My prediction for the SBS ‘Uranium’ series was delightfully wrong!

A few weeks ago I predicted that, from the tone of the SBS documentary series “Uranium: twisting the dragon’s tail” it would not cover the new generation of breeder reactors that can eat nuclear waste. But I was wrong! Physicist Dr Derek Muller  started down the whole “nuclear waste has to be stored for 100,000 years” schtick, and even repeated that number slowly and dramatically. I was already shouting at the TV. But then a miracle!

Derek interviewed Leslie Dewan of Transatomic Power that not only mentioned nuclear reactors that eat nuclear waste, but my favourite breeder reactor, the LFTR!

But what if there was a way to use this waste? Dr Leslie Dewan is one of a new generation of nuclear engineers designing the next generation of nuclear reactor. 

Leslie: “Most nuclear waste lasts for hundreds of thousands of years, and my reactor is able to take that long lived waste and break it down and extract almost all of its remaining energy. And if you take all of that waste and put it into these reactors, you could power the entire world for about 72 years, even taking into account increasing demand.”
Derek: “How is your reactor design different?”
Leslie: “It uses a liquid fluoride salt as fuel so if you have an accident it is able to shut itself down safely. Our reactor can run entirely on nuclear waste, it can’t melt down, and it’s cheaper than coal.”

Derek (later): “Leslie thinks that her reactor is less than a decade away.”

Sadly at 51 minutes into this last episode Derek walks down the abandoned streets of Fukushima, musing.

So what should we do with uranium? As a physicist I am tempted to say it’s such a great source of power, it has such incredible energy density and so many benefits that way, how can you ignore it? But after studying it, after searching the world and following the story of uranium, the feeling that I’m left with is that it is not ready to take over. And seeing how far renewable energy has come, that suggests to me there are alternatives these days and that we don’t need to go with uranium, we don’t need to risk another place like this,’ and he waved at the Fukushima wastelands.

And yet, every year uranium treats disease and every year, saves more lives than it has ever destroyed, even including the atomic bombs! And just imagine a world where next generation reactors could produce massive amounts of clean, safe energy. We live in an age where the nuclear dragon has been unleashed, and where that leaves us remains to be seen. But there is no such thing as a future without uranium!

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Drone to kill Crown of Thorn Starfish

COTSBot will kill the Crown Of Thorn Starfish Bot! ABC September 2015 says:

Queensland researchers are close to completing work on an autonomous robot that will cruise the Great Barrier Reef and inject the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish with a toxic solution….

The robot has been 10 years in development.

Dr Dunbabin said he had to wait for technology to catch up to the initial idea.

“It’s only in the last year that we’ve been able to really hit it hard and come up with a solution that we think can really make a difference,” he said.

“We had a great vision system 10 years ago but the problem was the stuff you use to actually kill the starfish wasn’t feasible.”

The old method of killing the COTS required up to 10 injections for each starfish, but James Cook University has continued to develop the single-shot technology.

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Florida, Singapore & Tokyo under water in 100 years?

Disturbing NASA projection in this morning’s news

Sea levels are rising around the world and the latest satellite data suggests that one metre or more is unavoidable in the next 100-200 years, NASA scientists have said.

Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting faster than ever, and oceans are warming and expanding much more rapidly than they have in years past……Rising seas will have “profound impacts” around the world, NASA Earth Science Division director Michael Freilich said.

“More than 150 million people, most of them in Asia, live within one meter of present sea level,” he said….

….Low-lying US states such as Florida are at risk of disappearing, as are some of the world’s major cities such as Singapore and Tokyo.

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Thorcon ready to go with today’s technology

Because the climate emergency is so critical now, ThorCon have developed a BURNER Molten Salt Reactor that could sell electricity at 3cents / kWh, which is half the price of coal. Again, this is a BURNER that will not eat nuclear waste. Future BREEDER Molten Salt Reactors / LFTR’s can do that, and take their time with R&D to get it right.

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“Doctor” Helen Caldicott is a fraud

“Doctor” Helen Caldicott is a paediatrician, not a nuclear radiation expert. Her husband is a radiologist, but she is not. She’s a children’s doctor.

Helen debated George Monbiot on Democracy Now, and sounded like a rabid conspiracy theorist rather than a balanced, objective scientist.

Part 1

Part 2

George asked her to verify her claims, to which she merely appealed to her own book. George then committed to studying her work and her sources, and found that her books are largely self-referencing, unverified, and verging on scientific fraud. She relies on anti-UN conspiracy theories rather than peer-reviewed work! George was so alarmed he accused her of treating peer-reviewed science like a climate denialist would!

“The scarcity of references to scientific papers and the abundance of unsourced claims it contains amaze me.”

See also: “Anti Nuclear Lobby has misled us all.”

Helen replied:

George replied again, basically calling her a fraud. Check his claims! Try to verify her work! Could it be the world has been taken in by someone rabidly ranting against our safest, cleanest and most reliable alternative to coal (the real killer)?

Helen’s claims about Fukushima are entirely rabid. Yes there is a small statistical increase in the chance of cancer. A fit Japanese person that moved home to Fukushima might then have the same risk of cancer as an obese Westerner. It’s about choosing risks: very high levels of depression and suicide in evacuee communities of internally displaced people, or a mildly increased chance of cancer?

Half of her claims about nuclear power simply are not true in the first place: she appears to have a poor understanding of the very industry she rants against!

Worldwide, coal and oil and gas choke nearly 3 million people to death, which is about 2 Chernobyl’s every day!

Want to kill fewer people? Go nuclear!

Basically, I feel sorry for people that have interviewed Helen as some kind of ‘authority’, as they haven’t had the objectivity to check her qualifications, her claims, and her rabid anti-nuclear obsession. She has about as much credibility as the “Moon landing was faked” crowd. Handle her material with care! It seems to be catching.

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Blood Lions: bred for the bullet

Blood Lions Sydney

For the Love of Wildlife partnering with Blood Lions

Friday, 4 September 2015 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM (AEST)

For the Love of Wildlife is very proud to partner BLOOD LIONS for the Australian events.

Every single day in South Africa at least two to three captive bred or tame lions are being killed in canned hunts. And hundreds more are slaughtered annually for the lion bone trade.

The Blood Lions story is a compelling call to action to have these practices stopped.

Currently, almost 8 000 predators are being held in cages or confined areas, and none of this has anything to do with conservation. If we don’t act now, that number could well be over 12 000 within the next few years.

We urge everyone to Support the Campaign/Take Action/Join the Movement. You have the power to stop lions being bred for the bullet.

This is a rare and exclusive event.

Not only will you see the original version of Blood Lions, Ian Michler (lead role) and Pippa Hankinson (Producer) will be at the screening with Q&A / panel discussion after the movie – something you DON’T WANT TO MISS including Honourable Mark Pearson MP, Member of the Legislative Council (NSW).

Proudly supported by UTS.

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SBS’s “Uranium” series prediction

OK, given the way SBS’s ‘Uranium’ series is going, I predict the last episode on nuclear power will *not* discuss breeder reactors, and will conclude that nuclear power is too expensive, too dangerous, and leaves waste forever. There are Phd’s in nuclear history that don’t know about breeder reactors. Breeders are one of the most amazing scientific and engineering *facts* of history that no-one knows about. It’s like we invented a successful fusion reactor back in the 1950’s, and then buried it.

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