nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Handicaps to Japan’s nuclear power restart

flag-japanJapan’s nuclear restart unlikely this year, local vote expected in December http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/72335 16-Oct-14  JAPAN  Kentaro HamadaAs Japan pitches an unpopular nuclear restart to residents near Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai plant, local politicians say approval is unlikely until December, delaying an already fraught process to revive the country’s idled reactors.

More than three years after the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, the worst disaster since Chernobyl, Japan’s nuclear plants remain offline nationwide even as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushes to restart reactors that meet new safety guidelines set by an independent regulator.

The focus has switched to townships located near the Sendai reactors, the nation’s first to receive safety clearance from regulators. The debate over restarts pits host communities that get direct benefits from siting reactors against other nearby communities that do not reap the benefits but say they will be equally exposed to radioactive releases in the event of a disaster. Continue reading

October 18, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission – “continued storage rule” takes over from “Waste Confidence Rule”

The action of the commission, although not addressing all potential impacts, is effectively saying, “so what?” “There are no significant environmental impacts from indefinite storage of used fuel.”.

Flag-USA Finding a permanent nuclear storage center, Aiken Standard  By CLINT WOLFE Guest columnist Oct 13 2014 “……..In a meeting that took only a few minutes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission passed a ruling regarding continued used nuclear fuel storage……..

 The essence of the issue is that the lack of a geological repository specifically identified for used nuclear fuel has caused the government to consider other alternatives. These include, but are not limited to, on-site storage of the fuel and consolidated interim storage.

A series of court challenges over time has seen the commission stick to its so-called waste confidence rule.

This rule has at least two aspects that are pertinent to this discussion.

One is that “if you don’t have a place to put the used fuel, then you can’t make any more.”

Waste-Confidence-Rule
Anti-nuclear activists have pushed this viewpoint that no more nuclear power plants should be licensed until there is a permanent repository.

The commission has responded in the past that they are confident that a repository would be available before it is needed and merely kept changing the date on which that would occur. This approach led to a challenge that the commission was violating the National Environmental Protection Act by proposing a significant new federal project without having determined the environmental impact. This environmental impact could be looked at in every case to significantly slow each new license application.

The commission’s recent action closes out the waste confidence rule and introduces the continued storage rule. Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Britain’s $27 Billion Bond Plan with EDF hailed as the beginning of big nuclear market

text-my-money-2flag-UKEDF $27 Billion Bond Plan Offers Nuclear Blueprint: U.K. Credit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-13/edf-s-27-billion-of-nuclear-bonds-seen-as-template-u-k-credit.html  By Sally Bakewell  Oct 14, 2014 Electricite de France SA’s plan to raise as much as 17 billion pounds ($27 billion) of bonds for Britain’s first nuclear project in two decades is being seen as a template for financing expansion in the industry.

EDF won approval from the European Commission last week to build the 24.5 billion-pound plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England, a year after agreeing to the project. The U.K. government will back the debt, which will be the nation’s largest bond offering on a single project, according to Deloitte LLP.

“The use of bonds with a U.K. government guarantee will be a highly influential template in the nuclear sector,”Kevin Magner, director for corporate finance in the government and infrastructure team at Deloitte, said by phone. “For projects of this sheer size which developers can’t finance on their balance sheets, they’re turning more to the bond market for large volumes of debt where the projects can achieve the necessary credit quality.”

Other nuclear projects that may follow include Hitachi Ltd.’s plan to build 5.4 gigawatts of plants at sites in Wales and south Gloucestershire, and a power station with as much as 3.4 gigawatts in west Cumbria being developed by a venture between Toshiba Corp. and GDF Suez SA, Magner said. The U.K. government announced a program in July 2012 to offer as much as 40 billion pounds in debt guarantees for infrastructure projects to lift the economy.

‘Big Market’

“There will be a big market for this debt since it’s guaranteed by the government,” Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Cut back nuclear power, champion renewable energy – France’s parliament votes

flag-franceFrench MPs back cut to nuclear energy reliance http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/10/us-france-energy-idUSKCN0HZ1LB20141010 (Reuters) - A law which fixes a target of reducing French nuclear power production from 75 percent of the country’s energy supplies to 50 percent by 2025 won approval from the lower house of parliament on Friday.

France, the world’s most nuclear-reliant country, has faced increasing costs because of the price of maintaining aging plants and tighter regulations after the Fukushima disaster inJapan.

It also wants to develop its own industrial champions in the renewable energy industry, which is still tiny compared to other European countries such as neighbors Germany or Spain.

Its much-delayed energy transition law, steered by energy minister Segolene Royal, is being reviewed by the national assembly under a fast-track procedure, to counter the thousands of amendments proposed by opposition MPs. Although the bill skirts the question of how the reduction in theshare of nuclear energy is supposed to happen — it does not single out any reactor for closure, for instance – it caps nuclear electricity capacity at the current 63.2 gigawatts.

That would force EDF, which operates all of France’s nuclear reactors, to close an equivalent capacity when it launches the 1.6 gigawatt next-generation Flamanville reactor, due in 2016.

Royal said earlier this week the utility could choose to close another plant than Fessenheim, France’s oldest and the one Hollande had promised to shut down.

The whole bill is expected to be approved next Tuesday before being sent to the country’s upper house early next year, with the view to final adoption in the spring, in time for a high-profile climate conference hosted in Paris in 2015.

The bill also introduced a goal to halve the country’s energy consumption between 2012 and 2050, with a midway target of a 20 percent cut by 2030, thanks to tax rebates on insulation work and bonuses for electric car buyers.

France’s energy deficit — the difference between the money it spends on energy imports such as oil and gas and the money it earns on exports such as electricity — amounted to 66 billion euros ($83 billion) in 2013.

That compares with a wider trade deficit of 62.2 billion euros.

(Reporting by Emile Picy; Writing by Michel Rose; editing by Keith Weir)

October 13, 2014 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Germany dealing with the challenge of exiting from both nuclear power and fossil fuels

logo-EnergiewendeGermany: Exiting coal-fired energy at same time as nuclear impossible http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/383277/economy/business/germany-exiting-coal-fired-energy-at-same-time-as-nuclear-impossible October 12, 2014 BERLIN – Germany dismissed on Sunday a report suggesting it planned to exit coal-fired power generation in order to protect the climate, saying this would impose too great a burden on industry as the country is also phasing out nuclear energy.

Der Spiegel weekly said Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel was planning a medium-term exit from coal due to environmental concerns. Its report cited no sources.

“For a country like Germany with a strong industrial base, exiting nuclear and coal-fired power generation at the same time would not be possible,” a spokeswoman for his ministry said in an emailed statement.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is currently going through an “Energiewende”, an energy shift which moves the country towards renewable sources following a decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government wants renewable energies to make up 40-45 percent of German energy consumption by 2025 and 55-60 percent by 2035. The Spiegel report said the government wanted to remove 10 gigawatts of coal-fired power generation, equivalent to around two dozen small power plants, from the network.

The ministry spokeswoman said it was first and foremost for the operators to decide which plants to shut down and they must then apply for approval to the federal network agency.

“It’s clear, though, that the conventional generation system must adapt to the needs of the Energiewende,” she added.

Coal-fired power accounted for around 45 percent of German power generation in 2013. — Reuters

October 13, 2014 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

France moving away from nuclear power – transition to renewable energy

flag-franceFrench parliament backs nuclear cuts, Business Spectator AFP  10 OCT,  Lawmakers in France, the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, have voted to cut reliance on the energy source from more than 75 per cent to 50 per cent within a decade.

Friday’s vote is part of an ambitious makeover of France’s energy use promised by President Francois Hollande during his 2012 election campaign.

The measure calls for renewables to increase in the energy mix for electricity production, rising from 23 per cent in 2020 to 32 per cent in 2030.

Use of fossil fuels should drop to around 30 per cent.

The measure also sets a goal for a reduction of 40 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions from the 1990 levels by 2030 and a 75 per cent reduction in 2050. t also targets a 20 per cent reduction in energy consumation by 2030, in line with a draft project EU leaders are set to consider at an October 23-24 summit in Brussels…http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2014/10/10/resources-and-energy/french-parliament-backs-nuclear-cuts

October 11, 2014 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

A nuclear-free future on the cards for Sweden

flag-SwedenSweden faces future without nuclear, World Nuclear news,  01 October 2014 Sweden may be facing the phase out of nuclear power following agreement by the country’s Social Democrats and their junior coalition partner, the Green Party, to set up an energy commission tasked with achieving a 100% renewable electricity system. ………Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven  said in a statement today: “Sweden has very good potential to expand renewable energy through our good access to water, wind and forests. In time, Sweden will have an energy system with 100% renewable energy.”….

The parties said in separate, but identical statements that nuclear power should be replaced with renewable energy and energy efficiency. The goal, they said, should be at least 30 TWh of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. A goal for 2030 has yet to be set, they added. Support for offshore wind and solar power are needed “in addition”, they said.

Nuclear power “should bear a greater share of its economic cost”, they said. “Safety requirements should be strengthened and the nuclear waste fee increased.”

October 11, 2014 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Nuclear power defeats democracy – Book on UK “The Prostitute State “

highly-recommendedflag-UKNuclear power trumps democracy  http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2587477/nuclear_power_trumps_democracy.html Donnachadh McCarthy 9th October 2014 

The UK’s political mainstream has performed a complete U-Turn in policy on nuclear power, culminating yesterday in the European Commission’s approval of a £15-20 billion subsidy package for the Hinckley C project. Donnachadh McCarthy delves into the nuclear industry’s deep and far-reaching political links.

Why is our democracy failing to tackle the horrific urgency of the climate crisis and the decimation of our eco-systems?

And why are all the main political parties betting the farm on nuclear power in spite of its madhouse economics – and against all their promises to either oppose nuclear power altogether, or to refuse subsidies for it?

Book-The-Prostitue-StateIn my new book, The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought, I set out my view that there is a single problem at the root of our nation’s difficulties.

A corporate elite have hijacked the pillars of Britain’s democracy. The production of thought, the dissemination of thought, the implementation of thought and the wealth arising from those thoughts, are now controlled by a tiny, staggeringly rich elite.

As a result the UK is no longer a functioning democracy but has become a  ‘Prostitute State’ built on four pillars: a corrupted political system, a prostituted media, a perverted academia and a thieving tax-haven system.

This has disastrously resulted in a flood of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the top 1%. This stolen wealth is built on the destruction of the planet’s ecosystems, which are essential for humanity’s survival.

Nuclear power defeats democracy

The reversal of government policy on nuclear power is a classic example of how the Prostitute State trumps democracy. Betrayed environmental activists must understand that – notwithstanding the noble form of democratic structures – what they are really up against is a corrupt corporate state.

The concept of lobbying is reasonably well known, but few of us understand how far lobbying has penetrated and hijacked the political parties themselves.

For example, most people are perplexed at how the nuclear industry managed to persuade the UK’s previous Labour government to build a fleet of hugely expensive experimental nuclear power stations on land prone to flooding from rising sea levels.

They also struggle to comprehend and why Labour’s shadow energy and climate change minister, Caroline Flint MP, having stated that she would only support nuclear power if built without public subsidies, now supports the £15-20 billion subsidy package for Hinkley C nuclear power station

Labour managed managed this policy U-Turn despite the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear catastrophes; the failure to find safe waste-disposal sites capable of protecting radioactive waste for over 100,000 years; and insurance companies’ point blank refusal to provide nuclear accident insurance.

It’s the money, stupid

My simple answer is that the nuclear industry has poured millions of pounds year after year into a massive political lobbying campaign.

They bought a whole swathe of senior ex-politicians to work as nuclear lobbyists, spent a fortune on trying to manipulate public opinion through media and advertising, and even funded school trips to their nuclear plants.

As they managed to persuade a Labour government to abandon their 1997 election manifesto commitment to oppose new nuclear power stations, it is crucial to understand how deeply the nuclear lobby is embedded in the Labour party.

My personal belief is that a complex web of financial interests ensured that the Labour government served the nuclear industry – no matter what Labour party members or the British public wanted.

Just consider for example the following list of Labour Party politicians: Continue reading

October 10, 2014 Posted by | politics, Reference, resources - print, UK | 4 Comments

City of Samcheok, South Korea, votes NO to nuclear power

logo-NO-nuclear-Smflag-S-KoreaSouth Korean town votes no to nuclear plant  WP, By Associated Press October 9  SEOUL, South Korea — Voters in a South Korean city have rejected plans to build a nuclear power plant in a referendum the government says has no legal effect.

Thursday’s vote in Samcheok, on South Korea’s east coast, went as expected following this year’s election of a mayor who wants the government to scrap nuclear plant……..“I will persuade the national government based on this result,” the Samcheok mayor, Kim Yang-ho, told Yonhap News Agency. “I hope the government’s policy will reflect Samcheok citizens’ real opinion.”……..

Some 85 percent of the 28,867 residents who cast ballots said no, according to a volunteer committee set up to administer the referendum after election authorities refused. Out of 42,488 who registered to take part, turnout was 68 percent……http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/south-korean-town-votes-no-to-nuclear-plant/2014/10/09/1d3d23ce-5023-11e4-877c-335b53ffe736_story.html

October 10, 2014 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Confusion over South Africa’s secret nuclear deal with Russia

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaNuclear Deal With Russia Brings Political Storm Clouds in South Africa VOA October 09, 2014  JOHANNESBERG, SOUTH AFRICA— Opposition lawmakers are crying foul about a multibillion-dollar nuclear power deal with Russia, saying the agreement could give Moscow the power to veto South African trade with other nuclear providers.The Sept. 22 strategic partnership, signed on the sidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna, comes as Moscow has sought to boost lucrative exports of nuclear equipment, technology and expertise in recent years…….

Lance Greyling, a top lawmaker with the opposition party Democratic Alliance, said there was confusion about the Sept. 22 deal. A draft agreement signed last year gave Russia the power to veto South African trade with other nuclear providers, party officials have said.

    “What the government is saying at the moment is that they’ve just signed a framework agreement with Russia and that there will still be a procurement process that is followed,” he told VOA on Oct. 3. “But what we are unclear about is what exactly is in this framework agreement, and the fact that they’re not willing to show it to us makes us highly suspicious.”…..
      If the government has nothing to hide in the deal then it needs to share details of the arrangement with lawmakers, Greyling said…….

http://www.voanews.com/content/south-africa-russia-nuclear-power/2478224.html

October 10, 2014 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s murky and uneconomic nuclear deal

secret-dealsflag-S.AfricaA nuclear deal as clear as mud October 7 2014  Cape Argus, By Jasson Urbach The decision to “go nuclear” in SA has more to do with politics than economics, writes Jasson Urbach.

South Africa is “going the nuclear route”, according to the Department of Energy’s acting director-general, Dr Wolsey Barnard. But given Eskom’s dire financial predicament, the government is opting for a “vendor-financed” option.

We should applaud the fact that Eskom, probably, will not be building South Africa’s next power station.

The delays and cost overruns associated with Medupi and Kusile demonstrate it’s not competent as a project manager for the building of such large plants.

However, the decision to “go nuclear” has more to do with politics than economics. Nuclear is costly – given the dramatic fall in gas prices, a private enterprise would not build a nuclear plant in the current operating environment. And nuclear will take too long to deliver – South Africa needs power sooner rather than later. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

France’s Energy Dept ponders on costs of keeping old nuclear plants going: renewables may be cheaper

nukes-sad-flag-franceFrance to weigh costs of maintaining older plants in nuclear policy http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/10/05/france-nuclear-idINL6N0S00F220141005  PARIS Sun Oct 5, 2014 Oct 5 (Reuters) - France’s energy minister said on Sunday that the cost of maintaining older reactors would be factored into any decision on the future size of its large and aging nuclear power fleet.

The government already plans to shut the Fessenheim plant on the German border as part of a pledge to bring down atomic energy to 50 percent of French power output by 2025 from the current 75 percent, the highest share in the world.

But it has skirted the issue of whether to extend the operating life of its 58 nuclear reactors, which state-owned utility would like to prolong from 40 years to up to 60 years.

“Investments in reactors at the oldest plants don’t last forever. You then have to re-invest and that is very expensive,” Energy Minister Segolene Royal told France 3 television.

“If it costs a lot more to carry out maintenance to make older plants secure, it would be better to build renewable energy installations,” she said.

France, like other European countries, faces rising costs to maintain a nuclear fleet with an average age of about 30 years. EDF has estimated that extending the life of the plants would cost 55 billion euros.

About half of its reactors are due to reach the current 40-year limit during the 2020s. French nuclear watchdog ASN has said it will give an initial opinion on the issue next year. Royal is steering through parliament an energy transition bill that introduces a cap on nuclear power production, which would force EDF to close an equivalent capacity when it launches the 1,600 megawatt Flamanville reactor, due in 2016.

She said this week the government could choose to close another site than Fessenheim but dismissed as “fanciful” a 5 billion euro estimate made by two parliamentarians for the cost of closing Fessenheim. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Michel Rose; editing by Jane Baird)

October 6, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Japan now closing super-costly Tokai nuclear fuel processor

text-wise-owlTokai nuclear fuel processor to close due to cost of meeting new standards http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20140930p2a00m0na009000c.html

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has announced that it will shut down a spent nuclear fuel processor in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, as the cost to prepare the facility for new regulation standards established after the Fukushima nuclear plant crisis is predicted to top 100 billion yen.

The agency reported the decommission plan of the existing nuclear fuel processor at a meeting of its reform committee held on Sept. 29.

According to the agency, the nuclear fuel processing technology that has been under development at the Tokai facility has almost been completely moved to another processing station in Aomori Prefecture operated by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd.

The new regulation standards for running a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility require operators to take the same level of safety and anti-disaster measures against earthquakes and tsunami as nuclear power stations. The agency’s executive director Shigeo Nomura told the meeting that continuing the spent fuel recycling project will not be approved by the public in terms of economic rationality.

The agency will include the decommission plan in its medium-term operational policy, which comes into effect in the next fiscal year, and file a decommission plan with the Nuclear Regulation Authority as early as fiscal 2017.

The Tokai plant came into full operation in 1981. Since 2006, it had reprocessed spent nuclear fuel from the now-decommissioned converter-type nuclear reactor Fugen in Fukui Prefecture.

There are some 110 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel left in the Tokai plant, and the agency plans to commission France to treat the remaining fuel.

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Massively rich Koch brothers buy America’s political system

Koch-climate-changeTogether, Charles and David Koch control one of the world’s largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system. But what they don’t want you to know is how they made all that money

 Limitless Life By  | September 24, 2014“………..The volume of Koch Industries’ toxic output is staggering. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America’s air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries. Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation’s waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined. The company ranks 13th in the nation for toxic air pollution. Koch’s climate pollution, meanwhile, outpaces oil giants including Valero, Chevron and Shell. Across its businesses, Koch generates 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.

For Koch, this license to pollute amounts to a perverse, hidden subsidy. The cost is borne by communities in cities like Port Arthur, Texas, where a Koch-owned facility produces as much as 2 billion pounds of petrochemicals every year. In March, Koch signed a consent decree with the Department of Justice requiring it to spend more than $40 million to bring this plant into compliance with the Clean Air Act.

The toxic history of Koch Industries is not limited to physical pollution. It also extends to the company’s business practices, which have been the target of numerous federal investigations, resulting in several indictments and convictions, as well as a whole host of fines and penalties.

And in one of the great ironies of the Obama years, the president’s financial-regulatory reform seems to benefit Koch Industries. The company is expanding its high-flying trading empire precisely as Wall Street banks – facing tough new restrictions, which Koch has largely escaped – are backing away from commodities speculation.

It is often said that the Koch brothers are in the oil business. That’s true as far as it goes – but Koch Industries is not a major oil producer. Instead, the company has woven itself into every nook of the vast industrial web that transforms raw fossil fuels into usable goods. Koch-owned businesses trade, transport, refine and process fossil fuels, moving them across the world and up the value chain until they become things we forgot began with hydrocarbons: fertilizers, Lycra, the innards of our smartphones.

The company controls at least four oil refineries, six ethanol plants, a natural-gas-fired power plant and 4,000 miles of pipeline. Until recently, Koch refined roughly five percent of the oil burned in America (that percentage is down after it shuttered its 85,000-barrel-per-day refinery in North Pole, Alaska, owing, in part, to the discovery that a toxic solvent had leaked from the facility, fouling the town’s groundwater). From the fossil fuels it refines, Koch also produces billions of pounds of petrochemicals, which, in turn, become the feedstock for other Koch businesses. In a journey across Koch Industries, what enters as a barrel of West Texas Intermediate can exit as a Stainmaster carpet.

Koch’s hunger for growth is insatiable: Since 1960, the company brags, the value of Koch Industries has grown 4,200-fold, outpacing the Standard & Poor’s index by nearly 30 times. On average, Koch projects to double its revenue every six years. Koch is now a key player in the fracking boom that’s vaulting the United States past Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer, even as it’s endangering America’s groundwater. In 2012, a Koch subsidiary opened a pipeline capable of carrying 250,000 barrels a day of fracked crude from South Texas to Corpus Christi, where the company owns a refinery complex, and it has announced plans to further expand its Texas pipeline operations. In a recent acquisition, Koch bought Frac-Chem, a top provider of hydraulic fracturing chemicals to drillers. Thanks to the Bush administration’s anti-regulatory­ agenda – which Koch Industries helped craft – Frac-Chem’s chemical cocktails, injected deep under the nation’s aquifers, are almost entirely exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Koch is also long on the richest – but also the dirtiest and most carbon-polluting – oil deposits in North America: the tar sands of Alberta. The company’s Pine Bend refinery, near St. Paul, Minnesota, processes nearly a quarter of the Canadian bitumen exported to the United States – which, in turn, has created for Koch Industries a lucrative sideline in petcoke exports. Denser, dirtier and cheaper than coal, petcoke is the dregs of tar-sands refining. U.S. coal plants are largely forbidden from burning petcoke, but it can be profitably shipped to countries with lax pollution laws like Mexico and China. One of the firm’s subsidiaries, Koch Carbon, is expanding its Chicago terminal operations to receive up to 11 million tons of petcoke for global export. In June, the EPA noted the facility had violated the Clean Air Act with petcoke particulates that endanger the health of South Side residents. “We dispute that the two elevated readings” behind the EPA notice of violation “are violations of anything,” Koch’s top lawyer, Mark Holden, told Rolling Stone, insisting that Koch Carbon is a good neighbor.

Over the past dozen years, the company has quietly acquired leases for 1.1 million acres of Alberta oil fields, an area larger than Rhode Island. By some estimates, Koch’s direct holdings nearly double ExxonMobil’s and nearly triple Shell’s. In May, Koch Oil Sands Operating LLC of Calgary, Alberta, sought permits to embark on a multi-billion­dollar tar-sands-extraction operation. This one site is projected to produce 22 million barrels a year – more than a full day’s supply of U.S. oil………

The Koch family’s lucrative blend of pollution, speculation, law-bending and self-righteousness stretches back to the early 20th century, when Charles’ father first entered the oil business. ……….

in the real world, Koch Industries has used its political might to beat back the very market-based mechanisms – including a cap-and-trade market for carbon pollution – needed to create the ownership rights for pollution that Charles says would improve the functioning of capitalism.

In fact, it appears the very essence of the Koch business model is to exploit breakdowns in the free market. Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies – essentially for free. It racks up enormous profits from speculative trades lacking economic value that drive up costs for consumers and create risks for our economy.

The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.”

From The Archives Issue 1219: October 9, 2014 http://limitlesslife.wordpress.com/

September 29, 2014 Posted by | politics, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Very worrying financial implications for South Africa’s nuclear deal with Russia

scrutiny-on-costsflag-S.AfricaNuclear urgency raises alarm, Mail & Guardian , South Africa  27 JUN 2014  LYNLEY DONNELLY The state seems set on going the atomic route despite the huge financial implications. Pressure to find a nuclear solution to South Africa’s power problems continues unabated, despite persistent concerns over its affordability.

Experts point out that nuclear vendor financing may be the way to fund the country’s nuclear ambitions, but there are unresolved legal and financial implications.

There is speculation in the energy sector that political pressure cost former energy minister Ben Martins his job, because he failed to secure a nuclear deal with Russia’s Rosatom.

Martins was replaced by Tina Joemat-Pettersson in President Jacob Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffle and goes back to Parliament as chairperson of the portfolio committee on public works……….

The apparent urgency about nuclear procurement runs counter to key government policies, specifically the National Development Plan, which calls for an in-depth investigation of the financial viability of nuclear procurement, and the draft update of the integrated resource plan (IRP), published last year. The document, which is government’s electricity planning road map, suggested that a nuclear decision could be delayed given revised projections of electricity demand.

Nevertheless, a decision about ways to procure nuclear power could be expected within the next two months, theMail & Guardian understands.

Elusive payment plan
The answer to how South Africa will pay for a planned 9 600 megawatts of nuclear capacity remains elusive. Eskom was named the owner and operator of new nuclear plants by the Cabinet, but it is in dire financial straits. It has declared a R225‑billion funding gap and has been placed on credit watch by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s………

The cost of nuclear energy could reach R1-trillion and faces competing energy investment demands.

Nuclear vendor financing models have been touted as a way to get around this, which Martins confirmed is the preferred model. “It was never the intention that South Africa would fund the entire nuclear programme. The stakeholders that have an interest in it would substantially fund the nuclear programme,” he said.

Ross Harvey, a visiting research fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs, said a likely arrangement is that a nuclear vendor would build, own and operate a plant and take full responsibility for the financing.

Buy-back guarantee
In turn, an electricity buy-back guarantee by the government is the most likely way for the vendor to recover costs.

But it is not clear what legislative and tender processes would need to be in place to manage procurement, he said, and much more work is needed to create “legislative coherence” to govern a nuclear bid.

And, although this model would eliminate initial capital constraints, the government would still have to make good on a buy-back guarantee, Harvey said. It is also not clear that, in the time taken to complete a nuclear build programme, there would be sufficient electricity demand, supported by heavy industrial activity, to support such a guarantee. In addition, other technologies could rapidly develop to provide cheaper base-load power.

Rosatom is constructing a similar “build, own and operate” project in Turkey.

Harvey estimated that, based on Rosatom’s investment there, a Rosatom plant would cost between $5-billion to $7-billion, which is a “massive investment to recoup”. http://mg.co.za/article/2014-06-26-nuclear-urgency-raises-alarm?ars=true

September 27, 2014 Posted by | politics, South Africa | 1 Comment

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