is no off-switch. Thus, the cesium released during the Fukushima accident is capable of roughly 10 quadrillion cancers per second. Inhaling or ingesting it can kill a person, a dolphin or a seagull, but then as the individual’s body decomposes after death — as bacteria, worms and fungi eat away the flesh and bone — the isotope goes back into the food chain to strike another individual, and another, and so on. The danger is limited only by the isotope’s half-life — the time it takes to decay to a harmless element, which for cesium-137 is 30.17 years. Scientists generally use 10 or 20 half-lives to bracket safety concerns, so for cesium 137, “safe” levels arrive in 302 to 604  years (around year 2322 to year 2624), admittedly an imperfect measurement since any residue, no matter how microscopic, may still be lethal, as we have known since before the Manhattan Project. Cesium is one of 256 radionuclides released during Fukushima, so we would need to calculate quantities, biological effectiveness, and the decay time of each of those to get the full health picture. Other isotopes in the Fukushima fuel include Uranium-235, with a half-life of 704 million years, and Uranium-238, with a half-life of 4.47 billion years, or longer than the age of the Earth.
At Fukushima, the end of the accident was not the end of the story. In 2013, 30 billion becquerels of cesium-137 were still flowing into the ocean every day from the damaged and leaking reactor cores. That is 300 billion cancer doses per second of man-made cesium added every day, or 109.5 trillion cancer doses per second added every year. To stop this assault on ocean life, and our own, over the next 5 years the owner of the plant constructed more than 1000 tanks to hold contaminated water away from the ocean. In September 2019, the Japanese government announced that more than one million tons were in storage but that space would run out by the summer of 2022 so it planned to begin releasing those billions of bequerels to the ocean again.

Swimmers and sailors who plan to compete in open water events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics might want to think about that, as might any who fish those waters or consume the catch.

What happens to ocean creatures who ingest radionuclides from leaking nuclear power plants is not very different from what happened to John Wayne, his sons and his co-stars. As the isotopes decay within the body of a dolphin or a coral polyp they send microscopic bullets hurling through DNA chains, causing tumors, sicknesses, defective offspring and death for untold generations. The chance that a single mutation will produce a beneficial result are less than one in a million. Radioactivity is, for practical purposes, forever, as we can see just by looking up at our Sun, a benevolent nuclear reactor providing us energy from the relatively safe distance of 93 million miles.

Even that radiation will kill a number of us, but far fewer than would die if, by some devilish plan or panic response, we follow Dr. Hansen’s advice.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Reference, spinbuster, thorium | Leave a comment

Legal action against Orano’s lying advertising about nuclear power solving climate change


Reporterre 16th Jan 2020  The Sortir du nuclear network is filing a complaint against an Orano advertising campaign, which presents nuclear energy as a solution against climate change. A false statement intended to boost investments in a declining sector, denounces the association.

January 18, 2020 Posted by | France, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Busting the false claims of the thorium nuclear lobby

Fact-check: Five claims about thorium made by Andrew Yang, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , By John KrzyzaniakNicholas R. Brown, December 18, 2019   Andrew Yang, like many of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, has an ambitious plan to wean America off of fossil fuels. Unlike many of the other candidates, however, a key piece of his plan to address climate change involves harnessing nuclear power—in particular thorium. According to Yang, thorium is “superior to uranium on many levels.” But Yang isn’t alone; thorium boosters have been extolling its supposed virtues for years.

Do the claims about thorium actually hold up? The Bulletin reached out to Nicholas R. Brown, an associate professor in the department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Tennessee, to examine five common claims about thorium and next-generation nuclear reactors. Brown’s responses are below.

…….. the public has good reason to be skeptical that thorium can or should play any role in the future.

Claim: Thorium reactors would be more economical than traditional uranium reactors, particularly because thorium is more abundant than uranium, has more energy potential than uranium, and doesn’t have to be enriched.

False. Although thorium is more abundant than uranium, the cost of uranium is a small fraction of the overall cost of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy economics are driven by the capital cost of the plant, and building a power plant with a thorium reactor is no cheaper than building a power plant with a uranium reactor. Further, using thorium in existing reactors is technically possible, but it would not provide any clear commercial benefit and would require other new infrastructure.

Additionally, there is technically no such thing as a thorium reactor. Thorium has no isotopes that readily fission to produce energy. So thorium is not usable as a fuel directly, but is instead a fertile nucleus that can be converted to uranium in a reactor. Only after conversion to uranium does thorium become useful as a nuclear fuel. So, even for a reactor that would use thorium within its fuel cycle, most energy produced would actually come from uranium fissions.

Claim: Next generation thorium reactors would be safer than current reactors.

True but misleading.……. the benefits are a function of the inherent safety in the next-generation designs, not the utilization of thorium.

Claim: The waste from thorium reactors would be easier to deal with than waste from today’s uranium reactors.

False. A comprehensive study from the US Energy Department in 2014 found that waste from thorium-uranium fuel cycles has similar radioactivity at 100 years to uranium-plutonium fuel cycles, and actually has higher waste radioactivity at 100,000 years.

Claim: Thorium would be more proliferation-resistant than current reactors—you can’t make nuclear weapons out of it.

False. A 2012 study funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration found that the byproducts of a thorium fuel cycle, in particular uranium 233, can potentially be attractive material for making nuclear weapons. A 2012 study published in Nature from the University of Cambridge also concluded that thorium fuel cycles pose significant proliferation risks…

December 21, 2019 Posted by | spinbuster, thorium | Leave a comment

Australian Parliamentary Report uses dodgy and incorrect nuclear information

House Of Reps Report Supports Nuclear – But Only If Everyone Is Into It   December 19, 2019 by Ronald Brakels  Last Friday the House Of Representatives released a report on nuclear energy in Australia.  They said it’s a good idea — provided everyone is cool with it.Australia.  They said it’s a good idea — provided everyone is cool with it.

The report is called:

“Not without your approval: a way forward for nuclear technology in Australia”

It gives the country three recommendations :

  1. Consider using nuclear power.
  2. Gather information to support the future use of nuclear power.
  3. End or partially lift the moratorium that prohibits building nuclear reactors.
  5. \While nuclear is a low-emissions source of energy,  .I don’t agree with these recommendations because:
  1. There is no point considering nuclear power here until one of the countries that have been using it for decades gets it right and starts building reactors that supply energy at a lower cost than renewables.
  2. There is no point paying people to study nuclear energy until other countries with existing nuclear industries show it can make economic sense.  If it never manages to pay for itself, the research will be a waste.   If it does pay for itself then the cost effective reactors may be very different from existing ones and the effort will, again, have been wasted.
  3. We live in a country where the government is always going to require you to get permission before you can build a nuclear reactor, so saying the magic words, “The moratorium is lifted!” makes no practical difference.  But I figure we may as well say the magic words just to make it clear the reason we don’t have nuclear power isn’t because they haven’t been uttered.

The problem with this report is not that the House of Representatives committee and I have a difference of opinion.  The problem is, only someone who has been whacked on the head with a graphite rod could look at the problems new nuclear power is experiencing around the world today and recommend Australia go ahead with it.

The problems have nothing to do with safety, nuclear waste, or security.  These issues are irrelevant because nuclear power can not pay for itself.  If it can’t do that, there is no point in worrying about the other issues and it is painfully clear new nuclear power makes no economic sense when renewables are now cheaper than coal power and continuing to fall in cost.

In the United Kingdom — the nuclear power possessing nation that is, embarrassingly, most similar to our own — they will pay 22 cents per kilowatt-hour for electrical energy from the under-construction Hinkley C reactors.  That’s three times its average cost in the Australian National Electricity Market this year and fives times its average price in 2015.

While Australia’s wholesale electricity prices are unusually high at the moment, they are not going to get three miles high on this island.  Thanks to the decreasing cost of renewable energy they are expected to trend downwards from their current high of one-third the cost of new nuclear energy in the UK.

Britain’s not the only place where new nuclear power is extremely expensive.  A similar price is required for it to be constructed in the US.  There have also been huge cost overruns building reactors in other countries, which include France and Finn’s land.  Because Australia doesn’t have an existing nuclear power industry it could be even more expensive here and, last time I checked, we didn’t have any magic pixie dust we could sprinkle on nuclear energy projects to make them cheaper or on our politicians to make them smarter.

To me, it seems this report is an expensive face-saving measure by Parliamentary supporters of nuclear power.  It makes no sense for this country given the current and decreasing cost of renewable energy, but they’re not willing to admit that.  They instead want to pretend nuclear power is a great idea for us but the reason it’s not going ahead is because it’s unpopular.  Hence the title, “Not without your approval”.  In other words, they are saying the Australian people aren’t smart enough to know a good thing when they see it and that’s the only reason why we’re not building nuclear reactors.

Well, I say screw you House of Representatives Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment and the plutonium powered pony you rode in on.  I felt that looking into nuclear power once again was a waste of time, but if you had investigated it and said

“Nuclear power is far too expensive to make sense for Australia.  If this changes and new reactors overseas produce electricity at a lower cost than renewables we can look into it again, but until that happens, forget about it.”

Then at least we’d know the system works.  We would be able to see that Parliamentary committees are able to look at the bleeding obvious and interpret it correctly.  But instead, they only looked at information they liked while avoiding asking the obvious question of — are modern reactors making enough money to cover the cost of their construction and operation?  Rather than do this, they took bits and pieces they picked from around the obvious question, turned them this way and that, and squinted until they were able to announce that it looked good — but the punters wouldn’t appreciate it and they’re the reason why we can’t have nice things.

They did this rather than admit what has been obvious for years now, that new nuclear will not pay for itself in Australia and, given the decreasing cost of renewable energy, it looks impossible for current nuclear designs to ever pay for themselves here.

By choosing to protect their egos rather than admit they were wrong, the nuclear energy supporters have sullied Parliament’s good…  well, they’ve sullied Parliament’s name.  I don’t expect anything run by humans to be perfect, but I really think we need a turn around in the ratio of sullying to pride inducing Parliamentary moments.

It’s A Long Report

The report is 214 pages.  It could have been a lot shorter.  I could have gotten it down to something like:

“Given that:

  1. The UK will be pay around 22 cents per kilowatt-hour in today’s money for electricity from the Hinkley C nuclear power plant, and…
  2. In the United States new nuclear capacity requires a similar price to proceed and nuclear plants have been abandoned while under construction because it became clear they would never pay for themselves.
  3. Australia has no advantages in building nuclear power stations while having the disadvantage of no existing nuclear power industry.

It is therefore not reasonable to believe we can build nuclear generating capacity for less than what it costs in the UK or USA.  Until reactors are built overseas that produce electricity at a cost that is competitive in Australia, the subject does not merit further consideration.


Additionally, given that:

  1. New reactors under construction in France and Finland have had long delays and are far over budget, indicating the high cost of new nuclear capacity is not confined to English speaking countries, and…
  2. No organization is offering to or wants to build a nuclear power station in Australia at a price we would find anywhere close to acceptable.The idea of nuclear power in Australia should be abandoned and only reviewed if there are major improvements in its economic viability.”That’s under 214 words while having the advantage of being correct.  The House of Representatives committee used 214 pages to come to the wrong conclusion.  But arriving at the right conclusion can’t be easy if you have no ability to smell bullshit in your own research.
  3. One Solar Panel Does Not Cause 0.8 Tonnes Of CO2 Emissions

    Take a look at this table included in the report, taken from a publication that advocates nuclear power:

Casually looking at that you might think CO2 emissions for both nuclear energy and solar PV are pretty low.  But if we stop for one minute and use basic mathematical ability that’s available to anyone who doesn’t have to take their socks off to count to 20, then we can see that a Parliamentary committee saw fit to include a table in an official report that gives ridiculous results.

Looking at their minimum figure for Solar PV (Utility scale), I see they are claiming a large solar farm will result in at least 18 grams of CO2 emissions per kilowatt-hour generated.  While generating electricity from PV doesn’t result in any emissions, they are involved in the manufacture of solar panels, so they aren’t completely emissions-free.  However, they are a lot bloody closer to emission free than this table suggests.

These days a typical standard sized solar panel is around 300 watts.  In a solar farm in Australia on a fixed mount it will generate around 12,300 kilowatt-hours over 25 years.  This means they are saying the solar panel will result in a minimum of 222 kilograms of CO2 emissions.  If we use their maximum figure it will result in 2.22 tonnes of CO2, all for a panel that weighs about 18 kilograms.   So they are saying manufacturing and installing one solar panel results in emissions equal to burning 80-800 or more kilograms of coal.

Jinko Solar, the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, has a figure from 2017 of just 2.19 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour generated by a solar farm.  As this has been decreasing year by year it will be even lower now.  However, this is just for the solar panel and doesn’t include emissions from the construction of its ground mount or inverter, so I’ll double it to 4.4 grams.  This means the actual emissions per kilowatt-hour are probably less than the best figure on the table and more than 40 times less than the worst figure.  Even if we triple the Jinko figure it still comes to less than their median emissions for nuclear energy and less than 4% of their maximum figure for PV.

It’s clear the committee had no ability to detect figures that were bullshit — or they simply didn’t care.

Renewable Energy Increases The Cost Of Nuclear

Here is section 1.50 of the report:

Committee notes on renewable energy

I note the committee has failed to understand the economics of nuclear power if they think it works well with solar and wind energy.  This is because if a nuclear power station produces half the energy its capable of, it almost doubles the cost of that energy.  This is due to nuclear fuel being very cheap1 per kilowatt-hour, so very little money is saved by ramping down, while nearly all other costs remain the same.

This means nuclear power, which is already too expensive when operated in the most economical way — almost continuously at full normal power — becomes even more expensive when used in a grid with a significant amount of solar energy and/or wind power capacity.  Australia already has more than enough to adversely affect the economics of nuclear energy and, even if we approve and build a nuclear power station in one quarter the average time it has taken overseas this century, things will be much worse for its economics by the time it’s complete.

They Don’t Even Know Who Buys Our Coal

The report suggests South Korea could build nuclear power plants for us at low cost.  It’s a very strange conclusion because South Korea is the third largest importer of Australian coal.  You’d think if they could build nuclear reactors cheaply they wouldn’t get nearly three times as much energy from flammable rocks:

If you try breathing the air in South Korea you’ll soon wish they could build nuclear reactors at a lower cost than coal power, but unfortunately they can’t, and — as I’ve probably mentioned in other articles — Australia can build renewable generating capacity that supplies electricity at a lower cost than new coal power.  This includes the cost of firming the renewable energy so supply is always available.

It is amazing we have a Parliament dominated by a party obsessed with coal, but this committee can’t even get their head around the fact that the country that imports more of our coal per capita than any other nation isn’t likely to be in possession of the secret of cheaper than coal nuclear power.

Smaller Is Not Cheaper

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are suggested in the report as a way of making nuclear power economically viable.  The problem with this is they cost more per kilowatt than large ones.  This fact should not be a surprise to anyone.  The engineers who designed the large nuclear reactors in the world today are not idiots who are currently slapping their foreheads, saying, “I’m so stupid!  If only I had thought of making them smaller instead of bigger!”  Modern reactors are very large to keep their cost per kilowatt down.  Going small has the opposite effect.

That small reactors are not cheap is made obvious by the fact Britain, which has the longest history of nuclear power generation of any country, decided to power their new aircraft carriers with kerosene and diesel rather than small nuclear reactors because of they are so expensive.  This is despite the alternative being expensive oil products rather than much cheaper solar and wind energy.

An advantage given for SMRs is they will supposedly suffer from fewer cost overruns.  But that sales pitch is not enough to make nuclear energy economically attractive — pay for a more expensive product so you’ll have less of a chance of unpleasant surprise expenses down the line.2

They Want Money Wasted On More Reports

The report suggests we get people to write another report on how much nuclear power will cost here:

But I have a different suggestion.  A much cheaper one.  We just wait for another country to build and operate a nuclear power plant at a low enough cost that would be competitive in Australia.  Then we can look into it.

Better yet, to make sure they aren’t exaggerating how cheap their nuclear power is, we say:

“Hey, budget nuclear energy guys, how would you like to build a nuclear power station in Australia?  We give you nothing, but you get the market price for whatever electricity you sell.”

If they say, “nyet” or “bu shi” or “piss off” then we can suspect it’s not as cheap as they’re making it out to be.

If they say, “yes” then we can talk about how they’ll be required to insure it for a reasonable amount based on the costs of nuclear accidents that have occurred in the past.  While nuclear power is very safe, there must have been at least one or two minor little upsets.

Everyone Has To Love Nuclear Energy

The report says that social acceptance of nuclear power is necessary for it to go ahead.  So it’s not going to go ahead because that’s not going to happen.  Nuclear energy has turned out to be an economic disaster overseas, we have much cheaper alternatives, and now that I think about it there have been one or two major nuclear accidents overseas that have left a bad impression.

There was a problem with a nuclear power station in Fukushima, Japan.  The Japanese Government estimated the cost at around $270 billion dollars.  As our government is currently willing to spend around $4.5 million to save an Australian life through public health and safety measures, if we lost that amount of money it would represent around 60,000 Australian lives that potentially could have been saved with it.

Since nuclear power — at the costs we see overseas — is only going to increase electricity bills, and we have far cheaper ways to reduce emissions that are quicker to deploy, and because Australians aren’t in love with a very very small chance of a nuclear accident that has a very high cost, there will never be acceptance for nuclear power in this country.  Not in its current form.  But be sure to let me know when a DeLorean compatible Mr Fusion becomes available.

I’m guessing the entire section on social acceptance is only in the report so when nuclear power doesn’t get built, its supporters can say, “It’s the fault of normal Australians for not believing in the nuclear economic viability fairy hard enough”, rather than admit they themselves were wrong.

The Moratorium Means Nothing

Currently there is a moratorium on nuclear power in Australia.  This means you’re not allowed to build it without special permission from the government.  Well, guess what?  In this country you are never going to be allowed to build a nuclear reactor without permission from the government.  That’s just the way it is.  I know it’s a terrible infringement of our right to build nuclear reactors in our backyards and squash courts.  But on the other hand, it does support our right not to live next door to someone who’s building a nuclear reactor in their backyard, so I could go either way on this one.

The report suggests scrapping the moratorium or partially lifting it.  I’m not sure what partially lifting it means.  Maybe you have to ask for permission but you don’t have to say pretty please or maybe it just means they won’t be too worried if you have an eye patch, a cool scar, and introduce yourself as “The Jackal”.

Because the moratorium doesn’t really mean anything, there may not be any harm in lifting it and shutting up a few idiots who think the only reason nuclear power isn’t currently under construction in this country is because the government hasn’t muttered the magic words, “The moratorium is lifted!”  So they may as well say moratorium leviosa and be done with it.

It’s not as if nuclear power is going to be built in this country one way or the other.  Supporters will soon discover no one’s lining up to build reactors even with our current high wholesale electricity prices.  The only way they will get built is with very substantial subsidies and the government is too busy trying to keep coal power afloat while Australia burns to waste its energy subsidising nuclear.

December 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

France’s EDF company is trying to ‘restore trust’ in the nuclear industry

EDF unveils plan to ‘restore trust’ in French nuclear industry, Move comes as utility’s next-generation plant is beset by ballooning costs and delays, 

Michael Pooler in Paris ,, 13 Dec 19,
EDF has drawn up a plan to “restore trust” in France’s nuclear power industry after a government-commissioned report lambasted failings at the energy group’s troubled flagship nuclear project. The state-backed company said it would spend €100m on measures including a skills programme, a scheme for selecting suppliers and initiatives to improve project management and industrial standards. This came after the French government, which owns 84 per cent of EDF, gave the utility a month to draw up a scheme to fix problems at Flamanville after the flagship project stumbled into delays and cost overruns.
  A government-commissioned report into the failings at Flamanville, published in October, also pointed to a loss of skills in France’s nuclear sector. “We want to restore more trust in the ability of the French nuclear industry to deliver according to its objectives, in terms of cost, time and schedule,” said EDF’s chairman and chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy.  ……
Flamanville is considered a litmus test for next-generation European Pressurised Reactor technology, which supporters say will be a bigger, safer and more efficient type of nuclear plant. But the plant’s construction, which was supposed to last four-and-a-half years, is now expected to take 15 years to complete at about four times its originally projected cost of €3.3bn. This follows problems such as faulty weldings. Once a leader in atomic power, France will not decide whether to build more EPRs until Flamanville is up and running.
  To address the sector-wide issues identified in October’s damning report, EDF will seek to change how risks are shared with suppliers and set up a college dedicated to “nuclear disciplines” where there are shortages, such as welding. ……

EDF’s plans come during a turbulent period for the group. Not only is it under fire for delays at another planned EPR site in the UK, but it is heading towards a corporate reorganisation.
This would create a government-owned mother company, EDF Bleu, containing its nuclear and hydroelectric assets. Bleu’s main subsidiary, EDF Vert, will house renewable energy, networks and services businesses, and will have a stock market listing. Under an energy planning law enacted this year, France must reduce its share of electricity produced by nuclear from 72 per cent to 50 per cent by 2035, with the rest coming from renewables. However, new atomic power stations may need to be built to replace ageing facilities, which will also need investment for retrofitting and maintenance. ….

December 14, 2019 Posted by | France, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Global nuclear lobby gears up for nuclear propaganda via social media

Unique IAEA Gathering Highlights Social Media’s Role in Nuclear Stakeholder Involvement. Matt Fisher, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy  5 Dec 19, More than 120 participants from 66 countries will gather in Vienna next week at the IAEA Technical Meeting on Using Social Media for Public Communication and Stakeholder Involvement for Nuclear Programmes. The input received during the meeting will be used to update the recently revamped Nuclear Communicator’s Toolbox.

The first-of-a-kind meeting, which runs from 9 to 13 December, will examine the evolving landscape of social media and social networking sites (SNS), including social media strategies, SNS as communication and engagement tools, policies for employees and tackling misinformation. It will include a group exercise in which participants formulate a social media plan to address a hypothetical scenario requiring prompt action.

Social media has become an essential component of public outreach as it allows for rapid, straightforward engagement with a wide variety of stakeholders,” said the IAEA’s Masahiro Tachibana, the event’s scientific secretary. “Many nuclear organizations are using social media to deliver updates on their activities and to engage the public on important issues. The high number of participants demonstrates the broad interest in sharing experiences and identifying ways to further optimize the use of this communication tool.”

As the use of social media worldwide continues to grow, so too does its potential impact. More than 3.4 billion people are using social media in 2019, an increase of approximately 10% from 2018, according to the Global State of Digital in 2019 report……..

Mike Mueller, a Senior Digital Content Strategist at the US Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, said social media efforts over the last two years have helped his office to triple its web traffic and reach more than 2 million people every month. “Social media has been instrumental in helping us meet our mission to inform the public on the facts about nuclear energy,” said Mueller, who will take part in the meeting.  ….

December 7, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Further debunking of the conspiracy nonsense about a nuclear explosion in the South China Sea

A nuclear detonation in the South China Sea? No, more Twitter conspiracy nonsense, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Matt Field, November 25, 2019  The Twitter account @IndoPac_Info pushes out news at a relentless pace; it’s a seemingly good feed to follow for those interested in military issues in Asia. By Friday afternoon last week, the account had posted dozens of tweets over a 36-hour-or-so period linking to stories from outlets such as Reuters and Foreign Policy on topics ranging from US naval activity in contested waters to Pentagon drone policy. Oh yeah, and then there was the one about a nuclear detonation in the South China Sea.

The big news that China had perhaps exploded a tactical nuclear weapon in the ocean originated with a man labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a former federal convict, white supremacist, and FBI informant named Hal Turner. Turner posted the story on his website and touted the supposed scoop further on his nighttime AM radio show, attributing the information to military sources. On Friday, a Pentagon spokesperson called Turner’s article “silly fiction.” And the man behind @IndoPac_Info himself—he describes himself as a Spanish man living in Vietnam—now seems to agree. “Without further evidence or independent corroboration of Hal Turner’s article, it may not be credible at this point,” he tweeted. “Apologies.”

A laudable course correction, no doubt, but it came after one of @IndoPac_Info’s tweets on the Turner story was retweeted almost 2,000 times. And in an age when online disinformation campaigns like the Russian government effort to sway the 2016 US presidential election are a major feature of public discourse, it’s an open question: Could an online conspiracy theory about nuclear weapons gain traction and have a real-world impact?

The @IndoPac_Info account helped give Turner traction, but as far as impact goes, the radio host’s nuclear story failed to launch, in part because it was so easily debunked.

The idea that a 10 to 20 kiloton explosion, possibly a nuclear one, could have occurred in the busy and contested South China Sea and not been widely observed was laughable to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board chair Bob Rosner. The physicist and former director of the Argonne National Laboratory told Gizmodo, “There is so much surveillance that it would be stunning if no one had noticed that.”……..

Despite Turner’s serious dearth of credibility, he was able to piggyback on @IndoPac_Info’s. That account, after all, is followed, by journalists, academics, and others from reputable organizations like Reuters and the University of Pennsylvania. Indeed, the @IndoPac_Info account user was concerned that he’d helped promote Turner’s wild story. “I was not aware of his record,” he said.

“A follower sent me his story and I went with it.”

November 26, 2019 Posted by | China, spinbuster, USA | 1 Comment

A call for John Hopkins University to stop helping nuclear weapons industry

Hopkins must take a stand against its nuclear weapons production,

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | November 21, 2019 After years of protests from students, the University continues to invest in fossil fuel companies. It has an exclusivity contract with PepsiCo, a company that uses suppliers who violate child labor laws, going against ethical and sustainable business practices. Most recently, the University was slow to end contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the government agency that is responsible for separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The University’s involvement in these contracts has been well publicized and heavily criticized by students and professors alike. Adding to this list of questionable practices is a partnership that is less well-known, but just as problematic: a contract with the U.S. government to take part in nuclear weapons research.

On Nov. 13, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) published a report stating that 49 U.S. universities are complicit in the production of nuclear weapons. The group calls on students and faculty to “demand their universities stop helping to build weapons of mass destruction.”

The report is scathing. It repeatedly mentions Hopkins, highlighting its involvement in creating nuclear weapons for the U.S. ICAN notes that Hopkins receives twice as much funding as any other university from the Department of Defense (DOD) largely because of the work of its renowned Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). Created in 1942 for weapons development in World War II, the APL has since served as a technical resource for the U.S. government, developing numerous technologies for air and missile defense, naval warfare, computer security and space science.

In 2017, the APL received a seven year contract with the DOD for $93 million to continue the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center’s strategic partnership. This contributes to the multi-year contract with the agency that is now worth more than $7 billion.

The research involved in this deal is largely classified. On the surface, this seems to contradict the University’s policy against classified research. However, the APL is exempt from this policy, as it is the only part of the University listed as a “non-academic division.”

The University continues to brand itself as an ethical research institution. However, its direct involvement with the development of weapons of mass destruction is contradictory to these actions.

We believe that Hopkins should remove itself from all contracts associated with nuclear weapons. Instead, the APL should focus on research that does not have the same devastating and inhumane implications that nuclear weapons do.

Those who support the University’s work with nuclear weapons may argue that Hopkins receives a high monetary benefit from their partnership with the Department of Defense. They may also claim that Hopkins, which is just one of nearly 50 universities conducting research, can’t make any difference on its own. Even if Hopkins ends the contracts, why would other schools do the same?

These arguments are valid, and we understand the concerns that are associated with terminating the contracts. It is true that Hopkins receives a hefty sum for its involvement with the DOD. According to ICAN, “the funding ceiling for its ongoing contract was extended beyond $7 billion” in 2019.

There is also a turning tide against nuclear weapons development across the world. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, introduced to the United Nations in 2017, bans the development and use of nuclear weapons by signatories. So far, 122 countries have signed on, though the U.S. and most western countries have not. If Hopkins and other reputable institutions take a stand against nuclear weapons development, it will send a sign to the world at large that we want to move on from using these weapons of mass destruction.

Large scale change starts small, and it starts with us. We encourage students to take a stand for what they believe in. As with any other issue, there are multiple ways to tell Hopkins that it’s time for a change. On their website, ICAN outlines three ways that students can speak out. They recommend publicizing the issue, demanding transparency from universities and calling on them to end their work with nuclear weapons.

We know that there’s no guarantee that Hopkins will end its contracts and stop working on nuclear weapons development. But by speaking out, we can initiate the change. Activists who are part of sustainability and pro-peace groups can protest against nuclear weapons production. Students who are majoring in STEM fields can take a stand against working at the associated departments at the APL, and should be aware of the larger implications of any research they are involved in. All students can tell Hopkins that we demand an explanation and that we take issue with the greater mission behind the research.

The University’s mission statement, in part, mentions that its goal is “To educate its students and cultivate their capacity for lifelong learning, to foster independent and original research, and to bring the benefits of discovery to the world.” We hope that the University will refocus its attention on these goals. If Hopkins turns away from nuclear weapons research, other institutions may follow in our path. Making the world a safer place is the best way to bring the benefits of our discovery to everyone.

November 23, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Education, USA | Leave a comment

To Make the Olympics Look Good Japanese Government Wants Evacuees To Return To Fukushima


While Japan might want to make the Olympics look good, – internationally the IAEA , nuclear nations and global nuclear industries want the Olympics to make the nuclear industry look good!


November 23, 2019 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

John Hopkins University prominent in helping the nuclear weapons industry

Johns Hopkins University among schools furthering nuclear weapons, BALTIMORE SUN |NOV 20, 2019 When choosing a university, students should be weighing class sizes, major options or even the dining hall food quality. But what they shouldn’t have to consider is if their dream school helps to build nuclear weapons.

A new report reveals that nearly 50 U.S. colleges and universities contribute to building and maintaining U.S. nuclear weapons, in direct contradiction to their mission statements and often without the knowledge of their students and faculty. Three local universities are among these schools of mass destruction: Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and George Washington University and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory is a Defense Department-affiliated research center that works on nuclear weapons, which helped Johns Hopkins receive $828 million in research and development grants from the Defense Department for Fiscal Year 2017 — more than twice as much any other American university. The laboratory renewed a seven-year contract in 2017 to continue a strategic partnership with the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

The laboratory operates away from the prying eyes of most students and faculty in a 453-acre, off-campus location. While Johns Hopkins generally exempts classified research, there is a blanket exemption policy for classified research at the Applied Physics Laboratory.

George Washington University maintains a Stockpile Stewardship Academic Alliance Center of Excellence, receiving $12.5 million in grants over five years for research relevant to the nation’s nuclear stockpile.

Georgetown University is a university partner of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. While the details of the partnership are not public, Lawrence Livermore receives 86% of its funding from the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Weapons Activities Appropriations for the design, engineering and evaluation of nuclear warheads.

College students should learn how to make the world a better place, not how to develop the tools to end it. Universities themselves make this point in their mission statements. Johns Hopkins sums up its mission as “knowledge for the world.” The mission of George Washington University is to “educate individuals in liberal arts, languages, sciences, learned professions, and other courses and subjects of study, and to conduct scholarly research and publish the findings of such research.” Georgetown University’s website states that at the core of its Jesuit tradition are “transcendent values, including the integration of learning, faith and service; care for the whole person; character and conviction; religious truth and interfaith understanding; and a commitment to building a more just world.”

It is time for these universities to live up to their own moral objectives.

As a first step, universities must provide more clarity about their work to support U.S. nuclear weapons so that students and faculty can make informed choices about where they would like to invest their intellectual capital. Johns Hopkins should reconsider whether permitting classified research at the Applied Physics Laboratory is in line with its “commitment to openness in documentation and dissemination of research results.

George Washington University should shut down its “Stockpile Stewardship Academic Alliance Center of Excellence,” unless it receives a legally-binding guarantee that none of the basic research the center conducts will be applied to maintaining and expanding the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.

Georgetown may continue to partner with Lawrence Livermore on the minority of the laboratory’s research that contributes to “building a more just world.” But it must explicitly reject research for the laboratory’s main objective — building and maintaining nuclear weapons.

Universities can play a key role to equip the next generation of leaders with the knowledge and skills to make the world better a place. Nuclear weapons don’t belong there.

Alicia Sanders-Zakre ( is policy and research coordinator of ICAN, Winners of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

November 21, 2019 Posted by | Education, USA | 1 Comment

49 USA universities get lots of money for helping to develop nuclear weapons

‘Schools of Mass Destruction’: Report Details 49 US Universities Abetting Nuclear Weapons Complex “Why would an institution of higher learning support weapons that cause terrible humanitarian consequences?”

Nearly 50 universities across the United States are abetting the “nuclear weapons complex” with involvement that is at times “direct and unabashed.”

That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), “Schools of Mass Destruction: American Universities in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex.” The report calls out 49 educational institutions, describes their direct and indirect involvement, and recommends steps the universities, students, and faculty can take to address the issue.

The report names prestigious universities including Stanford, Georgetown, and MIT. The cited universities have reportedly engaged in four different avenues of complicity in nuclear weapons production, defying their own mission statements and international law.

In return, the report says, “universities receive funding, access to research facilities, and specific career opportunities for students.”

The complicity, according to ICAN, falls into one of four categories: direct management, institutional partnerships, research programs and partnerships, and workforce development programs.

From the report’s profiles on Georgetown University and the University of Nevada – Reno:

In return, the report says, “universities receive funding, access to research facilities, and specific career opportunities for students.”

The complicity, according to ICAN, falls into one of four categories: direct management, institutional partnerships, research programs and partnerships, and workforce development programs.

From the report’s profiles on Georgetown University and the University of Nevada – Reno:

  • Georgetown is listed as a university partner on the website of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. According to administration at Georgetown, the university has a formal agreement with the laboratory and collaborates in the areas of neuroscience, physics and cancer, with the lab hosting graduate students for summer internships. The Lawrence Livermore lab provides design and engineering for several nuclear warhead types and conducts simulated experiments to evaluate warheads.
  • The University of Nevada – Reno developed a new Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Packaging in partnership with the Department of Energy. A Nevada National Security Site engineer was the first to complete the program. The Nevada National Security Site is the location of nearly 1,000 tests of nuclear weapons in past decades, leading to serious health impacts for nearby residents and participating military personnel. Currently, staff at the site conduct simulated experiments to test the reliability and performance of nuclear weapons. The site also hosts “subcritical experiments” that allow for the evaluation of nuclear weapons materials under certain conditions, but do not cause a “self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.”

Those universities are not the “most complicit.” That dubious honor goes to the University of California,  Texas A&M University, Johns Hopkins University, and University of New Mexico. In a Twitter thread, ICAN highlighted those schools’ involvement:

#1 The state of California supports a ban of #nuclearweapons,but  the @UofCalifornia has continuously managed the primary #nuclearweapons labs for the US since WWII. When will UC stop supporting weapons that pose a catastrophic threat to our existence?

#2 @TAMU administration has publicly stated its “commitment to the #nuclearweapons industry.”  Why would an institution of higher learning support weapons that cause terrible humanitarian consequences?

#3 @JohnsHopkins’ applied physics lab is directly involved in #nuclearweapons production. It receives more than twice as much funding from the US @DeptofDefense than any other U.S. university. @JHUPress @JHUNewsLetter

#4 More than 3,800 New Mexicans have suffered serious illness or death as a result of US nuclear weapons tests  So why does the @UNM University of New Mexico wants its faculty and students to collaborate with #nuclearweapons lab scientists?

The report comes as Trump administration policies have given rise to fears of a new arms race. As the report notes,

In the United States, the Trump administration has expanded plans to upgrade the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Over the next ten years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates U.S. taxpayers will pay nearly $500 billion to maintain and modernize its country’s nuclear weapons arsenal, or almost $100,000 per minute.

Also noted in the publication is the administration’s withdrawal earlier this year from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia and its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which calls for “diversifying” the country’s nuclear arsenal.

That gives greater urgency to the call for the schools to sever their partnerships—and the clear support for the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, ICAN says, should be seen as an opportunity for action.

U.S. universities must reconsider connections to the nuclear weapons complex due to the devastating humanitarian and environmental impacts of nuclear weapons and because current U.S. policies make their use more likely,” says the report.

A first step is for schools to be more transparent about their involvement in the nuclear weapons complex but that’s not enough. “Universities would not willingly participate today in research enabling the production of chemical and biological weapons. Nuclear weapons are morally equivalent to these other weapons of mass destruction.”

Students and faculty can take action as well. ICAN suggests sharing the report to increase awareness, demanding the institutions make their research transparent, and calling on the schools to become part of the effort to  ban nuclear weapons by dropping their involvement.

November 16, 2019 Posted by | Education, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

USA universities in the money as they help develop nuclear weapons

UNIVERSITIES ACROSS AMERICA PROFIT FROM DEVELOPING NUCLEAR WEAPONS. IT’S UNCONSCIONABLE,   BEATRICE FIHN ON 11/13/19 Americans like a good comeback story, but the recent revitalization of the nuclear arms race is not one to be cheered. President Trump plans to charge the American taxpayer nearly $100,000 a minute to expand the nation’s nuclear weapons capabilities.Other nuclear-armed countries are doing the same.

A new generation of nuclear weapons requires a new generation of workers to develop and maintain these weapons of mass destruction. The National Nuclear Security Administration reported to Congress that 40 percent of its workforce will be eligible to retire in the next five years.The U.S. government and its contractors have turned to the nation’s universities to provide this human capital. A new report documents formal ties between nearly 50 college campuses and the nuclear weapons complex.

The extent to which universities have joined this endeavor is surprising. Supporting weapons of mass destruction does not show up in any university mission statements. In fact, it’s often the opposite: universities like to talk about bringing the benefits of knowledge to a global community.

The dangers posed by nuclear weapons are clear. Yet universities still choose to support them anyway. Students and faculty now face a choice. They can become the next generation of weapons scientists. Or they can refuse to be complicit in this scheme, denying research partnerships or internships at nuclear weapons labs.Currently, universities across the country receive millions and in some cases billions of dollars to support nuclear weapons development. Universities directly manage nuclear weapons labs, form institutional agreements with these labs and related production sites, pursue research partnerships with nuclear weapons scientists, and provide targeted workforce development for these facilities.

Many of the universities with more extensive connections to nuclear weapons are household names: the University of California, Texas A&M University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of New Mexico. Others, such as local technical and vocational schools, are less well-known.

Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction, just like chemical and biological weapons. They carry devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences that do not stop at national borders. Thousands still suffer from the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thousands more suffer from the effects of nuclear weapons testing in the 20th century, including in the U.S.

One Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study estimated that radioactive fallout from nuclear tests would kill an additional 11,000 Americans due to an increase in fatal cancers. The United States has paid more than $2.3 billion in compensation to individuals affected by nuclear test fallout. Those most affected by tests around the world have been the already marginalized: indigenous and colonized peoples, women and children.

Some see value in the nuclear weapons complex because it supplies thousands of jobs. These boosters fail to acknowledge the studies that demonstrate how defense spending produces fewer jobs per dollar than investment in other areas, like education, health care or infrastructure. The business of nuclear weapons does not provide jobs; it takes them away.

Our choice today is between a future without nuclear weapons or no future at all. Seventy-nine nations (and counting) have signed the 2017 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; American states and cities are voting to urge the US to join them. Universities that support nuclear weapons make the wrong choice and their communities should refuse to be complicit.

Students, faculty, alumni, and community members — who often fund these schools through their tax dollars — can also take concrete action to help their universities join the right side of history.

They can push for transparency around any ties to the nuclear weapons complex, install ethical review processes for basic or dual-purpose research funded by the complex, and prohibit classified research. They can ask University administrations to stop direct management of nuclear weapons production sites and dissolve research contracts solely related to nuclear weapons production.

University communities and administrations together can lobby the federal government to flip its funding priorities, so that nonproliferation and disarmament verification research receive more funding than weapons activities.

A society can—and should—actively debate the extent to which universities are to serve explicitly national interests. But there should be no debate when it comes to supporting weapons of mass destruction. American academia must stop enabling mass murder.

Beatrice Fihn is the Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winners.

November 14, 2019 Posted by | Education, USA | Leave a comment

UK Government propaganda for nuclear war in the 1980s

”Sinister yet pathetic’: how the UK was primed for nuclear war, A new history of the government’s cold war public information reveals a range of sometimes alarming, often ridiculous propaganda, Guardian , by Sian Cain,  30 Oct 19,  Even if you didn’t buy a copy of Protect and Survive in 1980, you may still be familiar with the UK government’s official guide to surviving nuclear war. The British public’s reaction, when they learned that their government had been making preparations for a nuclear conflict for almost three decades, was both immediate and very British: they made fun of it.The 32-page booklet, which contained instructions for civilians on how to best prepare their homes – the contents for a good “survival kit”, how to build a toilet from a chair and a bucket, and what to do with your loved ones when they died – was a unique combination of sinister and silly; societal collapse and radiation poisoning don’t really suit the bland language of bureaucrats. Previously only distributed to journalists and emergency planners, it had remained a badly kept secret until 1980, when The Times ran a campaign challenging Britain’s preparedness should the cold war turn hot. Finally, the government published it. …..

Taras Young, author of a new history titled Nuclear War in the UK, estimates he has collected 500 booklets, pamphlets and posters produced by national and local government, volunteers and businesses.

“Until you see them all in one place, it’s hard to appreciate the scale of how much of this stuff was being produced,” he says. “There was so much more going on than Protect and Survive.”…..

“They were essentially advertising campaigns. For me as a marketer, it’s like the ultimate form of marketing – can you convince people that they’re going to survive when they won’t?”

The first pamphlet distributed to the public was Civil Defence and the Atom Bomb, published in 1952. In 1955, the Strath report – a government-commissioned investigation into how Britain would cope after a nuclear war – found that the country would be left on the brink of collapse with millions dead. This made the next pamphlet, 1957’s The Hydrogen Bomb, hugely popular.

By 1963, Advising the Householder on Protection Against Nuclear Attack had a print run of 500,000 copies. Meanwhile, councils across the UK were producing localised guides that imagined nuclear war decimating their high streets, with everywhere from Hull to Bristol getting their own dedicated pamphlets……..

The dilemma for the government since the 1950s, Young says, was that they knew that their guides “weren’t necessarily particularly useful.”

“But at the same time, they had to be seen to be producing something, as they couldn’t just admit that we’d all die,” he says. “If they produce the stuff, people will criticise it as being useless. If they don’t produce it, then they’ll be criticised for not doing anything.”…….

While researching his book, he found a note by one of the civil servants preparing Protect and Survive: “It said something like, ‘We must make people believe that they can survive.’ Not that they could survive, but they needed to believe they could – that kind of sums up the whole thing. And even if you did survive, then what? You’ve survived into hell on Earth. Is there any point in living with envy of the dead?”

……… the legacy of these cold war documents is quite interesting, because it’s just meant that the government no longer communicates with the public in that way any more. They are obviously trying to avoid any public reaction whatsoever.”

• Nuclear War in the UK by Taras Young is published by Four Corners Books

October 31, 2019 Posted by | spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

Cutting through the nuclear advocacy’s nonsense – for the Philippines, nuclear benefits only Russia

The supposed cost benefits of nuclear power are completely misrepresented by the nuclear advocacy.

Only Russia will benefit if PH goes nuclear, in Press   by— 360 Feed Wire By BEN KRITZ, TMT, October 29, 2019 FOR the second time during the term of the current administration, fast-talking salesmen from Russia’s nuclear energy agency Rosatom have managed to convince a few impressionable officials here that the mighty atom is the answer to all the Philippines’ energy needs, especially if it is packaged in the product Rosatom has to offer.

The only people who will benefit from the Philippines’ adopting nuclear power will be the shareholders of Rosatom. Nuclear power is an economically and environmentally disastrous proposition for the Philippines, and no amount of persistence from the misguided nuclear advocacy can change that.

On October 17, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi announced the Department of Energy had signed a memorandum of intent with Rosatom for the latter to conduct feasibility studies on the possible deployment of so-called small modular reactors (SMRs) in the Philippines.

These reactors, which generate between 20 to 200 megawatts (MW) of power, can be mounted on floating platforms to provide electricity to island provinces, or slaved together like giant batteries to create larger land-based power plants.

Russia currently has one such floating plant in operation, a 21,000- metric ton barge carrying two 35-MW reactors and dubbed the Akademik Lomonosov. The craft, which will replace a coal plant and an old nuclear plant in Russia’s far east, can provide power to about 100,000 homes and has a crew of about 70.

The (weak) case for nuclear power

Hard on the heels of the announcement of the DoE’s agreement with Rosatom, local nuclear advocates took part in a “Stand Up for Nuclear” event held in Manila and other cities around the world on October 20. The event achieved what its organizers presumably hoped it would — the publication of a rash of news articles and opinion columns in the days following it, all touting the supposed benefits of nuclear power to the energy-challenged Philippines.

The arguments put forth in favor of nuclear power in general — which haven’t changed in years — and of SMRs in particular are rather shallow, but at first glance seem to be valid.

The benefits of nuclear power, according to its advocates, are that it does not produce harmful emissions, unlike conventional fossil-fueled power plants; it is an extremely efficient energy source, which results in lower power costs to consumers; it has a very good overall safety record, in spite of attention-grabbing disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima; and it provides reliable baseload power to augment energy from intermittent sources like solar and wind power.

SMRs are touted as a good option for countries like the Philippines without well-developed nuclear capabilities or budgets to sustain them because they are small, versatile, relatively inexpensive, and less complicated than normal-scale nuclear plants. For example, unlike a conventional pressurized water or boiling water reactor, the cooling and steam generation water flows in most SMR designs are gravity-fed. This presumably makes them immune from the sort of loss-of-coolant accidents that led to the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.

All of these arguments are very positive-sounding, enough to convince many impressionable government officials and media commentators, whom the nuclear advocacy hopes have neither the time, inclination nor capacity to look critically at the facts, which tend to be a more than a little inconvenient.

Cutting through the nonsense

The first argument that “nuclear plants do not produce harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,” is true in a very literal sense, but it is not true that nuclear plants do not contribute to harmful emissions at all, as some advocates claim. All nuclear plants emit heat and water vapor to the atmosphere at the rate of 4.4 grams CO2-equivalent per kilowatt-hour (g CO2-e/kWh) of energy produced. While this is certainly very much less than a conventional power plant, it is not zero, and compares unfavorably with solar and wind power, which actually remove water vapor and heat flux to the atmosphere at the rate of -2.2 g CO2-e/kWh.

An even bigger environmental problem with nuclear power is that any nuclear reactor uses an enormous amount of fresh water and discharges a large amount of heated wastewater.

Because of the complicated chemistry within a nuclear reactor, seawater cannot be used, and even fresh water must be “scrubbed” to remove any impurities. In a country such as the Philippines, where fresh water supplies are increasingly constrained, any nuclear power facility is a problematic option.

The second argument, that nuclear energy is extremely efficient and therefore less expensive than other forms of power, is again only literally true in a narrow context.

Uranium as a fuel is incredibly efficient; one ton of uranium has the energy content of about 80,000 tons of coal. However, to obtain useable fuel a great deal of processing is necessary, which of course comes at an energy cost, and the amount of useful uranium to be used as nuclear fuel is quickly being depleted; US reserves of uranium have virtually disappeared, and reserves elsewhere in the world are estimated to last no more than 100 years.

The supposed cost benefits of nuclear power are completely misrepresented by the nuclear advocacy. A comparison between an existing nuclear plant and an existing coal plant, for example, would show that electricity derived from nuclear power is less costly on a per-MW basis, but power costs, as Filipino consumers have long been painfully aware, include all the costs associated with building and maintaining a power plant. The proper way to calculate comparative costs is through a formula called levelized cost of energy (LCOE), which takes into account construction costs, regulatory costs, fuel costs, available subsidies, and operating costs.

This is where nuclear power completely falls apart compared to other energy alternatives.

According to the 2018 report of Lazard (the go-to source for energy cost analysis), nuclear has a high-end LCOE of $189 per megawatt hour (MWh). Coal has an LCOE of $143/MWh; utility-scale solar of between $44/MWh and $48/MWh; and wind, $56/MWh. Of the various energy sources analyzed, only gas peaking plants and rooftop solar installations had a higher LCOE than nuclear power, at $208/MWh and $287/MWh, respectively.

And Lazard’s results may be a serious underestimate of the true cost of nuclear power. In the next installment, I’ll explain further why, despite supplying about 20 percent of the world’s electricity, nuclear power is one of the worst solutions for the Philippines, or any other country for that matter

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Philippines, spinbuster | Leave a comment