The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Fort Calhoun nuclear waste not going anywhere?

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Waste Needs A Home By: Brian Mastre – , Feb 27, 2015 Nebraskans have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the federal government to store used nuclear fuel from the state’s two nuclear power plants, but the feds aren’t doing anything with it. Yet, the government keeps the money. Where is the nuclear waste going in the meantime and what’s happening to our dollars?…….

February 28, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

The massive costs and massive dangers of hosting a radioactive nuclear trash dump

flag-canadaInside the race for Canada’s nuclear waste: 11 towns vie to host deep burial sitCanada’s nuclear waste will be deadly for 400,000 years. What town would like the honour of hosting it?CHARLES WILKINS TheGlobe and Mail Feb. 26 2015,


With his wife, Fran, Tony McQuail operates a lush organic farm near Lucknow, Ontario, within hailing distance of Bruce Power, the world’s largest nuclear power facility. The plant’s grounds, on the shores of Lake Huron, are also the place where nearly half of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste is “temporarily” stored. “What they’ve done,” McQuail says, “would be like me piling up decades’ worth of my operation’s waste, which is to say shit, and leaving it out by the road.

“If I piled any quantity of shit out there and left it with no disposal plan, I’d be shut down and condemned within weeks. And here’s an industry with the capacity for global devastation, with no permanent plan for their garbage, the most dangerous stuff on Earth, and they’re allowed to keep producing it indefinitely.”

There is in fact a plan for that waste. A federally mandated body, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), wants to bury it in what the nuclear industry calls a Deep Geological Repository, or DGR. First, though, the organization must complete its quest—in effect, a competition, although the NWMO doesn’t see it that way—to find a municipality that will serve as a “willing host” for the repository. Among the contenders for the distinction are the municipalities of Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce and Central Huron, all of them close neighbours to Fran and Tony McQuail.

If it doesn’t seem like a competition any municipality would want to win, consider that spending on the project will likely run as high as $24 billion. And, the construction phase aside, the jobs involved are not the sort that will last only until another, perhaps cheaper, location is found. According to the NWMO’s plan, 400,000 years or more will pass between the point at which the waste is buried and the happy day when any sort of safety sticker is likely to be affixed to the vast toxic grave.

One morning in October, 1957, the principal of Keyes Public School in Deep River, Ontario, came into our Grade 5 classroom and declared that we, the children of the town, had “nothing to be afraid of.” We were to pay no attention to rumours that the reactors at nearby Chalk River would be among the Soviet Union’s first targets should the Cold War suddenly heat up.

Because we had older siblings ever willing to heighten our appreciation of reality, we already knew that if the reactors got hit, the explosion would be the equivalent of a thousand, maybe a million, H-bombs. We knew, too, that Deep River was located exactly seven miles from the reactors because that was the minimum distance at which human life would be spared if the plant ever got hit.

Mercifully, the missiles never came. And the plant never blew.

Others did: Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), Fukushima (2011).

Most of the reactor stories we heard as kids turned out to be fables. Yet more than half a century later, they remain bristling little allegories not just of the risks of splitting the atom but of the doggedness of those who continue to tell us we have “nothing to fear” from an industry that in 1945 said hello to humanity by incinerating 80,000 citizens of Hiroshima…….

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

The ever-accumulating tonnage of Canada’s radioactive trash

text-wise-owlthe Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), wants to bury it in what the nuclear industry calls a Deep Geological Repository, or DGR

Finally,” says Eugene Bourgeois, whose idyllic property lies within a kilometre of the Bruce Power reactors, “it has to be impervious to the potential ignorance or delinquency of people, perhaps ‘peopleoids,’ more than a quarter-million years from now”—which is to say, peopleoids who likely will have no notion even of the languages in which the safety code and signage of the DGR were written.

At the same time, the site can’t be too remote. It must be serviced by roads and rail, so that waste can be brought in, and must have a sufficient population that the thousands of folks who will build the facility and the hundreds who will be employed there long-term will have a place to live


flag-canadaInside the race for Canada’s nuclear waste: 11 towns vie to host deep burial site Canada’s nuclear waste will be deadly for 400,000 years. What town would like the honour of hosting it? CHARLES WILKINS TheGlobe and Mail Feb. 26 2015,

……..the Western Waste Management Facility, where Ontario Power Generation stores much of its share of the 48,000 tonnes of waste that have accumulated in Canada during the past 65 years and that the company and other nuclear-power producers hope will eventually be lowered into the national DGR (Deep Geological Repository)

The ever-accumulating tonnage, which in the wrong hands could provide payloads for thousands of atomic bombs, is entombed in a thousand snow-white containers (a half-inch of steel atop reinforced concrete), each the size of, say, a Lincoln Navigator set on end and weighing 70 tonnes……..

The $24-billion cost of a deep repository—to be paid by the producers (hence ultimately their customers) out of a fund that now stands at less than $3 billion—sounds like a lot for the existing quantity of nuclear-fuel waste in the country. NWMO spokesman Mike Krizanc visualizes Canada’s 48,000-tonne waste pile as “enough to cover six NHL-sized hockey rinks to the top of the boards.”

The discrepancy is explained by toxicity. According to Gordon Edwards, a mathematician who has critiqued the nuclear industry for decades as president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, irradiated—that is, used—nuclear fuel is “millions of times more radioactive and deadly than when the unirradiated fuel was placed in the reactors.” Studies have connected the various isotopes contained in the waste to cancer, immune system damage and genetic mutation. Those six hockey rinks are enough, say nuclear detractors, that if the waste is buried in the wrong place, or in the wrong way, it could ruin our water, render the landscape useless for agriculture, or, in a darker scenario, render it useless for human habitation…… Continue reading

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Disadvantaged Canadian towns look at the $billions promised by nuclear waste hosting

Offended tribal elders formed the Committee for Future Generations and initiated what they called the 7,000 Generations Walk Against Nuclear Waste, which saw participants trudge nearly 1,000 kilometres from Pinehouse to the legislature in Regina.

No local DGR debate has been harder fought than the 30-month marathon of psychological and ground warfare that unfolded in Saugeen Shores, one of several contestant municipalities in Bruce County, between 2011 and 2014.

Inside the race for Canada’s nuclear waste: 11 towns vie to host deep burial sitCanada’s nuclear waste will be deadly for 400,000 years. What town would like the honour of hosting it?CHARLES WILKINS TheGlobe and Mail Feb. 26 2015,

“……..There are 11 rural and wilderness municipalities vying for the DGR, survivors of an original roster of 22. The aspirants include veteran northern encampments such as Hornepayne, Ontario, where, as Brennain Lloyd of the environmental education group Northwatch describes it, there is “a really fierce desire” on the part of at least a few municipal administrators to “bring the nuke dump to town.”

And Schreiber, a struggling railway town on the north shore of Lake Superior. And Ignace, another struggler, in the boreal wilds to the west. And, to the east, Manitouwadge.

And Creighton, Saskatchewan, directly across the Manitoba border from Flin Flon (Creighton is a town described by a former resident as “having had its fiscal balls to the wall for half a century”).

And Blind River, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Huron, where survival has for years depended on the uncertain flow of traffic along the Trans-Canada Highway.

And Elliot Lake, some 50 kilometres north of Lake Huron, where uranium mining was the sustaining industry during the 1950s and ’60s but which these days survives on the pensions of retirees who moved to the town to take advantage of discount housing left over from the boom years.

“What makes it all so attractive to competing municipalities is, of course, the money,” says Tony McQuail.

While billions of dollars will flow directly through the chosen town over a period of four or five decades, Lloyd suggests that most of the money is likely to end up in the pockets of big-city consultants and other outside beneficiaries.

Mainly, the price tag will buy decades’ worth of infrastructure and construction costs, as well as maintenance, monitoring and employment training. It will also pay for the transportation of the waste to the spanking new DGR, which will, by the time it opens, have been a reality for its “willing host” for a quarter of a century or more.

Finishing just the first phase of the preliminary assessment brings $400,000 of NWMO money to candidate towns, so they can “build sustainability and well-being.” It has been speculated that some towns had no intention of staying in the process beyond the early payout.

While some towns applied to participate of their own volition, others were, according to Lloyd of Northwatch, courted by the NWMO. “What bothers me most about the process,” says Lloyd, “is the ‘siloing’ that the NWMO practises on the municipal politicians they choose to target.

“They approach them not in the context of their communities, where the politicians are immediately answerable to their constituencies, but at municipal conferences and conventions where they’re away from home, isolated, perhaps a little unsure of themselves. They wine and dine them and soft-talk them about the unimaginable benefits that could accrue to their towns should they consider hosting the DGR.

“Then they fly them to Toronto and put them up in the best hotels and take them up to the Bruce Power site, or other nuclear generating stations, and show them what of course appears to be secure and flawless waste storage. The politicians are just snowed—they’re made to feel like important players. They take this dream of hope and prosperity and safe science back to their communities and in effect go to work for the NWMO.”

Other northern councils—at Ear Falls, at Nipigon, at Wawa—have been more divided over the DGR and so were eliminated early, or withdrew, from the process. Similarly, Brockton, near the site of Bruce Power, was cut late in 2014 after its residents elected a largely anti-DGR council. (The NWMO says Brockton’s assessment simply didn’t pan out.)

The aboriginal communities of Pinehouse and English River, Saskatchewan, were dropped from the process when community debate over land and water issues, as well as a growing distrust of the NWMO, became irresolvable.

While Pinehouse was still in the running, three community leaders, including a cousin of the mayor, received money from the NWMO. Offended tribal elders formed the Committee for Future Generations and initiated what they called the 7,000 Generations Walk Against Nuclear Waste, which saw participants trudge nearly 1,000 kilometres from Pinehouse to the legislature in Regina.

No local DGR debate has been harder fought than the 30-month marathon of psychological and ground warfare that unfolded in Saugeen Shores, one of several contestant municipalities in Bruce County, between 2011 and 2014………..

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, wastes | 1 Comment

Abe government “irresponsible” about nuclear wastes – Science Council of Japan

flag-japanNuclear waste disposal problem, Japan Times, FEB 22, 2015  Even as the Abe administration pushes for reactivating idled nuclear power reactors after they have cleared the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety screening, an open question remains: How will Japan dispose of highly radioactive waste produced by the nuclear reactors.

The trade and industry ministry has drafted a new policy on the waste scheme that paves the way for changing the disposal method in the future when policies change or new technologies become available, but it is far from clear if the move will facilitate the long-stalled process of finding a site for radioactive waste disposal.

Due to the lack of an established scheme for final disposal of the waste that would be generated after spent fuel is reprocessed, Japan’s nuclear power generation has long been likened to a condominium without a toilet. The absence of a solution was highlighted two years ago when former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi vocally expressed opposition to restarting nuclear power reactors that had been idled in the wake of the 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.


The government in 2000 adopted a policy of disposing of highly radioactive waste by burying it deep underground. A power industry organization has solicited municipalities across the country that would be ready to host the final disposal site. A financially strapped town in Kochi Prefecture came forward in 2007 to apply for a documentary review in the selection process. But the bid was eventually withdrawn when its mayor faced strong opposition from local residents. He was forced out of office in a subsequent election. No progress has since been made on the issue.

Meanwhile, doubts have been raised about the safety and technical viability of vitrifying and burying the radioactive waste — which would need to be managed for tens of thousands of years before its radioactivity declined to levels considered safe — in a country prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. …….

The government may be trying to win public support for restarting the idled reactors by demonstrating flexibility on moving the waste-disposal issue forward. But in its policy proposal now being prepared, the Science Council of Japan criticizes the government for being “irresponsible toward future generations” by seeking to restart the reactors without a decision on the waste-disposal site.

The council says it will be difficult to decide on the waste- disposal site “given that public trust in the government, power companies and scientists has been lost”………

February 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan, wastes | 1 Comment

Threats for oil drillers and others, in the Arctic’s submerged radioactive trash from Russia

The Norwegian government has spent more than $126 million on Russian nuclear safety projects in the last two decades, according to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.

The 17,000 dumped containers are also a potential disaster, creating a minefield for oil companies looking to drill in the area, particularly because the exact locations of most of the containers are unknown.

The Soviet Union Dumped A Bunch of Nuclear Submarines, Reactors, and Containers into the Ocean By Laura Dattaro February 21, 2015 The 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine remains one of the worst nuclear incidents in history and highlighted the risks of generating power by splitting atoms. But it’s not the only nuclear waste the Soviet Union left behind. Scattered across the ocean floor in the cold waters of the Arctic are nuclear submarines and reactors dumped by the Soviets up until the early 1990s.


Now, as energy companies are seeking to drill in those same waters, the Russian government has shown an interest in cleaning up its nuclear waste. But after decades of sitting on the ocean floor, some of the most dangerous pieces may be too unstable to remove, leaving the potential for radioactive material to leak, which could disrupt commercial fisheries and destroy aquatic ecosystems.

“Taking reactors and cutting out the bottom of your ships and letting them sink to the bottom is about as irresponsible as you can get when it comes to radioactive waste,” Jim Riccio, a nuclear expert with Greenpeace, told VICE News. “We’ve had some weird [behavior] in this country where we haven’t been all that great with it but nothing that rose to the level of what the Soviets had done.” Continue reading

February 21, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission to take over environmental review of Yucca project

Yucca-MtEnergy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently reiterated that Yucca Mountain doesn’t have public support and is not a workable solution, a point that three Nevada lawmakers — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republicans Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and Gov. Brian Sandoval — hammered home in a letter to The Washington Post this week.

“If Yucca Mountain has taught us anything, it is that continuing to try to force the repository on Nevada only gets the nation further away from a real solution,” the senators and Sandoval wrote.

NRC-jpgNRC will complete environmental review of Yucca project — chairman Hannah Northey, E&E reporter Greenwire: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission intends to complete an environmental review of the contentious waste repository under Yucca Mountain in Nevada because the Energy Department has refused to do so, the NRC’s chairman said today.

“The decision is we will do that since [the Department of Energy] told us they won’t be doing it,” NRC Chairman Stephen Burns told reporters at the Platts 11th Annual Nuclear Energy Conference in Washington, D.C., today. “We have the funds that are left over from the carryover for high-level waste, will cover the preparation of the supplemental [environmental impact statement].” Continue reading

February 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Japan’s government wrestles with the unsolved problem of nuclear wastes

text-wise-owlGovernment explores options on how to store nuclear waste in the long term, Japan Times, 18 Feb 15 
The government said Tuesday it will consider pursuing a final storage site for nuclear waste that can be opened in the event that policies change or better techniques become available to deal with it.

Officials aim to include the plan in a revised basic policy on the final disposal of highly radioactive waste. The government is currently considering the vexed question of what to do with waste in the long-term, as some of it may need management for tens of thousands of years.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration wants to fire up nuclear reactors again following the hiatus caused by the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns, but public opinion remains opposed.

Critics accuse the government of pushing a return to nuclear without answering the question of where the waste will go.

Also on Tuesday, the Science Council of Japan, a representative organization of various scientists, rapped the government’s stance as “irresponsible,” urging it and power companies to develop concrete measures for handling nuclear waste as a prerequisite for restarting reactors.

To fend off such criticism, the revised policy will also declare that the “current generation” is not only responsible for generating the waste it will also take action on the storage question. However, it falls short of mentioning a time frame for deciding on the final storage……..

As for how Japan would store its waste, a policy adopted in 2008 envisions reprocessing the waste, then vitrifying it and placing it deep underground…….

This implies a possible review of Japan’s long-standing but stalled policy of a nuclear fuel cycle that aims to reprocess all spent fuel and reuse the extracted plutonium and uranium as reactor fuel…….

The process of finding local governments willing to host a final repository started in 2002, but there was overwhelming opposition and little progress was made.

The government now plans to choose candidate sites based on their scientific value, rather than waiting for municipalities to step forward.

The Science Council of Japan also suggested that waste be temporarily kept in above-ground dry storage for 50 years in principle, during which the government should try to build a consensus on the issue. It also called for national discussions on how to curb, or setting limitations, on the amount of nuclear waste to be generated.

February 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Risky Radioactive Trash Shipments Would be Terrorist Targets 

Public Citizen outlined five key objections to the plan, most of which were raised by Texas’s own Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) last year:

radiation-truck1. Waste shipments would be targets for sabotage or blackmail by terrorists. TCEQ noted that the waste is more vulnerable to accidents or attacks while in transit than if left it where it is, because security is lighter then and fewer radiation shields would be available. Shipments from reactors around the country — passing through dozens of population centers — could last over 24 years. The Energy Dept. estimates that there would be about 10,700 shipments if done by rail; about 53,000 shipments (others say 100,000) if done by truck.

2. WCS would have only limited liability, while the public would be put at risk from transport accidents, leaks and terrorism.

3. So-called “short-term” storage may become permanent — an unearned trophy for the nuclear industry. The complex scientific analysis required for any permanent waste site would take about 10 years and has not been done.

4. The WCS site is too close to the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water to eight states.

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USAHigh-Level Rad Waste Dump Called “All Risk and No Reward for Texas”

A high-level radioactive waste “parking lot” — proposed for West Texas — poses both terrible and unnecessary risks for people throughout the country — Texas in particular — and should not be built.

That’s the position of a coalition of public interest groups that declared its opposition to the plan February 9. Continue reading

February 13, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

AREVA joins US Waste firm to cash in on radioactive trash storage

areva-medusa1AREVA and WCS Sign Agreement for Independent Interim Used Nuclear Fuel Storage Site   NewswireToday – /newswire/ – Paris, Ile-de-France, France, 2015/02/10 – AREVA has signed an agreement with Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) to assist with their license application and environmental report for the construction of an interim used nuclear fuel storage facility – /

WCS filed a letter of intent on February 6, 2015 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stating their intention to seek a license to operate an offsite Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation at their 14,000-acre facility in Andrews, TX.

WCS filed a letter of intent on February 6, 2015 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stating their intention to seek a license to operate an offsite Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation at their 14,000-acre facility in Andrews, TX.

“AREVA is pleased to provide WCS with its licensing experience and global expertise for the safe storage, transport andmoney-in-nuclear--wastes management of used nuclear fuel,” said David Jones, senior vice president, of AREVA’s Back End division, North America. “This initiative, which already has the consent of local stakeholders, will deliver an economically viable option for used fuel management while more permanent solutions are addressed.”

AREVA ( is a global leader in the transportation and storage of used nuclear fuel. More than 40% of American utilities use AREVA’s advanced NUHOMS® horizontal storage technology. The group has already sold 900 storage canisters in the U.S., making it the leading supplier for this solution.


February 13, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Southern California Edison’s “Citizen Engagement Panel” (CEP) is a cruel nuclear joke

Flag-USADavid Victor, the SCE Community Engagement Panel, and the Darrell Issa Nuclear Waste Dump  The comments below were left at the KPBS web site in response to their report on SCE’s CEP meeting last week.

Ace Hoffman 
Carlsbad, CA Southern California Edison’s “Citizen Engagement Panel” (CEP) has been a cruel joke from the beginning (which is why I stopped attending their meetings as of this year). David Victor has learned little about what the concerns of the citizens really are. Rather, he has done all he can to steer the panel towards approving SCE’s plans, whatever those plans might be at any moment. Victor’s heavy-handed “chairmanship” of the CEP has included cutting off discussions and silencing activists when the activists refuse to listen to lies. Even when SCE was willing to respond to activist’s questions, Victor has cut them off! Engagement? Where? When?

Frankly, the most important thing the CEP could learn — but hasn’t — is that the nuclear waste at San Onofre is NOT SoCal’s biggest problem with nuclear power: Diablo Canyon is. David Victor surely could have learned that by now if he wasn’t so busy kissing up to SCE’s Tom Palmisano and Chris Brown.

And the so-called “national experts” that were brought in by the CEP to “inform” them are anything BUT “experts” on Elephant--blue-ribbon-commissionnuclear waste issues. For example, one was on Obama’s utterly useless “Blue Ribbon Commission” (BRC) which could not resolve a single thing about nuclear waste except to suggest that democracy should be thrown out with the waste (in other words, we should force states to accept waste if small communities or tribal areas within the state want to accept money along with the waste). He did not even know that stainless steel canisters can suffer from stress corrosion cracking within just two years, and yet he’s considered an “expert” helping the CEP to make decisions for soCal which could impact us for hundreds or even thousands of years!

There is no place in California that is isolated enough to safely take the waste. Transporting it there (wherever “there” turns out to be) would also be extremely risky. But keeping the waste where it is, among millions of people, is utter lunacy. Nevertheless that’s exactly what the CEP is really pushing for, with their pie-in-the-sky dreams of an “in-state” solution somewhere, somehow, sometime. If they assume it will be moved soon, then they’ll allow less sturdy “temporary” storage in the meantime (when the waste is by far the most dangerous, by the way). The canisters SCE proposes to use are only 5/8ths of an inch thick! 20-inch thick canisters are available but SCE doesn’t want to purchase them. They like the thin, cheaper ones, figuring tomorrow’s citizens will be the ones to pay for repackaging the waste in a few years, not SCE. Or they figure there really will be an in-state or national solution, even though in 70 years of producing nuclear waste, not one soul has solved that problem or even gotten close to solving it. (There’s a scientifically sound reason for that: Ionizing radiation destroys any container you put it in.)

Admitting what a terrible mess we’ve gotten ourselves into is the first step, and the CEP hasn’t even done that yet. If the CEP came out with a strong statement suggesting Diablo Canyon shut down because they’re just making their waste problem worse and we here near SanO know that’s a bad thing, then the CEP will have at least accomplished something. Right now the CEP is destructive to the goal of engaging the community.

February 4, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Pennsylvania Nuclear-Dump Cleanup Gets Complicated

wastes-1Nuclear-Dump Cleanup Gets Complicated –  Federal Report on Pennsylvania Site Foresees Costlier Work WSJ By  JOHN R. EMSHWILLER Jan. 29, 2015 The cleanup of a radioactive-waste dump in a small Pennsylvania town will likely be more complicated and potentially riskier than originally envisioned, and cost nearly 10 times as much, according to a revised federal plan.

Meanwhile, some officials, spurred by a citizen activist, are trying to determine whether all the waste in the area has been located………

Several decades ago, large amounts of radioactive waste were buried at the dump site by Nuclear Materials & Equipment Corp., or Numec, a local company that did atomic work for the federal government and other entities.

Numec was subsequently bought by Babcock & Wilcox Co. , an energy products and services provider. A B&W spokesman declined to comment.

The Corps, after years of planning, began excavating one of 10 known waste trenches at the site in the summer of 2011. Digging abruptly halted several weeks later and hasn’t resumed……….

Among the added costs are further measures to prevent a “nuclear criticality.” That can occur if enough fissionable materials, such as bomb-grade uranium or plutonium, are brought together to produce a chain reaction, said Robert Alvarez, a former Energy Department official. Such an event could produce dangerous quantities of radiation, he added.

The Corps document said officials now believe they might find more types of radioactive materials buried at the site than previously anticipated. Michael Helbling, the Corps’ project manager, said he couldn’t be more specific. “We want to be prepared for anything we find,” he said, adding that excavation is expected to resume in 2017 and take as long as 10 years to finish.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Britain’s government broke promise not to build nuclear reactors until a waste solution found

Ill-founded hope The belief was always that science would find some way of neutralising the dangerous radioactivity, and then it could be buried as simply as any other rubbish. This hope has proved to be ill-founded.

text-wise-owlThe British government promised four years ago it would not build any more nuclear power stations until it had found a solution to this 50-year-old problem. But it has abandoned the promise

Still No Solution to Storage of High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste Paul Brown, Climate News Network | January 25, 2015 A private consortium formed to deal with Europe’s most difficult nuclear waste at a site in Britain’s beautiful Lake District has been sacked by the British government because not sufficient progress has been made in making it safe.

It is the latest setback for an industry that claims nuclear power is the low-carbon answer toclimate change, but has not yet found a safe resting place for radioactive rubbish it creates when nuclear fuel and machinery reaches the end of its life.

Dealing with the waste stored at this one site at Sellafield—the largest of a dozen nuclear sites in Britain—already costs the UK taxpayer £2 billion a year, and it is expected to be at least as much as this every year for half a century.

Hundreds of people are employed to prevent the radioactivity leaking or overheating to cause a nuclear disaster, and the cost of dealing with the waste at this site alone has already risen to £70 billion.

Dangerous to humans

This extraordinary legacy of dangerous radioactive waste is present in every country that has adopted nuclear power as a form of electricity production, as well as those with nuclear weapons. No country has yet solved the problem of how to deal with waste that remains dangerous to humans for thousands of years. Continue reading

January 26, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

UK’s toxic waste of money in attempting to clean up Sellafield’s toxic nuclear waste


Over-budget and behind schedule on numerous projects on what is, admittedly, one of the most hazardous nuclear detoxifications in history, this consortium had been remarkably fortunate to see its contract renewed in 2013. After it had regained its contract, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) even apologised to MPs for its dismal performance…..


At a price tag of nearly £80bn, the Sellafield deal is one of the most significant commercialisations of what, historically, would have been public sector work. Davey, who I think has otherwise emerged from Coalition as a quietly formidable secretary of state, must ask himself why he did not block the contract extension in 2013.

It was a poor call from a minister who has otherwise earned the compliment of being a safe pair of hands. While he should be congratulated for finally getting this right, the GMB is equally correct that NMP should not stay in place any longer.

Time, on this project in particular, is money – and we cannot allow taxpayer funds to be mishandled for another 15 months.

January 24, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Too massively expensive to really think about – getting rid of the world’s old nuclear reactors

Getting Rid Of Old Nuclear Reactors Worldwide Is Going To Cost Way More Than People Think, Business Insider,  NINA CHESTNEYGEERT DE CLERCQ LONDON/PARIS (Reuters)  20 Jan 15 – German utility E.ON’s breakup has led to worries that funds set aside for decommissioning reactors will not suffice, but globally the cost of unwinding nuclear is uncertain as estimates range widely.

As ageing first-generation reactors close, the true cost of decommissioning will be crucial for the future of the nuclear industry, already ailing following the 2011 Fukushima disaster and competition from cheap shale gas, falling oil prices and a flood of renewable energy from wind and solar.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said late last year that almost 200 of the 434 reactors in operation around the globe would be retired by 2040, and estimated the cost of decommissioning them at more than $US100 billion.

But many experts view this figure as way too low, because it does not include the cost of nuclear waste disposal and long-term storage and because decommissioning costs – often a decade or more away – vary hugely per reactor and by country.


“Half a billion dollars per reactor for decommissioning is no doubt vastly underestimated,” said Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based nuclear energy consultant.

The IEA’s head of power generation analysis, Marco Baroni, said that even excluding waste disposal costs, the $US100 billion estimate was indicative, and that the final cost could be as much as twice as high. He added that decommissioning costs per reactor can vary by a factor of four.

Decommissioning costs vary according to reactor type and size, location, the proximity and availability of disposal facilities, the intended future use of the site, and the condition of the reactor at the time of decommissioning.

Although technology used for decommissioning might gradually become cheaper, the cost of final waste depositories is largely unknown and costs might spiral over time. Reactor lifespans are measured in decades, which means financing costs and provisions depend strongly on unpredictable interest rate levels.

“The IEA estimate is, without question, just a figure drawn out of the air. The reality is, the costs are quite phenomenal,” said Paul Dorfman  honorary senior research associate at the Energy Institute, University College London………

The IEA’s Baroni said the issue was not the exact cost per reactor.

“What matters is whether enough funds have been set aside to provide for it,” he said. (Additional reporting by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt, Svetlana Burmistrova in Moscow, Scott DiSavino in New York and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Dale Hudson)


January 20, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decommission reactor | Leave a comment


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