The world’s nuclear statistics are distorted by an anomaly whose cause is not technical but political. Three years after the Fukushima events started unfolding on 11 March 2011, government, industry and international institutional organizations continue to misrepresent the effects of the disaster on the Japanese nuclear program. In statistical documents on the issue, with the exception of the six units at Fukushima Daiichi, the entire Japanese reactor fleet of 48 units is considered operating. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) classifies all of these Japanese reactors as “in operation”—11 percent of what the IAEA considers the world nuclear fleet—despite the fact that none of them have generated power since September 2013, only two produced electricity in 2013 and just ten in 2012. The average outage of these Japanese “operational” units is over three years, as this report documents. In fact, three units have not generated power for the past seven years. To find a more appropriate way to deal with this situation, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 proposes a new category called Long-Term Outage (LTO).
Taking into account reactors in LTO, the number of operational reactors in the world drops by 39 (9 percent) from 427 in July 2013 to 388 in July 2014—50 fewer than at the peak in 2002— and brings world nuclear statistics into closer alignment with reality.
Mycle Schneider, Project Coordinator and Lead Author of the WNISR, states: “It is time to match the international nuclear statistics to the industrial reality. The introduction of the new category Long-Term Outage (LTO) more appropriately represents the operational status of nuclear power plants and provides industry analysts, political decision-makers and investors with a tool that mirrors empirical facts rather than wishful thinking.”
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 (WNISR) provides a comprehensive overview of nuclear power plant data, including information on operation, production and construction. The WNISR assesses the status of new-build programs in existing as well as in potential newcomer nuclear countries and looks in detail at how the changing market conditions are affecting the economics of nuclear power. WNISR2014 also updates a Fukushima Status Report featured for the first time in 2013 that triggered widespread media and analyst attention. While the Nuclear Power vs. Renewable Energy chapter provides comparative data on investment, capacity, and generation and assesses how nuclear power performs in systems with high renewable energy share.
Finally, a detailed country-by-country analysis provides an overview of all 31 countries operating nuclear power plants, with extended sections on China, Japan, and the United States.
Some of the key features of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 include:
- Declining role. Nuclear power’s share of global commercial primary energy production declined from the 2012 low of 4.5 percent, a level last seen in 1984, to a new low of 4.4 percent.
- Aging. The average age of the world’s operating nuclear reactors to increase and by mid-2014 stood at 28.5 years.
- Construction Delays. At least 49—including three quarters of the Chinese projects—of the total of 69 construction sites have encountered delays, many of them multi-annual. Construction of two units in Taiwan was halted.
- Project Cancellations. Several projects have been cancelled and new programs indefinitely delayed, including in the Czech Republic and in Vietnam.
- Operating Costs Soar. Nuclear generating costs jumped by 16 percent in real terms in three years in France, and several units are shut down in the U.S. because income does not cover operating costs. The economic survival of nuclear plants is also threatened in Belgium, Germany and Sweden.
- Renewables vs. Nuclear. In 2013 alone, 32 gigawatts (GW) of wind and 37 GW of solar were added to the world power grids. By the end of 2013, China had 91 GW of wind power and 18 GW of solar capacity installed, solar exceeding for the first time operating nuclear capacity. China added four times more solar than nuclear capacity in the past year. And Spain generated more power from wind than from any other source, outpacing nuclear for the first time. It is also the first time that wind has become the largest electricity generating source over an entire year in any country. Spain has thus joined the list of nuclear countries that produce more electricity from new renewables—excluding large hydro-power—than from nuclear power that includes Brazil, China, Germany, India and Japan.
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 is a © Mycle Schneider Consulting Project.
For further information and full copies of all previous reports see The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014.
Guardian: Abnormal blood in monkeys linked to Fukushima disaster — Study: ‘Epidemic infectious disease’ could occur — “We cannot find other reasons except radiation” — Concern about strontium-90 & other radioactive materials besides cesium — “Potential direct relevance to humans”http://enenews.com/study-finds-blood-monkeys-70-km-fukushima-plant-epidemic-infectious-disease-could-occur-find-other-reasons-except-radiation-effects-neurological-development-discovered-other-mammals-potent?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
The Guardian, July 24, 2014: Japanese monkeys’ abnormal blood linked to Fukushima disaster – study – Wild monkeys in the Fukushima region of Japan have blood abnormalities linked to the radioactive fall-out from the 2011 nuclear power plant disaster, according to a new scientific study that may help increase the understanding of radiation on human health. [...] Professor Shin-ichi Hayama, at the Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Tokyo, told the Guardian [...] “This first data from non-human primates — the closest taxonomic relatives of humans — should make a notable contribution to future research on the health effects of radiation exposure in humans… The low haematological values in the Fukushima monkeys could have therefore been due to the effect of any radioactive materials… We did not conclude the low-blood cell counts are caused by caesium but so far we cannot find other reasons except radiation.”
Scientific Reports (Nature.com), July 24, 2014: In April 2012 we carried out a 1-year hematological study on a population of wild Japanese monkeys inhabiting the forest area of Fukushima City. This area is located 70 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant […] Total muscle cesium concentration in Fukushima monkeys was in the range of 78-1778 Bq/kg, whereas the level of cesium was below the detection limit in all [monkeys from 400 km away.] Fukushima monkeys had significantly low white and red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, and hematocrit [...] These results suggest that the exposure to some form of radioactive material contributed to hematological changes in Fukushima monkeys. […] low hematological values in Fukushima monkeys could have [...] been due to the effect of other radioactive materials. […] The hematological changes in the Fukushima monkeys might likely be the result of exposure to some form of radioactive material, but only radiocesium concentration was measured in this study. […] We therefore plan to investigate in a future study the underlying mechanism in detail with the aim of detecting other radioactive materials, such as 90Sr. […]
The Australian, Higher Education Reporter John Ross, July 25, 2014: Reality apes movie for Fukushima monkeys — In the latest Planet of the Apes movie, a virus created in a lab pushes primate evolution into overdrive while morphing into a simian flu that wipes out most of the human race. Scientists monitoring the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown may be witnessing something similar in real life [...] “Low blood cell count … may suggest that the immune system has been compromised, potentially making the entire troop susceptible to, for example, epidemic infectious disease.” The study suggests strongly that the blood changes are the result of nuclear contamination [...]
Fox News, July 25, 2014: “The findings are consistent with what our group had found with red blood cells and hemoglobin content for children living around Chernobyl,” said Tim Mousseau, a biologist at U. of South Carolina […] “The fact that they are seeing a signal in monkeys living in Fukushima city means that there’s some potential direct relevance to the human population.”
Obama curbs nuclear security goals as bomb-building budget grows, http://news.yahoo.com/obama-curbs-nuclear-security-goals-005500310.html by Douglas Birch, 30 July 14 Since the start of his presidency, Barack Obama has been clear that one of his major goals was to secure nuclear weapons and materials, and as recently as March, at the Nuclear Security Summit in Holland, the president declared that “it is important for us not to relax but rather accelerate our efforts over the next two years.”
According to a new analysis of nuclear security spending by a bipartisan group at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the administration in its proposed 2015 budget chose to cut nuclear nonproliferation programs in the Energy Department by $399 million while increasing spending on nuclear weapons by $534 million.
In addition, despite missing a self-imposed deadline of April 2013 for ensuring that nuclear materials were safe from terrorists across the globe, the White House at about the same time rejected a confidential Energy Department-sponsored plan to accelerate those efforts by 2016, the year Obama is slated to convene a fourth international summit on the issue.
The proposal, which appears in a May 2013 report obtained recently by the Center for Public Integrity, was intended to address the huge amount of unfinished work in the Obama administration’s nonproliferation plan.It said that more than two tons of portable, easily-weaponized uranium were still being held in scores of nuclear research reactors, while the world’s supply of another nuclear explosive, plutonium, was growing at a rate of about 740 bombs’ worth a year.
Despite progress, there remained enough nuclear explosive material in the hands of civilians to cobble together 40,000 atomic bombs.
And delays keep piling up even though at least a third of the aging tanks storing 56 million gallons radioactive waste have leaked or are leaking, pouring some of the world’s most dangerous contaminants into the Columbia River.
Yet the treatment plant to create safe storage for all that waste—which will remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years—still isn’t built. It should have been finished three years ago. And the Environmental Protection Agency is skeptical that the plant’s current completion date of 2022 will be met.
Only Another 40 Years to Go The plant is a crucial part of a wider remediation job that’s decades from being done, according to Dennis Faulk, the EPA’s program manager for Hanford
“I think we have another 40 years to go,” Faulk told WhoWhatWhy. “And another $100 billion will be needed over that time.” It costs about $2 billion a year to keep cleaning.
The EPA oversees and enforces the cleanup efforts, which are carried out by the Department of Energy and the contractors it hires. Both Congress and the Department of Energy itself have given those efforts a failing grade.
The Department of Energy’s internal watchdog last year blamed the department and the contractor that’s building the plant, Bechtel National Inc., for the delays. The Department of Energy’s oversight lacked focus and Bechtel implemented scores of design changes without subjecting them to the required nuclear safety review, according to a report from the department’s Inspector General.
Congress’ Government Accountability Office was harsher. It recommended shutting down construction until the design work is completed safely, and said the Department of Energy was prematurely awarding millions in performance incentives to Bechtel. Meanwhile, Bechtel and another contractor are fighting whistleblower lawsuits from two former employees, and guess who’s paying for their legal fees? The Department of Energy is.
All of those complications are worsened by the fact that the search for waste keeps turning up surprises, like nearly 100 pieces of spent fuel found in Native American burial grounds. So as the Herculean task creeps forward, occasional new contamination findings like that add time to the clock, which means the projected completion dates are really only theoretical.
Hanford wasn’t built with an abundance of forethought. The job of making weapons-grade plutonium came first. Everything else, like planning for the waste and telling people about the release of radioactive materials, came second.
Most critical work on the plant has been shut down………..http://chasvoice.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/after-40-billion-americas-biggest.html
Debris cleanup at Fukushima reactor may have contaminated rice crops, Japan Times, KYODO JUL 14, 2014 Debris cleanup work by Tokyo Electric Power Co. at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have led to the contamination of rice crops in nearby areas, agriculture ministry officials said Monday.
Radioactive cesium exceeding the government limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram was detected in rice crops from Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, last year, including areas located more than 20 km from the crippled nuclear plant.
Farm ministry officials said they could not deny the possibility that radioactive dust was stirred up when Tepco cleaned up debris at the No. 3 reactor last August and that the dust could have made its way north to Minamisoma……..http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/07/14/national/debris-cleanup-fukushima-reactor-may-contaminated-rice-crops/#.U9m_C-NdUnk
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Nuclear Weapons (HBO)
John Oliver Delivers Terrifying Warning on America’s Nuclear Security http://www.mediaite.com/tv/john-oliver-delivers-terrifying-warning-on-americas-nuclear-security/by Matt Wilstein | 9:30 am, July 28th, 2014 The latest on the increasingly long list of difficult topics out of which John Oliver has somehow managed to wring comedy is the security — or lack thereof — of America’s massive nuclear arsenal. The centerpiece of this week’s Last Week Tonightwas a solid 15 minutes of disturbing details on the many near-catastrophes over the last several decades in which this country nearly wiped itself off the map by accident.
Oliver began by demonstrating that Americans of the 1950s lived in constant fear of a nuclear attack from Russia, before arguing that today’s Americans should be just as fearful of something horrible happening without interference from another country. He noted that the U.S. currently has 4,804 nuclear warheads to secure and keep track of: “More than enough, not just to destroy Earth, but to provide 4th of July fireworks for Martians.”
From there, Oliver went down the list of all the problems that have plagued the system set up to protect the weapons we do have, from the use of floppy disks to transmit launch codes, to doors that need to be propped open with crowbars, to the general tasked with overseeing the the weapons who was fired for getting too drunk for the Russians. Or, as Oliver summed it up:
“Within the last 12 months we were in a situation where in the event of us launching a nuclear strike, the president’s command would theoretically have gone through a man gambling with fake poker chips, who would’ve then tried to call a drunk guy wrestling with a Russian George Harrison, who would’ve then needed to send someone with a bag full of burritos to wake up an officer and tell him to go grab an LP-sized floppy disk and begin the solemn process of ending the world as we know it.”
Oliver then recounted some of America’s closest calls, including the so-called “Goldsboro incident” of 1961, in which “you dropped an armed nuclear bomb on your own country and it is frankly amazing that you don’t talk about that more often.” As recently as 2007, six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles were left on tarmac unguarded for 36 hours.
But all of this being said, America is not making any major efforts to reduce the country’s nuclear arsenal, which Oliver compared to a T-Rex’s arms: “They’re essentially useless and you are plenty scary enough without them.” “When you have 4,800 of something you don’t need, you are a fucking hoarder at that point!” he exclaimed.
According to online newspaper, local residents did not agree to the initial plan and refused to sell their lands, even though most of them are located within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the Fukushima-1 power plant and are still considered unfit for habitation due to their high levels of radioactive contamination.
The Japanese Environment Ministry decided to lease the land for a 30-year period instead.
Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and Reconstruction Minister Takumi Nemoto explained the new proposal in a meeting with Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato and the mayors of Okuma and Futaba, whose towns were selected as interim storage facilities……… researchers found radioactive cesium fallout in Fukushima plants and animals. http://en.ria.ru/world/20140729/191432845/Japan-Gives-Up-Plan-to-Buy-Fukushima-Lands-for-Nuclear-Waste.html
Nuclear power at ‘lowest levels since 80s’ http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2014/7/30/energy-markets/nuclear-power-lowest-levels-80s REUTERS , 30 July 14, Atomic power’s share of global electricity supply is at the lowest level since the 1980s following the shutdown of Japan’s reactors after the Fukushima disaster, and may fall further without major new plant construction.
The forecast is one of the main conclusions of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014, a draft copy of which was passed to Reuters before general release later on Tuesday.
The report paints a bleak picture of the industry more than three years after three reactors melted down at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi station north of the Japanese capital after an earthquake and tsunami.
Rising costs, construction delays, public opposition and aging fleets of reactors will make it difficult for nuclear to reverse the decline in its share of global energy supply, even after two reactors in Japan won provisional approval to restart earlier this month.
Discounting the bulk of Japan’s 48 reactors due to their long-term outage, the report said the number of operating units in the world has fallen to 388, 50 less than the peak in 2002.
Nuclear’s share of global power generation has fallen to 10.8 per cent, down from a high of 17.6 per cent in 1996 and the the lowest since the 1980s, it said.
The report also pointed to delays in construction projects, even in China, where the government is strongly pushing for nuclear power to replace heavy carbon emitting coal stations.
Of the 67 reactors under construction globally as at July 2014, at least 49 were experiencing delays and eight had been under construction for 20 years, it said.
The average age of reactors has also increased, rising to more than 28 years, while more than 170 units, or 44 per cent of the total, have been operating for more than 30 years or more.
“More than 200 reactors may face shutdown in the coming two decades,” Tatsujiro Suzuki, a former Vice Chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, said in the foreword of the report.
“If new construction pace does not match the pace of shutdown, it is clear that the nuclear share will decline rapidly,” Suzuki said.
Renewable energy is taking up an increasing share of the energy mix, the report said. Installed solar capacity in China topped operating nuclear capacity, while in Spain more power was generated from wind in 2013 than any other source, beating nuclear for the first time.
The report’s lead authors are industry analysts Mycle Schneider, who is based in Paris, and London-based Antony Froggatt. Both have advised European government bodies on energy and nuclear policy issues.
In Japan, where the pro-nuclear ruling Liberal Democratic Party faces strong public opposition to restarts, the nuclear industry won some relief when the Cabinet reversed the previous government policy of a gradual abolition of atomic power.
But it also endorsed a push for more renewables and set no targets for nuclear energy.
Wind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation Clean Technica July 29th, 2014 by Mike Barnard There’s an enduring myth related to wind energy and nuclear energy that needs to be put to bed. That myth is that only nuclear can be scaled to sufficient capacity to reduce the impacts of global warming, and that wind energy is much less scalable so it should be ignored.
Most recently, this appeared as a broad generalization without any supporting evidence in a pro-carbon capture series by a CCS researcher on the Siemens-sponsored Energy Collective, which features this particular myth regularly, being a bit of an echo chamber for it. Of course the nuclear industry’s PR professionals love this line as well.
And there’s another myth related to carbon capture and sequestration being more significant than renewables that has to be assessed as well.
China is the true test bed for maximum scalability of nuclear vs wind. It has a tremendous gap between demand and generation. It can mostly ignore lack of social license for nuclear. It is building both wind and nuclear as rapidly as possible. It has been on a crash course for both for about the same period of time. It has bypassed most of the regulatory red tape for nuclear which sensibly exists elsewhere given concerns about economic fallout of Fukushima-scale disasters, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. And in four years it has built significantly less nuclear generation capacity than it built of wind generation capacity in 2013 alone…….
Where does this leave the claims about nuclear and CCS?
Nuclear isn’t more scalable than wind or other renewables, in fact it’s going in reverse while renewables are being expanded rapidly. And CCS won’t dodge more climate change than renewables because wind and solar are being built in production rapidly and CCS isn’t and won’t be in comparable scales because the economics don’t support it. Both are busted myths.
Wind energy isn’t the only answer. It is likely to reach a maximum of 30% to 40% of supply in a century worldwide. That’s impressive and amazing, but far from the only tool necessary to deal with climate change. Solar will be in the same range. Storage will likely be necessary somewhere from 15% to 20% and grid interconnections will improve substantially. Biomass and geothermal will add their bits, as will tidal possibly. And demand for electricity will go up a lot as countries become richer and transportation and other forms of energy usage become electrified. It’s a complex space, and CCS has an important if smaller and only bridging role to play in it. Nuclear is useful as well, although diminishing as a percentage of total worldwide generation.
But the heavy lifting will be done by displacing fossil fuel generation with renewables, not trying to mitigate the extraordinary problems with burning fossil fuels or building nuclear generation. That’s what the empirical data tells us………. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/07/29/wind-energy-beats-nuclear-carbon-capture-global-warming-mitigation/
Moscow may walk out of nuclear treaty after US accusations of breach http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/29/moscow-russia-violated-cold-war-nuclear-treaty-iskander-r500-missile-test-us
Russia may be on the point of walking out of a major cold war era arms-control treaty, Russian analysts have said, after President Obama accused Moscow of violating the accord by testing a cruise missile.
There has been evidence at least since 2011 of Russian missile tests in violation of the 1987 intermediate range nuclear forces (INF) treaty, which banned US or Russian ground-launched cruise missiles with a 500 to 5,500-mile (805 to 8,851km) range. But the Obama administration has been hesitant until now of accusing Moscow of a violation in the hope that it could persuade Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to stop the tests or at least not deploy the weapon in question, known as the Iskander, or R-500.
Washington has also been reticent because of the technical differences in definition of what constitutes the range of a missile under the INF treaty. That ambiguity now seems to have dropped away. According to Pavel Felgenhauer, a defence analyst and columnist for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Russia has indeed broken the treaty by testing the R-500 which has a range of more than 1,000km.
“Of course, this is in gross violation of the 1987 treaty, but Russian officials including Putin have said this treaty is unfair and not suitable for Russia,” Felgenhauer said. “The United States doesn’t have [medium-range missiles] but other countries do have them, such as China, Pakistan and Israel, so they say this is unfair and wrong.”
Russian press reports have suggested the missile may even be in deployment, with state news agency RIA Novosti reporting in June that the “Russian army currently uses its Iskander-M and Iskander-K variants.” Felgenhauer said he doesn’t believe the missile has been deployed, although he said it’s entirely possible that Russia will leave the treaty amid tensions with the US.
“The present situation of a new cold war in Europe – and not even cold, at least not in Ukraine right now – it’s a situation in which Russia can abrogate the 1987 treaty, and the possibilities are rather high,” Felgenhauer said.
Russian officials have previously criticised the 1987 treaty, including former defence minister Sergei Ivanov. In 2013, Ivanov, then presidential chief of staff, said of the treaty: “We are fulfilling it, but it can’t last forever.”
- According to Kremlin-linked analyst Sergei Markov, Russia has a far greater need for medium-range cruise missiles than the |US, because military rivals including China are located near its borders and because Moscow lacks the Americans’ long-range bombing capabilities.”Russia would be happy to leave this agreement, and I think Russia is using the Ukraine crisis to leave the agreement,” Markov said.
As for Russia’s complaints about US aegis missiles, Felgenhauer said they reflect the genuine belief among Kremlin top brass that the US missile defence has a secret attack capability and poses a threat to Russia.
“This was a normal Soviet practice that missile interceptors had the in-built capability to be used as an attack missile,” Felgenhauer said.
|GLE suspends Silex laser treatment of uranium as market bites, Optics.org Matthew Peach|
|29 Jul 2014|
|Focus switches to reduced US program after Japanese shutdown narrows market; Silex hopes for resumption when conditions pick up. Silex Systems, an Australian high-tech company developing energy and materials technologies, has announced that the Licensee for Silex’s Uranium Enrichment Technology,GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment, is reducing its funding and commercialisation program of the laser treatment technology in response to “current adverse market conditions” – with the result that related operations in Australia are stopping.
GLE will consolidate its efforts on the technology development activities to its Wilmington facility in North Carolina, USA. The Silex annoncement said, “most contractor-based work on the project will be suspended, with the project facility near Oak Ridge, Tennessee to be placed in a safe storage mode, and GLE-funded activities at the laser development facility at Lucas Heights, Sydney, to cease.”………
Dr Michael Goldsworthy, Silex CEO and Managing Director, said, “the global nuclear industry is still suffering the impacts of the Fukushima event and the shutdown of the entire Japanese nuclear power plant fleet in 2011. Demand for uranium has been slower to recover than expected and enrichment services are in significant oversupply.”……..
Media speculationJust two days before the GLE announcement, Australian daily newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that “With a share price down 65 per cent in the past year, [Silex] is one of the best intelligent speculations on the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange)”, adding, “The enrichment market is expected to be worth US$10 billion by 2019.”http://optics.org/news/5/7/48
Wind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation Clean Technica July 29th, 2014 by Mike Barnard “……….
What is the reality of nuclear vs wind built out?
- China turned on just over 16 GW of nameplate capacity of wind generation in 2013 according to the Global Wind Energy Council.
- Over the four years of 2010 to 2014 China managed to put 4.7 GW of nuclear into operation. This is not their stated plan for nuclear which is much higher, but the actual generation capacity put into production.
- Modern wind turbines have a median 40.35% capacity factor and exceed 50% in the best wind resources according to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) who track the actuals on this sort of thing.
- Taking similarly sourced numbers for nuclear capacity factor from the Nuclear Energy Institute, we see 90.9% capacity factors for nuclear reactors. These are apples-to-apples statistics from the same country.
Running the math, that’s about 6.5 GW of real capacity of wind energy in one year vs 4.3 GW of real capacity for nuclear over four years. That’s roughly six times more real wind energy capacity than nuclear per year. 2014 might be better than average as perhaps 2 GW have been made operational this year. We’ll see what reality brings as wind energy is being expanded rapidly as well.
Comparing 2013 only we see over six times as much real capacity from wind energy as from nuclear. There’s no reason to believe that this will change significantly as years slide by, as China is well below projections for new nuclear generation in operation, much like most jurisdictions’ experiences with the realities of getting nuclear to work.
No other geography is capable of building as much nuclear per capita as China is. India’s track record as the next biggest source of nuclear growth is poor as well, as they’ve only managed to build 4.2 GW in several decades.
Globally nuclear capacity has diminished and is expected to continue to diminish over the next few years as France shuts off 33% of its fleet in favour of mostly wind energy, Germany shuts off its fleet, Ontario intends to move from 55% to 42% supply from nuclear according to its draft long term energy plan and aging reactors globally reach end-of-life with no economic refurbishment possible. In empirical terms it doesn’t matter what anybody claims is possible: wind energy is growing rapidly while nuclear is going backwards. That’s reality.
Meanwhile, most geographies are perfectly capable of building wind farms and are, with utility-scale wind generation in 100 countries so far. For the past five years wind energy has averaged 40 GW of new operational nameplate capacity according to GWEC or 16 GW of median capacity and that is expected to grow………. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/07/29/wind-energy-beats-nuclear-carbon-capture-global-warming-mitigation/
Fukushima Study: Think About Unthinkable Disasters, SciTech Today,
|July 28, 2014
According to a National Academy of Sciences report, the U.S. nuclear industry must think about earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, solar storms, multiple failures and situations that seem freakishly unusual. The 2011 Japanese Fukushima accident, caused by an earthquake and tsunami, should not have been a surprise, the report says. A U.S. science advisory report says Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident offers a key lesson to the nation’s nuclear industry: Focus more on the highly unlikely but worst case scenarios.
That means thinking about earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, solar storms, multiple failures and situations that seem freakishly unusual, according to Thursday’s National Academy of Sciences report. Those kinds of things triggered the world’s three major nuclear accidents.
“We need to do a soul searching when it comes to the assumptions” of how to deal with worst case events, said University of Southern California engineering professor Najmedin Meshkati, the panel’s technical adviser. Engineers should “think about something that could happen once every, perhaps 1,000 years” but that’s not really part of their training or nature, he said.
You have to totally change your mode of thinking because complacency and hubris is the worst enemy to nuclear safety,” Meshkati said in an interview……..
David Lochbaum of the activist group Union of Concerned Scientists said the problem is that federal law financially protects the U.S. nuclear industry from accidents gives utilities little incentive to spend money on low-probability, high-consequence problems.……
Another issue the report raised was about how far radiation may go in a worst case accident.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission orders plants to have emergency plans for a zone of 10 miles around a nuclear plant. But the academy study said Fukushima showed that “may prove inadequate” if a similar accident happened in the U.S. People nearly 19 miles away in Japan needed protectionfrom radiation. But the committee would not say what would be a good emergency zone. http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=130007CN9W8O
Nearly 59 percent of people polled in April by Taiwan’s Commonwealth magazine, a politics and economics publication, said they wanted the fourth nuclear power plant stopped because they fear a disaster akin to Japan’s 2011 Fukushima earthquake and reactor meltdown. Like Japan, Taiwan sits in a highly seismic area.
UK-US sign secret new deal on nuclear weapons, Guardian 29 July 14,
• Vital for Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system
• MPs also demand debate on UK’s future world role A new agreement critical to Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system, was signed the other day by British and US officials.
Whitehall was silent. We had to rely on the White House, and a message from Barack Obama to the US Congress, to tell us that the 1958 UK-US Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) had been updated.
A new amendment to the treaty will last for 10 years. Obama told Congress it will “permit the transfer between the United States and the United Kingdom of classified information concerning atomic weapons; nuclear technology and controlled nuclear information; material and equipment for the development of defense plans; training of personnel; evaluation of potential enemy capability; development of delivery systems; and the research, development, and design of military reactors.”
The UK, Obama added, “intends to continue to maintain viable nuclear forces into the foreseeable future.” It was in America’s interest, to continue to help Britain “in maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent”.
There was no word from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Whitehall department responsible updating the UK-US treaty. Parliament, a spokesperson said in response to questions, would be informed “at an appropiate time”. MPs would have a 21 day window before the end of the year in which they could debate the issues involved.
However, the content of the new agreement will remain secret. To reveal them, Whitehall officials say, could “assist proliferation” of nuclear weapons.
That is a curious comment given that both the US and UK insist the agreement does not in any way breach their obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
The updated agreement, as I described last month, means that Britain is stepping up its cooperation with the US over the design of nuclear warheads, raising new questions about the independence of the UK deterrent. Increased cooperation with the US on warhead design and the exchange of material crucial in the manufacture and stockpiling of nuclear weapon is vital to the Trident system.
Though the agreement is incorporated in US law, it has no legal status in Britain.
Paul Ingram, executive director of the British American Information Security Council (BASIC) says that though the agreement is an international treaty that requires regular ratification, it has never been debated in the Commons. Questions from MPs were met with “cursory information”.
He adds: “With the deepening of technical collaboration that shapes the procurement decisions here in London over nuclear weapons programmes, in a manner that stretches or breaks Article 1 of the NPT, it is high time we took this relationship and its consequences for international security seriously.”…….
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