nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

The nuclear industry and endlesss growth in energy use – theme for June 2017

The nuclear lobby boasts about meeting the planet’s ever-growing need for electricity. “Innovation” is the catch phrase – supposed to be always beneficial. Well, yes, – much innovative technology is beneficial: much of it takes over arduous and monotonous work, much of it increases safety, much of it actually reduces energy use.

But not all new technology is actually beneficial, and some of it increases energy use.

Take, for example, the use of robots .  Power is used in the mining and manufacture of materials (steel, cast ironand aluminum) to make robots.  Electricity is needed for their function, for maintenance and repair. Eventually robots become wastes, like all obsolete machines, energy again used in discarding them..

Leaving aside that major argument about jobs, let’s examine, as an example,  the use of robots in health and social care. Already used in Japan, and Europe, robots provide some nursing services and  “elderly social care” that assists old people at home or in nursing homes.   Some robots, such as Japan’s “Nadine” (below) have been made “personal”. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

BUT – I assert here, (yes, you’re right- I don’t have any evidence) that old people, (like all people) need that human touch, that human interaction, and robots simply do not meet that need. And then, there’s the robot baby-sitter. Same thing.

So – these are examples of robots, with deeply unsatisfying results, using up electricity, that take away jobs that many workers find satisfying.

With society’s problems of increasing obesity and lack of exercise, there is surely a question about jobs, that humans do well and enjoy, and in which human energy is expended, but which are taken over by electricity-guzzling robots.

The new nukes lobby bleats about being part of an “innovation revolution”. But “innovation” is not in itself necessarily good –   not if it just means de-skilling people, increasing energy use, just in order to increase business profits.

June 4, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, social effects | 2 Comments

Nuclear power and THE CONSUMER SOCIETY – theme for June 2017

The American nuclear front group The Breakthrough Institute has recently been in South Australia, along with South Australia’s own favourite nuclear zealot, Ben Heard, and his own nuclear front group Bright New World.  They were touting  -the gospel of the need for endless, escalating use of electricity.  The is – apart from putting across the myths of  “nuclear waste solution” “climate change solution”, “clean energy and “cheap energy” –   the theme of how Australia can be a global moral leader in helping the under-developed nations, via New Nukes.

I think that’s the biggest flaw in their mythology – that the world needs to ever consume more :”goods” and more electricity –  presumably until human society decides to spread all that further – on Mars.

Endless economic growth,  endless producing of things, endless buying of things, endless energy use, endless creation of wastes – this is the way that we humans run our lives, and our planet.

But the planet can’t take it, and neither can we.

It seemed OK, when the Western world could exploit its own indigenous areas, and the “Third World” –    the mess made by digging things up, leaving wastes, throwing stuff away – all this could go into the land and waterways of remote “undeveloped” peoples.

But we’ve run out of “undeveloped” lands and peoples. Now it’s becoming the Asian, African, South American century. They’ve become the disciples of the Western religion of materialism – now also getting cars, big houses, wanting it all, wanting more stuff.

Where do we all put the poisonous end products of our “civilised” consumption?   Into the planet’s air, waterways, land and oceans.   As we poison our planet, we poison our own life support system.

There is an alternative lifestyle – an old-fashioned one – the CONSERVER SOCIETY. It is still practised by many indigenous peoples. We’d better learn from them – and fast!

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | 7 Comments

The nuclear industry and the concept of ENOUGH – theme for June 2017

To the nuclear industry the concept of ENOUGH is anathema. If you saw their slick advertising film “Pandora’s Promise” you would note that their major theme is endless GROWTH that will perpetually require ENDLESS ENERGY.

The nuclear industry’s shills, and there are many of them, love to portray the anti-nuclear movement as wanting to send people back to living in a “dark ages” style.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Genuine environmentalists want all people to have a life of more light, of reasonable comfort and leisure time, of enough of the good things of this world, rather than of too much.

It’s time that governments, bankers, industry leaders woke up to the reality that the world economy is threatened by growth, threatened by the accelerating destruction of this planet’s  air, water, land, and biodiversity. The destroyer is the growing human population and its growing consumption of ever more unnecessary products and unnecessary energy use.

It’s time that people stepped away from endless individualistic  consumption, and towards a reasonable life of more cooperation, of working less hours. It’s time to move from our suicidal consumer culture, to a conserver culture.

 

 

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons industry needs “peaceful nukes” to provide it with trained experts – theme for May 17

The nuclear weapons industry needs to maintain a troop of experts, and to attract young men and women. The new gee-whiz “renaissance” for Generation IV forms just such an attraction. The support for new nukes includes generous funding for universities in USA and Britain. Whether that support comes from government or from industry hardly matters. The nuclear weapons industry benefits from an assured supply of nuclear physicists and chemists whether their training is supposed to be for new nuclear power, nuclear medicine, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.

No doubt the global nuclear industry is very busily trying to influence academia. The most glaring example of this in the English-speaking world, is the University of Saskatchewan funded by Saskatchewan government and nuclear industry to develop SMRs. Other American examples – University of Missouri, and 29 other universities.  In Britain, there’s University College London, Cambridge University’s funding from nuclear weapons industry ,  University of Bristol ‘s funding from secretive British organisation The Atomic Weapons Establishment. In Japan, it’s civil-military cooperation in Japanese universities. Even inAustralia they set up Adelaide’s University College London (UCL) -pro nuclear research funded by nuclear interests.

May 6, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, employment, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New nuclear power essentially connected to nuclear weapons – theme for May 2017

The “new nuclear” lobby spruiks Generation IV nuclear reactors as helping prevent nuclear weapons proliferation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are two reasons why the development of Generation IV nuclear reactors promotes nuclear proliferation.

  1. Every new nuclear reactor, of whatever kind, brings the risk of being used for nuclear weapons.
  2. The nuclear weapons industry badly needs a new “nuclear renaissance” for the continuing research, training education of nuclear experts.

This week, I’ll outline that first reason.

All nuclear power concepts, including Gen IVs, connect to  to the proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)  For example, Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) would breed their own fuel (plutonium-239) from uranium-238 from depleted uranium. Theoretically, the process would make it very difficult or impossible to use the plutonium directly in nuclear weapons. But a special cycle could be used to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Thorium fuelled reactors could also be used to irradiate uranium to produce weapon grade plutonium. The Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) or plutonium, used to start the thorium reactor, could be diverted for weapons production.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)  retain all the risks associated with supplying, maintaining, safeguarding, and dismantling large nuclear reactors, including weapons risks,  – only now those risks would be multiplied and decentralised. Although proponents of small reactors argue that stealing fissile material from the reactors is near impossible (via features such as a sealed core and the ability to bury the core underground), the risk is still higher than that of a large reactor. In addition, the smaller facilities required (e.g. containment structures) mean that attacks intending to destroy plants and spread nuclear waste may be more of a danger.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

International politics – and nuclear issues – theme for April 2017

Most of the world is busy commending Donald Trump’s American unilateral military action against Syria, undertaken with no Congressional authority, and with no indication of what the next step might be. Trump must be basking in all this global attention.

Meanwhile, in a quieter and much less publicised process, some 123 nations were represented in the United Nations talks in New York, planning for a nuclear weapons ban treaty

Setsuko Thurlow, survivor of nuclear bombing of Hiroshima

It’s interesting to reflect on aspects of these two processes. The decision to send 50 cruise missiles to bomb a Syrian military site was taken in a room full of men of the most powerful nation in the world. There was one woman there. She got in presumably because she can speak Arabic, and none of the men could.

The careful deliberations at the UN were discussed by all those smaller, unimportant, countries. The big nuclear guys were conspicuously absent – USA, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan,  and their dependent allies, such as South Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia .

Indeed,proceedings were led by small nations – e.g Costa Rica – which doesn’t even have an army!

If that wasn’t unusual enough – in these discussions, women took an active, even a leading, part.   Makes you ponder on just who should be running this world.

April 9, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | 1 Comment

The nuclear industry and politics international- theme for April 2017

The United Nations has just held the first of two global summits to negotiate “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.   Sponsored by 57 nations, and with 125 nations represented. But the nuclear weapons nations did not participate.

Does this mean that the conference is meaningless? Perhaps. Yet, increasingly, public opinion supports nuclear disarmament, and those governments are being challenged, to explain their support for nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, it is something of a turbulent time in international politics, with elections in European nations, with UK and “Brexit” , with North Korea a continuing nuclear weapons worry, and with the unpredictability of USA’s President Trump, and his belligerent attitude to China. In this political climate, the risk of nuclear war continues to grow.

The other side of the nuclear story – “the peaceful nuke” is looking unsustainable. Globally, it’s in decline. Even in the nuclear poster boy China, the industry is now slowing, perhaps stalling.

Yet the somewhat frenzied promotion of nuclear power goes on. Why? Perhaps because it is uneconomic in the home country, so it’s imperative to sell it off to other countries. Perhaps because non-nuclear countries in south Asia, the Middle East, Africa, covet nuclear weapons – and “peaceful” nuclear power is the first step towards nuclear weapons.

It really is time that civil society of every country prevailed, over the militaristic leaders of nations, who are beholden to the nuclear weapons industry. Intelligent military personnel know that there will be no winners in a nuclear war. And nuclear weapons are useless against the suicidal individual terrorists, who now frighten the world.

It is time that civil society rejected the dirty dangerous, (and super expensive) “peaceful” nuclear industry, including those billionaire zealots for geewhiz “new nukes”.  Global energies, talents and funds, are needed for truly beneficial technologies in energy efficiency and clean renewables.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Media sucks – especially on nuclear issues – theme for March 2017

On 6   March 2017, The Daily Source, Global Social Justice News,  published Current Problems in the Media, and discussed these under a number of headings. Many of those headings can be adopted for a critique of how the media fails in covering climate, and especially, nuclear news:

High levels of inaccuracies…. Sensationalism……Poor coverage of important issues: Information on Fukushima is often so inadequate that  it amounts inaccuracy, minimising the severity of the problem. At the same time, some of the more sensational anti-nuclear stories are also inaccurate.

The media’s short attention span…..“the issue attention cycle”..”news media suddenly notice a serious problem, such as Fukushima, declare it a crisis: next they realize the problem will not be easily fixed and will be costly,….finally, they ignore the problem.

The media does not cover itself ….”journalism in America has become more slipshod and reckless, at times promiscuous…. Every journalist surely also knows that the old-time standards…have been weakened if not discarded. [This surely applies to coverage of health effects of nuclear industry]  Most of us in the business, however, stand by as mere observers….If this were happening in any other profession or power center in American life, the media would be all over the story, holding the offending institution up to a probing light. …”Sydney Schanberg

media-sucks

Focus on profit margins, not serving public………. “As a loyal American, trained as a journalist some 45 years ago, I am convinced that journalists in the U.S. feel increasingly trapped between their professional values and the marketing/profits mentality so evident now everywhere in the news industry. The old professional values urge them to dig, investigate and bring to the light of day the relevant facts and issues, while the market/profit mentality asks, ‘Is it worth it? Do enough people care?’

It seems clear enough that the market/profit mentality has won out, especially in electronic news, and to a considerable extent in the print media. ..” Margaret T. Gordon, a professor of news media and public policy at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington

[As to nuclear issues, it must be far easier for news media to accept the sophisticated handouts prepared by the nuclear lobby, than to pay investigative journalists to do thorough research. This applies especially to covreage of new nuclear technologies]

A  ray of light.  Nonprofit media organizations rate far higher on educating the public than for-profit entities [Readers of this site must have noticed  how much more informative on nuclear issues are many not- for- profit groups, than much of the mainstream media]

March 6, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, media | Leave a comment

Media and nuclear – theme for March 2017

Today’s news media is a smorgasbord of online blogs,Facebook. Twitter, Youtube, Linked-In and a hundred other online sites. Oh, and yes, there are still some online, and even print, newspapers. You remember those last. They employed reputable investigative journalists, who did fact-checking about their news sources.

With journalists dropping off employment like flies, anyone can write anything – no fact-checking needed. It might be fabricated.  It ‘s likely to be biased and inaccurate.
The “old media” – newspapers, radio, TV have long been vulnerable to uncritically disseminating propaganda articles from industry. Even more so, now, as they struggle financially. Industry handouts are much cheaper than real  journalism. That situation is a boon to the nuclear lobby.
social-media-1The “new media” is also a boon to the nuclear industry. They already pay lobbyists,Twitter and Facebook users, and especially Youtube-ers to daily spin out propaganda items by the hundreds. Nuclear lobbyists make use of “bots” to send  tweets in multiples, which actually come from just one software programme. At the same time, nuclear companies continue to produce glossy, expensive, sophisticated films and TV series. Their latest effort will hit the cinemas soon –  The New Fire.
As if this media revolution were not enough, the nuclear industry now receives a new bonus, the  rise of fascism, pioneered trump-twitterby Donald Trump, and perhaps soon to hit Europe and other countries. With an uncanny and Goebbels-like ability to home in on the right places in the media landscape, Trump makes brilliant use of  Twitter. Doesn’t matter if his tweets are lies – they are regurgitated across the world, and believed in by many.
Like all dictators, Trump’s first attack is on the media. Any journalism that Trump doesn’t like is “Fake Press”.  Reputable credible news sources like CNN and New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico, the BBC, Huffington Post and BuzzFeed News. are now “enemies of the people” , and banned from White House media briefings. Instead, Trump trump-puppet-of-weapons-makerscrony publications like Breitbart are welcomed.
What does this mean for the nuclear industry? Well. probably Trump-dominated media will be a positive for them. Let’s not forget, Donald Trump is in power, for now, under suffrance from the Republican Party on behalf of the richest industrialists.
What does it all mean for us, writers and readers who seek genuine information?
Judith Donath of CNN said it for me:

“help promote a culture that reveres veracity. Check your sources before you post anything. Support newspapers and other organizations that do good, reliable reporting. Discourage people in your own community when they promote stories that feel good to you, but are, alas, untrue. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/20/opinions/fake-news-stories-thrive-donath/

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, media | 1 Comment

The economic disaster that is the nuclear industry – theme for February 2016

Tax - payers

A bunch of American billionaires is trying to save the astronomically expensive nuclear industry – by getting taxpayers to pay for even more astronomically costly “little new nukes”.

Meanwhile in China,  France UK, South Korea – and even in America, governments are desperately propping up the super costly “big old nukes’ .

In a world where charlatan Donald Trump can become USA President – the nuclear salestext-SMRsmen might well think  that any fraud can be perpetrated on the public.

But not for long.

The genuinely clean energy transition is under way world-wide, andpeaceful-nuke becoming ever cheaper.

The “peaceful” nuclear industry is intrinsically linked to the multi $billion nuclear weapons industry. Yet even the nuclear weapons industry is under threat, with the coming UN nuclear  disarmament conference.

Even if concern for the public good does not stop the toxic nuclear industry – the unaffordable economic costs eventually will

January 21, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Nuclear Economic realities – theme for February2017

ECONOMIC REALITIES 1The world is waking up to the unaffordable costs of the nuclear fuel chain.

Forget health, environment, safety, future generations, weapons proliferation – today’s  killer of the nuclear industry is that good old reliable thing – the exorbitant MONEY that is required

Are “developing” countries really buying the nuclear lobby’s advertising drivel?  Is China really on a nuclear build spree? Is Australia really going to “embrace” the nuclear fuel chain  and become the planet’s nuclear toilet?

The nuclear lobby , like everyone else, knows that the game is over as soon as the next radioactive catastrophe occurs. That’s predicted as 50% probability before 2050.  It could be this week.   That’s a big reason why the nuclear lobby is in such a panic to lock in contracts to buy its toxic products – while the going’s good.

Only tax-payers will fund nuclear facilities, despite the drivel from democracies about private enterprise. Russia, China are more honest about it – the State owns the nuclear companies.  And they’re all so keen to export the technology to other countries. Heck! Russia even pays for them to buy the stuff.

The nuke industry is in trouble – In USA the nuclear industry is a thing of the past. Investors flee Nordic nuclear company Vattenfall.  Finland pulls out of building Olkiluoto 4 nuclear reactor. AREVA teeters on bankruptcy.

A small number of nuclear enthusiasts, with more money than common sense, now pay journalists to advertise “new nukes’, especially Small Modular Nuclear Reactors. Of course, their plan is for taxpayers to cough up – for fleets of even more expensive nuclear gimmicks.

 

 

January 16, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | 3 Comments

Transition to renewable energy – theme for January 2017

This transition is well underway. Renewable energy is becoming ever cheaper.  It is now the time to consider whether perhaps renewable energy should not be so cheap.  This is the age-old debate between quantity and quality.  Should the world have so much more renewable energy, or so much better renewable energy?  But then perhaps it can have both.

energy-transition

The whole point of renewable energy is that it is clean. And, for sure, the major fuels – sun and wind – are undoubtedly clean. However, renewable energy does require some components – rare earths – that certainly have a dirty radioactive  history, and may still have a dirty radioactive present.

rare-earths-pollution-ChinaTwo notorious historic examples of pollution from the production of rare earths are the Bukit Merah  project in Malaysia , and China’s project in Inner Mongolia

China is now controlling   rare earths’ production in a cleaner way.  but it would be naïve and simplistic to assume that its pollution problems have completely gone away.

 

3 main approaches are being taken to this problem:

rare-earth-recyclingDesign for recycling
. This is particularly appropriate for wind turbines.

Reduction in consumption of rare earths . This is not applicable to renewable energy, but rather to the rampant and wasteful  consumption of modern electronic gadgets –  often unnecessary, all too often a part of our throwaway culture. http://chinawaterrisk.org/resources/analysis-reviews/can-we-build-a-clean-smart-future-on-toxic-rare-earths/

Design for green technologies that don’t require rare earths

clean-technology Of course, like all modern industrial technologies, mining and manufacture and transport  of renewables do mean environmental disturbance.  But this is a balancing act, considering the environmental benefits of renewable energy.

The nuclear lobby pretends that renewable energy is environmentally dirty. In the 21st Century, it is vital that we acknowledge environmental problems, including that fact of radioactive waste from rare earths, and make sure that the production processes are clean, even if this adds to their cost.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

The world moves to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency – theme for January 2017

renewable_energyIt seems impossible for petrol heads coal and gas heads, and especially nuke-heads to get their heads around this – BUT – renewable energy and energy efficency ARE HAPPENING  – world -wide, in both big ways, and small ways.

It must be tough, when you’re addicted to such a complex , complicated, and expensive technology as nuclear power – as well as addicted to the money you get from being involved in this business –  it must be tough to consider the reality that the fuels for solar and wind energy are FREE, and so is the energy conservation from good design in energy efficiency.energy-efficiency

 

 

 

As Dr Helen Caldicott pointed out, long ago, if they could put a blanket around the sun and sell holes, they would.

The out-dated energy systems of the past – nuclear,coal, gas, are looking more
and more like unwieldy and costly dinosaurs, as the world wakes up to the diversity and flexibility of 21st Century clean energy systems.

The nuclear lobby now tries its last ditch promotional pipe-dream – Small Nuclear Reactors – that in fact would rely on the continuation of the old big ones.

 

January 7, 2017 Posted by | Christina's themes, renewable | 2 Comments

The future belongs to clean renewable energy, not dirty nuclear power – theme for January 2017

Solar panels bring cheap energy to India

No wonder that the nuclear lobby is in a panic to spread its spin all over the world. Their lies, about curing climate change with  Small Nuclear and Big Nuclear, remain lies, no matter how fervently the nuclear industry and its media acolytes repeat them.

The nuclear panic is on, because genuinely clean energy, (and energy conservation), are developing so fast, ever cheaper and more efficient, that it’s becoming evident that New Nuclear doesn’t stand a chance.

Renewable energy is inexorably becoming cheaper, even without subsidies. Wind energy is the cheapest form of new electricity generation available today. Solar power is on the way to beating even wind.  Compared to nuclear, both forms are fast to set up, and provide many more and cleaner, jobs.

The media usually ignore decentralised renewable energy. Yet small solar and wind systems are already becoming the dominant form of new energy production. (It’s quite laughable to see the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor  (SMR) lobby pushing their propaganda all over, while literally millions of solar rooftop panels go up every day. )

This month, this website will bring a focus onto the fast-growing renewable energy movement.

In 2017 the nuclear lobby lies should not prevail.

In a world where a jury acquitted O J Simpson of a double murder, and a nation elected Donald Trump for President, it is more important than ever, for lies and dishonest spin top be exposed.

December 26, 2016 Posted by | Christina's themes, renewable | Leave a comment

Nuclear history from the archives – theme for December 2016

text-from-the-archivesThe start was America’s Manhattan project – developing the atomic bomb. Then came the horror of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then came – the shock and guilt, and the attempt to turn the nuclear project into something good – “atoms for peace’ “electricity too cheap to meter”.

Of course the costing for “cheap” nuclear energy did not include the health and environmental toll of uranium mining, which, as always, was to be paid by indigenous people. Costing also did not include the virtually eternal toll of the cleaup of radioactive trash. And of course, there would be no accidents, (no Chalk River, Rocky Flats, Windscale, Mayak, Lenin icebreaker, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Tomsk, Hanford, Fukushima Daiichi)

Meanwhile, the military-industrial complex continued its production of nuclear weapons. Other countries adopted the “peaceful nuke”, so that they could develop nuclear weapons. The nuclear arms race was underway.

skull nuclear world

FROM THE ARCHIVES   For this month, each week we’ll be posting an item from the past. Lest we forget.

The press release was drafted ahead of Operation Buffalo at Maralinga, during which troops were ordered to crawl through areas hit by fallout. It was not meant to be made public


Top secret document reveals British troops were knowingly exposed to radiation during nuclear fallout tests
mirror.co.uk, by Susie Boniface, 2 Jan 2011
, British troops WERE knowingly exposed to radiation during nuclear fallout tests, a top-secret document has finally proved. Continue reading

December 10, 2016 Posted by | Christina's themes, history | 3 Comments