Nuclear power may not be needed, says top atomic advocate,Telegraph, UK, 22 Nov 14 Sir David King, former chief scientist and champion of the nuclear newbuild, says the top priority must be to develop storage for renewable energy, reports Geoffrey Lean ……. I was riveted as Prof Sir David King, the former government Chief scientist,ranged over subjects from population growth to water resources, the growth of cities to commodity prices, spewing out new information and insights.
But while he said a lot about the promise of renewable energy, he said almost nothing about nuclear power – despite for long having been one of its foremost and most influential advocates in Britain, describing it, for example, as a “massive economic opportunity” for the country.
So I got up and asked him about it, expecting the same pro-nuclear response as I had heard from him many times before. Instead he amazed me by suggesting that Britain “might well” be able to do without atomic power altogether, and that the real priority should be on developing ways of storing electricity so as to be able to depend on famously intermittent sun and wind.
“We have to keep reassessing the situation”, he said. “I believe that what we need, more than anything, is a surge of activity to develop energy storage capability …. Once we can do that technologically, why would we not just keep with renewables.”
For a country like India, with plenty of sunlight and deserts where it can be collected, he went on, “there’s no reason” for it not to go “directly wholesale into solar energy”. After all it was already “three to four times” cheaper to provide villages unconnected to the grid in India and China with solar electric panels and batteries than to connect them up……….
later he came back to the question …: “if we can get the costs down we might well manage our future basically on renewable energy and energy storage”.…….http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/nuclearpower/11244499/Nuclear-power-may-not-be-needed-says-top-atomic-advocate.html
Shares in the French engineering business plunged by almost a quarter after Areva warned it must suspend future profit predictions because of problems centred on a similar power station project in Finland.
Both that scheme at Olkiluoto and another at Flamanville in France are massively over-budget and over-schedule, forcing Areva to consider whether it needs an injection of new cash to survive.
Peter Atherton, a leading energy company analyst at Liberum Capital in the City, said Areva appeared to be in deep trouble and this must be a matter of grave concern to the British government.
“If I was sitting in Whitehall this would scare the daylights out of me. Areva is designing and building the first two EPRs [European Pressurised Reactors] inEurope and both projects have gone disastrously wrong.
“The [UK] government has commissioned the most expensive power station in history and the only company that can provide the equipment is in trouble. That is a big problem for Hinkley.”
As well as providing the design, Areva currently holds 10% of the equity in the Hinkley Point C project, which has been predicted by the European commission to cost almost £25bn – if it is built on time by 2023. EDF holds 45%-50%, with Chinese state nuclear companies holding the remainder…………http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/19/hinkley-point-c-nuclear-plant-future-doubt-areva
Drone flights were first reported over at least 13 nuclear facilities in October. The flights have taken place mostly at night, involving drones of different sizes and capability, from smaller models that would need to be operated within the immediate vicinity to larger ones around two meters in size, which could be controlled from kilometres away. Flights have been carried out both in isolation and concurrently, with drones flown simultaneously over nuclear facilities hundreds of miles apart.
It is difficult to assess the risk posed by the recent drone flights as at this point it is unclear who is behind them and crucially what their intentions and capabilities are…….
worryingly, drones could be used to carry explosives for detonation close to the reactor or other sensitive parts of a nuclear site, although there have been no reports to date that these drones have been carrying a malicious cargo…….
Drones could also have other malicious uses. When mounted with small cameras, they could be used to conduct reconnaissance or to test security provisions before carrying out a follow-up attack by other means. Or they could be potentially used to drop equipment onsite to help out a malicious insider. A recent case in Belgium involving the sabotage of non-nuclear systems of a power station by an employee highlights that insiders can pose a real threat……..http://theconversation.com/mystery-drones-are-buzzing-around-french-nuclear-plants-should-we-be-worried-34447
Diet passes legislation to remove nuclear waste from Fukushima in 30 years http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201411200041 November 20, 2014 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
The Diet passed a bill Nov. 19 mandating that radioactive soil and debris from the Fukushima decontamination work be moved outside the prefecture within 30 years, a step toward building interim storage facilities for the waste.
The law amendment was one of the five conditions set in September when the Fukushima prefectural government agreed to accept interim facilities to store contaminated waste collected during cleanup efforts around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki praised the legislation as a “major step forward.” However, hurdles remain high for the interim facilities–planned in Okuma and Futaba near the nuclear plant–to start accepting the waste in January as scheduled.
The bill amends a law regulating operations of the government-affiliated Japan Environmental Safety Corp. (JESCO), which is commissioned to dispose of used polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).
The revised law stipulates the government will take necessary measures to remove waste from the prefecture for final disposal within 30 years after the interim facilities start operations. It also holds the government responsible for running the interim waste storage facilities and commissions JESCO to operate them.
Among the other conditions set by Fukushima Prefecture, the central government has agreed to earmark construction-related subsidies in its budget and take charge of the operation and maintenance of traffic routes for carrying in the waste.
One big problem for the government, however, is purchasing land for the facilities. The planned construction zone stretches 16 square kilometers, comprising 2,365 land plots belonging to individual owners.
As of the end of September, the government has located the whereabouts of only 1,269 landowners, partly because they live outside their properties as evacuees.
The government first plans to create temporary storage sites on individual land plots it purchases to start accepting radioactive waste there as early as possible. But it has not reached a purchase or lease agreement with a single landowner.
Taking into account this stumbling block, reconstruction minister Wataru Takeshita said Nov. 7 that the government’s plan to open the interim storage facilities in January will likely be pushed back.
(This article was written by Teru Okumura and Takuro Negishi.)
UK government secretly questioning whether Hinkley Point C nuclear power project will even go ahead at all
Except the focus is (as the Financial Times christened it) the biggest and most controversial infrastructure project in Europe, Hinkley Point C nuclear power project.
Given UK consumers are on the hook for an undiscounted £37billion of subsidy to this project, you’d think democratic principles would require that all developments were subject to full public scrutiny. But no; it’s all happening behind closed doors and we have to do the Kremlinology thing.
A few new scraps of information have emerged that do suggest the project is far from going swimmingly. There are 3 main points.
First, the reactor design, the European Pressurised water Reactor (EPR) isn’t very good. A nuclear engineer now affiliated to University of Cambridge recently described it as ‘unconstructable’.
Further understanding of the weakness of the EPR design come from the actual experience of trying to build it. The French project in Flamanville has announced further delays and will now take a decade to build instead of the original timetable of 5 years.
The other EPR under construction in Europe is in Finland at Olkiluoto. Construction started in 2005 was originally scheduled complete in 2009, but earlier this Autumn it was announced it will now be almost a decade late in 2018, if there are no more delays. It’s not easy building an EPR.
Secondly, the other observation the Cambridge engineer had was that the Chinese – who are experimenting with building several models of reactor – appear to have rejected it for their future nuclear programme. This is a little hard to square with what the Chinese view of the Hinkley project is, because the Chinese state-backed companies China General Nuclear and China National Nuclear Corporation reportedly want a greater share of the supply chain contracts……..
. Questions have already been raised about the how an independent regulator would police standards with Chinese company involvement………
it turns out that without telling anyone, the UK government has been quietly questioning whether Hinkley will go ahead after all, or worrying if it does go ahead that it might be years late (that Kremlinology thing again)…….http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/newsdesk/energy/analysis/trouble-hinkley
Fukushima Daiichi Updates From IRID Part 3; Testing The Goo Simply Info, November 19th, 2014 (Good diagrams)
IRID has made some progress on their research to find ways to seal the containment structures at Fukushima Daiichi. The plan has been to flood the containment structures in order to provide shielding during the fuel removal procedures. Concern has been raised about the ability of these structures to hold the weight and pressure of that much water or how this would impact the structure during an earthquake. The structures are already severely damaged along with the many locations where they leak.
The current research effort is looking for ways to try to seal the leaks in each of the areas known to be a leak path for the containment structure. One aspect that has not been discussed is what would happen if these structures did have a failure and leak after flooding. It is known that the reactor containment structures contain some loose fragmented fuel and other highly radioactive debris. A major leak could let loose a considerable radioactive slurry that would need to be quickly contained and remediated………http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=14136
US Government Injected Citizens with Uranium Under Secret Program: Flashback Files reveal feds posing as doctors experimented on public By Anthony Gucciardi Global Research, November 19, 2014 If you still think the United States government would never harm its own citizens for the benefit of federal agencies, then I would direct your attention to a formerly classified black ops program launched by the US government starting way back in 1945. With the goal of testing highly radioactive substances on overall healthy patients through secret injections administered by government agents, the program has still been widely ignored since being released to the public in recent years.
In the covert program that is now admitted to be true, the United States government injected unknowing human ‘participants’ with highly toxic substances like plutonium. It sounds like a bizarre torture scenario that you’d expect to see blamed on illegal terror organizations, but the individuals behind this crime are actually doctors working for the United States government. Disregarding the health of innocent citizens, the government testers were eager to see how unknowing participants suffered as a result of the injections.
That’s right, they were testing the lethal effects of radioactive isotope injection on citizens. And not that it would make it any more ethical, but they didn’t even choose terminally ill patients who were most likely going to pass away anyway. Instead, they chose patients who sometimes were only suffering from ailments like broken bones.
Injecting Unknowing Patients With Uranium
It began in 1945, when an employee at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility was in a car accident. Ebb Cade survived, but was taken in as a human participant in a disturbing study he did not consent to. It is important to note that this man was a fifty-three-year-old African American, as previous government trials have singled out African Americans and other minorities. The racist sterilization programs occurred between 1929 to 1974 under an admitted eugenics programs that officials claimed were ‘creating a better society’. Most victims were poor, black women who were ‘deemed unfit to be parents’. Individuals as young as 10 were sterilized simply for not getting along with schoolmates or being promiscuous, and many parents were misled into sterilizing their children……… http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-government-injected-citizens-with-uranium-under-secret-program-flashback/5414983
Washington state to sue federal government over nuclear site vapors, Yahoo News, By Victoria CavaliereNovember 19, 2014 SEATTLE (Reuters) - Washington state’s attorney general said on Wednesday he intends to sue the U.S. government for not adequately protecting workers involved in the decades-long cleanup of a decommissioned nuclear site, saying dozens have been sickened by toxic vapors.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Wednesday the Department of Energy was not doing enough to protect tank workers with dozens reporting illnesses over the past two decades, including 44 over the past 12 months.
“Hanford workers face a very real and immediate health risk,” Ferguson said during a conference call Wednesday. “I want these protections now and I want them for the duration,” he said.
A study released last month by a panel of independent experts found strong evidence of a causal link between chemical vapors and adverse health effects in tank farm workers and also that the system for measuring such vapors was inadequate.
These health effects have ranged from nosebleeds, headaches, dizziness, nausea, burning skin and increased heart rate to reported long-term disabilities, including permanent loss of lung capacity, the report found.
“Despite the 20 years of study and multiple reports, there is no lasting solution and workers continue to get sick,” Ferguson said.
In announcing the intent to file a lawsuit, the Department of Energy has 90 days to respond with a plan of action, he said……..http://news.yahoo.com/washington-state-sue-federal-government-over-nuclear-vapors-224320870.html
The nuclear plant has been censured by safety regulators after admitting human error led to the release of radioactivity into the atmosphere.
The criticism comes just weeks after another nuclear plant, Sellafield in Cumbria, was also tackled by the safety regulator over its management of asbestos while pictures emerged of badly corroded storage ponds there.
Environmentalists said the problems highlighted dangers from building a new generation of nuclear plants which however well designed would be vulnerable to human fallibility………
Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), controlled by a consortium involving the engineering group Babcock, is involved in a £1.6bn contract to dismantle Dounreay, a prototype “fast reactor” built to experiment with nuclear fission in the 1950s and 60s……….
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said the problems at Dounreay were disturbing. “Until we can clone enough popes to staff all the world’s nuclear reactor control rooms, there will always be a fallible human component in nuclear power stations. This worrying news demonstrates why it’s important to remember that even a reactor design which looks safe on paper can never completely design out the actions of human beings. Its why renewable energy always scores better on safety, because far less can go wrong.”
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities Secretariat, the local government voice on nuclear issues, described the Dounreay incident as “alarming” and called for more information.
“To hear that critical staff were not fully conversant in fire safety procedures and that a release of tritium occurred; putting into danger staff and the wider public; is quite disgraceful at such a sensitive nuclear site like Dounreay,” said councillor Mark Hackett, the NFLA’s chair.
The nuclear industry has had a difficult week after Areva, one of the companies involved in the management of Sellafield, issued a profit warning and said it might need a cash injection……..http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/21/dounreay-nuclear-plant-fire-radioactivity
$US1.4b settlement after nuclear closurehttps://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/us1-4b-settlement-nuclear-closure-005216557.html 21 Nov 14 Consumers will get refunds and credits of about $US1.4 billion, but also pay about $US3.3 billion, under a settlement involving the premature closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant.
The vote by the California Public Utilities Commission was 5-0.
At issue has been who should take the financial hit for the plant’s demise – company shareholders or customers.
The settlement stems from negotiations among operator Southern California Edison, minority owner San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and consumer advocates. Critics argued that the deal short-changed ratepayers.
The payments will be made over the next decade.
The settlement “is reasonable in light of the whole record, consistent with law and in the public interest,” Commissioner Mike Florio said in a statement on Thursday.
San Onofre shut down for good last year after a long fight over whether it was safe to restart. It had been idle since January 2012, after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of tubes inside virtually new steam generators.
A federal investigation after the 2012 leak concluded that a botched computer analysis resulted in generator design flaws that were largely to blame for the unprecedented wear in the tubing that carried radioactive water.
In gloomy economic situation nuclear giant AREVA “suspends” its financial outlook for 2015 and 2016.
French Nuclear Giant Areva Says Future Is Uncertain, Prompting a Sell-Off NYT, By DAVID JOLLY and STANLEY REEDNOV. 19, 2014 PARIS — Areva, the French nuclear technology giant, has warned of an uncertain outlook for its business amid delays to important projects and sluggishness in the global atomic energy sector, sending its stock tumbling on Wednesday.
The company, which is about 87 percent state-owned, said late Tuesday that it was “suspending” its financial outlook for 2015 and 2016.
Areva cited cash flow problems related to its long-delayed nuclear plant project in Finland, on Olkiluoto Island, as well as Japan’s reluctance to restart reactors after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The company noted “the still lackluster market” for providing services to existing nuclear plants, including in its crucial home market, which draws about three-quarters of its electricity from atomic power, the highest in the world………..
The company will burn through more than 400 million euros, or about $500 million, of cash this year, he said, and might need to raise as much as €2 billion in new capital to shore up its finances. Its share price fell about 16 percent on Wednesday. Compounding the shock was the fact that the company had reaffirmed its full-year profit and sales outlook on Oct. 31, even as it said revenue for the first nine months of 2014 fell more than 14 percent from a year earlier, to €5.6 billion………http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/business/international/french-nuclear-giant-areva-says-future-is-uncertain-prompting-a-sell-off.html?_r=0
How the UK’s nuclear new-build plans keep getting delayed 20 Nov 2014, The Carbon Brief Simon Evans When will the UK get a new generation of nuclear power plants? Doubts surfaced again today with the Times reporting a “secret government review” into French firm EDF’s plan to build a new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
The review is costing tens of millions, the Times says, and is trying to establish whether EDF can complete the new plant by 2023 as it has promised.
The news follows an announcement from EDF that its Flamanville plant in Normandy is facing further delays. The project uses identical designs to the Hinkley scheme.
Flamanville was supposed to take five years to build and begin operating by 2012. Instead it will now take 10 years, and open in 2017. A third identical project at Olkiluoto in Finland is nearly a decade behind schedule.
New nuclear capacity is a key part of UK government plans for decarbonisation. So why is it proving so hard to predict when the UK’s first new nuclear plant for a generation will start operating?
Predicting the future
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) makes annual projections of the future of the UK’s energy and emissions. It has been publishing these projections for a number of years. We’ve trawled the data going back to 2007 to find out how DECC’s predictions about when we’ll get new nuclear have changed.
First, some history. ………..
It’s worth emphasising of course that the Hinkley Point reactors are not yet under construction. EDF had originally said it would finish building them in 2017, indeed chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said some people would be cooking their 2017 christmas dinner using new nuclear power.
De Rivaz now says the project will be finished in 2023. Preparatory groundwork has already started. Carbon Brief asked EDF when construction of the plant itself will begin and how long it will take to finish. EDF said that level of detail was not yet available.
The cost of UK new nuclear
It isn’t only the finish date that has changed for the UK’s new nuclear plans. The costs have also skyrocketed.
Back in 2008 the white paper on new nuclear in the UK suggested it would cost £2.8 billion to build a first of its kind 1.6 gigawatt plant, with a range of between £2 and £3.6 billion.
The government later said in 2013 that the the Hinkley C project of two 1.6 gigawatt reactors would cost £16 billion. When the European Commission gave the deal the green light in October it said the project would cost £24 billion……….. EDF has delayed its final decision on whether to build at Hinkley Point until after this review has given it the all-clear. Until then, it will not divulge detailed timelines for its plans. http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2014/11/how-the-uks-nuclear-new-build-plans-keep-getting-delayed/
A fault line beneath the No. 2 reactor of the Tsuruga nuclear power plant is indeed active, an expert panel of the Nuclear Regulation Authority concluded Nov. 19, drawing criticism from the plant’s operator.
Japan Atomic Power Co. vowed to challenge the panel’s conclusion, which, if it stands, would force the company to decommission the reactor under new safety rules……..
The NRA’s assessment of the fault last year came when Kunihiko Shimazaki, a seismologist known for his tough attitude toward power companies, was a deputy chairman of the watchdog. Utilities and ruling coalition officials criticized Shimazaki over his “hurried conclusion” on the Tsuruga plant.
Although Shimazaki’s term ended in September and he was replaced, the NRA’s position on the fault was not overturned.
The fault line survey at the Tsuruga plant was originally started at the request of the now-dissolved Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
Fault inspections are a separate process from the safety screenings required to restart reactors, so Japan Atomic Power can still submit an application to resume operations at the reactor.
However, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has said he would respect the expert panel’s conclusion when deciding whether to allow reactors to restart.
(This article was written by Chikako Kawahara and Daiki Koga.) http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201411200043
EDF must start French nuclear closure in 2015 despite delay on replacement http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/19/france-nuclear-idUSL6N0T93HX20141119 PARIS Wed Nov 19, 2014 Nov 19 (Reuters) - EDF will still need to start shutting down some nuclear capacity in 2015 despite a new delay in finishing a replacement in northern France, the official in charge of the closure of France’s oldest plant said on Wednesday.
The French utility announced on Tuesday that it expects 1,600-megawatt Areva-designed EPR nuclear reactor in Flamanville,France, to be connected to the grid in 2017, instead of 2016.
That pushed back the production of the first megawatt of electricity to the last year of President Francois Hollande’s mandate, which terminates in May 2017. Closing the Fessenheim plant on the German border was a campaign pledge of Hollande’s.
The delay gave rise to talk that EDF could avoid closing the Fessenheim nuclear plant altogether if anew centre-right government came to power in May 2017 and repealed the energy transition law that caps nuclear capacity at 63.2 gigawatts.
But Jean-Michel Malerba, who is in charge of closing the 1,600-MW reactor, told Reuters that EDF will still have to request a production permit for Flamanville some 18 months before start-up and will also have to request a production withdrawal permit for the equivalent capacity in 2015.
“EDF will have to ask for a production authorisation for Flamanville in 2015, even if the start-up date is a bit delayed, and on that occasion they will have to declare which reactors they want to shut to obtain that authorisation,” he said.
The official said Article 55 of the energy transition bill, which won approval from the lower house of parliament last month, requires EDF to request a production authorisation no later than 18 months before April 2017.
Energy Minister Segolene Royal suggested in September that keeping Fessenheim open, where half a billion euros ($630 million) of maintenance investment has been made in recent years, was a possibility. (Reporting by Michel Rose)
Flooding at St. Lucie nuclear plant prompts more oversight from regulators TCPALM, Will Greenlee, Nov 21, 2014 ST. LUCIE COUNTY — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is stepping up oversight of one of two units at Florida Power & Light Co.’s St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant after about 50,000 gallons of water entered a reactor auxiliary building during heavy rains in January, according to the NRC.
The incident at the nuclear plant on Hutchinson Island occurred Jan. 9, when more than 7 inches of rain fell on the site, a report states. A blocked storm drain system played a role.
“During the event, stormwater entered the reactor auxiliary building … through degraded electrical conduits that were later found not to have internal flood seals,” a report states………50,000 gallons is about the amount held by a 25-by-45-foot swimming pool with an average depth of 6 feet…….http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/st-lucie-county/flooding-at-st-lucie-nuclear-plant-prompts-more-oversight-from-regulators_24283175
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