The promoters of the Integral Fast Reactors’ (IFRs), Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor ( LFTR), and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) like to pretend that these geewhiz new schemes are quite different from the well known dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear power plants.
Note the way that they carefully leave out the word “nuclear” from the titles.
First of all – they depend on the whole vulnerable nuclear chain for their existence, anyway.
For now, I’ll leave aside those matters of Cost, Environment, Radioactive Wastes – and just look at the much touted Safety of these supposedly different new electricity producers.
PRISM (Power Reactor Innovative Small Modular) latest manifestation of much-hyped but non-existent IFRs: It would require converting plutonium oxide powder into a metal alloy, with uranium and zirconium. This would be a large-scale industrial activity on its own that would create large amount of plutonium contaminated salt waste. This plutonium metal would be even more vulnerable to theft for making bombs than the plutonium oxide.
Smaller versions of present-day pressurized water reactors, planned to be built underground, will be hard to get to, in an emergency situation. Pebble-bed reactors- high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) run risk of cracking of their tiny fuel kernels, and of temperature rise, resulting in Chernobyl-type graphite fire.
Thorium The risks inherent in nuclear reactors are due to the massive concentrations of radioactive materials and the huge amount of heat they produce . No matter if the fuel is based on uranium or thorium, if it’s solid or liquid. Thorium itself can’t be used as weapons fuel – but to be used in a nuclear reactor it has to be transmuted into the fissile uranium isotope, U-233, which can be used for nuclear weapons.
While the entire chain leading to these new, and non-existent reactors carries terrorism risks, the end result is just as vulnerable or more so . In the case of Small Modular Reactors this means not just a few targets for terrorism, but multiple targets. That means more safety regulations, more security guarding – and then of course – more costs too. It is a particularly vicious cycle!
I have a dream: A world free of nuclear weapons Aljazeera, Karipbek Kuyukov 28 Aug 2014 China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the US are still to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Thyroid cancer diagnosed in 104 young people in Fukushima, Asahi Shimbun August 24, 2014 By YURI OIWA/ Staff Writer The number of young people in Fukushima Prefecture who have been diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer, a disease often caused by radiation exposure, now totals 104, according to prefectural officials.
The 104 are among 300,000 young people who were aged 18 or under at the time of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and whose results of thyroid gland tests have been made available as of June 30. They were eligible for the tests administered by the prefectural government.
Of these 104, including 68 women, the number of definitive cases is 57, and one has been diagnosed with a benign tumor. The size of the tumors varies from 5 to 41 millimeters and averages 14 mm.
The average age of those diagnosed was 14.8 when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011……..
The figure can be extrapolated for comparison purposes to an average of more than 30 people per population of 100,000 having definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer.
The figure is much higher than, for example, the development rate of thyroid cancer of 1.7 people per 100,000 among late teens based on the cancer patients’ registration in Miyagi Prefecture…….http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201408240011
OSCE shares Moscow’s concerns over Ukraine’s nuclear deal with US Rt August 28, 2014 The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe shares Moscow’s concern on world nuclear safety and the potential threat that possible US atomic fuel supplies to Ukraine might cause as the country remains in crisis.
The head of the OSCE and Swiss president Didier Burkhalter says he is concerned about nuclear safety in connection with the US intention to supply the country with nuclear fuel, according to a reply letter to Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry Vladimir Gutenev.
Switzerland “shares the view concerning nuclear safety,” Burkhalter wrote, as cited by Itar-Tass,……..
In early June, Gutenev sent a letter to Burkhalter warning of security threats that European nations will face in case of a potential industrial nuclear disaster at one of Ukraine’s power plants, as Kiev is planning to sign a contract with American Westinghouse Electric Company. He highlighted the fact that Soviet made nuclear plants are not compatible with fuel assembly type TBC-W offered by the Americans, as previous trials have shown.
“The nuclear reactors in Ukraine are of Russian (Soviet) design, which are only designed for fuel that has passed a special certification. Therefore, further attempts to use non-adapted fuel assemblies of American production without a corresponding adjustment increase the risk of failure of the Ukrainian reactors and dramatically increase the likelihood of man-made disasters,” Gutenev wrote in June, calling on the OSCE to consider the issue.
In 2005, six experimental Westinghouse fuel assemblies, adopted for use in USSR-developed reactors, were tried at the South Ukraine plant in one reactor together with Russian fuel rods. By 2008 Ukraine signed a contract with Westinghouse on fuel rod supply. However, the experiment showed that Westinghouse assemblies deformed during exploitation and got stuck in the core. The reason is simple – Russian nuclear fuel rods are hexagonal in section, while Americans produce fuel assemblies of square section.
By 2012, after the failed test, exploitation of US nuclear fuel was banned in Ukraine and the fuel rods were returned to the producer “to get fixed” while Russian scientists came to the rescue. The Energoatom Company of Ukraine lost an estimated $175 million in this trial.
Now the Kiev regime has renewed the 2008 nuclear fuel deal till 2020, to replace 25 percent of the Russian-made fuel rods with an option to “provide more if needed.”…….http://rt.com/news/183248-nuclear-ukraine-threat-osce/
Westinghouse challenges South Africa nuclear contract awarded to Areva Thu Aug 28, 2014 JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Westinghouse Electric Company said on Thursday it had filed an interdict in a South African court to reopen the bidding process for a contract awarded to French rival Areva to replace six steam generators at a nuclear power plant…… Westinghouse, the world’s largest nuclear fuel producer and part of Japan’s Toshiba group, said in a statement it had gone to the Johannesburg High Court about the matter. http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFKBN0GS1LJ20140828
Better Market Your Uranium Someplace Else, Japan Appetite No Longer Huge as Before – Former PM Tells Australia Queensland Premier Campbell NewmanInternational Business Times, By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 28, 2014 Campbell Newman, premier of Australia‘s Queensland state, has gotten an advice from former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and that is to market the country’s uranium to someplace else. This, as a new study said the bill of damages from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown will zoom to over $105 billion, double than the earlier estimates released by authorities in 2011.
While Japan may restart some of its 54 idled nuclear power plants, Kan said Japan’s appetite for the yellow cake uranium won’t be “anywhere the same levels of uranium it has in the past.”
Kan was in Australia last week on a trip sponsored by the Australian Conservation Foundation. A previous staunch supporter of nuclear power, Kan is now against uranium mining, having seen the effects of the Fukushima Daiichinuclear power plant meltdowns in March 2011.
Kan was Japan’s prime minister at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster three years ago.
“Even if some did restart it would be practically impossible to return to the kind of levels of operation that were in place before the March 2011 disaster,” Brisbane Times quoted Kan………
He also stressed the appeal of the yellow cake to fuel nuclear power plants had simmered down, and thus Queensland has China as the only potential country it can export its primary product.
“The trends we are seeing in the United States and Europe – and also because of the very high costs of nuclear power – we are not seeing a growth in this market,” he said………http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/564339/20140828/uranium-japan-appetite-kan-australia-queensland-newman.htm#.VADXudJdUnk
With renewable energy growing and coal shrinking, what’s the future of nuclear plants like Palisades? Michigan Live, By Julie Mack | email@example.com on August 28, 2014 KALAMAZOO, MI “…..The jury is still very much out on how nuclear power fits into the picture, which leaves the long-term viability of Palisades Nuclear Plant near South Haven in question……. very possible the supply glut of natural gas and the increasing focus on renewables means those sectors will edge out nuclear as the go-to options for new power production.
Mark Cooper, an analyst for the Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School, maintains the proposed federal clean-energy standards won’t help the financial viability of the U.S. nuclear industry, which last opened a plant in 1989……
“Old nuclear reactors suffer from the fact that they’re not particularly efficient,” he said. “The day after the (clean-energy) announcement, those old plants were just as inefficient as the day before.
“In the dynamic state of the energy markets, if you’re not growing, you’re dying,” Cooper said. “And nuclear is not growing. … It’s going extinct.”…..
Meanwhile, renewable energy in Michigan is getting a boost from a 2008 state law that requires Michigan-based utilities to have renewables as 10 percent of their power production by the end of 2015.
“The cost of renewables will drop like a rock once they reach economies of scale,” Cooper said. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy is projecting that wind-generated power will be more cost-efficient than coal and nuclear and even some types of natural gas plants by 2019……..
Wind provided 2.4 percent of Michigan’s electricity in 2013, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That’s up from 1 percent in 2012, and is enough electricity to power 300,000 Michigan households, the AWEA says.
The AWEA estimates Michigan has the potential to produce about 59,000 megawatt hours of electricity through wind power. That’s more than half of the state’s current consumption of electricity.
Shift at Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy, the dominant provider of electrical power in Southwest Michigan, seems to be casting its lot with natural gas and renewables…….. http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2014/08/pros_and_cons_of_electrical_po.html
Petition seeks closure of Diablo Canyon nuclear plant David R. Baker David R. Baker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DavidBakerSF , August 27, 2014 The environmental group that helped shut down the San Onofre nuclear plant last year is now using the same tactic in a bid to close California’s last nuclear power plant, PG&E’s Diablo Canyon.
The plant, near San Luis Obispo, risks catastrophic failure during an earthquake and should be shuttered pending a public review of its safety, according to a petition that Friends of the Earth filed with federal regulators Tuesday.
The group filed the petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, arguing that Diablo’s design may not be strong enough to withstand earthquakes from fault lines that nearly surround the plant. As proof, the environmentalists cite a recently disclosed report from a former federal inspector at the plant who reached the same conclusion.
Earthquake fears have long shadowed the plant, which opened in 1985 after years of protests. Several fault lines were found only after work on the plant began, with the latest discovery coming in 2008.
Diablo’s operating license requires that it be able to shut down safely following a major quake. But the petition argues that nearby faults are capable of much stronger shaking than Diablo’s design anticipated, rendering the license invalid.
“PG&E cannot run this reactor without a valid license, and they don’t have one,” said Damon Moglen, senior strategic adviser for Friends of the Earth. “There is nobody in this country, PG&E included, who would want to build a reactor today at Diablo Canyon. It would never pass muster.”
It mirrors the strategy the environmental group used to help force the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant in San Diego County…….Friends of Earth now wants PG&E to seek a license amendment to continue running Diablo.
“They now know that the ground motion of these faults is greater than is contained in their license,” Moglen said. “I think the argument here is extremely straightforward.”
The move follows the disclosure of a 2013 document written by a former NRC inspector stationed at the plant. The inspector, Michael Peck, recommended shutting down Diablo until the commission determined whether the plant’s equipment could survive higher seismic stress levels.
“Continued reactor operation outside the bounds of the NRC approved safety analyses challenges the presumption of nuclear safety,” Peck wrote.
Peck’s opinion was revealed by the Associated Press on Monday, touching off a fresh round of criticism of the plant. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, promised a public hearing into the matter………http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Petition-seeks-closure-of-Diablo-Canyon-nuclear-5714455.php
they must also stop making this radioactive trash
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee to fight proposed Canadian nuclear waste facility on shores of Lake Huron M Live, By Sam Easter | email@example.com on August 28, 2014 BAY CITY, MI — Standing at the helm of the tall ship Appledore IV, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee said the schooner based in downtown Bay City was the “perfect” place to make a few points about protecting the Great Lakes from nuclear waste.
Kildee spoke during the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 28, addressing plans by Ontario Power Generation to build a storage facility for low- to intermediate-level nuclear waste at a proposed underground facility near Kincardine, Ontario.
“Canada is a friend, but it is a country with vast land mass, and I’m sure that the best place for a nuclear storage facility cannot be less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron,” he said, regardless of whether officials say it’s scientifically sound. A point of contention among Michigan’s state and federal legislators for at least a year, the proposed facililty has also met strong opposition from local governments — officials from Bay County and Essexville both passed resolutions opposing the facility this month.
Kildee on Thursday announced he plant to introduce a Congressional resolution when legislators return from recess on Monday, Sept. 8, that — while lacking regulatory power — would voice the opinion of Congress on the matter. The resolution states that 40 million people in both countries depend on the Great Lakes’ drinking water, and that a nuclear spill “could have lasting and severely adverse environmental, health and economic impacts on the Great Lakes.”
If adopted, the resolution would discourage the Canadian government from building a nuclear storage site in the Great Lakes Basin and urge both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to work with their Canadian counterparts to find an alternate location……..
Multiple officials were present for Kildee’s announcement, including Laura Ogar, Bay County director of environmental affairs and community development, as well as Terry Miller, chairman of the local environmental group Lone Tree Council.
Shirley Roberts is the executive director of BaySail, which owns and operates the Appledore. She said that the Appledore was an appropriate place for the presentation, and that she support’s Kildee’s fight against the facility.
“I have grave concerns about the concept,” she said. http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2014/08/us_rep_dan_kildee_announces_pl.html
Construction time uncertain for Ga. nuclear plant Star Telegram, Aug. 28, 2014 BY RAY HENRY Associated Press ATLANTA — Georgia Power said its $6.7 billion budget to build a new nuclear plant is holding steady, but it reported Thursday that builders face “challenges” sticking to the construction schedule and costs could change in the future…….Georgia Power has so far spent $2.8 billion on the project, according to company filings. The other owners, Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the city of Dalton, do not report their spending to the Public Service Commission.
The latest cost estimates are uncertain. Utility officials and regulators have previously said Georgia Power does not have a schedule from the companies designing and building the plant, Westinghouse Electric Co. and Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., that detail construction activities past the end of 2015.
“The Company expects the Contractor to employ all possible means to meet the current schedule targets; however, schedule pressures continue to challenge the project,” the report said.
Project schedules have slid since the plant was first approved. The first new reactor was supposed to start producing power in April 2016, with the second following a year later. Georgia Power has since pushed that schedule back to late 2017 and late 2018. Delays are bad for the nuclear industry and electric customers. The longer it takes to build a nuclear plant, the more Georgia Power and its co-owners must pay to finance construction and pay for other charges.
Ultimately, customers pay those expenses unless regulators intervene………
Analysts have been watching Georgia Power’s filings for any signs of additional delays or costs. The current budget does not earmark any money for resolving an ongoing lawsuit between the new plant’s owners and the firms who are designing and building it…….http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/08/28/6075221/construction-time-uncertain-for.html
Better Market Your Uranium Someplace Else, Japan Appetite No Longer Huge as Before – Former PM Tells Australia Queensland Premier Campbell Newman International Business Times, By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 28,
“……….In the research made by Kenichi Oshima, environmental economics professor at Ritsumeikan University, and Masafumi Yokemoto, professor of environment policy at Osaka City University, they said the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant tragedy will cost 11.08 trillion yen ($105 billion). The figure ballooned to include radiation clean-up and compensation to residents.
Specifically, the expenses will include
- 4.91 trillion yen ($47 billion) for compensation to residents in the affected area of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant
- 2.48 trillion yen ($23 billion) will be involved in the radiation cleanup of the territories
- 2.17 trillion yen to scrap the disaster-hit plant
- 1.06 trillion yen for the temporal storage of radioactive soil
Nevertheless, the researchers noted the amount still exclude costs for the final disposal of radioactive substances, compensation and plant decommissioning.
Oshima and Yokemoto said the cost will be shouldered by the Japanese people through taxes and utility bills.http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/564339/20140828/uranium-japan-appetite-kan-australia-queensland-newman.htm#.VADXudJdUnk
Stop worrying, and love nuclear power: Officials— CNBC Javier E. David | @TeflonGeek 28 Aug 14, Domestic energy policy has largely been co-opted by the shale revolution. Meanwhile, renewable alternatives are finding their sea legs in consumer power. Despite modest attempts to garner broader acceptance, however, atomic power continues to languish because of safety and environmental concerns.
On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a plan that allows nuclear waste to be stored on-site at active reactors—a decision mired in controversy, and one that underscores the influence of anti-nuclear arguments.
That sort of opposition has prompted the nuclear industry to go on the offensive, and roll out the big guns in an effort to rehabilitate its image. In recent months, the Nuclear Energy Institute has enlisted organized labor, as well as an array of former elected officials from both sides of the aisle, to tout the virtues of nuclear power……..
“Unfortunately we’re confronting a situation where 20-30 plants are at risk of being shut down prematurely,” out of the existing total of about 100, the New Hampshire Republican said, who sat on the Senate’s Energy Committee during his tenure……
Fuel diversity, a catchphrase among those who argue that U.S. energy supply shouldn’t be dominated solely by oil and gas, is a central theme for nuclear backers………
In spite of centrist think tanks like the Third Way who believe nuclear must be part of the energy story, the environmental lobby is steadfastly opposed to expanding existing capacity.
“We continue to believe nuclear power is not safe, and is an incredibly expensive source of electricity,” said John Coequyt, director of the international climate campaign at the Sierra Club. In an interview, he argued that efforts to expand the U.S’ nuclear footprint “will take way too long to be a solution to climate change.”
Lingering memories of Japan’s harrowing disaster in Fukushima, as well as what Coequyt called a few “near misses” here in the U.S., “pretty much killed the willingness of the core of the environmental movement to consider [nuclear expansion] as a solid political strategy.”
Many nuclear plant opponents cite cost constraints as a real barrier to expansion. They may have a point: Xcel Energy is facing the ire of regulators after a five-year rebuilding project of a Minnesota plant saw its price tag balloon to $665 million, double its initial estimate.
“Nuclear reactors become incredibly unprofitable and have to shut down when they have problems they need to address,” said Coequyt. “Even leaving aside the cost, you don’t have the ability to scale like wind and solar, and both are moving incredibly quickly,” he added. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101954991#.
Cameco to shut world’s largest uranium mine in labor dispute Wed Aug 27, 2014 By Rod Nickel (Reuters) – Canadian uranium miner Cameco Corp will shut the world’s biggest uranium mine at McArthur River, Saskatchewan on Saturday, barring a last-minute labor settlement, after the United Steelworkers union said workers would go on strike……
Cameco shares fell 2.8 percent in Toronto and 2.2 percent in New York in morning trading.
Uranium spot prices are near a nine-year low, as Japan, previously a major producer of nuclear-fueled electricity, has been slow to approve reactor re-starts after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in 2011……http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/27/cameco-strike-idUSL1N0QX0VF20140827
Johnson’s Russia List, jackmatlock.com – Jack Matlock – August 26, 2014 “……Neither Russia nor the United States has any right, under what is generally accepted as international law, to be involved in selecting a government in Ukraine. Russia, however, has an infinitely greater stake in that government’s orientation than has the United States and a much greater ability to affect what happens on the ground…….
We are not in a new cold war, but the participation of our political leaders in public accusations, demands, and threats has helped recreate much of that atmosphere. This acrimonious public dialogue, at times descending to little more than name calling, set off destabilizing vibrations that become amplified by feedback at each exchange……..
The spate of official name-calling seems to be abating, and that is encouraging, for only quiet, realistic diplomacy is going to steer the warring parties in Ukraine away from the disastrous course they have chosen………
The planned meetings this week by Russian and Ukrainian representatives with European and, in some instances, American diplomats provide opportunities to nudge the warring parties to end the violence and to negotiate their differences………http://russialist.org/ukraine-cool-the-rhetoric-focus-on-the-outcome/
Radiological Disaster Survey in Tokyo Suburbs: 13μSv/h in Kashiwa, Chiba http://fukushimaemergencywhatcanwedo.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/radiological-disaster-survey-in-tokyo_26.html 2014-08-24 osted by dunrenard According to Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the radiation level (gamma ray) in Tokyo was 0.036 μSv/h before 311. And now with the Japan fukushima nuclear contamination Tokyo 13μSv/h.
13μSv/h is 388 times more than what the Tokyo government measures at Shinjuku, 176 times more than their measurement in Edogawa-ku.
Here is what the Tokyo government finds at their (concrete and metal) monitoring posts (some of which are conveniently located 23 meters above ground):
Radiological Disaster Survey in Tokyo Suburbs: 13μSv/h in Kashiwa, Chiba 2014-08-24
Radiation back ground level was 0.036 μSv/h in Tokyo before 311
Courtesy of Troy Livingstone and Bruce Brinkman
USA Nuclear permits to resume , as NRC renews its religious faith in a future solution to radioactive trash problem
U.S. to Resume Nuclear Permits, Relicensing on Waste Rule http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-26/u-s-to-resume-nuclear-permits-relicensing-on-waste-rule.html
The commission approved a final rule addressing the environmental effects of storing spent nuclear fuel at a plant site, satisfying a court order that it needed to consider the possibility a permanent underground waste repository may never be built in the U.S., according to a statement today.
The Court of Appeals struck down the agency’s “waste confidence” rule in June 2012, saying the regulator also needed to do further studies on spent fuel pool leaks and fires. The agency suspended final licensing decisions on new reactors as well as license renewals for plants and storage facilities while it formulated its response. That suspension will be lifted once the final storage rule becomes effective, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
“The completion of this rulemaking is an important step that will facilitate final decisions on industry licensing actions pending,” Ellen Ginsberg, general counsel for the Washington-based industry group the Nuclear Energy Institute, said in a statement.
There are currently eight applications to build reactors awaiting agency action, according to its website. About 74 percent of the 100 operating U.S. reactors have been relicensed, allowing them to operate 20 years beyond their original 40-year lifespan.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Susan Warren at email@example.comTina Davis, Robin Saponar
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