nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Fukushima radiation has killed two US sailors?

CBS: Now 2 US sailors dead after Fukushima radiation exposure — Doctor: Officials have to re-look at this entire situation — Reporter who served on USS Reagan: “We were done so wrong… Critical health risk to all of us onboard… People are not realizing how serious the issue is” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/cbs-2-sailors-dead-after-fukushima-radiation-exposure-reporter-served-uss-reagan-feel-like-wrong-critical-health-risk-all-onboard-feel-people-realizing-serious-issue-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

California State University, Northridge
, Nov 12, 2014: Little did [U.S. Navy veteran Kelli Serio, 25] know her service would change the way she viewed the system she vowed her loyalty to… Serio may have been affected by radiation during what she calls her “final and most personally sacrificing deployment” in Japan… at 18, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy [and] was deployed off Japan’s coast… to assist with the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear plant. While there, her carrier acted as a floating fuel station… Serio said she’ll never forget the day her captain said their water filtration system had been compromised… “I feel like we were done so wrong,” Serio said. “We were drinking the water.” Serio said she and the other 70,000 first responders have been dismissed by the government as if nothing happened out there. She wants justice…

Serio’s team-like mentality has also led to her modeling with organizations like Pin-Ups for Vets… to help bring up the morale of veterans and current soldiers [and] bring awareness to the men and women who’ve served their country through speaking engagements and visiting patients at veteran hospitals… [E]arlier this year… she met her friend and mentor, Fox News reporter Hollie McKay [who recommended] Serio for a reporter position at [breitbart.com]… Her first piece for the website was a first-hand account of and a look back at Operation Tomodachi.

Tahlequah Daily Press, Aug 7, 2014: USS Ronald Reagan… passed through radiation plumes and clouds… the ship and most of those onboard, tested positive for radiation exposure… Serio, now a broadcast journalism major at [CSUN], has recently written a column… on breitbart.com. “I feel as if people are not realizing how serious the issue is, and I would like to shed as much light on it as possible,” said Serio.

Breitbart, by Kelli Serio, Jul 23, 2014: I was onboard the USS Ronald Reagan [and went] directly through a radiation cloud. The commanding officer warned us that our water and ventilation systems had been contaminated, posing a critical health risk to all of us onboard. We were advised to refrain from showering or drinking water… Sailors worked tirelessly… while being left vulnerable to dangerous levels of radiation… most of us onboard the ship were tested for radiation exposure and many came back positive, resulting in full-body scrubdowns… [W]e were issued gas masks… myself and other junior sailors were asked to don protective garments in an effort to decontaminate the ship… Proper medical care for the victims of radiation exposure [is needed, it’s a] dire situation for many… Many of us are enduring the unfortunate consequences [and] hoping for care from the VA that appears to never arrive… we are reassured of our good health, despite the presence of mysterious and unexplained symptoms… A lack of coverage by the mainstream media has left victims without a voice… We do not want to be forgotten.

CBS San Francisco, Nov 21, 2014: Rare cancers, blindness, birth defects and now, two deaths. Hundreds of U.S. sailors… say they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation… [Steve] Simmons… began feeling weak and sick with uncontrolled fevers… Soon he was in a wheelchair, unable to walk. He says military doctors would never tell him what was wrong. “Every one of them wanted to discredit radiation as a possible cause,” Simmons said… “[There’s] evidence that the doses that were assumed to be on board the USS Reagan may have been under-reported,” said Dr. Robert Gould, a former Kaiser pathologist… “Given that there is more information that has come out, I think you would have to re-look at the entire situation,” said Dr. Gould. >> Watch the CBS broadcast here

November 28, 2014 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power outdone by renewable energy in Scotland

sun-championflag-ScotlandRenewable energy overtakes nuclear as Scotland’s top power source, Guardian,   27 Nov 14  Clean energy produced more power in Scotland than nuclear, coal or gas for the first time, in first half of 2014 industry figures show, reports BusinessGreen

Renewable energy in Scotland from wind farms, hydro power plants and other clean technologies provided the single largest source of electricity to the country for the first time, in the first half of 2014, new industry figures will show on Thursday.

Analysis by the trade body Scottish Renewables shows that renewables produced nearly one third more power than nuclear, coal or gas in the first six months of the year, generating a record 10.4 terawatt hours (TWh) during the six-month period.

The analysis was compiled by comparing Energy Trends data produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) on renewable energy output with figures produced by National Grid on coal, gas and nuclear power.

Many renewable energy sources do not feed into the National Grid, and instead are part of a local distribution network, meaning it is difficult for National Grid to compare how renewables are fairing compared to traditional sources of energy.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said the record figures marked “an historic” moment for the renewable energy industry, as well as a major milestone for the Scottish government’s plans to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020…….

Scotland’s Business, energy and tourism minister, Fergus Ewing, said the figures highlight the potential that renewable energy has to replace nuclear power.

“The fact that energy from renewables has exceeded that from nuclear in the first half of 2014, highlights the vast potential of renewable generation to provide a safe, secure and cost-effective means of electricity generation for this country, together with appropriate levels of thermal generation,” he said. “It is vital that appropriate support for renewables in Scotland is maintained following the introduction of electricity market reform in the UK.”…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/27/renewable-energy-overtakes-nuclear-as-scotlands-top-power-source

November 28, 2014 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Indian Point nuclear complex should be closed, not re-licensed, as nuclear spent fuel problem increases

reactor--Indian-Point No Yucca Mountain, and more Indian Point concerns http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/11/22/yucca-mountain-spent-nuclear-fuel-storage-stall-shut-indian-point/19288749/ Peter Schwartz November 22, 2014

Indian Point nuclear complex in Buchanan is safe, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says. But with no long-term spent fuel storage on the horizon, safety mandates a closure of the facility’s reactors that are amid relicensing.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is sending mixed signals about nuclear waste from power plants. It recently issued new rules encouraging continued long-term storage of waste on site at the plants and denied environmentalists’ contention that waste buildup at Indian Point nuclear facility in Buchanan was a problem. On the other hand, NRC recently resumed safety evaluations of a proposed national nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.

Whether that means the idea of transporting the waste to Yucca Mountain is alive again is unclear, though it’s quite clear that the NRC doesn’t consider spent fuel buildup any obstacle to continued operation of aging nuclear plants. Meanwhile, for New Yorkers and tri-state area residents, the spent fuel building up at Indian Point is a growing threat.

nuclear-spent-fuel-pool“Spent” nuclear fuel is a misnomer. It’s much more dangerous than “unspent” fuel, since it’s many times “hotter” in terms of radioactivity and thermal heat when it comes out of a reactor than when it goes in. Spent fuel rods have high concentrations of lethal isotopes like strontium 90, iodine 131 and cesium 137. They emit 1 million rems of radiation an hour a foot away, enough to kill in seconds, and release part of their energy as heat. They can’t be handled or moved until they’ve cooled in special storage pools for at least five years (spent “High Burnup Fuel” has twice the radioactivity of other spent fuel, and can’t be moved from the pools for 20 years).

Lessons of Fukushima

Aerial photos of the Fukushima disaster illustrated the dangers of storing spent fuel at nuclear plants. Explosions tore the roofs off fuel pools, exposing shoddy construction and more spent fuel than the pools were ever designed to hold, leaving nothing but leaking water between concentrated, lethal radioactivity and the environment.

Our spent fuel situation isn’t like Japan’s. It’s worse. The U.S. has 30 million spent fuel rods, more than any other nation. They’re stored in pools housed in unfortified shed buildings one expert called “the kind you would find in big box stores and car dealerships.” Without a geologic repository like Yucca Mountain, the waste accumulated at nuclear plants, and these vulnerable buildings are now the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet.

As of 2011, Indian Point’s spent fuel pools, 25 miles north of Manhattan with 20 million people in a 50-mile radius, contained an estimated 234 million curies and counting. That’s three times the radioactivity of all the fuel pools in the Fukushima complex combined. The 40-year-old pools are deteriorating, leaking tritium- and strontium-laced water into groundwater and the Hudson.

To keep the reactors running until Yucca Mountain was supposed to open in 2010, Indian Point repeatedly “reracked” its pools, putting more spent fuel rods into them than they were designed to hold, packing them more closely together. That increases the risk of “criticality” – accidental nuclear reaction between the rods – that could boil the water, ignite the rods and release their radiation. Boron absorbers built into the racks to shield radiation are degrading, aggravating the risk.

Stop buildup, close plant

When Yucca Mountain failed to materialize, Indian Point began removing some of the fuel rods that had been in the pools the longest and cooled the most, and putting them into dry cask storage. But that only makes room for newer, “hotter” spent fuel, increasing net radioactivity in the pools, while yet more spent fuel accumulates in casks on the ground.

The faster we reverse this buildup and secure the waste, the better. Whether or not a geologic repository ever gets built, we can mitigate spent fuel danger now by shutting down Indian Point’s reactors. Every day they continue to run, they make more “hot” waste, concentrating yet more radioactivity on site. With Indian Point’s 40-year operating licenses expiring, its owner, Entergy, is seeking a 20-year extension, which would only compound the spent fuel problem.

As an engineer who built a business near Indian Point, I’m not especially skeptical of nuclear technology or the idea of a geologic repository. But as a lifelong local resident who developed thyroid cancer, which correlates with radiation exposure, I am highly skeptical of the way that keeping the plant’s reactors running and Entergy’s profits flowing seems to trump confronting safety problems at the plant. Indian Point’s spent fuel is a serious threat to the health, safety and economy of our region. To defuse it, we first need to stop making more waste, by closing the reactors as their licenses expire.

The writer, a Montebello resident, is a mechanical engineer who lives and owns a manufacturing business in Rockland County, within 10 miles from the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

November 28, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Japanese nuclear power company aims to keep reactors going way beyond their present license limit

Kepco wants to extend lifespan of 40-year-old Takahama reactors to 60 years JAPAN TIMES BY ERIC JOHNSTON  NOV 26, 2014  Kansai Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it hopes to apply for a 20-year extension for two aging reactors that are close to the end of their 40-year approved life cycle, and plans to soon begin inspections which are a prerequisite for the move…… (registered readers onlyhttp://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/11/26/national/kepco-wants-extend-lifespan-40-year-old-takahama-reactors-60-years/#.VHleldLF8nl

November 28, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Deeper problems underlie the serious errors at America’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

New Mexico nuclear waste accident a ‘horrific comedy of errors’ that exposes deeper problems Jim Green, 27 Nov 2014, The Ecologist February’s explosion at the WIPP dump for long-lived intermediate-level nuclear waste from the US’s nuclear weapons program remains unexplained, writes Jim Green. But with the site’s history of ignored warnings, ‘missing’ safety culture, lack of supervision and dubious contractor appointments, it surely came as no surprise − and further accidents appear inevitable.

The precise cause of the February 14 accident involving a radioactive waste barrel at the world’s only deep geological radioactive waste repository has yet to be determined, but information about the accident continues to come to light.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, USA, is a dump site for long-lived intermediate-level waste from the US nuclear weapons program. More than 171,000 waste containers are stored in salt caverns 2,100 feet (640 metres) underground.

On February 14, a heat-generating chemical reaction − the Department of Energy (DOE) calls it a ‘deflagration’ rather than an explosion − compromised the integrity of a barrel and spread contaminants through more than 3,000 feet of tunnels, up the exhaust shaft, into the environment, and to an air monitoring approximately 3,000 feet north-west of the exhaust shaft.[1] The accident resulted in 22 workers receiving low-level internal radiation exposure.

Investigators believe a chemical reaction between nitrate salts and organic ‘kitty litter’ used as an absorbent generated sufficient heat to melt seals on at least one barrel. But experiments have failed to reproduce the chemical reaction, and hundreds of drums of similarly packaged nuclear waste are still intact, said DOE spokesperson Lindsey Geisler. “There’s still a lot we don’t know”, she said.[2]………. 

Compromised response to the accident

A degraded safety culture was responsible for the accident, and the same failings inevitably compromised the response to the accident. Among other problems:[4,6]

  • The DOE contractor could not easily locate plutonium waste canisters because the DOE did not install an upgraded computer system to track the waste inside WIPP.
  • The lack of an underground video surveillance system made it impossible to determine if a waste container had been breached until long after the accident. A worker inspection team did not enter the underground caverns until April 4− seven weeks after the accident.
  • The WIPP computerised Central Monitoring System has not been updated to reflect the current underground configuration of underground vaults with waste containers.
  • 12 out of 40 phones did not work so emergency communications could not reach all parts of WIPP in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
  • WIPP’s ventilation and filtration system did not prevent radiation reaching the surface, due to neglect.
  • The emergency response moved in slow motion. The first radiation alarm sounded at 11.14pm. Not until 9.34amdid managers order workers on the surface of the site to move to a safe location.

Everything that was supposed to happen, didn’t. Everything that wasn’t supposed to happen, did.

Jim Green is editor of Nuclear Monitor and national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia. This article was originally published in Nuclear Monitor No. 794, November 2014.  http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2642182/new_mexico_nuclear_waste_accident_a_horrific_comedy_of_errors_that_exposes_deeper_problems.html

November 28, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Drone photography shows the decayed Chernobyl area

see-this.wayA drone’s-eye view of CHERNOBYL: Eerie footage reveals a city left to decay after devastating nuclear disaster, Daily Mail Australia 28 Nov 14 (Incl video and photos) 

  • Pripyat was just miles from the Chernobyl plant which exploded in 1986
  • Drone footage was captured by Devon-based filmmaker, Danny Cooke
  • He used a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, a Canon 7D camera and a GoPro3+
  • It shows haunting views of abandoned fairground rides and buildings 
  • ‘There was something serene yet disturbing about this place,’ said Cooke

By ELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD FOR MAILONLINE, 28 November 2014 |

A frozen Ferris wheel, poisoned forests and paint sloughing off an empty swimming pool; these are the remains of a city devastated by a nuclear disaster nearly 30 years ago.

Pripyat in Ukraine, once home to a population of 50,000, was just a few miles from the Chernobyl power plant which exploded in 1986.

Now, a Devon-based documentary maker, Danny Cooke, has captured the area in decay by flying  around the abandoned area using a camera attached to a drone

The footage shows Pripyat being taken over by nature. Eerie views of rusted bumper cars and scattered papers are placed alongside golden flowers and trees growing among buildings.

While many images have emerged of Pripyat since the disaster, this footage is the first to provide a drone’s-eye view of its abandoned remains……….http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2851

November 28, 2014 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

BUY NOTHING DAY – 28 – 29 November

text-Please-NoteBuy Nothing Day  28 Nov – North America  29 Nov International  https://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd

Today, humanity faces a stark choice: save the planet and ditch capitalism, or save capitalism and ditch the planet.”  – Fawzi Ibrahim

Until we challenge the entrenched values of capitalism – that the economy must always keep growing, that consumer wants must always be satisfied, that immediate gratification is imperative – we’re not going able to fix the gigantic psycho-financial-eco crisis of our times.

That challenge is a deeply personal one: in a world where every inch of the capitalist system is bullying you into submission, can you resist? When advertisers hound you day and night, can you escape? This Black Friday, a massive, absurd, and destructive consumerist machine will coordinate against you for one simple reason – to convince you to max out your credit card to buy shit you don’t need so that a broken system stays afloat. So when they say “BUY!”, will you say NOTHING!”?

consumer-society

Buy Nothing Day is legendary for instigating this type of personal transformation … as you suddenly remember what real living is all about … you sense an upsurge of radical empowerment and feel a strange magic creeping back into your life.

Join millions of us in over 60 countries on November 28/29 and see what it feels like. Then, after Buy Nothing Day, take the next step … for generations, Christmas has been hijacked by commercial forces … this year, let’s take it back.

And why not get playful while you’re at it!? … Put up posters, organize a credit card cut up, pull off a Whirl–mart, or a Christmas Zombie walk through your local mall.

November 26, 2014 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

British Politicians are Restless – Hinkley Point Nuclear Plant Might Not Go Ahead

flag-UKOn the surface, all is well……..But leaks from civil servants in Whitehall suggest that the government may be getting cold feet about its open-ended guarantees…….With a general election in the UK looming in May next year, no decisions will be reached on any of these projects any time soon. And a new government might think renewables are a better bet.

white_elephant_LondonRenewables Help Push Nuclear Giants to Brink of Collapse, Eco Watch Paul Brown, Climate News Network | November 24, 2014 Plans to build two giant nuclear reactors in south-west England are being reviewed as French energy companies now seek financial backing from China and Saudi Arabia—while the British government considers whether it has offered vast subsidies for a white elephant.

A long-delayed final decision on whether the French electricity utility company EDF will build two 1.6 gigawatt European Pressurised water Reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset—in what would be the biggest construction project in Europe—was due in the new year, but is likely to drift again.

Construction estimates have already escalated to £25 billion, which is £9 billion more than a year ago, and four times the cost of putting on the London Olympics last year.

Costs Escalate

Two prototypes being built in Olikuoto, Finland and Flamanville, France, were long ago expected to be finished and operational, but are years late and costs continue to escalate. Until at least one of these is shown to work as designed, it would seem a gamble to start building more, but neither of them is expected to produce power until 2017.

With Germany phasing nuclear power out altogether and France reducing its dependence on the technology, all the industry’s European hopes are on Britain’s plans to build 10 new reactors. But British experts, politicians and businessmen have begun to doubt that the new nuclear stations are a viable proposition.

Steve Thomas, professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich, London, said: “The project is at very serious risk of collapse at the moment. Only four of those reactors have ever been ordered. Two of them are in Europe, and both of those are about three times over budget. One is about five or six years late and the other is nine years late. Two more are in China and are doing a bit better, but are also running late.”

Tom Greatrex, the British Labour party opposition’s energy spokesman, called on the National Audit Office to investigate whether the nuclear reactors were value for money for British consumers.

Peter Atherton, of financial experts Liberum Capital, believes the enormous cost and appalling track record in the nuclear industry of doing things on time mean that ministers should scrap the Hinkley plans……..

On the surface, all is well……..But leaks from civil servants in Whitehall suggest that the government may be getting cold feet about its open-ended guarantees. The industry has a long history of cost overruns and cancellations of projects when millions have already been spent—including an ill-fated plan to build a new nuclear station on the same site 20 years ago.

The Treasury is having a review because of fears that, once this project begins, so much money will have been invested that the government will have to bail it out with billions more of taxpayers’ money to finish it—or write off huge sums…….

Since the decision was made to build nuclear power stations, renewable energy has expanded dramatically across Europe and costs have dropped. Nuclear is now more costly than wind and solar power. In Britain alone, small-scale solar output has increased by 26 percent in the last year.

In theory, there are a number of other nuclear companies—from the U.S., China, Japan and Russia—keen to build stations of their own design in Britain, but they would want the same price guarantees as EDF for Hinkley Point.

With a general election in the UK looming in May next year, no decisions will be reached on any of these projects any time soon. And a new government might think renewables are a better bet. http://ecowatch.com/2014/11/24/renewables-push-nuclear-to-collapse/

November 26, 2014 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Climate change brings threat of sea level rise to nuclear power facilities

nuke-&-seaLNuclear power’s dark future Japan Times, 25 Nov 14  BY BRAHMA CHELLANEY “…….New nuclear plants in most countries are located in coastal regions so that these water-guzzling facilities can largely draw on seawater for their operations and not bring freshwater resources under strain.

But coastal areas are often not only heavily populated but also constitute prime real estate. Moreover, the projected greater frequency of natural disasters like storms, hurricanes, and tsunamis due to climate change, along with the rise of ocean levels, makes seaside reactors particularly vulnerable.

The risks that seaside reactors face from global-warming-induced natural disasters became evident more than six years before Fukushima, when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami inundated the Madras Atomic Power Station. But the reactor core could be kept in a safe shutdown mode because the electrical systems had been installed on higher ground than the plant level.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused significant damage at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Florida, but fortunately not to any critical system. And in a 2012 incident, an alert was declared at the New Jersey Oyster Creek nuclear power plant — the oldest operating commercial reactor in the U.S. — after water rose in its water intake structure during Hurricane Sandy, potentially affecting the pumps that circulate cooling water through the plant.

All of Britain’s nuclear power plants are located along the coast, and a government assessment has identified as many as 12 of the country’s 19 civil nuclear sites as being at risk due to rising sea levels. Several nuclear plants in Britain, as in a number of other countries, are just a few meters above sea level……http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/11/25/commentary/world-commentary/nuclear-powers-dark-future/#.VHYvqNLF8nk

November 26, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Utilities should avoid the high risk investments of new coal and nuclear power stations

dollar-2We Must Discourage Electric Utilities from Making High-Risk Investments Green Energy Institute, 24 Nov 14, By Amelia Schlusser, Staff Attorney

Ceres recently issued an update of its 2012 reportPracticing Risk-Aware Electricity Regulation. The updated report concludes that large fossil fuel and nuclear power plants are the riskiest investments for utilities, and that renewable energy, distributed generation, and energy efficiency are lower-risk investments with potentially lower price tags than baseload alternatives.

According to Ceres, these relative investment risks are driven in part by recent developments in the U.S. electricity sector. Notably, the EPA is poised to regulate carbon emissions from new and existing power plants in the near future. In addition, renewable energy costs have decreased significantly in recent years, and some renewable technologies are either approaching or have already become cost-competitive with fossil fuel resources. Impending carbon regulations and increased deployment of distributed generation and energy efficiency are placing added pressure on entrenched utility business models, and, as GEI’s Nate Larsen recently discussed, regulators are beginning to explore strategies to modernize the grid.

Renewable energy resources such as onshore wind and solar PV are insulated from risks associated with fuel price volatility and emissions regulations, and the levelized costs of these resources are on par or below the levelized costs of fossil fuel resources. Nevertheless, many utility integrated resource plans continue to identify renewables as higher cost, higher risk resource options……….

A carbon emissions allowance program that places a premium on renewable energy generation is one potential strategy to deter investments in high-risk fossil fuel resources, but it is by no means the only available strategy. State public utility commissions should consider revising their resource planning and procurement rules to send a clear message to utilities that investments in baseload fossil fuel plants are not prudent and that zero-emitting resources are in the public interest.

Ratepayer advocates should closely monitor levelized cost projections and oppose investments in resources that are vulnerable to long-term cost increases. And finally, policymakers should ensure that applicable legal and policy frameworks incentivize energy infrastructure development that mitigates ratepayer and taxpayer vulnerability to risk over extended timeframes. Infrastructure constructed today will likely operate for multiple decades, and it is imperative that we discourage investments that will lock-in exposure to rising costs and environmental degradation for years to come. http://greenenergyinstitute.blogspot.com.au/

November 26, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear talks with Iran extended for another 7 months

U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months, NYT, By  and NOV. 24, 2014 “…..Secretary of State John Kerry, trying to put the best face on it, told reporters that a series of “new ideas surfaced” in the last several days of talks. He added that “we would be fools to walk away,” because a temporary agreement curbing Iran’s program would remain in place while negotiations continued.  Late Monday night Mr. Kerry’s negotiating partner, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was equally upbeat in a session with the news media, saying with a broad smile that he was optimistic that in the next few months a solution would be found. “We don’t need seven months,” he said……..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-talks.html?_r=0

November 26, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Iran has made major concessions towards a nuclear deal with the West

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-Iran  Failed Nuclear Talks Are Not Iran’s Fault, Iran News & Middle East Report  .25 Nov 14Nov. 24, the deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement between Iran and P5+1 — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany — came and went without the agreement.

What happened? Iran made major concessions. It was excessive demands by the U.S. and its allies that prevented the comprehensive agreement from materializing.

The original Geneva interim agreement expired last July, but both sides agreed to extend the deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement to Nov. 24. Now, a new deadline of June 30, 2015 has been set. Both sides said that much progress was made, but some difficult issues have remained unresolved.

The agreement would have created an entirely new dynamic for the war-torn Middle East. It would have ushered in a new era of cooperation between two old nemeses, Iran and the United States, to defeat their common enemy, the Islamic State.

Given the historic significance of the agreement, why is it that a breakthrough was not achieved?

Iran’s Major Concessions

Several complex issues that had seemed unresolvable have actually been hammered out, but only because Iran was willing to negotiate with a spirit of compromise, of give and take.

The first concession concerned Iran’s uranium enrichment facility built under a mountain in Fordow, near the holy city of Qom, 90 miles south of Tehran. The West, led by the United States, had demanded that Iran dismantle the facility altogether. The facility is neither suited for military purposes, nor for large-scale industrial use; it was built by Iran either as a bargaining chip, or to preserve its indigenous enrichment technology in case the large Natanz enrichment facility was destroyed by bombing, or both.

Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and a principal negotiator, has emphasized repeatedly and emphatically, “Iran would not agree to close any of its nuclear facility.” Iran has agreed to convert the site to a nuclear research facility, representing a major concession.

second concession involved the IR-40 heavy water nuclear reactor, under construction in Arak, 155 miles southwest of Tehran. When completed, it will replace Tehran Research Reactor, an almost 50-year-old reactor that produces medical isotopes for close to 1 million Iranian patients every year.

The West had demanded that Iran convert the IR-40 to a light-water reactor, due to the concerns that if the reactor, when it comes online, will produce plutonium that can be used to make nuclear weapons. But, Iran refused to go along because, first and foremost, all the work on the reactor has been done by the Iranian experts and thus the reactor is a source of national pride. Iran has already spent billions of dollars to design and begin constructing the reactor, but the West was not willing to share the cost of the reactor conversion to a light-water one.

On its own initiative, Iran has agreed to modify the design of the reactor so that it will produce much smaller amounts of plutonium. Iran also agreed not to build any reprocessing facility for separating the plutonium from the rest of the nuclear waste. This was again a major concession.

The third major concession by Iran was agreeing to stop enriching uranium at 19.75 percent (commonly referred to as 20 percent in the Western media, although the seemingly minor difference is actually quite important). After the West and the International Atomic Energy Agency refused to supply Iran with fuel for the TRR in 2009, Iran began producing the higher enriched uranium that the TRR uses as its fuel. Tehran agreed to stop producing the fuel, after stockpiling enough fuel for the remaining life of the old TRR. This was the third major concession by Iran.

The fourth major concession made by Iran is related to the issue of inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities by the IAEA. Although Iran had lived up to its obligations under its original Safeguards Agreement with the agency signed in 1974, the IAEA under its Director-General Yukiya Amano, who has completely politicized the agency that has contributed to the complexities of reaching the comprehensive agreement, has been insisting that Iran implement the provisions of the Additional Protocol of the SG Agreement, which Iran signed in 2003 and, without ratification by its parliament, implemented voluntarily until February 2006.

Iran set aside the Additional Protocol after the European Union reneged on its promises made to Iran in the Sa’dabad Declaration of October 2003 and the Paris Agreement of November 2004. Iran and the IAEA reached an agreement in November 2013, according to which Iran allows much more frequent and intrusive inspection of its nuclear facilities, way beyond its legal obligations under its SG Agreement. Since then, the IAEA has repeatedly confirmed that Iran has lived up to its obligations.

The U.S. Excessive Demands

Three of the remaining issues concern the number of centrifuges that Iran gets to keep over the duration of the agreement, the duration of the comprehensive agreement and the mechanism by which the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. and its allies would be lifted.

In fact, agreeing to limit the number of its centrifuges for the duration of the agreement is yet another significant, but unacknowledged, concession by Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran’s SG Agreement with the IAEA

The issue of the number of centrifuges, NoC, is also mostly superficial. ………http://www.huffingtonpost.com/muhammad-sahimi/iran-nuclear-talks-fail_b_6219646.html?utm_hp_ref=worldPosted: 11/25/2014

November 26, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

China’s very rapid renewable energy growth- IRENA reports

logo-IRENAflag-ChinaIRENA Says China Can Nearly Quadruple Renewable Energy By 2030 Clean Technica,  November 25th, 2014 by  A new report published Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has shown that China can increase its use of renewable energy from 13% to 26% by 2030, representing a nearly fourfold increase if the economic powerhouse is able to pull it off.

“As the largest energy consumer in the world, China must play a pivotal role in the global transition to a sustainable energy future,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, at a launch event in Beijing. “China’s energy use is expected to increase 60 per cent by 2030. How China meets that need will determine whether or not the world can curb climate change.”

The report, Renewable Energy Prospects: China, was compiled by IRENA in association with the China National Renewable Energy Centre, and is part of IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap,REmap 2030, which aims to provide a plan to double the global share of the renewable energy mix by 2030.

Following the recent announcement made between China and the US, this report (and others like it) acquire even more significance, as China looks to be actively seeking ways to increase its renewable energy share……..

Economic Growth and Renewable Energy

Fears that economic growth must be stifled in favour of cleaner, more renewable sources of energy have recently been laid to rest, thanks partially to another report published recently that focused on China. The study, China and the New Climate Economy, showed that “China can achieve economic development, energy security and reduce pollution at the same time.”…….http://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/25/irena-says-china-can-nearly-quadruple-renewable-energy-2030/

November 26, 2014 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

China’s nuclear power investment might not be such a good deal

flag-ChinaChina Nuclear IPO Risks Fading Afterglow  By ABHEEK BHATTACHARYA, WSJ  Nov. 24, 2014 China’s largest nuclear power company is coming to the table with a high minimum bet.

State-owned CGN Power plans to sell shares worth up to $3.16 billionin Hong Kong this week, making it one of the few pure-play listed nuclear companies in the world. ………

nukes-hungryCGN Power’s multiple is substantially higher than U.S. nuclear operator Exelon ’s 6.7 times and French EDF’s 4.9 times. It is also more expensive than CGN Meiya, CGN Power’s smaller affiliate that went public in September and that fetches 11.2 times Ebitda.

High valuations for CGN Power are dicey because China regulates electricity prices more heavily than in the West. For instance, new nuclear-power plants can’t charge higher tariffs than neighboring coal-fired power, capping earnings potential.

Though Beijing’s plans to cut back on fossil fuels will help growth, the state-run grids prioritize wind and solar over nuclear power when buying and dispatching electricity, according to CGN’s prospectus. Given China’s ambitions to build out solar power, this means nuclear could occasionally lose out. It is also a reminder that nuclear energy may not always enjoy the government’s graces.

CGN Power’s novelty may attract some betting on China’s nuclear future. Yet like many Hong Kong IPOs that do well at first, this bet may lose its afterglow. http://online.wsj.com/articles/china-nuclear-ipo-risks-fading-afterglow-heard-on-the-street-1416819232

November 26, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, China | Leave a comment

Abe government disregards public, and its (supposed) policy to reduce dependence on nuclear power

Editorial: Clarify vision for a society free of nuclear power. Mainichi, 26 Nov 14 “……Rather than phasing out atomic power, the 2-year-old government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been once again trying to rely on nuclear power stations.

The Basic Energy Plan that the Abe Cabinet approved in April this year recognizes atomic power as an important base-load power source, while declaring that Japan will reduce its dependence on such power as much as possible. Moreover, the government has postponed a decision on an ideal ratio between power sources.

If the government is truly enthusiastic about pursuing a society that does not rely on atomic power, it is the role of politicians to clearly show a road map toward eliminating nuclear plants, set specific targets including the ratio between power sources and implement specific measures to achieve this goal. The government should also judge whether individual nuclear plants should be restarted within the framework of the policy toward phasing out nuclear power.

The Abe administration’s failure to do so suggests that the government intends to put as many nuclear power plants as possible into operation by carrying out a fait accompli.

In fact, the government is attempting to allow Kyushu Electric Power Co. to reactivate its Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture based solely on the fact that its reactors meet the new regulatory standards set by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. The effectiveness of a plan to evacuate local residents in case of a serious disaster at the plant and efforts to convince residents of municipalities around the plant remain unaddressed. An opinion poll the Mainichi Shimbun conducted this past September shows that 60 percent of the public is opposed to restarting the power station. However, the government is showing no consideration of public opinion. Such an attitude could lead to a new safety myth, such as a massive amount of radiation would never be released in case of a meltdown since regulatory standards have been stiffened.

The government’s lack of enthusiasm about decreasing Japan’s dependence on nuclear power has led to power companies’ refusal to sign new contracts to purchase power generated with renewable energy. The promotion of renewable energy sources would help not only lessen the country’s dependence on atomic power but also create new industrial sectors and vitalize local economies. If Japan were to lose such chances because the government has failed to thoroughly implement measures to promote the introduction of renewable energy, it could be criticized as a serious policy misstep……Regardless, as long as a majority of the people of Japan, which experienced a serious nuclear disaster, are calling for a society without atomic power, it is the mission of politicians to make efforts to phase out nuclear power. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20141125p2a00m0na008000c.html

November 26, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

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