The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear lobby’s wishful thinking about Small Modular (SMR) and Generation IV reactors

text-relevantNor should the industry look for help from the trendy new kids on the block: small modular reactors (SMRs) and Generation IV technologies. The report predicts that electricity costs from SMRs will typically be 50-100% higher than for current large reactors, although it holds out some hope that large volume production of SMRs could help reduce costs–if that large volume production is comprised of “a sufficiently large number of identical SMR designs…built and replicated in factory assembly workshops.” Not very likely unless the industry accepts a socialist approach to reactor manufacturing, which is even less likely than that the approach would lead to any significant cost savings.

As for Generation IV reactors, the report at its most optimistic can only say, “In terms of generation costs, generation IV technologies aim to be at least as competitive as generation III technologies….though the additional complexity of these designs, the need to develop a specific supply chain for these reactors and the development of the associated fuel cycles will make this a challenging task.”

So, at best the Generation IV reactors are aiming to be as competitive as the current–and economically failing–Generation III reactors. And even realizing that inadequate goal will be “challenging.” The report might as well have recommended to Generation IV developers not to bother……..


Nuclear advocates fight back with wishful thinking. Green World, Michael Mariotte September 3, 2015 It must be rough to be a nuclear power advocate these days: clean renewable energy is cleaning nuclear’s clock in the marketplace; energy efficiency programs are working and causing electricity demand to remain stable and even fall in some regions; despite decades of industry effort radioactive waste remains an intractable problem; and Fukushima’s fallout–both literal and metaphoric–continues to cast a pall over the industry’s future. Continue reading

September 5, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Japan’s Monju nuclear reprocessing reactor, plagued by safety errors, offline for most of 20 years

text-relevantErrors found in safety management of Monju reactor Sep. 3, 2015 Japan’s nuclear regulators have found fresh faults with the safety management of the country’s fast-breeder reactor, which is currently offline. They say they have found thousands of errors in safety classifications of the equipment and devices at the Monju reactor.

The operator of the prototype reactor in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, has been banned from conducting test runs since 2013 following discoveries of a large number of safety inspection oversights.


The Nuclear Regulation Authority says it has recently found at least 3,000 mistakes with safety classifications of equipment and devices at the reactor during its regular inspections which are conducted 4 times a year. Its officials say, equipment and devices with high importance were, in some cases, classified in lower ranks in the 3-level system, which suggest the operator might have failed to carry out necessary inspections for them.

The errors found recently include those going as far back as 2007. The fact suggests that government inspectors have also overlooked the operator’s mistakes. The operator, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, built the Monju fast-breeder reactor in the early 1990s to reuse the spent nuclear fuel MOX, a mixture of plutonium extracted from spent fuel and uranium.

But it has been offline for most of the period after it underwent a fire from a leak of sodium, the reactor’s coolant, in 1995.
The operator aims to conduct the reactor’s test run by next March. But it is uncertain when the ban by the authority will be lifted. The plant’s director, Kazumi Aoto, says he will take the government’s report seriously. An NRA inspector, Yutaka Miyawaki, says the regulators will try to identify the actual effects of the errors.

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing, safety | Leave a comment

Small Nuclear Power – Not Cheap, Not Beautiful, Not Safe – Not even NEW!

text-relevantWhen it comes to Nuclear Power, Small Isn’t Beautiful, Nor Safe Nor Cheap Nor Even New. USNRC NuScale Comment Deadline Monday Night 31 August, One Minute to text-SMRsMidnight NY-DC Time 30 SundayAug 2015 by

NuScale Power, LLC, Design-Specific Review Standard and Safety Review Matrix“Docket Folder Summary!docketDetail;D=NRC-2015-0160 (If you don’t like the questions answer a different question, as per the advice that an MIT Ph.D. gave their grad student, and MIT is big on nuclear, the head of the US DOE, Moniz, teaches there, so it should be ok for this!)

NuScale in 2003 when it belonged to the US Gov and was called “MULTI-APPLICATION, SMALL, LIGHT WATER REACTOR (MASLWR)” INEEL/EXT-04-01626

Greenpeace’s Justin McKeating made an excellent analysis of NuScale last year (see below our commentary).

However, he overlooked that the US DOE actually invented NuScale under the name of MASLWR. So, this is at least a second round of government funding. The US government dropped MASLWR and former DOE workers picked it up, probably after the patent expired, dubbing it NuScale. And, they are still feeding off the taxpayer pork barrel dole.[1][2] Plus, it’s NuScale Not! The nuclear industry only knows how to recycle the same old stuff.

There doesn’t appear to be much, if anything, new about NuScale. The only known immediate nuclear deaths from a nuclear accident, in the US, were from a mini-SL-1 reactor that made nuclear fallout in rural Idaho. [3] In 1968, in Lucens Switzerland, there was a mini-underground nuclear reactor, which had a major accident. Although smaller than NuScale, 100 Rem (1 Sievert; 1000 mSv) was measured in the reactor cavern, and it is ranked as a major nuclear accident. Radiation was measured in the nearby village; it continues to leak radiation from the cavern. From the beginning the Lucens Reactor was plagued by leaks in the underground cavern and corrosion issues due to its underground location. [4] NuScale too will suffer from additional corrosion and extra problems of hydrogen attack because it is part underground and stuck in water on all sides. Underground nuclear isn’t a magic fix, on the contrary.

NuScale is apparently not really passive either “Conduction through the vessel wall is by itself not a sufficient mechanism for heat removal in the present design. A circulation path is required to effectively remove the core decay heat. The sump makeup system is required.” [5] Furthermore, Italian researchers found that if if “SUMP valves are not operated and the ADS vent valves stuck open“, then there was a six hour “grace” period before CHF [Critical Heat Flux] “conditions are reached at top of the core. The dryout cannot be quenched. Primary system coolant released thorugh the HTC top valve outside the contaiment” [6]. Six hour grace period to meltdown-nuclear accident. So, these are neither passive, nor perfectly safe. And, they are proposing putting them in large groups, which makes one wonder what’s the point. A quick look online shows that NuScale has just submitted a laundry list of patents (July 2015) which, looking at the list alone, sound less original, than trying to patent a chicken sandwich, as someone recently did.

From Greenpeace:
When it comes to nuclear power, small isn’t beautiful. Or safe or cheap.
Blogpost by Justin McKeating – June 19, 2014 at 11:55
Not beautiful, safe or cheap: a message to the United States, where the Obama administration has pledged to waste money financing the Small Modular Reactor (SMR).

SMRs are supposed to be small and prefab – constructed from parts made in a central location and slapped together onsite like a cheap prefab home. Those parts can then be shipped out and built by staff who don’t necessarily have the skills to build larger, more complex reactors.

The trouble is, this is merely old nuclear technology in new clothes. So why is the US Department of Energy (DoE) is giving $217 million dollars over five years to NuScale, a SMR manufacturer.


Let’s note, with a weary shake of the head, that this is yet another public subsidy for the failing economics of nuclear power, and take a look why this is a bad investment of taxpayer dollars by the Obama administration.

Dr. Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, has published a paper titled, 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.

In his paper, Dr. Cooper finds SMRs won’t be cheaper and, more worryingly, manufacturers and supporters of the technology want to short-circuit safety regulations to get them built.
With the Fukushima disaster in its fourth year and no real solution to the ongoing problems and massive contamination in the foreseeable future, maybe now is not the time to talk about reducing nuclear safety, particularly with experimental, untested technology.


Dr Cooper adds SMRs will be more expensive than traditional nuclear technologies and that up to $90 billion dollars will be needed to make SMRs commercially viable. That’s a huge sum that will drag financing away from renewable power projects that are vital in the fight against climate change.

We’ve been here before: the story of the nuclear industry wasting billions is an old one……..


August 31, 2015 Posted by | Reference, technology, USA | 1 Comment

Disposal of plutonium; burial is cheaper than MOX processing

MOXFlag-USAflag-UKnuClear news No.77, September 20156. Plutonium Conundrum A US Energy Department-commissioned study, which has been leaked to the Union of Concerned Scientists, concludes that it would be cheaper and far less risky to dispose of 34 metric tons of U.S. surplus plutonium at a federal nuclear waste repository in New Mexico than convert it into mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for commercial nuclear power plants at the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina.

The unreleased report describes in detail the delays and massive cost overruns at the half-built MOX facility, located at the federal Savannah River Site. High staff turnover, the need to replace improperly installed equipment, and an antagonistic relationship between the local federal project director and the contractor are only some of the factors undermining the project. The new report also notes that there are “no obvious silver bullets” to reduce the life-cycle cost of the MOX approach.

According to UCS, a better alternative to turning the surplus plutonium into commercial nuclear fuel would be to “downblend” it, a method the Energy Department has already used to dispose of several metric tons of plutonium. It involves diluting the plutonium with an inert, nonradioactive material and then sending it to the nuclear waste site in New Mexico, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), for burial. The new report’s analysis supports that assessment. …….

The US report is bound to have a negative impact of the UK Government’s preferred management option for its plutonium stockpile which is to convert it into Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel. (See ‘Slow Progress on Plutonium Stockpiles’ Nuclear News No.76).
Don Hancock of the Albuquerque-based Southwest Information and Research Center, which closely monitors WIPP, also opposes the MOX project. But he’s sceptical about WIPP as a viable alternative and said the Energy Department should review other options, including storing the plutonium at the Savannah River Site or the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, where thousands of plutonium pits are already warehoused. He said: “The [DoE and] the Union of Concerned Scientists may be confident that WIPP will reopen in a few years, but I don’t see any real basis for that,” Hancock said. “Going from one bad idea to another bad idea is not the solution to this problem.” (3)

August 29, 2015 Posted by | - plutonium, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Concerns over reliability, safety, chemistry of planned Advanced Boiling Water Nuclear Reactors (ABWR)

flag-UKNo2NuclearPower nuClear news No.77, September 2015 ABWRs According to World Nuclear News (WNN) there are four operable Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) in Japan while two more are under construction. Another two are being built in Taiwan and two planned for Lithuania, although another two have been shelved in the USA. The design is already licensed in Japan and the USA. WNN points out, disturbingly that ABWRs can run on a full core of mixed oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel, raising the prospect of armed plutonium shipments travelling from Sellafield to Anglesey and Gloucestershire. (6)

Continue reading

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Reference, technology, UK | Leave a comment

IAEA opening new nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan

New nuclear fuel bank a welcome development, Japan Times, 25 Aug 15 BY  “………(on Aug. 27), Kazakhstan is establishing a major new international fuel bank, which it will operate on behalf of the IAEA. The new facility should once and for all remove the main excuse that has been advanced, sincerely or not, for building and maintaining homegrown enrichment capability.

Scheduled to commence operations in 2017, the Kazakh fuel bank will store up to 90 tons of LEU, sufficient to refuel three typical power-producing light water reactors. While Kazakhstan will physically operate the bank, the uranium will be owned and controlled by the IAEA, and made available to non-nuclear-weapon states if, for any reason, they cannot secure the LEU they need from the commercial market.

Provided the state in question is in compliance with its comprehensive non-proliferation safeguards agreement with the IAEA, it can draw the required fuel from the bank and transfer it to a fuel fabricator to make fuel assemblies for the reactors involved…….

The bank has been funded by voluntary contributions, including $50 million from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a U.S.-based NGO, $49 million from the U.S. government, up to $25 million from the European Union, $10 million each from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, and $5 million from Norway……

August 26, 2015 Posted by | Kazakhstan, technology | Leave a comment

Escalating costs, expanding timelines, cast doubt on the future of modular nuclear construction

Fitch: ‘Failure’ of new nuke construction means fewer plants  , Thursday, August 20, 2015  By Matthew Bandyk The troubled construction of new nuclear reactors in Georgia and South Carolina will likely chill the pursuit of more nuclear plants in the U.S., although recent actions by the U.S. EPA and the Department of Energy could improve the outlook over time, according to an analysis by Fitch Ratings.

As a result, there will be less new nuclear to replace the increasing number of retiring plants. Fitch said that the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s forecast of nuclear generation falling by 10,800 MW by 2020 might be too conservative if more plants retire due to local political pressure and the need for costly upgrades.

The nuclear projects at the Vogtle and V.C. Summer plants, the first new nuclear generation built in the U.S. in decades, use the Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC AP1000 reactor design, which promised to be cheaper and more efficient to build than past nuclear plants that saw spiraling cost overruns during construction. In particular, Westinghouse touted the “modern, modular” construction technique in which major plant components would be built off-site as modules, allowing pieces of the project to be completed in parallel and in turn speeding up construction.

But “the recent failure of modular construction to deliver lower prices and shorter timelines will likely keep a cap on U.S. nuclear development into the midterm,” Fitch analysts said in a statement Aug. 20. The Vogtle and Summer projects are each running about three years behind schedule and are now expected to cost a few billion dollars more than originally estimated.

The blame for much of the delays has been centered on subpar work on the modules at facilities like Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. N.V.‘s Lake Charles fabrication facility in Louisiana. CB&I has since shifted work to other facilities, and monitors of the Vogtle project recently reported that the module work has “improved significantly.” But the contractors continue to miss their own deadlines and there is still risk of more delays, the same monitors said.

In addition, four AP1000 reactors under construction in China are also seeing rising costs and delays, Fitch noted.

One of the best hopes for the U.S. nuclear industry comes from the EPA’s recently finalized Clean Power Plan, according to Fitch. The rule allows new nuclear plants and capacity uprates at existing plants to generate credits that states can use to reduce their CO2 emissions levels and comply with the rule. In addition, the DOE continues to try to lower the financing costs for the nuclear industry through loan guarantees. Last year the DOE said it is accepting applications from nuclear developers for $12.5 billion in loan guarantees.

Both the EPA and DOE efforts could “yield growth factors longer term,” Fitch said.

August 24, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Disposal of nuclear waste turning out to be half the cost of reprocessing with MOX fuel

MOXDisposal beats MOX in US comparison  21 August 2015

America is reconsidering how it will dispose of 34 tonnes of plutonium as the previous plan involving a MOX plant has been said to be twice as costly as a dilution and disposal option in a leaked Department of Energy (DOE) report.

The plutonium arises from a June 2000 nuclear weapons reduction agreement with Russia under which both countries would put 34 tonnes of plutonium beyond military use. Russia opted to use its plutonium as fuel for fast reactors generating power at Beloyarsk.

The USA, meanwhile, decided to build a mixed-oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel plant at Savannah River, where the plutonium would be mixed with uranium and made into fuel for light-water reactors. The design is similar to Areva’s Melox facility at Marcoule, but modified to handle metal plutonium ‘pits’ from US weapons and their conversion from metal to plutonium oxide. It is this part of the process that has been problematic. Construction started in 2007 with an estimated cost of $4.9 billion but work ran into serious trouble before being ‘zeroed’ in the DOE’s 2014 budget, putting development on ice.

The Union of Concerned Scientists yesterday published what it said was an unreleased DOE report that compared the cost of completing the MOX plant to other options. Use in fast reactors was considered briefly, but with this technology not readily available in the near term, the prime comparison was against a ‘dilution and disposal’ option which would see the plutonium mixed with inert materials and disposed of in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, in New Mexico.

Despite being 60% built, the MOX plant still needs some 15 years of construction work, said the leaked report, and then about three years of commissioning. Once in operation the plant would work through the plutonium over about 10 years with this 28-year program to cost $700-800 million per year – a total of $19.6-22.4 billion on top of what has already been spent. Not only is the price tag very high, but the timescale is too long: the report said this would not meet the disposal timeframe agreed with Russia.

The cost of the MOX plant could not be mitigated by income from sales of the MOX fuel because the regulatory process to gain approval to use MOX would be too burdensome for a commercial utility. The report said “it may be unlikely” that even a utility in a regulated market where fuel costs are passed on to consumers would “bear the risk of MOX fuel even if it is free”.

Dilution and disposal would cost $400 million per year, said the report, “over a similar duration” as MOX, working out at close to half the cost. Other advantages for dilution and disposal are that it requires no new facilities to be created or decommissioned after use, although the increase in WIPP disposal means “it may eventually become desirable to explore expansion of WIPP’s capacity” beyond currently legislated limits. This unique geologic disposal facility was said to be of “tremendous value to both DOE and the State of New Mexico”.

August 24, 2015 Posted by | Reference, reprocessing, USA | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – with a small chance of actually happening

SMRs-mirageCritics cite the lack of any track record on cost or safety for small modular reactors, plus concerns over the nation’s lack of a permanent place to store used nuclear fuel. No one has built a commercial small modular reactor yet.

Tri-Cities interests hope to attract mass production of small modular reactors to the never-finished Energy Northwest reactor site at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Small nukes: a long-term prospect for Tri-Cities?, by , Crosscut, 18 Aug 15   “……..economics and proximity to buyers will probably be the deciding factors on where NuScale will build both individual small modular reactors and its manufacturing plant, said McGough and John Dobken, spokesman for Energy Northwest (a consortium of Washington public utilities, including Seattle City Light).

Small modular reactors are prefab reactors whose parts are manufactured in one location, and then transported to the reactor site for final assembly. A modular segment would be a mini-reactor of 50 to 300 megawatts. Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station, a nuclear plant, produces more than 1,190 megawatts of electricity, equal to about a tenth of the state’s energy needs. Small modular reactors are supposed to be designed so extra modules can be added as needed — with 12 modules being the theoretical maximum. They are similar to the small reactors that operate on U.S. Navy ships.

The initial cost estimate to take the project from design to the first Idaho Falls reactor is roughly $1 billion. In recent years, the deep-pocketed global giant Fluor Corp. bought NuScale.

NuScale, Energy Northwest, the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (a Utah version of Energy Northwest) and the U.S. Department of Energy facility at Idaho Falls have agreed to build the first such reactor in Idaho by 2023. NuScale plans to submit its design to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by late this year, hoping for a green light about 40 months later.

Rep. Gerald Pollett, D-Seattle and a leading Northwest nuclear power critic, said, “Talking about siting such a thing is premature.”

Critics cite the lack of any track record on cost or safety for small modular reactors, plus concerns over the nation’s lack of a permanent place to store used nuclear fuel. No one has built a commercial small modular reactor yet, although supporters contend they are similar to the small reactors that operate on U.S. Navy ships.

Energy Northwest’s interest in getting its own small modular reactor will depend on if and when Energy Northwest’s member utilities will need extra power. At this time, the consortium does not expect that need to grow for the next few years, Dobken said.

Another wrinkle is that a 1981 state law requires that a public utilities group conduct a public ballot on any significant energy generation project that is likely to increase utility rates. Consequently, a public vote stretching from Seattle to Kennewick could lurk in the future of a small modular reactor project if Energy Northwest’s rates might be affected.

Chuck Johnson of the nuclear watchdog organization Physicians for Social Responsibility voiced concern about a scenario in which a single 50-megawatt reactor module would fall beneath the ballot threshold of the 1981 Washington law, and the addition of 50-megawatt modules one at a time could keep a state project below that public-vote benchmark.

 Tri-Cities interests hope to attract mass production of small modular reactors to the never-finished Energy Northwest reactor site at the Hanford nuclear reservation. This is the former Washington Public Power Supply System Reactor No. 1, whose construction was abandoned because WPPSS defaulted on the bonds to build it. Since then, WPPSS changed its name to Energy Northwest, and the completed WPPSS Reactor No. 2 was renamed as the Columbia Generating Station.

“We’re big on the technology and believe the technology should be made available,” Dobken said.

Such a manufacturing plant would need about 1.9 million square feet of space, employ about 1,000 people and would aim to produce 36 to 52 modules a year, McGough said. NuScale is looking at Hanford, the Southwest, Utah and several Midwest, Southern and Eastern seaboard states as potential manufacturing sites.

“The site is still up in the air. … It depends on who shows up with the orders first,” McGough said……

August 24, 2015 Posted by | technology | Leave a comment

Savannah River Site’s MOX project needs $800 million a year

Review: MOX needs $800M a year

Aug 20 2015  A highly-anticipated review of the Savannah River Site’s MOX project states that funding for the project will require up to $800 million a year if MOX is to be successful.

Earlier this year, the Department of Energy commissioned the Red Team, a group led by Thom Mason, the director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to evaluate cost projections and alternatives to the MOX method of plutonium disposition. The method includes the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility under construction at SRS.

The project is part of a nonproliferation agreement with Russia to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons grade plutonium.

 The review, dated Aug. 13, was delivered to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz on Monday and states that the current $400 million  funding level for MOX is inadequate.

“The Red Team concluded that if the MOX pathway is to be successful, then annual funding for the whole program would have to increase from the current $400 million per year to $700 to 800 million per year over the next 2-3 years, and then remain at $700 to $800 million until all 34 metric tons are dispositioned,” officials wrote.

The Aiken Standard will have more on the MOX review in Friday’s paper.

August 23, 2015 Posted by | reprocessing, USA | Leave a comment

UK government just quietly funding Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

text-SMRsUK invests in advanced nuclear fuel research, World Nuclear News, 7 Aug 15  “……The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has awarded £1.5 million ($2.3 million) to the NNL and £1.0 million ($1.6 million) to the University of Manchester to fund new capital equipment for nuclear fuel and manufacturing research……..

NNL said that fuels are being developed with the aim of not only enhancing safety performance, but also to improve the economics and efficiency of existing and future reactors, including some designs of small modular reactors. …..
Work on nuclear fuels research and development is carried out through the Nuclear Fuel Centre of Excellence (NFCE), launched jointly by the University of Manchester and NNL last October. Access to the new equipment will also be available to researchers from outside the NNL through funded research programs facilitated by the NFCE.

August 7, 2015 Posted by | politics, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Hartlepool, Trawsfynydd & Small Modular Reactors,

text-SMRsMeanwhile the Wall Street Journal reports that using modular construction techniques for the AP1000 reactor hasn’t worked. Building nuclear reactors out of factory-produced modules was supposed to make construction swifter and cheaper, but costly delays have shaken faith in the new construction method at the two US sites. “Modular construction has not worked out to be the solution that the utilities promised”

NuClearNews August 2015  New energy minister Andrea Leadsom has given the strongest signal flag-UKyet that the Government is looking to support a new era of factory-built, nuclear power stations – with a Newcastle company leading the way on their development in the UK. Speaking at the Nuclear Industry Association conference Ms Leadsom said: “Small Modular Reactors are an option we are investigating further. These have the potential to drive down the cost of nuclear energy and make financing easier through shorter construction times and lower initial capital investment requirements, in addition to high value commercial opportunities.” (1)



Amidst a growing sense of frustration and hand-wringing over the delays in the current nuclear programme, new hope has emerged that support is on the way for a home-grown generation of Small Modular Reactors (SMR). Continue reading

August 1, 2015 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment

Failure of USA’s small scale reactor in Antarctica – costly and cancer-causing

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

This is quite an old article, but I find it remarkable because, for once, it mentions the enormous cost of security measures needed for small nuclear reactors in remote areas.

That is what is being proposed for Australia – by both the thorium enthusiasts, and the overseas companies desperate to keep the nuclear industry alive by selling  small reactors to Australa (or, even more insidiously, by providing them to Australia “for free”, in exchange for South Australia importing radioactive trash, as outlined by nuclear proponent Oscar Archer )

the PM-2A’s purpose was to test whether reactors could be built in remote locations using prefabricated parts.

After the reactor was closed down, the US shipped 7700 cubic metres of radioactive contaminated rock and dirt to California, but passed through Dunedin, with a population of 124,000, the second largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, where it stayed for four days, raising local concerns, the New Zealand news site

Russia has found that the logistics of even finding customers for its ANPP’s outweigh even the logistics of operating the plants. Russia has staked a financial bonanza on prospective orders for the plants, but there are, simply, no takers. And if there were, the logistics of securing such a plant against terrorists or accidents in remote areas would require at least the staff of a stationary plant.


Small-scale US nuclear reactor blamed for spiking cancer rates, casting pall over Russia’s FNPP fetish 
AMSTERDAM – A small nuclear power plant operated the United States at Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound has been implicated in dozens of cases of an unusual cancer in personnel who worked at or near the station between the years 1964 and 1973, US and New Zealand media have indicated. March 7, 2011 by Bellona  Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, Reference, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Even USA’s nuclear lobby has doubts about “next generation” nuclear reactors

Could Next-Gen Reactors Spark Revival In Nuclear Power?, National Geographic  By Wendy Koch, JULY 24, 2015 Tech titans like Bill Gates are helping fund a new generation of commercial nuclear reactors,………..These are complex systems…They look good on paper but could be difficult to realize in practice.

Matthew McKinzie  
“These are complex systems,” says Matthew McKinzie, director of the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that prefers solar, wind and energy efficiency—rather than nuclear—as climate solutions.

“They look great on paper but could be difficult to realize in practice,” he says of the advanced reactors. “A lot of projects in the past have led to disappointment.” He says reactors that don’t use the light-water design common in today’s nuclear power plants will need prototypes for testing and their private funds aren’t enough to cover the cost.

In addition, “molten salt is corrosive and messy to work with,” says McKinzie, who holds a doctorate in experimental nuclear physics..

Russ Bell, senior director of new plant licensing for the Nuclear Energy Institute says many new reactor designs are safe and “extremely innovative,” but since they need to be prototyped, it will take 20 to 25 years to bring them to market……

Bill Gates has visited China several times to seek its cooperation in developing a next-gen reactor. He chairs TerraPower, which has designed a traveling wave reactor that runs on depleted uranium and produces very little nuclear waste……

“It’s American technology. I personally want the United States to get it first,” says Leslie Dewan. Her company, Transatomic, plans five more years of experimental and design work before aiming to build a 20-megawatt prototype.

“We’ve been talking with the national labs about it,” she says, noting the Department of Energy has a new loan guarantee program for advanced nuclear reactors. “There’s really good buy-in from DOE for developing a wide range of technologies.”

Even if all goes well, Dewan says, it will take at least a decade to develop a commercial molten salt reactor.

July 29, 2015 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

Bleak outlook for Generation IV nuclear reactors, as Generation III look like failing

Construction starts and delays. Deconstructing the nuclear industry
Myle Schneider,Antony Froggatt, 27 July 15 “…………
WNISR 2015 goes further and deeper than previous reports in analyzing the pace of nuclear power plant construction: the length of the process, the reasons for delays, the number of projects that have been cancelled or suspended, and how construction trends vary from country to country. These are limiting factors in any plan for a global scale-up of nuclear power.

The average construction time of the 40 units that started up in nine countries since 2005—all but one (in Argentina) in Asia or Eastern Europe—was 9.4 years, with a large range from 4 to 36 years. Construction starts plunged from 15 in 2010 to three in 2014. There are currently 62 reactors under construction, five fewer than a year ago, and at least three-quarters of these projects are facing delays. In 10 of 14 countries that are building new reactors, all projects are delayed, many by years. Five reactors that are “under construction” are projects that began more than 30 years ago.

For the first time, this year’s report devotes a full chapter to Generation III+ reactors such as the Westinghouse AP1000, Rosatom AES-2006, and Areva EPR—advanced reactors designed to improve the safety and economics of nuclear power. These reactors are not proving easy to build: By May 2015, 18 next-generation reactors were under construction, but only two projects were still on schedule; the rest were running behind by two to nine years. This includes the AP1000s being built at the Summer and Vogtle nuclear plants in the United States, which after only two years of construction are late by at least two years.


Generation III+ reactors were originally seen as a transition to even more advanced Generation IV reactors, but if Generation III+ reactors fail, the future for the nuclear industry looks bleak. Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) or radically new reactor designs, known as Generation IV and optimistically touted by some nuclear lobbyists as the key to de-carbonizing the global economy, are still decades away from commercial deployment. Meantime, existing nuclear plants around the world are edging toward retirement, with an average age that has been increasing steadily and now stands at 28.8 years…….

July 29, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology | Leave a comment


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