nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Patrick Moore, fossil fuel and nuclear mercenary, tours Australia, courtesy of front group Galileo Movement

Moore,Patrick-11Moore’s trip to Australia has been financed through the climate science denial organisation the Galileo Movement.

.Moore has been given favourable coverage in popular rural newspaper The Land and the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Australian.

Moore is almost always described as a co-founder of Greenpeace, despite Greenpeace itself contesting that he wasn’t a co-founder.

An archive of Moore’s CV shows his work for corporations and organisations in logging, pulp and paper and mining. He has also been an advocate for the nuclear energy industry.


Climate Science Denialist Patrick Moore Tours Australia After Comparing Students to the Taliban
http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/10/23/climate-science-denialist-patrick-moore-tours-australia-after-comparing-students-taliban#disqus_thread Canadian climate science denialist Patrick Moore is at the beginning of a tour around Australia speaking to audiences across the country.

But here’s a warning.

If you do find yourself in the audience and don’t want to be compared to the “Taliban” then don’t even think about walking out in protest.

Less than two weeks before flying to Australia, Moore spoke on the campus of Amherst Collegein Massachusetts.

When members of the college’s environmental group decided they had heard enough and walked, Moore said they had a “Taliban mindset”.

When he was later asked to apologise, a report in the Amherst College student newspaper says Moore instead chose to double-down on his remark.

“Fifty people walk out, and I say that’s a pretty Taliban thing to do,” Moore is reported to have said, characterizing the behavior of the young students to that of the fundamentalist regime that massacred thousands and committed brutal repression of women.

Who is Patrick Moore?

Moore has no scientific credibility on climate change and has never published a scientific paper on the issue.

Yet Moore claims there is “no scientific proof” that humans are causing global warming and that “throwing bones on the ground” would have a better predictive ability than most climate models.

His opinion on the science runs against all the major national science academies in the world and about 97 per cent of all the peer reviewed studies on climate change carried out since the early 1990s. Continue reading

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear apologist James Conca, and “Nuclear Matters” don’t make sense about the industry’s future

text-Nuclear-MattersWhy Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter, Greenworld, by Michael Mariotte, 14 Oct 14

“……..As one PR pro put it, “I can’t remember the last time I read an op-ed piece argued so ineptly that it thoroughly demolished its own premise.”

This pro went on to point out the actual underlying themes of Conca’s piece:

1. Nobody cares about preserving nuclear power. You only hear from people opposing it.
2. Nobody is speaking out about preserving nuclear power. The only ones on the Hill who speak out oppose it.
3. There is no base of voters you can win over by being in favor of nuclear power.

Ironically, for most politicians politics is about power–not the kind that comes out of a wall socket, but the real stuff: who has it and how to get more of it. This piece is intended to make the case for nuclear power needing to have more political power, but, in doing so, exposes it as utterly powerless.

Back on April 1, I wrote about the founding of Nuclear Matters, “Creation of such a group is itself a sign of the industry’s desperation–who knew a technology that is so self-evidently advantageous (at least in the minds of the industry itself, if for no one else) would need a new organization not to promote industry growth but to try to postpone its inevitable stumble into oblivion?”

That desperation has now devolved into a new level of pathos, where an organization with a very fat wallet, backed by a utility worth billions and supported by an industry collectively worth hundreds of billions, now describes itself as powerless and grasping for someone to hold out a branch of support.

Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter. And it’s not for lack of effort on Exelon’s part, nor that of the organization’s many other industry supporters. It’s because their fundamental argument is that ratepayers should pay far more for their electricity than they need to simply because some nuclear utilities bet the wrong way on the future–and refuse even now to prepare for the inevitable shutdown of reactors–and because nuclear has a myriad of advantages that only nuclear utilities seem able to perceive.

The issue isn’t that these aging, uneconomic reactors are needed to keep the lights on and the beer cold. They’re not. In fact, the problem for nuclear is that the alternatives are both cheaper and cleaner. Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter because its fundamental argument simply makes no sense. http://safeenergy.org/2014/10/14/why-nuclear-matters-doesnt-matter/

October 15, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

The nuclear lobby astroturf group “Nuclear Matters” doesn’t matter

text-Nuclear-MattersWhy Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter, Greenworld, by Michael Mariotte, 14 Oct 14 Regular readers of GreenWorld know that we have dropped a lot of digital ink writing about Nuclear Matters, the astroturf group launched by Exelon early this year to try to make the case to save the utility’s aging and uneconomic nuclear fleet.

Exelon and the PR firm Sloane and Company that runs the public end of Nuclear Matters have assembled a seemingly potent team of paid-for spokespeople to make the utility’s case: former Senators like Evan Bayh and Judd Gregg; former DOE secretary James Abraham; and the big catch, former EPA Administrator, Obama climate czar, and current League of Conservation Voters board chair Carol Browner.

These and others  in Nuclear Matters’ assembled-team of backers have been writing (or, more likely, allowing their names to be used as having written) op-eds in publications across the country, appearing at Nuclear Matters-organized (ie Sloane and Company) events such as one in New York City the week of the People’s Climate March, and otherwise spreading the news that nuclear power is so important that it shouldn’t matter how costly to ratepayers or how old and unsafe a reactor is, it should keep operating for, apparently, perpetuity.

Maybe it’s just that the message isn’t exactly compelling. Or perhaps former politicians don’t carry the kind of clout Exelon needs. After all, making the case that millions of people should pay higher electricity rates than they otherwise would need to because, well, nuclear!, can’t be an easy sell to current politicians who have to answer to voters.

But the cat is out of the bag. In a remarkable column in which he tries to argue that Nuclear Matters should matter, Forbes’ incessant nuclear industry apologist James Conca inadvertently makes the case that it doesn’t matter. Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Tight control over town meetings, as Japan’s authorities sell the idea of nuclear power

flag-japan

In a statement emailed to Reuters, Greenpeace called the meetings a “farce”. The group said it was clear officials considered the event a one-way conversation without truly addressing residents’ concerns.

Japan pitches nuclear restart in tightly controlled townhalls BY KENTARO HAMADA SATSUMASENDAI Japan Fri Oct 10, 2014 (Reuters) - As part of a plan to restart its nuclear industry, Japan on Thursday began a controversial consultation process with local residents near idled reactors that was criticized for failing to give everyone in the region a say.

nuclear-panel

More than a year after Japan’s last reactor was shut down in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, officials began a series of townhall meetings to explain the approval process that cleared the Sendai plant in the southwest of the country for restart.

But local authorities set strict ground rules for the first meeting in Satsumasendai, the coastal city of 98,000 people 1,000 km (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo that hosts the two-reactor Kyushu Electric Power Co facility. “As we saw in Fukushima, once there’s an accident, the impact is felt across a large region,” said Makoto Matsuzaki, an anti-nuclear legislator for Kagoshima prefecture, where Satsumasendai is located.

“They face that risk but have no rights and no say,” said the Japanese Communist Party assemblywoman. “It’s like going to get a risky surgery at a hospital without giving your consent.”…….

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved Sendai’s safety features in September. The plant still needs to pass operational safety checks.

The government says it will defer to local authorities before proceeding, but there are no legally binding rules governing the consultation process. Continue reading

October 11, 2014 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Mainstream media comes out to bat for the nuclear lobby

spin-media-nuclearU.N. Leaders Must Include Nuclear Energy In Action Plan On Climate Change http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/09/25/u-n-leaders-must-include-nuclear-energy-in-action-plan-on-climate-change/Ron Kirk

Mr. Kirk, a U.S. trade representative from 2009-13, co-chairs the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, funded by the nuclear energy industry “……….The U.N. Climate Summit will build global partnerships among representatives from business, science, advocacy and government sectors. These partnerships will take action on an essential plan to reduce carbon pollution and address global climate change.  This plan must include realistic actions that take us toward sustainable energy solutions, including building renewables and harnessing the strengths of nuclear energy, which provides 60 percent of clean carbon-free energy in the U.S. today……http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/09/25/u-n-leaders-must-include-nuclear-energy-in-action-plan-on-climate-change/

Japan Must Re-Embrace Nuclear Energy  Jay Hallen “…… One piece of good news is that Japan’s nuclear regulators have permitted the reopening of two nuclear plants later this year, on the basis of satisfying higher safety standards.  Two is not enough.  Japan must find a way to safely replicate, and surpass, all of its past  nuclear capacity in order to stand a chance of remaining one of the world’s advanced economies…..”. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jayhallen/2014/09/24/68/

September 27, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

The cargo Cult mentality of pro Thorium Nuclear Power Trolls

Thorium-cultCargo cult….let’s see…unwillingness to accept criticism (tick), form into a clearly defined group (tick), hostility to outsiders (tick), paranoia (tick), assumption that authorities can’t be trusted or are somehow wrong/misinformed (tick), lengthy and committal indoctrination procedures (such as watching preposterously long you-tube videos…tick!), heavy focus on recruitment (tick), promise of some massive pay off at some ill-defined (and easily deferred) future date (tick)….do I need to go on?

Thorium Trolls Hypnotise Environmentalists by D. A. Ryan  It is interesting how Thorium trolls  always complain about ad-hominem comments when such personal attacks are the preferred tactic of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) fans in responding to critics, is the pot calling the kettle black? And why is it you always run up huge blog strings attacking opponents? The (lftr)lady doth protest too much me thinks!

The vast majority of people contributing to LFTR research on these forums are merely cool-aid drinking bloggers, few have any relevant qualifications, nor experience. Even you’re deity Kirk lacks a PhD or indeed any relevant qualification in Nuclear physics. You cannot design a reactor over the internet, nobody will ever give them serious funding, licensing authorities will never sign off on anything and indeed you’re very tactics of trolling any attempt at a critique is precisely the sort of stuff to send sponsors running for the exit.

There are indeed some “real” scientist working on LFTR’s and Thorium research in general (oh! and btw Seaborg’s and Weinberg have been dead for over a decade! Material science has moved on significantly since then, check out chapter 3 of my post below). As an academic, I have access to the scientific literature, and the odd MSR related paper pops up from time to time (indicating that somebody somewhere is doing serious research on the topic…Kirk’s name’s never come up mind!), but the message from all of them is nowhere near as rosy as what you see on these blogs. I am reliably informed by people in the know (those being nuclear scientists with decades of experience in the field) that it would take many decades to get LFTR’s working and given the current level of research at present (concept stage), they cannot be sure that some hard and fast showstopper won’t emerge to kill the idea off in future. While I don’t identify any definite showstoppers in my post, I do note several potential directions from which one could appear.
http://daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com/ca/part-8-msr-lftr/
http://daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com/ca/

Like I said, its a blue sky idea that simply may not work, more research (in labs mind!) is needed to answer the many technical questions. Powerpoint and photoshopped images aren’t much use. Hence why I favour focusing on renewable technology which already exists and is cheaper than nuclear energy also.
http://daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/myth-iv-nuclear-power-is-cheaper-than-any-of-the-alternatives/

- $3 billion in funding in SA, got a reference for that? Last I heard the South Africans cancelled all such research and decided to focus on conventional LWR’s.
– The Chinese? They are raiding every bit of science worldwide that’s not bolted to the floor, so hardly a surprise. They are also trying out every possible idea they can. Why? because they are playing catch up with the west. If the idea works, in 30 years time they may have an alternative to western LWR’s (tho if you read my post you’ll see it will likely be a completely different beast to what LFTR bloggers are proposing). If not? well they get a couple of well trained post-graduates out of it and experience working with MS technology (useful for concentrated solar power tech!). Also, the bulk of Chinese thorium research is focused on existing gas cooled reactors, not LFTR’s, that’s more of a side show. Indeed as I recall from Zhang etal (2006) the Chinese HTR-PM (Gas cooled, not a MSR) will initially run on Uranium, tho backward compatibility with Thorium will be engineered into the design.
– My question tho, why is nobody in the Dept of energy worried about all this? Occum’s razor would say its likely because they know something the Chinese don’t (that they’re wasting their time!).
– If the MSR is such a great idea why did it only get 3 provisional’s, 1 observer and no signatories in the 2009 Gen IV report?

Cargo cult….let’s see…unwillingness to accept criticism (tick), form into a clearly defined group (tick), hostility to outsiders (tick), paranoia (tick), assumption that authorities can’t be trusted or are somehow wrong/misinformed (tick), lengthy and committal indoctrination procedures (such as watching preposterously long you-tube videos…tick!), heavy focus on recruitment (tick), promise of some massive pay off at some ill-defined (and easily deferred) future date (tick)….do I need to go on? http://www.joabbess.com/2011/10/26/thorium-trolls-hypnotise-environmentalists/#comment-107302

 

September 26, 2014 Posted by | Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Kirk Sorenson – the Master of pro Thorium Spinology

Thorium-cultThorium Trolls Hypnotise Environmentalists http://www.joabbess.com/2011/10/26/thorium-trolls-hypnotise-environmentalists/#comment-107302  October 26th, 2011 Kirk Sorensen is apparently a one-man propaganda machine. His personal energy must be immense. He keeps turning up everywhere.

Never since the days of Tesla versus Edison has there been such an energy-related public communications coup.

He is a social media god. He has to be – he’s running an enterprise start-up marketing an unproven energy process.It appears that Bryony Worthington has been scooped up. But then she backed carbon offsetting andCarbon Capture and Storage. Can we ask if her judgment has improved lately ? And Friends of the Earthhave been hypnotised. Or maybe not. George Monbiot was taken in a while back.

From now on, I can predict British environmentalists from every sector of society to call for the development of the Thorium Fuel Cycle – although I think it’s a waste of time and resources, and in my view cannot be scaled up quickly enough to be of any use in dealing with the global energy crisis.

All we have so far is a massive, well-researched sales pitch. And Kirk Sorensen’s done his homework on networking the institutions. In fact, I think that’s all he’s capable of – talk. I sense he is a Master of Spinology.

Miracle energy sources are a never-ending source of humour and despair. Remember cold fusion ? Where’s that now ? Still in a test tube ? Burning seawater ? Are you serious ? Remember Carbon Capture and Storage ? Where’s that now – after all the hype ? And what about algae biodiesel ? Will theflow rates of output fuel ever be high enough ?

The Thorium Fuel Cycle is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The simplest solutions are the best. Ones that already exist and already work. We need to stop hoping for the future and live in the now. We already have all the technology we need to solve climate change and the energy crisis – gas and power. Renewable electricity. And renewable gas.

September 26, 2014 Posted by | Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Questioning the nuclear weapons centre’s sponsorship of Northern New Mexico College

Northern New Mexico College: A Relationship with LANL at What Cost? BY  ⋅ SEPTEMBER 17, 2014 Last week (September 10) La Jicarita ran an article about the controversy at Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) in Española over the direction in which the college is headed, moving from a “career tech” curriculum that serves the local community to an “academic” one that serves a more regional base. Many of the faculty have voted no confidence in the administration, headed by Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, that is spearheading this transition they believe is more beholden to corporate interests than community ones. Twenty-five percent of the full-time faculty has been fired or has resigned.

In that article we also ran an open letter from Dr. Patricia Perea, one of the fired faculty, which laid out her concerns about these changes at NNMC and also about the college’s connections with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Perea also raised this issue in relationship to the MALCS 2014 Summer Institute at Northern New Mexico College. MALCS is the acronym for Mujeras Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, a Chicana/Native feminist organization that works for social and environmental justice. In another open letter to the community Perea talks about how she was removed from the MALCS site committee because of her questioning of the sponsorship of the MALCS Summer Institute by corporations connected to LANL and the nuclear industrial complex. While the MALCS Summer Institute has come and gone for 2014, it’s not too late to “pay attention” to the the vast network of military and nuclear relationships of LANL contractor and MALCS sponsor Day and Zimmermann, and its relationship to NNMC.

nuclear-panel

This is her letter:

17 July 2014

Dear Colleagues, Community Members, Family and Friends:

Once again, I write this letter with care, love, respect, and not a little fear. Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) is an organization I hold very close to my heart. ……. I find it imperative that I let our diverse communities know one thing. I have expressed the following concern in both public and private communication via email, conversation, written correspondence. Please take a moment to allow me to address it here.

Sponsorship for the MALCS 2014 Institute.

There are numerous in-kind contributors to the MALCS 2014 Summer Institute at Northern New Mexico College. All of these are local and that is wonderful. However, I ask you to pay attention to one of the major “2014 MALCS Summer Institute Sponsors:” Day and Zimmermann S.O.C. Los Alamos. I have stated before that I voiced concerns regarding sponsorship from Los Alamos National Labs. I have also stated that I was reprimanded by Dr. Barceló for voicing these concerns. President Barceló’s blind spot has now become the MALCS Executive Committee’s informed decision to endorse taking sponsorship, funding and association from Day and Zimmerman S.O.C. Los Alamos.

I did not grow up in northern New Mexico. I did; however, grow up in Canyon, Texas. Therefore, I know I have the experience to speak to a large part of the Los Alamos National Labs (LANL) issue. For over thirty years, my mother worked at Pantex (a nuclear weapons facility). We had great benefits, job security, excellent union representation. Pantex has been a significant employer for much of the populations of color in the Texas Panhandle. It does come at great cost. There are widespread health issues – thyroid cancers, thyroid imbalances, lymphoma, blood cancers, various tumors, etc. When I taught at Brown University, we discussed national areas of sacrifice. Many students were not familiar with this term. I named the effects of living in these areas. To emphasize these effects, I listed every member of my family who has been diagnosed with cancer. To me, this was significant, but nor particularly exceptional (at least not exceptional in the Panhandle). The students were stunned. How could that much cancer happen to one family across generations?

There is no small amount of evidence that links cancer to the radiation produced by nuclear energy and its accouterments. We all know the cancer rates around the Trinity Site in Alamogordo, New Mexico are astounding. We know the effects of the major crises like Chernobyl or Fukushima. Organizations such as Honor Our Pueblo Existence (H.O.P.E.) led by Santa Clara Pueblo elder Marian Naranjo address these issues and struggle to make LANL accountable on a daily basis. I voice concern over the sponsorship of the MALCS 2014 Institute by Day and Zimmerman S.O.C. Los Alamos knowing that it is a double-edged sword. Los Alamos National Labs supports both the community and NNMC in innumerable ways. In just as many ways, it harms.

This we know. But I ask you to consider thinking about Day and Zimmermann, the corporation that provides Los Alamos National Labs with both management and security services. For over 100 years, this corporation (based out of Pennsylvania) has worked in the fields of energy production (oil, nuclear), weapons production, weapons disposal and security management.

They have established, acquired or contracted with the following military suppliers and  partners during the past 70 years: ……….

For me and for the members of our communities who live in national areas of sacrifice; live near or cross the U.S.-México border, serve in the military, it is imperative we inform ourselves of MALCS’ sponsors. It is imperative we know this. As working class women, many of us have family who served in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us suffer the health consequence of exposure to herbicides and radiation. I mentioned cancer above, but there are incredibly high amounts of immunodeficiency diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in our communities of color, particularly among women………

nuclear-teacher I encourage the audience of this letter to demand that a conversation be held at the 2014 Institute regarding the politics of this major sponsorship………..As the MALCS Site Committee, we chose to embracethe connection between our bodies and our environment. We chose to embrace environmental science and environmental justice. How can we, in good conscience, have this conversation when we do not hold ourselves or the partnerships we cultivate accountable? We have worked so hard to form a model of women of color feminism and social change in MALCS, how can we let this go unaddressed? How do we call for a more just world, how do we honor our antepasados, our elders, the seven generations to come when we eat from the poisoned table of Day and Zimmerman?………

In the spirit of the women of color feminists/activists who have come before me, I ask that a discussion of all of the issues raised in this letter be held widely across diverse groups and forums as it concerns all of us. And I ask in particular that a discussion regarding these issues be held at the 2014 MALCS Institute at Northern New Mexico College.

Sincerely, Dr. Patricia Marie Perea

RELEVANT LINKS:…….http://lajicarita.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/northern-new-mexico-college-a-relationship-with-lanl-at-what-cost/

September 18, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Uncompetitive nuclear industry is rigging regulations and “spinning” media in order to survive

Flag-USAKilling the Competition
The Nuclear Power Agenda to Block Climate Action,  Stop Renewable Energy, and Subsidize Old Reactors, Report by Nuclear Information and Resource Center (NIRS) Sept 14 
The electric utility industry has begun an aggressive push to change energy policy in the  United States to favor nuclear power. Led by the country’s largest nuclear generators,  Exelon and Entergy, this campaign represents what would be the single largest change in  energy policy in twenty years. While their intent is to make nuclear the preferred energy  source, the changes they seek necessarily go far beyond that. They would also support  coal and natural gas-fired electricity generation, and block the growth of renewable energy and attempts to address climate change.
nukes-sad-

Exelon and Entergy see sustainable energy  solutions—renewable energy, efficiency,  conservation, etc.—as a long-term threat to
their profits. This is not because of excessive  regulations or safety requirements on nuclear  power: the industry has not had to implement  a single safety upgrade due to the Fukushima  meltdowns and faces less regulatory  enforcement than it did twenty years ago. The  closure of a record number of reactors since  2013 has exposed fundamental economic  problems facing the industry, and a growing  number of nuclear plants simply cannot  compete with modern, efficient, cost-effective
energy resources.

The industry’s campaign is an attempt to “fix”  this problem and restore the economic  viability of nuclear power for the next 20 years  or more. But in effect, these corporations  would have us sacrifice our best opportunity to create millions of jobs, revitalize our  economy, and rise to the challenge of  addressing climate change—just to keep old,
obsolete, uncompetitive nuclear reactors in business
This agenda would be unpopular at best, so  Exelon and Entergy have focused on  drumming up fears of job losses, power
shortages, and carbon emissions if some of  their unprofitable reactors were to close in the  coming years. They have only discussed their agenda in vague terms, and disclosed  particulars in piecemeal fashion.
Like the Manhattan Project that gave birth to nuclear  technology, they are counting on people not  putting the pieces together so they can see the full picture. The purpose of this brief is to  complete that picture, and enable America to  see the nuclear industry’s plan in full and to  understand the implications.
Nuclear’s Economic ProblemIn order to survive, the nuclear industry must remain economically competitive or prove that
it is necessary and should be propped up. But if uncompetitive reactors close and more of our energy needs are met by economically and environmentally sustainable solutions,  the rationales offered for producing electricity  by splitting atoms would lose relevance The industry’s economic problem is actually quite simple:
 Running nuclear reactors is becoming
more expensive as they age.
 Electricity markets generally favor the
lowest-cost energy sources.
 Energy prices have fallen to levels
lower than the costs of running
reactors.
 Energy efficiency has reduced growth
in electricity demand.
 The costs of renewable energy
sources are falling dramatically………
The industry has settled on a three-part
strategy:
 Repeal or weaken renewable energy
and efficiency programs
 Include subsidies for nuclear in carbon
reduction programs.
 Rig energy markets to guarantee

 

September 13, 2014 Posted by | Legal, politics, Reference, spinbuster, USA | 2 Comments

Restart of Sendai nuclear reactors not happening soon, despite propaganda announcement

Nuclear magicianJapanese regulator caves to the nuclear industry and government pressure – but still no restart for Sendai http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/Sendai-reactor-restart/blog/50534/ by Kendra Ulrich – 10 September, 2014 As with all things nuclear, things are not always what they seem.

Good example – today’s decision on the so called restarting of the Sendai reactors by the Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), the best nuclear regulator in the world, according to the Abe government.

The five NRA commissioners decided that a proposal submitted by Kyushu Electric, owner of the Sendai reactors, complies with new guidelines brought in after the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear catastrophe.

What the commissioners actually did was capitulate to pressure from Japan’s infamous nuclear village – the same industry and government alliance that created the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The decision really means that Kyushu Electric has moved restarting the Sendai reactors forward a bit, but it’s still not a restart approval. It doesn’t mean the NRA has certified the reactors as safe to operate or that they will restart anytime soon.

Why the confusion?

In part, it’s a savvy political strategy and a deliberate effort by the regulator, acting for the nuclear utilities and the Abe government, to signal that nuclear power is back in Japan.

The timing is no accident. In a few days, Japan celebrates an entire year without a single commercial nuclear reactor operating. It’s a powerful symbolic moment and a concrete demonstration that nuclear power, and its inherent risks, is unnecessary for the third largest global economy, with a population of 130 million people.

This is a major body blow to the nuclear industry both in Japan and globally. It’s a lesson the nuclear industry and its government backers would rather the public did not learn.

When the Ohi 4 reactor in Fukui prefecture was shut down on September 15th 2013, Japan became completely nuclear-free. A year later Japan is still nuclear-free. Many of the remaining 48 nuclear power reactors in Japan will stay shutdown permanently. Most of those that may restart will not do so for years to come.

The Abe government is desperate to prevent people from grasping that the world’s third largest nuclear reactor program has failed to generate any electricity for 12 months. In that year, there have been no blackouts or brownouts, the trains still run, the lights still turn on, and smart phones are still charged.

Most people in Japan understand that the declared government policy, that nuclear power is an essential and a stable source of energy, is a myth. They will not be fooled. The majority of the public are demanding no nuclear reactor restarts, an end to nuclear power, and a future energy system based on efficiency and renewables.

In fact, they are already creating this clean energy future with massive growth in solar PV, and significant reductions in energy demand since the Fukushima disaster.

Nuclear regulation worldwide exists to give the impression that nuclear power can be managed safely and without risk of severe accident. That is not the same as actually assuring safety and no severe risk of accidents.

The Japanese NRA, created from the discredited agencies that contributed to the Fukushima catastrophe, in the past months has revealed that it takes the side of industry instead of standing up for public safety.

The decision today highlights this wider truth. The NRA is still reviewing many remaining unresolved safety issues that scientists and citizens groups are also challenging.

So flawed is the safety case for Sendai that local citizens are seeking an injunction against Kyushu Electric and the government to stop them from operating the plant. No restart reflects public opinion

The latest polling shows 59% of Japanese people oppose restarting nuclear reactors, including Sendai. The NRA decision ignores the majority opinion.

The people of Japan, still suffering the ongoing tragedy of Fukushima, understand that the NRA is not protecting the public but only the interests of an industry in crisis.

The plan of the Abe administration and electric utilities to return Japan to nuclear power is in disarray, with no early restart for the Sendai reactors, and ever-increasing challenges for the other 46 reactors.

Sendai may make headlines in Japan and elsewhere today as a step toward restarts, but it does not change that for an entire year, as of September 15th, Japan will have been nuclear-free.

This is in large part due to the commitment of the people of Japan who have taken to the streets to protest nuclear restarts, have fought and won in courts, have massively reduced energy demand, and rapidly expanded clean, renewable solar PV.

This is impressive leadership from the people has advanced Japan’s future despite the determination of the Abe Government and dirty energy industries to drag Japan backward into the energy dark ages.

The people have proven their commitment to a clean energy future, and they’ve shown the world that it is possible. It is happening now.

Kendra Ulrich is an energy campaigner with Greenpeace International.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby steps up the propaganda to improve its image

Stop worrying, and love nuclear power: Officials—  CNBC  @TeflonGeek  28 Aug 14, Domestic energy policy has largely been co-opted by the shale revolution. Meanwhile, renewable alternatives are finding their sea legs in consumer power. Despite modest attempts to garner broader acceptance, however, atomic power continues to languish because of safety and environmental concerns.

On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a plan that allows nuclear waste to be stored on-site at active reactors—a decision mired in controversy, and one that underscores the influence of anti-nuclear arguments.

That sort of opposition has prompted the nuclear industry to go on the offensive, and roll out the big guns in an effort to rehabilitate its image. In recent months, the Nuclear Energy Institute has enlisted organized labor, as well as an array of former elected officials from both sides of the aisle, to tout the virtues of nuclear power……..

Emp-nuke-clothes

“Unfortunately we’re confronting a situation where 20-30 plants are at risk of being shut down prematurely,” out of the existing total of about 100, the New Hampshire Republican said, who sat on the Senate’s Energy Committee during his tenure……

Fuel diversity, a catchphrase among those who argue that U.S. energy supply shouldn’t be dominated solely by oil and gas, is a central theme for nuclear backers………

In spite of centrist think tanks like the Third Way who believe nuclear must be part of the energy story, the environmental lobby is steadfastly opposed to expanding existing capacity.

“We continue to believe nuclear power is not safe, and is an incredibly expensive source of electricity,” said John Coequyt, director of the international climate campaign at the Sierra Club. In an interview, he argued that efforts to expand the U.S’ nuclear footprint “will take way too long to be a solution to climate change.”

Lingering memories of Japan’s harrowing disaster in Fukushima, as well as what Coequyt called a few “near misses” here in the U.S., “pretty much killed the willingness of the core of the environmental movement to consider [nuclear expansion] as a solid political strategy.”

Many nuclear plant opponents cite cost constraints as a real barrier to expansion. They may have a point: Xcel Energy is facing the ire of regulators after a five-year rebuilding project of a Minnesota plant saw its price tag balloon to $665 million, double its initial estimate.

“Nuclear reactors become incredibly unprofitable and have to shut down when they have problems they need to address,” said Coequyt. “Even leaving aside the cost, you don’t have the ability to scale like wind and solar, and both are moving incredibly quickly,” he added.  http://www.cnbc.com/id/101954991#.

August 29, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Scrutiny on the methods of pro Thorium Twitter trolls

A recent article analysed the illogicality, if not downright dishonesty of the climate sceptic trolls. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/8/20/policy-politics/what-i-learned-debating-science-trolls
I welcomed that article with interest, as it dissected the often quite sophisticated comments, blogs, tweets, etc of the climate denialists, most of them well and truly in the pay of vested interests in the fossil fuel industries.
The nuclear lobby is no doubt just as sophisticated. However, it has a sort of “side arsenal” of tweeters, mainly focusing on the red herring industry of thorium energy, Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs and Small Modular (Nuclear) Reactors. (Note how these new geewhiz lobbyists leave out that tainted word “Nuclear” )
It’s interesting to look at their tactics – particularly on Twitter.
I am constantly the victim of Twitter trollism because I campaign against the nuclear industry. It is ironic that these trolls use climate change as their argument for nuclear power, – and accuse me constantly of being in the pay of the coal and gas companies. That’s despite the fact that I repeatedly write and publish on websites on the critical need for action to address climate change
The pro nuclear trolls use two tactics.
 The main one is to abuse and discredit their targeted person. Thus I am not only “in the pay” of the fossil fuel industries, I am also a “murderer” – as well as being “stupid” “evil” ignorant” and have many other unpleasant attributes.
Their second tactic is to focus on narrowly technical matters - such as the intricacies of new (though not yet existing) Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs). The pretense is that this is the whole argument – the superiority of new nuclear technology. Subjects such as economics, ecology, public health, civil liberties, – these matters are “not relevant” to the discussion on nuclear power.
In fact, only people with technical expertise can have a valid opinion. (Of course if a technically qualified person should oppose nuclear power , then he or she must be “in the pay” of the fossil fuel industries).

Here are today’s samples of pro thorium tweeter tactics against critics – me, in fact. No attempt to answer the factual tweets that I posted about renewable energy versus nuclear power (My full name is Noel Christina Macpherson Wauchope)
Thomas Huxley @thjr19Notice how fossil fuel shill Noel Wauchope only mentions say coal (NEVER mentioning gas) perhaps once in a dozen tweets. $$$$$$ !! #thorium

Thomas Huxley @thjr19

Noel Wauchope: Please! Fossil Fuel Shill Manager: No! NW: Please! FFSM: OK, every 2nd tweet. NO MORE, hear me

Thomas Huxley @thjr19

Noel Wauchope, fossil fuel industry shill, has been told to lay off coal. How long to get permission again?!

 

August 23, 2014 Posted by | Christina's notes, spinbuster | Leave a comment

A nuclear boondoggle exposed – Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)

Report: New Nuclear Power Technology Would Siphon Resources Away From Renewable Energy, PROGRESS ILLINOIS Ellyn Fortino Friday August 8th, 2014, “…….one nuclear financing expert argues in a new report that SMRs, which have yet to be built in the United States, would be no cheaper than their larger counterparts. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at theInstitute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School, also warns that SMR development would suck up funding that could otherwise be used for what he says are more attractive energy options like wind and solar.

“Large reactors have never been economically competitive and there is no reason to believe that smaller reactors will fare any better,” Cooper said. “Giving nuclear power a central role in climate change policy would not only drain away resources from the more promising alternatives, it would undermine the effort to create the physical and institutional infrastructure needed to support the emerging electricity systems based on renewables, distributed generation and intensive system and demand management.”………

Although SMRs would be smaller in size, “creating an assembly line for SMR technology would require a massive financial commitment,” Cooper writes in his report, “The Economic Failure of Nuclear Power and the Development of a Low-Carbon Electricity Future:  Why Small Modular Reactors Are Part of the Problem, Not the Solution.”

text-SMRs

He projects it would cost between $72 billion and $90 billion by 2020 to fund the development of just two SMR designs and assembly lines.

The estimated price tag to invest in SMRs is roughly equivalent to 75 percent of the total projected investment in U.S. electricity generation over the same time period, the report noted. It is also “substantially more” than what is expected to be spent on renewables, Cooper said.

“This massive commitment reinforces the traditional concern that nuclear power will crowd out the alternatives,” he added.

SMRs themselves would also cost more, not less, than larger reactors, according to the report.

“The higher costs result from: lost economies of scale in containment structures, dedicated systems for control, management and emergency response, and the cost of licensing and security; operating costs between one-fifth and one-quarter higher; and decommissioning costs between two and three times as high,” Cooper noted.

SMRs are up against greater challenges than previous technologies because they are “a radical new technology that its advocates would like to have treated in a very different way with respect to safety and licensing,” Cooper explained.

“They would like to deploy lots of reactors close to population centers. That’s the way they can make their economics work,” he continued. “And they need to relax safety … They’ve asked for a number of changes in safety to try to drive down the cost, and even then they cannot compete on costs.”……

the industry’s hype around SMRs is now fizzling, Cooper explained. The “unproven” SMR technology has already experienced setbacks in the marketplace, he said, pointing to recent announcements from Babcock & Wilcox and Westinghouse Electric Co., another small-reactor industry leader developing a 225-megawatt SMR.

Babcock & Wilcox said last month that it is slowing the development of and funding for its mPower technology because the company cannot find major investors for the effort. Westinghouse — after being passed up twice by the DOE for SMR cost-sharing agreements — announced in February that it is shifting its attention away from small-reactor technology because it does not have a customer base for SMRs.

“They are cutting back for simple reasons: They can’t find customers. They can’t find investors,” Cooper said. “In a market economy like ours, that is a death knell, and so they have slashed their commitment to small modular reactors……….”http://progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2014/05/18/report-new-nuclear-power-technology-would-siphon-resources-away-renewa

 

August 9, 2014 Posted by | Reference, spinbuster, technology, USA | 1 Comment

Nuclear lobby wants EPA to promote its industry!

cartoon-climate-conEPA rule not such a boon for nuclear after all — utilities Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter Greenwire: Friday, August 8, 2014 U.S. EPA’s greenhouse gas proposal for existing power plants doesn’t do enough to boost nuclear energy, advocates for the industry say.

Two months after EPA unveiled the proposal — and just over two months before the end of the public comment period — companies that have invested billions of dollars in the United States’ primary source of zero-carbon baseload energy say they are still reviewing the draft.

But while the industry has yet to reach a consensus position, some utilities say they are discouraged by the way the June 2 proposal treats new nuclear projects that are coming online or attempts to help existing facilities overcome the economic factors that threaten them with retirement. The agency has proposed tougher state carbon intensity targets for states that host nuclear in the hopes of encouraging them to provide incentives for the industry, but some advocates say it hasn’t rewarded states for past nuclear investment………

“We therefore propose that the emission reductions supported by retaining in operation six percent of each state’s historical nuclear capacity should be factored into the state goals for the respective states,” EPA states in the rule’s preamble. If states do not retain their nuclear fleets, they must make up that 6 percent zero-carbon energy through other measures, like new demand-side efficiency or renewable energy.

But utilities that have invested or are investing in nuclear facilities say that’s not enough……. the nuclear crediting mechanism needs to be improved to achieve EPA’s intended objective,” said Paul Adams, a spokesman for Exelon Corp., which operates the largest nuclear fleet in the nation. He called on EPA to finalize a rule that will “treat zero-carbon resources the same and ensure states do not double-count these resources.”……

But analysts say EPA faced a tough task when it came to deciding how the rule should treat nuclear energy. In contrast to wind and solar facilities, nuclear plants are so large, they say, that giving full credit for facilities that are already slated to come online could mean giving states like South Carolina a way to meet their targets without making any reductions elsewhere….http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060004265

August 9, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | 6 Comments

Dr Helen Caldicott exposes the fallacies of the push for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

SMRs-mirageSmall Modular Reactors Huffington Post, Dr   08/07/2014   Now that the “nuclear renaissance” is dead following the Fukushima catastrophe, when one sixth of the world’s nuclear reactors closed, the nuclear corporations — Toshiba, Nu-Scale, Babcock and Wilcox, GE Hitachi, General Atomics, and the Tennessee Valley Authority — will not accept defeat.

Their new strategy is to develop small modular reactors (SMRs), allegedly free of the dangers inherent in large reactors: safety issues, high cost, proliferation risks and radioactive waste.

But these claims are fallacious, for the reasons outlined below.

Basically, there are three types of SMRs, which generate less than 300 megawatts of electricity compared with current 1,000-megawatt reactors.

1. Light-water reactors

These will be smaller versions of present-day pressurized water reactors, using water as the moderator and coolant, but with the same attendant problems as Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Built underground, they will be difficult to access in the event of an accident or malfunction.

Because they’re mass-produced (turnkey production), large numbers must be sold yearly to make a profit. This is an unlikely prospect, because major markets — China and India — will not buy U.S. reactors when they can make their own.

If safety problems arise, they all must be shut down, which will interfere substantially with electricity supply.

SMRs will be expensive because the cost per unit capacity increases with a decrease in reactor size. Billions of dollars of government subsidies will be required because Wall Street is allergic to nuclear power. To alleviate costs, it is suggested that safety rules be relaxed, including reducing security requirements, and reducing the 10-mile emergency planning zone to 1,000 feet.

2. Non-light-water designs

These include high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) or pebble-bed reactors. Five billion tiny fuel kernels consisting of high-enriched uranium or plutonium will be encased in tennis-ball-sized graphite spheres that must be made without cracks or imperfections — or they could lead to an accident. A total of 450,000 such spheres will slowly and continuously be released from a fuel silo, passing through the reactor core, and then recirculated 10 times. These reactors will be cooled by helium gas operating at high very temperatures (900 degrees C).

A reactor complex consisting of four HTGR modules will be located underground, to be run by just two operators in a central control room. Claims are that HTGRs will be so safe that a containment building will be unnecessary and operators can even leave the site (“walk-away-safe” reactors).

However, should temperatures unexpectedly exceed 1,600 degrees C, the carbon coating will release dangerous radioactive isotopes into the helium gas, and at 2,000 degrees C the carbon would ignite, creating a fierce, Chernobyl-type graphite fire.

If a crack develops in the piping or building, radioactive helium would escape, and air would rush in, also igniting the graphite.

Although HTGRs produce small amounts of low-level waste, they create larger volumes of high-level waste than conventional reactors.

Despite these obvious safety problems, and despite the fact that South Africa has abandoned plans for HTGRs, the U.S. Department of Energy has unwisely chosen the HTGR as the “next-generation nuclear plant.”

3. Liquid-metal fast reactors (PRISM)

It is claimed by proponents that fast reactors will be safe, economically competitive, proliferation-resistant, and sustainable.

They are fueled by plutonium or highly enriched uranium and cooled by either liquid sodium or a lead-bismuth molten coolant. Liquid sodium burns or explodes when exposed to air or water, and lead-bismuth is extremely corrosive, producing very volatile radioactive elements when irradiated.

Should a crack occur in the reactor complex, liquid sodium would escape, burning or exploding. Without coolant, the plutonium fuel could reach critical mass, triggering a massive nuclear explosion, scattering plutonium to the four winds. One millionth of a gram of plutonium induces cancer, and it lasts for 500,000 years. Extraordinarily, they claim that fast reactors will be so safe that they will require no emergency sirens, and that emergency planning zones can be decreased from 10 miles to 1,300 feet.

There are two types of fast reactors: a simple, plutonium-fueled reactor and a “breeder,” in which the plutonium-reactor core is surrounded by a blanket of uranium 238, which captures neutrons and converts to plutonium.

The plutonium fuel, obtained from spent reactor fuel, will be fissioned and converted to shorter-lived isotopes, cesium and strontium, which last 600 years instead of 500,000. The industry claims that this process, called “transmutation,” is an excellent way to get rid of plutonium waste. But this is fallacious, because only 10 percent fissions, leaving 90 percent of the plutonium for bomb making, etc.

Nuclear-Wizards

Then there’s construction. Three small plutonium fast reactors will be grouped together to form a module, and three of these modules will be buried underground. All nine reactors will then be connected to a fully automated central control room operated by only three operators. Potentially, then, one operator could face a catastrophic situation triggered by loss of off-site power to one unit at full power, another shut down for refueling and one in startup mode. There are to be no emergency core cooling systems.

Fast reactors require a massive infrastructure, including a reprocessing plant to dissolve radioactive waste fuel rods in nitric acid, chemically removing the plutonium, and a fuel fabrication facility to create new fuel rods. A total of 15 to 25 tons of plutonium are required to operate a fuel cycle at a fast reactor, and just five pounds is fuel for a nuclear weapon.

Thus fast reactors and breeders will provide extraordinary long-term medical dangers and the perfect situation for nuclear-weapons proliferation. Despite this, the industry plans to market them to many countries.

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Reference, reprocessing, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 863 other followers