Lawsuit targeting Genkai nuclear plant’s MOX plan rejected KYODO SAGA – The Saga District Court on Friday rejected a suit seeking to block Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s plan to use plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel (MOX) at the Genkai power plant in Saga Prefecture.,,(subscribers only) http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/20/national/lawsuit-targeting-genkai-nuclear-plants-mox-plan-rejected/#.VQ8uJ_yUcnk
Fighting EU’s nuclear ambitions http://www.arabnews.com/columns/news/721126 ANDREAS MOLIN 21 March 2015 In October, the EU approved a controversial subsidy deal to allow billions of pounds of state aid for Hinkley Point C, a new nuclear reactor planned for the UK. Austria’s intention to launch a legal challenge against this decision has provoked controversial comments in international media. So, why does Austria care about a nuclear power plant being built in the UK, and what are the real issues at stake?
Against this background, Austria feels it has no option but to challenge this state aid decision at the courts of the EU. This action is not aimed at any particular EU member state, but rather seeks to defend a common competition regime, which this decision could render meaningless. In partnership with The Mark News
STATE AID FOR HINKLEY POINT NUCLEAR POWER PLANT: BBH TO PREPARE A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE EU COMMISSION http://www.beckerbuettnerheld.de/en/article/state-aid-for-hinkley-point-nuclear-power-plant-bbh-to-prepare-a-lawsuit-against-the-eu-commission/12.03.2015
In October last year, the European Commission approved the state aid scheme in favour of the British nuclear power plant project Hinkley Point C. The German electricity supply company Greenpeace Energy has now decided to take legal action against this decision with the help of the renowned German energy law firm Becker Büttner Held (BBH). A number of municipal energy utilities, such as Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall, are considering and, respectively, preparing to join the lawsuit.
According to plans by the British government, Hinkley Point nuclear power plant – which is to be constructed in the southwest of England – is to receive state support for no less than 35 years. The scheme was backed by the European Commission, which in October last year gave the green light for a state aid package of approximately €23 billion. This means that, starting from 2023, the nuclear power plant operators will be paid a guaranteed purchase price above the usual market price for the electricity produced.
Based on the so-called Contract for Difference (CfD) the British government pays a fixed feed-in tariff: The electricity produced by Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant is to be remunerated by 12.8 cents per kWh – plus compensation for inflation. On top of that, a number of additional, significant state subsidies are granted, including a guarantee in the event of a shutdown for political reasons. The scheme is completed by a loan guarantee given by the British government, a generous appraisal of the future decommissioning costs and the fact that no tendering procedure was carried out.
With a total capacity of 3,260 MW, about 7% of the highly subsidised electricity generated in Great Britain will then enter the EU’s internal electricity market. As a consequence, the Hinkley Point model will affect the European electricity market. Furthermore, the Commission’s decision provides a kind of blueprint for the specific interests of Germany’s neighbouring countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as those of Slovakia and Slovenia – also because the British government is already planning the construction of further nuclear power plants within the scope of the CfD mechanism. The potential locations of these future power plant can be seen on the website of the British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
BBH’s clients doubt that the state aid granted to Hinkley Point is in conformity with EU competition law. Continue reading
Energy firm sues EU over Brit nuclear plant http://www.thelocal.de/20150305/green-energy-company-to-sue-eu-over-nuclear-energy 05 Mar 2015 Renewable energy provider Greenpeace Energy plans to sue the European Commission over its decision last year to allow the UK to build a new nuclear reactor. The Hamburg company says that the huge subsidies involved in the UK project will upset German energy markets and harm small renewable energy providers, and argues that the the European Commission (EC) should not have given the project the go ahead because the subsidies would distort competition.
Silvia Brugger, director of the Climate and Energy Programme at the Heinrich-Böll Foundation – closely linked to Germany’s Green party – told The Local that the lawsuit is “justified” and an “important signal,” and denied that a favourable ruling would threaten Germany’s subsidy programme for renewable energy.
“[This process] should expose the full costs of nuclear energy and conversely highlight the competitive advantages of renewable energy,” said Brugger. Continue reading
*Injunctions could delay nuclear restarts by years
* Activist lawyers to contest every unit that passes safety checks
* Judge in Takahama case same that ruled against Ohi restart
By Mari Saito and Kentaro Hamada TOKYO, March 5 (Reuters) - The fight over restarting Japan’s nuclear industry is moving to the courts, where power companies face the risk of further delays in firing up idled reactors if judges side with local residents worried about nuclear safety.
Four reactors owned by two utilities cleared regulatory safety checks in recent months, potentially soon ending more than a year without atomic power in Japan, the first such spell in the four decades the nation has been using nuclear energy.
And while ruling politicians and Japan’s bureaucracy are pushing the restarts, the judiciary – which typically sided with power companies before the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster – may be shifting its attitude.
Judges are now considering injunctions that could halt the restarts and indefinitely extend the countrywide shutdown of Japan’s 48 reactors that followed Fukushima, posing a threat to power companies already surviving on government support.
“Japan’s courts have always been hesitant to properly check the state and its legislative process,” but the shift in public opinion against nuclear power may have turned some judges in favour of residents, said Hiroshi Segi, a former judge turned critic of Japan’s judicial system.
The court decisions, which might come this month – four years after the earthquake and tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima reactors – could mean months, even years of delays and hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for Kansai Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power…..
The plaintiffs contend the utilities are underestimating the earthquake risks at Sendai and Takahama and not meeting tougher post-Fukushima standards. Residents also say the government has not set credible evacuation plans in case of a nuclear accident.
Kaido’s team of anti-nuclear lawyers are planning to seek injunctions on every plant that wins regulatory approval.
“Judges must know that their decision could stop the next nuclear accident,” Kaido said…….
The lead judge in the Takahama case, Hideaki Higuchi, ruled against restarting Kansai Electric’s Ohi plant in May last year, a rare victory for activists.
“I think residents could win the (Takahama) shutdown in Fukui District Court,” said Akihiro Sawa, a former official with the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, which oversees electric power companies.
Sawa, now a research director at the 21st Century Public Policy Institute, affiliated with Japan’s biggest business lobby, said he has been warning utility executives to take the lawsuits seriously…….
In the Ohi decision last May, the Fukui court judge said protecting residents’ health from a potential nuclear accident was more important than any financial gains the country may get from restarting stalled plants.
“I am hopeful that the Sendai judge will feel the same,” Kaido said. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/04/japan-nuclear-idUSL1N0VR09720150304
Hinkley C nuclear power station faces legal challenge BBC News 5 Mar 15 “The planned Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset is the subject of a new legal challenge. A German energy co-operative founded by environmental lobby group Greenpeace is to launch a legal action against the European Commission.
It accuses the Commission of wrongly approving the nuclear reactor project in October following a lengthy state aid inquiry…….Unfair state aid?
Soenke Tangermann, managing director of Greenpeace Energy, said the “highly subsidised” electricity produced by the plant would “noticeably distort European competitiveness.”
The energy cooperative was founded by Greenpeace 15 years ago and now operates as an independent company.
“This effect will have economic disadvantages for committed green [energy] providers like us and that’s why we are going to court,” Mr Tangermann said.
Greenpeace Energy says the subsidies planned for the controversial scheme are far higher than those for wind and solar power in Germany.
Austria – which opposes nuclear power – has also signalled it will launch its own legal challenge against the project, arguing that subsidies ought to be restricted to renewable energy sources.
Greenpeace Energy is also calling on the German government to take action against what it calls “the unfair state aid approval.”…….http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31732679
Vermont joined the petition to the NRC almost two years after it was filed by a consortium of anti-nuclear groups, including the Citizens Awareness Network.
Scot Kline, an assistant Vermont attorney general, said Wednesday the state had been “monitoring” the petition before the NRC, and decided in January to file a formal request with the NRC.
“We have had consultations with the New York attorney general and the Massachusetts attorney general,” Kline said. “This was an appropriate time for us to join.”
In a two-page letter dated Jan. 27, William Griffin, the chief assistant attorney general, and Christopher Recchia, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, said they were concerned about Entergy’s finances and its corporate parent’s ability to cover the costs of decommissioning the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
Entergy’s latest estimates put the full cost of decommissioning at $1.2 billion in 2014 costs……..http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20150305/NEWS02/703059883
SNC Lavalin Nuclear and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) in court over costs of Darlington nuclear rebuild
We’ll see SNC Lavalin Nuclear in court http://www.cleanairalliance.org/bulletins Angela Bischoff 24 Feb 15 In March 2011, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to obtain details of the contract between Aecon Construction, SNC Lavalin Nuclear and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for the re-building of four reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Station on Lake Ontario.
Aecon Construction and SNC Lavalin, not surprisingly, are not keen to reveal just how rich this mega contract is and refused to provide the information. However, the the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) ruled that the companies should provide relevant details, a decision Aecon and SNC then appealed to the Superior Court.
The companies are insisting that they were “confused” by the Freedom of Information request process, which the Privacy Commissioner’s counsel notes is rather odd, considering that these “are multi-billion dollar companies that have access to a wealth of internal and external legal resources [and] have a history of being involved in access to information requests in other Canadian jurisdictions.“
The companies are also trying to use another technicality to shield the details of the deal, including whether it allows cost overruns to be passed onto taxpayers and ratepayers. They are insisting that contracts are not covered by FOI legislation because they represent information provided by one party to another. The Commissioner’s counsel strongly disagrees in her response, citing an explanation from the Government of Canada:
“.. . The intention of Parliament in exempting financial and commercial information from disclosure applies to confidential information submitted to the government, not negotiated amounts for goods or services. Otherwise, every contract amount with the government would be exempt from disclosure, and the public would have no access to this important information …”
Given the long history of secret deals in Ontario’s nuclear power sector that have led to massive cost overruns – and massive debt for Ontario taxpayers and ratepayers – the OCAA believes the public has every right to know more about the deal struck between OPG and these two construction and engineering giants. We would like to thank the Information and Privacy Commissioner for robustly defending our right to see this information.
We’re hoping we won’t have to repeat this difficult and time consuming exercise with another secret nuclear deal – an agreement to rebuild reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Station. Instead of forcing public interest groups to file freedom of information requests after the fact, the government should walk its talk on openness and transparency by sending any proposed Bruce Deal to the Ontario Energy Board for a full public review.
Please join us to observe the proceedings as well as to show your support for greater transparency in government decision making this coming Monday :
- Monday March 2, 10 a.m.(come at any time during the day)
- Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. West (NE corner of Queen/University), in Courtroom # 3 (on 2ndfloor), entrance off Queen St., Toronto
A little sunshine can keep everyone healthier.
p.s. Our Ontario budget proposal to take a pass on rebuilding the Darlington Nuclear Plant in favour of importing lower-cost water power from Quebec has clearly made some vested interests in the Ontario nuclear industry very nervous. Our proposal on the government’s budget consultation website has suddenly been inundated with “thumbs down” votes. This orchestrated campaign to deep six our idea just shows how the nuclear industry really can’t compete with our highly sensible proposal. Don’t let them get away with it! Give our idea a thumbs up right now.
Landmark Federal Court Decision: Will It Speed Diablo Nuke’s Demise? Ecowatch Harvey Wasserman | February 24, 2015 New revelations about earthquake dangers have shaken the future of California’s Diablo Canyon nukes.
In a rare move, Washington DC’s Federal U.S. Court of Appeals will hear a landmark challenge to their continued operation. The suit says Diablo’s owners illegally conspired with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to weaken seismic standards. “This is a big victory,” says Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth. “The public has a right to know what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Pacific Gas & Electric won’t admit—hundreds of thousands of people are put at immediate risk by earthquake danger at Diablo Canyon.”
Diablo is also vulnerable on state and federal water quality regulations, economic concerns and more. Citizen activism has also shut operating reactors at Humboldt, Rancho Seco and San Onofre. Proposed projects have been cancelled at Bodega Bay and Bakersfield.
California’s two remaining reactors are surrounded by more than a dozen seismic fault lines. The Shoreline fault runs within 600-700 yards of the Diablo cores, which also sit just 45 miles from the massive San Andreas fault—half Fukushima’s distance from the epicenter of the quake that destroyed it.
The two 1,100-plus megawatt Diablo nukes overlook a Pacific tsunami zone, nine miles southwest of San Luis Obispo. Since the 1980s they’ve hosted some 10,000 arrests—more than any other U.S. site.
U.S. courts generally treat the nuclear industry as a law unto itself and rarely question NRC proceedings.
But in this case, says Friend of the Earth’s S. David Freeman, “PG&E’s recent study revealed that the earthquake threat at Diablo Canyon, as measured by its original license, could be far greater than that for which the reactors were designed. So PG&E and the NRC secretly amended the license to relax the safety requirements.”
Freeman is former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Dr. Michael Peck, the NRC’s own chief seismic expert, warned that the Diablo reactors could not meet seismic safety standards. Peck was then transferred to NRC offices in Chattanooga.
The case follows a successful FOE filing showing that the NRC conspired with Southern California Edison to ignore steam generator violations at San Onofre. Amidst a massive grassroots upheaval, San Onofre was officially shut in 2013 (similar violations at Ohio’s Davis-Besse reactor have had little impact).
Safe energy activists staged major January gatherings in San Luis Obispo and San Francisco. A “Don’t Frack/Nuke Our Earth” conference may soon follow in the Bay Area.
Earthquake issues are not the only ones poised to doom Diablo.
The two reactors dump huge quantities of hot wastewater directly into the ocean. They’re out of compliance with state and federal water quality standards. So PG&E might soon be required by state law to build cooling towers, with cost estimates ranging from $2 billion to $14 billion.
If required to build those towers, which might take years to do, PG&E would ask the California Public Utilities Commission to make the public pay for them. A vehement grassroots opposition would instantly erupt.
PG&E is much hated. Its negligence caused a 2010 gas explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno. Huge state and federal fines, criminal indictments and visceral public contempt have followed.
The CPUC is also under public fire amidst an astonishing array of scandals and law-breaking. …….http://ecowatch.com/2015/02/24/court-ruling-diablo-nukes-demise/
Litvinenko inquiry: Highest radiation levels in suspect’s hotel, BBC News, 17 Feb 15 The highest level of radiation found during the investigation into Alexander Litvinenko’s death was recorded in a hotel stayed in by one of his suspected killers, an inquiry has heard.
Andrei Lugovoi stayed alone at London’s Sheraton Park Lane hotel from 25 to 28 October 2006. Mr Litvinenko died the following month.
Mr Lugovoi remains in Russia with Dmitri Kovtun, who is also a suspect.
The pair have always denied poisoning the ex-KGB officer with polonium-210.
Det Insp Craig Mascall told the public inquiry into Mr Litvinenko’s death that traces of radioactivity were found throughout the Sheraton, including on towels, in the laundry chutes and in Mr Lugovoi’s room.
The highest levels in the whole investigation were found on the towels, Mr Mascall told the London hearing……..
The Litvinenko case23 Nov 2006 – Mr Litvinenko dies three weeks after having tea with former agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun in London
24 Nov 2006 – His death is attributed to polonium-210
22 May 2007 – Britain’s director of public prosecutions decides Mr Lugovoi should be charged with the murder of Mr Litvinenko
31 May 2007 – Mr Lugovoi denies any involvement in his death but says Mr Litvinenko was a British spy
5 Jul 2007 – Russia officially refuses to extradite Mr Lugovoi, saying its constitution does not allow it
May-June 2013 – Inquest into Mr Litvinenko’s death delayed as coroner decides a public inquiry would be preferable, as it would be able to hear some evidence in secret
July 2013 – Ministers rule out public inquiry
Jan 2014 – Marina Litvinenko in High Court fight to force a public inquiry
11 Feb 2014 – High Court says the Home Office had been wrong to rule out an inquiry before the outcome of an inquest
July 2014 – Public inquiry announced by Home Office http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31507959
Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun flew from Moscow to London on 16 October 2006. They checked into the Best Western hotel on Shaftesbury Avenue, the inquiry heard. They are accused of trying to poison Litvinenko for the first time later that day – and of succeeding two weeks later when they slipped radioactive polonium into his tea.
Giving evidence, the hotel’s manager, Goran Krgo, said he spotted Lugovoi and Kovtun the moment they arrived. “I remember these guests quite vividly,” he told the inquiry on Wednesday. Asked to elaborate, he said: “We found them to be quite comical on account of how they were dressed and the excessive jewellery they were wearing.”……
Det Insp Craig Mascall of the Metropolitan police said forensic experts later found large quantities of polonium in both Lugovoi and Kovtun’s hotel rooms. In Lugovoi’s room, 107, the highest reading came from the bathroom plughole, leading to the suspicion he may have thrown the polonium away. Polonium was found on a chair and coat-hanger in Kovtun’s room, 308, on a chair and coat-hanger.
The inquiry was told that there was no indication Litvinenko had been contaminated before his meeting with Lugovoi and Kovtun. The three men went for a meal at the Itsu sushi bar in Piccadilly, where polonium was also detected. Litvinenko vomited once that evening but survived this first botched assassination attempt, the inquiry heard.
More polonium was found in Pescatori, an Italian restaurant where Lugovoi and Kovtun ate that evening, clocking up a bill of £214.20. They had dinner with Alexander Shadrin, a Russian emigre……..
The following morning, Lugovoi and Kovtun left their hotel a day early and checked into the Parkes Hotel in Knightsbridge. Polonium was found in their new rooms.
The inquiry also heard that the Russian authorities deliberately blocked an attempt by British experts to examine the two aircraft used by Lugovoi and Kovtun to fly to and from London on 16 and 18 October 2006. ………http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/11/litvinenko-killers-radiation-trail-london-inquiry
Litvinenko inquiry: Russians’ associate ‘had mystery illness’ BBC News 12 Feb 15 A retired British army officer had a “mystery illness” after meeting with two men suspected of poisoning ex-FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210, an inquiry has heard.
Tim Reilly, a director at security firm Erinys, suffered migraines and vomiting after meeting Russians Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun with Mr Litvinenko.
He said Mr Lugovoi called him after Mr Litvinenko’s death to deny involvement.
“Heaving” radiation levels were later found in the London firm’s boardroom.
Mr Litvinenko, a former Russian security service officer who became a vocal critic of the Kremlin and fled to Britain, died of radiation poisoning after drinking tea laced with polonium at a Mayfair hotel in November 2006.
The barrister representing Mr Litvinenko’s family claims he was murdered for trying to “expose the corruption” at the heart of Vladimir Putin’s “mafia state”.
The public inquiry into his death has heard that Mr Litvinenko have been poisoned twice – with one occasion around the time of the security company meeting in October of 2006.
Mr Reilly told the hearing he became “very ill” around the time of the meeting…….Atomic weapons experts later found “heaving” levels of radioactive contamination in the boardroom at Erinys, leading to the offices being closed for four months, the court heard………http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31444820
Residents of Fukushima’s Iitate Village file petition for nuclear damage compensation to restore home village http://www.cnic.jp/english/newsletter/nit164/nit164articles/03_iitate.html Kaori Yoshioka, CNIC Nearly half of the entire population of Iitate Village, Fukushima Prefecture, filed a petition with the Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center (NDCDRC) on November 14, 2014, demanding measures to restore the lives of the nuclear disaster victims. The petitioners are 2,837 villagers from 737 households and the petition is addressed to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) President and CEO, Naomi Hirose.
Main points of the petition seeking NDCDRC arbitration for an out-of-court settlement
The petitioners call on TEPCO to
- admit legal responsibility for causing serious radioactive contamination in the village and inflicting massive damage on the villagers, and to sincerely apologize to the villagers for this,
- pay 3 million yen to each villager to compensate for mental anguish regarding their health and other psychological stress caused by radiation exposure that could have been prevented,
- raise the amount of compensation for the period of evacuation from 100,000 yen per person per month to 350,000 yen,
- pay 20 million yen to each of the petitioners as compensation for destroying their livelihoods and causing psychological distress,
- pay the maximum amount of compensation (that for the “difficult-to-return zone”) to the residents who need to secure their houses, but without categorizing the locations into “difficult-to-return zone,” “restricted habitation zone,” and “evacuation directive lift preparation zone,” and without forcing them to take complicated procedures for filing applications, and
- pay lawyers’ fees for this class action suit.
Purpose of the class action suit
This class action suit was launched by the Iitate residents for the purpose of extracting an apology from TEPCO for forcing all the villagers to evacuate after the utility’s accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in 2011, to seek just compensation for the damage they have suffered in order to regain their pride as Iitate villagers and to restore their home village.
The law has stalled the implementation of deals for new reactors that India signed with the U.S., Russia, and France in 2008, when the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) allowed India to import nuclear fuel technology without being a member of the multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation. India said the breakthrough deal with Russia reached this April after four years of negotiations takes into account the liability law when pricing four more Russian reactors meant for India’s Kundankulam plant in Tamil Nadu (each of which is valued at $2.5 billion) as well as four or six other VVER-1200 units planned for Haripur, West Bengal. The deal essentially calls for India’s public sector General Insurance Co. to evaluate each component of the Russian reactors and prescribe a 20-year insurance premium it will charge to cover Russia’s liability for an accident.
Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom reportedly has indemnity from any liability arising from an accident at the VVER-1000s at Kundankulam Unit 1 (Figure 2), which attained criticality in July 2013 and is expected to come online later this year, and Unit 2, expected to be operational in October 2014. Observers note that contracts for those plants were signed in 1998, before India’s domestic liability legislation had even been contemplated.
Before Indian legislation on civil nuclear liability—The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill—finally passed both houses of parliament in August 2010, exempting suppliers from all liability had been India’s typical practice, starting in 1962, when India signed its first nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. to allow General Electric to supply two 200-MW reactors to India’s Tarapur site. The practice of liability exemption was modeled on America’s own 1957-passed nuclear liability law, the Price Anderson Act, and went on to extend indemnity protection to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. for two reactors in Rajasthan in 1965, and later to Russia. Continue reading
Bush-Appointed Judge Dismisses Nuclear Zero Lawsuit; Marshall Islands to Appeal http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/28997-bush-appointed-judge-dismisses-nuclear-zero-lawsuit-marshall-islands-to-appeal# Monday, 09 February 2015 By David Krieger, Truthout
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), a Pacific Islands country of 70,000, took bold action on April 24, 2014, on nuclear disarmament. It brought lawsuits at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the world’s highest court, against the nine nuclear-armed countries, accusing them of violating their obligations under international law to negotiate in good faith to end the nuclear arms race and for total nuclear disarmament.
Because of the importance of the United States as a nuclear power and the fact that it does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ, the Marshall Islands at the same time brought a similar lawsuit against the United States in US federal district court in Northern California.
In the United States, rather than engaging in the case in good faith, the government responded by filing a motion to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds. Continue reading
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