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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Michigan residents urged to submit comments on Canada’s nuclear waste dump plan – Congressman Dan Kildee –

Bruce NGS Great Lakes Lake HuronCongressman Dan Kildee Urges Michiganders to Submit Comments on Canadian Plan to Bury Nuclear Waste on the Shores of the Great Lakes August 19, 2015 Current 90-Day Comment Period ‘Critical Opportunity’ for Citizens to Have Voices Heard and Stop Plan, Kildee Says

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today announced a new community initiative today to protect the Great Lakes and encourage Michigan residents to get involved to stop a Canadian plan to bury nuclear waste less than a mile from Lake Huron.

Currently, Canada has opened a 90-day comment period seeking comments from both U.S. and Canadian citizens on the proposed plan. Today Congressman Kildee, joined by Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich and concerned citizens, announced a new write-in campaign to the Canadian Minister of the Environment to ensure that Michiganders’ voices are heard on this important issue that threatens our Great Lakes. Instructions on how to submit public comments are below.

“We must protect the Great Lakes from harm, including from the threat of Canadian nuclear waste,” Congressman Kildee said. “Burying nuclear waste less than a mile from Lake Huron just doesn’t make sense and is too much of a risk to take, especially considering nuclear material remains radioactive for thousands of years. There is growing opposition to this plan, both in the U.S. and Canada, and now Michiganders have a chance to be heard and express their views too. I encourage all Michigan residents to speak up and submit comments to Canadian officials during this open comment period to demonstrate that Michigan stands united against this threat to our Great Lakes.”

Today’s announcement in Flint is the latest effort by Congressman Kildee in recent weeks to raise awareness about the potential Canadian plan and stop the burying of nuclear waste so close to the Great Lakes. Last week, along with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Congressman Kildee announced new legislation to invoke the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and mandate that a new study be conducted to examine the proposal’s risks………

To date, 168 municipalities – in both the U.S. and Canada – have passed resolutions opposing the plan, including Flint, Mich., Bay County, Mich.; Toronto, Ontario; Chicago, Ill.; Wayne County, Mich.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; Essex County, Ontario; and Rochester County, New York. The Michigan State Senate also has passed a resolution opposing the Canadian nuclear waste storage site.

To submit their comments, Michigan residents must write to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency by September 1, 2015. Comments can be submitted by mail or email.

Anyone who would like to submit comments by mail should send them to: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency; 22nd Floor, 160 Elgin Street, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

Anyone who would like to submit comments by email should send them to:ceaa.conditions.acee@ceaa-acee.gc.ca   http://dankildee.house.gov/congressman-dan-kildee-urges-michiganders-to-submit-comments-on-canadian-plan-to-bury-nuclear-waste-on-the-shores-of-the-great-lakes/

August 31, 2015 Posted by | Canada, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Dr Ian Fairlie on US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Consultation on radiation standards

highly-recommendedUS Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Consultation. Dr Ian Fairlie Consultant on Radioactivity in the Environment LONDON United Kingdom www.ianfairlie.org, 28 Aug 15, 

Fairlea, Ian

Introduction On June 26 2015, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stated it was seeking public comments by September 8, on petitions stating that the Linear No Threshold theory of radiation’s effects was not a valid basis for setting radiation standards and that the hormesis model should be used instead.

In more detail, the NRC has received three petitions for rulemaking requesting that the NRC amend its “Standards for Protection Against Radiation” regulations and change the basis of those regulations from the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) model of radiation protection to the hormesis model. (See the Appendix for details of the petitions.) The LNT model assumes that biological damage from radiation is linearly related to exposure and is always harmful, ie without a threshold.

The hormesis model assumes that exposures to low radiation levels is beneficial and protects the human body against deleterious effects of high levels of radiation. The NRC has stated it is examining these petitions to determine whether they should be considered in rulemaking and is requesting public comments.

US environmental groups are concerned that, if the NRC agreed with the petitions, it would introduce rules to weaken radiation protection standards at US nuclear facilities. On the other hand, according to two NRC staffers (Brock and Sherbini, 2012), the NRC apparently pays attention to the evidence on risks of low levels of radiation………

No evidence below 100 mSv? It is necessary at this point to directly address the argument often raised by hormesis advocates – that there is little evidence of effects below 100 mSv.

This is incorrect.Older evidence exists -see http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/a-100-msv-threshold-forradiation-effects/for a list of studies and the newer evidence, as we have just seen, clearly shows this fact as well. B. Radiobiological Evidence Current radiobiological theory is consistent with a linear dose-response relationship down to low doses (ie below ~10 mSv). The radiobiological rationale for linearity comes from the stochastic nature of energy deposition of ionising radiation. It was explained by 15 of the world’s most eminent radiation biologists and epidemiologists in a famous article (Brenner et al, 2003) as follows: “1. Direct epidemiological evidence demonstrates that an organ dose of 10 mGy of diagnostic x-rays is associated with an increase in cancer risk………..

The Importance of LNT in Radiation Protection Regardless of dissenting views on LNT, the reality is that most concepts used in radiation protection today are fundamentally based on the LNT theory. For example, LNT underpins the concepts of absorbed dose, effective dose, committed dose, and the use of dose coefficients (ie Sv per Bq of a radionuclide). It also allows radiation doses (i) to be averaged within an organ or tissue, (ii) to be added from different organs, and (iii) to be added over time.

LNT also permits annual dose limits; optimization -ie comparison of practices; radiation risk assessment at low and very low doses; individual dosimetry with passive detectors; collective dose, and dose registers over long periods of time. 9 In fact, the LNT underpins all legal regulations in radiation protection in the US and in the rest of the world.

Indeed, if the LNT were not used, it’s hard to imagine our current radiation protection systems existing at all. However this statement should not be misconstrued to mean that the LNT is used just because it’s convenient: the LNT is used because the scientific evidence for it is comprehensive, cogent and compelling……..

 

Conclusions

(i) the debate The validity or otherwise of LNT and hormesis have been the subject of hundreds of scientific articles and debates over several decades. Unfortunately, much of the literature on hormesis or adaptive response is based on faulty science or on misconceptions, or on misinterpretations, or on all three.

HormesisThis is particularly the case with several US and UK journalists who write with confidence on how radiation risks are exaggerated. Their knowledge and experience of radiogenic risks are limited to say the least, but these journalists, almost on a weekly basis, misinform and mislead the public about radiation risks, so the existence of the US petitions is perhaps unsurprising.

However real scientists are increasingly standing up and opposing the poor science used by hormesis advocates. Very recently, four Swiss scientists from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern; the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel and the University of Basel published a study which revealed that exposure to high rates of background radiation resulted in increased cancer risks to children (Spycher et al, 2015). http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1408548/

In reply, 17 scientists (Siegel et al, 2015) mostly from the US, some of whom were members of a hormesis pressure group “Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information” objected to these findings. They alleged that the government would have to evacuate children living in higher radiation areas and relocate them to lower radiation areas. They stated that studies like this should not be taken seriously without public health policy implications being examined. (http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1510111/)
The Swiss scientists in turn responded (http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1510111R/) that the proposed evacuation was “nonsensical” in view of the very low numbers involved. In a spirited rejoinder, they refuted the poor science cited and added that “the Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information a priori exclude the possibility that low-dose radiation could increase the risk of cancer. They will therefore not accept studies that challenge their foregone conclusion”.
(ii) the petitions After briefly examining the three US petitions, my conclusion is that they do not merit serious consideration. It seems that the petitioners, who may or may not have axes to grind about radiation risks, have seized on the possible phenomenon of hormesis 11 to make ill-considered claims that radiation is protective or even good for you.

In other words, the petitions appear to be based on preconceptions, or even ideology, rather than the scientific evidence which points in the opposite direction. The petitions should not be used by the NRC to justify weakening regulatory standards at US nuclear facilities. A question remains whether the NRC should have accepted the petitions for review. Presumably the NRC has discretion not to review or to refer back spurious, mischievous, or ill-founded petitions.

 The NRC should seek guidance from the five US scientific agencies and Government departments mentioned above whose scientists have published evidence on the matter. Credits. Thanks to Dr Jan Beyea, Cindy Folkers, Dr Alfred Körblein, Xavier Rabilloud, Dr Marvin Reznikoff and Dr Gordon Thompson for comments on drafts. Any errors are my responsibility. References…….. http://www.ianfairlie.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/US-NRC-Consultation-4-1.pdf  (NRC):

 

August 29, 2015 Posted by | politics, radiation, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Will UK government lock Britain into Hinkley Nuclear White Elephant?

white_elephant_London-Sm

while these might be reasons for the Government to pull out of the project, it won’t be able to once the deal has been signed. And if the problem is that the strike price is too high, it’s unlikely that EDF or the other funders will want to pull out either.

At the Hinkley point of no return, is this a nuclear white elephant? The IndependentA Hinkley-nuclear-power-plantdeal for the £24.5bn power plant in Somerset could be signed in October after the Government agreed terms with the energy giant EDF. But, writes Tom Bawden, environmentalists are far from alone in opposing an ‘expensive mistake’ TOM BAWDEN 27 August 2015 One of Britain’s most controversial energy projects for decades – the £24.5bn nuclear power development at Hinkley Point in Somerset – is poised to get the green light.

After years of wrangling, the Government and EDF – the energy giant that will operate Hinkley Point C and own around half of it – have agreed a deal that would guarantee EDF a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour of the electricity it generates, rising with inflation, up to 2061. That’s nearly three times the current price, suggesting households may have to hand over a substantial subsidy to the French state-controlled generator in the form of higher bills……..

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has gone so far as to say households will be £74 a year better off in today’s money by 2026-30 than they would be without Hinkley Point C.

But the detractors are not in the least bit convinced, with analysts, politicians and even some rival power companies dismissing the project as a colossal waste of money. Shortly before his sudden departure from RWE Npower this week, the chief executive of the big six provider, Paul Massara, said future generations would look back on Hinkley Point C as an “expensive mistake”.

Despite the strength of opposition to the project, David Cameron is expected to sign a final deal in October during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK; the Chinese are big backers of the project….

We look at some of the main challenges to completion.

The political justification

An in-depth report into Hinkley Point C by HSBC bank saw “ample reason for the UK Government to delay or cancel the project”. It argued that the justification for the plant was “receding” because the UK’s energy consumption is falling just as a threefold rise in the number of giant interconnectors, hooking the country up with mainland Europe, means we could import energy much more cheaply than generating it at Hinkley Point.

Furthermore, while UK electricity generation is set to fall, capacity looks set to hold up surprisingly well, in part because of rising wind and solar power. As a result, the strike price is very difficult to justify, HSBC argued.

But while these might be reasons for the Government to pull out of the project, it won’t be able to once the deal has been signed. And if the problem is that the strike price is too high, it’s unlikely that EDF or the other funders will want to pull out either.

Engineering problems

The new reactors at Hinkley Point will use the EPR – European Pressurised Reactor – model, a highly sophisticated new design that is supposed to be safer and more efficient than older reactors, but which has been fraught with problems and is not yet up and running at any site in the world.

The three other sites planning to use the new model have all suffered huge delays – in Finland, France and China – and Hinkley Point would be the fourth. Concerns about EPRs have mounted this year after a potentially catastrophic mistake was identified in the construction of an identical EPR power plant in Flamanville, Normandy……….

Problems at Areva

Areva, the French state-owned reactor designer behind the EPR model, has fallen deep into the red. It has  not sold a new reactor since 2008 as problems with its reactors have pushed plants in France and Finland billions of euros over budget.

But EDF and the French government have moved to address Areva’s financial weakness, meaning it is unlikely to cause problems for the Hinkley Point project by going bust. EDF has agreed to take control of Areva’s main reactor division in a deal orchestrated – and with the implicit financial support of – the French government.

Legal problems

Austria has launched a legal challenge to the European Commission’s ruling that the guaranteed price for the new Hinkley Point reactors amounts to legal state aid. The case is expected to drag on for two to three years…… http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/at-the-hinkley-point-of-no-return-is-this-a-nuclear-white-elephant-10475849.html

August 29, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby working hard at education – 5 centres in Nigeria

5 Nigerian universities host nuclear energy centres of excellence —NAEC August 28, 2015  Franklin Osaisai, chairman of the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission, NAEC, has said that five Nigerian universities now host nuclear energy centres of excellence.

nuclear-teacher

Mr. Osaisai, who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Friday in Abuja, said that the Nuclear Technology Centre, Sheda, was also a part of the nuclear centres of excellence.

He said the first two were the Centre for Energy Research and Training (CERT), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and Centre for Energy Research and Development (CERD), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.

He listed the latest centres as the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research and Training (CNERT), University of Maiduguri, and Centre for Nuclear Energy Studies (CNES), University of Port Harcourt.

The other is the Centre for Nuclear Energy Studies and Training (CNEST), Federal University of Technology, Owerri.

According to him, the establishment of these centres without a corresponding increment in the allocation to NAEC led to the reduction in funding of CERT and CERD.

“It is the mandate of NAEC to develop nuclear technology for the economic development of the country and produce and dispose atomic energy.

“To carry out research into matters connected with the peaceful uses of atomic energy, among others.

“CERT and CERD are arms of NAEC but in order to boost capacity of nuclear research and training, government created a lot of other centres.

“Remuneration, compensation, allowances are part of the public service and everything is paid according to guidelines.

“We have tabled the challenges of funding the centre to before the appropriate authorities; everything is now paid through IPPIS.’’……….http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/more-news/189141-5-nigerian-universities-host-nuclear-energy-centres-of-excellence-naec.html

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Nigeria, politics | Leave a comment

UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear station is now officially mothballed

Hinkley C Mothballed – Is it in its Death Throes? http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/news/comment/hinkley-c-mothballed-is-it-in-its-death-throws/ Two very recent articles in Click Green and Professional Engineer indicate that Hinkley Point C is now officially mothballed. Indeed the project seems to be in its death throes.

text Hinkley cancelled
We already knew that site preparation work at Hinkley Point C was stopped in April 2015, up to 400 construction workers were laid off, and the Final Investment Decision was delayed until the autumn. (1) What wasn’t clear at the time was that NNB Genco – the consortium planning to build the reactors which consists of EDF Energy, China General Nuclear Corp and other investors – put a cap on future spending on the project. (2)

On 1st July the site entered Care and Maintenance which means that activity at the site is limited to the management of material stockpiles and water management zones, remediation of asbestos contaminated land and archaeological surveys. (3)

The budget cap seems to have been greater than the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) was expecting. ONR, of course, charges NNB Genco for all the work it carries out to regulate its activities.

ONR says it has taken the decision to suspend the production of future inspection reports until a Final Investment Decision is made. It has also suspended attendance at the local liaison committee – the Cannington Forum. These suspensions are most likely because NNB Genco no longer has the budget to pay for them, so the consortium will have asked ONR to stop visiting the site to do inspections and stop attending the forum because it can’t afford to pay. In retaliation ONR says it is “monitoring the impact of the budget constraint upon NNB Genco’s competency and capability”. In other words NNB Genco had better watch out or it will lose its status as an organisation competent and capable of holding a nuclear license.

ONR says its inspectors “continue to engage with the programme of design and safety case activities” related to the start of nuclear safety related construction. Its August newsletter said that further submissions are expected in September this year and the Pre Construction Safety Case related to nuclear island construction was ready for ONR to begin initial engagement at the end of July this year. (4)

So while some desk work appears to be continuing all major work on-site appears to have stopped and NNB Genco is so uncertain that the final investment decision will be positive it has asked ONR to stop as much work as possible to save money – even to the point of threatening its own status as a nuclear capable organisation. The Click Green website says:

“Despite recently publishing a list of preferred suppliers for the £24 billion project, the French firm were in behind-the-scenes talks with the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), during which they informed them of their decision to mothball the site.”

It looks as though it may be all over for Hinkley Point C bar the shouting.

(1) Gloucestershire Echo 2nd April 2015 http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/400-jobs-lost-Barnwood-based-EDF-stops-site-work/story-26271600-detail/story.html

(2) Click Green 20th Aug 2015 http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/news/national-news/126381-exclusive-edf-mothballs-planned-hinkley-c-nuclear-power-site.html

(3) Professional Engineering 20th Aug 2015 http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2015/08/construction-halted-at-hinkley-point-c-nuclear-project-site.html

(4)   See page 7 ONR Regulation Matters August 2015http://www.onr.org.uk/documents/2015/regulation-matters-issue-1.pdf

August 26, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | 1 Comment

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty backs Iran nuclear agreement

Esty supports Iran nuclear agreementhttp://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Local-congresswoman-announces-support-of-Iran-6464745.php, August 25, 2015  Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, D-5, announced Tuesday her support of the Iran nuclear agreement.

Esty said she thoroughly reviewed the deal negotiated between the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany that aims to curb Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief before making her decision.

“I have attended classified briefings, examined classified materials, and sought answers,” Esty said. “I have met to discuss the agreement with my constituents, Jewish leaders throughout Connecticut, national security and nuclear energy experts, and Israeli leaders during my recent trip to Israel…After careful consideration, I believe implementing this agreement — which is far from perfect — gives us the best chance to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”

Esty said the deal limits Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, and also contains provisions that allow sanctions to return if the agreement is violated.

“This agreement is not ideal, but is the best available option,” Esty said. “I have listened to critics and constituents raise legitimate concerns — concerns that I believe will help guide the United States in our duty to enforce Iran’s compliance with the agreement and ensure that they meet not just the letter of the agreement but also its spirit.”

August 26, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

New measures to promote rooftop solar, by President Obama

US President Barack Obama unveils measures to encourage solar power use,SMH, August 25, 2015 GARDINER HARRIS. The Obama administration has announced a slew of small measures designed to encourage the use of solar power in the US hours.

The measures included making an additional $US1 billion ($1.4 billion) in loan guarantee authority available in an existing federal program for the kind of residential rooftop solar projects that have become popular in places like California.

But none of the announced measures would provide the impact on the solar industry of the Clean Power Plan, which was announced this month and requires states to cut carbon emissions by an average of 32 per cent. That plan provides strong incentives for much of those reductions to come from the development of renewable energy resources – exactly what executives at the conference in Nevada are looking to sell.

“We’re going to make it even easier for individual homeowners to put solar panels on their roof with no upfront cost,” President Barack Obama told the summit. “A lot of Americans are going solar and becoming more energy-efficient not because of tree huggers — although trees are important, just want you to know — but because they’re cost-cutters.

With the nation’s new electrical needs growing only modestly, renewable power executives are depending on electric utilities finally retiring their aging coal-fired power plants and replacing them with renewable power sources. That process is happening anyway, but the administration’s power plan is expected to accelerate it……..http://www.smh.com.au/environment/us-president-barack-obama-unveils-measures-to-encourage-solar-power-use-20150825-gj71e8.html#ixzz3jsRuU7g4

August 26, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, politics, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Finance Minister under pressure about govt plans for unaffordable nuclear power

Nuclear must be affordable, says Nene, Business Day, BY CAROL PATON, 24 AUGUST 2015, FINANCE MINISTER NHLANHLA NENE SAYS HE WILL HOLD THE LINE ON THE PROCUREMENT OF NUCLEAR ENERGY IF IT IS UNAFFORDABLE, AND WILL REDUCE THE HEAD COUNT OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE TO ENSURE SPENDING STAYS IN LINE WITH FISCAL TARGETS.

Mr Nene is under enormous political pressure to accede to a presidency-backed plan to procure 9,600MW of nuclear energy capacity at a time when public finances are at their weakest since the mid 1990s.

Underlining this pressure was the appearance of a fake intelligence dossier last week, smearing top Treasury officials as apartheid agents and alleging that they and Mr Nene are part of a conspiracy by the old white establishment to control the Treasury.

The document aroused grave concern among the public, and in political and investor circles, as it is feared it may signal a political attack on the Treasury, which until now has been a strong source of confidence given its ability to exercise tight control over government finances.

The Treasury and Mr Nene say that the document is baseless but appears to be a worrying attempt “to undermine and destablise the institution”.

Mr Nene’s comments, in an exclusive interview with Business Day on Friday, come at a time of keen interest from ratings agencies and the investor community regarding whether the government will stick to self-imposed spending ceilings designed to cut debt in this challenging political context.

Of the challenges, top of the list is whether Mr Nene will be able to hold the line on the nuclear procurement.

Treasury and Department of Energy officials spent most of last week locked in an intense engagement in Cape Town over the financing options for the project.

Mr Nene said that since the Treasury had only just been invited into the process, it was too early to make pronouncements.

However, if it was unaffordable to the country and to consumers, who would have to pay for the energy generated, it could not be done, he said….. the Department of Energy’s discussions with vendors have all assumed the full 9,600MW would be commissioned. The department also envisages using the programme for industrialisation and job creation, and aims to create a nuclear export industry.

It has to date refused to make public its studies or provide evidence that a nuclear procurement of 9,600MW is affordable.

Mr Nene said that as with any project that involved the allocation of resources, the Treasury would have to account to the nation.

“That is why following process is critical…. My job is spelt out in legislation and my role is to uphold and stay within the confines of the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act.”…..http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2015/08/24/nuclear-must-be-affordable-says-nene

August 24, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

UK government trashing environmnental policies, promoting nuclear power and fracked gas

Rudd, Amber UK[The new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd,] will try to meet the UK’s carbon reduction commitments with nuclear power and fracked gas.

(Of course, this is the same Amber Rudd who said that if nuclear reactors were just prettier, everyone would like them. ed.)

commentators from industry, politics and the financial sector have been lining up to condemn the Government’s plans to subsidize the first new reactors proposed at Hinkley.

What is happening in the UK? The new government makes a sharp move away from clean energy in favor of costly polluting sources. Greenworld, 14 Aug 15 The headlines flash daily about major changes in energy policy in the UK; none of them good news. The slashing of support for solar, energy efficiency and other clean energy programs and at the same time an apparent intent to spend absolutely mind-blowing amounts of money on new, untried, and highly risky nuclear power reactors. From the point of view of an America where, haltingly but steadily, clean energy is gaining a true foothold and is moving ahead, it seems incomprehensible that our closest ally would move in the opposite direction of most of the world’s industrial economies. Could that really be true?

So we asked veteran UK activist Pete Roche to explain what is happening in the UK. And no, the news really is not good.

David Cameron’s Conservative Government has now been in power in the UK, without the constraining influence of the Liberal Democrats, for 100 days. From the point-of-view of the environment his new government has been an unmitigated disaster; marked by a sharp embrace of dirty energy sources in a fashion most advanced nations, even including the U.S., are stepping away from.

From the moment the new Government was elected it set about burning the green policies of the previous coalition government. Subsidies for new onshore wind farms, paid for through consumers’ bills, are to end from April next year as are subsidies for solar farms. There will be a review of the feed-in tariff threatening subsidies for solar panels on domestic and commercial roof tops. And other proposed changes will make it much harder for community renewable projects to obtain finance.

The Government has also killed off the Green Deal scheme which provided loans to households for energy efficiency improvements. The scheme was a damp squib but what’s striking is there are no proposals to replace it. And a decade-long plan to force all new homes to be ‘zero carbon’ from 2016 has been dumped. On top of all this the exemption for renewables from the Climate Change Levy–a kind of carbon tax–has been removed, effectively imposing cuts to the income of renewable projects already up and running retrospectively.

The new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, told Members of Parliament (MPs) that carbon reduction targets are a bigger priority than meeting renewable energy targets, signalling that she is prepared to miss the UK’s European Union Renewable Target of meeting 15% of our energy needs (not just electricity) from renewable sources by 2020. Continue reading

August 23, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point C Nuclear scam – UK tax-payers fund Chinese investors

text-my-money-2flag-UKTory privatisation scams (2): the Hinkley Point C nuclear payola guaranteed by UK taxpayers for Chinese investors http://www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/2015/08/tory-privatisation-scams-2-the-hinkley-point-c-nuclear-payola-guaranteed-by-uk-taxpayers-for-chinese-investors/

 “……Another flagrant example of privatising the gains and socialising the losses is the nuclear power station planned at Hinkley Point C in Somerset at a cost of £24.5bn, three times the original proposal, and using the UK taxpayer to guarantee to its French builder EDF  a price per unit of output no less than double its current UK wholesale price.    The government agreed this in November 2011, yet since then wholesale power prices have fallen by 16%; nevertheless the Tories are still guaranteeing the price of £92.50 a megawatt hour, inflation-linked for 35 years and funded through household bills.   So far from being the heroes of competition as they regularly claim, the Tories are driving a pernicious, underhand contempt for market forces to subsidise State-owned foreign companies whilst refusing to offer the same aid to a UK State-owned venture for the same project.

Just how bad a deal this is is shown by the fact that Hinkley will provide just 3 gigawatts of capacity, yet for the same price gas-fired turbines could provide about 50 gigawatts, onshore wind 20 and offshore wind 10.   The plant will not open till 2023 at the earliest, well past the date of the most acute energy shortage at the end of this decade.   And it will cost as much as the combined bill for Crossrail, the London Olympics and the revamped Terminal 2 at Heathrow – beat that for the most expensive white elephant of modern times!

It’s an anachronistic behemoth from the bygone age of energy dinosaurs when the world is rapidly moving towards distributed power via renewable energy.   It’s far too costly, and is it even needed?   First there is the UK’s declining demand for power, currently falling at a rate of 1% a year as energy-saving measures steadily take effect.   Then there is the expected threefold jump in the UK’s Interconnection capacity with continental Europe by 2022 which increases the ability to import cheaper supplies.   And third there is the litany of setbacks in price overruns and huge delays that have afflicted Finland, France and China over EDF’s European Pressurised Reactor which is the same type as is planned for Hinkley Point.

However nothing distracts the Tory nose from a good old-fashioned financial fix behind the scenes, especially when in this case it plays to their abhorrence of UK State involvement in meeting a public need.   So Cameron is off to Beijing in October to sign a final deal wit the Chinese president from which only Chinese investors will gain at UK taxpayer expense.

August 19, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Tax-payer money going to nuclear related companies in UAE

text-my-money-2Nuclear-related contracts worth Dh9.15bn have been awarded to UAE firms, says Enec, The National, LeAnne Graves, 18 Aug 15,  More than Dh9.15 billion in contracts have been awarded to UAE companies for the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant, according to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec)…….
We intend to leverage our position to secure similar contracts in other advanced countries, who are looking to nuclear energy to meet growing demand,” said Ahmad Al Shaikh, Ducab’s chairman. http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/nuclear-related-contracts-worth-dh915bn-have-been-awarded-to-uae-firms-says-enec

August 19, 2015 Posted by | politics, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

African National Congress calls for transparency on nuclear tender process

flag-S.AfricaANC calls for transparent nuclear tender process, Mail & Guardian, 18 AUG 2015 2FRANZ WILDSTAFF REPORTER
ANC calls for “full, transparent and thorough cost benefit analysis of nuclear power” as SA prepares for a bidding process for new nuclear plants. n a document that will be discussed at its policy review conference in October, the ANC said: “Government must also announce publicly that nuclear energy can only be procured in line with the legal prescripts and after a thoroughgoing affordability assessment.”

The document was released on Monday.

During his State of the Nation address in February, President Jacob Zuma said all countries that bid “will be engaged in a fair, transparent and competitive procurement process to select a strategic partner, or partners, to undertake the nuclear build programme”.

But the Mail & Guardian reported earlier this year that in a “top secret” presentation, the energy department proposed a closed government-to-government procurement of new nuclear power stations instead of a transparent and competitive tender.

The nuclear agreement with Russia, which amaBhungane revealed, states that the government is prepared to give Russia exclusive rights to its nuclear build programme for a minimum of 20 years. During that time, Russia could block South Africa from procuring nuclear technology from any other country.

The Russians would be indemnified from any liability arising from nuclear accidents during the reactors’ lifespan. Russia would be granted a host of regulatory concessions and favourable taxation and other financial treatment. The designated competent authorities are South Africa’s department of energy and Russia’s state-owned Rosatom State Atomic Energy.

With the Russian economy in turmoil and the subsequent high cost of borrowing, the country’s ability to raise the funding for its nuclear ambitions in many countries is being called into question – as is its ability to deliver on time.

For South Africa, it is even more of a mystery how the government will provide the loan guarantees that would be required, given that so many have been extended to ailing parastatals such as Eskom and SAA. The state may have hit its limit………http://mg.co.za/article/2015-08-18-anc-calls-for-transparent-nuclear-tender-process

August 19, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Over 300 US rabbis urge Congress to support Iran nuclear deal

Hundreds of US rabbis voice support for Iran nuclear deal, 124 News, 19 Aug 15 IDF: deal could help rein in terrorist activities; US will not succeed to ‘intrude’ on Iran: Khamenei

More than 300 American rabbis wrote members of Congress Monday urging them to support the international nuclear deal with Iran, signalling the US Jewish community is split over the historic but controversial accord.

The religious leaders come from across the spectrum, but hail overwhelmingly from Judaism’s Conservative and Reform streams as well as other progressive Jewish movements, a spokesperson said.

“We encourage the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to endorse this agreement,” the 340 rabbis wrote in a letter to Congress distributed by Ameinu, a progressive charitable Jewish organization.

“We are deeply concerned with the impression that the leadership of the American Jewish community is united in opposition to the agreement,” the rabbis added.

“We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord”……..http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/82396-150817-fate-of-nuclear-deal-still-not-clear-iran-s-khamenei

August 19, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Obama can still do the Iran nuclear deal, despite Congress opposition

Obama,BarackPresident Obama can do Iran nuclear deal even if Congress rejects it Chicago Tribune, By Tribune wire reports contact the reporter , 16 Aug 15 President Obama doesn’t need a congressional OK to make a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.  The September vote on the Iran nuclear deal is billed as a titanic standoff between President Barack Obama and Congress. Yet even if lawmakers reject the agreement,  it’s not game-over for the White House.

A congressional vote of disapproval would not prevent Obama from acting on his own to start putting the accord in place. While he probably would take some heavy criticism, this course would let him add the foreign policy breakthrough to his second-term list of accomplishments.

Obama doesn’t need a congressional OK to give Iran most of the billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions that it would get under the agreement, as long as Tehran honors its commitments to curb its nuclear program — at least for now.

“A resolution to disapprove the Iran agreement may have substantial political reverberations, but limited practical impact,” says Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It would not override President Obama’s authority to enter into the agreement.”

Lawmakers on their summer break are deciding how to vote. A look at the current state of play:

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN SEPTEMBER?

With Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, the House and Senate are expected to turn down the deal. Obama has pledged to veto such a resolution of disapproval, so the question has turned to whether Congress could muster the votes to override him, in what would be a stinging, bipartisan vote of no-confidence against the president. And Obama would forfeit the authority he now enjoys to waive sanctions that Congress has imposed.

But Democrats and Republicans have predicted that his expected veto will be sustained — that opponents lack the votes to one-up Obama……

WHAT CAN OBAMA DO ON HIS OWN? The president could suspend some U.S. sanctions. He could issue new orders to permit financial transactions that otherwise are banned now. On the financial sector, Obama could use executive orders to remove certain Iranians and entities, including nearly two dozen Iranian banks, from U.S. lists, meaning they no longer would be subject to economic penalties……….http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-iran-nuclear-deal-obama-20150816-story.html

August 17, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Secrecy and graft in South Africa’s multi $billion nuclear power plan?

flag-S.AfricaNuclear power plan stirs fears of secrecy and graft Project could cost as much as $100 bn – experts., Money Web  Joe Brock, Reuters | 14 August 2015 Fears are growing in South Africa that agreements to build nuclear power plants that could be the most  expensive procurement in the country’s history will be made behind closed doors, without the necessary public scrutiny.

Among those voicing concern, two government sources say the Treasury is not being included in procurement discussions, despite the massive budgetary implications of a project that experts say may cost as much as $100 billion.

Construction on the first plant is due to start next year, breakneck speed compared with the years of regulatory and environmental checks for nuclear projects in countries such as Britain and the United States.

The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, believes the pace of the deal will prevent proper analysis before contracts are signed and huge sums of money change hands.

“The whole deal has been veiled in secrecy. We have no details on what we’re buying, how much it’s going to cost or how we’re going to pay for it,” shadow energy minister Gordon Mackay told Reuters.

The Department of Energy (DoE) did not respond to requests for comment. It has said several times the procurement process will be transparent and follow procedure.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was forced this week to deny reports of tensions with the DoE over the plans and said the Treasury was playing a supporting role in the procurement process.

fighters-marketing-1Pretoria has already signed non-binding inter-government agreements for nuclear power support from several countries including France, China and South Korea.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said this week the nuclear plan was at an “advanced stage” and the procurement process should be completed by March.

Following meetings between Zuma and Russian President Vladimir Putin last year, the Russian atomic agency Rosatom said it had agreed a $10 billion contract to build power stations.

However, the DoE denied an agreement had been reached, raising public suspicion in South Africa of backroom dealmaking – an accusation often levelled against the ruling African National Congress under Zuma’s tenure.

The nuclear deal is of huge concern given South Africa’s history of endemic corruption,” said Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC lawmaker and now executive director of Corruption Watch UK.

Feinstein is the author of a book about alleged widespread graft in a $4.8 billion arms deal during the late-1990s.

“I fear that the corruption in this deal might dwarf the arms deal,” he said.

Chronic shortages, mounting debt…….A 2013 study by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre found more nuclear power was not needed and would not be cost-effective, based on an estimated installed cost of $7 000 per kilowatt.

The DoE has estimated the build would cost $4 200 per kilowatt. Energy experts say this is optimistic and the calculations are based on out-of-date assumptions……..http://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/nuclear-power-plan-stirs-fears-of-secrecy-and-graft/

August 15, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics international, South Africa | Leave a comment

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