US opposes pos t-Fukushima nuclear safety proposal http://rt.com/usa/199024-cns-nuclear-safety-proposal/
But while Reuters says the Swiss-led initiative is tentatively being backed by other European countries, the newswire alleges that energy officials in the US, Russia and Canada are all opposed to the measure, which would likely increase industry costs.
Although details of the proposed pact have not been made public, Bloomberg reported that it would involve rewriting “international standards to ensure nuclear operators not only prevent accidents but mitigate consequences if they occur, by installing costly new structures built to survive natural disasters.” In a report published on Thursday this week by Reuters, the newswire said that the proposed changes would not only apply up-to-date safety standards for new reactors, but also carry out back-fitting measures on sites that are already in operation.According to this week’s reports, however, some of the world’s top energy powers are opposed because, as Reuters’ Fredrick Dahl wrote, any changes to the CNS could take years to be installed if, of course, they are ratified by the dozens of nations involved. “You are trying to drop a Ferrari engine into a Volkswagen. If you want a new car, let’s go to the show room” and buy one, a senior but unnamed Department of State official said to Dahl.
But experts have previously said American facilities, in particular, are in need of upgrades, with a July 2014 report published by the National Academy of Science that said the US “should access their preparedness for severe nuclear accidents associated with offsite-scale disasters.” Additionally, the authors of that study wrote that America’s current approach to nuclear safety is “clearly inadequate for preventing core-melt accidents and mitigating their consequences,” yet newly-initiated upgrades in the US are being conducted on a scale hardly comparable to what’s occurring overseas: according to Bloomberg, Electricite de France SA is spending around $13 billion on implementing safety measures on its 59 reactors, whereas American utilities will spend only $3 billion on portable generators and cooling reserves for roughly 100 reactors.
Nevertheless, officials in Berne remain optimistic that the countries currently opposed to the proposed changes will come to an agreement that makes facilities around the world more secure.
“Switzerland, as the initiator of the proposal, will continue to collaborate with all delegations and do everything to find a solution that is acceptable to all of us,” Georg Schwarz, deputy director general of the Swiss nuclear-safety regulator, ENSI, wrote to Bloomberg Business Week.
Russian officials did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment, and neither BusinessWeek nor Reuters included remarks from Canada in their report.
Pitt researchers awarded a nearly $1-million grant for nuclear power safety research By Stephanie Ritenbaugh / Pittsburgh Post-GazetteOctober 22, 2014 Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh were awarded a $987,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Programs to develop a fiber optical sensor network to improve safety in nuclear power reactors……..The grant was part of $11 million awarded for 12 research and development projects. http://powersource.post-gazette.com/powersource/companies-powersource/2014/10/22/Pennsylvania-DEP-fines-Regency-Marcellus-Gas-Gathering-more-than-300-000/stories/201410220158
State shops for ‘nuclear vendor’ IOL October 20 2014 Cape Town – The government has confirmed it is shopping around for its nuclear build programme and says it is consulting “nuclear vendors” in the US, South Korea, Russia, France, Japan and China.
The announcement by the Department of Energy yesterday comes weeks of controversy about the multibillion-rand nuclear project since it emerged last month that a R1-trillion agreement had been signed with Russia, followed by another with France.
The department said the government was consulting “nuclear vendor countries” with pressurised water reactor nuclear technology, similar to that used at Koeberg………
DA leader Helen Zille has said the nuclear co-operation agreement with France, signed by Joemat-Pettersson on Wednesday, is nothing more than a “decoy”.
“This is… to muddy the waters and divert attention from the Russian deal negotiated by President (Jacob) Zuma and signed by Minister Joemat-Pettersson last month.
“We are led to believe a similar agreement with the Chinese is next and that a proper procurement process has yet to begin, but all evidence points to a done deal with the Russians. No amount of obfuscation can allow our focus to shift from this.” – Cape Times http://www.iol.co.za/business/companies/state-shops-for-nuclear-vendor-1.1767746#.VEcGcSJ4pBE
South Africa’s Treasury advised against getting Russian nuclear reactors, but Putin is pushing for the sale
Vladimir Putin’s quest for a nuclear monopoly, Mail & Guardian, South Acfrica 17 OCT 2014 00:00 QAANITAH HUNTER Somehow Russia has persuaded President Jacob Zuma into agreeing to a deal for a nuclear fleet that the treasury opposed. The Russians are coming. The nuclear deal with Russia is to dominate the agenda when the South Africa-Russia joint intergovernmental committee on trade and economic co-operation meets next month.
Even though the South African government insists it has not entered into the procurement phase for the nuclear fleet, it has become clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin managed to sway President Jacob Zuma and Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson into giving Russia the entirety of the deal.
Zuma and his most trusted Cabinet ministers went against the strict advice of the national treasury and his senior advisers when a nuclear energy “agreement” was signed with Russia last month.
Two sources who also advised against it revealed this week to the Mail & Guardian that an initial bid made by Russian nuclear company Rosatom last year was rejected by the treasury and a number of Zuma’s advisers. A third credible source who was close to the negotiations confirmed their version of events.
The treasury this week did not deny advising against the initial Russian proposal.
“Nuclear would be a substantial financial commitment and government can only make that kind of commitment after careful and thorough-going modelling and an affordability assessment,” said spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane.
He said they had yet to discuss how the treasury would pay for nuclear energy.
It has emerged that the Russians wanted exclusive rights to South Africa’s nuclear industry. This was substantiated by a statement made by Putin in March last year, following his visit to South Africa, saying his country did not want to merely build the nuclear plants but would bid to run the entire nuclear industry here.
South Africa plans to enhance its energy mix by creating 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy by 2030.
The M&G spoke to three highly placed sources – all of them indicated that:
- The initial Russian proposal was not affordable and the treasury rejected it;
- The technology proposed was sub standard and dangerous;
- It would exclude and be damaging to local industries; and
- Even public servants who seemed loyal to Zuma had concerns about it.
One source close to the nuclear talks said the signing of the agreement was a result of about two years of courting by the Russians……….http://mg.co.za/article/2014-10-16-vladimir-putins-quest-for-a-nuclear-monopoly
South Africa, France ink nuclear partnership, DW 10 Oct14 Only three weeks after partnering with Russia, South Africa has reached a similar nuclear agreement with France. The deals represent Pretoria’s renewed steps in building up the country’s nuclear energy program. outh Africa signed a nuclear power deal with France, the South African government announced Friday, as Pretoria aimed to expand its nuclear power to 9,600 MW.
President Jacob Zuma authorized “an agreement on cooperation in the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy” with the French Republic, a statement from his office said.
The deal comes only three weeks after Africa’s second-largest economy reached a similar agreement with Russia, which will provide the country with eight nuclear reactors by 2023 in a $50 million (39.5-million-euro) contract.
But Russia has estimated the contract value to be more around tens of billions, as one reactor costs around $5 billion.
No further details on the deal with France were provided, and the circumstances surrounding the signing remain murky, according to local media reports……http://www.dw.de/south-africa-france-ink-nuclear-partnership/a-17987145
China joins nations eyeing India’s civil nuclear sector, Cold Air Currents, 21 Sept 14 Yahoo News UK: NEW DELHI (Reuters) - China became the latest nation to line up for a stake in India’s civil nuclear energy drive on Thursday, agreeing to open talks on cooperation in a sector that New Delhi sees as the solution to its chronic power problems.
...”I think the Chinese are looking basically at the commercial angle, since India is going to be giving contracts for nearly $150 billion in the next 10-15 years,” said Srikanth Kondapalli, a China watcher at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The announcement, made after Xi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, comes on the heels of a deal India struck earlier this month to buy uranium from Australia to increase its fuel supplies.
Days before that, Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to accelerate talks on a nuclear energy pact……http://coldaircurrents.luftonline.net/2014/09/china-joins-nations-eyeing-indias-civil.html
Private sector models are difficult to execute for nuclear projects due to first-of-a-kind issues, their large capital requirement, long construction timescales and investor return expectations. But they can work within a positive framework of incentives – for example the UK’s contract for difference model, he said..
Several emerging markets are still developing state-owned models, but are incorporating mechanisms where risks are placed with the appropriate parties, such as nuclear initial public offerings and build-own-operate-transfer.
“Public-private partnership seems to be where the sector is going,” he said.
This combination means a project is financed by both the government and a private investor, with the public share able to attract export credit. Such a model requires a power purchase agreement matched to debt obligations and the project risks are allocated between government agencies and private companies.
Regulatory and technology risks are “two separate sides to the same coin,” he said. Other risks include engineering, supply and project management; technical services; skilled labour and availability and rates; training and commissioning, and lifetime operational support.
Government sponsored financial incentives encourage private sector companies to take increased financial responsibility for nuclear new build projects.
These include contracts for difference and power purchase agreements, loan guarantees, export credits, carbon credits, and cost and schedule overruns.
“Vendors play a critical role in the success of the public-private partnership model by focusing on key areas, which are project risk reduction and regulatory feedback. No matter how the risks are allocated, if they are too high, you won’t get the financing,” he said…….
“Working closely with regulators, vendors can ensure that reactor designs meet safety and environmental standards before project deployment,” he said. “A vendor pre-project design review of a new nuclear power plant allows the regulatory body an opportunity to assess a design prior to any licensing activities and to identify potential issues that would require resolution.”
Further co-ordination between regulators, either bilaterally or through multi-lateral forums, such as MDEP [Multinational Design Evaluation Program], can help to harmonize views and mitigate risks. In that way a design qualified in the home country can be used elsewhere. We need regulatory cooperation across the world,” he said.
The success of future new build projects is “imperative” to ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of the industry, he said. “Failure is not an option.“……
Vendor-led financing is not sustainable in the long term, Hopwood said.
“I think it’s a sort of kick starting mechanism, a way to get projects going so that we start to have a track record,” he told World Nuclear News. “Whether it be in a big way or a small way, it’s showing vendor commitment and it’s getting some projects on the books and going and creating a track record and that’s the value of it and necessarily it must lead to more.”
“If we picture a world with many nuclear projects going ahead – there are 71 nuclear units under construction at the moment – the financing requirement is far more than any vendor or even any individual utility can finance, so financing has to come from aggregating from many sectors in order to have a flourishing nuclear industry. The demand for money is going to be so great that it will necessarily require us to seek out all sorts of funding, all kinds of capital formations,” he said. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Vendors-adapt-to-financing-role-1509201401.html
ISU awarded nuclear research grant http://www.localnews8.com/news/isu-awarded-nuclear-research-grant/28065212 Kaitlin Loukides Sep 15, 2014 POCATELLO, Idaho -
Idaho State University could soon give schools such as M.I.T a run for its money, after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program awarded ISU more than $600,000 in grant money this week.
Out of that, $400,000 will go toward the Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, where students and faculty will research ways to create benchmarks future nuclear designers around the world can measure the accuracy of their own models.
In layman’s terms: these guys will use this money to do a bunch of research way over most people’s heads in order to set a new standard everyone else in the world will use to make sure their nuclear computer models are on-par.
ISU nuclear science associate professor Dr. Chad Pope said these grants are extremely difficult to obtain since ISU is competing for that funding against every other university in the nation.
He said this research will not only help the nuclear world, but will also benefit local communities who will reap the benefits of ISU’s industry-changing research.
We’re already on the map, and this keeps us there,” Pope said. “It helps us push the science forward and become preeminent in this field. It’s great for the university, it’s great for the community, and it will really help us establish ourselves as a prominent science university.”
Pope said the close connections ISU has with the INL and the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago could have also helped the department get recognized for this grant.
The money will span over a three-year time period, and once the research is complete, it’s expected to become published in the International Handbook of Evaluated Reactor Physics.
OSCE shares Moscow’s concerns over Ukraine’s nuclear deal with US Rt August 28, 2014 The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe shares Moscow’s concern on world nuclear safety and the potential threat that possible US atomic fuel supplies to Ukraine might cause as the country remains in crisis.
The head of the OSCE and Swiss president Didier Burkhalter says he is concerned about nuclear safety in connection with the US intention to supply the country with nuclear fuel, according to a reply letter to Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry Vladimir Gutenev.
Switzerland “shares the view concerning nuclear safety,” Burkhalter wrote, as cited by Itar-Tass,……..
In early June, Gutenev sent a letter to Burkhalter warning of security threats that European nations will face in case of a potential industrial nuclear disaster at one of Ukraine’s power plants, as Kiev is planning to sign a contract with American Westinghouse Electric Company. He highlighted the fact that Soviet made nuclear plants are not compatible with fuel assembly type TBC-W offered by the Americans, as previous trials have shown.
“The nuclear reactors in Ukraine are of Russian (Soviet) design, which are only designed for fuel that has passed a special certification. Therefore, further attempts to use non-adapted fuel assemblies of American production without a corresponding adjustment increase the risk of failure of the Ukrainian reactors and dramatically increase the likelihood of man-made disasters,” Gutenev wrote in June, calling on the OSCE to consider the issue.
In 2005, six experimental Westinghouse fuel assemblies, adopted for use in USSR-developed reactors, were tried at the South Ukraine plant in one reactor together with Russian fuel rods. By 2008 Ukraine signed a contract with Westinghouse on fuel rod supply. However, the experiment showed that Westinghouse assemblies deformed during exploitation and got stuck in the core. The reason is simple – Russian nuclear fuel rods are hexagonal in section, while Americans produce fuel assemblies of square section.
By 2012, after the failed test, exploitation of US nuclear fuel was banned in Ukraine and the fuel rods were returned to the producer “to get fixed” while Russian scientists came to the rescue. The Energoatom Company of Ukraine lost an estimated $175 million in this trial.
Now the Kiev regime has renewed the 2008 nuclear fuel deal till 2020, to replace 25 percent of the Russian-made fuel rods with an option to “provide more if needed.”…….http://rt.com/news/183248-nuclear-ukraine-threat-osce/
India and Russia hold major consultation to set up 22 nuclear power projects in India By ET Bureau | 30 Jul, 2014 NEW DELHI: India and Russia held major consultation in the realm of nuclear research away from the public eye ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Brazil in July.
Last month a scientific forum was held at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in the Russian city of Dubna with .. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/39250290.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
Diary: Russians selling nuclear weapons expertise in Westminster? What’s not to like? Reception at Westminster Abbey, gala dinner in Kensington, maybe even a night of top-flight football at the Crabble. Business as usual for Alexander, Lyudmila and comrades, you might say
Will there be a resounding silence in September at the World Nuclear Association symposium and exhibition in Central Hall, Westminster?
The world’s nuclear industries will be strutting their stuff: 700 business and leaders from 30 countries discussing such issues as the fuel cycle front-end (no, me neither), the security of nuclear fuel supplies, financing new builds, and uranium resources. There will be a reception at Westminster Abbey and a gala dinner at the Natural History Museum.
And, to crown it all, a discussion panel. That is due to feature Alexander Lokshin, deputy director general of Rosatom, the organisation that controls Russia’s nuclear weapons companies, research institutes and safety agencies; and Lyudmila Zalimskaya of Tenex, which exports the country’s nuclear materials, such as enriched uranium, and is big in the Emirates and China. So far 34 Russian delegates have booked (last year there were 70), but it’s early days. “We have not been told that they will not be allowed to come,” says an organiser. So, business as usual. Maybe…….http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/24/stephen-bates-diary-tenex-crabble
Meanwhile, Vietnam Plus of the Vietnam News Agency reported that the US Congress began considering a cooperation proposal on May 9. It has 90 days to consider the issue before making a final decision.
Prior to that, the Vietnamese and US representatives signed a Vietnam-US nuclear cooperation agreement in Hanoi on May 6 (Agreement 123).
Vietnamese officials and scientists have expressed their satisfaction about the agreement.Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan said at the signing ceremony that the agreement can be seen as an open door for both the US and Vietnam to accelerate projects on nuclear energy development…….
The US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the US nuclear energy firms have unanimously urged the US Congress to ratify the agreement soon, emphasizing that the strengthened cooperation with Vietnam in the sector would help boost exports and create more jobs.
The US firms can expect to earn $10-20 billion from the deals with Vietnam…..David Durham from GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GHE) has warned that if the US Congress does not ratify the agreement, US firms will lose the lucrative market of Vietnam……http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/science-it/106944/vietnam-nuclear-power-market-eyed-by-three-major-countries.html
New plan to assist Fukushima clean-up is really designed to protect and promote USA nuclear technology sales
Countries with plans to build nuclear power plants are important because the U.S. hasn’t had a new atomic plant begin service since 1996, he said.
“It’s merely to protect the American industry and nothing more.”
Fukushima Fires Up Atomic Industry’s Removal-of-Liability Drive http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-06-12/japan-may-ratify-atomic-treaty-for-u-dot-s-dot-aid-in-fukushima-cleanup By Jacob Adelman June 13, 2014 Japan will introduce legislation this year to ratify a controversial treaty backed by General Electric Co. and other atomic-plant manufacturers seeking protection from damage claims caused by nuclear accidents.
The treaty, known as the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage or CSC, will encourage experienced U.S. companies to assist in the cleanup and decommissioning at the Fukushima atomic accident site, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement today.
Protection from accident claims is needed because of the dangers and risks that remain at Fukushima, said U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. The plant has three melted reactors and thousands of tons of radioactive water.
“The important thing is to do everything that we can to facilitate the cleanup and decontamination of the Fukushima site,” Poneman said. The CSC is a means to support U.S. companies in that role, he said.
Poneman was in Tokyo to attend a meeting of the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, which was established after the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant.
The CSC puts all liability for accidents at a nuclear power plant on the operator of the facility. To cover potential damage claims, CSC member countries would each contribute the equivalent of about $465 million. An atomic plant operator would have access to that fund after paying out an equivalent amount itself.
Critics of nuclear power, environmental group Greenpeace among them, say the CSC acts as a subsidy for atomic power plant makers, such as GE, Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse unit and Areva SA of France, by shielding them from accident claims. Continue reading
Japan wants slice of nuclear pie, warms up to liability law Indian Express, by Subhomoy Bhattacharjee , Anil Sasi | New Delhi | June 12, 2014 While Toshiba owns US-based reactor manufacturer Westinghouse, Hitachi is a partner of GE’s reactor business. The deadlock on the liability issue, which had stonewalled progress on the operalisation of nuclear pacts that India had signed with global reactor vendors, is on the verge of being broken.
Japan could offer Prime Minister Narendra Modi a nuclear deal in the civil sector when he travels to Tokyo next month, Hiroshi Hirabayashi, former Japanese ambassador to India and now adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, indicated.
Russia too is reported to have communicated an “in principle” nod to the Indian nuclear liability law, paving the way for signing a contract for the setting up the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project…….
Japan is a key player in the operationalisation of the commercial nuclear pacts signed by India. Japanese companies are major players in two of the four reactor vendors that have signed preliminary agreements with India for supply of equipment for imported Light Water reactor-based projects planned on coastal sites.
While Toshiba owns US-based reactor manufacturer Westinghouse, Hitachi is a partner of GE’s reactor business.The government has short-listed Toshiba-Westinghouse’s ‘AP1000’ reactors, GE-Hitachi’s ‘ESBWR’ reactors, along with French firm Areva’s EPRs and the Russian firm Atomstroyexport’s ‘VVER’ series reactors, which are already being deployed at Kudankulam. http://indianexpress.com/article/business/business-others/japan-wants-slice-of-nuclear-pie-warms-up-to-liability-law/
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