Nuclear

Nuclear Power – No Solution to Climate Change

There has been a lot of discussion in all media recently about nuclear power for Australia but…
is this just a distraction from the real issues around the climate crisis?

August 2019

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Renewables and storage technology can provide a far greater contribution to power supply and to climate change abatement compared to an equivalent investment in nuclear power. Peter Farley, a fellow of the Australian Institution of Engineers, wrote in January 2019: “As for nuclear the 2,200 MW Plant Vogtle [in the US] is costing US$25 billion, plus financing costs, insurance and long term waste storage. For the full cost of US$30 billion, we could build 7,000 MW of wind, 7,000 MW of tracking solar, 10,000 MW of rooftop solar, 5,000MW of pumped hydro and 5,000 MW of batteries. That is why nuclear is irrelevant in Australia.”

 

Support for nuclear power in Australia has nothing to do with energy policy – it is instead an aspect of the ‘culture wars’ driven by conservative ideologues (examples include current and former politicians Clive Palmer, Tony Abbott, Cory Bernardi, Barnaby Joyce, Mark Latham, Jim Molan, Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz, and David Leyonhjelm; and media shock-jocks such as Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and Peta Credlin). With few exceptions, those promoting nuclear power in Australia also support coal, they oppose renewables, they attack environmentalists, they deny climate change science, and they have little knowledge of energy issues and options. The Minerals Council of Australia – which has close connections with the Coalition parties – is another prominent supporter of both coal and nuclear power.

In January 2019, the Climate Council, comprising Australia’s leading climate scientists and other policy experts, issued a policy statement concluding that nuclear power plants “are not appropriate for Australia – and probably never will be”.… Read more >>

NGOs Ask Australia to Suspend Lynas’ Rare Earth Export to its Malaysian Plant

MEDIA RELEASE | Friday 16 August 2019

AUSTRALIA | Yesterday, Australian rare earth producer Lynas Corporation has been granted conditional six-month licence extension by the Malaysian Government. However, environmental and human rights non-government organisations in Australia have joined their counterparts in Malaysia in expressing grave concerns at this decision.

Lynas owns and operates a rare earth mine in Western Australia and ships lanthanide concentrate from its Mount Weld mine to Malaysia to its controversial secondary processing plant to extract rare earth oxides and carbonates for its Japanese and Chinese customers. This process leaves behind an enormous amount of toxic waste laced with thorium, uranium, heavy metals and other chemicals.

Friends of the Earth AustraliaAID/WATCH, together with Australian chapters of Malaysian BERSIH Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections and Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Melbourne (SABMOZ) have responded to a petition that has gained momentum in Malaysia demanding that Australia suspends Lynas’ rare earth export to Malaysia because Lynas has no safe disposal facility for its radioactive waste.… Read more >>

“Chernobyl” Faithfully Recreates the World’s Worst Nuclear Disaster

Some of us were adults in 1986, some of us were children or teenagers, and some of us didn’t yet exist. Because of that, we all have different memories of Chernobyl – the world’s deadliest nuclear disaster.

That didn’t stop the screenwriter Craig Mazin, or the director John Renck, from creating the five-part mini-series Chernobyl, and it didn’t stop American network HBO, and the British network Sky, from producing the series.

Chernobyl is certainly a change of pace for both Renck and Mazin. Renck had directed episodes of the TV series Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Mazin had written the Hangover and Scary Movie movie franchises.

[…]

For those who don’t know much about the disaster, the series is an eye-opener. For those who do know what happened, the series is a near-perfect recreation of the events that took place in Soviet Ukraine on the morning of April 27, 1986.

 

Mazin said that Chernobyl arose out of his interest in writing something that addressed the fact that, “We are struggling with the global war on the truth.” For each episode, Mazin has created a podcast that can be found on Youtube.

Researching for the truth

To create the series, Mazin consulted many different kinds of sources, “from government reports to first person accounts to scientific journals to historical works, photo essays.” And, he worked hard to avoid putting false drama into his scripts because as he said, “So much of what happens in the show is just shocking. It’s shocking to believe that that’s what happened.

Well, our feeling was if we started pushing the envelope on those things then we would diminish the impact of all the things that we were accurate about, so we stayed as accurate as we could.”

— full story at interestingengineering.com

Read more >>

Nuclear power exits Australia’s energy debate, enters culture wars

An update by Jim Green, June 13th

What do these politicians and ex-politicians have in common: Clive PalmerTony AbbottCory BernardiBarnaby JoyceMark LathamJim MolanCraig KellyEric Abetz, and David Leyonhjelm?

Yes, they’re all men, and all so far to the right of the political spectrum that right-wing ideologues think they are right-wing ideologues.

And they all support nuclear power. To the far-right, pro-nuclear luminaries listed above we could add the right-wing of the right-wing National Party (pretty much all of them), the Minerals Council of Australia (who lobby furiously for clean nuclear and clean coal), the Business Council of Australia, media shock-jocks Alan Jones and Peta Credlin (and others), the Murdoch media (especially The Australian newspaper), the Citizens Electoral Council, and the Institute of Public Affairs and its front group the Australian Environment Foundation.

It’s no surprise that the far-right supports nuclear power (if only because the ‘green left’ opposes it). But in Australia, support for nuclear power is increasingly marginalised to the far-right. Indeed support for nuclear power has become a sign of tribal loyalty: you support nuclear power (and coal) or you’re a cultural Marxist, and you oppose renewables and climate change action or you’re a cultural Marxist.

Support for nuclear power in Australia has ebbed in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, catastrophic costs overruns on reactor projects, and the falling costs of renewables. Dr Ziggy Switkowski used to be nuclear power’s head cheerleader in Australia and he led the Howard government’s review of nuclear power in 2006. But he said last year that “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed” and that nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables with costs rapidly shifting in favour of renewables.

Peter Farley, a fellow of the Australian Institution of Engineers, wrote in RenewEconomy earlier this year: “As for nuclear the 2,200 MW Plant Vogtle [in the US] is costing US$25 billion plus financing costs, insurance and long term waste storage.Read more >>