The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japanese business leaders do not like nuclear power

Japan Inc not as keen as Abe government on nuclear power – Reuters poll TOKYO | BY TETSUSHI KAJIMOTO AND YUKA OBAYASHI  Sun May 24, 2015 Two-thirds of Japanese companies want and expect a lesser role for nuclear power than the government is targeting, a Reuters survey showed, reflecting persistent concerns about safety four years after the Fukushima disaster.

All of the country’s 43 operable reactors are offline – the result of a tougher safety regime introduced after an earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima plant, causing meltdowns, explosions and plumes of radioactivity.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government last month proposed bringing nuclear energy back to account for 20-22 percent of the nation’s electricity mix by 2030, seeking to reduce Japan’s huge reliance on imported fossil fuels and lift the economy out of two decades of anaemic growth.

But slightly more than two-thirds of firms in the Reuters Corporate Survey, conducted May 7-19, saw levels of less than 20 percent as appropriate and realistically achievable given strong public opposition.

“Some nuclear power stations may resume operations, but it will be difficult to expect as many restarts as the government and utilities want,” a corporate manager at a machinery company wrote……..

A Reuters analysis last year indicated that as few as a third, and at most about two-thirds, of Japan’s reactors are ever likely to pass today’s more stringent safety checks and clear other seismological, economic, logistical and political hurdles needed to restart.

A third of reactors back online would be roughly equivalent to nuclear energy accounting for 10 percent of the country’s electricity supply while two-thirds would be about 20 percent…….

The corporate survey, conducted for Reuters by Nikkei Research, polled 481 large and mid-sized companies. Around 230, which responded anonymously, answered questions on nuclear energy prospects.


Most public opinion polls have put opposition to nuclear restarts at about two-to-one over support.

Local residents and activists are seeking to block the restart of all five reactors certified as meeting new safety standards from the Nuclear Regulation Authority – making it hard to predict the timing of resumption of operations.

The restart of one, the Takayama plant owned by Kansai Electric Power (9503.T), has been delayed indefinitely after a court sided with activists. The first restart could be the Sendai plant owned by Kyushu Electric Power (9508.T) but the regulator has said company plans for that to happen in mid-July are too optimistic as it needs to finalise its review……

May 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste dump near the Great Lakes – just a LOCAl issue?

Deep Ground Repository for nuclear waste has local support and regional opposition,  Radio Canada International By Carmel Kilkenny | Monday 18 May, 2015 , The Deep Ground Repository (DGR) proposed for Kincardine in Southwestern Ontario, will be the topic of many conversations over this annual Victoria Day holiday weekend….

A kilometre from the shore of Lake Huron,


The Bruce power station is the largest operating nuclear power plant in the world, with 4,000 employees drawn from several small communities around it.  The majority here support the DGR, which will store over 200,000 cubic metres of low and intermediate radioactive waste from the Bruce, as well as the Pickering and Darlington nuclear power stations.

But farther away, and in the large urban centres of Toronto, and Chicago, the DGR is the subject of a divisive debate with thousands signing petitions and filing official objections to the proposal. The biggest complaint is the proximity of the DGR to the Great Lakes basin.

Rolling Stewardship

At just over a kilometre from the shore of Lake Huron, many fear the future of 40 million people, on both sides of the Canada-US border, could be at stake in the event of an accident or an unforeseen event.

Mayor Keith Hobbs of Thunder Bay, Ontario, a vocal opponent, said in a recent interview with the London Free Press, “If you contaminate that source, we’re done.  That’s life, that’s life itself.”……

May 22, 2015 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Cyprus, Greek and Turkish groups unite to stop Turkish nuclear plant

protest-nuclearGroups unit to call for halt to Turkish nuclear plant  Cyprus mail, By Evie Andreou, 12 May 15  The Mediterranean must not suffer a nuclear catastrophe like those seen in Chernobyl and Fukushima said organisations from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey that joined forces on Saturday to state their opposition to the construction of a nuclear power plant on Turkey’s southern coast.

The bicommunal Cyprus Anti-Nuclear Platform, in cooperation with environmental organisations from Turkey and the support of the European Greens, organised a conference in the buffer zone to discuss the negative impact a nuclear power plant would have in the Mediterranean region and signed a declaration urging Turkey to abort plans for the construction of the plant.

They also called for the formation of a Network for a Nuclear Free Mediterranean.

Key-note speaker at the event was Rebecca Harms, co-president of the Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European parliament. Also present were Cypriot MEPs, Environment Commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou, Green Party chairman George Perdikis and members of non-governmental organisations.

Speakers said that apart from the negative impact the power plant will have on the surrounding environment, it could also be a nuclear accident waiting to happen.

Turkey is no stranger to earthquakes as it sits on a seismically active area within the zone of collision between the Eurasian Plate and both the African and Arabian Plates.

Harms said that nuclear danger should not be added in an earthquake zone. She added that earthquake-prone countries like Greece and Italy do not have nuclear power plants and neither should Turkey.

The declaration states the opposition of “the inhabitants of the Mediterranean region… to the establishment of a nuclear power station in Akkuyu, Mersin for the sake of our safety and due to our responsibility to protect the living organisms and the ecosystem in the Mediterranean”.

It adds that Turkey’s plans to construct the nuclear power plant are outdated since they date back to the 1970s and that “not only does Turkey’s decision pose a risk to the future of the Mediterranean, but it also contravenes the Mediterranean Action Plan, established under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)…, and the Barcelona Agreement… where Turkey is a member”……..

May 13, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Hashtag activism a powerful force, when followed by action

a hashtag or a petition is a good start, but it must be followed up with engagement towards further action.

computer-userThe hashtag crusaders, The Saturday Paper, MIKE SECCOMBE, 9 May 15 …….Should those concerned about effecting real progressive change worry that simple identity politics is supplanting real commitment?

Or have the means of expression simply changed? Maybe the hashtag is the digital age equivalent of the bumper sticker, and the online petition the equivalent of the street march. Maybe younger people are just as committed – in many cases marginally committed – as they ever were.

If that’s the case, the future for progressive change organisations is perhaps not so dire. Certainly more people respond to hashtags than ever put stickers on their cars. Proportionally, many more people have signed on to GetUp! petitions in Australia than rallied in Central Park in 1982.

“ has 2.8 million people who have used their platform, so it’s not a small proportion of the population at all,” says Rebecca Wilson, deputy director of the Centre for Australian Progress, the organisation hosting the Melbourne conference……

On the other hand, she says: “Every organisation that has an email list will tell you their membership is heavily female and middle aged or older. So it’s partially true that it’s often older people engaging. But they have the time and the resources.”

The evidence is ambiguous. What is increasingly clear, though, is that while modern means of communication such as social media can be a powerful tool, they are not a substitute for more traditional means of activism. And those seeking change face the same old problem of turning short-term protest into long-term campaigning.

“It’s too reductionist to say that there is clicktivism and then there is legitimate advocacy,” says Anat Shenker-Osorio, a US-based communications consultant specialising in cognition and linguistics.

There is, she says, “some truth” to the criticism that if you make something too easy you encourage a glib and superficial response. “But the issue is actually a lack of human-to-human engagement. The thing that sustains motivation is the creation of connection and community. The trouble with online actions is that they don’t engender that connection.

“We have for too long focused on protest instead of movement building.” Continue reading

May 13, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

As Taiwan’s radioactive trash accumulates, opposition grows to the export of nuclear waste

irresponsible to ship potentially hazardous plutonium and uranium to other countries, possibly causing environmental damage or landing the material in the hands of terrorists.

Opponents of nuclear power are now asking that Taiwan not send nuclear waste overseas.

text-wise-owlOpposition Mounts as Taiwan Plans to Ship Nuclear Waste Offshore VOA News,  Ralph Jennings May 08, 2015  TAIPEI— Taiwanese officials want to ship the island’s nuclear waste offshore as spent fuel accumulates at two older power plants, but the plan faces opposition from activists and the legislature, putting it on hold.

The two oldest of Taiwan’s three nuclear power plants are running out of space for spent fuel. The build-up of waste prompted government-run Taiwan Power Company to call in February for bids from companies overseas capable of removing the fuel, neutralizing radioactive material and helping to dispose what’s left. Firms in France, Japan, Russia and Britain are technically able to do the work, though none had tendered bids.

A month later the power company retracted its call for bids to process 1,200 bundles of spent fuel because parliament declined to approve a $367 million disposal budget. Taiwan Power spokesman Lin Te-fu said the company will try to persuade legislators again to allocate the money or risk a storage crisis at the island’s first nuclear plant……..

While some legislators believe the overseas disposal cost is too high, leaders in Taiwan’s popular movement against nuclear power cite other risks. They call it irresponsible to ship potentially hazardous plutonium and uranium to other countries, possibly causing environmental damage or landing the material in the hands of terrorists. Taiwan-based Green Citizens Action Alliance researcher Hsu Shih-ya fears the waste would contaminate foreign soil.

Hsu said the kind of disposal method proposed would cause a high level of radiation pollution surrounding the treatment plants. She said her group does not want Taiwan’s pollution to be transferred to other countries, which would be a very immoral matter.

Opposition to Taiwan’s nuclear power crested last year after more than 200,000 activists marched in the streets, leading the government later to call off plans to open a $9.3 billion fourth plant. …..

Opponents of nuclear power are now asking that Taiwan not send nuclear waste overseas. Hsu Hsin-hsin, spokeswoman for the Central Taiwan Antinuclear Action Alliance, said the plan would cost too much without answering calls to end nuclear power…….


May 9, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Growing community opposition to nuclear waste repository near Kincardine

regulatory-capture-1flag-canadaMore communities expected to join fight to stop nuclear waste repository near Kincardine  A federal review panel’s ‘praising’ endorsement of Ontario’s largest electricity generator and its proposed nuclear waste repository speaks volumes about the state of the regulatory world, says Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.

“We expected (the proposal) to be approved with conditions,” he said Thursday. “What we didn’t expect was the glib and glossy language throughout the report praising OPG (Ontario Power Generation).

“One of the diseases that happens in the regulatory world is that the regulator often becomes a captain for the proponents and we see that with rail and other issues.”

In its decision released late Wednesday, the joint review panel found the proposed repository was “not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects” if mitigation measures are implemented.

The deep geological repository is expected to house low-to-intermediate-level radioactive waste near Kincardine. It will be located only a kilometre away from Sarnia’s drinking water source.

Hundreds of Canadian and U.S. communities and environmentalists have been sounding the alarms over the plan, speaking at public hearings and contacting their elected representatives.

“I can’t argue the science,” said Bradley, who is a vocal opponent of the plan. “I’m not a scientist, but what we can argue is that there were no other locations looked at.”

He anticipates more support will come on board with the issue headed to the political sphere.


Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq and the federal cabinet will decide whether to approve the project within the next 120 days.

“Since (2012), we’ve had over 140 cities from both sides of the border, including Chicago, join the opposition and now I expect this is grow in these coming months,” Bradley said.

A spokesperson with the lobby group Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump described the issue as an “intergenerational, non-partisan issue that affects millions of Canadians and Americans.”

“It is a decision that will affect the Great Lakes for the next 100,000 years,” Beverly Fernandez told The London Free Press. “The last place to bury and abandon radioactive nuclear waste is beside the largest supply of fresh water on the planet.”

But OPG official Jerry Keto told the newspaper Fernandez should “give some relevance and credit to the science behind this.”

“We’re very pleased with the results,” he said of the panel recommendation. “We’re very happy that we have the endorsement.” – With files from The London Free Press

May 8, 2015 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

The anti nuclear fight in Finland – JOIN THE STRUGGLE!

2.5.2015 HYOKYAALTO 
The Fennovoima Energy Company is starting to construct a nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, a nice, quiet and small municipality in the northwest of Finland. An action camp has been started in the area to stop the project.

During the second half of April, Fennovoima cut 95 hectares of very special coastal forest at the construction site. They didn’t wait for a month for the legal permission to clearcut the landscape. Instead, Fennovoima started destroying the forest on Wednesday, the 15 of April. The forest was a home for several rare birds and other species. Nests of endangered white-backed woodpeckers (Dendrocopos leucotos) were destroyed, a very rare white-tailed eagle got disturbed as dozens of machines demolished its neighborhood.

The operation was carried out by the Waste Management Company Lassila & Tikanoja. The fast start of the cutting was a shock for many people and organizations. The local nature conservation association, the bird protection association and the antinuclear organization Pro Hanhikivi that have been opposing Fennovoima complained and demanded to stop the cutting of the forest immediately. The nesting season of the birds had started already. Many antinuclear people resigned their waste management contract with Lassila & Tikanoja immediately.

In Helsinki 5 people from the Hyökyaalto Eco Action Group took necessary action and entered the headquarters of Lassila & Tikanoja, in order to distribute flyers to the workers in their offices and they refused to leave the building before the cuttings would be stopped. Three people were carried out by police and arrested. They were released on the same day.

We, the Hyökyaalto Eco Action Group, had already planned to start a camp at the forest area, but now we had to hurry. …….

n the camp all kind of little disturbing of the work process became a daily routine. The only road to the cabins goes through the clean cut area and is used by the cutting workers, so people who used the road slowed down the disturbing of the environment whenever there was a log truck or security car on the road. Soon the security company forgot that the road is a public road and started stopping cars from getting to the shore area where the cottages are and accused us as well as the locals for trespassing in the area. Fennovoima’s illegal attempts to try to occupy the cape, while it was still privately owned and public accessible land, raised even more anger amongst the residents.

On Saturday the next bigger blockade was carried out by the activists. ……..

In the last few days there has been more and more critical news about Fennovoima and their actions. There are only two months left until the deadline on June 2015, when Fennovoima needs to have 60% Finnish ownership according the government officials, and it´s still lacking investors. The Finnish state partly owns a company named Fortum and they are negotiating about Russian involvement in hydropower and are about to buy 15% of Fennovoima. If that wouldn´t happen, Fennovoima would be in deep problems. They would probably not be able to cut themselves off of the construction contracts before 1th of July when their decision in principle (permission from the government and parliament) will expire and they would need to start the whole political process again.

Many people wonder if any reasonable company would be willing to jump into the mess Fennovoima has created, or still consider if they want to confirm the old contracts……….

. This spring and summer will be a period of active resistance for us, and we don’t intend to leave the area after the summer period either. Now is the best moment to make the greedy nuclear power project fall. Still, we need help!! Join the resistance!

Right now, we have been more than successful in our fight against Fennovoima. We have supporters and several different resources to continue our resistance. We have found a vast majority of people positively supporting us through social media, email, phone, and the local supporters have been generous in providing us with clean drinking water, washing facilities and shelter.

And yet, nevertheless, more people are needed here, in Pyhäjoki. ……..

The final expropriation date has been set by Fennovoima to the end of May. This is the most important time to gather at the cape of Hanhikivi, the most beautiful place of nature that Finland has to offer for nature lovers, families and those who love to see rare species of animals in their natural environment.

Join us:
Check – People Power Against Nuclear Power Action Camp – for camp info and directions for getting to Pyhäjoki.
Email: fenstop(at)riseup(dot)net
Call: +358 466 28 67 68

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Finland, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

In Turkey, anti nuclear protestors mark anniversary of Chernobyl disaster

Protest-No!Anti-nuclear demonstration marks anniversary of Chernobyl disaster  The Sinop Anti-Nuclear Platform (Sinop NKP) held a demonstration on Saturday in Sinop province in order to mark the 29th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine and to raise their voices against the Turkish government’s plans to construct nuclear power plants in Sinop and the Akkuyu district of Mersin province.

Several nongovernmental organizations, local residents of Sinop and members of left-wing parties from all over Turkey were among the demonstration participants. According to the Sözcü newspaper, there was a total about 10,000 protesters.

The protesters said the Chernobyl disaster was a lesson that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) should keep in mind before resorting to nuclear power plants to address the country’s energy shortage.

On April 26, 1986 an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl plant released a large quantity of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere that spread over an extensive area, including large parts of the western Soviet Union and Europe, in one of the worst accidents in history in terms of cost and casualties.

“Developed countries including Germany, Austria and Sweden decided to close down their nuclear plants after this disaster and Germany‘s energy requirements are two-and-a-half times larger than Turkey’s. The US, the country that has the most nuclear power plants, is not building any new ones. When the aforementioned countries are using more and more alternative energy sources like solar and wind power, there is no point for Turkey to venture into contracting to build a nuclear power plant,” said Chamber of Electrical Engineers (EMO) Secretary General Hüseyin Önder.

Following this demonstration, the Anti-Nuclear Platform (NKP) issued a written statement noting that Sinop is known for being the happiest city in Turkey and that a nuclear power plant would damage the city’s landscape and its image of being a peaceful city.

The platform also stressed that the AK party is trying to convince the people of Sinop to support the project by promising that the power plant would provide thousands of job opportunities for residents, but the statement contended that only around 300 people will able to work there and that they will mostly be workers from the outside of the city.

April 27, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Arrest of anti nuclear protestor who landed drone on Shinzo Abe’s office

flag-japanMan arrested for landing drone on Shinzo Abe’s office in nuclear protest, Guardian, 25 Apr 15 
Yasuo Yamamoto charged over landing of drone with tiny amount of radiation in apparent protest against use of nuclear power after Fukushima disaster. 
A Japanese man has been arrested for landing a drone on the prime minister’s office with a minuscule amount of radiation in an apparent protest against the use of nuclear power, four years after the Fukushima disaster.

Unemployed Yasuo Yamamoto, 40, who lives in Fukui Prefecture in western Japan, was arrested on Friday and charged with obstruction of official business, police said.

The maximum penalty is three years in prison or a 500,000 yen (£2,770) fine.

Media reported that Yamamoto turned himself in at a police station in Fukui and said he landed the drone as a protest against nuclear power…..A drone marked with a radioactive sign was found on the roof of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s office on Wednesday. The radiation was so low it was not harmful to humans.

Yamamoto said he put radioactive sand that he got from Fukushima in a container on the drone, media reported…….

April 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Demonstrations in New York City for abolition of nuclear weapons

Protest-No!Demonstrators to rally for nuclear abolition The Wisconsin Gazette  Monday, 20 April 2015  Thousands of protesters are set to gather in New York City this week to demand a nuclear-free world in advance of the five-year Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

Activists, scholars and students with anti-nuclear, peace and environmental justice movements will call on the NPT Review Conference meeting at the United Nations to mandate the commencement of “good faith negotiations” for the complete elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenals, as required by the treaty.

Activist events include an international conference April 24-25 at the Cooper Union featuring speakers from more than a dozen countries.

On April 26, a mass rally will take place in Union Square, followed by a march to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, where millions of petition signatures will be presented to UN and NPT officials.

The rally will launch a “Global Wave,” with participants symbolically waving goodbye to nuclear weapons. The Global Wave will travel west, by time zone, with public events scheduled in Papeete, Manila, Amman, Bethlehem, Stockholm, Paris, London, Sao Paulo and points in-between.

An interfaith service will precede the rally.

Joseph Gerson, disarmament coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee and one of the events’ lead organizers, is working with activists from Tokyo to Toronto and Berlin to Brazil.

He said, “More than a thousand Japanese activists, including 50 Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb survivors, will be joining us in this 70th anniversary year of the U.S. atomic bombings. Their suitcases will be filled with 7,000,000 petition signatures calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.”

In the United States, peace walks originating in Tennessee, at the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons production facility, California and New England, will converge in New York, with groups journeying on peace trains from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut, and coming on buses from as far away as Chicago and Massachusetts.

A “Bike for Peace” ride from Washington, D.C., will arrive in New York City on April 24.

Organizers say nuclear disarmament is now more important than ever………

April 25, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

A voice for the victims of atomic bomb testing – no more nuclear weapons!

Kuyukov,-Karipbek,-KazakhstI am asking you to wave goodbye to these weapons, though I cannot do so myself. But I can raise my voice, and my paintbrush, and I will do that until the day I die, to ensure that the world sees what has happened in my country and my community, and more importantly, to make sure that this never happens again, in rich countries or in poor countries or in any other hidden place on earth. Children like me were hidden for long enough. I want to use my voice to tell you about us, now, and use my brush to show you the beauty and heartbreak of my landscape

Eliminating the World’s Nuclear Weapons by Bicycle Silk Road Reporters, by Karipbek Kuyukov  23 Apr 15 On April 21, another push – many miles worth, in fact – was added to the growing worldwide drive to rid the planet of nuclear weapons as the Bike Away the Atomic Bomb riders begin their journey from Washington, D.C. to New York to call for real action to be taken at the UN Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York on April 27. I won’t be riding with them. I couldn’t hold the handlebars, or anything else, for that matter: when I was born, outside the now-closed Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in eastern Kazakhstan, it was without arms.

Mayak disaster

I’m not unusual, where I come from. Forty years of nuclear testing and hundreds of nuclear explosions have blighted swathes of the beautiful steppe there and shattered the surrounding communities, as their effects began to be seen in birth defects and diseases, which continue to this day. The UN estimates that 1.5 million people in Kazakhstan have been affected by the Soviet Union’s nuclear test programme. There are many people like me.

I am determined to be the last.

In a sense, I am lucky: Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, shut down the poisonous Semipalatinsk test site in 1991, in defiance of the government in Moscow, and upon independence set about dismantling Kazakhstan’s formidable nuclear arsenal. Ukraine, Belarus and South Africa join Kazakhstan among the list of countries to renounce their nuclear weapons.

But I and they are also citizens of the world, and while our countries may be free of nuclear weapons, we remain vulnerable as long as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty remains a dream. We have been waiting since 1996 for this ban to become a reality, and I call on China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States to finally sign and/or ratify this treaty. They must ensure that not one more person suffers from the consequences of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons use in the future.

I may not be able to ride with them, but I will be joining Mayors for Peace, Bike for Peace and The ATOM Project in Washington D.C. before the bikers start this new leg of our journey toward nuclear sanity. We are joining Global Wave 2015 in its schedule of coordinated public actions urging humanity – and particularly the decision-makers at the UN conference – to wave goodbye to nuclear weapons.

Tore Nærland, co-founder of Bike for Peace, and Thore Vestby, mayor of Frogn, Norway, who is also vice president of Mayors for Peace and a member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament are among those who will be riding for four days from Washington to New York.

For this tour, Vestby says, he has a specific message: That nuclear weapons cannot be used, because of their enormous humanitarian and environmental consequences, and are therefore useless………

I am asking you to wave goodbye to these weapons, though I cannot do so myself. But I can raise my voice, and my paintbrush, and I will do that until the day I die, to ensure that the world sees what has happened in my country and my community, and more importantly, to make sure that this never happens again, in rich countries or in poor countries or in any other hidden place on earth. Children like me were hidden for long enough. I want to use my voice to tell you about us, now, and use my brush to show you the beauty and heartbreak of my landscape………   The author is the honorary ambassador of The ATOM Project.

April 25, 2015 Posted by | Kazakhstan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Austria’s opposition to nuclear power

Why Austria traditionally opposes nuclear power Andreas Molin The Daily Star Last October, the European Union approved a controversial subsidy deal to allow billions of pounds of state aid for Hinkley Point C, a new nuclear reactor planned for the United Kingdom. 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 U.K., and what are the real issues at stake?

Austria has been deeply skeptical about nuclear power for decades. Recall that in a 1978 referendum, the Austrian electorate decided not to start the operation of the nuclear Zwentendorf power plant. After the catastrophic events in Chernobyl in 1986, the opposition to and concerns about nuclear power became deeply rooted in the Austrian population, at all levels of society. (Austria was among those countries in Central Europe that were most affected by the disaster.)

Information regarding the safety of nuclear power plants of Russian design, which became public after 1989, reinforced these apprehensions, leading to explicit government policy in 1990.

A joint publication by the Heads of the European Radiological protection Competent Authorities and the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association released in October 2014 clearly states “that the possibility of severe accidents … cannot be completely ruled out. Such accidents could be as severe as the Fukushima one, affect more than one European country and require rapid protective actions in several of them.”

The transboundary nature of the risks associated with nuclear power dictates that the legitimate interests of Austrian citizens are represented in relation to all nuclear projects and installations.

As a matter of principle, Austria does not consider nuclear power to be compatible with the concept of sustainable development. Therefore, it does not consider reliance on nuclear power to be a viable option to combat the greenhouse effect. Sustainable development, if fully applied to the energy sector, would require substantial increases in energy efficiency and energy saving as well as a switch to renewable sources of energy.

It has been argued that the Austrian government’s long-standing position on this subject, supported by numerous resolutions in parliament, is at the core of the intended legal challenge. But that is not the case. Austria fully respects every country’s sovereign right to decide on its national energy mix.

The Austrian objection stems from concern about the provision of British aid for the project, and the extent to which it would comply with common European state aid and competition rules. The current European Environmental and Energy State Aid Guidelines allow, under strictly defined circumstances, for state aid to renewable energy projects, but there are no such rules for nuclear power projects. Therefore, an assessment has to be made on the basis of general EU competition law.

As a general rule, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibits state aid, while it leaves some room for certain policy objectives for which state aid can be considered compatible with the internal market.

European Commission guidelines and decision practice, as well as the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction, have developed a set of principles that put these exemptions to the general rule into concrete terms. As the planned state aid for Hinkley Point C differs tremendously from all of these principles, it seems inevitable that the European Commission’s decision will be challenged.

The commission seems to be relying heavily on the idea of market failure, for instance, to justify its decision. This cannot be accepted: If the market fails to finance an unsustainable project, it is simply doing its job.

In essence, the arguments raised in order to justify this state aid could apply to any other large-scale power project as well. State aid for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant could therefore not only serve as a model for further nuclear new build projects, but also lead to a run on state aid throughout the entire EU energy sector.

Against this background, Austria felt it had no option but to challenge this state aid decision in the courts of the European Union. 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.

Andreas Molin is the director of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. He is the Austrian representative in the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy of the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and has served as vice chairman of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group(ENSREG) since 2011. This commentary originally appeared at TheMark News (

April 22, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear, politics international | Leave a comment

Energy investors advised to “cut their losses” and dump Hinkley nuclear reactor

protest-Hinkley-CEDF should ‘cuts its losses’ as Hinkley plans come under threat, Western Morning News 18 Apr 15  Campaigners are calling on energy investors to “cut their losses” on plans for a new reactor at Hinkley Point after a “very serious” fault was discovered in a similar French scheme.

Members of the Stop Hinkley group say project backers EDF should “give up” on plans for two new nuclear reactors at the Somerset plant and pursue a more “sensible” sustainable energy strategy. The comments come as French officials revealed details of an anomaly that occurred during the construction of an identical EPR power plant in Normandy.

EDF Energy, which will own and operate the Hinkley plant, said further investigations would be carried out on the development as soon as possible.

But the revelation has given rise to concerns about the future of Britain’s power supply, as Hinkley was expected to generate roughly 16% of the country’s electricity by the mid-2020s.

The problem with the new reactor at Flamanville is understood to surround the quality of the steel used to construct a casing around the reactor, known as the pressure vessel. Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of France’s nuclear safety inspectorate, said it was potentially “very serious” as it involved “a crucial part” of the reactor.

He added that the same manufacturing techniques had been used for the identical casings intended for Hinkley Point, which “have already been manufactured”.

Plans to develop a new generation of British reactors at Hinkley go back to the last Labour government in January 2008. The EPR reactors chosen for the site use pressurised water and are built to resist the impact of a commercial airline crash……..

Alan Jeffery, spokesman for Stop Hinkley, suggested the company should abandon its plans for the Somerset plant and start pursuing alternative options for the Westcountry.

“EDF Energy should cut its losses and give up on Hinkley C now, so that the South West can get on with developing a sensible sustainable energy strategy,” he said.

“To tackle climate change effectively we need to get started on energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes now, not waiting around for the nuclear industry to sort out its problems first.

“We don’t need this massive project that is going to leave us with a legacy of highly dangerous nuclear waste and radioactive emissions into our environment.”

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April 20, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Mayors list reasons why Florida should NOT have new nuclear reactors

logo-NO-nuclear-SmMayors make case against FPL nuclear expansion BY JENNY STALETOVICH  JSTALETOVICH@MIAMIHERALD.COM 17 Apr 15 

The long-running campaign to derail Florida Power & Light’s plans to add two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point revved up Wednesday with mayors from three South Florida cities ticking off a long list of concerns ranging from inadequate evacuation zones to ugly new power lines and heightened risks from rising sea levels.

The mayors — Tomas Regalado of Miami,, Philip Stoddard of South Miami and Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest — held a joint conference with one clear goal: Boost opposition to a controversial expansion that will be the subject of two public hearings federal regulators have scheduled next week in Miami-Dade.

“We are looking at a population base within 50 miles of 2.5 million people,’’ said Lerner. “Who in their right mind would put two new nuclear plants at sea level with storm surge?” Continue reading

April 18, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Protests in Turkey against building of nuclear power facility

Protests as Turkey builds first nuclear power plant, DW 14 Apr 15  Turkey launched construction of its first nuclear power plant on Tuesday, which the government hopes will open a new era of greater energy self-sufficiency. But the ceremony faced protests from environmentalists. Dozens of environmental protesters converged on the iron gates of the site in Akkuyu, on the shores of the Mediterranean, as the launch ceremony ended.


Video footage showed that they managed to lock official delegations, security officers and journalists inside the site. The protesters were only dispersed when a water cannon was used against them.

The government is hailing the power station – which will have four power units with a capacity of 1200 MW each – as a major development for the country – ……..

The Akkuyu plant has become a major issue for environmentalists, who have raised concerns about safety issues and the decision to build the power station in an area rich in wildlife.

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace in January lodged a complaint in court against the awarding of an environmental impact license to the plant and says it should not be built.

“Turkey is not ready to build nuclear reactors – the country is still missing the key pieces of necessary legislation,” Jan Beranek, the director of Greenpeace Mediterranean, told news agency AFP.

He said that the seismic assessment had been “totally inadequate” and accused the authorities of ignoring issues related to radioactive spent fuel which risked being transported through Istanbul on the Bosphorus Strait.

“There is no need for the country to set on a path of unpredictable nuclear hazards and this outdated, yet very expensive technology,” he added.

April 15, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Turkey | Leave a comment


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