Ukrainian nuclear plant vulnerable to Kiev’s artillery strikes – Greenpeace expert Rt.com August 31, 2014 Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is vulnerable to ‘direct bombardment’ in Ukraine if caught in the conflict, a Greenpeace nuclear energy expert told a German newspaper, claiming that its nuclear reactors are not protected from armor-piercing weapons.
Greenpeace nuclear expert Tobias Münchmeyer revealed his concerns over the six-reactor Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant in eastern Ukraine to Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. He said the plant was insufficiently protected against a direct bombardment and that 1.2-meter thick reinforced concrete shells surrounding each reactor are strong enough to withstand only a small aircraft crash.
“There are many armor-piercing weapons in the region, which could penetrate these protective covers,”Münchmeyer said, as cited by Deutsche Welle on Saturday.
The Soviet design reactors at Zaporizhia are largely dependent on Russian expertise and spare parts, the expert also said.
Zaporizhia is the largest nuclear power plant (NPP) not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe and also the fifth largest NPP in the world. It is situated on the bank of the Kakhovka water reservoir on the Dnieper River. This is some 200 kilometers from the warzone in Donetsk region……..http://rt.com/news/184004-greenpeace-zaporizhia-npp-danger/
The West’s Collective Angst About Ukraine’s Crisis-Zone Nuclear Reactors http://www.worldcrunch.com/ukraine-winter/the-west-039-s-collective-angst-about-ukraine-039-s-crisis-zone-nuclear-reactors/nuclear-risks-chernobyl-crimea-zaporizhia-malaysia-airlines/c20s16883/#.VAQSlNddUnk Markus Balser (2014-08-30) BERLIN — For many in Ukraine the city of Enerhodar is known simply as “Atomic City.” It was founded a couple of decades ago to accommodate a power station, and the city with its 50,000 inhabitants in southeastern Ukraine is known today as one of the country’s main energy suppliers. The six reactor blocks of the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Station spread out over many hundreds of meters along the banks of the Kakhovka Reservoir on the Dnieper River. The power station is not just responsible for most of Ukraine’s electricity, but it is also the city’s biggest employer and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
Atomic City’s dimensions were always suspect to critics of atomic energy, but these days even professionals in the nuclear sector are a bit uneasy about Zaporizhia. That’s because the power station is located just 124 miles from the part of Ukraine occupied by separatists, meaning the reactors are located in one of Europe’s most dangerous regions. Continue reading
I have a dream: A world free of nuclear weapons Aljazeera, Karipbek Kuyukov 28 Aug 2014 China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the US are still to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
OSCE shares Moscow’s concerns over Ukraine’s nuclear deal with US Rt August 28, 2014 The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe shares Moscow’s concern on world nuclear safety and the potential threat that possible US atomic fuel supplies to Ukraine might cause as the country remains in crisis.
The head of the OSCE and Swiss president Didier Burkhalter says he is concerned about nuclear safety in connection with the US intention to supply the country with nuclear fuel, according to a reply letter to Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry Vladimir Gutenev.
Switzerland “shares the view concerning nuclear safety,” Burkhalter wrote, as cited by Itar-Tass,……..
In early June, Gutenev sent a letter to Burkhalter warning of security threats that European nations will face in case of a potential industrial nuclear disaster at one of Ukraine’s power plants, as Kiev is planning to sign a contract with American Westinghouse Electric Company. He highlighted the fact that Soviet made nuclear plants are not compatible with fuel assembly type TBC-W offered by the Americans, as previous trials have shown.
“The nuclear reactors in Ukraine are of Russian (Soviet) design, which are only designed for fuel that has passed a special certification. Therefore, further attempts to use non-adapted fuel assemblies of American production without a corresponding adjustment increase the risk of failure of the Ukrainian reactors and dramatically increase the likelihood of man-made disasters,” Gutenev wrote in June, calling on the OSCE to consider the issue.
In 2005, six experimental Westinghouse fuel assemblies, adopted for use in USSR-developed reactors, were tried at the South Ukraine plant in one reactor together with Russian fuel rods. By 2008 Ukraine signed a contract with Westinghouse on fuel rod supply. However, the experiment showed that Westinghouse assemblies deformed during exploitation and got stuck in the core. The reason is simple – Russian nuclear fuel rods are hexagonal in section, while Americans produce fuel assemblies of square section.
By 2012, after the failed test, exploitation of US nuclear fuel was banned in Ukraine and the fuel rods were returned to the producer “to get fixed” while Russian scientists came to the rescue. The Energoatom Company of Ukraine lost an estimated $175 million in this trial.
Now the Kiev regime has renewed the 2008 nuclear fuel deal till 2020, to replace 25 percent of the Russian-made fuel rods with an option to “provide more if needed.”…….http://rt.com/news/183248-nuclear-ukraine-threat-osce/
Johnson’s Russia List, jackmatlock.com – Jack Matlock – August 26, 2014 “……Neither Russia nor the United States has any right, under what is generally accepted as international law, to be involved in selecting a government in Ukraine. Russia, however, has an infinitely greater stake in that government’s orientation than has the United States and a much greater ability to affect what happens on the ground…….
We are not in a new cold war, but the participation of our political leaders in public accusations, demands, and threats has helped recreate much of that atmosphere. This acrimonious public dialogue, at times descending to little more than name calling, set off destabilizing vibrations that become amplified by feedback at each exchange……..
The spate of official name-calling seems to be abating, and that is encouraging, for only quiet, realistic diplomacy is going to steer the warring parties in Ukraine away from the disastrous course they have chosen………
The planned meetings this week by Russian and Ukrainian representatives with European and, in some instances, American diplomats provide opportunities to nudge the warring parties to end the violence and to negotiate their differences………http://russialist.org/ukraine-cool-the-rhetoric-focus-on-the-outcome/
the coverage of the Ukrainian predicament is the worst journalistic failure since the Fukashima Disaster. Incidentally both journalistic failures involves nuclear power
Media Propaganda and the Ukraine Crises Paul Rogov, 25 Aug 14 “…… Western journalists write for corporate interests. It does not really matter who it is—The New York Times, The New Republic, The Economist, USA Today, CNN, or Fox— but the Western media it self is the entity that is aggravating the situation in the Ukraine.
By appealing to Western-led Eastern European, Eurasian and Russian scholars and American think-tanks and universities in hopes of the establishing lesser known “facts” about the Ukraine, corporate journalism often pounces on every opportunity or rumor or idea, so it can get its story out for the U.S.’s own benefit, having had met its deadlines.
The media was originally intended to critique the government and serve the people by giving them accurate, unbiased information. All an American needed was the facts. Commentary journalism, however, is different. It is a meta-journalism: a critique of itself.
Meta-journalism is in grave crisis. More than ever independent and free presses are needed to keep mainstream media, which seems to have merged with the U.S. State Department, in check.
A corporate journalist writes their article for their corporate sponsor—wanting to get their story off to his or her editor as quickly as possible— effectively perpetuating the U.S. Military Industrial Complex and explicitly propelling the idea of WWIII.
Now, with American academic-ideologues like Timothy Snyder, who writes articles like “The Battle of the Ukraine Means Everything” for The New Republic, it should be clear that this media dragon has many heads. Americans, in turn, have to lop off each one in order to deconstruct the propaganda that feeds the hysteria within the psyche of the average citizen……..
Western corporate Journalists are the creators of WWIII because they choose to bifurcate everything for the American people. Hawk versus Dove. Democrat versus Republican. NATO versus Russia. West verses East. Is there no way to be multipolar and live in a multipolar world? Western corporate media uses split screen techniques on television and broadcasts about complex political topics that cannot be resolved by two talking heads. They present only two points of view for just two ways of understanding American culture in under two minutes.
Whereas I do not remotely trust news coverage that comes from the Russian Federation, the Western coverage of the Ukrainian predicament is deplorable and dishonest, hysteria-arousing, sometimes pedestrian, uninformative, inaccurate and most of all, propaganda. Why? Because Western corporate journalists serve the U.S.’s Military Industrial Complex. Continue reading
Nuclear war is suicide for humans, but our leaders still have their fingers on the nuclear triggers. There seems to be absolutely no awareness, either in our Federal government or in the American public, of the existential danger posed by nuclear war. Such ignorance is embodied by The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, which if enacted will put us on a direct course for nuclear war with Russia
“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research, BySteven Starr , Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014
Any US-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the US nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely uponCounterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event of war, to preemptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy.
RAPA provides de facto NATO membership for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova via RAPA
The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, or RAPA, “Provides major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services.” Major non-NATO ally status would for practical purposes give NATO membership to these nations, as it would allow the US to move large amounts of military equipment and forces to them without the need for approval of other NATO member states. Thus RAPA would effectively bypass long-standing German opposition to the US request to make Ukraine and Georgia part of NATO.
Germans rightly fear placing US/NATO troops and US Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) in Ukraine, given the profound and long-standing Russian objections against the expansion of NATO (especially to Ukraine and Georgia) along with deployment of European US/NATO BMD. Germany is acutely aware of the distinct possibility that the civil war raging in Ukraine could evolve into a Ukrainian-Russian war. Under such circumstances, deployment of US/NATO forces in Ukraine would make it virtually inevitable they would come into fight with Ukraine against Russia. Continue reading
the people of Greenland are “split down the middle regarding the repeal of the ban.”
Hooge explains that the “mineral authorities” have fed the public disinformation over the last years but the tide may be turning, with growing concerns over environmental effects and the leftist party Inuit Ataqatigiit pledging to roll back the repeal if it wins back power.
The prospect of a relatively unknown Australian company exploiting massive untapped resources in Greenland deserves a robust public and political debate. It has thus far received nothing in Australia, and little in Denmark and Greenland.
In an age of worsening climate change, mining uranium is an arguably unsafe and potentially explosive answer to the problem
This is a story about an Australian company you’ve never heard of, operating in a nation that rarely enters the global media: Greenland. It’s a story about the intense search for energy sources in a world that’s moving away from the dirtiest fossil fuels.
Aleqa Hammond, the prime minister of Greenland, is the first woman to lead this autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. She also welcomes the financial opportunities from climate change and a melting Arctic Circle……..
In October last year, Hammond pushed legislation through Greenland’s parliament to overturn a 25 year old ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, including uranium, despite countless leading environmental NGOs urging otherwise. Continue reading
Media Propaganda and the Ukraine Crises Paul Rogov, 25 Aug 14 “………..Coverage of the Ukrainian plight is cynical, if not insensitive. Many corporate journalists are simply uninformed about the region. Many of these journalists believe the war in the Ukraine will lead to “WWIII” and that it began with ousted former President Victor Yanukovych, when he fled on February 22nd. But this is incorrect.
The Ukrainian crises, an ethnic war of Slavic subjectivity, which began prior to the inception of the Soviet Union, extended through not one, but two World Wars, the collapse of a superpower and chaos of post-Soviet economies. In fact, it goes back to medieval times.
U.S. military analysts know, as NATO knows, that the entire Ukraine could be taken by Russian armed forces rather quickly. While the Ukraine conscripts its soldiers and security forces deteriorates in the Eastern region, the Ukrainian military are weak yet somehow mysterious “victorious” too—disembodied, yet possessing a well-guided singularity of purpose.
According to one article released on May 4th Fars News headlined “S. Arabia Relocating Takfiri Fighters from Syria to Ukraine.” Saudi Arabia sent extremist militants against Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters. An unidentified Arab security official told Fars News that:
“A large number of terrorist Takfiri fighters in Syria, who bear Saudi and Chechnian nationalities and receive financial and military backup from the Saudi intelligence agency, have been transferred to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on several planes to help the Ukrainian army in its fight against the pro-Russian population. The forces have been immediately dispatched to Kramatosk city in Eastern Ukraine, and are now fighting beside the Ukrainian army forces against the pro-Russians under the name of militias who support the government.”
On top of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Ukraine (which no Western journalist talks about), Western corporate media bungled what happened in Odessa. There is no disputing that a Ukrainian extremist, right-wing group called Right Sector set the fires in Odessa of Trade Union buildings that senselessly burned alive and killed innocent people, while the U.S. State Department issued no statement that the deaths were due to Ukrainian fascists.
The Western corporate media is a collective failure as it constantly fails to realize that the Ukraine has never been a true European country. The same Western corporate media always presumes the Ukraine wants to be in all of its articles, where Ukrainian independence is concerned. Just pick up any major U.S. periodical or rather read off the Internet the presupposed rhetoric the Western corporate media utilizes.
The only time the Ukraine was tied “gloriously” to Europe in any concrete way was by its collaboration with Nazi Germany.
Russia, not too long ago, proclaimed that Ukraine’s assault in Slovyansk ended the chance for peace. Heads of State, Putin and Obama, as well as journalists are issuing statements and journalists are not citing their sources. This brings us to the issue of how the mainstream media is going to spin us right into a world war.
The questions that should be asked are numerous, but some examples would be: Who broke the story first that the Ukraine was heading for war? Who shot who first? Who burned alive who first? Isn’t it convenient how a right-wing coup occurred after “a democratically elected election”? Any form of slaughter in this case (and the prospects of U.S. or NATO involvement) is ridiculous and evil. How many more photos does one need to see of corpses for us to understand that the U.S. is in the shadows?
The Western corporate media have managed to evade talk of the money and the resources necessary for the Ukraine to even be considered a member of the E.U. and have totally hopped over the fact that the Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovich secured “a $15 billion bailout from Russia in December 17th, 2013, offering respite for an economy heading ever closer to default but also drawing accusations he has sold his country out to its former Soviet master.”
The Ukrainian government is just as corrupt as its Russian counterpart, yet the U.S. government and the mainstream media does not seem to understand that the political and economic weakness of Ukraine itself. The Ukraine’s inability to put its house in order is a result of inner tensions within the political climate of the Ukraine……http://paulrogov.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/media-propaganda-and-the-ukraine-crises/
Chinese nuclear giants set to replace decommissioned Bradwell power station with atomic planthttp://www.essexchronicle.co.uk/Chinese-nuclear-giants-replace-decommissioned/story-22813169-detail/story.html By PeteWalker August 24, 2014 Chinese nuclear power giants are reportedly zoning in on Bradwell as the site for a new atomic plant.
The Sunday Times reports today that the area on the Dengie coast, currently home to the decommissioned Magnox nuclear power station, has been picked as a favourite.
China General Nuclear Power Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation agreed to help finance Britain’s first new atomic power plant, for nearly 20 years, about two years ago.
Bosses shortlisted other sites in Lancashire, Hartlepool, Wales and Gloucestershire – but the national newspaper says Essex is the preferred option following talks this month.
The presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia
“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Global Research, By Steven Starr , Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility August 22, 2014
“……………RAPA intensifies support for ethnic cleansing in Eastern Ukraine In Russia, Putin now is under intense domestic political pressure to send Russian forces into Eastern Ukraine, in order to stop the attacks by the Ukrainian military on the cities there, which were once part of the Soviet Union.These attacks have created an absolute humanitarian catastrophe.
On August 5, 2014, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that740,000 Eastern Ukrainians had fled to Russia. They go there because Russia is close, and because most of the refugees are ethnic Russians, a fact that explains why the Russophobes in Kiev have been quite willing to indiscriminately bombard their cities.
What is taking place in Eastern Ukraine amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” the forced removal of ethnic Russians from Eastern Ukraine. This is a process that is fully supported by the US; RAPA would greatly enhance this support.
Ukrainian military forces have surrounded Donetsk – a city of almost one million people – and have for weeks conducted daily attacks against it using inaccurate multiple-launch rockets, heavy artillery fire, ballistic missiles carrying warheads with up to 1000 pounds of high explosive, and aerial bombardments. Water supplies, power plants, train stations, airports, bridges, highways, and schools have all been targeted, along with the general population. In Lugansk, a city of more than 440,000 people, a humanitarian crisis has been declared by its mayor, because the siege of the city has left it with little medicine, no fuel,intermittent power, and no water since August 3 (three weeks at the time of this writing).
After the separatists of Eastern Ukraine demanded autonomy from Kiev, and then reunion with Russia, the government in Kiev branded them as “terrorists”, and sent its military forces against them in what they euphemistically call an “anti-terrorist operation.” Framing the conflict this way makes it politically acceptable to refuse to negotiate with the separatists, and easier to justify in the US and Europe, which have grown accustomed to “the War on Terrorism.” However, the thousands of Ukrainians being killed and hundreds of thousands of being driven from their homes are just ordinary people, trying to live ordinary lives.
The New York Times reports the Ukrainian military strategy has been to bombard separatist-held cities and then send paramilitary forces to carry out “chaotic, violent assaults” against them. Many of the Ukrainian paramilitary forces were recruited from ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi political parties; theAzov battalion flies the “Wolfs Hook” flag of Hitler’s SS divisions. Considering that more than 20 million Russians died fighting the Nazis during World War II, the presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia……….http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-russian-aggression-prevention-act-rapa-a-direct-path-to-nuclear-war-with-russia/5397171
Ukraine divides MPs over Fennovoima nuclear plant ownership Yle uutiset 19 Aug 14 According to an Yle poll, two Finnish party leaders say they could back the construction of the Fennovoima nuclear plant in Pyhäjärvi if Finnish ownership were at 50-53 percent. Four leaders declined to comment and four stand against the plant on principle. The uncertainty is partly due to the Ukrainian crisis.
Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori of the National Coalition Party said that the proposed Fennovoima nuclear plant would have to be under “clear domestic ownership”.
Neither Vapaavuori nor the Ministry of Economic Affairs have announced how much of the plant should specifically be owned by Finnish interest groups.
One reason behind the uneasiness of some MPs is the escalating situation in Ukraine, and the repercussions on Finnish-Russian ties. Russia enforced EU-wide sanctions as a countermeasure to EU and US sanctions in early August……..
Ownership figures misleading
The Russian national nuclear power company Rosatom currently owns 34 percent of the Pyhäjoki plant. According to Fennovoima, the Finnish stake is at 52 percent.
However, the company fails to discount two companies – Rautaruukki and Kestra – in their calculations. Kestra announced in March that it washes its hands of the power plant issue, while Rautaruukki was acquired by the Swedish SSAB in July.
As Kestra owns 4.5 percent of Fennovoima and SSAB owns 3.3 percent, a simple equation will show that the Finnish ownership of the power plant is actually only at 44.2 percent. http://yle.fi/uutiset/ukraine_divides_mps_over_fennovoima_nuclear_plant_ownership/7420930
With exposure to radiation, high temperatures and pressure, the components of nuclear plants take a battering over time. “They can, for example, become more brittle, susceptible to cracking or less able to cope with temperature extremes,” said Anthony Froggatt, senior research fellow at London-based thinktank Chatham House.
Insight: The cost of caring for Europe’s elderly nuclear plants LONDON (Reuters)
18 Aug 14, - Europe’s ageing nuclear fleet will undergo more prolonged outages over the next few years, reducing the reliability of power supply and costing plant operators many millions of dollars.
Nuclear power provides about a third of the European Union’s electricity generation, but the 28-nation bloc’s 131 reactors are well past their prime, with an average age of 30 years.
And the energy companies, already feeling the pinch from falling energy prices and weak demand, want to extend the life of their plants into the 2020s, to put off the drain of funding new builds…….
as nuclear plants age, performance can suffer, and outages – both scheduled and unplanned – rise.
With nuclear safety in the spotlight since the 2011 reactor meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima plant – which in turn prompted Germany to call time on its entire nuclear fleet – operators can take no chances with their elderly plants, but the outages get longer and more difficult.
“These reactors were designed over 30 years ago. The people involved are either retired or dead, and most of the companies involved no longer exist,” said John Large, an independent nuclear engineer and analyst who has carried out work for Britain’s Atomic Energy Authority.
Jean Tandonnet, EDF Group’s nuclear safety inspector, said in January that its French fleet last year had a series of “problematic unit outages”, and scheduled outages were extended by an average of more than 26 days. Regular maintenance and major equipment replacement jobs had increased by 60 percent in the last six years, he said. France is the EU’s nuclear leader, its 58 reactors producing nearly three quarters of the country’s electricity. France’s nuclear watchdog will make a final decision on whether to extend the life of the French fleet to 50 years in 2018 or 2019. EDF has estimated the extension would cost 55 billion euros.
“The average age of the (French) reactors is now about 30 years, which raises questions about the investment needed to enable them to continue operating, as ageing reactors increasingly need parts to be replaced,” according to the World Nuclear Industry Status report 2014.
Though the EU has conducted risk and safety tests on the bloc’s nuclear plants, environmental campaigners say the tests failed to address risks associated with ageing technology, among other things.
With exposure to radiation, high temperatures and pressure, the components of nuclear plants take a battering over time. “They can, for example, become more brittle, susceptible to cracking or less able to cope with temperature extremes,” said Anthony Froggatt, senior research fellow at London-based thinktank Chatham House.
“While this can be monitored, it can be problematic if ageing occurs at a greater rate than anticipated or it occurs in areas which are difficult to access or monitor,” he added.
As reactors age, there is also a risk of finding a generic design flaw that could affect all the reactors in a country if they are of the same design. ………..Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis in Brussels and Geert de Clercq in Paris; Editing by Will Waterman) http://www.firstpost.com/world/insight-the-cost-of-caring-for-europes-elderly-nuclear-plants-1668443.html
4 Nuclear Power Plants Shut Down; Wind Power Steps In Clean Technica August 16th, 2014 by Jake Richardson Wind power in the UK is helping to fill the void left by the shuttering of four nuclear reactors. One reactor was found with a defect on its boiler spine, so EDF Energy decided to shut it down, along with three others. It is expected they will be offline for about two months. (EDF is a French utility responsible for managing many nuclear reactors. It stands for Electricity de France.) The reactor with the potential boiler spine issue is at Heysham-1 plant in Lancashire. Another was shut down at Heysham as well. The remaining two that were taken offline are at Hartlepool. The UK energy supply should not suffer from the nuclear shut downs.
“Demand is low at this time of year, and a lot of wind power is being generated right now,” explained National Grid. In fact, the UK just set a new summer record for wind powergeneration, “According to figures from trade association RenewableUK, wind reached its maximum output at 10pm on Sunday night, delivering an average of 5.0GW of power over the hour and meeting 17 per cent of national demand.”…….
One of the small ironies about wind power filling in somewhat for nuclear reactors is that wind is criticized for being intermittent.
This is a very minor point, but there seems to be some slight discrepancies in the reporting about the reactor shut downs. The UK-based Financial Times reported that all four were shut down. The UK-based Guardian say they were to be shut down. The New York Timesreported that one was shut down in June, and that it had recently been decided by EDF to shut down three more. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/16/4-nuclear-power-plants-shut-wind-power-steps/
“…………...GERIATRIC DISORDERS Britain has 16 reactors in operation that came online from the 1970s to 1990s, and all but one will be retired by 2023 unless they get extensions.
At the Wylfa plant in Wales – Britain’s oldest, at 43 years – the one remaining operational reactor was out of service for seven months this year. It was first taken down for maintenance, but the restart was delayed as new problems were discovered.
The reactor is scheduled to be taken out of service for good in September, but operator Magnox is seeking an extension to December 2015.
This week, EDF Energy took offline three of its nuclear reactors at its Heysham 1 and Hartlepool plants in Britain for inspection which are both 31 years old, after a crack was discovered on a boiler spine of another Heysham 1 reactor with a similar boiler design, which had already been taken offline in June. [POWER/GB]
The boilers will be checked for defects with thermal imagery done using robotics, and the firm will know more about what caused the fault after the inspections, which should take around eight weeks, the EDF Energy spokeswoman said. EDF Energy has been incorporating extra checks into its strategy for its ageing nuclear plants since it inherited them from previous operator British Energy, she said.
British Energy was delisted in 2009 following financial collapse. Several unplanned outages had reduced its power output, and its load factor – the ratio of actual output to its maximum capacity – fell to its lowest level of 56 percent in 2009, Britain’s National Archives show.
This compares with EDF’s average load factor for its French nuclear fleet of 73 percent in 2013, which is also down from its highest level of 77.6 percent in 2005, the company’s 2013 results show.
The fleet’s net output of electricity has declined from 429 terawatt hours in 2005 to 404 TWh last year, though this could be for a range of reasons, including weak energy demand.
Apart from reducing the reliability of Europe’s electricity supply, operators stand to lose many millions of euros from a single outage from lost electricity sales alone. Reuters calculations, based on industry estimates of lost daily electricity sales, show the outages at two EDF Energy plants could cost the firm some 155 million pounds during the outages from when they began in June or August to October, not including the costs of inspection and maintenance work.
Industry sources say the lost revenue from the loss of output at a 1 gigawatt plant could reach 1 million pounds a day.
British utility Centrica, which owns 20 percent of EDF Energy’s nuclear fleet, said on Monday the reduction in output would reduce its earnings per share by around 0.3 pence this year.
More than half of Belgium’s nuclear capacity is offline for maintenance. The three closed reactors are 29, 31 and 32 years old.
Though it doesn’t break out the nuclear data separately, statistics from Europe’s electricity industry association Eurelectric show both planned and unplanned outages mostly increased at thermal power plants in eight European countries examined, and periods of energy unavailability increased from around 12.8 percent in 2002 to 18.3 percent in 2011.
As the plants age, that can only increase. Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis in Brussels and Geert de Clercq in Paris; Editing by Will Waterman) http://www.firstpost.com/world/insight-the-cost-of-caring-for-europes-elderly-nuclear-plants-1668443.html
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