Nuclear

Students of Sustainability Conference July 8-12 Flinders University

The national Students of Sustainability conference is on again and this time in Adelaide at Flinders University 8-12 July!  Friends of the Earth just might have a surprise….

students of sustainability pic

 

Students of Sustainability (SoS) is the largest and longest running environmental & social justice conference in Australia and this year the conference will be in South Australia at Flinders University on Kaurna Country.

SoS is organised by students from the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN) and brings together environmentalists, social justice advocates and activists from all over the country to share ideas and action.

The five day conference will explore how we can act on environment and social justice issues and find solutions for change. A variety of workshops, forums, plenaries, excursions and plenty of entertainment will fill the program, plus all of your meals and on-campus camping are covered in the ticket price.

The broad spectrum of experiences, diverse people and activities involved, makes SoS a crucible for sharing ideas, visions, designs and goals on how to make positive change. If this sounds like your kind of scene, come and join academics, entrepreneurs, Aboriginal elders & delegates, change-makers, campaigners and students who are working together for people and planet.

REGISTER NOW at www.studentsofsustainability.org and take advantage of early bird ticket offers.

If you have any questions you can also ask them in the Facebook event page.

See you there! Robyn Wood robyn.wood@foe.org.au… Read more >>

Report back from the nuclear free picnic and March in March Rally

A great time was had by all on the banks of the Torrens at Bonython Park for our sushi picnic and poetry slam to honour the fourth anniversary since the ongoing Fukushima disaster started in Japan.   Friends of the Earth’s Dr Philip White spoke about Fukushima and his experience with the nuclear industry in Japan.

Here’s a picnic pic of the Conservation Councils excellent banner SA: RENEWABLE NOT RADIOACTIVE

picnic banner march 2015

and a few from the March in March rally and parade which Friends’ of the Earth Adelaide helped organise.

waste barrels on bike trailer

Vic Square Renewables Not Radioactive banner Marcy 2015

barrel and rad suits parliamnt houseRead more >>

What is the carbon footprint of renewable electricity?

As part of an analysis of the carbon footprint of nuclear power, Keith Barnham notes the footprint of renewables. The british Climate change commission (CCC) has recommended any new power stations should not exceeed 50 gCO2/kWh.

When comparing the carbon footprints of electricity-generating technologies, we need to take into account carbon dioxide emitted in all stages in the life of the generator and its fuel. Such a study is called a life cycle analysis (LCA).

There are other gases such as methane that are more dangerous greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. The most reliable LCAs take all greenhouse gases into account and present equivalent carbon dioxide emissions.

In a recent paper in Energy Policy, Daniel Nugent and Benjamin Sovacool critically reviewed the published LCAs of renewable electricity generators. All the renewable technologies came in below the 50 gCO2/kWh limit.

The lowest was large-scale hydropower with a carbon footprint one fifth of the CCC limit (10 gCO2/kWh). A close second was biogas electricity from anaerobic digestion (11 gCO2/kWh). The mean figure for wind energy is 34 gCO2/kWh, and solar PV comes in a shade under the 50g limit, at 49.9 gCO2/kWh. Bear in mind that rapidly evolving PV technology means that this last figure is contantly falling.

It’s a lot more difficult to do the calculation for nuclear power, because of the concentration of uranium affects the energy to enrich; the costs of decommissioning (dismantling and waste disposal) are poorly known. Barnham’s article goes into more detail about the wide range of estimates and their assumptions.… Read more >>

We’re not impressed with the draft terms of reference for the Nuclear Royal Commission

“This Royal Commission will be hearing evidence in a vacuum: the draft terms forbid it from considering any aspects of the industry we are familiar with (mining), and insist it consider aspects of the hypothetical future next generation reactors, which are so wonderful that no-one is building them commercially.”, said Roman Orszanski, Climate & Energy campaigner for Adelaide Friends of the Earth.

The full media release is hereRead more >>

Next Gen Nukes for the hard sell

FoE Australia’s very own Jim Green looked at the possibilities for the new generation of nuclear power reactors (since the current crop are unlikely to impress anyone), and found the kinds being spruiked by pro nuke advocates in SA have a few problems.

Integral Fast Reactors … it gets ugly moving from blueprint to backyard

Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) are a case in point. According to the lobbyists they are ready to roll, will be cheap to build and operate, couldn’t be used to feed WMD proliferation, etc. The US and UK governments have been analysing the potential of IFRs.

The UK government found that:

  • the facilities have not been industrially demonstrated;
  • waste disposal issues remain unresolved and could be further complicated if it is deemed necessary to remove sodium from spent fuel to facilitate disposal; and
  • little could be ascertained about cost since General Electric Hitachi refuses to release estimates of capital and operating costs, saying they are “commercially sensitive”.

The US government has also considered the use of IFRs (which it calls Advanced Disposition Reactors – ADR) to manage US plutonium stockpiles and concluded that:

  • the ADR approach would be more than twice as expensive as all the other options under consideration;
  • it would take 18 years to construct an ADR and associated facilities; and
  • the ADR option is associated with “significant technical risk”.

Unsurprisingly, the IFR rhetoric doesn’t match the sober assessments of the UK and US governments. As nuclear engineer Dave Lochbaum from the Union of Concerned

Scientists puts it: “The IFR looks good on paper. So good, in fact, that we should leave it on paper. For it only gets ugly in moving from blueprint to backyard.”

Small Modular Reactors … no-one actually wants to buy one

In any case, IFRs are yesterday’s news.… Read more >>