nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Washington State Senator Sharon Brown enthusiastically pushing for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

text-SMRsNuclear Advocate Pushes For Modular Reactor Presence In Washington State  http://www.icontact-archive.com/uY4CWN-9Ks3su6iHyVeY7nHzrprAq8_d?w=1 Feb 25 2015  A state senator in Washington, Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, is promoting nuclear energy with a focus on technology that has yet to be put into operation.

Bills that Brown have sponsored nudge the state towards acceptance of modular, factory-built nuclear reactors, The Olympian reported Tuesday.

Brown has called for a relatively modest $176,000 study to identify sites for nuclear power reactors that are in frequent discussions, but have yet to be built – reactors with a generation capacity of 300 MW or less.

In neighboring Oregon, NuScale Power is developing reactors that will built in one location and shipped by truck or rail to their final destination

“We need to make sure we’re not left behind,” said Brown at a hearing Tuesday. She also said, “It’s really important that as a state we get our arms around small nuclear reactors.”

Brown, who is pushing the state to nudge the federal government on construction of a federal waste repository, has sponsored other nuclear power-friendly bills that cleared a critical deadline last week. These include a bill to provide sales tax relief for small reactor production and one that mandates the Commerce Department support small reactors development for commercial use.

She has also sponsored measures that would allow energy from modular reactors to count as part of the state’s renewable energy targets, although these initiatives have strong opposition from environment groups.

The initiatives follow up on a previous state study, completed in September, that said a modular reactor facility was feasible for the Hanford Site nuclear facility.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | politics, technology, USA | 1 Comment

Trouble in nuclear France: AREVA and EDF in financial distress

plants-downFrance Warns of Nuclear Industry Shake-Up After Areva Loss NYT, By  and STANLEY REEDFEB. 23, 2015 PARIS — France’s energy minister said on Monday that an overhaul of the country’s state-controlled nuclear energy industry was imminent, after one of the country’s main builders of nuclear power plants warned of a loss that could hamper its ability to continue operating independently……

Ms. Royal spoke after Areva, one of the world’s leading nuclear technology companies, said in apreliminary statement that it expected a 2014 net loss of about 4.9 billion euros, or $5.6 billion, compared with a loss of €500 million a year earlier.
 The French government — which has continued to be a proponent of nuclear power when many other big industrial nations have been more equivocal or have come to oppose it outright — owns 87 percent of Areva, and nearly 85 percent of the other big French nuclear power company, EDF, once known as Électricité de France.

EDF has been facing its own problems, including lengthy delays and steep cost overruns on a flagship plant that it is building at Flamanville, in the northwest of the country. There are also uncertainties about whether a showcase project in Britain will proceed — one in which both EDF and Areva would participate.

The French nuclear industry’s travails underline the gloomy state of the nuclear industry since the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011. Moreover, the French industry, though long a world leader, has in recent years been threatened by its own mistakes……..

The loss that Areva warned of on Monday would be substantially larger than its stock-market value of about €3.7 billion, suggesting that the troubled company, plagued by cost overruns and write-downs, may need new funds to continue operating. Areva’s capabilities are vital to France’s ambitions to remain a world provider of nuclear plants and services like supplying fuel.

With few new nuclear plants being planned to replace the older ones that are being phased out in the West, “Europe will see a gradual decline in nuclear’s share of electricity supply,” said Antony Froggatt, an analyst at Chatham House, a London-based research organization…….

Areva shares closed down 2.1 percent in Paris trading on Monday.

The company, which is based in Paris, had previously warned that it was facing trouble; it said in November that it was suspending its financial guidance for 2015 and 2016. Standard & Poor’s cut the company’s debt rating to junk soon after that, citing the company’s “limited headroom.”http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/business/international/areva-nuclear-results.html?_r=0

February 25, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Terms of Reference for South Australia’s ill-conceived rush into Royal Commission on Nuclear Power

nukefools-dayflag-Australia
People can contribute ideas to this farce at http://yoursay.sa.gov.au/blogs/draft-terms-of-reference
So far only one person mentioned – the head of this inquiry – Kevin Scarse , a pro nuclear former Governor of S.A. So much for independence and expertise!
The draft terms of reference direct the Royal Commission to inquire into and report on:
  • whether there is any potential for the expansion of the current level of exploration, extraction or milling of minerals containing radioactive materials in South Australia, any circumstances necessary for such an increase to occur and to be viable, any risks and opportunities created by expanding the level of exploration, extraction and milling, and the measures that might be required to facilitate and regulate that increase in activity.
  • the feasibility of the further processing of minerals and processing and manufacture of materials containing radioactive and nuclear substances (but not for, or from, military uses) including conversion, enrichment, fabrication or re-processing in South Australia, any circumstances necessary for that further processing or manufacture to be viable, any risks and opportunities associated with establishing and undertaking that further processing or manufacture, and any measures that might need to be taken to facilitate and regulate the establishment and carrying out of further processing or manufacture
  • the feasibility of establishing and operating facilities to generate electricity from nuclear fuels in South Australia, any circumstances necessary for that to occur and to be viable, the relative advantages and disadvantages of generating electricity from nuclear fuels as opposed to other sources, including with regard to greenhouse gas emissions, any risks and opportunities associated with that activity (including its impact on renewable sources and the electricity market), and any measures that might need to be taken to facilitate and regulate their establishment and operation.
  • the feasibility of establishing facilities in South Australia for the management, storage and disposal of nuclear and radioactive waste from the use of nuclear and radioactive materials in power generation, industry, research and medicine (but not for, or from, military uses), any circumstances necessary for those facilities to be established and to be viable, the risks and opportunities associated with establishing and operating those facilities, and any measures that might need to be taken to facilitate and regulate their establishment and operation.
The draft Terms of Reference specifically require the Royal Commission, when inquiring into the risks and opportunities associated with the above matters, to consider, where appropriate, their impact upon the economy the environment and the community (including regional, remote and aboriginal communities).

February 23, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics | Leave a comment

Even the nuclear industry itself takes a bleak view of its future

IEA/NEA Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy - Nuclear Energy Agency  2015 Edition The 2015 edition of the Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy jointly prepared by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), has just been published.

fearThe nuclear energy landscape has changed since the previous edition of the roadmap in 2010, with a number of events affecting its development: the Fukushima Daiichi accident, which heightened public concern over the safety of nuclear energy in many countries, and the subsequent safety reviews and development of new safety requirements to ensure even higher levels of safety for existing and future nuclear power plants; the shift towards Generation III reactors for nuclear new build; and the economic and financial crises that have both lowered energy demand and made the financing of capital-intensive infrastructure projects more challenging, especially in liberalised electricity markets

February 23, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics | Leave a comment

Renewable energy for South Africa – not the cost, secrecy, corruption that goes with nuclear and coal

Next comes nuclear. The cost of $100 billion for 9 600 new MW of power – a guestimate at this stage – does not include ongoing expenses for uranium, transport and permanent safe storage. Illustrating the financial risk, the main French company bidding for SA’s attention is Areva, the world’s largest nuke builder – a company facing potential bankruptcy after its credit rating was cut to junk status in November.

Another huge risk is obvious: corruption

Instead of endorsing nuclear-powered corruption, the moment is surely nearing for the state’s phase-out of subsidised energy to foreign corporations? The capital-intensive, high-energy guzzling firms need to be replaced by civil society’s low-energy, high-employment ‘Million Climate Jobs’ campaign alternatives
 South Africa: Keep South Africa’s Lights On With Renewable Energy – or Irradiate a Darkened Nation All Africa, By Patrick Bond, 20 Feb 15 

After an explosive start to his State of the Nation Address last week, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma turned to nuclear, coal, fracking and offshore drilling projects – but what about the country’s free sunshine, wind and tides?

Last Thursday night in Cape Town’s Parliament hall, South Africa’s newest and cheekiest political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), fought gamely but lost their two-dozen seats for the evening. They were expelled during the State of the Nation speech when making what they termed a ‘point of order': asking whether President Jacob Zuma would ‘pay back the money’ (about $20 million) that the state illegitimately spent on upgrading his rural mansion. As police ushered them out with extreme force, seven were hospitalised, one with a broken jaw.

The society only saw the fracas on journalists’ cellphones later, because the SABC public broadcaster refused to screen the floor, panning only a small area where the Parliamentary leadership were gesticulating for police action. Showing surprising technical prowess but extremely weak political judgment, Zuma’s security officials had jammed cellphone and Wifi signals in the hall just before the event began, creating outrage by opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) and journalists alike. The centre-right Democratic Alliance then walked out in protest against armed police having cleared out the EFF MPs.

The dust settled 45 minutes later, with Zuma chortling and African National Congress (ANC) MPs cheering, and most observers sickened by the spectacle. Still, much more important news would follow, though in the dull tone that Zuma reserves for formal speeches. Given the country’s fury at electricity load-shedding – near daily outages of 2-4 hours – many were relieved that a substantial 14 percent of Zuma’s talk was dedicated to this theme: ‘We are doing everything we can to resolve the energy challenge.’

Listen more closely, though. Aside from building three huge coal-fired power plants, two of which are mired in construction crises, the other long-term supply strategy, accounting for one in six of his words on energy, is nuclear. By 2030 a fleet of reactors is meant to provide 9600 MW. Today we have 42 000 MW installed, of which 39 000 comes from coal. But the economy uses just 30 000 at peak. What with so much capacity unavailable, load-shedding is set to continue for at least the next three years.

To truly ‘resolve’, not defer, the challenge will require a huge roll-out of public investment. ………….

Next comes nuclear. The cost of $100 billion for 9 600 new MW of power – a guestimate at this stage – does not include ongoing expenses for uranium, transport and permanent safe storage. Illustrating the financial risk, the main French company bidding for SA’s attention is Areva, the world’s largest nuke builder – a company facing potential bankruptcy after its credit rating was cut to junk status in November.

Another huge risk is obvious: corruption. Last Thursday, Zuma proclaimed ‘a fair, transparent, and competitive procurement process to select a strategic partner or partners to undertake the nuclear build programme.’ Hmmmm. Replies Moulana Riaz Simjee of the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute, ‘This nuclear deal poses an enormous corruption risk. It is happening in secret and will make the arms deal look like a walk in the park.’

With prescient timing, the Mail&Guardian last week exposed a Moscow foreign ministry website which provides details about the extent of the nuclear deal that Zuma had already cut with Vladimir Putin six months ago. The contract indemnifies Russian suppliers from any nuclear accident liabilities and gives ‘special favourable treatment’ for taxes.

A durable concern with nuclear energy is safety because three of the world’s most technically advanced countries – Japan, Russia and the US – conclusively demonstrated its catastrophic danger at Fukushima (2011), Chernobyl (1996) and Three Mile Island (1979)……..

Greenpeace continues vibrant anti-nuke protests, this month bringing the ship Rainbow Warrior to local ports and last week, once again unveiling its opponents’ security lapses by disrupting the opening session of Cape Town’s 2nd Nuclear Industry Congress Africa with a banner hang declaring, ‘Nuclear investments cost the earth.’

 Other civil society activists work hard against nuclear: to name a few, the National Union of Mineworkers’ Sibusiso Mimi, Mike Kantey from the Coalition against Nuclear Energy and, in Jeffreys Bay where one of the world’s greatest surf waves is threatened by a proposed power plant, Trudy Malan from the Thyspunt Alliance.

Such citizen advocacy helped halt South Africa’s zany Pebble Bed nuclear experiments, in which a generator was meant to be collapsed on top of pebble storage units after its life span, saving storage costs. But regrettably $1.5 billion of taxpayer funding was wasted, mostly under Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s nose (his successor Pravin Gordhan pulled the plug)……….

We really don’t need this risky behaviour. In three years from 2013-15, at least 2500 MW of renewable energy capacity will have been constructed in South Africa. According to Simjee, ‘Eskom itself has completed the construction of the Sere Wind Farm, which is already delivering 100 megawatts to the grid, well ahead of its intended launch in March this year.’ Sere’s cost is just $2.3 million/MW, far below all competitors, with no operating expenses aside from occasional maintenance.

These are supply-side enhancements, and will take time. For more rapid relief, on the demand side it appears Eskom is overdue in addressing wastage by the minerals and smelting corporations. The Energy Intensive Users Group’s 31 members use 44% of our electricity, and their Resource Curse has diminished the integrity of South African politics, economics, society, public health and environment.

Instead of endorsing nuclear-powered corruption, the moment is surely nearing for the state’s phase-out of subsidised energy to foreign corporations? The capital-intensive, high-energy guzzling firms need to be replaced by civil society’s low-energy, high-employment ‘Million Climate Jobs’ campaign alternatives…………..

for those aiming to breed a herd of nuclear White Elephants in coming years, maybe the opening theatrics before Zuma’s speech can resonate; maybe the EFF’s insistent call to, ‘pay back the money’, will prove a deterrent to those with nuclear fantasies.

Prof Patrick Bond directs the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society in Durban. http://allafrica.com/stories/201502201281.html

February 21, 2015 Posted by | media, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

International concern that Japan’s nuclear regulator will lose its independence from government

exclamation-Smflag-japanJapan nuclear regulator advisers fear loss of its ‘essential’ independence TOKYO Wed Feb 18, 2015 (Reuters)  by Aaron Sheldrick; and Kentaro Hamada - International advisers to Japan’s atomic regulator have raised concern a mandatory review of its performance could lead to a loss of independence for the body, which was set up in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A lack of independent regulatory oversight of Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station north of Tokyo was to blame for the meltdowns after an earthquake and tsunami, an official inquiry into the disaster found.

After the disaster, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) was created under the environment ministry with more autonomy but legislation provided for a review after three years of operation with a proviso to consider placing it under the Cabinet Office, involving closer political oversight.

While welcoming a review of the NRA, the advisers, who include the chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Nuclear Safety Group, Richard Meserve, were concerned about political interference, they said in a document dated Wednesday and posted on the regulator’s website.

“We … are concerned about any transfer of authority that would serve to compromise the regulator’s independence,” the document said…….

The review of NRA operations started in September but no decisions have been made on whether the Cabinet Office will assume oversight……

The Cabinet Office coordinates planning and policy on issues of crucial national importance and works as the “place of wisdom” in support of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, according to its website.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a strong proponent of nuclear power and wants to restart reactors that pass the new safety regime, after all units were shut down gradually in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986……http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/18/us-japan-nuclear-concerns-idUSKBN0LM0I420150218

February 20, 2015 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission to take over environmental review of Yucca project

Yucca-MtEnergy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently reiterated that Yucca Mountain doesn’t have public support and is not a workable solution, a point that three Nevada lawmakers — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republicans Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and Gov. Brian Sandoval — hammered home in a letter to The Washington Post this week.

“If Yucca Mountain has taught us anything, it is that continuing to try to force the repository on Nevada only gets the nation further away from a real solution,” the senators and Sandoval wrote.

NRC-jpgNRC will complete environmental review of Yucca project — chairman http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060013577 Hannah Northey, E&E reporter Greenwire: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission intends to complete an environmental review of the contentious waste repository under Yucca Mountain in Nevada because the Energy Department has refused to do so, the NRC’s chairman said today.

“The decision is we will do that since [the Department of Energy] told us they won’t be doing it,” NRC Chairman Stephen Burns told reporters at the Platts 11th Annual Nuclear Energy Conference in Washington, D.C., today. “We have the funds that are left over from the carryover for high-level waste, will cover the preparation of the supplemental [environmental impact statement].” Continue reading

February 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is a hot political issue in South Korea

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, which has more than 40% of the seats in the national parliament, has taken a negative stance on the use of nuclear power. In 2013, the alliance specified a “zero-nuclear” goal in its basic policy.

     If the nuclear commission overturns the judgment about the safety of the Wolsong reactor, opposition parties and civic groups will certainly gather momentum.

ballot-boxSmflag-S-KoreaDebate heats up over aging nuclear reactor http://asia.nikkei.com/print/article/76444 KENTARO OGURA, Nikkei staff writer EOUL – Nuclear power is generating intense debate in South Korea.

At the center of the storm is the Wolsong No. 1 nuclear reactor in the city of Gyeongju, which is now offline as it reached the end of its 30-year design life. Some say it should be allowed to resume operations.

If its restart is not approved, the reactor will become the first such facility in South Korea to be decommissioned.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission has already delayed a decision on the issue twice — on Jan. 15 and Feb. 12. Attention is now focused on the South Korean nuclear watchdog’s next meeting, scheduled for Feb. 26.

The nuclear commission is acting on an application for an extension of the nuclear reactor’s operational life span, which was filed by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power.

Mixed results Continue reading

February 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

USA’s Tea Party – 85 groups join movement for solar energy!

Floridians for Solar Choice, the group behind the initiative, is an inchoate alliance of libertarians, Christian Coalition conservatives, liberal environmentalists, and eighty-five Tea Party groups

tea-party-solar-crackGreening the Tea Party, New Yorker BY CAROLYN KORMANN  18 Feb 15 The solar-energy business is booming. The average cost of installing solar panels has dropped by half since 2010, and a new solar electric system is now installed somewhere in the United States every four minutes.

The growth extends well beyond the rooftops of American homes and small businesses; last week, Apple announced that it is investing in an eight-hundred-and-fifty-million-dollar solar farm in Monterey County, California, which it says will power its operations in the state by the end of 2016. Although solar is still small, supplying less than one per cent of the country’s electricity, its growth has alarmed the energy industry’s old guard—coal, oil, and utility companies. Continue reading

February 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry revving up campaign to win public support and public money

nuke-spruikersSmNRC will complete environmental review of Yucca project — chairman http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060013577 “……..’Right-sizing’ the NRC Burns is taking the agency’s reins at a critical time for both the NRC and the U.S. nuclear industry, which has embarked on a public campaign to tout the financial and climate benefits of reactors struggling in competitive power markets.

The industry is facing stiff competition from cheap gas, weak demand in the power markets, and new safety regulations after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. While five new reactors are under construction and the NRC staff today recommended that another project move forward at DTE Energy Co.’s Fermi nuclear plant in southeastern Michigan, the industry has seen a recent spate of plant closures in California, Wisconsin, Florida and Vermont.

Touching on those closures, a number of executives from nuclear giants Exelon Corp. and FirstEnergy Corp. spoke at the conference about the need for market fixes to bolster struggling reactors.

Donald Moul, vice president of commodity operations for FirstEnergy Solutions, said at least 40,000 megawatts of baseload power — mostly older coal plants but also reactors — could be forced to prematurely retire in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, and grid operators and U.S. EPA need to do more to credit reactors under its Clean Power Plan. Moul said nuclear plants are facing a “lack of revenue certainty,” and their closure will only make it more difficult for states to comply with the Obama administration’s climate goals.

David Brown, senior vice president of government affairs for Exelon, the nation’s largest operator of commercial reactors, said there are no “silver bullets,” but market reforms in the PJM Interconnection are a “big start.” On the state level, Brown said, Illinois has developed a handful of options, and a low-carbon energy standard is most likely to gain traction.

“A lot of people thought [EPA’s Clean Power Plan] would be a real savior for the industry, but … that rulemaking was off the mark,” Brown said.

Burns signaled that the NRC in coming weeks and months intends to slim down to match a declining lot of license applications.

NRC senior staff, he said, is focused on “right-sizing” the agency — streamlining operations, making more timely decisions and establishing clearer agencywide priorities through a program dubbed “Project AIM 2020″ that began last year.

NRC commissioners will be briefed on staff’s recommendations for slimming the agency tomorrow, and the proposal will be made public soon, he added.

Burns also noted that the agency’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal reflects a reduction of 140 full-time workers and of $27.3 million from the prior year’s request. Burns said the agency’s fiscal 2015 fee rule — expected in coming months — will also likely reflect a dip in licensee fees.

“No organization can remain static,” Burns said.

Twitter: @HMNorthey | Email: hnorthey@eenews.net

February 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

“Clean Coal” not a goer, for White House – support withdrawn

On Feb. 3, the Department of Energy announced it was withdrawing support. Environmentalists who want investment in renewable power technologies rather than fossil energy cheered the decision. “We don’t need it, and we can’t afford it,” Bruce Nilles, head of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, says of carbon-capture projects
clean-coal.The White House Walks Away from Clean Coal  A $1 billion Illinois project, meant to be the poster child for coal’s climate-friendly future, gets scuttled. Bloomberg, Feb 15, 2015  Jim Snyder  Mark Drajem Matthew Philips
 On the banks of the Illinois River, about 60 miles west of the state capital in Springfield, an old coal-fired power plant sits waiting for its future to arrive. First opened in 1948, it’s been dormant since 2011, when its owner, St. Louis-based Ameren, shut down the plant rather than retrofit it to meet federal standards. Last year workers came to give it a makeover. Using almost $1 billion in stimulus money, the project was supposed to become the poster child for clean-coal technology. Rather than spewing into the sky, the carbon dioxide produced as the plant burned coal would be captured into a pipeline buried below corn and soybean fields. It would run 30 miles east to Jacksonville, where the gas would be injected 4,000 feet underground. “It was like we were the phoenix rising,” says the plant’s director, Mike Long.

The resurrection was short-lived. On Feb. 3, the Department of Energy announced it was withdrawing support. Environmentalists who want investment in renewable power technologies rather than fossil energy cheered the decision. “We don’t need it, and we can’t afford it,” Bruce Nilles, head of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, says of carbon-capture projects……

The Illinois project, called FutureGen, was supposed to be a model for coal’s climate-friendly future. It was backed by some of the world’s biggest coal mining companies, who created a nonprofit, the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, to oversee the plant’s conversion. The White House saw FutureGen as a way to show leaders in China and India, where coal fuels more than half of electricity generation, that they can address their own carbon emissions without compromising economic growth. About 40 percent of man-made carbon emissions come from power plants……http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-02-14/the-white-house-walks-away-from-clean-coal

February 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushima disater recovery funds to be used for Olympic events?

logo-Tokyo-OlympicsTokyo Gov. Masuzoe wants to use disaster recovery funds for Olympic events in Tohoku Mainichi, 18 Feb 15 Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe says he will ask the central government to use part of the Tohoku tsunami disaster reconstruction budget to cover the costs of staging some events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in areas that were severely affected by the 2011 disaster……..

There is a rough road ahead for Masuzoe’s plan, however, as some Tohoku residents say that spending the reconstruction budget on the Olympics will not win support from the local community……http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150213p2a00m0na016000c.html

February 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Many a slip before there’s any Takahama nuclear restart

Local approval is no given for Takahama nuclear restarts , Japan Times 17 Feb 15 FUKUI – Kansai Electric Power Co. wants to fire up its Takahama nuclear plant as soon as possible, but it has cleared only one hurdle in securing a green light from regulators. The next could be difficult: obtaining the consent of local officials.

Areas within 30 km of the plant must have evacuation plans for all residents. Although the plant is located in Fukui Prefecture, the evacuation zone sweeps into Kyoto and Shiga prefectures, and they fear for a repeat of a crisis like the Fukushima meltdowns.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority declared last week that the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of the Takahama plant meet safety standards.

But Yutaka Nose, mayor of Takahama, called on the NRA to explain what that green light means. He suggested that it record a video for town residents to watch via a local cable television network.

Nose said he himself will only decide whether to approve the restarts after consulting residents.

Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa plans to decide in line with the recommendations of a panel of experts conducting an independent assessment at the prefectural government’s behest. He will also, he said, consider sentiment in the town and the prefectural assembly.

Along with the NRA’s safety certificate, Kansai Electric needs to win approval for the systems and facilities it would deploy in the event of an accident.

Nishikawa said he will take everything into account in deciding what to do.

It is unlikely that there will be much progress before April’s gubernatorial election.

If the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture is anything to go by, approval could be months away at least. Approval is still pending for a resumption of life at that plant’s No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, even though the NRA gave a thumbs-up in September……..

Taizo Mikazuki, governor of Shiga Prefecture, part of which also falls within the 30-km radius, maintains that he will not endorse the restart of the reactors unless the Takahama plant introduces an “effective” safety system.

Mikazuki was elected last July on a pledge of seeking to phase out nuclear power.

He has warned that in the event of an accident, the fallout won’t respect prefectural boundaries. He believes reactivating nuclear plants should be a matter for other prefectures, not just the one that hosts the plant……

Nishikawa recognizes that there is concern in the Kyoto and Shiga prefectural governments, and therefore he has called on the central government to explain why the reactors need to be restarted. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/17/national/local-approval-given-takahama-nuclear-restarts/#.VOPwQOaUcnk

February 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

South Africa’s secretive and super- expensive nuclear power plans

nuclear-costsflag-S.AfricaGovt in R1trillion nuclear strategy, Business Report South Africa February 16 2015  Paul Burkhardt, Mike Cohen and Franz Wild THE GOVERNMENT is forging ahead with plans to spend as much as R1 trillion on new nuclear plants, ignoring objections from environmental activists, opposition parties, unions and even its own advisers.

Bids would be sought from the US, China, France, Russia and South Korea to add 9 600 megawatts of atomic power to the national grid to address energy shortages in Africa’s second-largest economy, President Jacob Zuma said in his annual State of the Nation address on Thursday. The first output was targeted for 2023, he said.

“We know exactly what we need,” Zuma said on Friday. “We are now well-informed. We are moving ahead.”……..

Detractors of the nuclear plan argue that the plants will be too costly, take too long to build and that the bidding process will be vulnerable to corruption. The National Development Plan, the government’s blueprint for growing the economy, recommended that alternatives be investigated, including the use of gas plants, which would be easier to finance and build.

More expensive

“Nuclear is not a wise choice for South Africa,” Anton Eberhard, a member of the National Planning Commission that advises on implementing the development plan and a professor at the University of Cape Town on February 11. “Nuclear energy will not enable us to resolve our immediate power crisis. It is more expensive than other energy options.”

A 20-year plan published by the energy minister in December 2013 said the decision on whether to build new nuclear plants could be delayed until at least 2025 to allow for a proper assessment of alternatives and likely power demand.

Areva, EDF, Toshiba’s Westinghouse, China Guangdong Nuclear Power, Rosatom and Korea Electric Power have expressed interest in building new plants in South Africa.

The DA said the nuclear bidding process had been clouded by secrecy and had the potential for corruption. The party called on Zuma to abandon it. The National Union of Mineworkers, an ally of the ruling ANC, said nuclear power was not a priority and more focus should be placed on completing two new coal-fired power stations that were running behind schedule.

Greenpeace, an environmental activist group, staged a protest against nuclear energy at an industry meeting in Cape Town on Thursday.http://www.iol.co.za/business/international/govt-in-r1trillion-nuclear-strategy-1.1818515#.VOPqeuaUcnk

February 18, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear subsidies for Hinkley Point facility will cost far more than is claimed

UK-subsidyNuclear Subsidies NuClear News, Feb 2015 The Energy Fair group has examined (1) the findings by the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission (EC) (2) that, with regard to the proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, “the package of measures notified by the UK involves State aid which, as amended by the commitments provided, is compatible with the internal market.
It concludes that some key arguments and conclusions in the commission document are false. And it appears that the errors in these arguments and conclusions arise largely from seriously deficient understandings of technical aspects of nuclear power and technical aspects of electricity supply systems. The EC document’s main focus is on the proposed “Contract for Difference” (CfD),“Credit Guarantee” (CG), and “Secretary of State Agreement” (SSA).
But Hinkley Point C (HPC), if it were to be built, would benefit from several other subsidies, several of them large, and most of them not widely recognised. Energy Fair estimates that if the cost of all these other subsidies were to be included the cost of electricity generate would be at least £196.50/MWh
In fact, taking account of the costs arising from nuclear waste that will be dangerous for thousands of years, it is entirely possible that the true costs associated with any nuclear plant, including HPC, will be greater than the total value of the electricity that it may produce. Energy Fair shows how renewables, including conservation of energy, are more than sufficient to meet our needs, and can do so better than nuclear power, and more cheaply.
http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo71.pdf

February 18, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

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