The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

U.S. Republican Senator Rand Paul said: Nuclear Iran is Not a Threat to Israel

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranRand Paul: Nuclear Iran Not a Threat to U.S., Israel, Washington Free Beacon, Endorsed Bilderberg conspiracy theories before winning Senate seat BY:  April 18, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) denied that a nuclear Iran would pose a national security threat to the United States or Israel in a 2007 radio interview with talk show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

“Even our own intelligence community consensus opinion now is that they’re not a threat. Like my dad [Rep. Ron Paul] says, [the Iranians] don’t have an Air Force, they don’t have a Navy,” said Paul, according to a recording of the interview. “You know, it’s ridiculous to think they’re a threat to our national security.”

“It’s not even that viable to say they’re a national threat to Israel,” Paul added. “Most people say Israel has 100 nuclear weapons, you know.”

The future senator, who was working on his father’s presidential campaign at the time, also came out against military action, saying Republicans “all want to invade Iran next.”

“I tell people in speeches, I say, you know we’re against the Iraq War, we have been from the beginning,” said Paul. “But you know we’re also against the Iran war—you know the one that hasn’t started yet.”………..

April 19, 2014 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

$Millions spent on Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) “just gone”

military-industrial-complexIrresponsible spending on nuclear weapons infrastructure By Eric Tamerlani 17 April 14 Hundreds of millions of tax dollars have been wasted on U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure—again. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) wasted about $600 million on the design of the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The waste was confirmed by Bruce Held, NNSA administrator. In an April 8 House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing chaired by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Held said that half of the $1.2 billion spent on designing the UPF is “just gone.”

Responsible for maintaining the nuclear weapons arsenal and laboratories that support the arsenal, NNSA is a federal civilian contracting agency that oversees major construction contracts. A major contract is defined by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as having a value over $750 million.

NNSA’s major contracts are on GAO’s “High Risk List,” susceptible to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement. When it comes to big construction jobs, NNSA seems to have more money than sense. To their credit, NNSA has improved on managing projects less than $750 million; several smaller projects were completed on time and on budget. Unfortunately, the UPF is among the latest examples of NNSA’s failure to responsibly manage large contracts.

Half the money spent on designing the facility is gone with nothing to show for it. The start of UPF’s construction has been delayed by at least 10 years. According to Held, the facility may not be finished until 2038—“well after most people who are today working at Oak Ridge would be long retired.” Each representative and senator on the Appropriations Energy and Water subcommittees should wonder how a federal agency with several major contracts could let one project slip so perilously out of control. When mismanagement leads to exorbitant waste and abuse of the taxpayer, it is time to take a closer look. Rep. Rogers was right: it is awful.

Nuclear weapons facilities have operated on an assumption that government objectives are better met by the skill and expertise of private industry. Facilities would be owned by the government, and industry would be contracted to operate the facilities. That relationship has worked in some other functions of the Energy Department, particularly the Office of Science, but the model seems to have failed the UPF project.

The management and operating contractor for the UPF was Babcock and Wilcox Technical Services Y-12 (B&W), which has since been replaced on the project. NNSA would oversee B&W as the private contractor carried out the majority of the work to design and build the UPF. B&W was free to achieve the NNSA’s performance goals as they saw fit, which is in line with the thinking that government defers to the expertise of industry.

In the process, B&W subcontracted UPF’s design to four other companies and then failed to consolidate or supervise the subcontractors’ work. This led to an untenable design which was scrapped and over half a billion tax dollars were paid to a handful of companies for nothing the government could use. More rigorous performance standards for contractors have since been put in place. However, more can be done. A peer review process could be used at NNSA. Private engineers and managers from other contractors across the nuclear weapons complex could critique each other’s plans, under NNSA direction, before embarking on large construction projects. This would provide assessment of projects from companies that work for NNSA but are not working on the project being considered.

Additionally Congress could place the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge of supervising all major NNSA construction projects until NNSA has a better track record with the GAO. The Corps has helped other parts of the government with fledgling construction responsibilities and they could teach the NNSA a thing or two.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation opposes all nuclear weapons and the facilities that support their modernization. However, you don’t have to be a Quaker or pacifist to realize the millions our government throws down the drain on the UPF and other mismanaged projects at NNSA is poor public policy.

Demanding accountability from federal contractors, requiring independent performance evaluation from across the complex, and supplementing industry expertise with the Army Corps of Engineers protects taxpayers from waste and abuse and certifies the NNSA can be effective at overseeing large projects that it delegates to industry.

Tamerlani is the program assistant for Nuclear Disarmament at the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

April 18, 2014 Posted by | politics, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Obama does what he can to promoter solar energy

Obama to challenge private companies to boost solar power use WP, By  and ,   April 16 E-mail the writers

President Obama will challenge companies Thursday to expand their use of solar power, part of his ongoing effort to leverage the power of his office to achieve goals that have been stymied by Congress. The new initiative comes as the White House is hosting a Solar Summit aimed at highlighting successful efforts on the local level to speed the deployment of solar energy…….

“Now is the time for solar,” said Anya Schoolman, executive director of theCommunity Power Network, a Washington-based nonprofit group that helps communities build renewable energy projects. She will be honored at the summit Thursday.

“The costs are affordable, in reach of middle America and above. We know how to do it now, we know how to scale it, and we kind of just need people to let it go and encourage it,” she said.

In an effort to make it easier for state, local and tribal governments to expand their solar portfolios, the Energy Department is launching a $15 million-dollar “Solar Market Pathways” program………

States are starting novel ways to help commercial tenants access solar energy. In Connecticut, the state set up a green bank with taxpayer dollars. When a building owner wants to access capital for solar projects, the state puts a tax lien on the building and gives the owner a loan that must be paid back over 20 years, said Jessica Bailey of theConnecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority.

Rhone Resch, president and chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, said solar is no longer an “afterthought” in the renewable energy conversation, accounting for nearly 30 percent of new electric in 2013.

“Without question, the Obama administration has been the most solar-friendly ever,” Resch said.

April 18, 2014 Posted by | politics, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Czechs’ nuclear expansion plan goes out with a whimper

logo-NO-nuclear-SmCzechs pull plug on nuclear expansion, The Economist Apr 16th 2014 by B.C. | PRAGUE More than five years of international intrigue went out with a whimper on April 10th as Czech utility company ČEZ officially cancelled the planned expansion of the Temelín nuclear power plant (120 km south of Prague in the South Bohemia region)—the project undone by a collapse in market electricity prices and hard-learned lessons from a botched state energy scheme in years past.

The plan had called for adding two reactors to the existing two at Temelín (a second Czech nuclear plant, Dukovany, operates four reactors). The price tag was an estimated $15 billion, and the project made less and less sense as the wholesale price of electricity fell. Prices are now less than half what they were when bidding on the contract began in 2009. For much of that time the tender process was viewed through a cold war lens with the two final bidders being the American firm Westinghouse (now a division of the Japanese conglomerate Toshiba) and a consortium leadby Russia’s state-owned Atomstroyexport. The American and Russian ambassadors openly lobbied on behalf of their favoured firms and the companies themselves tried to outdo one another by signing highly contingent contracts with local suppliers to sweeten their offers…….

“There is absolutely no appetite from the state to get involved in something new like this now,” said David Marek, chief economist with Patria Finance, a Prague-based investment bank……..  the widespread perception that the Temelín project was doomed to be a financial failure, saw ČEZ stock surge on the announcement that the nuclear project was cancelled. Such are power politics.

April 17, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

69% of Japanese want nuclear power to be phased out

questionJapan’s Profound Ambivalence Over Nuclear Energy , TIME, Per Liljas, 14 April 14 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has unveiled a pro-nuclear blueprint for the country’s energy future around the three-year mark of the disaster at Fukushima, a move that most Japanese appear to disagree with, even those who returned to Fukushima to rebuild their lives ……On a national level, too, there is a lack of consensus. Produce from Fukushima, even from villages flag-japanunconnected to the disaster, does not inspire confidence among consumers despite official O.K.s. And nobody can agree on the future of Japan’s nuclear-energy sector…….“They want to restart the reactors because of money, but it’s irresponsible, Japan is too unsafe to have nuclear power,” says activist Kaori Echigo, before taking to a podium in front of the parliament building in Tokyo and leading a crowd in the chanting of anti-nuclear slogans. The crowd at these gatherings, which have been held weekly since the disaster, has dwindled to a few hundred. But the last time a reactor was restarted, in 2012, thousands came onto the streets—as they are likely to do again if Abe goes ahead with his plan.

poll by the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper last month found that 69% of respondents wanted nuclear power to be phased out. That number could rise even higher if Japan makes it through another summer without blackouts…….Spread out through the village are fields covered with black plastic bags, each one filled with contaminated topsoil that has been collected from the surroundings. Watanabe says she feels life is coming back to Tamura when she sees children in the streets, but then remembers that they are only allowed half an hour’s outdoor playtime per day because of radiation fears.

“I don’t want my grandchildren to grow up here,” she says. “I don’t know which health problems they may get.” Even that old saw about marrying somebody from Tamura means nothing now. “I want my grandchildren to get married” Watanabe adds, “and I don’t know which suitors would ever come here.”

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, politics | Leave a comment

Likely political and economic damage to Abe’s government as result of pro nuclear decision

scrutiny-on-costsTokyo’s decision on nuclear power plants ‘may backfire’
It could cost PM Abe politically and set back his economic policies: analysts
 Business Times BY ANTHONY ROWLEY, 14 April 14, IN TOKYO JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has entered a high-stakes gamble with the decision announced last Friday to restore nuclear power to the nation’s menu of electricity generation sources in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown three years ago.
flag-japanThe controversial decision goes against the non-nuclear policy adopted by the Democratic Party of Japan government before Mr Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party returned to power at the end of 2012 and could backfire in a number of ways, analysts say.

With polls showing a significant proportion of Japanese remaining opposed to the restart of the nation’s 50 or so nuclear reactors that have been idled since the Fukushima disaster, the political price of restoring nuclear power could be high for Mr Abe, some claim.

At the same time, there could be economic consequences such as setting back the policy being pursued by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) under pressure from Mr Abe to replace deflation with annual inflation of 2 per cent. So far much of the progress towards this target has been driven by “imported inflation” in fuel costs…..(subscribers only)

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Japan’s return to nuclear power will not be easy or soon

flag-japanJapan reverses its withdrawal from nuclear power, DW 13 April 14 The Japanese government has decided not to phase out nuclear power. But a fast turnaround in energy policy is also not possible, even if only a third of the nuclear reactors will be restarted again. Japan’s conservative government has drawn different conclusions from the Fukushima disaster than did the German government, which chose to phase out nuclear power. Its new energy plan, which Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) cabinet approved on Friday (11.04.2014), calls nuclear power the country’s most important power source…….

But the nuclear power plants will have to meet tighter safety requirements. The government wants to allow the operation of power plants classified as safe by the reformed Nuclear Supervisory Authority. The first two reactors could gain approval before summer.

A majority of Japanese oppose nuclear power, according to polls. But this has had no effect on any elections since the Fukushima disaster. With the new energy plan the government satisfies the wish of the economy to use nuclear power as reliable energy source.

The new policy also allows the construction of new nuclear reactors. The government will determine the necessary amount of nuclear power, the paper says. But analysts doubt that it is possible to push through the construction of new reactors. They would have to be build at places where nuclear power plants already exist due to public reluctance.

The energy market is to be liberalized by the end of the decade and that could make the construction of new reactors too expensive. And the future of the decommissioned reactors also looks bleak.

Since last summer the eight electricity suppliers asked the Nuclear Supervisory Authority for permission to restart only 17 of the 48 reactors. Another 14 reactors are heavily disputed politically. There is widespread public rejection of any attempt by operator Tepco to restart Fukushima 2. The Hamaoka nuclear complex with three reactors is located in a heavily populated area in an earthquake zone. The remaining 17 reactors won’t ever go in operation again because security retrofitting won’t pay off due their age……..

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | 1 Comment

Against public opinion Japanese government goes for nuclear power

Abe,-Shinzo-nukeJapanese govt. abandons nuclear-free future in face of public opposition April 11, 2014 The Japanese government has overturned its predecessor’s energy plan that would see all of the country’s nuclear power plants closed by 2030. The move – which has been opposed by the public – has been forced by spiraling energy costs.

Approved by the Liberal Democratic Party, which was not in power in 2011 when the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred, nuclear power has been described in the 20-year-plan as an “important baseload power source” – meaning its steady output will be fundamentally relied on for steady electricity generation.

“We aim to opt for an energy supply system which is realistic, pragmatic and well balanced,” Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told the media on Friday.
Motegi said that the exact role of nuclear power in the energy mix would be decided once the state of its beleaguered energy industry would become clear in three or four years, but stressed that nuclear energy offered “security”.

A March survey showed that 59 percent of Japanese opposed the re-start of nuclear reactors, and only 12 percent had “no” or “minimal concerns” about the potential for another serious nuclear accident in Japan.

All 48 of Japan’s nuclear reactors are currently offline.

The government has ordered energy companies to spend over $16 billion upgrading its outdated and seismically vulnerable facilities to avoid a repeat of the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl accident in 1986.

This comes on top of the projected $100 billion cost of clearing-up the pollution and radioactive remains of the damaged Fukushima facility itself. …….

he reintroduction of nuclear may be too costly to solve the country’s energy shortfall.

Reuters recently compiled a report saying that it would make no economic sense to revive two-thirds of the country’s plants under the current stringent operating criteria.

“I think it is unavoidable that the Japanese utilities will write off most of their nuclear ‘assets’ and move on. Given the slim realistic prospects for a major nuclear share, the challenge will be flexibility and the whole baseload concept flies out of the window,” Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based energy consultant told the news agency.

The government’s energy plan also reserves a bigger role for renewable sources, which it says will double from the current 10 percent of the overall energy mix in the next sixteen years.

While green energy has widespread public support, this may be another plan that will require extra subsidy from government coffers flushed out by the 2011 natural disaster and the subsequent attempts to rectify previous mismanagement of the energy industry.

April 12, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | 1 Comment

Renewable energy future in Poland, with new law

flag-EUPoland approves renewable energy bill, Climate Spectator  9 Apr, Poland’s government approved a long-awaited draft law on Tuesday that lays out new long-term subsidies for renewable energy, aiming to cut costs to consumers as well as help the coal-reliant country meet EU climate targets……

April 10, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear energy policy dangerously adrift

nukes-sad-In the Wake of Fukushima: Japan’s Nuclear Energy Policy Impasse  60% of Japan’s 48 viable nuclear reactors,are not as yet being considered for application to the Nuclear Regulation Agency (NRA) for restart By Andrew Dewit Global Research, April 07, 2014
Asia-Pacific Journal Japan’s energy policy regime appears dangerously adrift in the context of accelerating climate change. The core problem is agency. On the one hand, Abe,-Shinzo-nukeJapanese PM Abe Shinzo and the nuclear village appear obsessed with nuclear power restarts and 20th century paradigms of the power economy. On the other hand, Japan’s anti-nuclear civil society lacks the political vehicle to force a combined nuclear pullout plus drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Some anti-nuclear forces do not yet understand the urgent need to reduce emissions, and are content to burn coal, despite of the patent threat of climate change. This is precisely what Japan has done in the wake of 3.11. The Abe cabinet is focused on getting restarts and a nuclear-based energy plan. Yet the scope for restarts is surprisingly limited and – incredible in this era of multiple crises and revolutions – the draft new energy plan lacks concrete numbers.1 The country needs better leadership on smart growth, in the context of what McKinsey specialists refer to as a “resource revolution”2 and MIT economists depict as “the second machine age.”3

Nuclear Is Probably No Longer Baseload

All of Japan’s 48 viable nuclear reactors are at present offline, and have been since September of 2013. The Abe cabinet is keen to restart as many of these as possible. But regulatory rules, public opinion and other factors constitute significant barriers to achieving even a third of Japan’s pre-Fukushima 30% reliance on nuclear power. That will mean nuclear will no longer be a “baseload” source of electricity, capable of supplying a reliable load to the grid at all times.

Indeed, an Asahi Shimbun survey of the utilities themselves indicates that fully 60% of Japan’s 48 viable nuclear reactors, meaning 30 reactors, are not as yet being considered for application to the Nuclear Regulation Agency (NRA) for restart. And of these 30 reactors, it appears that at least 13 are write-offs due to age, proximity to a seismic fault, and other factors that render them incapable of satisfying the new safety standards of the NRA.4 For that reason, at present there are only 17 reactors for which restart applications have been filed.

Of these, it appears – even to Japanese supporters of nuclear power – that perhaps only 8 will finally get approval and be restarted. Highly regarded energy specialist Tom O’Sullivan, of Mathyos Japan, concludes this on the basis of a survey of “various established Japanese policy institutes that are close to Japan’s industrial interests.” O’Sullivan notes that “[t]his level of restarts would only amount to 56 TWh of power output or 6% of Japan’s total power requirements and thus may not constitute a baseload power supply.”5

Reuters conducted its own analysis, using a broader set of questionnaires and interviews of over a dozen experts, along with input from the 10 firms that operate nuclear capacity. One suspects these operators painted as optimistic a picture of their restart prospects as possible. Even so, the result of this survey led Reuters’ expert journalists, Mari Saito, Aaron Sheldrick and Kentaro Hamada, to conclude that at best there will be 14 nuclear restarts at some point in time. They add that there is great uncertainty about the remaining 34 nuclear reactors. Their conclusion is that nuclear energy “will eventually make up less than 10 percent of Japan’s power supply.”6

Part of the reason nuclear appears not likely to recover its status as base-load power are the NRA’s new safety rules, in tandem with maintenance schedules and other factors that make a very shrunken fleet unreliable. But another large reason for this likely outcome is the stubbornness of the opposition to nuclear power……….

April 8, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear subsidy is bad value for Britain, and may kill renewable energy

text-my-money-2‘Bad value’ UK nuclear subsidy deal ‘will kill renewables’,6361 Climate News Network 8 April 2014, The UK’s anti-competitive plan to subsidise nuclear power may be the final straw that breaks the renewable industry’s back, say critics. Paul Brown from the Climate News Network reports.

flag-UKTHE UNITED KINGDOM’S PLANS to build heavily subsidised nuclear power stations have come under withering attack from a coalition of politicians, academics, energy industry experts and environmental groups.

Evidence has poured into the European Commission, which is investigating whether the deal with the giant French nuclear company EDF breaks EU competition rules. The evidence from many objectors, whose submissions had to be made by yesterday (Monday, 7 April), claims that if the contract goes through it will wreck Europe’s chance of building up renewable energies to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

They say renewables will have to compete in an unfair market where one generator ‒ nuclear ‒ is guaranteed to be able to sell all its electricity at a stable price and with a built-in profit until 2058.

The UK Government has agreed a minimum price of £92.50 (AUD $137) a megawatt hour from a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in the west of England from 2023 — roughly double the existing price of electricity in Britain. The price will rise with inflation and runs for 35 years — a deal unprecedented in the energy sector, and not available to renewable energies like wind and solar. The guarantee will continue for all future nuclear stations too. Continue reading

April 8, 2014 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Subsidies for nuclear power, none for renewables – that’s Exelon’s goal

money-lobbyingUtility Exelon Wants to Kill Wind and Solar Subsidies While Keeping Nukes Exelon is fighting renewables because they beat nuclear at new market needs. Xcel and NextEra back renewables. greentech grid, Herman K. Trabish  April 1, 2014

Exelon, the biggest owner of U.S. nuclear power, has renewed its fight to kill wind’s production tax credit — and if Exelon gets its way, solar’s investment tax credit may be next.

Flag-USASources say renewal of wind’s $0.023 per kilowatt-hour production tax credit (PTC), which expired at the end of 2013, will fight its way into the revision of the upcoming Senate Finance Committee’s tax extenders package…….

“This year, it’s the wind industry. Next year, it will be the solar industry,” said Joseph Dominguez, Exelon’s Sr. VP of Policy and Regulatory Affairs. “We’re just handling these subsidies piecemeal instead of looking at the problem more holistically.”……

Exelon says the reason for its opposition to wind’s PTC, for which its membership in the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) was revoked, is because wind is driving out nuclear in the Midwest and other wind-rich markets……..

April 8, 2014 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Britain now facing a horror cost in burying its dead nuclear reactors

flag-UKNuclear decommissioning A glowing review Britain is paying dearly for neglecting its nuclear waste, The Economist,  Apr 5th 2014  SWILLING around murky ponds in the oldest part of Sellafield, a nuclear research and reprocessing centre in Cumbria, is a soupy, radioactive sludge. For years boffins working on Britain’s first military and civil nuclear programmes abandoned spent fuel and other nastiness into the pools and tanks, which now grow decrepit. Though perhaps not the “slow-motion Chernobyl” which some environmental campaigners make out, the site is subject to one of the most complex nuclear clean-ups in the world.


Sellafield is the trickiest of several challenges facing the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), a government body that manages the contractors who swab out Britain’s defunct facilities. Their projects swallow up about two-thirds of the budget of the Department of Energy and Climate Change; Sellafield alone costs £1.7 billion ($2.8 billion) a year, almost as much as the roughly £2 billion spent subsidising renewable energy in 2013. On March 31st NDA awarded a £7 billion contract to decommission 12 more of Britain’s oldest reactor sites over 14 years to a consortium including Babcock, a British engineering firm, and Fluor, an American one.These big sums reflect problems peculiar to Britain. It ploughed into nuclear bomb-making in the 1940s, and nuclear power in the 1950s, with little plan for how contaminated structures would be dealt with. …….

Mismanagement has probably made a tough job more difficult. In 2009 bosses thought Sellafield would cost £46.6 billion to make safe; the latest estimate is £70 billion, and rising. In February MPs on the public accounts committee slammed the performance of Nuclear Management Partners, the private consortium currently contracted to detoxify it. They questioned NDA’s decision, in October, to award it a second five-year contract, and said taxpayers bore most of the risks……….
Most people now agree that the best solution is to bury it. For years the government has sought councils willing to host such a site in return for jobs and money. Last January politicians in Cumbria vetoed applications from eager councillors in two of its districts. This summer the government will probably nudge them again, and with good reason. Sellafield’s neighbours know as well as anyone what happens when a generation passes the buck.

April 4, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Japanese tax-payers called upon to financially support nuclear industry

nukes-hungryflag-japanAnother Japan nuclear operator turns to government for aid BY TAIGA URANAKA AND JAMES TOPHAM TOKYO Wed Apr 2, 2014 (Reuters) – Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co (9508.T) has become the second nuclear generator to seek state support this week as reactors across the country remain idled and industry losses mount three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Kyushu Electric, a regional monopoly that supplies power in southern Japan, said on Wednesday it was in talks with state-owned Development Bank of Japan for financial backing. On Tuesday, a source said Hokkaido Electric Power Co (9509.T), which supplies Japan’s northernmost island, had asked the same bank for financial assistance…….

We are in consultations with the Development Bank of Japan about receiving capital support, but since nothing has been decided I am unable to comment further,” said Kyushu spokesman Yuki Hirano.

Kyushu Electric is asking the bank to buy 100 billion yen of preferred stock in the company, a source said. The lender is considering the request, which was reported earlier by the Nikkei business newspaper.

If both Kyushu Electric and Hokkaido Electric get the aid, they would join the stricken Fukushima plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) (9501.T), in receiving government bailouts. Other nuclear operators may be forced to turn to the government, the Nikkei said on Tuesday.

In 2012, the government took a controlling stake in Tepco. The company still relies on constant taxpayer handouts to pay compensation to those affected by the nuclear disaster, which forced 160,000 people from their homes……..

Shares in Kyushu Electric were down 4.6 percent in mid-morning trade, after falling as much as 6.5 percent, versus a 1.1 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei 225 .N225.

Kyushu Electric has estimated a net loss of 125 billion yen for the year ended March 31……

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is moving to revive nuclear power as a core part of Japan’s energy mix, but many of those idled reactors will never be restarted.

April 2, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Japan’s Basic Energy Plan – a (bad) April Fools Day joke

nukefools-dayIs the joke still on Fukushima this April Fools’? MAR 31, 2014 What’s wrong with this picture? Japan Times, Eric Johnson, Japan’s new Basic Energy Plan sees nuclear power as an important base load energy source. But whatever “base load” means politically, the public is lulled — fooled — into a sense that, despite Fukushima, nuclear will remain a logistically viable long-term option.

Yet the realities of Japan’s nuclear power industry show keeping nuclear are lflag-japanikely to be far more problematic — and expensive — than the pro-nuclear lobby wants to admit. Here are the most obvious hurdles.

First, as of 2013, of the remaining 48 reactors, three were more than 40 years and 13 were over 30 years old. The reactors were supposed to be decommissioned after 40 years but can now apply for a maximum two-decade extension.

Want to keep those reactors, with their increased risk of technical problems and thus lower efficiency rates, running until they’re 60? Even if they meet new safety standards, local governments hosting the reactors are sure to demand funding for pork-barrel projects in exchange for agreeing to any extension. Guess whose tax money will be used to ensure a continued flow of “cheap” nuclear power. Hint: look in the mirror.

any-fool-would-knowEven if restarted reactors run at pre-3/11 levels, estimates are their spent fuel pools will be overflowing like public toilets sooner rather than later. A Tokyo Shimbun calculation shows 33 reactors could see their pools full within six years. Government figures estimate the pools will be full within three to 16 years, with most filled to the brim within eight years.

What happens then? Tokyo is now pushing local governments to build interim storage facilities for the fuel before it’s sent to Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, for reprocessing. But despite promises of even more tax money for their coffers, no local government wants to host such a facility.

Finally, Japan’s population, about 127 million, will shrink to 107 million by 2040 while the working population, i.e. the large volume of electricity users, will decline by 30 percent. Furthermore, 21 percent of all Japanese will be 75 years or older, also by 2040. Who is going to need how much electricity?

So, the “nuclear will be an important base load” argument assumes: 1. Older plants can be run until they are 60 years without major problems and at a lower cost than other sources; 2. Within the next, say, 16 years, new storage facilities for spent fuel will be built somewhere; and 3. By 2040, a country with 16 percent less people than in 2010 and one-fifth the population over 75 will not use less energy than today.

What’s wrong with this picture?…….

April 1, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics, safety | Leave a comment


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