R1-trillion nuclear plans are simply “disastrous” for SA http://businesstech.co.za/news/energy/94677/r1-trillion-nuclear-plans-are-simply-disastrous-for-sa/ 31 July 15 Government’s R1-trillion nuclear build plans are going to turn South Africa’s energy crisis into a jobs crisis, according to the Democratic Alliance.
Earlier in July, the Department of Energy signed two memoranda of understanding with Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom to implement several joint projects for education in the nuclear power industry.
Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said that South Africa will start a nuclear build programme in 2015, in a bid to generate an additional 9,600MW of electricity.
The country will have as many as nine new nuclear power plants by 2030, with government pegging the total cost to build these at R500 million – though energy experts have stated R1 trillion was more realistic, and would likely increase.
In a statement issued on 31 July, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the nuclear deal will drag the country’s economy back, and will cost thousands of South Africans their jobs.
According to the party, the details behind government’s nuclear plans show that the undertaking is unaffordable.
“Whichever funding model is chosen, you can rest assured that it will be paid for by the South African taxpayer, and that we can expect substantial tariff increases over many years.”
These higher prices would price the poor out of electricity usage, and would result in energy-heavy industries – like mining and manufacturing – shedding more jobs, said the DA.
“For a government that claims to be pro-poor – and for a country where 5.2 million people cannot find work and a further 2.4 million have given up looking – this is unfathomable.”
Maimane pointed to a number of flaws in the scheme:
- Even if government’s estimate of R500 million was correct, South Africa cannot afford to build the nuclear reactors. This would result in private-public partnerships being formed, which would be reflected in current and future electricity prices increasing, as citizens would have to pay.
- South Africa lacks the capacity and skills to operate eight nuclear power stations. We lack the capacity and skills to run the one we already have, said Maimane.
- The project goes against the government’s own National Development Plan, which urges caution on nuclear, pointing rather towards gas, wind, and solar energy as a primary source of power.
To date, government has not provided solid details on the nuclear build plans.
“Until the government tells us how much the nuclear deal will cost, how we plan to pay for it, and how they intend to choose the preferred bidder, we cannot begin to entertain the notion of going down this path.”
The DA leader said that, while the party does not oppose nuclear power, the current plan is “not right” for the country, and it will do anything in its power to block the deal.
The sale of the nuclear reactor unit to EDF marks the end of Areva’s formerly profitable full-service model, which offered clients all aspects of development ranging from conception and construction to fuel procurement and waste treatment.
France sells major nuclear stake http://www.iol.co.za/business/international/france-sells-major-nuclear-stake-1.1893029#.VbqVMvOqpHw July 30 2015 Paris – Atomic energy giant Areva on Thursday agreed to sell a majority stake of its nuclear reactor unit to electricity group EDF as part of a shake-up of the French sector. Continue reading
Lossmaking Areva needs €7bn capital injection, Ft.com Michael Stothard in Paris, 30 July 15 Struggling French nuclear group Areva on Thursday disclosed it needed a bigger than expected capital injection worth €7bn as the company also unveiled a far-reaching agreement with EDF on asset disposals and other projects.
The two companies — both state-controlled — agreed in principle that EDF will pay €2bn for a 75 per cent stake in Areva’s reactor unit, called Areva NP, in a radical reshaping of the French nuclear industry that has come after months of tense negotiations……..
Following the deal, Areva, which reported a €4.8bn net loss last year, will be reduced to a nuclear fuel company that mines, enriches and then disposes of uranium. The heart of the company — designing, building and servicing nuclear reactors — is being sold off.
Areva said that overall it would need €7bn in capital over the next two years, however, meaning that as much as €5bn will be required from sources other than EDF, the French utility group. Much of these additional funds are likely to come from a government-backed capital raising.
The French government may have to contribute between €4bn and €5bn, far more than the €2bn to €3bn that ministers had hoped for just a few months ago, according to people familiar with the situation, although the exact level of the capital raising was not announced on Thursday.
Areva said it could secure €0.4bn from selling some other assets including Canberra, its nuclear measurements subsidiary, and as much as €1.2bn from other sources of equity financing. This suggested a government-backed capital raising that might be closer to €4bn.
On Thursday the two companies also said they would set up a dedicated company to be 80 per cent owned by EDF and 20 per cent by Areva NP, aimed at improving the design and management of brand new reactors projects.
One of the problems that has weighed on Areva in recent years has been cost overruns at key projects, particularly the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland, which is 10 years behind schedule and prompted the company to take €3.9bn in impairment charges………..http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/110c0476-368c-11e5-b05b-b01debd57852.html#axzz3hPaCUU5g
Decision of possibly closing Cordova Exelon plant expected in September, WQAD, JULY 30, 2015, BY KATRINA LAMANSKY The decision of whether to close the Quad Cities nuclear plant, Exelon, is expected in September of 2015.
This possibility came out during a conference call with analysts on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, according to a report by Crain’s Chicago Business. The company’s CEO Chris Crane said he didn’t see a way to keep the Cordova, Illinois plant open given the lack revenue from customers.
According to the report, it would take a state law that charges utility customers more to keep the company afloat. Crane said the company’s six plants are losing money partly due to the low cost of natural gas.
According to Bill Stoermer, Communications Manager for the Cordova Exelon plant, no decisions regarding any of the Illinois nuclear plants have been made……….http://wqad.com/2015/07/30/decision-of-possibly-closing-cordova-exelon-plant-expected-in-september/
New power rules may preserve Exelon nuclear plants in Illinois, St Louis Post Dispatch, By Scott DiSavino Reuters , 30 July 15, New rules for U.S. electricity providers could save two money-losing nuclear power plants in Illinois from shutting down and may amount to a $10 billion bonanza to U.S. power producers.
A system of rewards and penalties is part of a requirement approved last month by federal energy regulators that applies to a power auction next month.
It may benefit some costly nuclear reactors in the PJM power region, which stretches from New Jersey to Illinois, that have had a tough time competing against the growing use of wind turbines and power plants fired with cheap natural gas.
That is particularly true for two plants operated by Exelon Corp., the biggest U.S. nuclear power plant operator. It has warned it might be forced to shut its Quad Cities and Byron nuclear plants in northern Illinois, unless the reactors’ revenues increase.
Thanks to the growth of alternative power sources and abundant gas from shale formations, PJM power prices have fallen an average of 20 percent over the past five years to around $50 per megawatt hour compared with the prior five years…….
The rule creates a niche for nuclear plants, which run consistently, unlike breeze-dependent wind turbines, and do not need potential upgrades to withstand harsh winter temperatures like gas plants.
Under so-called capacity performance requirements, generators will receive higher fees to keep plants available but face stiff penalties if their units don’t deliver power when needed during system emergencies. Fines for an average 100-megawatt plant would be around $350,000 an hour………
If analysts’ estimates are correct and all ten of Exelon’s reactors in northern Illinois are selected to provide capacity in the auction, the company could receive around $600 million for those reactors during the 2018-2019 delivery year………
Exelon has lost close to $1 billion over the past five years on its nuclear operations — about $350 million at Quad Cities alone. It expects those losses to continue, based on forward power prices, Dominguez said.
Even if Byron and Quad Cities clear the auction, Dominguez said they still face the risk of shutdown unless federal, state and regional policy makers find ways to compensate generators for the environmental and reliability benefits that non-carbon emitting nuclear plants provide.
In the meantime, extra revenues from the capacity auction could keep the money losing reactors operating for a few more years until possible new carbon standards are available. http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/new-power-rules-may-preserve-exelon-nuclear-plants-in-illinois/article_e4007591-df54-5795-9b5f-de5a1e6ab3f8.html
Former Exelon CEO says Exelon should shut those reactors Green World, Michael Mariotte
July 28, 2015 “………..Last Friday, we linked to one interview he gave recently where he said he would have been quicker to close Exelon’s uneconomic reactors than the current Exelon regime–which still hasn’t closed them and is still floundering around trying to get someone, anyone, to order ratepayers to bail them out. So far, unsuccessfully.
Yesterday, E&E Publishing ran another interview with Rowe, which expands on his thoughts and surely caused unpleasant abdominal pains and teeth-gnashing in Exelon’s executive suite and boardroom. You see, Rowe is one of those retired execs whose stature has only grown since he left the company and his thoughts carry weight, especially in Illinois. And he’s still got some clout, perhaps more than Exelon itself these days: for example, he’s actually friends with Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, unlike the current Exelon suits.
So here’s what Rowe said about Exelon’s uneconomic reactors:
I’m living in a fairy world because I don’t have the numbers and I’m not responsible for them anymore. But in my opinion, you shut those three plants down. You say they have become uneconomic just like some old coal plants are uneconomic. And in a world that’s driven by unfriendly market prices and unfriendly public policy, you shut them down………
As for the idea that EPA’s Clean Power Plan should encourage nuclear power:
…I don’t think it’s EPA’s job to encourage a new nuclear world. I think that would be one of the most expensive solutions it could pursue……
Rowe, unlike the current short-sighted and economically-challenged management at Exelon, understands electricity markets and finances and, also unlike Exelon’s current management, is not afflicted with the kind of greed mentality that insists they should get whatever they want just because they want it. Rowe understands that is not how the world works. Rather than trying to force the world to adapt to Exelon, as the current regime is attempting, Rowe’s history was one of trying to steer Exelon through the real world that was presented. http://safeenergy.org/2015/07/28/former-exelon-ceo-says-exelon/
Japan Quake Insurance on the Rise as Fukushima Shakes Confidence, Bloomneerg Business, 30 July 15
The increase could come into effect in January 2017, according to the Ministry of Finance group studying the issue. It may be introduced in phases and would follow a 15.5 percent rise approved in July last year, the first increase in quake premiums in 18 years.
Japan’s earthquake insurance rates vary by region and are based on so-called hazard maps published each year by the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion. Since the March 2011 disaster, the hazard maps have been expanded to other areas, said Professor Hiroyuki Fujiwara at the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention.
Seismologists that draw up Japan’s hazard maps warn of a large earthquake that could do more direct damage to metropolitan Tokyo, the world’s biggest city with a population of about 30 million and the heart of Japan’s government, business world and financial markets.
The city sits adjacent to three major fault lines on the boundary of two tectonic plates, the Philippine and the Eurasian. Between 2000 and 2009, Japan experienced 20.5 percent of the world’s earthquakes that were magnitude 6 or above, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency and U.S. Geological Survey data.
Fujiwara said there is a 70 percent chance of a magnitude 7 quake hitting Tokyo within the next 30 years……..http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-30/japan-quake-insurance-on-the-rise-as-fukushima-shakes-confidence
Building nuclear reactors out of factory-produced modules was supposed to make their construction swifter and cheaper, leading to a new boom in nuclear energy.
But two U.S. sites where nuclear reactors are under construction have been hit with costly delays that have shaken faith in the new construction method and created problems concerning who will bear the added expense.
“Modular construction has not worked out to be the solution that the utilities promised,” said Robert B. Baker, an energy lawyer at Freeman Mathis & Gary LLP in Atlanta and former member of the Georgia Public Service Commission, the state utility authority.
The new building technique calls for fabricating big sections of plants in factories and then hauling them by rail to power-plant sites for final assembly. The method was supposed to prevent a repeat of the notorious delays and cost overruns that marred the last nuclear construction cycle in the 1980s.
It hasn’t worked. Georgia Power Co., a unit of Southern Co. that is building one of the nuclear power plants, reports that construction is three years behind schedule, although it is making steady progress.
“The promise of modular construction has yet to be seen,” said Joseph “Buzz” Miller, executive vice president of nuclear development for Georgia Power. The Georgia plant’s delay will increase the project’s financing costs, potentially adding $319 annually to each residential bill, according to the public interest advocacy staff of the state utility commission. The utility is seeking to recover $778 million in total added financing costs from vendors. It hopes customer bills won’t rise more than 8% to pay for the plant.
Georgia Power expects to spend $7.5 billion for its 46% share in the Vogtle power plant, which is adding two nuclear reactors adjacent to an existing plant near Waynesboro, Ga. That tab is $1.4 billion higher than the spending limit state regulators approved in 2009.
The cost of the V.C. Summer plant that South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. is building near Jenkinsville, S.C., now stands at $6.8 billion for the company’s 55% stake, up $1.1 billion from a 2012 estimate. The company recently agreed to trim its profit margin on the project if regulators approve a revised construction schedule and cost estimate. The commission heard testimony last week but has yet to rule………
U.S. utilities proposed building more than two dozen reactors five years ago before the shale-gas revolution drove down the price of natural gas and made plants that burn gas a more attractive option for the power industry. Last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it was folding a division to manage construction of new reactors back into the division from which it was pulled a few years ago, acknowledging a nuclear renaissance hasn’t materialized. Write to Rebecca Smith at email@example.com http://www.wsj.com/articles/pre-fab-nuclear-plants-prove-just-as-expensive-1438040802
What is spectacular is the extent to which the nuclear industry and many decision-makers are appearing to ignore the financial and technical realities of 2015, and the generalized move toward decentralized electricity generation and storage. The industry’s track record of delays and cost overruns, coupled with the urgency of replacing fossil fuels with efficiency improvements and low-carbon sources of energy, do not bode well for the long-term future of the industry.
Deconstructing the nuclear industry, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27 July 15 Mycle Schneider Antony Froggatt Released on July 15, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015 (WNISR 2015) is the latest independent assessment of nuclear energy trends in a series first published in 1992. This year’s report comes at a time when most energy and environmental experts shy away from the words “nuclear renaissance” but some view nuclear power as an indispensable substitute for fossil fuels in global efforts to combat climate change. Current trends, however, suggest that a rapid ramp-up of nuclear power is unlikely, and that renewable energy is surging past nuclear power in many countries. Here are a few of the report’s key findings: Continue reading
Rosatom eager to sign three more accords with BAEC http://www.observerbd.com/2015/07/22/100629.php#sthash.jdS4D1ks.USjrUblf.dpuf Shahnaj Begum, 22 July, 2015, The Russian state-owned nuclear power agency, Rosatom, is eager to sign three separate deals with Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) before signing the general contract to install the country’s first nuclear power plant at Rooppur on the north-west part of the country.
According to the official one deal will be signed to arrange the fuel to run the plant and another one for the “back end” for taking away the waste of the plant, and another one is for the operational purpose (maintenance), he added.
Bangladesh formed three separate teams to discuss the issue.
“We are yet to know about the technology, but we want to procure a reactor which will have SSE (safe shut acceleration) and capacity to handle minimum peak ground acceleration value of 0.38g (which means it would be all right against earthquake of 9 on the Richter scale),” a BAEC official said.
This is a follow-up to another visit by a high-powered technical committee to Russia last month.
This visit is necessary for selecting the right thing for Bangladesh and ensure a block allocation from the Russian Federation to implement the dream project, first of its kind in the country,” Yeafesh Osman said.
Moscow financed the technical study of the RNPP. Under the deal Bangladesh would borrow an amount of $569 million with an interest rate of not less than 5 per cent from Russia.
The government is going to build two nuclear plants with the capacity of 1,000 MW each at Rooppur with the latest ‘third generation’ technology from Russia where five-layer security measures would be installed, according to officials.
As Areva Goes Belly Up, Modi’s French Nuclear Plans May Start Unravelling, DiaNuke.org, 24 July 15 “………..The signs of Areva’s irreparable decline if not imminent death have been on the horizon these past years. With its single product catalogue, Areva has struggled to complete two identical EPR reactors, the first at Olkiluoto for TVO in Finland (still not operational despite a nine-year delay and a trebling of costs) and the second in Flamanville, France, plagued by equally serious construction and security flaws, delays and outrageous cost over-runs. …….
Reactor woes continue
The estimated price of the reactor continues to go up and up – it has nearly trebled from 3.3 billion euros eight years ago to around 9 billion euros at current estimates and could go higher if the EPR’s technical problems persist. The company has run up a deficit estimated at 4.8 billion euros for a turnover of 8.3 billion. Its recapitalisation requirements stand at 7 billion euros. The French government has stepped in to impose draconian solutions on the company that will see its design, construction and operations arm hacked off and handed over to its arch enemy, EDF. When the negotiations with EDF are completed – the haggling over price is currently underway – Areva, a company that has built and operated some 64 nuclear reactors will be reduced to a dwarf.
The French nuclear security watchdog, ASN, has issued a number of severe warnings to Areva on major security issues and manufacturing and construction flaws in the reactor being built in Flamanville, France, one of four EPRs under construction in the world. One of the latest warnings concerns the weakness of the reinforced steel core at the heart of the reactor where nuclear fission takes place. French papers have described fissures in the reactor’s innermost core as measuring as much as 42 centimetres. If the ASN’s suspicions about the poor quality of the forging done by Areva are proved right (the final test results will be available in October), the reactor dome will have to be removed. This can only mean one thing: the total abandonment of the EPR in France. A decision is not expected until 2016.
Several reports published in France on the woes of the EPR describe it as a product of “French technological hubris”. It is a gigantic reactor that looks good on paper. But as the adage goes, the proof of the pudding lies in the eating and India did not wait long enough to see the reactor’s performance before rushing in to buy an untried product.
“The EPR reactor whose problems are at the heart of the current crisis is an expensive failure,” writes energy analyst Nick Butler. “It has to be written off and replaced by a new generation of smaller, less complex reactors that can be built on time and on budget. The EPR was designed at a time when it was believed that energy costs would rise inexorably. That is no longer the case.”…………There is also the question of Areva’s massive debt.
The Finnish nuclear operator TVO is suing Areva for billions of dollars for the delays, cost over-runs (estimated at 7 billion euros instead of the 3.3 billion originally projected) and technical flaws related to the EPR in Olkiluoto. The failure of the Finnish EPR has contributed vastly to Areva’s troubles.
Once hailed as the harbinger of a nuclear renaissance, the EPR is fast becoming one of the world’s most criticised and by far the most expensive nuclear white elephants. In France work began in 2007 and the reactor was to have gone on stream in 2012. This date has now been pushed forward to 2017 at three times the initial cost.
Leaving aside the problems linked to cost, safety and technological know-how, it is at this stage totally unclear if EDF would like to pursue the EPR programme at all. Last year the European Commission gave the go ahead for building another EPR reactor at Hinkley Point in Britain. But British authorities, which were to have signed in March 2015, now appear reluctant to go ahead. The Financial Times reported that the project might be completely abandoned. In the US, plans to build the EPR have currently been suspended. as World Nuclear News reported in March, Areva “has asked the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to suspend work on the design certification of the US EPR until further notice, prompting Unistar Nuclear Energy to request the suspension of the review of its construction and operation licence (COL) application for Calvert Cliffs 3.” http://www.dianuke.org/why-is-india-bent-on-joining-the-sinking-french-nuclear-ship/
In the end, the solution might lie on a smaller scale: giving everyone the power to store their own power. Tesla is one company of several in this game: it recently announced a device called the Powerwall, designed for homes and businesses. It uses the same batteries as electric cars to store energy, either from renewables or cheap night-time electricity, ready to be used during the day.
If such systems become commonplace, we might all become a little more aware of where our energy is coming from, and how our own behaviour affects its use and production
The battery revolution that will let us all be power brokers, New Scientist 22 July 15
Companies are racing to find better ways to store electricity – and so provide us with cheaper energy when and where we want it “……... Although they are still dwarfed in most respects by the bulky lead-acid batteries found in almost every car on the road today, in 2015, lithium-ion batteries will account for around a third of the money spent on rechargeable batteries globally (see “Turn it on”), and just under a sixth of the total energy stored, according to French research firm Avicenne.
what forces are playing the first fiddle in Washington, urging the White House to drag the country into new overseas conflicts and increase its military spending? US investigative journalist Robert Parry is pointing the finger at US neocons, who “still dominate Official Washington’s inside-outside game.” The journalist underscored that wars have long become a profitable business for transnational corporations and their influential lobbyists in the White House.
“So, to understand the enduring influence of the neocons… you have to appreciate the money connections between the business of war and the business of selling war,” Parry remarked.
These wars cost trillions and trillions of dollars and multinational corporations including the US military-industrial complex benefit a lot from them. ……..: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20150723/1024969193.html#ixzz3gkc7anUQ
Roger Sowell , Sowell’s Law Blog 22 July 15 “……I would not anticipate the nuclear power industry being able to kill renewable energy, in fact, quite the opposite is very likely to occur. Most forms of renewable energy have a decreasing unit cost over time, most especially wind turbines over the past decade. Meanwhile, nuclear-based power has an increasing unit cost. The only examples I can find where nuclear power plants can be built for approximately $4,000 per kW are those countries where labor rates are still very cheap, such as China.
But, labor costs increase over time so that small advantage will disappear. Finally, the grid-storage problem has been solved technically, with under-sea storage and hydroelectric power as described by MIT. As offshore wind-turbines decline in installed cost, and the under-sea storage costs also decline with experience, truly sustainable and inexhaustible clean power on demand will finally exist. The electricity may not be too cheap to meter (the big lie of nuclear power), but it will be relatively cheap and not subject to price increases due to fuel availability. http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com.au/
Green tea plantations were first highlighted as suffering from potential radiation contamination last month following the results of sample tests in Kanagawa prefecture. The authorities discovered around 570 becquerels of caesium per kilogram in leaves grown in the city of Minamiashigara – compared to the legal limit of 500 – and started a recall of tea products.
Tea leaves are the latest agricultural products in Japan to be affected by problems surrounding the still-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
From milk to spinach, a raft of items have fallen under the spotlight due to radiation fears although Japanese authorities have assured the public and its export nations that it is strictly regulating products.
While it seems that areas around the nuclear crisis will never recover, tens of thousands of farmers have lost their livelihood due to soil contamination and food safety fears.
Just another serious blow on the global food supply that seems to be diminishing. Source: natural society http://planetsave.com/2012/06/12/japan-green-tea-exports-banned-due-to-high-radiation-levels/
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