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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

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

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

Nuclear power plant Vogtle in Georgia – more delays

radiation-sign-sadFlag-USAPlant Vogtle expansion falling further behind schedule, construction monitor reports The Augusta Chroncle, 24 Nov 14, By Meg Mirshak
Staff Writer Scheduling delays for two nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle are worsening, according to a report from a state-hired construction monitor.

William Jacobs, who monitors the Vogtle project for the Georgia Public Service Commission, wrote in a report released Monday that he thinks the new units will be delayed past their current forecasted completions of late 2017 and 2018. Based on current activities, “it is impossible to determine” when the units will be begin producing commercial power…….

Georgia Power’s agreement requires the contractor to cover the costs of inflation in building materials and labor as well as imposing penalties for being late. Still, expenses for the added costs of delays could be passed to ratepayers……..http://chronicle.augusta.com/latest-news/2014-11-25/plant-vogtle-expansion-falling-further-behind-schedule-construction-monitor?v=1416929111

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

Farming sunlight and wind in the California desert

solar-farm1Renewable Energy Farms Spread Through California Deserts NewsWeek, BY  / NOVEMBER 24, 2014  “…….. , part of the interconnected swatches of desert land in California that, combined, make up the largest wilderness area in the Lower 48. It’s also about to become host to the biggest renewable-energy projects in the world.

Already, 13 of them are built or on the way. There’s the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, under construction just east of Joshua Tree National Park; its solar photovoltaic cells will cover over 4,000 acres of public land administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). When completed in 2015 (assuming things go as planned), it is expected to peak at a nominal power of 550 megawatts—making it the most powerful solar farm on the planet. There’s also the McCoy Solar Energy Project, in the middle of the Mojave. When it’s done, it will be even bigger and more powerful than Desert Sunlight, covering 7,700 acres of BLM land and 470 acres of private land, and with an electrical production capacity of 750 megawatts.

Then there are the wind farms. These produce less power than their solar brethren and take up much more space. The Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility, for example, covers 12,436 acres at the edge of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, near the border with Mexico, and produces 315 megawatts of power……..

And these new wind and solar farms—cities, call them, since they aren’t like any farm you’ve seen—are only going to multiply in the coming years. The need for clean energy is expected to increase dramatically in the next decade, particularly after the U.S. and China recently announced a historic agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions in their respective countries. At the core of the pact are two sets of commitments: The U.S. will lower emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025 from the initial 2005 baselines, while China has agreed to set an emissions peak for 2030 and then commit to lowering emissions……….

It’s cheaper to have a big mass—having power all come from one source,” says Elkin. “But the advantages of having a more distributed rooftop-type solar is that you can provide the power generation really close to being used. It’s more efficient.” He says we are probably headed toward a mix, with “microgrids” providing neighborhoods with access to small, local solar farms.

Until then, though, achieving emissions reductions at the scale of what has been agreed to between the U.S. and China “is not going to happen without some level of large-scale renewable-energy development,” says Helen O’Shea, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s Western Renewable Energy Project.

And Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, says that if conservationists keep fighting that, they will be missing the forest for the trees. “We are facing a mass extinction,” he says. “The only pathway to solve that problem involves a massive increase in renewable energy. Unfortunately, many new renewable-energy facilities have been slowed down or stopped because of their adverse effects on certain species. I think we can no longer have the luxury of doing that.”ttp://www.newsweek.com/renewable-energy-farms-populate-california-286644

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

Google shows its ignorance about renewable energy

Why Google gave up on renewables (hint, they don’t understand energy), REneweconomy By  on 25 November 2014 The two scientists responsible for Google’s failed attempt to launch a renewable energy revolution have written an article explaining what, according to them, went wrong with their project. They have come to the conclusion that fighting climate change with today’s renewable energy technologies won’t work – but they present no evidence for it, writes Energy Post editor Karel Beckman.

Critics of renewable energy are having a field day in the blogosphere. It has now been proven beyond doubt, they cry, that “renewables simply won’t work”. Why not? Well, because Google says so.

Some years ago, in 2007, to be exact, Google embarked on an ambitious project to develop reneweable energy sources that would generate electricity more cheaply than coal-fired power. Google’s hope was that in this way the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere could be halted and reversed. However, in 2011, after four years of trying, the company gave up the project, known as RE<C.

The two engineers who were responsbile for Google’s venture into renewables, Ross Koningstein and David Fork, have now written an article in which they try to explain what went wrong – and what lessons can be drawn from it……..they argue that renewables “won’t work” to effectively tackle climate change. They don’t say renewables won’t work, period. But even this first claim appears doubtful on the basis of the evidence offered in the article………

by 2011, they note, “it was clear that RE<C would not be able to deliver a technology that could compete economically with coal.”

Unfortunately, the reader has to take this assertion at face value. The authors do not cite any figures or published research. Nor do they make it clear whether these were all the “innovative technologies” they investigated or what they mean in the first place by “investigated”………..

They add this notable remark: “Let’s face it, businesses won’t make sacrifices and pay more for clean energy based on altruism alone. Instead, we need solutions that appeal to their profit motives.” Well, yes – unless of course we introduce regulations or put a price on carbon, for example, but such possibilities appear to lie outside the authors’ frame of reference.

The two Google-men have also come to the surprising – to them – discovery that in the electricity market “the value of generated electricity varies … depending on how easily it can be supplied to reliably meet local dmeand.” Thus, they write, dispatchable power can have added value to cover peak demand. Indeed. Distributed power, on the other hand, “can also be worth more as it avoids the costs and losses associated with transmission and distribution”.

These amazing insights into the nature of the electricity market have led them to a positive conclusion. Here, they write, “we see an apportunity for change. A distributed, dispatchable power source could prompt a switchover if it could undercut …end-user prices.” But, they add, “unfortunately, most of today’s clean generation sources can’t provide power that is both distributed and dispatchable. Solar panels, for example, can be put on every rooftop but can’t provide power if the sun isn’t shining.”

So what about solar PV-with-storage? Koningstein and Fork appear not to be aware that such a solution may be possible. Nor do they seem to have heard of microgrids or to have thought of a combination of solar and electric cars. They merely sigh that “if we invented a distributed, dispatchable power technology, it coud transform the energy marketplace and the roles by utilities and their customers”. They can’t think of any possible solution, though: we “don’t have the answers”. The technologies required to reverse climate change “haven’t been invented yet”, they write……..

what do Koningstein and Fork think that researchers in the energy sector are doing right now? Did they try to find out how much is being spent on cleantech research worldwide? Or what technologies are actually being developed? If so, they show no signs of it. Indeed, they seem to know very little about what’s going on in the energy sector. Perhaps it is too much expect Google to solve the world’s energy problems – they could search the internet a bit better. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/why-google-gave-up-on-renewables-hint-they-dont-understand-energy-12048

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

Germany steps up program to shut down coal power plants

flag_germanyGermany may shut down eight more coal power plants, document shows, SMH, November 24, 2014 Germany is working on a new law to force energy companies to shut down several more coal-fired power plants as it tries to reach ambitious climate goals, a document seen by Reuters showed on Sunday.

According to a draft legislation prepared by the economy ministry, energy companies will be asked to reduce carbon emissions by at least 22 million tonnes by 2020.

Some 50 facilities already registered for decommission will not count, however, meaning that a further eight coal-fired power stations may be closed down……..

Although Germany has seen a boom in green energy, accounting for about 25 per cent of overall power generation, environmentalists criticise the country for its continued dependence on coal-fired plants, which made up nearly half of power generation last year.

The latest reduction in carbon emissions, if put into effect, would be shared equally between Germany’s power companies, among them major energy firms RWE, E.ON and Vattenfall…….

The latest measure is part of a raft of new climate rules which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet is expected to decide on Dec. 3. The programme will also include steps to boost energy efficiency.

Merkel’s government wants renewables to make up between 40-45 per cent of power generation by 2025 and 55-60 per cent by 2035 – targets that experts say are ambitious for an industrialised country.

The European Union agreed last month a pledge to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40 per cent in 2030.  http://www.smh.com.au/business/carbon-economy/germany-may-shut-down-eight-more-coal-power-plants-document-shows-20141124-11sfdn.html#ixzz3KE3Ddv19

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

Demolition begins of massive uranium enrichment facility

Demolition of Uranium Facility, Once the Largest Building in U.S.http://www.rbaker.com/press-room.php?id=215&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
Tue November 25, 2014, When the K-25 uranium enrichment facility was built in the mid-1940s as part of the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, it was the world’s largest building under one roof. Seventy years later, demolition of the enormous forty-four acre building was completed after a five-year project.

K-25 was commissioned by the U.S. government during World War II as part of the top-secret race to build the world’s first atomic bomb. Within the walls of the half-mile-long, 2 million square foot U-shaped facility, 12,000 workers produced, via gaseous diffusion, the enriched uranium that was used in atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Following the war, K-25 remained in operation producing enriched uranium for defense and commercial purposes until it was shut down in 1964. Other buildings at the Oak Ridge facility continued producing uranium until 1987.

Though demolition contractors began taking down the K-25 building in 2008, the complex project was ten years in the making. Due to the hazardous nature of the uranium operation, extensive preparation and remediation were required before demolition could commence. Among numerous Radioactive sludge was removed from a series of underground gunite tanks in 1999, and an onsite waste processing facility was built in 2003 to accept contaminated waste generated during site cleanup. Depleted uranium cylinders were shipped, more than 47,000 tons of metal was removed, several other buildings were demolished, and roads were constructed to accommodate vehicles removing project debris.

Demolition of K-25 was slated to last six years, from 2008 to 2014, but demolition contractors were able to complete the project one year ahead of schedule and approximately $300 million under its original $2.2 billion budget.

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

Chile getting extreme UV radiation with increased risk of skin cancers

Rising UV radiation prompts skin cancer fears in Chile http://www.news24.com/Green/News/Rising-UV-radiation-prompts-skin-cancer-fears-in-Chile-20141124 Santiago – Cancer experts in Chile are warning people to limit their exposure to the sun as dangerously high levels of ultraviolet radiation are expected over the next few months.

A recently released report indicates the a hole in the ozone layer, which is normally situated over Antarctica, is moving towards the South American country.

Chilean’s might have to stay indoors this summer as experts warn that the country will be blasted by extremely high levels of ultraviolet radiation.

According to a study from Chile’s national cancer corporation, or Conac, the massive hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica is moving closer towards the South American country.

Conac’s Doctor Ernesto Gramsch says the rise in radiation levels is alarming. In October, UV levels were 175 higher than they were in October of last year, which was 10 or 15% higher than the year before that. So this year it’s been a little higher, almost 30% higher than in previous years.”

Gramsch says that rise is also due to shifts in climatic wind patterns which have thinned out ozone gases over Chile in recent years. And with less protection from harmful UV rays, the number of skin cancer cases are on the rise.

Dr Cecilia Orlandi says she has seen the number of patients double since 2000.

“The number of skin cancer cases has been increasing, which yes, we can detect at a fairly early stage. But cancers from epithelioma basal cells and squamous cells have been increasing as well, and those are directly related to exposure to ultraviolet rays A and B”, Said Orlandi.

Outside Chileans are bracing for a harsh summer.

But according to a recent United Nations report, a ray of hope is slowly emerging. Moves to tackle climate change have resulted in the ozone layer finally starting to recover, with estimates that it will be back at 1980 levels by 2050.

November 26, 2014 Posted by | health, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Pickering nuclear power station has radioactive leak

Radioactive leak at Pickering nuclear station, Caledon Enterprise, 26 Nov 14 
Heavy water contained inside reactor; no impact to public, environment 
Pickering News Advertiser

PICKERING — Thousands of litres of radioactive heavy water leaked in a reactor at the Pickering nuclear station Friday.

The incident happened in Unit 7, which was undergoing a scheduled maintenance outage, at about 4 p.m. on Nov. 21.

A valve on the moderator system opened inside the reactor building, Ontario Power Generation reported on Twitter….. 6,900 litres of heavy water leaked……http://www.caledonenterprise.com/news-story/5154334-updated-radioactive-leak-at-pickering-nuclear-station/

November 26, 2014 Posted by | Canada, incidents | Leave a comment

Call for independent Radiation Monitoring in Cumbria and Lancashire

‘Nuclear Madness’ Protest at Carlisle Railway Station  http://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/nuclear-madness-protest-at-carlisle-railway-station/

100 people also stopped to sign a letter to Cumbria and Lancashire County Council regarding the lack of independent radiation monitoring .

Radiation Free Lakeland  The letter says:

Dear Cumbria and Lancashire County Council,Dear Cumbria and Lancashire County Council,

RADIATION RELEASES TO THE ENVIRONMENT

The North West’s environment used to be independently monitored by the council run Radiation Monitoring in Lancashire, RADMIL.

RADMIL was stopped a few years ago due to council cuts.  The Environment Agency often leaves monitoring and reporting to the nuclear industry

The nuclear industry and government’s new build plan includes:

Manufacture of fuel for new reactors. This begins with uranium hexafluoride shipped to Ellesmere Port, then to Capenhurst, Near Chester. Then on to Preston’s Springfields plant. Proposed new nuclear build on greenfields in Cumbria would also mean escalating radioactive releases from fuel manufacture.

This means radioactively polluting the River Ribble and Clifton Marsh Landfill in Lancashire. And in Cumbria increasing releases to the Irish Sea, Lillyhall landfill and previously nuclear free areas!   Nuclear materials are routinely sent by train and road and even by plane.

Given this escalation in radioactive emissions we urge you to reinstate regular and frequent independent radiation monitoring in Cumbria and Lancashire 

November 26, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

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