Japan “will resuscitate nuclear energy, and rebuild the basis for promoting exports of infrastructure facilities,” indicating that the ministry would continue to advance nuclear power generation and further expand nuclear facilities exports.
Because the pro-nuclear Abe administration has said, “We will share our experience of the accident and lessons learned from the disaster with countries of the world,” the ministry’s report can be regarded as a prototype for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s nuclear policy.
Ministry continued promoting nuclear power right after Fukushima accident December 02, 2013 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN The industry ministry began working to continue promoting nuclear power even immediately following the disastrous meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011, sources said.
The Asahi Shimbun has obtained a copy of the ministry’s confidential internal document titled, “Toward the Renaissance of Nuclear Energy,” which was compiled in late March 2011.
The report was written by a senior ministry official familiar with nuclear power facilities and distributed to its executives involved in designing the country’s energy policy, according to the sources.
The in-house document was used as a basis to determine the nation’s future nuclear policy in the aftermath of the disaster triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, the sources said. Read more »
Japan has said the main purpose of Emperor Akihito’s ongoing visit to India was to add more ballast to the bilateral relationship.
One of the elements that would add greater depth to the ties would be a civil nuclear agreement. “We are close to a bilateral deal on the peaceful use of nuclear energy,’’ said senior Japanese diplomats accompanying the Emperor, who is on a six-day visit to India……http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nuclear-deal-with-japan-on-the-anvil/article5415157.ece
How Pakistan and China Are Strengthening Nuclear Ties http://world.time.com/2013/12/02/how-pakistan-and-china-are-strengthening-nuclear-ties/?iid=gs-main-lead
The reactors are expected to start supplying 2,200 megawatts to the grid by 2019. The complex is not the first energy investment or nuclear project in Pakistan that China has been involved with, but it will be by far the largest.
The nuclear power relationship between Pakistan and China is widely seen as a continuing effort to respond to the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, which, among other things, ended a decades-long moratorium on U.S. companies selling nuclear technology to India, despite India not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The move rankled Pakistan, which has also not signed the treaty and worries about a nuclear buildup by a country it considers its archenemy. China, too, criticized the deal for, it asserted, undermining nonproliferation. That the U.S. was building ties with India to counterbalance China’s growing power in Asia was probably not lost on Beijing either.
biggest criticism is over ministers’ insistence that the deal agreed by the Treasury and EDF to fund the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset is not a subsidy.
“New nuclear is being subsidised and the coalition should come clean and admit it,” said Walley. “The government cannot escape that clear fact by talking about ‘support mechanisms’ and ‘insurance policies’ instead of ‘subsidies’.”
A parliamentary watchdog argued on Monday that ministers should admit they are already providing £12bn of annual subsidies to fossil fuel operations and windfarms while lining up more support for shale gas and nuclear.
The environmental audit committee (EAC) said subsidies to oil and other carbon fuels should be scaled back because of the impact on global warming, and also urged ministers to restate a previous commitment to ending fuel poverty.
A report on energy subsidies just published by the committee says the chancellor’s autumn statement later this week is an ideal chance to provide a “clear and comprehensive analysis of energy subsidies in the UK”. Read more »
EU state aid probe likely over British plan for EDF nuclear plant 7 News, December 3, 2013, By Barbara Lewis and Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU regulators are likely to open a formal investigation into whether Britain’s offer of state guarantees, to help finance a nuclear plant to be built by France’s EDF , conform with the bloc’s rules, its competition commissioner said on Monday.
Britain in October signed a deal with EDF to build a nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England and became the first European country to offer a guaranteed power price over 35 years for a new nuclear project.
“Two to three weeks ago we received notification from the UK,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told a Brussels conference organised by Eurelectric, which represents the EU electricity industry.
“We are starting to analyse what is in the British proposal. Probably we will open a formal investigation because many people are asking the same question as you do,” he said when asked whether the British proposal for 35 years of a guaranteed energy price was too long under the terms of EU rules on state aid………The Commission is revising its state aid guidelines and is expected to finalise the rules for 2014-2020 next year.
It has said they will not specifically include nuclear energy, dealing another blow to Britain’s hopes of early certainty. Instead, each project will be assessed on its own merits………http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/20120325/eu-state-aid-probe-likely-over-british-plan-for-edf-nuclear-plant/
‘Saudis, Israelis developing new ‘super Stuxnet’ against Iran nuclear program’ Rt.com, 2 Dec 13 Saudi Arabia and Israel’s Mossad intelligence division are co-conspiring to produce a computer worm “more destructive” than the Stuxnet malware to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, according to a report from the semi-official Iranian Fars news agency.
“Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency Tamir Bardo sent their representatives to a meeting in Vienna on November 24 to increase the two sides’ cooperation in intelligence and sabotage operations against Iran’s nuclear program,” an anonymous source close to the Saudi secret services told Fars over the weekend.
The source noted that one of the major methods discussed was “the production of a malware worse than…Stuxnet.”
Stuxnet, a computer worm discovered in 2010, formed the basis of a cyberattack that sabotaged Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Its complexity prompted researchers to claim that it could only have been developed by a nation state.
It was generally believed to have been developed by the US and Israel, with former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden only confirming their covert roles in an interview this July.
The intention behind the development of the new malware would be “to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran’s nuclear program.” The source expressed a desire to remain anonymous on account of the sensitivity of information being shared. The plan would need a great deal of time and funding, with a rough figure of US $1 million being given as an estimate. It was apparently welcomed by Saudi Arabia with open arms……http://rt.com/news/stuxnet-iran-nuclear-mossad-565/
Talk of building a new mixed-oxide (Mox) fuel reprocessing plant has been undermined by a report out this summer that concluded a previous Mox facility, which closed two years ago, had left taxpayers with a £2.2bn bill rather than the healthy profit that had been promised when it was first constructed.
Sellafield executives to face MPs as nuclear clean-up bill rises over £70bn http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/01/sellafield-nuclear-clean-up-cost-rises Public accounts committee to scrutinise private consortium accused of spending cash ‘like confetti’ Terry Macalister The Guardian, Monday 2 December 2013 The bill for cleaning up the huge Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria will rise even higher than its current estimated level of £70bn as operators struggle to assess the full scale of the task, according to sources close to the project.
The warning comes just days before private sector managers face a grilling from the public accounts committee, which is investigating activities at the facility.
It was hoped that the huge bill – eight times the cost of staging the London Olympics – would be capped at £70bn, but well-placed sources have told the Guardian that the operators are convinced they are still “not at the top” of the cost curve.
Sellafield is regarded as the most dangerous and polluted industrial site in western Europe, not least because it houses 120 tonnes of plutonium, the largest civilian stockpile in the world.
The cost of decommissioning the Calder Hall reactor plus a magnox fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield has been rising steeply, but the biggest task comes from “ponds” and “silos” filled with old equipment and deteriorating, highly toxic waste. Read more »
analysts at Liberum Capital argued that the guarantees offered to EDF could prove to be “economically insane”. They said by agreeing an inflation-linked price Davey had made a huge bet the cost of fossil fuels would rocket by the time Hinkley Point starts operating in 2023.
“The government cannot escape that clear fact by talking about ‘support mechanisms’ and ‘insurance policies’ instead of ‘subsidies’,” the committee said in a report.
European commission inquiry into Hinkley Point deal could delay project Brussels to look at UK state aid for nuclear power plant after government offers EDF Energy a set price for 35 years The Guardian, Tuesday 3 December 2013 The government’s deal to underwrite the £16bn Hinkley Point nuclear power station plan faces delay and possible rejection after the European commission said it was ready to launch an in-depth inquiry into the agreement.
The EU competition commissioner said Brussels was likely to investigate the deal, which guarantees a minimum power price for 35 years, to make sure it conformed with state aid rules. The commission frowns on national governments offering deals to companies that stifle competition and distort the market.
Joaquín Almunia said: “We are starting to analyse what is in the British proposal. Probably we will open a formal investigation because many people are asking the same question [whether the UK's agreement was too long].”
Energy secretary Ed Davey gave the go-ahead in October for a consortium led by France’s EDF Energy to build the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset. Its two reactors will cost £8bn each and will provide enough power to supply 7% of Britain’s homes for 60 years.
Davey agreed a minimum price of £92.50 for every megawatt hour (MWh) of energy that Hinkley Point generates – almost twice the current wholesale cost of electricity. The deal with EDF was unprecedented and made the UK the first European country to offer a set price over 35 years for a new nuclear project……..
- Almunia gave no indication of how long an investigation might take but the commission sees the government’s deal with EDF, Areva and China’s General Nuclear Power as complex and highly novel. An investigation is therefore likely to be in-depth to investigate all aspects of the proposals……..
- The government’s proposals were always likely to receive attention from the commission but Almunia’s comments suggest they will be subjected to intense scrutiny.
The UK wants the EU to accept that nuclear power should be given special status like renewable energy but Germany and Austria oppose such a move and Hinkley Point is likely to be considered like any other state aid case.
Moves by the commission to block or radically alter the nuclear deal could spark a major dispute between London and Brussels. Many Conservative MPs and constituency parties are virulently opposed toEurope‘s influence over UK policy and David Cameron has pledged a referendum on UK membership of the EU if the Tories win the 2015 election……
- The government’s case was dealt a blow a month ago when analysts at Liberum Capital argued that the guarantees offered to EDF could prove to be “economically insane”. They said by agreeing an inflation-linked price Davey had made a huge bet the cost of fossil fuels would rocket by the time Hinkley Point starts operating in 2023.
The House of Commons’ environmental audit committee has also criticised the government for refusing to admit that the Hinkley Point deal had subsidised EDF and its consortium partners.
“The government cannot escape that clear fact by talking about ‘support mechanisms’ and ‘insurance policies’ instead of ‘subsidies’,” the committee said in a report.
EDF declined to comment.http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/dec/02/european-commission-inquiry-hinkley-point-deal
“At some point, for its own security, Israel will have to take the bombs out of the basement and put them on the negotiating table.”.
Why is the U.S. okay with Israel having nuclear weapons but not Iran? WP BY MAX FISHER December 2 Iranian officials sometimes respond to accusations that Tehran is seeking a nuclear weapons capability by replying that, not only do they not want a bomb, they’d actuallylike to see a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East. Yes, this is surely in part a deflection, meant to shift attention away from concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities by not-so-subtly nodding to the one country in the region that does have nuclear weapons: Israel.
But could Iran have a point? Is there something hypocritical about the world tolerating Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which the country does not officially acknowledge but has been publicly known for decades, and yet punishing Iran with severe economic sanctions just for its suspected steps toward a weapons program? Even Saudi Arabia, which sees Iran as its implacable enemy and made its accommodations with Israel long ago, often joins Tehran’s calls for a “nuclear-free region.” And anyone not closely versed in Middle East issues might naturally wonder why the United States would accept Israeli warheads but not an Iranian program.
- This issue comes up in every lecture I give,” Joe Cirincione, president of the nuclear nonproliferation-focused Ploughshares Fund, told me. The suspicions that Israel gets special treatment because it’s Israel, and that Western countries are unfairly hard on Israel’s neighbors, tend to inform how many in the Middle East see the ongoing nuclear disputes. “It is impossible to give a nuclear policy talk in the Middle East without having the questions focus almost entirely on Israel,” Cirincione said…….. Read more »
German farmers reap benefits of harvesting renewable energy Ft.com By Jeevan Vasagar in Reussenköge , 2 Dec 13, Dirk Ketelsen is a farmer but these days most of his income comes from harvesting the wind. On Germany’s North Sea coast, where a fierce sea breeze blasts in across the polders, the generous financial support the government has poured into renewable energy has reared a crop of wind turbines as far as the eye can see.
Mr Ketelsen began using wind to generate electricity on his organic farm in 1990. The next year, Germany adopted legislation that set guaranteed tariffs for power generated from renewables as part of an effort to encourage less polluting forms of energy.
Such policies have unleashed a boom for wind, sun and other sources of renewable energy, which now account for 23 per cent of the electricity consumption of Europe’s biggest economy.
They have also proved highly lucrative for farmers like Mr Ketelsen. The tariffs set by the Renewable Energy Act, known as the EEG, not only give renewables priority access to the electricity grid – ahead of the electricity produced by traditional power plants – they ensure their owners a guaranteed return over 20 years.
“Before the EEG, we said we’ll do this for ecological reasons. Even if there’s just a little bit of profit. Then came the EEG, and it worked out very well financially,” Mr Ketelsen said.
Livestream Navajo Window Rock Uranium Film Fest Grassroots Gathering (includs video) http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/livestream-navajo-window-rock-uranium.html Live from Navajo Nation: International Uranium Film Festival, with grassroots talks and workshops Dec 2 — 4, 2013. By Brenda Norrell Censored News NAVAJO NATION – The grassroots gathering at the International Uranium Film Festival on the Navajo Nation began this morning, with talks by Native Americans battling uranium mining in their homelands. The festival will also feature 21 films, many focused on the poisoning and disease by Navajoland Cold War uranium mining, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Navajo President Ben Shelly spoke during the opening of the three day event.
President Shelly said he is still “talking” with the US about cleaning up the Church Rock, N.M., uranium tailings spill that happened in 1979. Shelly said he is still “talking” about cleaning up the Tuba City dump site too.
The Church Rock spill poisoned the region, and then flowed down the Rio Puerco toward Flagstaff, Arizona, poisoning more land and water on the Navajo Nation and causing cancer and disease. Read more »
Hitachi Announces Storage Technology for Renewable Energy Bloomberg, By Brian Wingfield - Dec 2, 2013 Hitachi Ltd. (6501) unveiled an energy-storage system that the company said will support wind and solar power and allow users to sell electricity into deregulated markets such as California.
The units can be installed on high-voltage power lines, and will be able to capture excess energy produced by wind and solar sources so it can be sold back into the network when the demand for power exceeds the supply. The systems, which include telecommunications and lithium-ion battery technologies developed by Tokyo-based Hitachi, will also minimize volatility on the power grid, company officials said today at a press conference in Washington.
“As the use of renewable energy expands, stabilization has become a very important priority,” Masaaki Nomoto, general manager for the company’s transmission and distribution systems division, said through a translator. He said the potential customers for the technology will include anyone who wants to sell power into the market, not just utilities……http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-02/hitachi-announces-storage-technology-for-renewable-energy.html
Workers can only spend a few hours at the reactor site before they reach the maximum radioactive exposure limit, and work is thus progressing at a snail’s pace
Despite the incredible lengths required to build the structure, it’s still only a band-aid
This Massive Steel Structure Will Entomb Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 (GREAT PHOTOS) http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/11/this-massive-steel-arch-will-entomb-chernobyls-reactor-4/ KELSEY CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN 30 NOVEMBER 2013 When an unexpected power surge sparked the world’s worst nuclear accident in Chernobyl, nearly a quarter of a million construction workers risked their lives to build an ad hoc “sarcophagus” of concrete around the stricken reactor. It was a stop-gap measure — and now, almost 30 years later, one of the biggest engineering projects in history is underway to protect it.
The BBC reports on the $US2 billion project to protect the decaying metal sarcophagus, using an even larger metal shield called the New Safe Confinement, or NSC. In simple terms, the NSC is a massive steel archway that is designed to protect the surrounding region if the 27-year-old sarcophagus eventually collapses. Read more »
serious questions were raised last year after Walter Tamosaitis, one of the scientific chiefs of the project, disclosed that the innovative technology for mixing the waste in processing tanks could cause dangerous buildups of explosive hydrogen gas and might allow plutonium clumps to form.
Doubts grow about plan to dispose of Hanford’s radioactive waste, LA Times 28 Nov 13 Experts raise concerns about the complex technology intended to turn 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge at the former Hanford nuclear facility into glass and prepare it for safe burial. By Ralph Vartabedian November 29, 2013, RICHLAND, Wash. — On a wind-swept plateau, underground steel tanks that hold the nation’s most deadly radioactive waste are slowly rotting. The soil deep under the desert brush is being fouled with plutonium, cesium and other material so toxic that it could deliver a lethal dose of radiation to a nearby person in minutes.
The aging tanks at the former Hanford nuclear weapons complex contain 56 million gallons of sludge, the byproduct of several decades of nuclear weapons production, and they represent one of the nation’s most treacherous environmental threats.
Energy Department officials have repeatedly assured the public that they have the advanced technology needed to safely dispose of the waste. An industrial city has been under development here for 24 years, designed to transform the sludge into solid glass and prepare it for permanent burial.
But with $13 billion already spent, there are serious doubts that the highly complex technology will even work or that the current plan can clean up all the waste. Alarmed at warnings raised by outside experts and some of the project’s own engineers, Department of Energy officials last year ordered a halt to construction on the most important parts of the waste treatment plant.
“They are missing one important target after another,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “It feels like we are going around in circles.”……….
Many of the problems stem from the decision to launch construction of the plant even before engineers had completed the design. The job of turning waste as thick as peanut butter into glass is at the leading edge of nuclear chemistry, a job made difficult by the complex mixture of wastes that were fed into the underground tanks by some of the nation’s largest industrial corporations under a cloak of government secrecy.
The basic plan is to pump the waste into a pre-treatment plant, a factory larger than a football field and 12 stories tall, that would filter and chemically separate the waste into two streams of high- and low-level radioactivity. Then, two other plants would “vitrify,” or glassify, the waste. One would produce highly radioactive glass destined for a future geological repository, and the other a lower radioactive glass that could be buried at Hanford.
But serious questions were raised last year after Walter Tamosaitis, one of the scientific chiefs of the project, disclosed that the innovative technology for mixing the waste in processing tanks could cause dangerous buildups of explosive hydrogen gas and might allow plutonium clumps to form……. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-hanford-nuclear-risks-20131130,0,5013027.story#axzz2m8Dynzbj
Canada wants relaxation in India’s nuclear liabilities rules THE HINDU, 1 Dec 13 Unless the provisions regarding a plant operators’ liabilities in case of nuclear damages are relaxed, foreign companies will not come in a big way, a senior Canadian government official has said.
“The way the liability has been framed in the Civil Nuclear Liability Act deviates from the global standards and it is our view if it is not modified, it is hard to see any foreign supplier coming in a big way to India,” Canadian consulate general Richard Bale told PTI on the sidelines of the nuclear summit here over the weekend.
As per the Act, an operator of a nuclear plant (so far only NPCIL) will be liable for damages worth up to Rs. 1,500 crore. However, there is a provision for the right of recourse for the operator. If written into the contract, the operator can claim the liabilities from the manufacturer and supplier. Most of the suppliers, domestic as well as international, are concerned over whether they will have to bear over Rs. 1,500 crore towards in the event of nuclear disaster.
“It is the government’s prerogative to determine what the public policy should be. But on the one hand the government is saying it wants to expand the nuclear power programme, on the other they have put in place a framework that makes it difficult to achieve that goal,” Mr. Bale said…… http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/canada-wants-relaxation-in-indias-nuclear-liabilities-rules/article5410644.ece
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